Two men's events with promising finishes balance out a disappointing women's hurdles result.
For someone who didn’t particularly like track and field when I was in elementary school, I’m pretty obsessed with the track events at this year’s Olympics. Partially that’s because those are the events I’ve gone to the most, but I think it’s more about all the little moments I’ve seen that showcase the athletes’ humanity—and ours, too. A sprinter falls at the end of the race and the people she was just competing against help her up. The look on a hurdler’s face when she knocks over a hurdle, knowing that’s the end of her Olympic journey. The groans and cheers and waves of a stadium full of people. It’s pretty awesome.
1. Andre De Grasse’s 200m semifinal race (and his bromance with Usain Bolt!)
And speaking of awesome… this was my second time seeing Andre and Usain race, and it was, well, you know. Yes, other athletes were there, too, including Andre’s fellow Canadian Aaron Brown, Justin Gatlin of the US and Jamaica’s Yohan Blake… but this race was really about Andre and Usain, newly-minted BFFs. They finished within 0.02 seconds of one another and, near the end of the race, they looked like they were laughing and joking. It was really cool to see a friendship we’ve seen in post-race photos and Snapchats play out on the track, too.
Canadian hurdler Nikkita Holder was disqualified in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m hurdles, and though I would have loved to see her make it to the final, I thought this quote from her post-competition interview was so great: "Well, I was moving and sometimes when you're moving, you just get knocked down. I totally clipped a hurdle and it took me out. It happens. You kind of have to be crazy to hurdle and falling is part of it." (Scott Oake asking her how it feels to be a single mom and making her cry, on the other hand? Not so great.)
3. Men’s decathlon, day one
Canadian decathlete Damien Warner (pictured, above) says he had hoped to score more points on day one, but I think his third place finish was solid—and that he can do even better on day two. Ashton Eaton’s performance was another decathlon highlight. He’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton’s husband (which earns him honorary Canadian status) and I ended up reading a lot about him as I did research for my interview with her… so I know he’s pretty much the best decathlete in the world. Seeing him in person was spectacular.
4. The US sweeping the women's 100m hurdle
If I couldn't see a Canadian on the podium, a history-making finish for three American hurdlers is the next best thing, I guess. But in all seriousness, it was pretty cool to see Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin finish within tenths of a second of one another.
We asked some of Canada's top celebrity designers to spill the beans on their best-kept design secrets—and did they ever! Read on for expert advice on everything from space planning and choosing paint colours to styling shelves and how to create a foolproof gallery wall.
The inside scoop on space planning
How much space do you need around your dining room table? Can you really make a room feel larger? Our experts weigh in.
Tip 1: Sofas should be two-thirds the length of the longest wall, and seating is placed close enough around so no person is more than eight feet from another to allow for easy conversation. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 2: One easy rule to figure out what size dining table you need: allow for a minimum of 30 inches walking clearance on all sides. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Space planning is critical. For a kitchen island, for example, leave three feet of space between the island and surrounding counters. Ensure that appliances (like the fridge or dishwasher) can open without blocking traffic flow or hitting neighbouring walls or cabinets. Not leaving enough room is a mistake people make all the time, before they call a designer in a panic to help fix it! — Lisa Canning
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 4: Use mirrors strategically to expand space and increase the amount of natural light reflected in the room. Framing a wall with floor-to-ceiling mirrors adds a dramatic effect to the feeling and scale of the room. — Brian Gluckstein
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 5: Allow for 18 inches between the sofa and the coffee table so people have enough room to pass by and to make it easy to reach for drinks or food. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 6: Want to make sure furniture fits before it arrives at your door? There are a host of free sites (like planyourroom.com) that allow you to put furniture onto a scaled floor plan. Another option? Many furniture and decor stores offer free design services, and they'll do the calculating for you. — Janette Ewen
Light it up
Follow these five rules and your lights will shine in all the right ways.
Tip 2: Install dimmer switches; they're a practical way to control light and energy consumption. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 3: The bottom of the shade of your bedside reading lamp should be at shoulder height when sitting in bed. Do the math! — Karl Lohnes
Tip 4: Choose a pendant or chandelier that's one-third the size of the table or kitchen island. Hang it approximately 30 to 36 inches above the table or island; if there are more than one, place them 12 to 18 inches apart. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Incandescent bulbs are great for atmosphere lighting, but LED bulbs are more suited to task lighting, when you really need to see what you're working on. — Janette Ewen
The inside scoop on paint and palette
Did you know that paint selection should be one of the last decisions you make when decorating a room?
Tip 1: I'm a firm believer in mood boards. They're not just for designers! Gather together fabrics, paint samples and inspiration images for a room before starting. It will create a picture and a trajectory that you may not have thought of. — Steven Sabados
Tip 2: When you design a room, pull your palette from one inspiration fabric. Whether you use a whimsical print or a more traditional pattern, take all the colours present in that material and allow those to guide fabric selection for pillows, throws, drapery and upholstery in the room. Take that same fabric to the paint store and have a custom colour mixed that matches one of the hues exactly. — Lisa Canning
Tip 4: Fine finish Choose a fresh trim colour in a semigloss, such as Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace OC-65. It creates a subtle separation from a matte wall, and it's a much more durable finish, which comes in handy since trims are usually the most touched, bumped and scuffed parts of our homes. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Colour pop If you buy that cool orange statement chair, give it a buddy. When you're adding a colourful piece to a space, always have at least one other subtle hit of that colour elsewhere in the room to create a cohesive feel. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 6: Want to make a room feel taller? Paint baseboards and crown moulding the same colour as the walls. Want it to feel huge? mix one-third of the wall colour into the ceiling paint. — Karl Lohnes
The inside scoop on styling
You've bought the sofa and painted the walls. Now what? Our experts show you how to style a room like a pro.
Tip 1: Shop at stores that have liberal return policies and buy three times as much as you think you need. This gives you plenty of merchandise to play with to see what works and what does not. Mix in unique family heirlooms and vintage finds with the new pieces you purchase to create a naturally curated look. — Janette Ewen
Photography by Magdalena M
Tip 2: For a no-fail pillow combination, you need only three: one 20- by 20-inch, one 16- by 16-inch and one 12- by 16-inch. Those sizes look good together no matter how you arrange them! — Jo Alcorn
Tip 3: Beauty is in the details When styling a console, include framed art on easels or leaning against the wall; it's a great way to display smaller pieces. Create a dynamic vignette by mixing in boxes, vases and vintage pieces in differing heights and dimensions. — Brian Gluckenstein
Tip 4: Mix and match Use these common elements when styling shelves: stacks of books, gorgeous flowers and at least one accessory that has a lot of shimmer and shine. Varying heights and textures is also really important for visual interest. — Lisa Canning
The inside scoop on art
Take the mystery out of hanging art.
Tip 1: Make your own art! Buy a canvas in a size you're looking for, then grab some paint in the colours you're decorating with, and see what happens. Great masterpieces are born of happy accidents or beautiful mistakes. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 2: When hanging art on an empty wall, the middle of the art should to be hung 66 to 72 inches off the floor. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Art relates to furniture, not the ceiling: Keep art about six to eight inches above the sofa, or any piece of furniture, when hanging it. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Tip 4: For a gallery wall, use different-size frames in one single finish and select artwork with a consistent theme in colour or subject matter to keep the display cohesive. — Brian Gluckenstein
Each year, top designers and brands showcase the best in innovative and inspiring design from around the world at The Interior Design Show in Toronto. We’ve picked our top Canadian designers that you may not have heard of yet, but should.
Sweet potatoes offer a tasty addition and creamy texture to your meals, and they're great when eaten alone, too!
They're found in desserts, they can take the place of regular potatoes as a healthy (but still tasty) french-fry alternative and they continue to gain recognition and popularity at the dinner table. Aside from being the only veggie you can get your kids to eat, they come with a huge range of benefits you might not have known.
They're good for your heart. Because of the great source of B6 vitamins and potassium, sweet potatoes contribute a great deal to heart health. The Harvard School of Public Health says the B6 vitamins found in sweet potatoes are great at breaking down homocysteine, a substance that hardens the blood vessels and arteries.
They can help you de-stress.Yes, there's a healthy food that can help keep your stress level in check. Although sweet potatoes alone won't relieve all your life-related stress (we wish!), they contain magnesium, which is the original "chill pill," according to Psychology Today. Magnesium promotes relaxation, calmness and a good mood.
They can maintain blood sugar levels & stabilize appetite. A 2007 study done at North Carolina State University found that sweet potatoes might just be the secret weapon against diabetes. Sure, they're sweet, but they have a low glycemic index and release sugar slowly into the blood stream, which reduces the risk of sugar spikes and unbalanced levels of blood sugar.
In addition to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, the mineral element manganese, which is found in sweet potatoes, also helps the body metabolize carbs, utilize antioxidants and stabilize your appetite, according to a report done on manganese by the Micronutrient Information Centre at Oregon State University.
They help prevent cancer. There are anti-carcinogenic properties in sweet potatoes, thanks to the beta-carotene found in orange veggies. Purple sweet potatoes have also shown to have cancer-fighting abilities, with a positive effect on cancer cell growth.
If you want to take advantage of these health benefits but don't know how to incorporate sweet potatoes into your family's meals, check out these recipes:
To cook shrimp in a skillet, heat oil (or butter) over medium heat. Add your peeled shrimp, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turns pink and opaque, which should take anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp and the heat of your pan. As soon as the shrimp is pink and opaque on both sides, remove the shrimp from the heat or it will very quickly go from perfect to overdone.
Here are 7 things to avoid when cooking shrimp:
1. Using shrimp that’s past its prime: All protein tastes best when it’s super fresh, but that’s a real non-negotiable for shrimp. Fresh shrimp should be used within 24 hours, as should thawed shrimp. If you’re not sure when you’re going to consume the shrimp, it’s best to buy it frozen so you can take it out as needed.
2. Over seasoning: Shrimp is naturally quite salty, so make sure not to over season it. Taste as you go and err on the side of under seasoning. You can always add a little pinch of salt if needed, but it’s much harder to take one away!
3. Cooking shrimp that hasn’t been completely thawed: Shrimp must be completely thawed before cooking. If it isn’t, you’ll end up with a watery, unappetizing mess. Once your shrimp has completely thawed, you can pat it dry with a paper towel before cooking. This will remove excess water and give your shrimp the best possible texture.
4. Low heat: Make sure the shrimp starts searing away when it first hits the pan so it doesn’t simmer instead of searing. Medium heat is as low as you should go!
5. Keeping the tails: There is a time and a place for keeping shrimp tails attached (think shrimp cocktail) but when eaten as part of a dish, it’s easier and less messy to not have to deal with the shrimp tails at all.
6. Forgetting to properly peel and unvein the shrimp: Although most of us are well-aware of where our food comes from, finding a piece of shrimp shell or a black vein (which is basically the intestinal tract of the shrimp) is not incredibly appetizing — and it doesn’t taste good! Make sure to evenly peel the shrimp and devein it before using. Even when shrimp is labelled as deveined, it’s a good idea to quickly check each one just to make sure it’s been adequately cleaned. 7. Buying previously cooked frozen shrimp: Shrimp which has already been cooked and then frozen might seem like a great time-saver, but it really does not have the best texture. It’s more watery and usually doesn’t taste that great. Always opt for unpeeled, uncooked frozen shrimp if you're not buying it fresh from the fish counter.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Cadbury chocolate factory in Toronto, where all of the Cadbury chocolate in Canada is made. I went with a group of co-workers on a grand tour. Although it was fun seeing how everything is created
—we even tried filling Cadbury Creme Eggs and mixing our own signature add-ins into Dairy Milk bars
—one topic remained on everyone's mind. No, it wasn't how they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar. (We all had our theories, but they wouldn't confirm or deny.)
The real mystery was: Which country makes the most delicious version of a Dairy Milk bar?
The staff at Cadbury had arranged a blind taste test of their chocolate bars from around the world. I tried to maintain an objective stance because, unlike some, I'm really not all that attached to Dairy Milk. I also consider my palate in pretty good shape, since I cook and taste things for a living. Some members of our group, however, were staunch British Dairy Milk supremacists. I've met many of these people over the course of my life and, I'm not going to lie, they intimidate me. I've always kept quiet in response, because I just didn't know if it was true. I'd never tried a British Dairy Milk! How was I to know? I remember thinking how wonderful and rare these chocolate bars must be. British expats go back to their native land and specifically bring these chocolate bars back with them, or have family ship them overseas. They're basically like the chocolate bar equivalent of a winged unicorn. Well, all that was going to change.
I was going to try a British Dairy Milk! Our tasting featured chocolate from about 10 different countries, including Canada, USA, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and, of course, Britain. We sampled them all and then wrote down our favourites by number, all while sizing each other up, suspiciously. Would we agree? Would the UK remain the reigning chocolate champ? Would it come to blows? Should I take my earrings out? After all that, we nearly all agreed on a ranking. I think all but one of us had the same number in our top spot. And the winner is: CANADA! Wait, what? The Canadian chocolate had a strong chocolaty flavour and very distinct complementary milky/caramel notes. Overall, it had the best taste and texture. It was more complex than the British version. And before you accuse me of choosing the chocolate I was most used to eating, our group was comprised of different nationalities, including some who'd grown up eating the UK chocolate. I'm sure people will disagree with us
—the UK chocolate was still very creamy and delicious. As smug expressions melted off faces more quickly than chocolate on a hot griddle, I think we all felt a bit shaken
—and more than a bit patriotic—that day. Now, every time someone brings up the topic of who makes the best Dairy Milk, it's my turn to be smug. Even if it's just on the inside. I am a polite Canadian, after all.To keep up with more of our Test Kitchen adventures on Instagram, follow @CanadianLiving.