Letting go is easy, when you have no control

July 14, 2015

photo-1429042007245-890c9e2603afMy parents moved around a lot when I was a kid, and it didn’t really bother me. I have always embraced change, so I loved being the new girl every couple of years or so. I secretly reveled in the feeling of walking into a new classroom, knowing everyone’s eyes were fixed on me. “Who’s that?” they would whisper to themselves as I walked by. “I’m the new girl,” I’d think to myself and smile. There was an excitement around being new and starting fresh. Kids would run up to me at recess, wanting to be the first to befriend me. What’s not to like about change!?

I’ve grown up thinking this whole time that I am very good at letting go and saying goodbye. I’ve been saying goodbye to school friends since I was little, I’m a goodbye pro. I even had to part ways with my dad when I was nine years old when my mom moved me and my baby sister to Victoria, while my dad stayed in Ottawa. Surely a parent is the hardest person to say goodbye too, even if it’s only temporary.

Well, it turns out that I’m only good at letting go if I have absolutely no control over the situation. If, on the other hand, I have a choice to make: hold on or let go, I have a harder time coming to a decision. “Mal, we’re moving,” my parents might have said, and I’d be totally fine with it. I can’t do anything to change the situation, might as well embrace it. Great attitude right? It is, but if I have some control, any at all, I start to get anxious. I flip flop between my choices and I tie myself up in knots. I have the cursed blessing of being able to see two sides of any coin, heck, there might even be three sides to this blasted coin.

I had a relationship that lasted five years that was wonderful in so many ways and incredibly frustrating in others. We broke up, but never stopped seeing each other, but were never officially together again. It was a annoying for friends and family who just wanted to know what our status was and who wanted to make sure I didn’t waste my time. I, on the other hand, chose to spend five years in limbo rather than finally let go of a relationship that was most certainly going to eventually run its course at some point. I just didn’t want to bare the sadness of being the one to pull the plug.

I think I enjoyed the romanticism of the uncertainty, like falling in love during a time of war when you don’t know if you’ll ever see your partner again at a certain point. But I digress, the point is, it took me five years to let go of one relationship because I had to choose to let go. Really, I’m terrible at letting go, but very good at accepting the way things are when they’re out of my control.

Now, I’m finally ready to let go of this blog of mine too – this online baby that I’ve been nurturing, albeit rather infrequently, for the past eight years. EF has been the one constant interest in my life while I’ve introduced new hobbies and dropped others. This blog has opened me up to communities of people I never would have otherwise met. I learned a lot while blogging too. When the blog was new and I had no confidence in it, when I was sure that most people would just laugh at my sad attempt to be a voice of authority on the topic of sustainable fashion, EF taught me that if you ask, most people say yes. When I wanted to start styling photo shoots to populate the blog with photos of eco-fashion, I asked around for collaborators who would share their time and talent with me for free, and they said yes. I officially re-launched the blog in 2011 here in Ottawa and was overwhelmed with the support I got. More than 100 people came to the party, most of them strangers, and Thyme & Again, a wonderful local catering company donated food for the occasion, which was hosted by Flock Boutique.

I could go on about everything I have done through the blog, but the point of this post is to let you know that I’m putting EF to rest to pursue another venture. I’ve finally accepted the fact that if I want to do anything well, I have to focus on it entirely. I can’t have this side project and that fundraiser going on and expect something else to flourish. I have this business idea that I’m about to execute, but to make it happen I can’t be distracted by writing blog posts I’m afraid. This new venture is, in many ways, an extension of the blog. It came about through my experience over the past eight years and now I’m finally ready to take a leap and let go.

I can’t thank you all enough for reading the blog over the years, for your comments and for your support. I’m keeping it up for the time being, until my new site is launched, so you can still browse the posts and leave comments. I’ll slowly begin to alert my contacts of the change, sigh, administrative tasks!

Thank you to everyone I have ever featured here and to everyone I have collaborated with. It’s been a wonderful ride but it’s time to hop onto the next train. I’m going to keep EF’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts up until I’m ready to move them over to new accounts too. They’re great ways of keeping up to date on the world of sustainable fashion and this new project of mine is still very much in line with this industry. Please keep in touch and stay tuned for more.

Good bye,

Mal

Canadian tuxedo: a thing of the past?

June 3, 2015

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I THINK NOT!

I was going to start posting warm spring outfits. You know, with skirts and dresses, but Mother Nature decided to turn the temperature back down to the +5 range overnight. My poor, poor veggie garden. But I digress! Spring can be a tricky season to dress for, especially if you are like me and like to rotate your clothing season by season. Right now, I have a few summery pieces mixed in with long-sleeved shirts and sweaters, what gives? This take on a Canadian tuxedo is an easy, casual outfit to wear out to a pub or running errands in a market. I’ve kept the matchy-matchy vibe with second-hand leather sandals from Value Village (only $5.00) and a leather bag I got in Italy a few years back. It does take a bit of daring to wear denim and denim but I think sporting a white shirt underneath breaks up the blue and makes it wearable out, thoughts?

Outfit pieces

White, button-up blouse – Everlane
Jean vest – Value Village
Leather purse – Bought in Italy
Jeans – Mango
Sandals – Value Village

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Rose & Fig’s beauty routine: Three essentials from the kitchen

May 20, 2015

Photo by instagram user lindsayxxmarie

One of the fun things about blogging, is having the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, share ideas, struggles and really connect with them. I’m lucky to have met Jess Hunt of Rose & Fig over the past few months. We have exchanged fun, heartfelt emails about increasing our readership, trying to post more regularly and really engaging with our dear readers. It is really nice to know that someone else shares your concerns, fears and need for a creative outlet.

Jess is based in Georgia and she blogs about simplifying style, all-natural, homemade beauty and health. We are both focused on simplifying our lives, buying less, using natural products and reducing our overall ecological footprint. During our first Skype chat just a couple of weeks ago, we decided it would be great fun to put together guest blog posts for each other that highlight our areas of interest. Below, Jess has lovingly put together a list of three kitchen essentials that she uses in her beauty routine. It’s so simple and the ingredients are so common, you feel silly for not having tried these out before, I know I do!

Over the past year, I’ve worked my way from the pantry to my makeup bag, trading chemical-laden synthetic products with more natural and environmentally friendly solutions. As I’ve “greened” my diet and beauty routine, I’ve also taken a closer look at ingredient labels on well-rated, natural beauty products. Three ingredients have taken the medal podium for being effective treatments for my hair, skin, and body that are healthy for you, natural, and inexpensive.

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL

Trader Joes Organic Coconut OilPacked with essential fatty acids and vitamins, coconut oil is the ultimate anti: antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. I love to cook with it, add a few spoonfuls to smoothies or let a dollop of it melt into my morning coffee for a nutritional boost that helps stabilize my blood sugar. I also like to swish it in my mouth as an oil-pulling routine when I’m feeling a little under the weather or am looking to brighten my smile.

When it comes to my daily beauty routine I like to use fractionated coconut oil as a super moisturizing spray lotion on my legs and arms each morning, then keep a little jar of virgin coconut oil to use as a gentle makeup remover and lip balm every evening.

Fractionated coconut oil

You can also use coconut oil in the shower as a deep conditioner, leave it on a bit longer for a nourishing hair mask, or combine with a couple spoonfuls with the morning’s coffee grounds for a cellulite-fighting, exfoliating, moisturizing body scrub that fellow blogger Gemma got me hooked on:

COCONUT + COFFEE SCRUB

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine grounds and oil (I like to just add the oil straight into the French Press once I’ve poured my morning cuppa) and rub together with your hands to warm and melt the oil into the coffee. Scrub all over your body in the shower or tub, using long, circular motions. Rinse with warm water and gently pat your skin dry once you’re done in order to leave a bit of the oil on your skin. And of course, be careful if you opt for this in a shower stall as the oil can be quite slick on a tile floor!

SEA SALT

Epsom SaltWithout fail, every May my body starts to crave the ocean – salty air, salty hair, and long swims on hot days in cool seawater. Sea salt is full of minerals that are essential to healthy functioning of our bodies and our skin, and so it’s no wonder that a week at the beach leaves my skin feeling nourished, hydrated, and strong.

I like to pour a cup into the tub for a relaxing bath soak, or substitute sea salt for Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) if my muscles are feeling achy or tired. You can also add a bit of coconut or olive oil to a handful of sea salt for a balancing body scrub in the shower.

Sea salt also works wonders for my hair. To fight product buildup, every week or two I’ll add a handful of sea salt to my regular shampoo, scrubbing through from the roots down, then rinsing clean for a brisk clarifying treatment that can also fight off dandruff.For beach waves, the softest hair, and an extra day between shampoos, I’m also keen to mix up a little ocean potion spray for my locks:

SEA SALT SURF SPRAYSurf Spray - Himalayan Salt

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (or, if you’re feeling fancy: 1/2 tablespoon pink Himalayan salt, 1/4 tablespoon French grey salt, 1/4 tablespoon Epsom salt)
  • 8 tablespoons near-boiling water
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon fractionated coconut oil
  • Optional: 4 drops of essential oil

In a heat-safe cup, stir the mixture until it’s a uniform color throughout and let cool down before pouring into a spray bottle. If your scalp is usually oily, go sans coconut oil. If your hair is usually very dry, double your Epsom salt. Shake up the bottle before each use, and spritz through dry hair or halfway through blow drying. Then tousle those ocean waves through your beautiful locks!

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

Activated Charcoal

This one really falls more into the medicine cabinet than kitchen pantry unless I’m feeling ill: I don’t ingest activated charcoal regularly as it is a super absorbent that soaks up baddies and nutrients alike, scooping up toxins and binding them to itself until it eliminates from your body (read: useful for a stomach ache, jury’s still out if you have a hangover).

All this is to say it also works as an excellent detoxifier and cleaning agent for my teeth, skin, and face. Every couple of weeks I like to substitute toothpaste with one capsule’s worth of activated charcoal, and scrub my teeth and gums for a just-went-to-the-dentist clean feeling and whiter teeth. It also works beautifully as natural eye shadow, or you can add a dab of water and brush along your lashes for an intense liquid liner.

And when my face is feeling cranky and a bump pops up, my first defense for a quick recovery has become one simple mask. Without fail my skin is left rosy, glowing, and bumps seem to disappear much faster:

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL + MANUKA HONEY FACE MASK

  • 1 capsule of activated charcoal (or three pinches, if using loose powder)
  • 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey (can substitute regular honey, as well)

Open the activated charcoal capsule and powder it into a tablespoon of Manuka honey, mixing together with your fingers. After slathering the mixture across your face, pepper your friends and family with charcoal face selfies. Let the mask sit for twenty minutes, then steam your face under a hot, damp washcloth for a minute before rinsing everything away and patting dry.

There you have it – just a few uses for my three favorite pantry-raided beauty ingredients. What’s your favorite kitchen staple to keep stashed in the makeup bag?

EF + Workshop giveaway winner announced

May 19, 2015

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Congratulations Meagan Dalby, winner of the EF + Workshop Mother’s Day Giveaway.

Meagan has won the lovely single ceramic bead necklace by Shayna Stevenson.

Thank you to everyone who entered their choice. Stay tuned for more and have a great week.

Leather fringe coat spring outfit

May 16, 2015

 

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Wearing the same bottoms and shoes as in my last outfit post, but I’m switching things up and going a bit Western. I recently bought this great leather fringe coat from Value Village and I can’t wait to wear it. I don’t think it’s work appropriate (except for Fridays) so I’ll try it out tomorrow since the weather hasn’t been so hot. To keep with the Western/tribal vibe, I’ve added this ever-lasting purse that I bought at a garage sale years ago. I can’t even remember where or when exactly but this baby is so sturdy, I can pack as much as I can into it and it won’t tear or give way one bit.

With a simple, white button-up, this somewhat “loud” coat becomes a classic early spring/fall outerwear.

P.S. Mind that dang outlet that snuck into a couple of the photos. Now that the weather is nice, I’m going to start shooting outfits outside. No more outlets!

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Items:

Leather fringe coat - Value Village – $20.00

White, button-up - Everlane – $60.00

Jeans – Second Clothing – $120.00

Purse – Vintage

Shoes – Zoe Lee Shoes

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