This stylish notebook might just be hottest organizing accessory of the year.
Everyone is supposed to have 24 hours in a day but for some us, it feels like there must be a rip in the space-time continuum. How else can you explain being constantly busy but having nothing to show for it? If this sounds familiar, learn how you can make the most of your time with our five fave productivity tips.
1. Write it down
Billed as "the analog solution for a digital age," the Bullet Journal is a diary, to-do list and catch-all for all your random thoughts. Developed by Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll, this trendy organizing method involves writing down quick, memory jogging statements rather than complex entries. Use it to organize your tasks by day and month pages, keep tabs of books you want to read and things you want to buy or create new lists whenever inspiration strikes. An indexing system allows you to quickly find what you're looking for.
2. Plan your time
Sort of like HIIT for your to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique involves working on your tasks for a short, timed cycle of 25 minutes. With no distractions allowed, it’s great way for those with short attention spans to focus. Take a 5-minute break before starting your next 25 minutes of work and, after four of these cycles, you're rewarded with a longer, half-hour break. Sound a bit too structured? Maybe that's why it works—it was voted the most popular productivity technique by the readers of lifehacker.com.
3. Try a tech-savvy solution
The If This Then That app might be the closest you'll ever come to a personal assistant. Got any apps on your phone? Automate their functions by using If This Then That statements, or as IFTTT calls them, “recipes.” For example: get an early morning text when the forecast calls for rain, use it to get coffee going without getting out of bed (using a programmable outlet) or tell the family you're on your way home (with an email triggered by your location app once you've left work).
4. Go KonMari on your clutter
While organizing trendsetter Marie Kondo’s method of minimal living has been criticized for being a bit too twee, an organized, uncluttered home can be key to increased efficiency. "In most cases, things that function well are inherently neat and clean," says Clare Kumar, a professional organizer based in Toronto. It's not hard to see why. Simply owning less makes it easier for you to find what you need and streamlines your decision making (no need to choose between your 6 pairs of jeans, for example), saving you time that can be better spent elsewhere.
5. Let it go
There'll be days you can't get to everything. Your work presentation sits unfinished, the house is a mess and dinner was takeout (again!). Instead of stressing out, try to cut yourself some slack. "Our bodies burn out when stuck in fast-forward," says Carl Honoré, an expert on the topic of slow living. Sometimes the best way to be productive is to take some time out to recharge. So curl up with a good book, take a long bath, or enjoy a glass of wine...guilt free! After all, there's always tomorrow.
Who doesn't like chocolate cake?! Here's a roundup up of our best, most decadent chocolate cake recipes you'll want to make over and over again.
"This recipe is inspired by a chocolate cake my grandmother used to make for
special occasions. It's decadent, incredibly chocolaty and extremely easy to make." — Jennifer Bartoli, Food specialist
Get the recipe: Chocolate Fudge Cake With Raspberry Coulis
Don't worry if a few crepes aren't perfectly round; just layer the less attractive ones in the centre of the cake and no one will be the wiser. A bar zester makes perfect, delicate strips of rind and comes in handy when preparing the orange zest topping.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Orange Crêpe Cake
White and dark chocolate batters swirl together in this ganache-glazed cake. Serve with chocolate whipped cream or ice cream.
Get the recipe: Glazed Chocolate Marble Cake
Brilliant blue icing and a fun speckled effect make this show-stopping chocolate cake look like a robin's egg. For best results, practise your speckling technique on waxed paper before tackling the cake. The speckling can get a little messy, so protect the cake plate with strips of waxed or parchment paper.
Get the recipe: Speckled Easter Egg Chocolate Cake
Everyone should be able to eat chocolate cake! A few simple substitutions is all it takes to make our classic recipe free of dairy, gluten, eggs, white sugar and vegetable oil, without sacrificing the intense chocolaty taste and moist, fluffy texture you've come to love. Most high-quality semisweet chocolates are dairy-free; read the label to ensure the brand you've selected doesn't contain any milk products.
Get the recipe: Dark and Delicious Vegan Chocolate Cake
This is a fantastic fudgy dessert for any occasion.
Get the recipe: Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake
If the stomach is indeed the way to a loved one's heart, then this ultra-decadent chocolate cake is sure to seal the deal. Just as easy and versatile as a cake mix— but way more moist and delicious—it's a recipe you'll want to make again and again.
Get the recipe: The Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake
Picture this: a rich, brownie-like chocolate cake topped with chocolate mousse, whipped topping and garnished with even more chocolate. Sound divine? It is! Italian meringue gives the mousse a light, fluffy texture without the addition of gelatin.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Mousse Passover Cake
This fantastic dessert should stay refrigerated until serving. Use a hot knife, wiping it clean after each cut to get pristine edges.
Get the recipe: Mocha Mousse Cake
A smooth ganache topping is an easy yet impressive finish to this moist chocolate cake, which is layered with a buttery espresso-flavoured icing. Top the cake with the chilled chocolate shards just before serving so they keep their shape.
Get the recipe: Silky Mocha Layer Cake
Crunchy meringue, silky mousse, moist chocolate cake and decadent ganache give flavour and texture to this ultimate cake, which is well worth the effort to make.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake
Chocolate-orange is a classic holiday flavour combination. The bright candied zest on top perfectly complements the chocolate chunks hidden within the cake.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake
A double dose of chocolate gives this cake its rich flavour. Greasing your pan with butter and then dusting with flour is a foolproof way to ensure your cake comes out easily.
Get the recipe: Double-Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake
When you layer silky chocolate mousse with crunchy meringue, the meringue becomes soft and chewy, making this cake easy to slice with a hot, sharp knife.
Get the recipe: Malt Chocolate Mousse Cake
Put your slow cooker to work and save time with these 20 easy and satisfying recipes.
Serve this saucy pulled pork as sandwiches: piled high on buns, with bowls of garnishes, such as pickled jalapeños, sour cream, shredded cheese and thinly shredded red cabbage (or better yet, red cabbage slaw), and let guests build their own sandwiches.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you're feeding a smaller group. Serve over hot steamed basmati rice.
This roast, inspired by a classic Belgian stew, is juicy and tender over mashed potatoes, and the leftovers make the ultimate hot sandwich. Cook the bacon and onion mixture the night before so it's ready to add to the slow cooker in the morning without a lot of fuss.
This beanless regional specialty is a point of pride in Cincinnati, where fierce loyalty divides the city over which restaurant serves the best version. Cooked low and slow, with the distinguishing flavours of cinnamon and cocoa, the meaty, saucy chili is served over spaghetti.
This mild, sweet curry has all the comforting flavours of a curry without too much spice, making it a great choice for the entire family. Serve over steamed rice or with warmed naan bread.
You won't believe how tasty and easy it is to make this classic dish in your slow cooker. A piping bag - or plastic bag - makes easy work of stuffing the manicotti. Serve with a tossed salad and garlic bread for an easy family-style dinner.
A brisket needs to be cooked slowly, so using a slow cooker makes perfect sense. Ensure tender slices by cutting the brisket thinly across the grain.
Inspired by Portuguese caldo verde, this hearty, richly flavoured soup is a yummy way to use up an entire bunch of kale in one go. It freezes well, so leftovers make quick and easy lunches all week. The soup thickens as it stands; thin with water and adjust the seasonings as desired when you reheat it.
My mother, Shu-Lai Fong, makes famous pressure-cooked black bean spareribs. They're the inspiration for this recipe, which is just as delicious but uses a slow cooker. You'll find bite-size bone-in pork spareribs at most Asian grocery stores, or you can order them at your butcher's counter.
This hearty sauce is best served over a short pasta with lots of nooks and crannies it can tuck into and cling to. This ragu also makes a delicious lasagna filling when layered with sheets of fresh pasta and ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Cost: $2.15/cup
There are few things more comforting than a bowl of rich, creamy seafood chowder. Sweet, licorice-like fennel naturally complements the seafood. Serve with oyster crackers or crusty bread and a simple green salad for a complete meal.
Chorizo sausage and flavourful spices make this chili a real treat to come home to. Stirring in chopped herbs at the end adds a welcome touch of freshness.
Slow-cooked then quickly finished on the grill, sweet and sticky glazed ribs are guaranteed to impress your guests. Pork side ribs are also called St. Louis–style ribs, but back ribs are equally delicious.
Finally a flavourful risotto that doesn't need any stirring! Dried mushrooms work perfectly to create an earthy aroma, we've used dried porcinis here as they're readily available, but any dried mushroom will do. Hearty pot barley makes adds a healthful twist and doesn't become overly mushy - even after 8 hours.
Sweet honey and tender shallots mellow the typically strong flavour of lamb shoulder. Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed greens for a complete meal.
We've swapped beef broth for chicken broth and onions for tender leeks but kept all the flavour in this lighter version of classic French onion soup. When you get home, just toast the baguette, broil the cheese and enjoy!
This veggie-loaded chili is so hearty that even meat lovers will ask for seconds. To freeze it, cook as directed, but don't add the mushrooms. Cook them separately and add to the chili after reheating it. Serve with crusty bread to soak up every bit of sauce.
Inspired by the traditional Mexican tacos served with spicy thin pork slices and pineapple, this slow cooker version features pork shoulder broken into tender bite size chunks. If you don't want to serve these as tacos, try serving the pork on top of steamed white rice instead.
This all-in-one meal is a roast version of classic beef and barley soup. The barley thickens the cooking liquid to make a delicious gravy.
Using stewing beef instead of ground meat adds delicious bulk to this otherwise classic chili. Serve as is or use it as a topping for baked potatoes.
Looking to revamp your wardrobe? Now's the time to get shopping—everything's on sale!
We know the holiday season—and all the indulgence that goes with it—can take a serious hit on your bank account. But with the long stretch of sub-zero temperatures and blankets of snow ahead, it's nice to pick up a couple of new fashion items to keep you fresh. Our tip? The best bargains are surprisingly scored after the Boxing Day madness, so we went ahead and collected our top contenders to have you starting 2017 off right.
Wilfred Free skirt, $35 (from $85), aritzia.com.
L&L Relaxed Straight Denim, $24 (from $60), additionelle.com.
Wool blend coat, $80 (from $180), hm.com.
London Rebel mules, $56 (from $80), asos.com.
Suede shift dress, $15 (from $43), oldnavy.ca.
Velvet blazer, $50 (from $159), zara.com.
Marecchia boot, $50 (from $100), aldoshoes.com.
Sequin dress, $80 (from $180), eloquii.com.
Nude flounce top, $17 (from $25), forever21.com.
Utility cords, $40 (from $70), gapcanada.ca.
Plaid jacket, $129 (from $215), bananarepublic.ca.
Embroidered blouse, $30 (from $90), zara.com.
Classic flannel shirt, $9 (from $30), oldnavy.ca.
L&L Lace blouse, $16 (from $40), additionelle.com.
Minimum lace top, $52 (from $90), asos.com.
Fluffy coat, $90 (from $180), mango.com.
Textured stripe utility jacket, $60 (from $108), gapcanda.ca.
Wilfred dress, $85 (from $145), aritzia.com.
Faux leather knee-high boots, $37 (from $61), forever21.com.
Lace midi dress, $40 (from $90), zara.com.
Fluffy sweater, $30 (from $60), mango.com.
L&L Faux Shearling Coat, $84 (from $210), additionelle.com.
Merino wool sweater, $43 (from $85), bananarepublic.ca.