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Eco gifts for any occasion

18 Nov

The holiday season is upon us (according to retailers at least), but sweet little gifts don’t need to be reserved only for special occasions. I thought I would share a few things that I have been given over the course of the fall that are perfect for treating yourself, or that eco conscious green beauty (and beau) in your life.

Eco Gift Idea

(Clockwise from left) La Bella Figura Daily Elements Defense Face Oil, Juniper Ridge Cedar Soap, Lavender in a Bag, Soi Green Tea Candle

1. Juniper Ridge wild harvested organic soap: For those who love the outdoors but may be stuck in a concrete jungle, Juniper Ridge products are for you. This company quite literally harvests and bottles the wild scents of the west coast mountains, forests, and deserts from their lab (or more accurately field tents) and turns them into intoxicating smelling soaps, colognes, incense, and room sprays. Personally I am looking forward to trying their Douglas Fir Campfire incense to go along with my fireplace channel. (We can’t all have the luxury of a roaring fireplace in a mountain lodge!)

2. Lavender in a bag: Take advantage of this super easy way to grow your own lavender, no pot (or garden) necessary. I had all good intention of growing lavender this summer in my own garden but now that it’s getting cold, I have to thank a dear friend for giving me this lovely gift and a second chance to redeem my lazy gardening skills.

3. Soi Candles: I used to love going into candle stores and smelling every single one until I passed out. Now, really can’t stand the strong synthetic scents of most candles, and so, I was happy to find these all- natural scented soy ones that also double as a skin moisturizer. (I know, crazy right?) The wax never gets hot, so you can safety put it on your skin without getting burned.

4. La Bella Figura: This little bottle of Daily Elements Defense face oil is the cutest thing that I have ever seen (declaimer, I do have a stronger than normal love for mini things). I was given this bottle the last time La Bella Figura was in town, and I cannot get enough. The lightweight oil smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling smooth and hydrated. Good news!  They just launched their limited edition Holiday Essential Mini Set, and so La Bella Figura products (in adorable little bottles) can be yours for your next trip across the globe. I love stashing mine in my gym bag to slather all over my face after the steam room.

What are gifts are you sharing with your loved ones these days? Already shopping for the Holidays? What’s on the list?

– Seanna

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To Rome with Love: Travel Essentials and a DIY Recipe

30 May

Ciao friends,

Lina and I are going on a little vacation! We are headed to the eternal city of Rome (Italy of course) to see old friends and visit special places.

Before we leave though I wanted to share with you some of the essentials we will be taking with us to ensure we stay feeling great and looking our best.

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Not mentioned below: I always bring Larabars or some other high protein, all natural bar. I also always bring reading material. This month’s Organic Spa magazine came just in time!

Every time I fly I bring with me a specially curated “travel kit”, which is made up of a series of items that keep me hydrated, fresh. . . and ultimately combat the inevitable ‘icky’ feeling that goes along with flying.

My travel essentials kit includes:

  • rose water sprayHave you ever seen those Evian water misters that are supposed to fix all of life’s great needs? Well instead of buying expensive water in a spray can, take my advice and spritz your face with rose water. Its a whole lot cheaper and ACTUALLY works to hydrate, cool, and soothe irritated skin (make sure liquids are under the regulated 100ml/100gm/3.4oz).
  • natural face/ all purpose wipes- When traveling over multiple time zones and taking red eye flights we often lose track of time and our daily routines, including removing make-up! Just because you are on a plane does not mean you should drop your skincare routine. These handy wipes conveniently cleanse the face, ensure pores remain clear and you don’t wake up with an unwanted breakout.
  • moisturizer/ serum- Flying is so dehydrating and takes a toll on our skin which leaves us looking dull and tired. Staying hydrated with plenty of water and plenty of moisturizer is a must for long flights (samples from your favourite natural beauty stores and spas work perfect for this).
  • lip butter – Hydration, hydration, hydration, need I say more? Keep those lips smooth for when you apply that hot fuschia lip colour upon arrival.
  • Stress Relief aromatherapy oil (recipe below)– Aromatherapy is such a fantastic tool to combat ailments. I have created this blend of lavender, rosemary, mint, and bergamot for soothing stress, irritability, and fatigue –all of those terrible feelings that go along with flying.
  • greens powder– When you are surrounded by subpar airport and plane food, these little packs of wheat grass, spirulina, and chlorella pack a strong punch to keep the body alkalized and functioning optimally.
  • vitamin C/ immune booster powder – We all know flying taxes our immune system, I add these packs to water to give my body a boost of minerals and vitamins (Sisu Ester-C Energy Boost is great since it is naturally derived and free of refined sugars).
  • magnesium supplement- This is my ultimate secret for flying. I take this right before I want to sleep and it aids the body in relaxing muscles and nervous system. I use Natural CALM which is added to water. . . and tastes like Rasberry-lemon!
  • organic herbal tea– When flying drink tea, not coffee! Coffee dehydrates the system, over stimulates and can cause excess acid. . . all things you want to avoid when flying. Teas like mint and ginger help to aid upset stomachs and calm the system to ensure you get that much needed rest. David’s Tea makes these great little travel tins that can also used over and over.

Stress Relief Aromatherapy Oil

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Rosemary, bergamot, and peppermint boost mood, and helps to combat stress, headaches, and tension. Lavender helps to relax and calm the mind.

  • glass rollerball applicator (you can find these at health food stores, I found mine at The Big Carrot in Toronto)
  • 5 drops of bergamot essential oil
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • carrier oil like sweet almond or jojoba (enough to fill the applicator)

This is so simple, all you need to do is remove the rollerball top, fill up the applicator with your carrier oil, leave about 1/8th of an inch of room at the top and add essential oils directly into bottle. Insert rollerball top back on, screw on lid and gently shake.

Application: rub a little on pressure points (temples and wrists) or massage a little into the back of the neck. My favourite is to roll a little onto my palms, rub hands together, cover nose and breath deeply.

Arrivederci until we meet again, enjoy the sunshine and safe travels wherever you may go!

– Seanna

Local and Organic in Portland

15 May

It’s that time of year folks, the travel season is upon us!

While Lina was jetting off to Boston this month, I was making my way to the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. A recently coined slogan for this city is, “Portland, the city you’ve heard you should like”. Well, it has proven true. I went thinking that I would like this relaxed west coast city but it exceeded my expectations (it probably helped that the city just happened to be having an unusual bout of dry sunny days).

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It was hard to stay away from Ruby Jewel ice cream shop!

Food

Portland is a maze of artisanal, gastronomic delight. Often casual, and anything but stuffy, the food scene offers something for everyone from nationally acclaimed restaurants like Le Pigeon, to gourmet dounuts like Blue Star, hand crafted ice cream like Ruby Jewel, and of course amazing fresh nourishing cafes like Prasad and Kure. No matter the restaurant’s cuisine, an integral part of Portland’s food culture is a foundation of using organic, local, and sustainably sourced ingredients whether its a blueberry bourbon basil donut or a mighty quinoa bowl. Now, I understand organic or not donuts are not where you should be getting your life-giving nutrients, however it illustrates a city that has a strong connection to its food and the land that produces it.

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Prasad Cafe in Yoga Pearl on Portland’s North West

One more comment to this little food rant (of which I assure you I can speak about all day long), in addition to finding local and organic ingredients gluten free, dairy free, (insert food item here)-free diets are so widely accepted that even the most restricted diet can be accommodated in many Portland eateries. For example, if you are dairy-free, there is no need to restrict yourself to lemon sorbet at ice cream shops. Ruby Jewel offers cow-free options in delicious flavours like Strawberry Basil or Pineapple Ginger.

Natural Beauty

Other than food, I was of course on the hunt for new beauty products. Unsurprisingly, it was easy to find locally produced brands that use ingredients from the bountiful state of Oregon. One such brand was Wild Carrot Herbals which is a small family owned and operated company in Enterprise, Oregon. They grow a large number of their own botanicals and source everything else from the best organic producers. All products are made in small batches at their Oregon facility with the exception of the organic castile soap & camamu bar soaps.

I came across Wild Carrot Herbals Oregon Strawberry & Rose Toner while at Clary Sage Herbarium on Alberta Street. This fruity toner smells absolutely delicious and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and soft. As I have expressed before, rose is excellent for hydration and inflammation (which is why this toner will be my go-to for the summer months!). Strawberry, aside from its fantastic smell, offers vitamin C and mild exfoliation through fruit acids.

Clary Sage Herbarium is an apothocary and boutique which sells a large selection of organic and ethically wild harvested herbs and tinctures. This form of apothocary is actually quite common in Portand and is run by knowledgeable herbalists who carry hundreds of herbal remedies that can be used in place of some conventional medicines.

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Wild Carrot Herbals, Oregon Strawberry & Rose Toner and Clary Sage Herbarium Organic Tamanu oil

While at Clary Sage, I also picked up organic tamanu oil, which is derived from the nut of a tamanu tree grown in Southeast Asia and like rosehip oil,  is high in vitamin A and E, linoleic acide, and oleric acid. Tamanu tends to be a bit richer and thicker in consistency than rosehip oil and is great for healing scars and soothing dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. In addition it can be used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots. I like to keep this on hand to put on cuts, or when I get dry itchy patches of skin, or to add a drop to my eye cream.

My time in Portland gave me a renewed sense of inspiration to get back to the earth, gain a greater connection to my food, and utilize the abundant resources around me for nourishing gifts from mama earth. Needless to say, I have spent the last week planning my terrace garden and planting my seedlings to create my own herbarium!

– Seanna

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