Editors’ Picks: What We Bought This Sunny October

Sweat pants you can wear to work, a dangerous yet impressive tool for the kitchen and snail sludge are just a few of the fun purchases our editors made with their wallets this month.

October 17, 2018

By Vancouver magazine

Benriner Mandoline Slicer, $40

Okay, I didn’t technically buy this, my husband did, but I think technically that means it’s half mine, right? After a guest on our MasterChef fan podcast described a Japanese mandolin as one of his favourite cooking tools (we really know how to keep a marriage fun and fresh), we took a trip to Ming Wo and now we’re in possession of a frighteningly sharp tool that slices and dices with a precision you would absolutely not expect from its flimsy plastic body and useless hand guard. The trio of interchangeable blades are sharpsharpsharp, so technically I didn’t use it, my husband did, because I’m scared. But the results were impressive. Carrots, julienned in a flash! Cucumbers, sliced neatly and evenly! And no fingers lost, so I’ll give this two (still attached) thumbs up.—Stacey McLachlan, executive editor

Cosrx Snail Essence, $30

There’s been a lot of talk about “beauty essence,” a genre of skincare products popular in Korean beauty regimes that’s akin to steps like toning or moisturizing—let’s call it essencing. It’s like a serum, but it sort of acts as this hydration primer that you would use to mix in your serums. Its function is a bit mysterious, but people on the internet swear by its powers to improve one’s overall complexion and hydration. I have been hesitant to buy the much-raved about SK-II Essence (which is $225!), so instead I opted for its popular alternative, the Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, which fun fact is made from “snail secretion filtrate.” Cosrx itself is a cult-favourite K-beauty brand and I’ve been using this essence (only $30) for the past month and have seen fabulous results. I’ve noticed the colour of my skin even out, my overall skin looks brighter and these dry patches I had from a recent trip to Calgary during a record snow fall are long gone! It’s a bit sticky when you first put it on, but what else can you expect from snail slime? —Julia Dilworth, style editor

Contemporaine Blouse, $40

I live downtown, and so I tend to think downtown when I’m shopping for just about anything—from pantry moth traps (curses, downstairs neighbour!) to a new pair of boots. But every once in a while, I take the drive over the Lions Gate to hit up Simons, and every time I think, why don’t I do this more? I’m a fan of their Contemporaine line for office basics—and I’ve fully embraced the mustard-yellow trend of the season with this crepe oversized blouse that was part of my recent haul from the store. Paired with this grey corduroy jacket, I’m also apparently in full-on nostalgia mode.—Anicka Quin, editorial director

Dish and Duer No Sweat Pant, $139

I’m usually not one to blow $140 on clothes in a month, never mind throwing away 14 bowls of ramen for a pair of pants that I’m inevitably going to ruin via a ramen spill. But my outdoorsy Vancouver lifestyle necessitated a need to invest in a pair of pants that would be acceptable in the office and comfortable when I’m out doing all my adventuring (read: I bike to work and wanted something that wouldn’t look ridiculous at either the office or on the road). The best part about these babies? No one would ever guess they’re as comfortable as they are, and you can bet I’ve tried (and more or less succeeded) to pull them off in every setting possible. Boardroom meetings? Check. Dinner parties? You bet. Something else fancy? Definitely.—Nathan Caddell, assistant editor

Stutterheim Raincoat, $430

As I write this it’s about as beautiful a stretch of Fall weather as we’ve seen in years in Vancouver. But it won’t last and those delightfully crunchy leaves will soon be sodden piles of muck as the rains inevitably descend. So I’m thinking ahead. A few years ago as was in the clearance section of a Barney’s outlet (that’s like the Inception of bargain shopping btw) when my hand literally brushed by the most amazing thing—a jacket made of a rubber so soft a pliable that it felt more like a beautifully spun heavy gauge cotton. I took it off it’s hanger and noticed three things:

1. It was made by a company called Stutterhem of Sweden;

2. It had a huge felt mark on it (hence the clearance section);

3. Its as still $225 USD.

I didn’t buy it, but when I went home I googled Stutterheim, this mysterious company that notwithstanding it was sold at Barney’s I’d never even heard of before. There’s literally nothing on the website about the brand history. But there is this little ditty under the heading “Melancholy”:

Feeling blue inspires creativity. What if August Strindberg, Ingmar Bergman, Karin Boye and hundreds of other famous Swedish artists had felt happy all the time? Would they have produced their fantastic work? No. Being melancholic is an essential part of being a human being. If we try too hard to get rid of melancholy it’s almost like we’re settling for a half-life. To embrace melancholy is ultimately to embrace joy.

Melancholy shouldn’t be confused with depression. Melancholy is an active state. When we’re melancholic, we feel uneasy with the way things are, the status quo, the conventions of our society. We yearn for a deeper, richer relationship with the world. And in that yearning, we’re forced to explore the potential within ourselves—a potential we might not have explored if we were simply content. Through our melancholy we come up with new ways of seeing the world and new ways of being in the world. Melancholy and creativity go together like ebony and ivory on a piano.

Let’s embrace Swedish melancholy.

Embracing rain is a good start.

I mean, how could you not love these wacky, depressed Swedes? That being said, I still cited a while before buying a coat because, quirk aside, they’re expensive. And it was sunny. But this week I broke down and bought one from an American retailer (the website says that you can buy that at Holt’s, but I never seen them there) and had it shipped to an American address. I went for a two-toned number because while I’m all down with melancholy , I do like a jolt of brightness once in a while.—Neal McLennan, food editor

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