25 January 2015

feel-good winter shopping list

Are you in need of  a little winter pick-me-up? I've been perusing Etsy and have come across some irresistible hand-made beauties that will help make our homes unique, warm and cozy so we can ride out the season with a smile on our faces. This is feel-good shopping friends, because we are supporting creative makers and sustainable goods. Gotta love that!

jupiter coffee mug hand made
Gorgeous Jupiter Mug for coffee and tea

abstract canadian art
cheerful abstract art by Siiso
large wooden spoon by Kitchen Carvings
handmade ceramic honey pot Etsy
ceramic honey pot 

handmade cozy knit wool pillow
knit wool pillow 

natural flax linen tablecloth canadian
soft natural flax linen tablecloth 

wool blanket handmade Etsy
handwoven undyed wool blanket

pf candle co soy candle
fig & jasmine 100% soy candle from P.F. Candle Co.

wood tea and coffee set Etsy
cherry wood cafe set

walnut wood hand carved cake stand
walnut wood cake stand from Cattails Woodwork

22 January 2015

create a home meditation space

I started meditating last year when I realized that I was getting too caught up in the rush of work, commuting, social media and trying to "be more" all the time. While it's still challenging a lot of the time, meditating lets me put a little space between my ego, with its constant thinking and planning and worrying, and my Being. But quieting the mind is not easy - at least not for me. So it's been helpful to carve out a  little corner of my condo where I'm surrounded by things I love and where I can build a consistent routine of being still and present. This little sacred space is a spot for me to be calm and meditate, and also sometimes to read uplifting or spiritual books, to drink tea, to set intentions and to journal about gratitude and what's in my heart. I think that meditating doesn't have to be so intimidating - it can simply entail sitting quietly, breathing and reflecting on God's Word or anything that you believe in that's bigger than yourself. Not feeling like I have to master meditating for an hour at a time has been helpful.

create a meditation space at home

A few things to keep in mind when creating this kind of nook in our homes:
  • Select a space that's quiet, away from the traffic zone, and not used for sleeping or cooking or watching anything on screens.
  • Have cushions and blankets to make it comfortable, and keep the temperature regulated. 
  • Have a focal point - perhaps a little altar or symbol that has special meaning. 
  • Appeal to the senses. Diffusing the air with lavender or other essential oils is a great idea, as is a naturally-scented soy candle. Sometimes light music or nature sounds help. And soft lighting from lamps or candles (not overhead lighting) is a must. 
  • Include natural elements in order to feel connected to the earth and the world we are a part of. Bring in flowers, branches, rocks and/or green plants. 
  • Keep clutter to a minimum to induce a calming, peaceful feeling. Just keep the space simple. 

sacred space in your home

create a home meditation space

create a home meditation space

creating a home meditation room

create a home meditation room

simple meditation space at home

create a home meditation corner


Please let me know if you also meditate and if you have any tips on what has worked well for you! Namaste.

18 January 2015

ready, set, cleanse

I don't know about you, but I've been having trouble getting into the groove since returning from holiday break. I heard a report recently that January is the month that sees a spike in depression, lack of energy, and what I call " the funk". I think I fell into that a little - not so much depression as settling into hibernation mode. I seem to have little inspiration to go out into the cold and get on with my new year's intentions, or really do much of anything productive! Darn Netflix and their full seasons of Gilmore Girls and Friends! Have you been feeling the same way?

body, mind, home cleanse

Well, it's time to break out of that rut, and I plan on doing it with a cleanse. Not just a cleanse of my body, but a cleanse of my mind and my home as well.


I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 last night, and it has renewed my desire to reboot my system with all fruits and veggies for the next 5 days. Joe's new book is a good resource on how to begin juicing. For now, I'm doing the smoothie thing (I don't have a juicer, and like the convenience and texture of blended drinks) and began this morning with a detox smoothie similar to this one from one of my favourite organic health blogs, Joyous Health (I like hemp milk and water in my smoothies instead of coconut milk).

Joyous Health green detox smoothie
Joyous Health detox smoothie
As well, I'm cooking up one of my favourite vegan soups from Oh She Glows as a staple for this week's meals, along with the smoothies. I have become a big fan of many, many recipes in the Oh She Glows vegan cookbook. Creator Angela Liddon has also started a tea shop, and I've ordered a couple of blends to give me energy and clarity.

Oh She Glows Vegan Tortilla Soup


I've been lax on taking the time to meditate lately, and so I'm going to schedule in the time each day to spend on this beneficial practice, as I know it will help keep me out of "funk land". I like these guided meditations by Charlie Knoles found on Mind Body Green.

I find getting outdoors and into the fresh air also does wonders for both my mind and body, so I'm scheduling in 30 minutes every night after dinner to go for a neighborhood walk.

winter wonderland meditation

And I'm amping up reading time (real books - not on screen) in my nightly routine. I got a library card this weekend, and am happy to report that old school libraries are not so old school any more - mine had a great selection of all kinds of hot-off-the-press fiction and non-fiction books and a free download service for music, movies, and audiobooks. I'm ashamed to say I forgot how simple and gratifying it can be to borrow books instead of purchasing new ones all the time!

book cleanse


I've talked before about ditching the chemical-laden cleaners and air fresheners and instead using home-made, non-toxic options. As I work on cleansing my body and mind, I'm re-doubling my efforts to eliminate all toxins from my home as well.

natural home-made cleaner recipes

I've mixed up fresh bottles of home-made, all-natural cleansers, including a surface spray that I use daily on my counters, door handles and light switches, and also to clean nasty germs off of my phone. This mix includes the all-powerful vinegar plus anti-bacterial essential oils:

I also use an herbal linen and room spray, as a way to freshen the air and also cut down on air-borne viruses. Here's a good mix, but you can change up the essential oils as you like:

Finally, I've put out new room fresheners to keep the air clean at all times- this post on DIY mason jar fresheners will give you the quick how-to.

DIY mason jar baking soda air freshener
natural DIY air freshener
Check out my Pinterest board for more all-natural home-cleansing recipes and ideas.

Wish me luck on my cleanse, and I'm putting out good vibes for all of you who are on this kind of mission to begin the year right as well. Good luck!

12 January 2015

reclaimed barn board bathroom vanities

I believe that modern rustic style is actually becoming a classic style. It's simple, natural and eco-friendly, so will always have an innate appeal. Reclaimed barn board or other weathered wood is amazing in texture and interest, and when used in unexpected places - like a bathroom vanity - it adds an organic element that will make you feel connected to the earth with the start of every day!

Here are some lovely and simple examples of rustic modern bathroom vanities from reclaimed wood. Really worth considering when trying to design sustainably, instead of purchasing "new" cabinets for a next project. 

barnboard vanity; modern rustic; reclaimed wood vanity

4 January 2015

living simply and mindfully in 2015

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015 friends!

living mindfully with intention

I hope your year has been as wonderful as mine has been. Last year at this time I wrote about seeking contentment, and now I can say that I've found it in abundance. I worked on becoming still, mindful, and present in every moment. I grew in faith and in confidence that I am where I am supposed to be, and that I have what I need to thrive.

living intentionally

This year, my intention is to build on that notion of "having what I need." By this I mean both inside (courage, wisdom, health, strength, peace) and outside (a cozy home, family and friends, good books to read, wholesome food to eat).

living mindfully

Have you thought much about being content with what you already have, and knowing that everything you need is already with you? It seems in this life we are always striving for something - a better job, new trendy furniture, the latest smartphone, or even just to make it to the weekend or a vacation week. I've been discovering that the key to contentment is to enjoy wherever we are and whatever we have right now. And know that what we need, we already have. We don't need a vacation - we already have the ability to be calm and rested through daily meditation, a neighbourhood walk, or time spent reading and learning. We don't need trendy new furniture - we can read blogs on how to reclaim our old pieces and work with what we have to make our homes inviting. We don't need to make more money or be more "successful" - we can scale back our lifestyle of living in excess, thereby providing more time for the really meaningful things. We have the ability right now, within ourselves and within our circumstances, to live a simple, wholesome, happy life.

2015, living simply

My wish for all of us this year is to live simply, and to be mindful of what we already have in our lives, thereby minimizing the need to strive for, work for or shop for "more". I'll work on providing you with ideas, links, inspiration and how-to's on doing just that - especially when it comes to creating a home that will promote this way of life.

living simply

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and encouragement. It means so much and is deeply appreciated. Happy 2015!