South Korea is the biggest buzzword in beauty. Over the past decade, the country has outpaced others (*cough* France *cough*) when it comes to skincare innovations. Here are some of my favourite beauty trends inspired by Korea’s flourishing beauty counters.
Beyond the Miracle Hand Cream, $9, ecobeyond.ca.
South Korean eco-beauty brand
Beyond is now available in Canada at Fruits & Passion stores. We love the adorable packaging, especially this polar bear–shaped hand cream that contains nourishing snow lotus extract.
BOSCIA Konjac Cleansing Sponge With Bamboo Charcoal, $22, sephora.ca.
proclaimed my love for this product before on the blog. When it comes to cleansers, it get's the coveted game changes title. For 1,500 years, the konjac root has been an Asian beauty staple. That’s what this foam-like cleansing tool
is made from, along with a sprinkle of bamboo charcoal that helps absorb toxins and impurities.
Shu Uemura Depsea Hydrability Intense Moisture Filling Mask, six sachets for $68, shuuemura.ca.
We’ve professed our love for
cloth masks in the past, but this Japanese treatment is on par with Korean exports. Enriched with carrageenan algae extract, a natural wonder found in deep seas, it instantly plumps and soothes dehydrated skin.
Between 3 and 8% of women have PMDD, a severe form of PMS with depression-like symptoms.
"For the three days leading up to my period, I was suicidal, anxious and irritable. I'd have fits of rage; I felt unglued. Then, I'd get my period and I'd be fine," says Jennifer, who asked us not to use her last name. Her psychotherapist suggested PMDD two years ago as a possible cause for her mood swings.
PMDD is like PMS's bigger, badder sister. It's another way of saying very severe PMS, says Dr. Samantha Saffy, a psychiatrist in Vancouver. In order to get a PMDD diagnosis, you need to experience the disorder's depression-like symptoms—mood swings, irritability, anger, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a decreased interest in usual activities—more months than not. They should occur in the week leading up to menses, then improve after your period starts.
It can be difficult to get a diagnosis. Jennifer had been to three physicians with no luck. But just knowing PMDD exists might be helpful. "Often, being aware of your condition through education can help ease symptoms," says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, a psychiatrist specializing in reproductive mental health in Halifax. "If you know that certain days of the month will be more challenging for you, you can plan around them to minimize stress. Healthy habits such as getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and eating healthily are known to ease symptoms, too." Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness can also help, but "if none of these strategies works, your family doctor can suggest an antidepressant that you can take continuously or even just for the week that you have your symptoms," says Dr. Tulipan.
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.
All you need is time and patience to make the perfect caramelized onions. Here's how.
Golden and sweet, yet super savoury, caramelized onions add depth of flavour to so many dishes. They make the best pizza, burger and sandwich toppers and turn plain old cooked pasta or potatoes into gourmet dishes.
And guess what? They're really easy to make! You'll need a large skillet, some onions, a pat of butter, a pinch of salt, and some time. It's a long process (40 to 50 minutes), but absolutely worth the wait. Time and patience means no scorched onions and the ultimate in flavour and texture. Here's how:
First, choose the right skillet. For best results, use a large heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless steel skillet. If the skillet is too small the onions are crowded and will steam instead of caramelize, meaning the process takes more time. A nonstick skillet will work if that's all you've got, but you won't get the same sticky bits (called the fond in chef speak) on the bottom of the skillet that really add flavour.
Slice the onions. Trim the stem and root ends of the onions and peel away the skin. Slice the onion, lengthwise, thinly (about 1/4 inch or just less). You can use 1 to 4 onions in a large skillet. More onions will take longer to caramelize and fewer onions will take less time, simply keep your eye on the skillet depending on how many you start with. Yellow cooking onions are the most common and versatile onion to use for caramelizing. However, you can use any onion each with subtly different flavours and colours, experiment to find your favourite.
Melt butter (about 1 tbsp) in skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions when the butter stops bubbling and stir a few times to coat the onions. Cook over medium heat (reduce to medium low if the onions start to look or smell like they're burning), stirring once every 5 minutes or so, until the onions are ultra tender, a rich golden colour and have a delightful sweetness. At 10 minutes the onions are still plump and mostly white with just a few golden edges. At 20 minutes look for the onions beginning to shrink, become a little sticky and deepen in colour. At 30 minutes you'll see that the onions are a deeper, richer colour, have really started to shrink and become almost jam-like. The bits are beginning to stick to the bottom, use your spoon or spatula to scrape them up when you stir. At 40 minutes, taste the onions and check the colour. You're looking for meltingly tender onions with a rich golden hue and a sweet taste. Add a few more minutes (up to 10) depending on where they're at now. Note all the bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet in the photo below. These are good!
Deglaze the skillet and season the onions. To deglaze means to add liquid (you can use water, wine or vinegar, about 1/4 cup) to the skillet and stir for a minute or two in order to scrape up all the delicious bits (fond) that are stuck to the bottom of the skillet. The liquid will bubble up and steam, releasing those nuggets of flavour. Often in cooking, we are fearful of things stuck to the bottom of the pan, but unless it's scorched and totally black, this is where the true flavour lies. Once deglazed, stir in a pinch of salt, taste and add more as needed.
Let the onions cool. Then use as you desire. It's a good idea to make a large batch. Simply thaw before using. These are great to have on hand for quick pizza toppings or to stir into an easy pasta dish.
Miso butter isn't new in the culinary world, world-reknowed chefs, like David Chang of
Momofuku fame, have been singing its praises for some time. But I'll admit, it's a new addition to my cooking tricks at home. And I love it! In part because it's so incredibly versatile and adds an off-the-chart umami punch to anything it touches. I even love it spread on toast - like Marmite with an Eastern twist!
But also because it's crazy easy to make but makes me feel like a cooking wizard. Generally a good ratio is 2 parts butter to 1 part miso. This means you can alter the amounts you make. I use one stick of butter at a time (1/2 cup) to about 4 tbsp of miso. And keep it in the fridge. It will keep for two weeks, but when grilling season starts I promise it won't last that long. To make it, simply smush the two ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. If you're not using it right away, store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
I'll use it anywhere I'd normally use a pat of butter. On grilled vegetables, to scramble eggs in, for searing shrimp, scallops or salmon, melted over just-off-the-grill thick-cut steaks or chicken breasts. You name it and will benefit from the addition of miso butter.
New to miso? It's a fermented seasoning ingredient with roots in Japan. It's traditionally made with soy, but can also be made with rice or barley. And used in everything from broths,
dressings or as a
glaze for grilled meat. It's got a salty, earthy flavour that is kinda hard to describe, but kinda addictive! It comes in a range of colours, white being the lightest (in colour and flavour) to a deep, rich red-brown - which tends to have a stronger, richer flavour. You can make the butter with any kind of miso. White is generally recommended for its milder flavour and versatility. I used a darker miso for the picutres because that's what I had on hand. And it's awesome with grilled meats!