Friday, June 27, 2014

Business Highlight: Botani Glass

I'm so excited to bring you today's very unique business highlight. Botani Glass is a Vancouver BC based business and consists of clear resin encapsulated botanical jewelry. I have never seen anything quite like it.

Owner Shawna is just starting out but I suspect it won't be long until she can't keep up with the orders coming in. You can really feel the love and passion she puts into each piece and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

Here in Shawna's own words is a little about Botani Glass:

Botani Glass is a dream in the making. A thought that was so pervasive, I would daydream about making this particular type of jewelry. I felt like creating a living memory in a piece of clear resin would be such an incredible way to hold on tightly to a special item. Then my earth sign kicked in and I realized: everybody resonates with a particular botanical (some love them all) and I suppose it started from there. Because creating with this incredible medium can be very challenging, I have definitely had to learn the hard way many times when attempting new ideas, but I am slowly figuring out what works best for me and what can't be done. I have spent so many hours researching resin and mould making, and have slowly found some resources for all of the material I need. Pouring resin is definitely a science, and I feel as though I am still working through some growing pains; albeit with great perseverance.

What I also began to realize was that I was getting outside more.. ok a LOT more; and so was my family. We would walk around anywhere and find interesting botanicals all over the city. I began to see a micro world I knew existed, but rarely took the time to look. I have also been learning a lot more about plant species and herbs. This continues to be infectious to all of my close people as I often receive phone calls telling me that they can't help but 'look for cool things to put in resin'. In fact, Im pretty sure my 6 year old asks me to put everything he finds in resin for him. My husband is so supportive and, even in our small house with limited space, sweetly nicknamed the kitchen 'resin town' and carefully moves around copious amounts of upside down container lids to reach the coffee in the morning. 

* I am always looking to make contacts with people willing to share their gardens with me ( I usually only take a few blooms from each plant) in exchange for a piece of jewelry. I specifically want pulsatilla and clematis seed heads as of right now. 

Now for the pieces...

This is a dandelion seed head...amazing..

A beautiful tulip petal..


Love this pretty pink ornamental cherry tree blossom pendant.

This heliopsis leaf....looks almost fairy like..

Lavender...I love purple and this is so pretty.

These ammonite earrings are incredible...

The photos shown here are just a very small taste of what is available, you can see many more on the Botani Glass Facebook page. Also, if you are lucky enough to be in the area Botani Glass has been invited to be an artisan vendor for Canada Day at Saltys Market! Shawna also does custom work if there is a special keepsake you would like to have made into a pendant or earrings.

And speaking of earrings, I am very pleased to offer a giveaway to readers of the The Pulse. There are two beautiful pairs of earrings available which means there will be two winners! All you have to do to enter is like both the Botani Glass Facebook page and The Pulse Facebook page, and then let me know in the comments section which piece is your favourite. For an extra entry sign up to follow this blog and share this blog post on Facebook and then let me know that you did in the comments section. 

These are the earrings for the giveaway

Baltic Amber...

and these lovely little ferns.

I honestly want every piece I've seen, they are just so pretty. A big thank you to Shawna for sharing her business with The Pulse.

P.S. The online book of the month club will begin on July 1st with The Fault in Our Stars so make sure you have your book by then!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book of the Month Club?

I was thinking the other day how fun it would be to do an online book of the month club. I love reading, but often get distracted by other to day stuff...or my phone (:s), and don't read as much as I would like to. I think belonging to a book club would encourage me to read a lot more than I currently am. It would also mean I would be reading a lot of current stories rather than how to books, which is what I often crack open.

At the end of each month we could discuss the books in the comments section of a blog post, and mid month we could talk about the next months selection, all suggestions welcome! Two weeks should give everyone time to order the next book (library or from a bookstore) or it could be downloaded to whatever reading device you have.

Would anyone be interested in this?

I would like to start in July and I have two book suggestions:

I am currently halfway through Delancey and it's a great book. Molly Wizenberg has an engaging easy writing style and anyone who has ever started (or thought about starting) their own business will relate to this one.

The second suggestion would be The Fault in our Stars. Currently out in theaters, both the book and movie have had rave reviews. Cancer has touched nearly everyone in some form or another, mix that in with a love story and I suspect this one is a heartfelt tear jerker.

All feedback on this idea is most welcome so please share your thoughts and suggestions!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Weekend Send Off

I love this little nugget I found on Tumblr many months ago, it's so true and also where I intend to spend my weekend....outside!

Here are a few little things to send you off:

If you follow me on Pinterest than you probably know I'm really liking the whole tribal/aztec trend going on right now. I found this scarf on Etsy and I love's even on sale.

Will be trying this hairstyle this weekend:

I want to try making my own dry shampoo:

This Warm Honey Dijon Potato Salad looks like it would be a great side dish to some BBQ grilling this weekend:

Currently stuck in my head (I've been listening to this one forever but still love it):

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Think Dirty app

I had been searching around online trying to find a good website for researching cosmetics ingredients and while doing so I came across this little gem of an app. 

Think Dirty does all the work for you and is so easy to use. You can either search by typing in the product name or scan the bar code with your phone (I Everything is rated from 0 to 10 depending on the toxicity of the ingredients. Turns out I have several products rating 9 or 10 (eek) and a few in the 0 to 3 range which is where I would like to be.

You might remember a couple of posts ago when I was talking about trying to find a natural mascara and how I was going to start with Josie Maran's GOGO? Turns out it rates a surprising 10 on the dirty scale, so I'm glad I checked before buying as it has a fairly hefty price tag. Instead I went with Physician's Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash with a rating of just 3. I've just started using it so I'll keep you posted on what I think.

The app is free and has a huge database which includes both cosmetics and many other personal care products. Have you tried it yet?

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Focus on What's in Season: Strawberries

I love strawberries. I'm not talking about the imported, no flavour, sad excuse for a strawberry type here....nothing beats strawberries ripening on their own bushes in the sunshine. When Chris came home and told me he had passed our local Farmers Market and they had their own berries for sale it didn't take me long to head down there.

Don't they look so good?

I have four recipes to share with you here using fresh strawberries....because when they're in season that is most definitely the best way to enjoy them.

Starting with the quickest and easiest....a simple Strawberry and Cucumber Salad.

About a cup of strawberries
Half of a small cucumber or 1/3 of a large one
1 Tbls of balsamic vinegar
1 Tbls agave nectar

Start by washing your berries..and then hull and cut them into slices.

Next take your cucumber and slice some of the peel off, alternating with strips of peel left on, then cut into slices.

Layer strawberry and cucumber slices in a circle on your plate.

Mix vinegar and agave nectar together and then drizzle it over your salad.

It's as easy as that and very tasty and refreshing. I didn't actually get that much of it as my seven year old daughter loved it and it disappeared rather quickly.

This next recipe is a little more time consuming but not difficult, and definitely worth it. It's a scratch made Lemon Cake with Whipped Cream and Fresh Strawberries. I made this for Father's Day and it was a big hit. I found the recipe on Pinterest and you can find all the details on the above link.

The next two recipes go together and were what we enjoyed for Father's Day brunch. Fresh Strawberry Scones with a delicious Compound Butter made with Strawberries and Maple syrup.

The butter is very easy and absolutely makes the scones so don't skip it. All you need is:

1/2 cup of softened butter
4 large strawberries
2 Tblsps of maple syrup

Mash the strawberries up into the butter. Add the maple syrup and mix again. That's it. Yum!

The scones were very tasty and that butter melting on them was perfection....all kinds of strawberry deliciousness. The scone recipe was from Pinterest and you can find it at the above link.

I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day and that you enjoyed this Focus on What's in Season post. I certainly enjoyed putting it together. ;)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Looking for that illusive perfect natural mascara

Finding the perfect mascara is difficult. I want big lashes with lots of length and volume that doesn't clump and most importantly doesn't flake or smudge (my biggest pet peeves). I'm willing to give a little on the huge lashes for a good go to mascara that doesn't leave me with raccoon eyes. When you use a natural product it's even harder to find a mascara that can perform, so I'm heading out on a mission. I will be testing and trying natural mascara to find one that makes the grade performance wise and doesn't irritate my eyes.

Because I've used Josie Maran products in the past and really enjoyed them I'm leaning towards starting with her GOGO Mascara. Has anyone used it? Thoughts?

If you have any recommendations for me or suggestions of products you are wanting to try and would like me to review please leave a comment down below and let me know.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DIY Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Keeping your body exfoliated is so important. It will help your moisturizer do it's work (it can't penetrate through all that dead dry skin), improve circulation and leave your skin fresh and glowing.

Exfoliants are so easy to make at home and should be part of your regular beauty routine. I use mine in the shower as they tend to be a bit messy and it makes for easy clean up.

You can use any oil you like but my preference is coconut oil as it makes such a lovely moisturizer and there's no smell. I start with a half cup.

Next you add in your brown sugar, you can vary this depending on how "gritty" you want it. This is a half cup which is lovely for hands and not too harsh to use on the lips, but I would up it to three quarters to a full cup for a really good body scrub.

Next I added in a half a teaspoon of vanilla. This makes it very sweet and almost cookie dough smelling...yum! If you prefer you can omit the vanilla and replace it with your favourite essential oil.

Give it a good mix and you're done, it's as easy as that.

After that all you need is a cute container to store it in and you're good to go.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Weekend send off

I can't believe it's Friday already!

Here are some great finds from this week:

This recipe for Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce was so good and was on the table in less than 15 minutes.

This Bootleg Cocktail will be perfect for the hot and sunny weekend coming up.

This is the book I'll be starting this looks so good!

I love this SoCal Maxi Scarf from Gitana Outfitters.

This is the perfect summer maxi dress available at Mod can see our business highlight on this great boutique here. As an added bonus they have their shop online now.... see it here.

I believe this wholeheartedly...

Currently stuck in my head...


I absolutely loved this article on dieting.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Business Highlight: Clean Conscience

Several years ago I used to clean with a product line called The Dusting Divas. I loved it. It was all natural, smelled amazing and was gentle on hands, nose, eyes....the whole body, and most importantly it worked! 
I lost touch with the company and for the last couple of years I've been randomly doing searches online to see if I could come up with anything and find out what happened to them. About two weeks ago I came across a company called Clean Conscience. While reading the About Us portion of their website I was thrilled to find that they were formerly the Dusting Divas...huzzah! 
I immediately ordered the starter kit and sent them an email telling them how happy I was to have found them. That started a dialogue with owner Amanda Schofield where I got the whole rundown on what she had been up to and what amazing things the newly named company was doing.

Amanda had taken some time off and travelled to Tanzania to work with a company called One Love Africa, a non profit organization that helps to create business opportunities for woman in rural areas. Amanda personally helped nine woman set up their own cleaning product businesses, six of which are still going strong three years later. Amanda was so inspired by this trip that when she came home she knew she wanted to make a difference with her own company. She rebranded it as Clean Conscience, focused even more on keeping all her ingredients fair trade, ethically sourced in Canada, and continues to support and educate woman in third world countries. Just talking to her on the phone was inspiring, she has a dream of growing the company bigger and using it to help empower those in need. I had a happy smile on my face the entire time we talked. :)

Just two days later my starter kit arrived on my doorstep and as soon as I opened it I remember once again why I loved using the products so much. It smelled absolutely amazing...

You are probably going to laugh but it actually makes me want to clean. I have been using the products for the last week and a half and I am just so happy with them. 

The Clove and Lavender Deodorizing Cleanser got rid of a stain I had been fighting in my toilet bowl as well as a tea stain in my stainless steel sink....and it smelled like cloves while doing it!

The Orange and Cinnamon All Purpose Disinfectant  I have been using everywhere....from cleaning my bathroom to after dinner clean up when I spray and wipe down the counters to cleaning up after puppies! And the house smells like yummy cinnamon.

The Lavender and Rosemary Glass Cleaner leaves my mirrors streak free...and again smells amazing.

I used the Orange and Lime Stainless Steel Cleaner on the little kiddy fingerprints on my fridge....worked great!

I haven't used the Heavy Duty Degreaser yet but I have every reason to believe it will work just as well as the other products have been.

And the Rosewood and Orange Laundry Detergent smells so amazing....and yes, it works too. 

I can't think of a single thing negative to say about this company. The products are all natural and toxin free which makes me feel very good about using them in my home and around my family and pets. Everything is made with essential oils so as I've mentioned already, they smell so good! All ingredients are 100% sourced in Canada using fair trade practices and renewable resources which makes me feel good as I'm supporting a company that supports what I believe in. They are helping to empower woman in third world countries and I am only too happy to support a company who is doing that. On top of all that the products are very reasonably priced so that anyone can afford to use them in their homes.

And speaking of price....Amanda is giving readers of The Pulse the most incredible offer of 50% off, yes you read that correctly... FIFTY PERCENT. All you need to do is enter the code "Pulse" into the code box when put in your order. I hope you give these products a try, I know I will never use anything else in my home again.

Amanda has some new products getting ready to launch, she told me about the upcoming fruit and veggie wash, an all natural interior car cleaner and wood polish! Be sure to like the Clean Conscience Facebook Page to keep up to date on all the new happenings, and if you haven't already be sure to like The Pulse too.

Monday, June 2, 2014

How does your garden grow?

I'm not exactly gifted with a green thumb...outdoor gardens, name it, they give up the ghost when they come to my house. I have always loved and admired other peoples gardens and other than one year when I grew more tomatoes than I knew what to do with, I've been a little jealous of them too. I do think it's important to grow at least a little of what you eat, and really the more the better, so this year I'm determined to change my black thumb to green.

I chose a sunny location in my yard, a former flower bed that was completely overgrown. Judging by how well the plant life was doing I think I made the right decision.

A little elbow grease and this is what I had to work with..

and I had some very happy ladies.

The next step was adding some nice compost and a little more topsoil, which I did...about five bags worth. I also cut the big bush on the far side back to allow more light. Then it was time to buy some sets to plant. It turns out that I was a little late doing this. I know in my area that the May long weekend is traditionally the weekend to plant your garden as all danger of frost has passed....note to self..if you are buying sets don't wait until the following weekend. Pickings were rather slim at the local nursery. If my plan goes how I want it to then next year I will be starting my own sets and won't have to worry about that, but this year I did plant some seeds directly into the soil.

I planted two different varieties of tomatoes in the half wine barrel beside the garden. I have visions of many slices of tomatoes on toast, in sandwiches, chopped up in salads, in bruschetta...the options are endless and we eat a lot of tomatoes in this family.

I left my trusty bee balm plant in the corner of my garden. It's been hardy, blooms well and the blooms smell lovely.

I planted lettuce, one spaghetti squash, a few cucumber seeds, a few zucchini seeds, two cauliflower plants, two broccoli plants, a few sugar snap peas, two rows of carrot seeds and one row of radish seeds. Now we wait (and water!).

My feet did require a good soak once I was done but I have to admit, I do like having some dirt between my toes...a sign of a connection with the earth and time spent outdoors in the sun and fresh air.

I'm an avid reader and read lots of how to books as well as fiction, I would love to hear your gardening book recommendations.

I've been looking at this one...thoughts?