• Eye makeup testing: Eye shadow Overwhelmed at the drugstore or cosmetics counter? We rounded up the best eye shadows on the market from top brands like Chanel, M.A.C, Maybelline and Revlon, and had them tested by real women. Here's what they had to say.
A: Most people don't have a clue how long it takes a fan to remove all that moist air you're creating every time you have a shower. They towel off, brush their teeth or shave, and flip off the fan when they leave the bathroom. I've heard experts say the exhaust fan needs to run for at least 20 minutes after you've finished your shower, but I recommend 30 minutes just to be safe. And make sure you crack open the door or a window while the fan runs. If the bathroom is sealed, it restricts airflow and your fan can't push warm air outside. Installing a timer makes it easier. This preventive measure helps control moisture and can add years to the life of your bathroom.
Q: I keep getting mould buildup in the corners of my shower, no matter how many times a week I clean it. Could this mean there is mould behind the tiles and on the wall itself?
A: The most common place you'll find mould in a bathroom is behind the tile around the tub or shower. You might be looking at mouldy walls, or you might just have a problem with surface mould. Either way, your bathroom is telling me you don't have enough ventilation. Is your bathroom exhaust fan working properly? If you put a piece of toilet paper against it while it's running, does the paper stay in place or does it drift away? If the paper falls, it could be a sign that the fan isn't powerful enough to extract the humid air you're creating every time someone takes a shower. If you don't have a fan, you need one.
Q: Does it matter where a bathroom fan is installed? Can it be on a wall?
A: Ideally, you want the fan as high up as you can get it, since warm, moist air is pushed up. That's why mounting it on the ceiling makes the most sense. Just make sure you get one strong enough to extract the air efficiently, and that it vents directly to the exterior. Venting anywhere else is unsafe and just plain wrong. I've seen the rot that happens when people take shortcuts and discharge the air into a crawl space or the attic or between walls: you'll have a much more serious mould problem in a very short time.
Q: We'd like a spa bathroom but we've heard you don't recommend saunas in a house. Why not?
A: You heard right—I never like steam showers, steam rooms, hot tubs, or saunas inside a home. Getting a sauna means you're creating a ton of additional water vapour within your home—more than most houses can handle. When you've got that much extra water vapour within the envelope of your home, you're asking for trouble with mould. Don't put your house at risk at all: build your sauna outdoors. Building a spa properly requires so many special considerations; I rarely see it done right. Many home inspectors won't even look at saunas and steam rooms, and this is one case where I don't blame them: there's no way to give them a clean bill of health. I won't be surprised if, in a few years, we see a massive breakdown of these home spas, which will develop extreme problems with moisture and mould. If you still insist on a spa, make sure you hire a qualified plumber and contractor. The room needs to be completely waterproof, which means using the appropriate membranes for waterproofing, using cement board (not drywall or greenboard) under your tile, and going overboard on ventilation and an extraction fan. And don't add a spa because you expect it to add value to your home before selling: most buyers will want to get rid of it. Q: What kind of grout should I use around my bathtub?
A: Grout is confusing. I often get asked about epoxy grout for tile walls and floors because people think it's a way to make tiles watertight. I always say that you don't need epoxy grout if everything is watertight behind the tiles. Stick to standard grout. The other thing people do is turn to epoxy grout as a quick fix. That tells me people have a problem with water behind the tiles and they're trying to prevent more from going in. In that case, removing old grout and using epoxy is actually going to make the problem worse by trapping the moisture problem behind the tile instead of fixing it. Instead of epoxy, make it right: start from the beginning, rip everything out, and do the bathroom properly with cement board and waterproof membranes like Kerdi on the walls and Ditra on the floor before tiling with regular grout.
Q: Why does my toilet shift and lean to one side when I sit on it?
A: A toilet that rocks can mean trouble. You might have had a long-term leak, which has rotted some of the structure of the floor under the toilet. If your floors are rotting, you never know when you may sit down on the john and end up with a mess! Don't be tempted to caulk around the toilet in an attempt to keep it in place or stop the leaking. If there's a leak, you need to fix it, not stick a Band-Aid on it. You and I both know the water will continue to leak and damage your floors—only now, it will be hidden. Get a plumber in to take a look at the toilet. Once the toilet is taken care of, you need to have the damaged floors torn up and rebuilt. And next time you think you've got a leak, don't ignore it—have it fixed. Minor leaks can cause big problems with mould and rot. Q: What's the best way to seal your grout?
A: I never recommend sealing grout. It's porous, and it will absorb liquid spills. Light grout will show dirt in a busy bathroom—that's something you can't avoid. In my opinion, grout is one of the materials in your house that's supposed to breathe. If air can flow through it, it allows any moisture that sneaks behind your tile (it will happen, trust me) to evaporate and escape. If you seal the grout and you've got sealed or nonporous tiles, that water has nowhere to go. Now, sealing tiles is a whole other issue. Depending on what your tiles are made of—most natural stone is porous—you may need to seal them. This has to be done before the tiles are grouted. Otherwise, the grout will absorb into the tile and make it look cloudy. If grout penetrates the pores of your tile, you can't fix that. If you're tired of grubby-looking grout, all you need is elbow grease. Carefully chisel it out—I won't lie, it's a pain—and replace it with a darker-coloured grout that won't show the dirt. Q: Why can't I lay new tile over the existing vinyl tile in my bathroom?
A: Listen, I get why homeowners and contractors want to cheat and lay new tile over old flooring. It's less work than tearing up the original flooring and laying the new stuff on a properly prepared substrate. But don't even think about doing it. You'll end up with cracked grout and tile, and your “new” floor won't look like new for long. I hate coverups, which is why I always recommend removing existing flooring before installing something new. How else can you tell the condition of the underlay? You have to take up the old stuff, check out the subfloor, fix what needs fixing, or replace the subfloor if necessary. When you're taking the time and money to renovate, isn't it worth making an effort to know it's perfect? With all that moisture and humidity, bathrooms provide the perfect conditions for mould. And what you might not realize is that mould also feeds off mastic, the organic adhesive that's used to install some vinyl flooring. The only way to tell if you've got a mould problem you didn't even know about is to take up the old tiles. Tiling over the problem might cost less in the short term, but how much will it cost when you need to tear out the new floor because it looks like crap? Q: What is the very low faucet I've seen in some of the walk-in showers you've built?
A: This is the funniest question I get! In Canada, when you have a shower with no tub, it's common to have a “toe-tester” faucet. It's so you can test the water temperature before you step into the shower and either scald yourself or freeze! I keep hearing from U.S. fans that they don't have them down there, but I'm not sure why they're not used.
Keep those toes nice and warm this winter with this super simple knit.
Keep your tootsies toasty with a cozy pair of hand-knitted socks that are sure to be the favourite pair in your drawer. This easy (and free!) pattern is knit in Fine Tweed Yarn, which is made up of a mix of superfine alpaca, soft merino wool and viscose for warm and soft sock.
Knitting Tips: The Anthony Socks are an intermediate level pattern, and a great first foray into knitting socks. You'll have lots of practice picking up stitches, purling and knitting in the round on double pointed needles. Don't be intimidated by the heel, it isn't as hard as you think. By the time you finish the first sock, you'll be tackling the second with confidence and excitement.
Materials: - 1 skein (Women's size S, M, L), 2 skeins ( Men's S, M, L) of Americo Fine Tweed (25% Superfine alpaca / 55% Merino Wool/ 20% Viscose) 100g / 465 yards (425 m) - 2.5 mm (US 1) set of 4 or 5 Double-pointed NeedlesNOTE: if you prefer a denser fabric, you can use 2.25 mm needles. Socks will be slightly smaller, but not significantly - Yarn needle or crochet hook - Stitch holder
Note about the yarn:Americo Fine Tweed is available through Americo Original online and at select yarn stores. You can substitute for other fingering weight yarns in your stash. Remember that you will need 1 skein for women's size S, M, L and 2 skeins for men's S, M, L.
Gauge: 36 stitches and 44 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in stocking stitch using 2.5 mm (US 1) size needles or size needed to achieve gauge.
Abbreviations and Terminology: K, k: knit P, p: purl Rib: Rib (bed), ribbing – a pattern stitch – has vertical columns of knit and purl stitches, side by side, with elastic properties. Examples: (K1, P1) aka 1 x 1 ribbing; (K2, P2) aka 2 x 2 ribbing etc. k2t (slant to R): Knit 2 together - Insert the needle into the front of the 2 knit stitches from left to right. Draw the yarn through to the front knitwise, and drop both stitches from the needle. p2t (slant to R):Purl 2 together - Insert the R needle into the front of the next 2 stitches, from R to L. Draw yarn through both stitches purlwise and drop these stitches from the needle. ssk (slant to L): Slip-Slip-Knit - Slip 2 stitches knit wise onto the R needle. Insert L needle into the front of both slipped stitches and draw yarn through to the front. Drop both stitches from the needle. DPN(s): double pointed needle(s) - A needle with points at both ends; used in sets of used singly or in sets or 4 or 5, for knitting in the round; also used for working narrow pieces of knitting, or for cable patterns Grafting: Hold the needles parallel with the purl sides facing each other and the needle tips pointing in the same direction. Thread a tapestry needle with a tail of yarn long enough to get across the entire row of stitches that are being grafted. Before you begin grafting you need to do two actions to set up for the technique one time only. First: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the needle closest to you as if to purl it and pull the yarn through leaving the stitch on the needle. Second: Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit the stitch. Leave the stitch on the needle and pull your yarn through. Now you are ready to follow the 4-step technique called grafting: Step 1: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front needle knitwise, and slip the stitch off the needle. Step 2: Insert the needle into the next stitch on the front needle purlwise and leave it on the needle. Pull the length of yarn through gently. Step 3: Insert needle into the first stitch on the back needle purlwise, and slip it off the end of the needle. Step 4: Insert the tapestry needle into the next stitch on the back needle knitwise and leave it on the needle. Pull the length of yarn through gently. Repeat these four steps for a few inches / cm. End at the end of your steps so you know where to start up again. Use a crochet hook to adjust the tension of the yarn you have been weaving through the stitches to match your gauge. Continue to end. Tip: I find an easy way to remember what I am doing after the initial set up row is to say over and over: Knit 1 slip it off, purl 1 leave it on, purl 1-slip it off, knit 1 leave it on. Eventually you just remember what you are doing.
Finished Foot Circumference: Woman's S, Woman's M, Women's L, Man's S, Man's M, Man's L 7.5 8* 8.5 9 9.5 10 inches 19 20.5 21.5 23 24 25.5 cm
Instructions: Leg: Using a 2.5 mm (US 1) size needles, cast on 68(72, 76, 80, 84, 88). For a stretchy cast on, we used the Twisted German Cast on for our sample. Instructions for it can be found here. Alternatively, you can use a long tail cast on using a needle one size larger for the cast on only. Arrange stitches as evenly as possible on 3 DPN's. Place marker and join, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Work k2, p2 ribbing until piece measures 3 inches (7.5 cm). Now work in stocking stitch, until piece measures 8 inches (20.5 cm), or desired length, from the beginning.
Heel: Knit across 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) stitches. Turn work, and purl across 34(36, 38, 40, 42, 44) stitches. These are the heel stitches.
Place the remaining 34(36, 38, 40, 42, 44) stitches on a spare needle or stitch holder to be worked later (called Instep stitches ).
Heel Flap (using the Eye of Partridge stitch pattern) Work back and forth on the heel stitches as follows: Row1: (RS) *Slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back (wyib), k1: rep from *. Row 2:(WS) Slip 1 purlwise with yarn in front (wyif), purl to end. Rep Rows 1 and 2 until the following number of rows have been worked 34(36, 38, 40, 42, 44)
There will be 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) chain selvedge stitches on both edges of your work.
Turn Heel: Row 1 (RS): Knit across, 19(20, 21, 22, 23, 24) stitches, ssk, k1, turn work. Row 2 (WS): Slip 1 purlwise, purl 5, p2t, p1, turn. Row 3 (RS): Slip 1 purlwise, knit to 1 stitch before gap, ssk (1 stitch from each side of gap), k1, turn. Row 4(WS): Slip 1 purlwise, purl to 1 stitch before gap, p2tog (1 stitch from each side of gap), p1, turn.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until all heel stitches have been worked, ending with a WS row.
There will remain 20(20, 22, 22, 24, 24) stitches.
Heel Gusset: Knit across all heel stitches and, with same dpn (needle 1), pick up and knit: 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) stitches, along the selvedge edge of heel flap: with another dpn, (needle 2) work across the held instep stitches; with another dpn (needle 3), pick up and knit: 17(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) stitches along the other side of the heel, and knit across half of the heel stitches. Total stitches: 88(92, 98, 102, 108, 112) stitches.
The round now begins at the Centre Back Heel:
Round 1: Knit to the last 3 stitches on needle 1, K2tog, k1; knit across all instep stitches on needle 2; at beginning of needle 3, k1, ssk, knit to end - 2 gusset stitches have been decreased.
Round 2: Knit.
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there remain: 68(72, 76, 80, 84, 88) stitches.
Foot: Work even in stocking stitch until piece measures from the back of heel: 6.5(7.5, 8, 8, 8.5, 9) inches [ 16.5, (19, 20.5, 20.5, 21.5, 23) cm ]OR about 1.75(2, 2, 2.25, 2.25, 2.5) inches [4.5(5, 5, 5.5, 5,5) cm ] less than desired total foot length.
Toe: Round 1: Needle 1- knit to last 3 stitches, k2t, k1; Needle 2- k1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2t, k1; Needle 3- k1, ssk, knit to end (4 toe stitches decreased). Round 2: Knit.
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there remain: 32(36, 40, 40, 44, 44) stitches.
Repeat Round 1 only until there remain 12 stitches for all sizes.
Knit the stitches from Needle 1 onto Needle 3. There will now be 6 stitches on each of the two needles. Cut yarn leaving an 18 inch (46cm) tail. Graft the two sides of the toe together.
Finishing: Sew in all loose ends.
Americo Original is a Canadian yarn company and online knitting shop with its own line of quality yarns, knitwear patterns and accessories. Americo’s yarns are made exclusively in the Andean highlands of South America, using only natural fibres, including luxurious wool, llama, alpaca, cotton, linen, silk and cashmere. Americo and its in-house design lab are based in Toronto, offering international shipping from its online store: americo.ca/shop.
I had the pleasure of celebrating National
Iced Tea day at
David's Tea on Tuesday night. I enjoyed tea cocktails and doughnuts while chatting with Kim Wiseman, head of store operations at David's Tea. As a lover of
loose leaf tea, I had to ask her about the art of steeping the perfect cup of tea. Kim immediately pulled me over to the shelves to show me the secret to making a delicious cup of tea: a good steeper. Which makes sense, you can't steep a good cup of tea without the right tools. Here are the steepers Kim recommends. Kim swears by the
David's Tea mug, pictured above, which comes with an infuser. The great thing about this mug is the lid doubles as a coaster, so you can put your infuser on it. This is perfect for re-steeping your tea. And yes, there is nothing wrong with reusing your loose leaf to make another cup of tea! The second way to steep your tea is with a
tea filter. If you're new to loose leaf, this is a great option because it's just like a bag of tea. I personally love using the tea filters at work. I fill up all the bags with tea and then bring them to work. It's less bulky then bringing the whole infuser and you don't have to worry about cleaning the infuser after.
The final steeper Kim recommends is the
teapot steeper, perfect for making tea for a big group of people. I think this teapot is magic because you let the tea steep and then you sit the steeper on your mug and it magically pours out! This steeper is also great for
making iced tea, you just pour your tea over some ice. The
perfect summer drink!
Which tea steeping method do you use?Photos courtesy of David's Tea
Twists, braids and soft fringe for the new season.
Many of us have fallen victim to some horrifying hairstyles ('80s perm, anyone?). Luckily, current trends are more forgiving—and much less damaging.
EASY DOES IT
This season, the low bun isn't just for hiding unwashed hair; it's also an easy wand elegant way to be on trend. The best part about this season's bun is that you get to decide on the details. A smooth and elegant chignon was spotted at Creatures of the Wind, while at protagonist (below), the look was twisted and undone. Just remember to ditch bulky and visible elastics in favour of the clear variety or, better yet, opt for bobby pins.
Protagonistby: Bumble & Bumble
The fashion world has been toying with the idea of youthful 'dos for a while. Marc Jacobs sent models down the runway with Wednesday Addams-esque pigtails in 2014, while, in 2015, Chanel had models wearing prim girlie headbands, and Prada embraced a cheerleader-inspired high ponytail. This season, embracing your inner child translates to a more romantic look—think soft (not severe) French braids and plaited double buns, as seen at Mansur Gavriel (below). Make this look age appropriate by keeping it polished—no frizzy flyaways or piece-y strands.
Bumble & Bumble for Mansur Gavriel
If the past couple of seasons have been all about the long bob (a.k.a. the "lob"), get ready for everyone to make the switch to the shag. This layered look, made popular in the 1970s, is a low-maintenance style with lots of movement, and we're all about that wash-and-go life. Spritzing hair with sea-salt spray brings out any texture, steering this look into rocker territory (a la Alexander Wang), but you can also embrace a softer shape (as seen at Custo Barcelona, below) with a good blow-dryer and a round brush. The only rule: Nothing too perfect, please.
Maybelline New York for Custo Barcelona
Scent lingers on your hair for longer than your skin, which is why perfuming your tresses has been a beauty move for years—only now, fragrance brands are starting to make scents specifically for hair. These new products won't dry your locks, and they come in scents you already love.