TIME beauty

5 Ways to Improve Your Skin Through Food

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Yes, you are welcome to use food on your skin

As anyone who’s broken out after a late-night drinking and pizza binge can attest, diet is clearly linked to skin condition. But there’s so much conflicting information about how to manage your diet for the most beautiful skin possible, as well all kinds of wacky DIY recipes (we’ll pass on the mayonnaise face mask, thank you very much). To get some clarity, FWx spoke to nutrition expert and esthetician Britta Plug, who helps clients overhaul their diets and skincare routines at Brooklyn’s Treatment by Lanshin. Here, she debunks beauty myths and calls out natural health trends to look for in 2015.

1. Eat Less Inflammatory Foods
The biggest culprit are inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten and sugar. If you’re having issues with your skin, those are foods to experiment with eliminating. Try taking them out for two weeks and see if that has any effect. Also, when you bring those foods back in your body will have a more heightened reaction, so you can see how they affect you—gas, bloating, headaches, whatever the symptoms are for you. If you’re eating them all the time, your body has more of a low-grade reaction. We all have varying tolerance levels, but those foods are the general culprits.

2. Only Eat High Quality Dark Chocolate
I used to think the advice about chocolate [making you break out] was a myth, but since I’ve started working with an acupuncturist, I’ve been incorporating a lot of Chinese medicine into my practice, and there is something behind the idea that chocolate can be inflammatory. But we’ve also been exploring the benefits of high quality dark chocolate for cystic acne. It depends on the person.

3. Invest in a Good Probiotic
Gut health and skin health are really tightly linked. Probiotics are huge. High quality probiotics, in capsule form, are great, as are fermented foods like kimchi. People often say to me, “Well I eat a lot of yogurt.” But you have to be eating whole milk, low sugar yogurt to get the benefits, and you first want to make sure you’re not sensitive to dairy. That’s why I really recommend sauerkraut and kimchi.

If you start taking a high quality probiotic, you’ll usually notice a pretty big difference—you will go to the bathroom more often! You want to start with just once a day, and then work up to the recommended dosage. All probiotics are labeled by what they contain, but it can be tricky to make sure you’re getting quality ones, even from a health food store. It’s best if you can pay a visit to a functional medicine practitioner. I don’t officially endorse them, but I use Dr. Mercola probiotics often in my practice.

4. Use Food on Your Face
While eating yogurt can by iffy if you’re sensitive to dairy, it’s great for using as a mask. It’s a little acidic and it’s nourishing, plus strengthens the flora of the skin.

I am a huge fan of using honey on the skin. It’s an amazing cure-all. Any honey is great, but Manuka honey in particular just works miracles for any skin type. It’s full of vitamins so it’s great for acne and anti-aging. I especially love it for after sun-care. To make a mask, mix about half a teaspoon of honey and mix it with half a teaspoon of warm water, and just spread it onto your skin and leave on for as long as you can before rinsing off. I’ve definitely fallen asleep with honey mask on and woken up stuck to my pillowcase. Manuka honeys are all labeled with a UMF rating, the Unique Manuka Factor. The higher the UMF, the better. I think 16+ is the highest I’ve seen.

5. Experiment with Charcoal and Sandalwood
Charcoal has always been big for the skin, but I’ve been seeing a lot of charcoal drinks coming out, like charcoal lemonades. It can be helpful if you need a detox. For example, if you’re gluten intolerant and accidentally ingest gluten, you can take a charcoal capsule to rebalance your gut.

Sandalwood is also something we’re going to be seeing a lot more of, in things like skincare oils. All essential oils are healing, and sandalwood is especially helpful for getting circulation going for healing. In Chinese medicine it’s referred to as a “blood mover,” so it can be great for congested or acne prone skin.

One Important General Tip: Don’t Strip Your Skin
I think one of the biggest mistakes I see people making is overwashing and scrubbing their skin. I recommend just cleansing once a day, at night, to remove any makeup and pollution from your skin. Then, just rinse with water in the morning. And keep your routine fairly simple.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Cookies That Are Actually Pretty Good For You

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These cookies come with surprising amount of nutritional benefits

Unless you’re bent on eliminating sweets from your diet (and we know a doctor who thinks you shouldn’t), you’ll agree that almost any dessert can be healthy when consumed in moderation. But we can do better. Here, five recipes for delicious cookies that pack legit nutritional benefits.

1. Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies with Flax
Flax seed meal and whole flax seeds add nutritional value to these gooey oatmeal raisin cookies.

2. Chocolate Coconut Snap Cookies
There’s no butter in these ultra-chocolaty cookies. Instead, the recipe calls for coconut oil.

3. Chewy Cinnamon-Spelt Cookies with Sea Salt
A vegan twist on the classic snickerdoodle, these cookies are ultra-chewy with crinkly sugary tops.

4. Cocoa Nib-Almond Lace Cookies
Coconut oil, cocoa nibs and sliced almonds combine together to make these lace cookies extra crispy. They’re rich and butter (yet butterless) and full of almond flavor.

5. Gluten-Free Strawberry and Chia Seed Newton Cookies
These gluten-free cookies have a delicious filling of dried fruit, strawberry jam and chia seeds.

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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TIME Food & Drink

The Easiest Way to Make Homemade Hash Browns

Attaining the perfect, even crust while keeping the center of the potatoes tender isn’t easy


There’s nothing better than super-crispy hash browns for brunch. But attaining that perfect, even crust while keeping the center of the potatoes tender isn’t easy—until now. Because F&W Test Kitchen genius Justin Chapple has an easy shortcut. Watch the video above to see how to make the best hash browns of your life with a waffle iron.

For more great cooking tricks and tips, watch all of F&W’s Mad Genius Tips videos.

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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TIME Food & Drink

How to Roast Your Own Coffee at Home

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Follow these simple instructions on how to roast your own beans

Once you master the art of the pour-over, the next step in coffee nerdery is to start roasting your own beans. But it’s the sort of thing that can sound intimidating at first. Lots of coffee drinkers may have never even seen green, unroasted coffee beans. Others might assume you need a dedicated roasting machine that can run over $1,000. You don’t. You don’t even need to spend $30.

Coffee fiend Ruth Brown’s new book, Coffee Nerd: How to Have Your Coffee and Drink It Too, has everything you could want to know about coffee, from its history to tasting notes to which espresso drinks you should care about (and which you absolutely should not).

It also has incredibly simple instructions on how to roast your own beans using equipment you almost certainly have on hand: an oven (preferably gas) and a baking sheet.

Just beware of the coffee-roasting rabbit hole. You might turn into a fanatic. As Ruth points out, “If regular coffee nerds were Trekkies, homeroasters would be the people who write Star Trek fan fiction.”

Here’s how to do it.

Gas Oven Roasting — From Coffee Nerd

You need a small amount of green beans (1 pound typically costs between $5 and $10), a perforated baking pan (if you don’t have one, a kitchenware store or your great-aunt will) and a metal colander. You might also want to crack open a window or 10 for this—there will be smoke.

1. Preheat the oven to 500° (or 450°, if it is a convection oven).

2. Spread a single layer of beans across the pan (only the perforated part of it).

3. When the oven is ready, place the pan onto the middle shelf.

4. You should start to hear the first crack somewhere around 7 minutes (maybe more in a convection oven), and you should be able to see that the beans are turning brown.

5. Wait at least a couple more minutes, then either take the tray out (use oven mitts!) or wait a few more minutes until the beans are almost at the color you desire (they will continue to roast for a bit after you take them out, so don’t wait too long).

6. Dump the beans into your colander. Stand over a sink or go outdoors, and shake them around. This will cool them down and get rid of the chaff (the little bits of parchment that didn’t get removed at the mill), which can get pretty messy. The faster you can cool your beans off, the better.

If your interest is piqued, Ruth recommends ordering green beans from Sweet Maria’s and Roastmasters. And to find out what else she has to say about coffee, you can find Coffee Nerd here.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME Food & Drink

4 Affordable Cheeses That Taste Expensive

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Choose from these four brilliant European cheeses and their less expensive American doppelgängers

Imagine a serious sushi bar, but instead of rare raw fish they serve the world’s greatest cheeses. They have paper menus and pencils to check off the cheeses you want to try, and there’s even an omakase option. If that sounds fantastic (and it does to us), you should plan on visiting Portland, OR, in February. That’s when resident cheese guru and Cheese Bar proprietor Steve Jones will open Chizu, his intriguing new restaurant dedicated to a carefully curated selection of his absolute favorite cheeses. The idea, Jones says, is to expose cheese lovers to the best of the best. “It’s a way to sample cheeses that might otherwise be unattainable,” he says. “You might not be able to afford a whole wedge, but you can handle a 1-ounce portion for six or seven bucks.”

Of course, dropping into Chizu won’t be an option for every budget-minded cheese fanatic in the country. So we asked Jones to share his favorite pricey, much-lauded cheeses and their cheaper, more accessible counterparts. Here, four brilliant European cheeses and their less expensive American doppelgängers.

Splurge: Vacherin Mont d’Or
“It’s the Mount Everest of cheese that everyone always asks for,” Jones says. “It has a lot of smoky, bacon-fatty notes. There’s a really creamy funk to it.” A raw cow’s milk washed rind cheese, made in Switzerland and France, the Mont d’Or is highly seasonal and sold in round boxes made of spruce bark.
Save: Jasper Hill Winnimere
“This is a great American knockoff,” Jones says. “You still get a lot of the smoky, bacon fat notes, but with the Winnimere you get more of the spruce bark flavor. And there’s a real bright fruity flavor—almost like mulberries.”

Splurge: Brabander
“This is a new, premium goat gouda from Southern Holland,” Jones says. “Mongers are nuts for it. It’s super-super tasty. It has a big sister called Black Betty, which is a super-premium version of it aged for two years. They’re both really sweet and coconutty.”
Save: Central Coast Creamery Goat Gouda
“It’s a really nice cheese,” he says. “You get the same sweet, coconutty notes for considerably less money.”

Splurge: Ubriaco alla Birra Rossa
Translated from Italian, the cheese’s name means “dunk of red beer.” “It’s an aged cheese from northeastern Italy,” Jones says. “It’s aged and immersed in barrels of red beer. The cheese itself is sweet with a nice beer-y tang to it.”
Save: Sartori Bellavitano
“This American take out of Wisconsin is washed in the New Glarus raspberry beer,” he says. “It is a touch fruitier, with tart, lambic notes, and it’s about a third cheaper.”

Splurge: Caerphilly
A famed Welsh cheese, Caerphilly is crumbly like cheddar but with a much more unique flavor. “It’s tangy, lactic and creamy,” Jones says. “It’s the kind of cheese that you want to eat a lot of. You just want to sit down with a beer and go at it.”
Save: Cascadia Creamery Cloud Cap
“Made in Trout Lake, Washington, the Cloud Cap is very Caerphilly-esque,” he says. “It’s a terrific take on a European classic but with more wild garlic notes coming through.”

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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TIME Food & Drink

The Insanely Easy Way to Poach a Dozen Eggs at Once

All you need is a muffin pan and a dozen eggs


There’s nothing more impressive than serving friends a brunch featuring runny-yolked, perfectly poached eggs. But if you’re cooking for a crowd, there’s a problem: The classic technique only allows for poaching one or two eggs at a time. Thankfully, F&W Test Kitchen maestro Justin Chapple has a solution in the latest episode of Mad Genius Tips season two. All you need is a muffin pan, a dozen eggs and a half-dozen friends to dazzle with your show-offy Benedict skills. Watch the video above to learn this super-easy technique.

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

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TIME Food & Drink

These Are the Best Craft Beers to Complement Your Girl Scout Cookies

Thin Mints
Girl Scouts sell cookies as a winter storm moves in on Feb. 8, 2013 in New York City. John Moore—Getty images

Try matching Thin Mints with a Perennial 17 Mint Chocolate Stout

Girl Scout cookie season is right around the corner and for those of you who love to mix your support of the Girl Scouts with drinking, the editors of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine just released their list of “Beer Pairings for Girl Scout Cookies.”

Each cookie type is given two options, often of varying styles, which leaves prospective pairers who can’t find a specific beer with some choices.

For instance, Samoas, with their heavy dose of caramel and coconut, will stand up well to Firestone Walker’s Sucaba, a big barleywine. But for those who want to take things a little lighter, you can try Schlafly’s Biere de Garde – a French-style strong ale that still pairs well with sweetness but is less intense.

Other sensible pairings include the Scouts’ Lemonades cookies with either a 4 Hands Brewing Contact High or Drake’s Hefeweizen — two wheat beers. Although, any wheat beer you love could probably be swapped in here.

And then some suggestions just nail the pairing right on the head, like matching Thin Mints with a Perennial 17 Mint Chocolate Stout.

Head over to the Craft Beer & Brewing website to see all seven pairings.

Unfortunately, the list includes no mention of this year’s new flavor additions – Toffee-tastic, Trios and Rah-Rah Raisin (maybe because they’re still hard to find). For now, you’ll just have to improvise.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME fashion

This Smart Mirror Lets You Try On 5 Outfits at Once

The mirror also lets you share looks on social media if you want to get second or third opinion from friends

Even for people who love shopping, the effort of dressing and undressing for hours while trying on clothes can be a bit draining. (It’s not all Champagne and Pretty Woman people!). That’s why Neiman Marcus just started piloting a new “smart mirror” that lets shoppers save looks and compare styles with the wave of a hand.

Called the MemoryMirror, the system can take an image of you in one dress and then let you flip through how the item would look in other colors or patterns. It then saves the shot so you can compare it side-by-side with other outfits and only ever have to try on something once. Bonus: The imaging is so precise that there’s a zoom function—so prepare to see how your butt takes to those jeans in HD.

If you’re one of those shoppers who prefers a second, or depending on your Instagram following, thousands of more opinions before committing, you can also share looks via email or social media.

The mirrors are available to use right now at Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek outside San Francisco and will be coming to Plano, Texas (north of Dallas) next month. If all goes well, you can look for them at a store in your city in the near future.

Now we just need an invention that can figure out whether those heels will be comfortable after the first hour.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME Food & Drink

This Is America’s First Dog Café

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Customers could stop by for a cup of Joe or a tail-wagging furry friend

Cat cafés are so 2014. Of all the restaurant trends last year, few seemed to get as much press as the fervor surrounding feline-friendly coffee shops. But 2015 is shaping up to be the Year of the Dog.

“The Dog Café,” as it is quite simply named, hopes to open in Los Angeles as America’s first dog café. The project is the brainchild of Sarah Wolfgang who has worked at animal shelters in the States and in Korea.

A dog café is not much different than its cat counterpart. Customers can come in for a coffee or tea knowing that plenty of furry friends will be around to brighten their spirits. All of Wolfgang’s dogs will be up for adoption as well, though you’re not required to grab a new pet with your latte. “The Dog Café’s mission is simple. We want to provide a second chance for shelter dogs that are often overlooked,” she told LA Weekly. “The Dog Café is going to put a spin on the way people adopt by totally reinventing the way we connect with homeless dogs.”

As with cat cafés, Wolfgang’s spot has some restrictions. Because of health code regulations, the service area and dog area have to be separated, meaning even those who aren’t looking to have their leg humped can still get their daily caffeine fix. But even buying a cup of coffee is dog-friendly: the beans come from Grounds & Hounds Coffee, a local roaster that donates 20 percent of profits to a local shelter.

Like pretty much every project on planet Earth right now, The Dog Café is currently in the crowdfunding stage. Wolfgang is hoping to raise $200,000 via an Indiegogo campaign. No projected opening date appears to be given for the café, though as of this writing, the funding is still far short of its goal.

For the record, 2015 is technically the Year of the Sheep, but I don’t foresee any sheep cafés in the near future.

[h/t First We Feast]

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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TIME Food & Drink

This is Why You Don’t Want to Get on a Waiter’s Bad Side

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If you want the best possible service, remember, always greet your server with a smile and ask how he’s doing

Next time you encounter a troublesome waiter, here’s a humbling thought: the problem could be YOU.

A recent study published by the journal Human Performance showed that an overwhelming percentage of waiters and other restaurant employees responded with a variety of retaliations when confronted with customers they thought gave them “extra stress.”

Among the top responses, 79% of food service employees (including servers, hosts, bartenders, cashiers and managers) said they made fun of annoying customers behind their backs, and 78% of the 438 survey respondents admitted to straight up lying to your stupid jerk face.

Luckily, more aggressive behaviors were less common: Only 6% of those surveyed had contaminated customers’ food, and a mere 5% had threatened a customer. (Though if you were in that 5%, you probably don’t consider it a small matter.) Also, here’s a reminder to check your bills and credit card statements, especially if you’re not so nice to the waitstaff: 11% of employees stated they had increased a tip without permission.

So, what can you do to avoid incurring the wrath of an angry server? Things that stressed restaurant employees out ranged from obvious issues like verbally aggressive customers to more subtle ones, like “ambiguous customer expectations.”

Granted, the problem of ambiguous customer expectations is itself a little ambiguous, but this survey does make it seem like you should go out of your way to be nice to your waiter. And if you want the best possible service, remember, always greet your server with a smile and ask how he’s doing. Maybe even ask if he needs his water refilled?

This article originally appeared on FWx.

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