Sustainable Gift Guide

Christmas is right around the corner, which means you are probably in the process of purchasing gifts. Finding the right gift can be stressful, however supporting local businesses and purchasing sustainably-made products has never been easier. Since what you spend your money on is essentially the type of world that you support, let’s start supporting a healthier planet. It sounds difficult, however it is really simple! Some key points are to avoid plastic items, resist fads and fast fashion and invest in products that are high quality and will have a long lifespan. Remember to bring reusable bags and avoid plastic bags while shopping!

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Shopping sustainably can be done easily, even here in Saskatoon. There are multiple stores and local businesses that provide many opportunities to shop smart, buy local and minimize your negative impact on the environment. Buying for a beauty lover? Green Tree Beauty offers sustainably made and natural cosmetics! The Farmer’s Market is a gathering of many local businesses which can help you to invest your money back into the province, rather than into large corporations. Locally owned stores like Hazlewood Vintage, Better Off Duds or 33rd Street Vintage Market, for example, are stores that offer high-quality vintage items for sale. These vintage items are very well made and still have many more years of life left in them – not to mention they are uniquely crafted! Second hand does not mean poorer quality. Most vintage items are made from natural fibres, real wood, glass, or metal, meaning that they will all naturally decompose when thrown away or that they can be safely recycled. Also, by purchasing an item second hand, you are saving a perfectly good item from the landfill, and promoting less wasteful manufacturing of new products.

 

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Another great idea is to purchase your friends or family natural products that will replace every day items that are usually made of plastic. This will not only be healthier for them, but for the planet as well.

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Some Christmas gifts do not need to be expensive at all! You can hand make your gifts! If you have some glass jars or little tin containers lying around (and if you don’t, Value Village is a great place to look) and simple ingredients found from the kitchen, DIY body scrubs, lip scrubs, lotions and other natural products are easy to make and give – Pinterest is full of recipes! Another great idea is to sew or knit something! Below, I have a picture of the reusable cotton makeup remover pads that I sewed! A handmade gift shows that the giver put some thoughtful effort into making the gift for the recipient. A promise of spending time with a friend or making special treats for someone is another way to make the season happy and memorable.

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Another important aspect about Christmas is the gift packaging. Most wrapping paper and gift bags cannot be recycled. This ends up with an unnecessarily large input going into the landfill. This can be easily avoided by switching to these following methods. Have extra pillowcases, sheets, scarves or tablecloths lying around your home? Wrap your gifts using the “furoshiki” practice. You can knot the fabric, or secure it with a broach! Fabric can be continually reused to wrap presents over and over! Another way to wrap gifts is with newspapers, paper bags, or old road maps – just insure that they are recycled afterward!

Need a stocking stuffer idea? I keep my hands looking holiday ready using natural lotions from Dad’s Organic Market and the Seche Vive Topcoat from Nail Polish Canada! I apply this topcoat initially and then 2-3 days after as well and it is the only top coat I’ve found that keeps the polish on for a week (and on my hands, that is saying something… usually I chip my nail polish in 2 days). This top coat also keeps my nails very shiny and strong! This polish offers a gel nail look without the need of a lamp. Nail Polish Canada also offers nail polishes that are toxin free, found here!

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I hope that this article helps you to make this Christmas season more sustainable and inspires you to bring that level of sustainability into all the other aspects of your life. After all, we only have one planet.

– Tiara

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Monthly Listen – February 2016

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I present to you, my favourite album of the month! I know what you’re thinking, I listen to other artists besides Fleetwood Mac and Meat Loaf? What? However here I am with this months favourite: The Beach Boys by The Beach Boys. I recently dusted off this record and while it was playing I couldn’t help but dance around and be filled with pure joy. Since then I think I’ve almost worn it out with the amount I’ve played it! The Beach Boys have that irresistible upbeat summer vibe that I can’t get enough of. Songs like “It’s Gettin’ Late” encompass a sound that breathes life into my soul.

Happy Listening,

-Tiara

 

Love Yourself

Learning to fall in love with yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It is difficult, however I believe that truly accepting yourself is beyond valuable, precious and should be a goal you set to achieve everyday.
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Not so long ago, I fell out of love with myself due to a toxic relationship. Someone I expected to love me the most, did not return any love back to me. I felt that if I was being treated so poorly from someone I held very important in my life, then it must be because I did not deserve love. Constant emotional and sexual abuse took a toll. Eventually my self esteem plummeted, and I turned emotionally numb. As a result, I was miserable, depressed and prone to several anxiety attacks a day. The worst part about all of it was I thought that was acceptable. I began to look in the mirror and see someone starring back that I did not recognize. It horrified me that I could not relate to the reflection in the mirror. I began to stare at all the features I hated about myself and wonder why my reflection was so ugly. I had truly lost myself, and I did not remember who I was anymore, what I loved or what I was good at.
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When that relationship came to a destructive end, I felt broken in every way imaginable. I had put so much time, effort and love into it and in the end, I had got nothing out of it. I felt used, burnt out, and exhausted. The pain I felt was intolerable, making my anxiety and depression skyrocket – I was even hospitalized. I began to realize that the most painful part of the entire relationship was that I had spent an entire year falling out of love with myself. The emptiness surrounded me, because I had forgotten how to comfort myself.
For so long I expected the relationship to fill the emotional gaps in my life, and to make me happier. I then realized that the relationship was actually causing these gaps. One of my biggest regrets is knowing deep down that I should have ever stood for what was happening to me, but I chose to do nothing about it.
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Slowly I started making myself do activities that I remembered I used to enjoy, but never set aside time to do them. I made sure I did things that made me happy. I would watercolor for hours, spend time in nature, do yoga, listen to music, or watch my favorite movies. By doing these activities I found something so foreign to me; I found comfort. I started to discover myself again. I started to look in the mirror, and for the first time in a very long time, I recognized my reflection starring back. My eyes were no longer numb and emotionless, they had life and feeling.

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously” – Sophia Bush.

Slowly, through continuous hard work I am rebuilding myself, and starting to fall in love with myself. I am still very conscious of all my multiple imperfections; however, I am now carving out my own definition of perfection. I have started to believe that I am beautiful, and often wonder why I let myself be in a situation that was so destructive to me. I won’t lie, I am still sad, and I am still confused, as any person would be when their love is so easily thrown away. However, now I am more aware of what I am capable of and I respect myself more. I will never let anyone treat me like that again. I did not find what I wanted in that relationship, however I found what I absolutely do not want. Through complete destruction, I am starting to find strength.
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You may be thinking, why is this a big deal? It is your responsibility to take care of yourself, and not to carry your problems with you and make them someone else’s problems. You are special, and it is my deepest wish that you read this and if you find yourself relating to any of this, then do something about your situation. You are worth it, you are strong, and you are loved.
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I urge you to set aside time to know yourself better and to be with yourself and truly admire yourself. Do not lose yourself, and do not force yourself to do something, to be with someone, or be somewhere that you aren’t happy with. Cleanse yourself of those situations that have no intentions of helping you grow into the best version of yourself. You may wonder why I have decided to put together such a personal post. It is my dream that my writing will help someone going through a similar situation. I am also proud of myself for getting to this point. It would have been much easier to let my anxiety and depression win, but I fight each and every day, because it is what I do. I encourage all of you to set aside time to partake in activities that bring you true happiness, and be truly present while you do these activities. Do not let anyone treat you poorly, and move away from those that do not seek to give anything back to you. Do not settle or stay in situations that make you feel alienated from yourself. You are so much more important than that.

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Thank you Ashley of Live Laugh Love Photography for your wonderful photography!

Love,

– Tiara

Shania Twain Concert 2015

My dreams came true during Shania Twain’s Rock This Country Concert this past Sunday. I first started listening to Shania Twain on cassette when I was 3 years old, and she has remained one of my favourites to this day. Her music is iconic and timeless. She did not disappoint, her concert was unreal! From fireballs to fireworks, and she is still the hottest woman alive.
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I loved the consistent red and black theme, and all the sparkle on Shania’s outfits!
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Here she is joined by Wes Mack to sing Party For Two.
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If this concert wasn’t already awesome enough, Shania got into a saddle that suspended up over the audience and sang Up!
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The performance of You’re Still the One left me with chills and tears. Shania is still very capable of blowing me away with just her voice and the guitar.
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Shania left us with the song Man! I Feel Like a Woman, while wearing a bodysuit that proves in every sense that she’s still got it.
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Shania did not disappoint, it was a stunning concert full of glam, sparkle and flame. She interacted with the audience and her band members, reminding me how down to earth she remains after all these years. We were kept entertained between costume changes by her band playing cool instrumentals of her songs or videos of her on screen. The backdrops were amazing, and the stage set up was really well organized. Shania left me with a night I will always remember and cherish, it was a concert to remember!

This was the best Sunday night of my life!
– Tiara

Monthly Listen – March 2015

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I decided to start something new and talk about albums that I am currently loving. This Meat Loaf record is my monthly favourite, it never stops playing! This 1983 album is full of all that rock and roll, upbeat and lively music that I crave. I love how whatever encompasses Meat Loaf’s music, it keeps me coming back, 32 years after it was released. This is not one of Meat Loaf’s well known albums and for some obscene reason gets a bad rep. Which is why I want to share it, as I believe that there are so many hidden gems on this album.

My top picks: Fallen Angel & Midnight at the Lost and Found

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happy listening,

– Tiara

Get Ready for the Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival!

Get Ready for the Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival!

Don’t have anything exciting planned for this weekend? Well I’ve got you all covered! Come hang out with me at the Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival! Selected events proceeds will be given to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I will be attending these events and blogging about them this weekend so keep an eye on my instagram and blog as I will be updating you!

Here is a rundown of the events!

Thursday May 29
@ Midtown Plaza (in front of The Bay)
$5 Admission
12:15pm or 5:15pm

Friday May 30
@ Green Ark Collected Home 212 20th Street W
$10 Admission (must be 19+)
7pm to 11pm

Saturday May 31
@ Mercedes Benz Saskatoon Showroom
$45/$75/$150 Admission (must be 19+)
8:30pm

Sunday June 1
@ River Landing Amphitheatre
Free Admission
12pm to 5pm

Tickets are available here!

Hope to see you there!

– Tiara

The Juice on Aloe Vera

The Juice on Aloe Vera

So even though it is snowing here in Saskatoon, I like to pretend that it is warm like Spring should be so I bought another plant. I got an Aloe Vera plant because they are quite pretty as well as very beneficial to have on hand.

General Care: An Aloe Vera plant should be planted cactus mix soil. It should also be planted in a container with drainage holes. My container did not have a drainage hole so instead I added a variety of rocks at the bottom of the container to help with better drainage. I will have to take special care not to over water it. Make sure to let the soil dry out really well between watering it, letting the soil get crumbly and light in colour. Allow the soil to dry 2 to 3 inches deep to discourage rot. Try watering it every 2 weeks and adjust to what works for you. Make sure your plant gets a lot of sunshine (if the leaves are lying flat they aren’t getting enough light and if the leaves turn brown they are getting too much light).aloevera2

Repotting: I repotted my plant into a prettier container when I got home. Make sure the container allows for a lot of room for the roots to grow. Make sure to do this outside or over an area that is easily cleaned. I added rocks to the bottom, added cactus mix, and gently loosened the roots into the new soil. Be very careful as the roots are not connected very well to the plant, the plant will wobble a bit in its new container. Try not to water it for a couple days after repotting.

Benefits: An Aloe Vera leaf is filled with a gel-like substance. This substance can be applied to burns, cuts, rashes and bug bites to relieve pain, soothe and prevent itching. Aloe Vera can also reduce the pain and swelling of acne and if applied often will help give an even skin tone. You can try replacing your lotion and replacing it with Aloe Vera gel for a great and natural moisturizer.aloevera3

How I Use It: My favourite use for Aloe Vera is using it in homemade hair masks. It deeply hydrates the scalp and hair, in return providing extremely shiny hair and no dandruff! I massage about 3 tablespoons of the gel into my scalp and use the rest on the length of my hair and let it sit for 1 hour. The crazy thing is by the end of the hour my hair is completely dry, it absorbed all the Aloe Vera! Then I shampoo and condition as usual. This can speed up hair growth and promote healthy and strong hair.

There are many different opinions about if consuming Aloe Vera gel is safe, so I choose to only use it externally. I am very impressed about how moisturizing it is and will continue to use it as a lotion and in my hair masks. Tell me what you use it for!

– Tiara