Decor · Home

Calling All Plant Killers

I grew up with parents who are very talented Green Thumbs. Both our family homes boasted beautiful gardens and manicured lawns. You would think I would have inherited their knowledge and skill HOWEVER I am a self-proclaimed plant killer in recovery. I know there must be a few of us out there so I decided to have a chat with Plant Queen Meg Gizuk of Oliver and Rust for some tips and tricks to turn us into full-fledged Green Thumbs.

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Shop owner Meg in her happy place! Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Oliver and Rust is an upscale lifestyle and plant specialty shop located in the heart of the growing Fonthill core in Ontario. The retail store has been open since April 2015 with a wide array of vintage items, pillows, home décor, planters and a large unique selection of plants.

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Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Oliver and Rust began as the brainchild of owner Meaghan (Meg) Gizuk when she started a blog under the same name to chronicle the renovations of the home she shares with her husband Trevor. What started as an idea from watching Julie and Julia blossomed into a home décor blog having their home featured in numerous national magazines and online lifestyle blogs. The business of selling pillows and vintage items began in their garage with twice a year shows to a blossoming crowd. Eight years later, Meg left an 11 year career in dental hygiene behind to sew thousands of pillows, and indulge her love of all things plant!

Indoor Plants for Beginners

The first plant Meg suggested for beginners is actually one that I started with myself – the Snake Plant. Snake Plants can live in low to high light and really only need watering every 2-3 weeks depending on the light you put them in. They thrive on under-mothering (PERFECT) and neglect (BINGO) and don’t require any extras like fertilizer or misting.

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Meg’s gorgeous Snake Plant (center). Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

The second indoor plant Meg suggested is the ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia). This plant is glossy and fabulous! The ZZ Plant is a quick grower and they can get large fairly fast for their low maintenance properties. This plant is also works well in low to bright light and requires water approximately every 2 weeks. Just remember to allow your plant to dry fully before watering again!

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Let’s Take This Outside

The Boston Fern is Meg’s suggestion for a great outdoor plant for us beginners. This super friendly plant can handle sun AND shade and is a great option for making your planters look lush and full. You can even go one step further as most indoor plants can go outside when you know your light requirements. Make sure to ask when you are buying your plants if they are able to transition to the outdoors. However – if you are grabbing plants off the shelf at the grocery store, the staff may not have the information you need so Pinterest, Google, or Instagram are good fill ins for all your burning questions.

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Meg’s lush Boston Fern (top left corner). Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Tools of the Trade

Now that we have the plants we need to have the right tools to keep them happy! Meg suggests a good watering can and a mister  – whether it be a simple plastic bottle from the dollar store or a lovely leave out glass or metal version. Plants LOVE humidity and this can be difficult to provide especially when we get into winter months and our furnaces are sucking all the humidity out of the air trying to keep us warm.

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Metal Plant Mister $35.00 available at Oliver and Rust

Advice From Meg

Live and learn! Try to not get too wrapped up in the fact that you are or aren’t a Green Thumb. The process is all about learning and adjusting. The great thing about plants is that they don’t have to be a lifetime commitment and if you remember that they can be a lot of fun! Obviously no one wants to throw their money away but in the same breath a lot of us tend to forget how much we spend on lattes, entertainment, clothing etc. That plant you invested in made your space pretty, gave you some fresh air and made you smile when you looked at it. Remember that having a plant die or fail doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t keep plants alive, it just means that maybe the plant didn’t love its spot. So dust yourself off and get excited about another planting adventure!

Blog · Health & Beauty

Summer Self-Care With Jolene Antle

I love the Summer just as much as the next person BUT sometimes I have a hard time adapting my self-care routines to changing needs during the heat and humidity of July and August. My skin becomes different, I’m bored of drinking gallons of water to stay hydrated and the heat waves make me cranky and tired.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to meet Jolene Antle – an amazing female entrepreneur from Niagara. Jolene is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and founder/owner of Garden City Essentials and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the latest and greatest in skincare and self-care.

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She began researching and formulating natural skincare products as part of her own journey to lead a healthier lifestyle when all-natural skincare and wellness products weren’t as easy to come by as they are today. In early experimentation with botanicals, clays and oils, Jolene discovered happiness in her kitchen and sustainable self-care rituals that promoted feelings of peace, self-love and awareness.

I visited Jolene’s store this past week and we had a great conversation about her favourite products that can help enhance your self-care routines during the Summer months.

Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water – $44

This all-natural Collagen Beauty Water supplement should be added to everyone’s daily health and wellness regime – especially in the Summer months. Collagen helps to enhance skin, hair and nails and also provides a boost to joint health during many people’s busiest time of the year. The Lavender and Lemon flavor is refreshing without being overpowering and can be added to water, smoothies and tea!

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Onyx Air Tight Containers – $11.99 to $32

Made with food grade stainless steel these air tight containers are the perfect option for a waste-less lifestyle. Take these containers on your Summer picnic or use them as to-go containers when dining out! Write your name on the lid with a non-permanent marker to make sure fellow employees don’t snatch your homemade lunches at work. Available in a variety of sizes. Complete your Summer picnic set with the Onyx Black Cutlery Set for $8.99 and their Stainless Steel Straw for $4.50.

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Garden City Essentials Nourished Hydration – $56

Sea Buckthorn and Camellia Facial Serum, our super “skin-food” blend provides a generous dose of antioxidant Vitamins C, E and A to target free radicals, fight the signs of aging and environmental damage and promote collagen production. It will leave your skin feeling soft and nourished without feeling greasy.
You will love using the Serum in combination with the Rose Geranium Facial Toner to boost the hydration, balance pH and accelerate the absorption of oils into the skin. It’s such a perfect pairing that Jolene created a bundle that will save you $10 when you purchase these two together.
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Province Apothecary Radiant Body Oil – $58

Jolene recommends this luxurious body oil for all skin types! The blend of plant-based essential oils quickly absorbs deep into the skin without leaving a greasy film behind. The fresh fragrance of this body oil makes it a great option to use after your morning shower. The avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins A, D, and E and omega-3 fatty acids which deeply penetrate skin to fight dryness, dullness, and dehydration (when you haven’t been drinking as much water as you should be – hello patio cocktails).

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Garden City Essentials Honey and Clay Mask – $39.95

Hot Summer months can really dry out your face not to mention more than usual sweating leaves us with pesky blemishes we aren’t always used to. The honey in this mask is a natural humectant – which means it helps to draw moisture to the skin and the kaolin clay provides gentle, non-drying cleansing. Touches of Frankincense and Myrrh provide powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits!

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Consonant’s The Perfect Sunscreen – $45

We cannot stress this enough – every skincare routine MUST include a high-quality SPF. What sets this sunscreen apart is that it is 100% natural and has a non-greasy formula that leaves behind no white residue. With an SPF of 30 and no fragrance it is literally the perfect sunscreen for everyday use.  The best part? This sunscreen has a hint of mica tint which helps to give you a healthy glow!

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Garden City Essentials – Deodorant Cream – $22

Has your natural deodorant been coming up short this Summer? This is the answer! Garden City Essentials Deodorant Cream uses kaolin clay and arrowroot powder to keep you dry and fresh all day long. It is super easy to apply and has a light, gender-neutral scent. It is available in a 1oz jar for $6 and a 4oz jar for $22.

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Garden City Essentials has expanded from a primarily online business, to a sweet boutique and community hub in downtown St. Catharines. Focusing on natural wellness, beauty and lifestyle, GCE offers an in-house created, small batch skincare line, as well as a curated collection of the best in green beauty and lifestyle products.

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Uncategorized

Beat the Heat – Summer Hair Care

Anybody who knows me knows that I love to switch up my hair! I have tried every hair look – short, long, red, dark, pixie and now most recently fabulous blonde highlights. I couldn’t have made these transitions without the help of my amazing stylist Sue Brown. I have been a client of Sue’s for over 12 years and she is a stylist at Fringe Hair & Skin Group here in Niagara.

 

I sat down with Sue this past week to pick her brain for her best summer hair care tips and she even threw in some product recommendations for us!

Go Natural

Let your hair air dry as often as you can. Use a bit of beach spray to achieve the very popular undone beach look! Put down the heat stylers – blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons and opt for working with your hair’s natural texture instead. Sue recommends Joico’s Beach Shake Texturizing Finisher. It creates touchable looks with an amazing tropical fragrance!

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Marco Polo

If you love to swim in the summer months you HAVE to make sure you stay moisturized. Throw on a deep conditioner and give your hair a quick braid. It will help to block the chlorine from saturating your hair while moisturizing at the same time! How easy! Sue loves K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock Shine and Repair Treatment.

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Protect Those Locks

If you ABSOLUTELY have to use heat tools over the summer always make sure to use a good quality heat protectant on your hair first. Sue recommends Joico Ironclad Thermal Protectant Spray. It puts a barrier between your hair and the heat tool and protects your hair from burning. This product also zaps frizz and static for a full 72 hours!

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Don’t Skip the Snip

Summers are so hectic for everyone with holidays, and bbq’s but Sue insists on keeping up with your regular haircuts. Sun and chlorine can do big time damage over the summer months and it is important to continue your trims – so don’t flake on those appointments! Worried you will lose your coveted length with all those trims? Your hair actually grows on average 10% faster during the summer!

Quality Products Do Matter

Finally, for year-round gorgeous hair Sue always suggests using high quality products. Contrary to what some may think, higher end products are a bit more expensive for a reason! If you are going to spend $100-$300 on hair treatments make sure you spend the little bit more on good products that will help you maintain your favourite look!

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Sue Brown Stylist – Fringe Hair & Skin Group
Blog

Everyday Tips For Busy Moms

This week we are featuring a Guest Post by Jessica, a self-employed Mother of five and Grandmother of two. Read on below as she shares her top 5 tips for navigating the busy and hectic life of Motherhood.

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Jessica and her husband Billy

When we enter the role of Motherhood the hopes and dreams of what we thought it would be like are soon replaced with worry, overwhelm, guilt, and exhaustion. Each of us evolve into the new role in our own way, leaving behind pieces of ourselves that gather dust in the background, while creating the “supermom” we all believe we should be.

As a Mother of five, and a Grandmother of two, I have spent many years trying to create a balance between who I was and who I have become, all while battling crazy schedules, time limits, daily tasks and everyday “holy shit” moments that come along with being a busy Mom.

I have discovered a few tips that I would love to share with my fellow busy Moms:

1. Start your day for you
It has taken me many years to learn to fit myself into the life I have with a large family. Going to the gym is something I love to do but working full time and caring for all these little humans has left the treadmill and weights in a untouchable space. I joined my favourite gym to once again try and make this work. The early mornings are not always pleasant but after that workout, I feel like the day can hit me with anything and I am good to go.

2. You are not alone
Married, divorced, or single from the start, we are never alone. Do not carry that dirty feeling of guilt because you ask for help. Just ask, someone is always there. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I rely on my village and praise them for every moment of breath they give me to get through the next day.

3. Leave it for tomorrow
The dishes, the sticky kitchen floor, the laundry that may or may not be clean (sniff test) will all be there tomorrow! I will admit, I am one who struggles with this daily, and I try and remind myself, it is OKAY if its not finished before I close my eyes hours after everyone else. It will get done!

4. Love on your partner
For those of us who have a partner, whatever shape that appears, love hard on them. When you are tired, can’t remember when the last shower happened, or if you have eaten that day, take a moment to connect with your partner. They will give you that extra boost you need to push on.

Lastly, for the time being –

5. Teach your children
A busy Mom tends to forget they have little humans that once at an appropriate age can help with all kinds of things! It can be as simple as making their beds or wiping down the kitchen table after meals. Not only are you teaching them real life skills, they are also easing the load you carry.

 

Blog

Delicious Summer Reads

Summer is the perfect time to lay out with a cold beverage and dive into a fantastic read!

Here are my Top 5 reads this season:

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On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

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He has a type: all his victims look the same. And they all look like you. Kate returns from a post break-up holiday with her girlfriends to news of a serial killer in her home town – and his victims all look like her. It could, of course, be a simple coincidence. Or maybe not.

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Anna is recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times and spying on her neighbors. But when Anna sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control?

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When an old friend gets in touch, Sarah Havenant discovers that there are two Facebook profiles in her name. One is hers. The other, she has never seen. But everything in it is accurate. Photos of her friends, her husband, her kids. Photos of her new kitchen. Photos taken inside her house. And this is just the beginning. Because whoever has set up the second profile has been waiting for Sarah to find it. And now that she has, her life will no longer be her own…

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When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to a hen party in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new and a haunting realization creeps in—they are not alone in the woods.

Is there a book you think I would love to read this summer? Send me a message or leave a comment below!

Blog · Health & Beauty

Namaste B*tches

Happy Summer Everyone!

We are in the middle of a heatwave here in Niagara and temperatures continue to soar each day. You would think that the only place I want to be is in the central air and believe me that is definitely true but I have also found a place I am absolutely comfortable – it just happens to be 98 degrees F there.

Yoga has always been a great match for me, it requires me to slow down and focus and blocks out the noise of life. I have tried many different types of yoga and studios over the last decade but have never been able to stick to a particular type or location for more than an 8 week session.f109f707f3f27f230fb32e28cdb06c99

Regular gym memberships just weren’t my thing and I could never get past how physically uncomfortable working out felt. I know so many people who love their gym memberships and find amazing success there but for whatever reason I always left feeling defeated and like I really hadn’t accomplished much.

Then a few years ago I found Hot Yoga at Moksha Yoga here in Niagara. But once again I took classes off and on and didn’t manage to stick with it.  After my Dad’s health scares this winter and after settling in at my new job it really felt like it was time to finally commit and do something for myself. Moksha Yoga had a fantastic membership offer for the summer and I am so glad I took advantage of it. I have been consistently going 3-4 times a week and I cannot believe how quickly I started to feel the positive changes in my body and my mind.

The benefits of Hot Yoga are endless but here are just a few:

  •  practicing yoga in a hot room gives your body an amazing opportunity to SWEAT i.e. get all the crappy stuff out and let the good stuff in!
  • the heat of the room helps to warm your muscles up and create a better range of motion for your poses
  • you’ll find that the heat creates an amazing “mind over matter” situation and therefore helps you to focus on your breathing and your movement

Moksha Yoga in Niagara is a beautiful studio filled with the most encouraging and accepting group of teachers. The studio schedule is extremely accessible – there are even 6:30AM classes for the early risers. Moksha Yoga offers over 12 different class types as well as private lessons. They accept all skill levels and offer modifications to your practice whenever needed.

If you are interested in trying out a class I suggest their Friday night Karma Class which is a donation-only 60 minute class with funds going to local/global charities.

Have fun and get sweaty!

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Decor · Home

..now I have to lay in it..

I have spent the last year or so really fine tuning the look and feel of my bedroom. Since I am living with my parents I felt that it was super important for me to have a space that was completely mine and that I was extremely comfortable in.

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Pillows by HomeSense. Duvet Cover by IKEA

I’m sure that I will continue to find bits and pieces to add to it but for the most part my bedroom is complete. For that reason I thought it would be a great time to talk about my favourite feature and the most important part of anyone’s bedroom : THE BED! Snickering aside (this isn’t that kind of blog post) according to Mental Health Canada a good night’s sleep is vital for our nervous systems, our immune system and plays a huge role in the person we are during our waking hours. I am a firm believer that in order to get the most restful and successful sleep possible, your bed really needs to be exactly the way you want it. Be a Goldilocks it is more than okay!!

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Neutral tones and an underlying “nature” theme

Bed-frames and Mattresses:
I can’t stress enough how important the selection of your bed and mattress is. No matter how tempting it is to purchase your bed and/or mattress online if you are someone that struggles with sleep or physical limitations I HIGHLY suggest shopping in person. I chose a simple low to the floor, white, Queen-sized bed frame from Ikea with a removable rattan headboard. At the time I didn’t realize how important having a removable headboard is but for someone who likes to redecorate often it gives you the option of styling your bed with or without the headboard attached. Also, being able to remove the headboard makes it so much easier to clean it. Currently I have styled my bed without the headboard but have been contemplating painting it white and reattaching it (another blog post). I have a spring and active -response coil mattress also from Ikea and it is an absolute dream!

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Custom “Shhhh” keepsake by Shawne of Embroiderwee

Colours:
When I painted my bedroom I went with a grey hue from Behr called Thundercloud. I wanted a neutral grey that would allow me to accent with white decorative pieces (my favourite) and would coordinate with the natural hardwood floors, molding and doors.
For a tranquil space soft neutrals and cool greys and blues work well in a bedroom. However, pastels like lavenders and pale yellow can help make a smaller room appear bigger. I found a great article online by HGTV that can show you how to pick a perfect colour for your personal oasis.

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Paint colour by Behr “Thundercloud”

Bedding and Textiles:
I am absolutely obsessed with bedding. Sheets, pillows, blankets, you name it! There is  nothing I enjoy more than slipping into fresh sheets and blankets.  It can be a bit of a pain in the morning but spending those 5 minutes to make your bed will really make a difference when you come back to it at the end of the day. And don’t skimp out on those hospital corners!

Decorating a bed can be broken down into the following sections: sheets, blankets, comforter/duvet, pillows, accent pillows and throw blankets. When choosing your bedding make sure you keep things in mind like your body’s natural temperature (flannels are notoriously warm compared to cooler materials like bamboo or cotton), and how important it is that your bedding look freshly pressed all the time (100% cotton will ALWAYS wrinkle more), and finally how often you will be laundering your bedding (comforters will start to clump if you are washing them very often whereas a duvet gives you the option of just washing the cover). Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and materials. Remember as with fashion – things don’t have to match – they just need to go!

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Textures add depth and visual interest

A few final tips :

  1. Gather tons of inspiration. Pinterest is a great way to start and you can conveniently shop with your inspiration stored on your smart phone or tablet!
  2. Measure! Make sure to keep up to date measurements of your bedroom (or any room) to keep your trips at a minimum.
  3. If you don’t like it bring it back. No matter how much we think we love something sometimes it just doesn’t work in real life. Keep your receipts and ask the return policy when making your purchases.
  4. Create your colour scheme and work from there! Pick your vibe and stick to it to avoid making your space visually confusing.
  5. Mix rather than match your textiles! The look you want is coordinated yet effortless.

As always please feel free to post any questions or comments you have!

Happy Decorating –