Hi friends, Hmph. The weekend is just hours away and the rain is pouring down with no signs of stopping. I am hoping that the weather people have it
all wrong, but just in case, I've lined up a few bright and happy things to keep us smiling through a soggy weekend...like these tulips. Wow!
True, not all of these links are crafty, but I'd argue that they're all inspiring. There's lots of awesome out there in this world of ours. Might as well stop to appreciate it once in a while, right? I thought you'd agree.
I've never tried making my own lotions and potions, but eMailorder #11 from Angry Chicken has got me thinking about it. I knew I was saving all those tiny jars for something!
Blair went to Sears and brought home a refrigerator box for her kids. Look what they made. (So what if I'm in my 30s: I'm jealous!)
Speaking of cardboard, here's a way to repurpose tonight's pizza boxes if it's still raining tomorrow – build a set of pyramids!
Spring in a box from Inchmark. I might have linked to this last year, but it's still a great idea – especially if this rainy weather has you feeling like spring is still far, far away.
Want to make
perfect, crispy bacon every time with little mess? Try cooking it in the
oven! I always use this method when I am cooking bacon for more than 2 people. It is
less messy than cooking on the stovetop, you can cook a whole package at a time with no grease spattering everywhere. It requires
little attention, which gives you time to prepare the other elements of the meal (
pancakes perhaps?). Also, the bacon comes out
perfectly cooked (and flat) and delicious every time.
To cook bacon in the oven, first line a
baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Arrange bacon slices on parchment,
overlapping if desired.
(Side note: the bacon will cook a little faster and require no separating if the slices are not overlapping, but one Chef I worked for instructed me to overlap the slices with the meatier side on the bottom so that the fattier side covers the meat and "protects it" during cooking - not sure if this is true, but you can fit more on a tray if the slices are overlapping.) Cook in a 400°F (200°C) oven for
about 20 minutes, separating with tongs if needed, until bacon is golden-brown. Timing will depend on the thickness of your bacon and how crispy you like it.
Remove bacon to paper-lined platter to drain. Enjoy your perfectly cooked bacon in these recipes...
Bacon and Onion Cheese BallsChard and Apple Salad with Bacon VinaigrettePhotography by Leah Kuhne
Q: I really like the look of hardwood flooring, but I've been warned against using it in the kitchen. â€¨I don't want to settle for laminate. Are there any other options? — R.S., Brantford, ON
A: Many people love the warmth and elegance of wood floors in a kitchen, but durability is a concern. Water can damage any type of flooring, so humidity levels must be controlled in kitchen and bath environments.
Your best bet is engineered wood flooring: a thin veneer of real wood adhered to a composite wood plank. This option offers the thickness of a solid wood plank at a considerably lower price tag. The planks are sold sanded, stained and protected—often with up to 15 coats of UV-protectant varnish, making them scratch- and fade-resistant. As easy to install as laminate planks, they're a good option to use all over the house, even in the kitchen. Expect to pay $8 to $20 per square foot for the product, and an â€¨additional $4 to $8 per square foot for professional installation.
For more solutions to your design dilemmas, read what Karl Lohnes has to say about picking a couch.
This story was originally titled "Design Dilemma" in the June 2014 issue.
Rediscover Ottawa, which walks the line between charming town and cosmopolitan city, with first-class cultural and historic experiences.
Modern digs: Alt Hotel Ottawa Rest your head at the Canadian-owned Alt Hotel in downtown Ottawa, where you can grab snacks (or full meals) in the lobby and keep up your yoga practice with the hotel's new Nama-Stay yoga videos. Bonus: The Alt is eco-friendly, with geothermal energy used for heating and cooling, plus energy-efficient lighting.
Historic haven: The Century House Bed and Breakfast Ottawa With just four rooms, The Century House offers a quaint stay without skimping on modern amenities such as free parking and Wi-Fi. It's known for its gourmet breakfasts (think indulgent waffles or a hearty frittata), served up family-style in the dining room.
Morning munch: Benny's Bistro Hidden behind The French Baker in the ByWard Market, this is a tiny gem that serves some of our all-time favourite brekkies. Order the buckwheat crêpe, which is stuffed with ham and Gruyère and topped with an egg.
Dinner hour: Absinthe Café Stop by this Wellington West hot spot for French-inspired cuisine and a taste of its namesake drink. On Monday nights, there's a special fondue menu; go with friends and order cheese and meat varieties to share, then finish with the Valrhona chocolate fondue for dessert.
Sweet treat: Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen Try small-batch ice creams and ice cream truffles made with Ontario dairy and fresh, sometimes surprising, ingredients, like craft beer or lime leaves.
Spring: C'est Bon Gourmet Food Tours Take a guided walking and tasting tour of one of Ottawa's famed foodie neighbourhoods: the ByWard Market, Wellington Street, Preston Street (Little Italy), the Glebe or Chinatown.
Summer: Yowttawa This outdoor music fest will celebrate the country's 150th anniversary with performances by Canadian artists, plus contributions by other international artists.
Fall: The Canada Science and Technology Museum After $80.5 million in renos, the museum will reopen in November, just in time for its 50th anniversary of celebrating Canadian innovations, such as a prototype of the world's first pacemaker and a cobalt-60 therapy machine from the '50s—at the time, a revolutionary new way to deliver radiation to cancer patients.
Winter:Nordik Spa-Nature Spend a day rotating between the spa's seven outdoor baths and eight saunas. Book a massage for ultimate R&R.
WHAT'S CLOSE BY? If you have the time to range farther afield, here are three other spots to see in Ontario.
2 1/2 hours away: Thousand Islands A pretty archipelago with ton of history (it was once pirate territory!), this region is now an ideal spot to go boating, hiking and exploring historic castles.
3 hours away: Prince Edward County Visit a few of the dozens of artist studios and galleries in the region, where you can even take an art class—in between wine tastings, of course.
OTTAWA THE GREAT To celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial—the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Ottawa is leading the charge with a full year of awe-inspiring events. Here's a small sampling of what's on in our nation's capital.
March 3 and 4: Red Bull Crashed Ice Watch downhill skaters race to the finish line on a huge track that runs along the locks of the Rideau Canal— which will be the final leg of the 2016–17 ice cross downhill championship.
May 20 to Sept. 4: Inspiration Village Located in the historic ByWard Market, Inspiration Village will pay tribute to our provinces and territories, while also showcasing special exhibits and performing-arts events.
All summer long: Kontinuum, an "underground multimedia experience" Though the Confederation Line of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit won't open until 2018, one underground station will be transformed into a futuristic world by a 10-weeklong multimedia presentation.
Nov. 26: The 105th Grey Cup This year, Canada's capital will host the CFL's annual championship game.
Ignite 150: In a series of 17 stunts spaced throughout the year—from yoga on a barge accompanied by a live orchestra to gourmet dining at a table suspended nearly 50 metres in the air—Ottawa will delight visitors and residents with once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Ottawa Welcomes the world: Ottawa's many embassies and high commissions will be given the opportunity to take over Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building with multicultural celebrations including food, art and music.
Agri 150: More than 20 unique one-day outdoor events in 2017 will showcase Ottawa's food and drink, such as the Wine and Words Tour, which will take participants to local wineries to sample wine and cheese, with a local author to tell stories at each stop.
With our country's 150th birthday around the corner, Ottawa will be pulling out all the stops when it comes to entertaining, enlightening and engaging Canadians. We can’t wait to take part in all the amazing events scheduled throughout the year.
New and improved products from some of your favourite hair brands are hitting shelves this season.
The hair-care aisle is chock full of potions promising miracles, but we're after products that actually work—with the science and research to back them up.
SIZE DOES MATTER
Half of the global population experiences dandruff, but women seem to be slacking. "A far smaller proportion of women [to men] take proper care of their scalp," says Phil Marchant, the principal scientist for Head & Shoulders. "Many women think antidandruff products only fight dandruff or are too harsh." Over the past few years, Head & Shoulders' team of scientists has been working to change this mindset. A combination of zinc pyrithione and zinc carbonate is the brand's dandruff-fighting duo. Product developers swapped the shampoo's former particle size of zinc with micronized zinc (commonly used in facial sunscreens), reducing its size eight times over. "The smaller particle deposits more effectively and efficiently into the harder-to-reach areas on the scalp," says Marchant. This helps banish dandruff while also giving a better lather and allowing shampoo to rinse away more easily.
Head & Shoulders Smooth & Silky Shampoo and Conditioner, $6, walmart.ca.
NEW AND IMPROVED
"If it's not broke, don't fix it" was Herbal Essences unofficial motto for more than 45 years. Now, the brand known for unforgettable scents and kooky commercials is introducing a new line that marries the best of nature with science, thanks to a new technology called Bio:renew. The complex includes aloe to heal, sea kelp to nourish, bamboo to strengthen and, at its core, histidine, an amino acid and antioxidant. "When you go outside or colour or wash your hair, you're exposing it to free radicals," says Rachel Zipperian, principal scientist for Herbal Essences. "Once free radicals get into the hair, they try to associate themselves with damage sites. The vulnerable parts get free-radical buildup, which accelerates damage, and you end up with lifeless hair." Zipperian explains that antioxidants track free radicals and "take them out" so they're no longer active. The new collection comes in a range of indulgent scents.
Clay's purifying properties are well known to skin-care aficionados, and now your hair can benefit from them, too. L'Oréal's latest hair-care release—available in shampoo, conditioner and a preshampoo mask—tackles greasy roots and dry ends with a combo of kaolinite, argilane and montmorillonite clays, helping balance hair from root to tip. Expect fresh, soft strands for up to 72 hours.
L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise Extraordinary Clay Pre-Shampoo Treatment, $8.50, lorealparis.ca.
GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT
Take a walk down the shampoo aisle and you'll spot products that seem—dare we say it?—delicious. Hair-care brands are increasingly turning to fruit, vegetables and other plants for their nutritional benefits. Products containing yucca and goji berry, black sesame and grapefruit, and quinoa husk and honey take the guesswork our of reading ingredients labels and leave your hair with a yummy scent to boot.
The new hair-brightening spray from L'Anza uses optical refraction technology, which relfects pigments within the inner cortex of the haqir cuticle to intensify hair colour. Color Illuminator doesn't deposit new colour; instead, it magnifies preexisting pigments that are concealed by the hair's cutcle layer. The result: instantly brighter hair in the short term, and long term, strong and healthy hair nourished with UV protectors, which prevent fading.
L'Anza Color Illuminator Hair Brightening Spray, $35, lanza.com.
It's not just skin care that's ditching chemicals in favour of all-natural ingredients. Rocky Mountain Soap Co. has taken this trend to hair care too. The Canadian company's packaging, ingredients and even store design benefit from an attention to environmentally conscious detail. "I see us heading into a societal shift, defined by simplicity and authenticity, where green choices are the new expectation," says co-owner Karina Birch.