Friday, January 29, 2016

Your PATH is Waiting {a series on entrepreneurship}

Do you feel the pull toward something great? Are you craving change and feel yourself bursting with dreams of something new? Do you have ideas swirling in your mind that you are ready to catch and release?

If so, then I know exactly how you feel. 

It was the pull to something new, the anxious energy bubbling inside of me that prompted me to venture on my own. And when I did I discovered something about myself that I never knew. I discovered this at the age of 37.

I am an entrepreneur.

Perhaps you already know that you are. Maybe you have already taken the bold step and pursued your dream and vision. And you are ready to grow. Ready for more.

Over the past 6 years I have received so many wonderful messages and emails from people just like you asking me for business advice. Sometimes very practical information about running a food business in Canada, or maybe even direction on a human resource query. Most of the time, these conversations start as a small question and grow into a bigger conversation about entrepreneurship. And in particular, doing this as a woman.

You PATH is Waiting

The truth is, you are already on your path. You just might not know it. But trust me when I say, where you are right now is exactly where you are meant to be RIGHT NOW. But that doesn't mean you are meant to stay right there. How you travel along your path is up to you. How you handle the trauma and sadness, the joy and beauty of life, it is all up to you.

Your path is right in front of you. But you might be wondering what is the next step? How should you proceed along your path? What kind of adventure do you want to embark on?

As an entrepreneur I know how hard it is to take those first steps down your path. Here is what I have learned about taking the NEXT STEP.

Just go. Just go in the direction of one thing. 

I feared that if I chose ONE THING I would not be able to do all of the other things. But this isn't true. When we have the courage to choose one thing, it actually makes ALL OF THE THINGS possible on your path.

The old image of a series of doors and we have to choose ONE and then we can't go through the others- this isn't true. This isn't what really happens. When we go through one door, there are more doors for you.

So now I challenge you to TAKE ONE STEP. It doesn't matter that much which one you take. Maybe it is buying the domain for your dream website, or brainstorming over ideas for your vision, or setting up a meeting with a new customer that you think maybe you are not quite ready for but you will do it anyways. Whatever step you take will move you forward down your path. And that is the point. You are already on your path. Make the most of it.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Body Care Detox

Are you doing a cleanse, detox, or diet after the holidays? Do you feel that you indulged just a little bit and now it is time to get in shape and be healthy? 

I am. But not when it comes to food. I am detoxing in another way. My body care routine.

First of all, the Why. 

Many of the body care products I have used since my first pregnancy have been healthy and non-toxic. Having two girls, I also ensure absolutely EVERYTHING they use is completely free of toxins and safe. But for myself, there were still some products that I was using that I really wanted to change. I wanted to do it to prevent any further risk or damage and to detox my body from all the nasty stuff in the conventional products.

The What. 

I was already bathing with soap that is free of fragrances and of course SLS and parabens, etc. I wanted to switch my hair routine, so I gradually switched over to a natural option for washing my hair. Next up, toothpaste and deodorant. And finally, my facial routine- wash, tone, moisturize. 

I did some research into natural alternatives for body care. I made all of my own salts and sugar scrubs with organic essential oils and homegrown herbs and flowers. I started incorporating different oils such as coconut and almond. And I thoroughly researched the benefits of natural toothpaste.

The How.

I started with the small changes that were easy to adopt (soap, shampoo) and I also made all that I could myself. I took this project on gradually so that I would not be spending loads of money on supplies and products without testing out the different options. Along the way I discovered what NOT to use on my skin-type and that has saved me a lot of trouble when researching recipes. 

I decided that I also wanted to buy some products, things that I could probably make but the time and testing was not an investment I wanted to make right now. I wanted to purchase from local producers (BC) whom I trusted and I enjoy supporting. 

When we switched toothpaste (for the whole family) we tested a few brands. Our requirements were no flouride, SLS, artificial flavors, and sugar. We settled on a brand that we can actually purchase from our local natural foods store and the kids have adjusted well.

Another big one for me was switching deodorant. I don't know why but I was really convinced that a "natural" one wouldn't work on me. I am not normally so gullible when it comes to marketing, but the more I read about the benefits and effectiveness of natural deodorant, the more convinced I was that I should try. I have been following Element Botanicals on social media. They are in BC and make lovely products. I took the plunge and ordered some products for me and my husband. The deodorant test started January 1. I love the smell of my new deodorant and it works so well. 

The face routine really needed a boost as I have aged, moved to a different climate, and need something easy for mornings and nights. I started making my own face wash and toner. This was tricky as so many recipes for the face are rose-based, which is something I cannot use. So I continued to test and experiment. I also started making my own serums and lotions for my face. It is so easy and the ingredients are a fraction of the price. I would still purchase these from a trusted natural body care company but now I know what works on my skin and what doesn't. 

Next Up.

Given my pale and freckly complexion, I am an avid user of sunblock. I am just starting to search for a better source and I have even found some recipes that I think I will try. I will know very quickly if they work! 

Steps to Detox Your Body Care Routine.

It can seem overwhelming to detox from all of the products we use daily and weekly on our skin and hair (and teeth!). Here is how I made the process happen over time so that I could genuinely change my routine, save money, and eventually be healthier.

1. Make a list of all of your body care products that you use daily and weekly.
2. Read the ingredients on all of these products.
3. Make a second list of all of the items you would like to change.
4. Separate out these items to skin, hair, teeth, face.
5. Choose one category and search for an alternative for one item in that category. 
6. Once a month or so, choose another item from a different category and switch, repeating until you have found alternatives for all of the products you wanted to change.

Revisit your list and see if there is anything new you would like to change or learn how to make. 

Something new- soon I will be sharing some tips on small business. I have received so many questions from other entrepreneurs that I though I would start sharing what I have learned along the way.

Happy January!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reduce Plastic With 3 Simple Alternatives

New Year's Resolutions are something I truly look forward to. I love starting a fresh year with fresh goals and feeling a sense of possibility. Every year, for the last several years, instead of making a list of unattainable goals, I simply create a mantra for the year that sums up my focus for living and working and parenting.


My mantra for 2016 is Use Less. Very simply, I feel that I could use less of so many things. Some things material, and others not quite so much. Use less plastic is probably top on my list of things I would like to use less of and by saying Use Less I am not saying Eliminate, which would be nice but nearly impossible for our household and budget. So for now, Use Less seems to fit as a guide for my year.


We have spent many years reducing our use of plastic. We have switched to fabric shopping bags, napkins, reusable lunch containers, and so many more changes that have been relatively easy and inexpensive. This year, we are focusing on two areas where plastic is prevalent. The first is single-use plastic. This is perhaps the hardest to avoid sometimes but also the most wasteful. Imagine all of the manufacturing and transporting only for it to be used once! Plastic wrap, packaged food including many fruits and veggies, and food storage (such as resealable plastic bags) are all intended as one-time use products. Now, if you are thrifty you may think that washing and reusing is a good option. It may be for some, but not all plastic holds up to washing and reuse. The better option is to simply stop using it.


Plastic wrap and resealable bags- they are so convenient, but truth be told, our food doesn't need to be sealed in plastic most of the time. I find that most of the time, food is kept fresh in the fridge with little to no packaging at all. Newer fridges are much more efficient and "food friendly" and simply do a better job a keeping food fresh longer. So I challenged myself to see how I would do with no plastic in the house for food storage. It was easier than I thought. By replacing the plastics in my kitchen with alternatives I simply had to find a way, and while the above products seemed pricey at first, they ended up saving me a lot of money.

I love using the wax cotton food wraps. I have a few different sizes in my kitchen and often use them to simply cover food. I have had mine for several years and they wash and dry effortlessly and last a long time.

We love cheese and often have several on the go in the fridge. Plastic wrap is so wasteful and hard cheese do not store very well in containers with air. I started using cheese paper and it is amazing. It doesn't last forever, but a box of cheese bags lasted me 2 years. The bags can be reused if clean, and they keep cheese fresher and longer than anything else that I have used. This not only saved us a lot of money but also saved us throwing out more plastic.

Jars are perhaps the perfect vessel for food storage. Glass is the safest way to store food, in my opinion, and they even stand up to freezing (providing you allow for room at the top). Also, the new lids are BPA free and wash a reuse nicely (do not reuse the lid once it has been sealed with a water bath or canner- these must be discarded. And discard the rings when they rust). I even use the small jelly (125 mL) jars for my kids' snacks and lunches. The portion size is perfect and so easy to clean.

Jars are also a great solution for the pantry. I purchase as much items in bulk as we can. This reduces the single-use plastic of the packaging considerably, but I don't like keeping our food in plastic for a long time. I transfer it to jars that are purchased or reused from other food. Also, it is so much more attractive to see jars in my pantry than plastic bags.

Jars are so popular for beverages. We purchased a bunch of Cuppow lids to transform jars into beverage containers- easy, portable, durable, and the lids are BPA free and made out of recycled plastic. We like this alternative to water bottles with straws and spouts that are difficult to clean.


I mentioned that I was trying to reduce plastic in two categories. Well, the second category is more work and really a project over time. I am hoping to reduce plastic in the kitchen. By this I mean, utensils, tools, appliances, gadgets, whatever. We started this 3 years ago by eliminating our microwave. I have now rid my kitchen of plastic dishes, mixing bowls and baking tools, cooking utensils, and storage containers. However, what is interesting is that I didn't need to spend money to replace them. I found that I have been able to get along just fine without all of that extra plastic kitchen stuff. I cook and bake a lot and I have found that a few really good ceramic, glass, metal, bamboo or wood kitchen items is easier and better. The next challenge will be the bathroom! (but we will wait until 2017 to tackle that).

I am sure you have great solutions for reducing plastic in your home. Be sure to share in the comments. All of the products I have mentioned are simply ones I love, I was not compensated for this post. The products mentioned are available online in Canada and the US but I try as much as possible to purchase from a locally-owned business when I can to help other small business owners. Sometimes there may be a slight increase in price but it is often better than shipping rates.

Up next- Body Care Detox! I have been gradually switching to pure products for body care and I will share some of what I have learned and experienced.