Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rapid-Fire Faves: Beauty

Soothe & Invigorate  Rocky Mountain Soap Company's Ginger & Lime bath salts combine two of my favourite scents to create a bath experience that is both soothing and invigorating.  This combo produces a warming sensation and improves circulation - perfect to take the chill off during those cold winter days, or to help relieve aches associated with coughs and colds. This is a seasonal product - available during the Fall and Winter - so order soon to avoid disappointment, or find a store near you!

Best Facial Ever    In the mood for some pampering that's good for you, too?  Contact Amber (Absolute Beauty by Nancy Penny, Bayview Ave, Toronto) and delight in some steamy bliss that will leave your skin glowing and your cares but a distant memory.  Friendly, warm, professional in every way.  Don't be daunted by the long climb...your session with Amber will be worth every step!

A Taste of the Tropics   ...literally!  Tropical lip cream by Pure Anada natural cosmetics.  Smooth, weightless, and scented like a light, luscious creamsicle that leaves your lips feeling soft and moisturized even in the harshest winter weather.

Patricia Miller Body Cream   An intensely warm body cream, excellent for improving circulation and targeting cellulite. Cinnamon, ginger.  Reminiscent of Christmas cookies. Makes you want to curl up in front of the fireplace in your coziest flannel nightgown while the cream works its magic on your dimples.  Sold in select spas across Canada and through the Patricia Miller Aromatherapy website. Update: I recently discovered that this heavenly cream is not currently in production!  Keep your eyes peeled for it's return.  It will be well worth the wait.

Lush, indeed...   A luxurious, revitalizing mix of mandarin, lime, and orange essential oils and mango butter, LUSH'S Each Peach (and Two's a Pair) massage bar serves as a massage oil or an after-shower moisturizer.  This is a vegan product that is great to pack for travel - lightweight, and no glass bottles to worry about breaking or leaking.   Find a store near you, or shop online!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Flaunt Greeting Cards (giveaway)

Some women love fashion.  Some spend oodles on jewelry or high-end make-up.  I love good quality, unique stationery.  The kind you find in tiny stationery boutiques and gift shops.  Call me a woman of simple pleasures.  A beautiful greeting card or several sheets of exquisite, hand-made paper is what I'm drawn to if I want to splurge.  Not only do I relish owning them for a while, but there is a special kind of pleasure and satisfaction in having the perfect card for the right person on a given occasion.  A card like this, with a hand-written note, conveys that your thoughts are with that friend or loved-one especially, and can become a treasured keepsake.   

Shannon Barnes, creator of Flaunt greeting cards (Vancouver, BC) creates works of whimsy using torn mulberry paper, a rainbow of fabric glue, ribbon, and glitter.  With these simple components, an attention to detail, and sparkling creativity, a myriad of little creatures spring to life on the cover of Shannon's cards.  Each card is carefully hand-made. Each object and critter she creates jumps off the page with texture and personality, begging to be touched...or in some cases, talked to!  (Don't believe me?  Check out some examples of Shannon's work.)   Some of my favourites include the Hallowe'en owl, the Thanksgiving cornucopia, and the birthday octopus.

Worth noting:
  • Flaunt greeting cards have won several awards and have been featured in various media, including Martha Stewart, InStyle magazine, and Canadian Home & Country magazine.  (Click on each media icon to view the articles featured in each publication).
  • In 2010, Flaunt also had the privilege of contributing to the official swag bags for the 31st Annual News and Documentary Emmys in NYC!
  • With every purchase of a “Hope” bird card (pictured here), a percentage of proceeds goes to help aid breast cancer research. 
In addition to Flaunt's signature greeting cards, a collection of printed note cards and hand-made gift bags featuring some of the most popular card designs are available.
You can purchase Flaunt greeting cards online and at select retail stores and boutiques throughout Canada, the USA, and across Europe.  

Shannon Barnes has generously offered to sponsor this wonderful giveaway!

Flaunt Greeting Card Contest

Prize:  A collection of 6 Flaunt greeting cards (retail value $35.70 CDN)

Eligibility: This contest is open internationally. 

Contest ends Sunday, March 27th, 2011 at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected using  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be selected.

This contest has now ended. Congratulations to J. Tang of Burnaby, BC!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Cottage Gardener

 The Cottage Gardener....  The name brings to mind an image of a quaint, bonneted woman tending a whimsical English garden by the seaside, does it not?  Elicits feelings of coziness and simple pleasures.  The name alone was the hook that drew me to the website of this business, based near Port Hope, Ontario.  To my delight, my warm feelings about it were well founded!

The Cottage Gardener is owned and operated by Mary & Dan Brittain, who are "dedicated to searching out traditional species, varieties and cultivars that grew in gardens of old, and reintroducing them to you and your gardens."   The seeds come packaged in lovely black and white envelopes with featuring a simple line drawing that really does evoke a feeling of nostalgia, reminding one of kinder, simpler times.  Their annual catalog (request via this page), similar in appearance, is a treasure.  Bits of folklore, traditional uses of herbs, unusual facts, and plant histories are included in the descriptions of the various seeds on offer.  I found myself picking it up whenever I had a spare moment and enjoying it the way I would a book! 

Noteworthy features on the site include articles on medieval gardens and "Garden Writers of Influence", and unique gift seed collections, including The Edible Flower, The Faery Garden, Medieval Flowery Mead, and the Short Season Vegetable collections. Prices range from $7.50 to $75.00.

Gift certificates and a new seed saving kit are now available from The Cottage Gardener.  I have ordered several times from this site.  The customer service is excellent, and everything I have purchased (including Chocolate bell peppers, Hungarian yellow hot peppers, and Martino's Roma tomatoes) has grown like a dream.  This summer, I'll be trying my hand at growing the Plum Lemon tomatoes and Munstead lavender they make available.  Highly recommended!