With a zap here and a zap there, these non-invasive treatments can turn back the clock.
We will all get older; it's a fact of life. But do we all need to look older? The answer is no. Now, more than ever, laser treatments are available that are painless (or only mildly painful), require little downtimeand look natural, so no one ever need know you had "work" done.
Fine lines, redness, brown spots, broken capillaries and acne scars: It's possible to combat them all! There are dozens of different treatments, from chemical peels to lasers, and here's what they're generally most useful for.
Chemical peels: An application of lactic or glycolic acid exfoliates the skin and stimulates new collagen and elastin production for a softer, smoother appearance.
Micro-needling: Tiny needles rolled over your face injure the skin to encourage the proliferation of new cells and increase blood flow, resulting in healthier-looking skin.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): A handheld device pressed onto the face at various points uses heat and light to destroy the pigment that causes dark spots and acne scars. It can also minimize diffuse redness. IPL requires a clear differentiation between skin colour and brown spots, so it is not recommended for tanned or dark skin tones.
Fraxel: Fraxel is just one of many lasers on the market. It penetrates the skin to stimulate collagen and resurfaces the top layer to minimize fine lines and sun damage. It can also target pre-cancerous cells, making your skin much healthier.
Pain and downtime: You'll experience minimal pain from these treatments, but some do come with side effects. Peels and Fraxel may cause light flaking and redness for up to a week; IPL will cause brown spots that will darken for up to a week; and micro-needling can result in redness or swelling for a couple of days after treatment.
Cost: $120 to $500 for a chemical peel; $250 to $400 for IPL with two or three treatments required one month apart; $500 for microneedling with four to six treatments done every other week; $1,000 for Fraxel treatment with two or three treatments needed two to three weeks apart.
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.
Our experts answer reader questions about dropping the last 10 pounds—or more.
Question: I've heard that lifting weights helps the body burn calories even when you're not active. True or false? — Reiko
Answer: That's true. A lot of women prioritize cardio because they want to lose fat, but that burns calories only while you're exercising; as soon as you stop, you're no longer burning as much. Instead, lifting weights revs up your metabolism, so you'll continue burning calories for a few hours after your workout. And don't worry about bulking up; women don't have enough testosterone for that. But you will get leaner!
— Trudie German, certified personal trainer and owner of bodyenvy.ca, Toronto
Question: Is it possible I'm meant to be this big? I've been about the same size all my adult life, give or take a dress size. My mom and my sister are both size 14, and so were my grandmas. Maybe it's genetics? — Anne
Answer: Your genes do play a role, but it's more important to remember that size isn't really a good measure of health. If you're active, feeling good and sleeping and eating well, you probably don't have to worry. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as "abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health." Of course, as you get heavier, there's a greater likelihood your health could be negatively impacted. But it's impossible for me to tell just by having you step on a scale; I have to do all sorts of tests to see if your weight really is affecting your health.
Question: I'm injured and I can't work out. Is it still possible to lose weight? (Even if I'm eating my feelings about not being able to exercise?) — Katie
Answer: It's certainly possible! In fact, what you eat has more of an impact on your weight than exercise. You won't be able to work off extra calories, so be particularly mindful of other factors that influence weight, too, by getting enough sleep, finding ways to manage stress and choosing healthy whole foods in appropriate portions. And try these tricks: Serve vegetables family-style so they're within easy reach, but keep richer foods on the stovetop; use a smaller plate; and focus on your food—you're more likely to overindulge if you're distracted, so try not to eat in front of the TV, in the car or at your desk at work. Lastly, don't deny your hunger; eventually, it will backfire and you'll find yourself overeating or grabbing a convenient but unhealthy snack. People often think they have to cut back on food if they're going to lose weight, but I counsel my clients to eat more during the day. The idea isn't to willpower your way to weight loss; it's to make sustainable changes.
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.
In this excerpt from Knitting From the North, Scottish knitwear designer Hilary Grant shares instructions for making fingerless mittens that will keep your hands warm and comfy while leaving your fingers free for texting.
These mittens are long on both the fingers and the wrists, so they are particularly warm. They are worked in the round, with the thumbs worked in on waste yarn.
Finished size Circumference: 7 7/8 in Length: 10 1/4 in
Yarn Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift 2 balls Aqua (MC) 1 ball Natural White (CC) Waste yarn
Needles and notions US 2 (2.75mm) dpns US 3 (3mm) dpns Stitch marker
Gauge 29 sts × 38 rows = 4 × 4 in over colorwork using larger needles
Notes For each round, read chart from right to left, knit every round.
Right mitten Using MC and smaller needles, cast on 56 sts. Place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.
Work 30 rounds of K2, P2 rib. Change to larger needles.
Next round: [K27, kfb] twice. (58 sts) Next round: K.
You will have a plain vertical column of stitches separating the start and the end of the chart in every circular row.
*K1 in MC before starting chart. Join in CC. Following chart, work 27-st repeat.* Repeat * to * until end of Round 37.
Round 38: Work 3 sts following chart. Using waste yarn, K8. Slip these 8 sts back onto lefthand needle, then continue following chart.
Complete the chart to end Round 56. Break CC.
Next round: [K27, K2tog] twice. (56 sts) Next round: K.
Change to smaller needles. Work ten rounds of K2, P2 rib. Bind off.
Left mitten Work as for right to end of Round 37.
Round 38: Work 18 sts following chart. Using waste yarn, K8. Slip these 8 sts back onto left-hand needle, then continue following chart.
Complete as for right.
Thumbs Using smaller needles, pick up the 8 sts both below and above the row of waste yarn—you will have 16 sts over 2 needles.
Very carefully pull the waste yarn out, then divide the sts equally among 4 dpns.
Work for 1 1/8 in or to desired length. Bind off.
Finishing Weave in ends, closing any small gaps left at base of thumb. Block.