Many women enjoy dress shopping and the thrill of finding that perfect dress for a particular occasion. But the whole idea of 'dress shopping' really takes on a whole new meaning when you're looking for THE dress. The dress you're going to wear on what's presumably one of the most important, special days of your life.
Wedding dresses tend to be pretty classic but the truth is, the trends and styles do change from year to year. So what's du jour for 2011? We checked in with Tanya Prosser, owner of and event specialist with Hamilton-based A Fairytale Occasion, to find out more about what's on trend in wedding dresses this year.
Wedding dress trends 2011 "Sweep length trains again this season were the rage and tulle as well as organza made every designer's repertoire," says Prosser. "White and ivory are still the biggest colour choices for brides, asymmetrical cuts are once again very popular this season and embellishments are in abundance," she says. According to Prosser, this year designers are abandoning ornate details like heavy beading and embroidery in favour of more subtle details like pockets, flowers and jeweled belts.
Wedding dresses: Length While the traditional wedding dress is floor length with a sweeping train, Prosser says other lengths are making an appearance this year, too. "Floor length gowns still ranked very high on the designer runways," she says. "But we are seeing a push towards tea length gowns as well as the "mini" gown for receptions and informal weddings."
Prosser says this is a hot wedding trend; more and more brides are opting for a classic gown for the ceremony but want something more comfortable for the reception. To meet this need, Prosser says there's been an emergence of the convertible or zip-off dress. "The dress literally zips off into an above knee length for the reception."
Wedding dresses: Cuts There are so many different cuts of gown to choose from. How do you decide which one's best for you? Prosser breaks it down:
A-line cut gowns flatter most figures and they disguise "problem" areas effectively.
Empire cut gowns are a fantastic style. Cut under the bust with a long skirt, the empire cut gown is perfect for petite brides as it creates the illusion of height.
Mermaid cut gowns are for women who are very proportional. They hug the waist and hips and show each 'imperfection' if there are any!
Princess cut gowns are universally the most flattering gowns. Seamless waistlines with three vertical front panels make all body types look taller and slimmer.
Ball gown cut gowns are classic and figure-flattering for all body types with a more fitted bodice and a long full length skirt.
Wedding dresses: Fabrics Next consideration? Fabric. But there are advantages and disadvantages to various choices.
"Silk is the most luxurious bridal fabric available," says Prosser. "Silk is very breathable making it cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. But it's also the most expensive fabric, she says, and it wrinkles easily and is more difficult to keep clean.
Page 1 of 2 – Learn more about wedding dress fabrics, plus five tips for when you're shopping for the dress of your dreams. Silk satin is the most common fabric used for wedding dresses. "It has a very rich, soft finish and is a great base fabric for elaborately embellished gowns," says Prosser. But she says the fabric can be unforgiving, hugging every curve and bulge and that it can't be dyed pure white.
"Chiffon has a wonderful 'drapability' and is very cost effective," says Prosser. "Chiffon is usually used over top of satin. It's great for hiding areas you would like to have hidden. It's a very lightweight, soft and sheer fabric available in a plethora of colours."
"Lightweight and durable, taffeta comes in many colours," says Prosser. "It's less expensive than silk or satin and is warm enough for winter and cool enough for summer." But, she notes, some brides do not like the noise that taffeta makes when it moves. It's also not as lustrous as satin or silk, she says.
5 tips for wedding dress shopping Prosser offers up these tips to help make the process easy and enjoyable. 1. Start shopping early. Generally wedding dresses should be ordered 6 months prior to the wedding to allow enough time for the dress to be made and imported and enough time for any alterations to be made. Do not panic if you do not have 6 months, you can still find the gown of your dreams, you may just have to factor into your budget rush charges.
2. Have an open mind! Usually women have their dream bridal gown picked out without ever actually trying a bridal gown on. Body types generally determine the most flattering gown styles. Your bridal consultant may show you dresses cuts that you would never choose yourself – try some of them on as one may just be "the one". Do not overindulge by trying on dresses that are out of your budget. Why fall in love with a dress you cannot afford? Be honest with yourself and the consultant to fall in love with something you have budgeted for.
3. Bring shoes that are the same height as the ones you envision yourself wearing for your big day. Also wear or bring the undergarment styles you plan on wearing under your gown as these are all components of how your dress will look and feel.
4. Do not be alarmed that the size of your bridal gown is two or more sizes larger than your regular clothing size. Bridal attire is made smaller than street clothing. The bridal consultant will measure you properly to go off the designer fitting charts to determine your correct bridal attire size!
5. Only bring one or two close friends or mom when trying on gowns. If you bring your entire entourage, a lot of confusion usually erupts – too many people offering too many different opinions. It is time for those close friends or mom to be brutally honest about how you appear in the dress. Relax and have some fun. Take some pictures, make sure you eat and stay hydrated throughout the process. For most women, wedding dress shopping is a once in a lifetime event, so aim to keep it memorable and fun.
Classic, healthy and savoury muffin recipes to bake fresh or made in advance and frozen.
Whip up a dozen moist muffins on a leisurely Sunday morning. Or better yet, set out the muffin recipe ingredients the night before and let the first person up bake a batch for everyone. Most of these muffin recipes can be made in advance and frozen.
Before you start baking your favourite muffins, take a few tips from The Canadian Living Test Kitchen about muffin recipe dos and don'ts in this article: Muffin know how.
Eyeliner used to be applied to enhance a look, but for 2016, it is the look. Subtle or dramatic and thin or thick, liner looks come in every variation you can imagine. We asked makeup artist Grace Lee for her best eyeliner tips and techniques—and how to find your perfect formula.
"I love how eyeliner can transform a person's eye," says Grace Lee, lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York Canada. "You can easily make eyes look bigger, exaggerated or elongated." Having a sense of your eyeshape and picking the best formula for you are the starting points of a freat eyeliner look. here are Lee's suggestions.
YOUR EYE SHAPE
Since you already have a flattering shape (lucky you!) use eyeliner to “follow the shape of your eye,” says Lee. If you want to make your eyes look larger, draw the eyeliner thicker at the centre of your eye, giving the illusion of roundness.
Too much eyeliner on deep-set or hooded eyes is a waste—it will disappear whenever you open your lids. Instead, says Lee, “keep the eyeliner as close to the lash line as possible.” This will create the illusion of full, dark lashes while still looking quite natural.
Think of Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry and Christina Ricci, whose round eyes all benefit from a flick of liquid liner. You can elongate your look by using liner to extend it outward in a cat-eye shape. When doing a cat eye, start with the flick at the outer corner, then work your way in, along the lash line.
YOUR TOOL KIT
“Keep your eyeliner pencil sharpened and clean for precise application,” says Lee. The good news? Pencil liner is the easiest to master, and it’s great for an everyday look. Left, High:Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in Matte Black M-10, $25, sephora.ca. Right, Low:Maybelline New York Master Skinny Eyeliner in Refined Charcoal, $12, maybelline.ca.
When it comes to liquid liner, only one thing will ensure perfect application: practice. Try applying strokes to the back of your hand before tackling your eyelid, suggests Lee. Use liquid liner for retro cat-eye looks. Left, High: Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in Noir Intense, $35, thebay.com. Right, Low: Essence Easy 2 Use Jumbo Eyeliner, $4, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
“Use smaller strokes to connect your liner into one long, precise line,” says Lee. It’s easier than trying to get a perfect line in one swipe. Use gel liner to build dimension and to achieve thicker, more graphic looks. Left, High: Urban Decay Super Saturated Ultra Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner in Perversion, $26, urbandecay.ca. Right, Low:L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Liner 24H in Blackest Black, $13, lorealparis.ca
Draw some attention to your look with bright line flicks. With colour, “sometimes, it’s more about taking it down a notch than amping it up,” says Lee. “Start with a thin layer, then build a more intense hue as needed.” Try blue or green eyeliner this spring for a fresh pop of colour. Left, High: M.A.C. Cosmetics Modern Twist Kajal Liner in New Marine, $19.50, maccosmetics.ca Right, Low: Hard Candy Take Me Out Liner in Yolo, $5, walmart.ca
Here are some scary truths: 70 percent of new Alzheimer's patients in Canada will be women, and we're diagnosed with depression and dementia at twice the rate of men. But new research says there are three simple lifestyle changes we can make right now to keep our brains healthy as we age.
You brush your teeth to prevent tooth decay and check your blood pressure to monitor for signs of heart problems. But are you doing anything to keep your brain in tip-top shape? Because you should be. Brain health, which experts define as a combination of cognitive (memory, attention, thinking) and mental (emotional well-being) fitness, is a major, albeit under-the- radar, health issue for Canadian women.
It's major because as we age, so do our brains. Vascular changes can decrease blood flow; we can lose volume in key areas, including the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, the regions responsible for learning and memory. Myelin, a fatty material that makes up the protective coating around nerve fibres, starts to deteriorate, causing the brain to slow down. And nerve cells can develop plaques and tangles— structures caused by the buildup of proteins called beta-amyloids that can disrupt the brain's normal function. In some people, these and other signs of normal aging can cause mental health problems, strokes and brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's, and increase the risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Brain health is an under-the-radar issue because, though women are more likely to experience cognitive decline (thanks to dementia or Alzheimer's) and to suffer from depression, most of the research on these conditions still focuses on men.
Thankfully, studies are showing that straightforward lifestyle changes—exercising regularly and not smoking are at the top of the list—help shore up what researchers call "cognitive reserve," a buffer that "delays the changes or makes your body better equipped to handle those changes," says Lauren Drogos, a brain researcher at the University of Calgary.
In fact, Drogos says there's evidence to show that, in some people, even serious symptoms do not necessarily develop into cognitive impairment. She points to the Nun Study, a famous long-running research project on aging and Alzheimer's that has been tracking 678 nuns from convents across the United States since the mid-1980s. One of the nuns, Sister Mary, died at the age of 101 showing no outward signs of cognitive decline—but when researchers examined her brain, they were shocked to find she had "abundant neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques, the classic lesions of Alzheimer's disease." Scientists don't know exactly why some people can have severe symptoms, such as plaques and tangles, without experiencing cognitive decline, but, happily, cases like Sister Mary do show that dementia isn't an inevitable part of aging.
And since women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with many of these problems, the more we consider brain health when making our day-to-day lifestyle decisions, the better. (Bonus: These changes also benefit your heart and help prevent other diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and cancer.) So here's what you can do to take care of your brain.
This is your brain on exercise If you had to pick just one lifestyle change to make in the name of brain health, experts agree exercise tops the list—especially for women.
We consider neuroplasticity, the brain's capacity to form new neural connections, an exciting part of a child's development, but we now know our brains can continue to grow, repair and improve as adults, too. Physical activity is a well-researched trigger. Not only can working out bolster our day-to-day functioning and alertness but it also appears to help us repair brain damage. Plus, it slows down aging and the onset of age-related brain diseases.
Working up a sweat and pumping up your heart rate can lead to a healthier vascular system in the brain, which decreases blood pressure and oxidative stress (when your body's antioxidants can't fight off free radicals), and increases antioxidant activity, according to Marc Poulin, an Alzheimer's researcher and professor of physiology at the University of Calgary. Vigorous exercise also floods the bloodstream with a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which readies the body for repair and heightens the brain's ability to learn and form new memories. Plus, hitting the gym helps the brain repair myelin; a lack of the nerve fibre–protecting substance is a factor in developing multiple sclerosis.
Exercising can also restore crucial brain volume. Research has shown that the hippocampus— home to memory, learning and emotion—starts shrinking after age 55 by about one to two percent a year, but just one year of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise done three days a week can increase its size by two percent.
And while most of the research is about the benefits of getting in your cardio, Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an associate professor and Canada research chair at The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, says strength training is also effective, as it can enhance brain performance and function by 11 to 17 percent. "Women live longer [than men], and age itself is the greatest risk factor for dementia," she says. "But the good news is when we look at the benefit of aerobic exercise on cognition in older adults, women seem to benefit more."
The takeaway: You can reap the rewards from even a 15-minute walk. Of course, the longer you exercise, the better, especially if you get your sweat on and your heart rate up. If you want to tick a few other brain health tips off your list, consider joining a team sport. It blends physical, social and cognitive skills, and "can also add pleasure and meaning to our lives," says Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a registered clinical psychologist, gerontologist and neuroscientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto.
If you have an office job and find you're sedentary most of the day, take a few minutes every hour or so to get up and move around. Research also suggests switching to a standup desk may improve your brain function.
Did you know? Taking care of a loved one—most often a spouse in your later years—can be a risk factor for developing depression and, eventually, dementia . But research out of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto found, for the first time, that cognitive behavioural therapy, a form of talk therapy, can improve both mood and cognition.
This is your brain on sleep After a good night's sleep, you feel alert and ready to tackle the day. But that's not just because your brain has been resting. It has also been busy filing away memories and taking out the trash, so to speak, thanks to the glymphatic system, which washes the brain of waste materials. For example, a protein called betaamyloid, which is known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's, acts as a neurotoxin when it builds up, killing neural cells in the brain. But a good sleep removes excess beta-amyloid and other waste materials, says Dr. Liu-Ambrose.
Because one of the common symptoms of Alzheimer's is disrupted sleep, it's unclear whether a lack of shut-eye should be considered part of the progression of the disease or a risk factor on its own, due to the buildup of beta-amyloids.
Nevertheless, poor sleep hastens your brain's aging process—much like sitting in the sun sans SPF speeds up your skin's aging process. And disturbed sleeping has been linked to all aspects of brain health, including an increased risk of depression and a decline in cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning. In one U.K. study out of University College London Medical School, middle-aged women who reported a drop in the average number of hours they slept had lower scores on cognitive tests involving reasoning and vocabulary.
What's more, our central clocks—a.k.a. our circadian rhythms—can drift from the patterns of our childhood, making it hard to get that much-needed rest. "As we age, our central clock is less sensitive to stimuli like light, food and physical activity," says Dr. Liu-Ambrose; this change makes it harder to fall, and stay, asleep. We can also become more vulnerable to stress and anxiety, which further disrupt those rhythms.
One way to combat these fluctuations is to try what seasoned travellers do for jet-lag recovery: Get exposure to real daylight and eat your meals on time to nudge your brain into a routine. And don't use bright screens at night, especially before bed, because they mimic sunlight and tell our circadian system that it's day, not night—and, therefore, not time to sleep. Those who need more help might consider light therapies that have been developed to treat seasonal affective disorder, says Dr. Liu-Ambrose.
The takeaway: Many researchers consider six to eight hours of sleep a night to be the standard sweet spot, though this can vary by individual. If you're routinely getting less than that and waking often in the night, not feeling refreshed in the morning and experiencing bouts of sleepiness during the day, talk to your doctor about sleep strategies—especially if you're experiencing anxiety or depression. In the short term, napping can reverse some of the effects of poor sleep, including memory loss and increased stress. And you only need a 30-minute catnap to feel the results.
This is your brain on a healthy diet There's no perfect "brain food," but eating a nutritious diet (lots of veggies and fruit, lean meat, fish and healthy fats) is the smartest way to maintain long-term brain function and memory, and to slow the development of brain diseases.
Getting enough of specific nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids is important but not the holy grail. University of Pittsburgh researchers recently found that people who eat broiled or baked fish at least once a week have larger brain volumes in the areas used for memory and cognition, despite varying levels of omega-3 in the fish they ate. Senior researcher James Becker concluded that he and his colleagues were "tapping into a more general set of lifestyle factors that were affecting brain health, of which diet is just one part."
In a 2015 study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, researchers looked at the broad set of eating habits of more than 900 people over 4 1/2 years and found that those who adhered to a diet high in fish, vegetables, nuts and berries, and low in fat and sugar, slowed down their brains' aging by about 7 1/2 years when compared to those with less-healthy diets. The healthy eaters cut their risk of Alzheimer's by up to 53 percent. And even when those people only adhered to the diet part time, they saw some benefits— an effect that has not been found in other diets, says Drogos.
The researchers dubbed the most promising cluster of these eating habits the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which blends the longevity-boosting Mediterranean diet and the heart-healthy low-fat DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet that doctors recommend to patients at risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. More studies need to be done on why it works, but in the meantime, there's no downside to eating healthier and ditching the junk.
The takeaway: Add more veggies to your diet. Research shows that older adults who report eating more of this food group perform better in mentally stimulating activities than those who don't.
Did you know? "Menopause brain" is a real thing. As with "pregnancy brain," its more famous counterpart, women approaching menopause really do experience memory problems and brain fog. Researchers think a drop in estrogen levels might be the cause.
Can you train your brain? Does firing up a brain-training app actually help improve your memory and ward off dementia? Sorry to disappoint, but right now, evidence for the benefits of computer-based brain games is weak, says Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an associate professor and Canada research chair at The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal HealthResearch Institute. Brain games appear to help you learn to play them better, but research doesn't show that those tasks transfer to other aspects of brain performance. The same goes for crossword puzzles and sudoku, which help your vocabulary and math skills, but nothing more.
How to maintain your mental edge at any age
In your 30s: This is the time to make sure you establish healthy habits—such as getting plenty of exercise and sleep, and eating a good diet—that will affect your brain health throughout your adult years. "When it comes to maintaining brain health, the best time to start is yesterday," says Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a registered clinical psychologist, gerontologist and neuroscientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto. If you feel you need a boost at work, consider old-fashioned writing instead of typing on your computer. A study in the journal Psychological Science found that university students who made handwritten notes were better equipped to recall conceptual ideas from their professors' lectures than those who had typed notes on their laptops.
In your 40s and 50s: People in this age group are part of the "sandwich generation," and often face caring for their aging parents on top of dealing with their other work, financial and parenting obligations. So, unsurprisingly, they're super stressed—and this can affect both mental health and day-to-day brain function. Dr. Khatri says it's essential to prioritize and edit out activities and commitments that increase stress without adding value to your productivity or happiness. That's because "maintaining mental health in early and mid life is key to safeguarding cognitive health later on," she says. "Untreated depression in midlife doubles your risk of developing dementia in later life."
In your 60s and beyond: In your senior years, socializing with friends and family, and picking up activities that allow you to connect, such as volunteering, are key to maintaining brain health. And sorry, keeping up with folks on Facebook isn't enough. "Ask yourself: Is social media rounding out my real-life social experiences?" suggests Dr. Khatri. What you need is face-to-face interaction.
Never make a laundry mistake again with these helpful tips.
1. Not turning clothes inside out
Garments age faster when they rub against rougher fabrics of other items in the load. And clothes are not just dirty on the outside. "Sweat and the accumulation of dead skin cells means the inside of jeans can be as filthy, or filthier, than the outside," says Mary Begovic Johnson, P&G fabric care principal scientist.
2. Overloading the washer
The size of today's front-loading machines is deceiving—it only looks like there's room for two dozen towels. Don't fill the washer to capacity, since clothes need room to move to allow water and detergent to reach the fabrics to clean them. If the water gets too dirty, the dirt will simply be redeposited onto garments, making them appear grey and dingy, says Begovic Johnson.
3. Using the wrong amount of detergent
Use the recommended amount of detergent for the size of your load. If you use too much, your clothes may come out with a sudsy residue. Use too little and you'll have clothes that aren't completely clean. Single-load detergent packs can make measuring easier. Extra-large or heavily soiled loads may require two packs. Own a high-efficiency machine? Be sure to choose a low-sudsing detergent.