Gardening: Need all the help I can get

I bet we can all agree that this weekend was glorious! Sunny, bug-free, and only minimally mucky. That had our family doing lots of raking, digging, transplanting and planning.

After a long day of hoeing and preparing a few new plots for the oodles of lavender, arnica, and mint I plan to plant for Simply Gorgeous’ stock, I came across this very helpful link:

Click here to avoid kicking yourself in hindsight. Like me.

In the seedling department, I made an admirable attempt at setting us up with a great trough of mesculin and kale, and also started a few pots of lavender and mint that I hope to be able to a) successfully sprout, and b) successfully move outdoors. I may or may not have bent or broken a few of the cardinal rules, only time will tell.

Any newbie gardeners reading along with me? It’s daunting but so exciting. I’m halfways filled with anticipation and halfways dreading the repercussions of having a decidedly gangrenous thumb and a very limited budget.

Wish me luck, folks. And Happy gardening to you!

*please, share any tips, tricks, or horror stories!*

20140422-092510.jpg

I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!

In preparation for Spring markets, I’ve been plenty busy mixing things up with Simply Gorgeous of late.  With a market in the morning, today is no exception.  After I picked my little guy up at the bus stop this afternoon, my already high pain level went through the roof.  All day I’ve been struggling to stay standing, but have kept on keepin’ on.

Why am I telling you this?  Because here I am, at the end of my rope, with a mountain of to-dos left to be done, and I am so happy.  I love every last minute of this job.  I can’t believe my luck – that from such a nasty medical condition has come my absolute passion.  Without Simply Gorgeous, I wouldn’t be able to work.  And I know, without this excitement, passion and thirst to learn and do more, I couldn’t persevere the way I do.

I really wanted to share – and to say thank you for all the encouragement and support from all of you.  By way of purchasing, commenting, sharing, visiting – you all have given me (and my family) the greatest gift.  The gift of me still being able to feel fulfilled and useful, contributing to my family, and setting a great example for my boys.  In turn, it gives me such joy to be able to share my products, my journey and spread the word about the incredible awesome benefits Mother Nature has to offer and to help us all move away from nasty chemicals and towards healthier, cleaner lives.

I’ve always been a hard worker, but this is something else all together.  I’m not saying it’s easy, but I honestly enjoy every minute, even the messy, waxy ones.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And hope to see some of you tomorrow at Paul’s Hall in Glen Haven from 10-4pm!

32ac8213d25d7559655b2e20ef649afa

Emily

 

Older and Wiser?

I’m a month or so away from celebrating one year of business for Simply Gorgeous - it’s simultaneously shocking that it’s been a year already and shocking that it’s only been a year.  I’ve had flops and flips in every sense of the words, and reflecting on the year past is really quite something.

Mostly, I’ve spent the year with the help and support of my amazing community, and customers near and far.  I’ve been met with patience, loyalty, excitement, and ideas – what more could a gal ask for?  Juggling a small business, a young family and a chronic condition has me really stepping back and making sure I have everything progressing in a way that is conducive to being satisfied in all those areas.  And, I think, with some tweaks, I really, really do.

In order to accommodate my all-to-frequent surgeries and up and down days, it’s really important to me to have honest, personal relationships with my customers.  To do this, I’ve decided to shy away from having SG products in retail stores and instead, to offer a monthly delivery day to my local-ish customers.  I always find meeting with customers (new and returning) there’s so much for me to learn in those meetings, and it helps me to allow you all to really understand the whole package that is Simply Gorgeous.

I’ve also been making great strides to involve more local businesses and folks in my process.  I’ve sourced local beeswax, have a fabulous card-maker-extraordinaire working with me on packaging, and going forward will be dealing with a local wholesaler of organic, fairly traded supplies.  This stuff excites me!  We have such an amazing LOCAL economy, and I can’t wait to share more information with you about my new partners and to continue to introduce you to local producers you might not have had the pleasure of knowing otherwise.

I’m in the process of starting a foundation to raise research funds, awareness and support for a condition called Neurofibromatosis (one type of which I was diagnosed with a year ago and was the catalyst for me starting SG) – once the society (NF society of NS) has status as a registered charity, I’ll be launching a new product whose proceeds will go straight to the NFSNS.  I’m pretty excited about that, too.

Where little changes are concerned, I’m working on a new local-loyalty reward and have removed the “shipping” feature from my Etsy shop.  This way, it is easy for local customers to order online without the hassle of fiddling with shipping options.  I will still offer shipping for my products, it will just require a private message and shipping quote before placing an order.

I am so thankful to all of you for making the journey with me so far – and look forward to another year of growth, joy, and learning!

Happy Spring, folks!

hello spring

(What’s an update without a little advertisement?  I’ve got an AWESOME new deodorant formula that goes on smooth and lastsandlastsandlasts, also with a new Cedar & Black Pepper scent.  Easter goodies aplenty.  The very effective and delicious smelling Simply Skedaddle Bug Repellant, kid & pet friendly.)

 

Need a pick-me-up?

Many of you know of my condition, Schwannomatosis, which is responsible for dozens of nerve-tissue tumors in my body. Dozens of extraordinarily painful tumors that sometimes suck the life right out of me.

This week I’m feeling especially deflated and less prepared to ignore the constant pains shooting through my body. I’m on some medication, but treating nerve pain isn’t easy, and the pills can only do so much. I’ve been at a loss of what I can do to get on top of my game again, so I started digging.

What I found, and will be trying in the days ahead is this:

20140228-101735.jpg

I will be eating scads and scads of basil, parsley and cilantro today. Herby salads, teas, and chewing gum coming my way! In fact, I’m going to put an indoor herb garden on this weekend’s to-do list.

How about you, see anything new you’ll try? Have any tried and true herbal remedies you swear by?

All Natural Hair Conditioning Rinse – Make it Yourself!

I’ve had a lot of interest for hair products – especially shampoo and conditioner. Because most include the use of tea or distilled water, the shelf life is too short to make it a good product to sell (without using chemical preservatives). In the not-too-distant future, I’ll be introducing dry shampoos for light and dark hair, and hopefully, a shampoo bar. But in the meantime, I thought some of you might like to try making your own conditioning rinse to use at home.

What you need:

- an empty spray bottle (re-purposed works well, or you can find them at any hardware or dollar store)
- chamomile tea (or another tea of your choosing)
- water; distilled is best
- apple cider vinegar
- essential oils (optional)

The how-to:

1. Boil two cups of water and steep with a chamomile tea bag for 24hours (if you’re impatient, an hour will do, but the longer you steep it, the more benefit you’ll get from the chamomile). If you have Rosemary on hand, it’s a nice soothing addition to your rinse, you can steep it along with the tea bag.

2. Strain tea into spray bottle

3. Add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

4. Add 1 cup distilled water

5. Add essential oils if desired, five to ten drops. Your options are numerous – choose for scent or for added nourishment. Geranium Oil smells great and strengthens hair, Rosemary Oil stimulates growth, strengthens the hair and increases circulation in the scalp, Lavender Oil is deep conditioning, improves sheen and treats dandruff, and Chamomile Oil softens and improves sheen and soothes the scalp.

If you really want to cut chemicals, you can start this hair care routine along with a baking soda & water shampoo (the no poo method), or simply apply this rinse after your regular shampoo.

I’ve tried this rinse and love it, geranium & lavender are my go to rinse oils. I usually spray all my hair and massage it into my scalp at the beginning of my shower and leave it sit until just before I get out. You should notice shinier hair and less buildup on your scalp than when using commercial conditioners. Oh! An added perk, chamomile is revered for it’s intensifying effect on your natural highlights.

20140216-145349.jpg

I’d love some feedback if you try your own! Or, do you have another DIY hair routine?

Be the Change

Back before we had kids, my husband and I had matching shirts.  We loved those shirts and wore them faithfully, sometimes even on the same day. [I'm sure I have friends cringing at the memory, already.]  The shirts we got at the Toronto Green Show, which is an annual event of enormous size and with palpable positive energy and real will to change.

Our shirts were earthy brown and said in simple white letter, “Be the change.”  And those three words mean so very, very much.  We still have the shirts, he still wears his, but two kids later, I doubt mine will ever fit again, but I’ll never get rid of it because it’s kind of my motto now.

Living off grid was a big step for us in being the change.  Switching to all natural products, another.  Starting Simply Gorgeous – yet another, but it’s been much more complex than making decisions on a small, family scale.  In order to get things off the ground, other than ensuring every ingredient was natural, some of my ideals had to put aside for a while.  Now that I’m approaching the end of my first year in business, I’m able to make greater strides to be more the change I’d like to see in the world.

In the very near future, all beeswax used in my products will be from Nova Scotian bee keepers!  Dried herbs and flowers I use will be increasingly sourced from my own garden, and the bulk of my raw ingredients will be coming from a local wholesaler.  Most of the amazing, nourishing ingredients used in natural skin care, don’t grow in our climate – so importing them is the only way to go.  My new wholesaler ensures all the products she imports are ethically sourced, fair trade and organic.  That’s certainly a start!  My recipes will remain the same, but you might see a difference in texture or consistency while I work to adapt to new sources.  Any changes in the product will be coming as a result of using ingredients in a more raw form, and should only net positive results on your skin.

I’m so very excited to be incorporating more local in my business.  There is an amazing network of like-minded folks out there, and Simply Gorgeous is allowing me to connect with so many of them.

What other changes can you look for with SG?  We’re working with a local paper crafter on some great, unique tags & cards, getting involved with the dreaming phase of a local all-natural expo, planning gardens, and will soon be introducing a new product whose proceeds will be donated to a charity I’ll soon be launching!  I’ve got some new ideas up my sleeve, at your request, I’ll soon be selling a gentle face scrub, exfoliating body scrub, shaving cream and a few other items. As always, I’m looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, support local, and connect with awesome people.

If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Here’s to a big, exciting year!  Thanks for taking the journey with me

Emily

bethechangecord