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Fall is the season of new starts, do-overs, and fresh beginnings. Now is a great time to try something different, as September is a hot month for relationships and dating. Many summer flings wash up, and new potentials may pop up. Venus (the planet of love) moves into Libra, and Mercury in Retrograde begins in all its glory. Remember, this will affect your communications (Mercury rules communication) and interactions with others. While you may be affected by this, Venus in Libra is a positive influence that will linger from Aug. 29 – September 23. Regardless of what energy comes your way, try to fall into something that makes you feel good, and embrace the new season with a healthy, humble and happy heart!  

Horoscopes by Tara Chloe. Zodiac illustrations by Katie Maasik

Aries by Katie Maasik

ARIES
(March 21-April 19)

At this moment in my life, I know it’s not the time to stress about matters which I have no control over—even if I’d like to have control over them. Instead, I want to allow myself to fall into the free gap of something new and rejuvenating. Something that I am not just good at, but something I really enjoy—something that will make me feel good about my well-being. Mercury in Retrograde will challenge me to communicate the things that are truly going on for me. I know I have what it takes to rise above (essentially anything), and I know that I can solve my problems effectively when I take the time to think about them rationality without anger. Once I gain some sense of order, once I have an idea on how to map out what I want, I know I will be in a better place. I also know that I can make it happen, even if that requires me being more patient. While this will all help me, I also know that I need to lose control a little bit, and enjoy myself more. I want to get the most out of life, and really feel like I am living. I know that I am due for some inhibition-freeing fun, but even then I need to pace myself. Keeping a good pace is key to me surpassing obstacles in order to find inner harmony.

Taurus by Katie Maasik

TAURUS
(April 20-May 20)

I never feel out of control in my life (well, I wouldn’t say never, but it’s not a common issue) because I always take care of certain things. I wish I could control all the little things that I don’t talk about straight away—or that I could find a way to talk about them without sounding demanding. Mercury in Retrograde may force me to communicate concerns ineffectively, and I will try to keep a watch on that because it’s important for me to keep my cool. It’s obvious when I feel a certain way, but I don’t always speak on it, as I like to pick my battles. I hate fighting just for the sake of fighting. I would rather focus on the pleasures in life, which can soothe me, like a great trip, a satisfying drink, or a delicious meal. When I’m in my light, I work hard and I usually get what I want. Just when people think I am stationary, I surprise them by doing something totally un-basic and un-boring. I want to make the most of my time, and do the things I love over and over again. It’s not that I am a total creature of habit, but I happen to like what I like, and like it a lot. The people who know me, love me for my signature tastes! I have a side to me that is silly and fun-loving, and when you truly get to know me, you understand that I am the type to get all my ducks in a row (in my own way). For me, it’s usually just a matter of time before it all falls into place!

Gemini by Katie Maasik

GEMINI
(May 21-June 21)

It might feel like my feet are hitting the floor, but not for long, as I will be back up in the clouds, chasing some project or planning something new. The Fall month of September represents production, and I always want to make the most of my time and ensure that I am producing. I feel better knowing that I’m able to accomplish a lot with my day. Sure, I get lazy, but I would rather be out and about, and a part of something. I admit that I do like to know what I‘m doing in advance, but I can’t always promise how long I will last. You have to keep me on my toes, and keep me entertained. I also can’t promise that I won’t do something impulsively. If you want me, you’ve got to impress me on every level, but especially mentally. Yes, I am highly visual and notice physical flaws, but if I love your mind, and your energy, none of that matters. I can be the devoted lover you dreamed about, I just have to know that you are the right one for me. This Fall is a great opportunity for me to cherish what’s most important in my life, and to express the love that I feel for the people who stimulate me on a consistent basis. Gemini in love gets caught up in action, I’m happiest when I stop to take a moment and appreciate my love.

Cancer by Katie Maasik

CANCER
(June 21-July 22)

I know I am happiest when I go with the flow and let life take its natural course, but there’s a part of me that just wants to know what will happen. I like when I am with people, but sometimes I have my limits. I do need time to revert back into my Cancer shell and reflect on life. There are so many things that I keep to myself. I will share them with a partner or friend that I really trust, but even then I have my limitations for opening up completely. It’s not to say that I don’t want to be surrounded in love and light—I do. I want to help foster something and see it grow, I want to be good for another person, but I also need to ensure that I am 100% good with myself. My best moments are when I am laughing and making other people laugh. When I feel comfortable I can be my entertaining and engaging self. But I can have a shy side too, so I have been known to go off and do my own thing at times. I like to feel a sense of home in my surroundings: the more comfortable I am, the more I will open up and allow myself to live in the moment. This is why building a home with the people that I love and trust is so important to me.

Leo by Katie Maasik

LEO
(July 23-August 22)

The Fall will be good for me, but it will involve readdressing some things that I’ve put on the backburner. I know ignoring the issues will not help them go away, even if sometimes I really wish it would! Leo doesn’t like to to pay attention to what’s negative, and would rather focus on how things are working out. Except the things which Leo needs to deal with are not always negative; in fact they could make life a whole lot easier. I don’t want to lose things that I have a lot invested in, especially my heart. This means means more to me than anything. I care so much for the people who are in my life that sometimes it’s hard to communicate with them in a way that is not loving. For Leo, the heart can often act as a compass as it directs me in ways that may not always line-up with my self-needs. Regardless, good times are ahead, I just have to remain true to myself, and own what I feel without regret or hesitation. If I ask for what I want, I just might get it. If I can’t get what I want, I won’t feel defeated, instead I will seek out someone who is prepared to give it to me. My needs are important, and I can’t put those on the shelf in order to save something that might not be worth saving. Things will unfold as thy will, but there is someone out there who will match your love, who will appreciate you in all you glory.

Virgo by Katie Maasik

VIRGO
(August 23-September 22)

I have this way about me that I might not even notice, but it appears that people value what I have to say. The people closest to me do come to me when they want to talk about something serious. I have power. Virgos are known for their intellect, and more and more, I notice that people are opening up to me. This is because I have the earthy, grounded, moral advice to really help someone in a real, and honest way. I hate being phony, and only admire modest confidence, which is why it is important for me to surround myself with genuine, loyal people. People like this appreciate what I have to say and appreciate it when people see my way with things. They know that If I like something that I really like something, and my opinion matters because I do have good taste. People are always telling Virgos not to worry, but that’s how we thrive, we are very analytical people who like to figure things out. This Fall I am going to open myself up even more and embrace the good things that are around me, I will work hard as I always do, but I will make quality time for those that truly matter. When I let go of inhibition, which can be hard for me to do, I know that I can enjoy the moment. Regardless, I will always speak my mind and speak the truth, and that is what people have come to respect me most for.

Libra by Katie Maasik

LIBRA
(September 23-October 22)

This is the perfect time for me to make my move, maybe a big move, and put some heart and soul towards that investment I’ve been putting off, and really start to let my passions roar. Taking a backseat has proven to be a smart move in the past, but with some things I know I have to be more forward and more forward thinking. The things I don’t release will only bother me later, and as I aim for harmony in my life, I know that not everyone can always be satisfied. I can do my part to keep my attitude in check, and treat people the way that I wish they would treat me. When people compliment me, I will say thank you because I will work on trusting that their kind words are sincere. I am charming, and can sometimes let my charm get me into trouble, but when I am using it with the people I love, I often win. I want to explore life, live and really do things, I want to bring people together and be a part of a group of friends that really motivates me through positive encouragement. There is an artist in me, which I will try to let shine this season, slowing but surely I will bring out my gifts and show the world what I can do. So many Libras have already reach that place of personal harmony and self-confidence, it’s only a matter of time before I do.

Scorpio by Katie Maasik

SCORPIO
(October 23-November 21)

It makes me feel better when I know that I am giving something back to something or someone that matters. My heart is selective, but it is huge for the people that I love. I do admit, that a part of me would like to see something good returned to me, but I am willing to keep my head down and keep working until that happens. I know I have strength I am willing to lend that strength to anyone that I care about who might need it. I am not however willing to ask for the things that I want for myself, there is often too much work that needs to be done. I want love, but I need time for love and to be with a partner who understands that I have other life commitments that take up my time. Mercury in Retrograde could challenge me as I often do bite my tongue, I express myself and my feelings, but sometimes I have so much I want to say. I will try to keep my communications gentle and effective as I experience this, knowing that I do have a wise response in me if I take the time to find it. At the end of the day, I do not wish to hurt anyone I love, and helping the feelings of people in pain is something that matters to me. Giving does make me happy, but I have to find a balance to ensure that I am getting some quality time for myself and my own needs.

Sagittarius by Katie Maasik

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22-December 21)

There’s a part of me that can’t be stopped, that won’t be stopped—I need to keep going! I am strong emotionally, and don’t let a lot of things keep me in a sour space for too long. A lot of small things can irk me, but I try to find a way out of it. I do look for that loveable escape wherever I can find it. I find it easier to get up and walk away. The Fall is a great time for the Sagittarius to nuzzle their way back into routine, and draw back attention to the things and people they are committed to. Sagittarius loves to contribute and do a good job, but they also love to see and do, and have to ensure that they find a balance between their destiny and their desire. Now is the time to make that change, or go forward with what has been holding you back and needs improvement. I work to make it happen and put my mind towards everything that I accomplish. Sagittarius will tolerate having the things that they want, but there is a part of them that wants it go bad, and they need to go full force into the Fall wanting it and demanding it. Some of you have been waiting too long, and now is the time to really seize the moment!

Capricorn by Katie Maasik

CAPRICORN
(December 22- January 19)

It is important for me to be succeeding in order to feel like a success. When I am not succeeding it puts me in a bad place with myself because I put the pressure to accomplish upon myself. I work hard because I want results, but I have to learn that it is OK if I don’t always get them, especially when I really need to. I’ve been wanting to see a change in my life for some time now (many of you have already began to see it), and I feel this is a good time to start working away at it slowly. I know I can’t go into anything feet first, I know I have to give myself life and be pragmatic. I know I have to be ready. I like to know that I played a part in helping myself solve my own problems. I don’t really like to ask for help, but I will also say that I will try to learn to ask for it more. I want to stay a float, and I know that I can do this, and that it will require a lot of positive thinking. I work hard, it’s in my blood, I wouldn’t feel natural if I wasn’t working away at something—it does make me happy! I have to learn to expect ups and downs, and know that my hard work will pay off as long as I keep up a level of consistency. There is an ability for me to let loose and I need to embrace that side of myself right now. I can’t handle too much clutter, but when things are simple and relaxed, I can enjoy myself. I will make more room for leisure as I know that I need to unwind and enjoy these last moments of summer.

Aquarius by Katie Maasik

AQUARIUS
(January 19-Fenurary 18)

I know I have the ability to get past pretty much anything (even if there were times that I questioned this), it seems no matter the weather or season, I keep going. I don’t like to stop. Quitting is not often in my nature. I do believe in second chances. I do get hurt, I have been hurt, and things do bother me, but I often see that there is more, always more—something more is always waiting for me! I know that there is more to reach for, more to strive for, more to live for, more to experience, and more to try and do. I know that if one ship sails opposite of my direction that another ship will come to me, and it’s that thrill that keeps me going, keeps me digging, meeting new people, working hard, travelling and making new friends. This thing we call ‘life’ can be really exciting (it’s what you make of it), and when you let soak you in. When you’re doing this, you can learn the most valuable lessons possible. You can learn to walk in someone’s shoes. I want to hear other people’s stories and share my own. I truly want to make a difference in this world. I want to be able to say that I can see the good in everyone, and I really do try to exercise this notion in my daily life! This Fall I will keep an open mind and an open heart to all of the experiences that lay before me!

Pisces by Katie Maasik

PISCES
(February19-March 20)

I know my intentions are always in the right place, it’s just that sometimes I am unaware of my surroundings. I don’t mean to be, but I am prone to escaping and reverting into the dream world. I am hell-bent on knowing that one of my dreams will come true. Even if they don’t, I will continue to dream big, but I know that I need to put in the work, and not put things off till last minute. Like any Water sign, I have my ever-changing moods, and I have my difficult moments, but I don’t like to be a mean person. I feel badly afterwards. I’d like to think that I am a kind person. I want to say hello more (even if I do have a shy side) and treat people with the respect I’d like to receive. I do believe, that it is better to kill them with kindness. I know that it is up to me, and the disposition that I choose to exude. Mercury in Retrograde is dangerous as Pisces can put their foot in their mouth when they are dissing out their empathic honesty. Try to refrain from reacting, hold back and see what comes your way. You will be pleasantly surprised as 2016 was coined as a promising time for The Fish, and things can only get better from here. The Fall, I am going to start something new and commit to doing something that’s just for me and my passions. Sometimes I get boggled down by relationships that aren’t mutually beneficial. I want to be a part of something that makes me smile, and I am done giving too many chances to the wrong people. I think it is best if I stick to what I know best, keep trying to learn and develop, but perhaps keep some of my inner truth to myself. I will find a way to utilize my perception, which won’t harm my interpersonal relationships and will benefit me in the long run!

woodlot heatwave
Skip the overpriced air conditioner with Woodlot's Top 8 natural ways to keep cool.

The dog days of summer are upon us, and one thing is for sure—we.are.hot. While running out and buying the Cadillac of air conditioners may feel like your only option, this will be a burden to your wallet and, to be real—it isn’t the best thing for the air in your home. The good news is that there are many cheaper, greener ways to cool you down when a heat wave hits. Here's eight easy ways to keep it breezy during a heatwave.

  • 8. Turn your lights down low
  • It may sound simple, but dimming all the lights in your place is a surefire way to lower temperatures. When the heat rolls in, turn off your lights, shut the blinds, and tune into a breezy summer movie on Netflix.

  • 7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
  • The number one way to avoid heat stroke is to drink all the water. Make sure to bring a water bottle with you wherever you go, and to get in those eight glasses a day at all costs. Want to up the cool factor? Add cucumber or mint to make your water extra chilly (and delicious).

  • 6. Hit the floor
  • It’s science: hot air rises. On those restless, hot nights when you just can’t get cool, make a cozy fort on the floor with light cotton sheets or blankets. This will not only conjure nostalgic sleepover party feels, but will also help you chill out when it’s hotter-than-hot.

  • 5. Spritz it
  • Before bed, at your desk, or when you’re on the go, Woodlot mists are a lifesaver in the heat. Both the Palo Santo Mist and the Lavender Bergamot Refreshing Mist are wonderfully cooling. Stash them in the fridge then throw them in your purse before you head out for the day, or spritz them on your pillow just before bed for a calm, cool slumber.

  • 4. Macgyver your AC
  • This trick may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Fill a bowl with ice and place it at the base of a fan. The air will blow off the ice and release an extra chilled air. It’s the closest thing there is to magic.

  • 3. Be cool
  • When you get home after a long day and your place is just as hot as it is outside, cold compresses are your best friend. Wet some washcloths with cool water and leave them in the freezer until they’re as chilled as you can handle. Place the washcloths in spots that typically gather the most heat. Think: forehead, neck, armpits, and behind the knees.

  • 2. Lighten up
  • When you’re choosing your pj’s in a heat wave, opt for natural fabrics and cottons to maximize airflow. Synthetic fabrics and polyester will cling to sweaty skin and leave you feeling sticky. If the heat has reached critical level, you may want to be brave and ditch all the clothes. Birthday suit sleeps are kind of the best.

  • 1. Say no to the stove
  • The last thing you need on hot summer nights is added heat from the stove. Skip the stove and whip up a salad, a smoothie bowl, or something quick, heat-free, and easy.

    Until next time—stay cool, friends!

    Xoxo
    Team Woodlot

    Summer means long days and longer nights, farmers markets, camping, and even a cheeky patio cocktail (or two!). But as a holistic nutritionist, I'm constantly working to increase nutrient density—especially when it comes to my cocktails. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this is one of my favourite botanical treats to enjoy outside when the breeze is warm and the sun is beating down!

    DIY Rose & Elderflower Kombucha Cocktail


    Makes 4 

    Ingredients:

    4oz rose & elderflower tea

    8oz sparkling elderflower soda (I used Belvoir Elderberry Presse)

    8oz Rise Rose & Schizandra Kombucha

    16oz sparkling wine or prosecco

    Juice from 1-2 limes (to taste, depending on preference!)

    Edible flowers 

    Directions:

    • Steep 2 tbsp of rose petals and 1 tbsp of elderflower in boiling water for 10-15 minutes
    • Strain and place in your fridge long enough for it to cool completely
    • Add tea, sparkling wine, kombucha, elderflower presse, and lime to a cocktail pitcher, and add edible flowers (to make it look beautiful!)
    • Serve cold over ice. Enjoy!
    Remember to indulge mindfully and bring awareness back to every minute! Take a sip and notice the unique combination of flavours, the fizz of the sparkling wine on your lips, and the feel of the warm sun beating down on your skin.

      Flower Power: better than your average vodka water?


      Rose:
      Rose petals are a good source of vitamin C and calcium, and are thought to increase feelings of joy and well being. Cooling and balancing, they make a perfect addition to a refreshing summer cocktail.

      Elderflower: Support your immune system with antioxidant rich elderflower! Anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and high in a flavonoid called quercetin, elderflower may also be helpful for reducing allergy symptoms!

      Kombucha: Fermented sweet tea that provides b vitamins, enzymes, and organic acids, kombucha is a wonderful way to support the health of your gut.

      Schizandra: Known as the ‘five flavour berry’ due to the fact that it’s simultaneously salty, bitter, sweet, sour, and pungent. Schizandra is known as an adaptogen—meaning it acts as a general tonic for the body, helping to increase energy levels, improve mental clarity, and support the body’s ability to handle stress. I also consider schizandra a ‘beauty berry’ because its so wonderful for skin health!

      Green Hangover Cures
      Craft up anyone of these easy elixirs to help kick your hangover to the curb!

      • Mix together water, maple syrup, lemon, and sea salt to re-balance electrolytes and re-hydrate your poor body.
      • Brew burdock root, nettle, and peppermint tea to help reduce nausea, improve digestion, and help encourage the removal of toxins while supporting your liver.
      • Combine ginger, raw honey, and turmeric to help reduce inflammation, soothe an upset digestive system, and keep your skin looking its best—so no one will even know what you were up to the night before!
      Holistic Tips for the Morning After

      Since summers in Canada are short, I don’t want to waste even a minute feeling under the weather on those mornings after I've had a few too many. To make sure I’m still feeling amazing after a late night, I just follow a few of my favourite holistic hangover tips!

      Keep Hydrated While You Party
      We all know that alcohol contributes to dehydration, which can mean dull skin, headaches, and irritability. Solution? While you're partying, switch it up and have a glass of water between each cocktail—you’ll thank yourself the next morning! If nothing else, chug a few glasses right before bed to help re-hydrate your body while you sleep.

      Get Your B’s
      B vitamins play an important role in health and wellness, and help us maintain stable moods, clear skin, and a strong immune system. B vitamins also help the body process alcohol more effectively, but unfortunately, they become drained when the liver is busy processing your kombucha cocktails. Your best bet? Take a high quality B complex before bed to help reduce hangover symptoms like irritability and anxiety.

      Support the Gut
      We're quickly learning the importance of the delicate balance of bacteria housed in the gut. Interesting new research has linked gut flora to digestive issues, mental health, chronic skin irritations, and more. Unfortunately, excess amounts of alcohol can easily disrupt that balance. A nice solution is to take a high quality probiotic and fermented food like kimchi, kefir, or sauerkraut to help support your gut flora on the morning after.
        Eat Well!
        A meal high in healthy fats and protein will do wonders the morning after—and no, I don’t mean a greasy meal from the breakfast café down the street! Alcohol can deplete us of important nutrients, which is why we’re often left reaching for salty, fatty, and carb-heavy foods the next morning. Scramble up some omega-rich eggs, add avocado, greens, and top it with a bit of spicy kimchi–you’ll be surprised at how much better you'll feel!

              Thanks for reading—I hope you're all having a beautiful summer!

                

              Kelsey

               

              ** Note - the information provided in this article should not be mistaken as medical advice. If you have any serious health concerns or are taking any prescription medication please consult your primary care practitioner before introducing any new herbs to your diet.

              Oil pulling has been carried out for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
              Deanna Weiss - photo credit Wilson LauThe technique involves taking an edible oil (like coconut oil) and swishing it around your mouth for 10-20 minutes. The theory behind this practice is that excessive bacteria in your mouth will stick to the fat in the oil, so you can spit it out. Some people use this technique as part of a regular dental hygiene practice (2-3 times a week), and they've claimed it leads to fresher breath, less cavities, and whiter teeth.                                                                                                   

              How To Do a Coconut Oil Pull at Home

              Try this technique first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Water is okay!      

            • Melt 1 tsp of organic virgin coconut oil
            • Add 1-2 drops of organic peppermint essential oil
            • Swish around your mouth for a minimum of 10 minutes
            • Spit out the oil, and rinse your mouth with water to get rid of any residue

            • When I gave the coconut pull a try, I found it left my teeth feeling smoother and my mouth feeling fresh all day. In order to achieve the greater benefits, I will have to experiment doing oil pulls more regularly.

              coconut oil for a brighter smile

              Coconut oil is a great choice for oil pulling as it contains a significant amount of lauric acid—a type of medium-chain fatty acid with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

              Here’s to another win for coconut oil!

              Deanna portrait photo credit: Wilson Lau

               

              Each star sign has its own way of rising to the challenges of these dwindling summer days. Take the time to enjoy the sun, and rejuvenate in the simple things that make you feel good. Open your mind to whatever the future holds. Now is a time of positive change. 

              Horoscopes by Tara Chloe. Zodiac illustrations by Katie Maasik

              Aries by Katie Maasik

              ARIES
              (March 21-April 19)

              I am a warrior with a keen ability to problem solve, but I am often so busy that I don’t take time for self-care. Even if I live life by the book, there are a few emotional matters that I still need to address. I love the high-energy, high-intensity lifestyle, but I admit I sometimes need to come back down to earth to find a place of healing. Physical fitness is a great way for me to unwind, but I need to be paying attention to my emotional mind as well. I find that by talking about the things I suppress, I will find help from those around me, and the heavy weight will be lifted off my shoulders.

              Taurus by Katie Maasik

              TAURUS
              (April 20-May 20)

              I know how to make myself feel good. I enjoy feeling satisfied. My goal is to reach a place of personal pleasure. Once I achieve this, I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the simple things in life. I will not be scared to go after what I want. The things I have perceived as "in my way" are only obstacles which get in the way of me and my happiness. I have the strength to find whatever is missing. I will figure out what that is, and if I need to, I will do what I can to change what I don’t like. If I decide I want something, I will not be afraid to ask for it. I will not be afraid to go after it. I know that over time, I will get what I want.

              Gemini by Katie Maasik

              GEMINI
              (May 21-June 21)

              I am at my best when I can be friendly and charming. But sometimes I am in a bad mood, and I don’t even know it. This is why I will pay more attention to my moods and mindsets, and allow myself to carve out a space for quiet and healing. When I am in my element, I know I can really shine, but I also feel pressure to shine all the time. This month I will find my own room, away from the clamor, where I can find peace. In that place I will clear my head and zone out for a time. I am a constant thinker and communicator, and my mind persists even when I am tired. But this month I will respect my limits, and be kind to myself.

              Cancer by Katie Maasik

              CANCER
              (June 21-July 22)

              This month I am in love with love. When love is flowing, I am in my happiest place. I long to be stable with another. I enjoy taking care of people, whether it be my partner, my friends, or my animal companions, I wouldn't be me if didn't love and protect those closest to me. This month I will see things grow, and help cultivate life. I will be in touch with both my emotional and comical side. I will feel ready to take the bad with the good. Every day will be different, and while my expectations will not be great, I will still dream big dreams. I will soon find something or someone I can rely on. When the positive force comes into my life, I will recognize it, and cherish it for the good tidings it will bring me.

              Leo by Katie Maasik

              LEO
              (July 23-August 22)

              I surround myself with positive light, so it takes a lot to get me down. At work I am never afraid to shoulder a heavy load, but I tend to lead with my heart, which means work stress can follow me home. I love being surrounded by people, but when work is overwhelming me this month, I promise to set aside some alone time for myself. I have a strong sense of loyalty—even if my definition of loyalty changes—but I sometimes sacrifice my own needs for those closest to me. This month I will find a balance between staying true to others, and fulfilling myself. I know if anyone has the power to make a situation brighter it's me. Leo is known to sweeten up a sour situation. When I am in a well-rested headspace, I can wholeheartedly embrace my environment and the people in it, flaws and all.

              Virgo by Katie Maasik

              VIRGO
              (August 23-September 22)

              I know how to make myself feel good, but I also know how to drown myself in worry. This month I will satisfy myself on every level. It's important that I reach a place of internal contentment during these final days of summer. I will think about what I really want, and I will go after it because this is an ideal time to get it. As a critical Virgo, I find it challenging to fulfill my expectations, but once I begin I will see the good that is possible in the long run. I can admit I like things in order, but even when my ducks are in a row, I still find something to worry about. This month the universe is telling me to relax, to listen to my heart, and to enjoy the ever-changing weather. If there is good in my life, I had a part in making it happen. Now is the time to savor those happy moments. Whatever is lost can be found. I will stay stoic in my ways, but know that I am at my best when I am open about my faults. Nobody can find the right answer like I can. I will trust in my natural detective skills to guide me through the daily grind.

              Libra by Katie Maasik

              LIBRA
              (September 23-October 22)

              I will feel quiet this month. I may prefer communicating with my body and face instead of my voice. People may misinterpret my quiet as "playing it cool." They may try to get me to speak up, or pick a side, but I will shrug it off. I will do what’s best for me in my own time. I may struggle to find a healthy balance between my solitude and my social life. I will be careful not to overdo it in any one area. On these last lazy days of summer, I will find my own way to share energy with the people I love. I will feel a calming sense of harmony from within and out.

              Scorpio by Katie Maasik

              SCORPIO
              (October 23-November 21)

              I am often very giving, but this month I deserve to be selfish. My friends know me as someone who drops my own life so I can better theirs. I will be open to the fact that I should let others do things for me. I will accept their love. I will not deny myself the things I want. Sacrifice will not weigh out my desires. I rarely take the front seat, but this month I will speak up for my own needs. I sometimes feel ignored, but I can rest easy. Others see how I share the spotlight, and think better of me for it. This August I will not deny myself the things that I want because I can have them. I will also battle with trust, and hesitate to open up to a new person. But I will work hard at opening up, as this person will introduce me to a perspective that may shift my priorities in a positive way.

              Sagittarius by Katie Maasik

              SAGITTARIUS
              (November 22-December 21)

              I might let little things bother me here and there, but I'm not the type to stay down for long. I don’t want to talk too much about what's bothering me this month. My friends say I'd rather see the glass half full, which is true—as a Sagittarius I'm best known for my optimism. I feel powerful, and I can get lots done, but I will try harder to communicate my decisions with others. It might look like I'm upset about something small, but in my heart I know it's something much bigger that I don't want to think about. I'm going to open up and let others help me. A little fun, a little soul-searching, and a little travel are good prescriptions for me. I will come home to something loyal and earthy. I will let myself feel good

              Capricorn by Katie Maasik

              CAPRICORN
              (December 22- January 19)

              I often feel like I need to work in order to feel complete. When work is unsatisfying, I will find a way to express myself in a different way this month. I have a lot to bring to the table, and when I take time for myself, I enter a much richer headspace. I want to feel like I have it all, but I also want to feel like I can relax, and enjoy life. I know I deserve everything good that comes into my life, but sometimes I have trouble knowing when it is enough. I often work super, so I will try to sit back, relax, and and relish in my accomplishments. I will try to share my deep, inner feelings with the loved ones in my life. I will work on letting go of people in my past who have hurt me. I will begin moving in the right direction, and making decisions that benefit me. I need to remember that my personal needs are important. I will pause and take a breath when I need to. I want to look back on what I've done and feel proud.

              Aquarius by Katie Maasik

              AQUARIUS
              (January 19-Fenurary 18)

              This is a month of celebration. It is a time to appreciate myself for all that I am. While I enjoy staying busy, I will not let "productivity" stand in the way of my self-care. If I take this time for me, I can feel better about myself and my relationships. I have a variety of relationships which fulfil me in different ways. I am going to filter out the negative energy and concentrate on the positive people in my life. I am always ready to embrace the world, but this month I will set a steady pace that will not overwhelm me. Plans and ideas will continue to flow easily. I will not get ahead of myself, and try to figure out the future. Instead I will kick back and enjoy life. I will try to ensure these last days of summer are productive, but also good for me.

              Pisces by Katie Maasik

              PISCES
              (February19-March 20)

              Learning from the past is the key to a happier me! In the past, I felt like I repeated some of the same mistakes, but now, things are really starting to click for me. I will focus on what’s working, and stop trying to repair what’s broken. I've learned that sometimes you have to stick around long enough for your happiness to catch up to you. I will not take personally what I cannot control. I do not have control over how other people communicate with me. I am learning to let go of the bad stuff, so there's more room for the good. Focusing on my reality and what’s really happening has helped me see things for what they really are. This is a month of big change and improvement. I am getting closer and closer to my best self—and it is starting to show.

              Kelsey enjoying a superfood chia pudding at Torvehallerne food market. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              Have you ever come back from a vacation feeling like you need a vacation? You’re not alone! Traveling can often mean getting up early, staying up late, enjoying a bit too much sun, and indulging in delicious local food and drinks. Don’t get me wrong—it’s FUN! But when you get home, and reality hits, you often feel worse than you did before you left! This is especially easy to experience when you’ve been looking forward to getting to your destination for a long time.

              Take Copenhagen, which has always been at the top of my travel wish list. There is something so wonderful about the city—lively, exciting and surging with energy, while at the same time quiet, quaint, and quintessentially European. There’s always something to do, and with only 6 days to explore, it would have been easy to run ourselves into the ground. Luckily, I followed some of my favourite self-care tips to stay healthy, hydrated and full of energy.

              Holistic Travel Tips:

              • It can be hard to get enough sleep when there’s so much to see and do, and only so much time to do it in. To make sure you have enough energy to last the long days of exploring, prioritize good quality, deep sleep! I always bring my bedtime rituals on the road, and packed my favourite room spray and a few sticks of palo santo. The familiarity of these rituals helped set us up for deep sleep—even if we did find ourselves on a lumpy bed.
              • It's easy to eat well in Denmark, but I’m about to say something really ridiculous here. If you find yourself in Copenhagen, quickly locate your nearest 7-11, yes I know…. 7-11. But strangely enough it’s absolutely packed with delicious food like paleo egg wraps, superfood salads, and raw energy balls rolled in goji berries. I was gobsmacked in the very best way. Make sure to grab a snack to keep in your bag, as you don’t want low blood sugar to get in the way of long days exploring the city!
              • Speaking of long days, make sure you keep a water bottle on hand. Dehydration can result in low energy, digestive issues, and skin problems.
              • It can be really difficult to find time to exercise on vacation, especially if you’re prioritizing deep sleep (see tip #1!). Luckily, although a large city, Copenhagen is wonderfully easy to navigate on foot. There was almost no need for public transit of any kind—other than a cute city bike—so keep your mood balanced and energy levels up by walking and biking wherever you go.
              • At the end of the day, keep making time for yourself. I brought my favourite facial mask and made sure to carve out 10 minutes to pamper myself in the midst of the traveling chaos. It’s the perfect way to reset, meditate, and mindfully care for yourself, wherever you are.

              Welcome to Copenhagen

              We arrived late from Iceland and quickly found our AirBnB in the bohemian and very local Christianshavn area. I was starving, so we quickly headed out to find a cute place for dinner. One of my favourite things about Europe is how walkable the cities are. We were about 25 minutes away from the city centre, but our walk took us through a peaceful area along the water and through one of Copenhagen’s many beautiful parks. We found Christianshavns Bådudlejning og Café, a cute place on the canal, and made ourselves comfortable for a welcome drink before (at the suggestion of our bartender) we made our way over to dinner at Sankt Annæ 8.  We chatted with the “locals” (our server was from Iowa!) and indulged in fresh scallops, grilled asparagus, and wine.

              Kelsey walking along the water on her way into Copenhagen's City Centre. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              The Sites

              We woke up on our first full day in Copenhagen to a clear sky and sunshine! We took full advantage by heading out early to check out some of the top sites on our list. We made our way to The Church of Our Saviour and climbed the rounded staircase to the top for an amazing view of the city before heading to the Royal Palace to enjoy the beautiful gardens.

              Kelsey taking in the view at the top of The Church of Our Saviour. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

               

              The beautiful gardens at the Royal Palace in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              The Royal Gardens in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              For lunch, we made our way over to Torvehallerne food market for a delicious selection, before stumbling upon Kayak Bar which made a perfect "beach" pit stop to enjoy the weather. We had to make time to get over to picture perfect Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district. The weather was still playing nice so the area was absolutely packed with people. Every single patio, bench and curb was full with tourists, and live music filled our ears.

              Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              Our AirBnB host told us we had to check out Copenhagen Street Food for dinner, so we enjoyed a beautiful walk in that direction. The market was filled to the brim with Copenhagen’s young, trendy and local, and sustainable choices were abound. I indulged in “new Nordic” and my partner had an organic Vietnamese wrap.

               

              The crowds of people enjoying a beautiful evening at Copenhagen Street Food. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              In Bloom

              Spring in Europe is one of my favourite things. There are flowers everywhere. I took full advantage by stocking up on flowers for our room, stopping to look at the selection at every single street vendor and flower shop, and finally visiting Copenhagen’s outstanding Botanical Gardens. The grounds are stunning, but as we made our way inside I was even more amazed at the care and attention that goes into every inch of the garden. There was room after room of unique and exotic plants and flowers, all housed in a complex of beautiful glass houses. We also made sure to stop by Tivoli gardens to check out the beautiful flowers and lights—it was like an adorable European Disneyland for adults!

              Beautiful flowers everywhere we looked! Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              The intricate complex of glass houses at the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              The most magical place: Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              Off the Beaten Track

              We found it… Christiana that is. Freetown Christiana started in a squatted military area in 1971 and has turned into Europe’s largest self-proclaimed commune. The area has a large cannabis trade, although no cameras are allowed inside as the dealers on “pusher street” tend to get anxious. We grabbed a drink from the beer garden and sat down to take in the scene.

              Freetown Christiana in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              Other Notable Must-Dos

              You definitely have to make time to check out the amazing selection of museums and art galleries Copenhagen has to offer. We spent a good few hours escaping the rain at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, and exhausted ourselves learning about Denmark’s history at The National Museum of Denmark. Make sure to get to the Carlsberg brewery to learn about the history of beer drinking in Denmark—the Danes are known for it! The Latin Quarter is filled with tourists (and excellent people watching!), Nørrebro has wonderful little bars (like micro-brewery Mikkeller Bar), and ultra-hip Vesterbro is great for late night drinks.

              Hours were spent escaping the rain in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              Copenhagen has my heart. Until next time! Photo credit: Rob Marsh

              At the end of the day, there’s no wrong way to do this beautiful city—just make sure to take it all in and enjoy every single moment!

              6 foods that boost sun protection

              With all the sunny days ahead, there will be a lot of discussion about which natural sunscreens and lotions we can use to protect our skin. I decided to take a different approach, and look at what we can put into our bodies that aid in protection against damage towards the skin—specifically from the sun!

              Here is a list of my Top 6 Foods that Boost Sun Protection:


              6. SWEET POTATOES contain a high amount of beta-carotene (the natural pigment found in most intense-coloured fruits and vegetables), which can help absorb UV light and prevent UV-related free radical damage.

               


              5. KALE is a good source of lutein, which can help reduce redness from the inflammatory response caused from too much time spent in the sun.


              4. WATERMELON is rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant and can decrease oxidative damage in the skin.


              3. PEPPERS (red and yellow) are the highest source of vitamin C (even more than oranges!) and are protective against free radicals caused by the sun,


              2. WALNUTS contain a large amount of gamma-tocopherol (also known as vitamin E), which can act as an antioxidant to help absorb free radicals from the sun.


              1. SALMON is very high in omega 3 fatty acids, which balance inflammation throughout the body, including the skin.

              Put all these foods into one perfect meal to enjoy after a hot, sunny day!

              Note: Too much sun exposure can cause sunburns, dark spots, premature aging, and if chronic, can lead to skin cancer. However, our bodies need direct sunlight on our skin to create sufficient vitamin D levels, which is important for healthy bones, a strong immune system, and proper hormone balance. Therefore, sun exposure in moderation is key.


              <3 Deanna

               

               

              Harriest Hiemstra pottery

              Disaffected women by Harriet Hiemstra on display at the Gallery of BC Ceramics.

              VISIT
              Gallery of BC Ceramics

              Whimsical sculpture, elegant porcelain dishes, and finely-crafted jewelry await you in the charming Gallery of BC Ceramics. Celebrate this Canada Day by exploring the art of over 50 local artists from Vancouver and beyond. We especially love the drôle earthenware vases inspired by 1920's flappers by Kootenay artist, Harriet Hiemstra.

              maiwa
              Handmade, fine-woven textiles to brighten your home and wardrobe from Maiwa on Granville Island.

              SHOP
              Maiwa at Granville Island

              Brave the crowds at Granville Island this weekend for a chance to touch and experience the beautiful, handmade textiles at Maiwa. To try your hand at learning the craft yourself, Maiwa's School of Textiles also offers some fantastic workshops including Journey Into Indigo, Cartography in Cloth, and The Intuitive Stitch.

              go fish
              Reel in the catch of the day at Go Fish! on Granville Island.

              INDULGE
              GO Fish Ocean Emporium

              Keep it salty with a stopover at Go Fish!, the charming fish & chips joint that boasts sustainable seafood battered with local beer from Granville Island Brewery, and a sunny view of the wharf. Don't expect a quick pop-in though—there's always a lineup at this popular False Creek snack shack.

              Rain or Shine Homemade Ice Cream
              Try some local, homemade ice cream at Rain or Shine at 1926 West 4th Ave.

              TASTE
              Rain or Shine Homemade Ice Cream

              Get the scoop on socially-conscious ice cream with Kitsilano's newest guilty pleasure, Rain or Shine. We dig the emphasis on local, and can't get enough of the gluten- and egg-free flavours like Honey Lavender and Coffee Toffee. Be sure to relax and savour your sundae on the outdoor parklet too!

              Matchstick Coffee Roasters
              Fresh-baked treats behind the counter at Matchstick Coffee Roasters on 639 East Fraser Ave.

              SIP
              Matchstick Coffee

              "Quality food, drink, and places only come from people." With an emphasis on local ingredients, and ethically-sourced beans, Matchstick Coffee Roasters has been leading Vancouver's thriving community coffee scene since 2012. Drop by the original Fraser location—it houses a vaulted door, a relic from the space's original use as one of Vancouver's first banks. The vault door seems a fitting symbol for the café that's cracked the code to satisfying Vancouver's caffeine fix.

              vancouver seawall
              The seawall bike path winding through Stanley Park, one of the world's largest urban parks.

              PEDAL
              Stanley Park Seawall

              For an upclose view of Vancouver's stunning natural and manmade landmarks, take a leisurely bike ride along the 10 km Stanley Park seawall loop. Breathe the salty air around Brockton Point, gaze up at the majestic Lions Gate Bridge, then dismount for a chill sun daze at the local fave, Third Beach.


              RECAP

              How Your Elemental Sign Affects Your Career Passion

              Tara Chloe delivers career advice from the Four Elements. Whether you fall under Fire, Earth, Air, or Water, your elemental sign is a natural reflection of you. Take a moment to find the best career options for your sign.

              WHAT'S UP NEXT WEEK?
              As the summer sun heats up, Deanna suggests 6 Foods to Boost Sun Protection.

              Hi, I'm Tara Chloe! I'm a Vancouver-based astrologer and content writer, and I'm so excited to begin sharing my knowledge with you here on the Woodlot blog. I promise to deliver you life, love, and career advice from the stars—plus monthly horoscopes, of course! You can look forward to the first full forecast in August. In the meantime, you can read more astrology stories at my blog What's Your Birthday? 

              You may be familiar with the Four Elements, but did you know these vital forces can help you fulfill your career potential? Whether you fall under Earth, Air, Fire, or Water, your elemental sign is a natural reflection of your temperament and values. Let's take a closer look at how your elemental sign affects your work life and career passions.


              Kendall Jenner was born on November 3rd, making her a Scorpio and a Fire sign.

              Fire

              Powerful, confident, vibrant, intense, loving, interesting, warm, flamboyant, striking, colourful, charming

              Fire signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

              Fire is intense, confident, and possesses incredible drive and energy. No matter what the situation, Fire has a way of getting your attention. Usually that attention is good, but sometimes it can be toxic, so it's important for Fire to slow down and reflect. Mindfulness does not always come easily to this sign, but once Fire can harness her incredible energy, she can achieve anything. Fire always lights up the room. 

              Above all, Fire knows what she wants from life, and how to get it. If Fire feels like she's being held back from her dreams, she can rest assured that her flame is still burning—it just might take some time and effort to turn up the heat.

              Fire sometimes needs the other elements to keep him grounded. Water especially can help him regain his cool, even if the interaction between the two signs sometimes leads to conflict. Other Fire signs are lots of fun too, as they like to keep things running high and hot.

              Fire excels at tackling many things at once. This element has high expectations of herself, so you can expect big things from this spirited go-getter.

              Common Careers for Fire signs: fashion designer, actor, film director, CEO, art director, painter, graphic designer, professional athlete, politician


              Bey was born on September 4th, making her a Virgo and an Earth sign.

              Earth

              Dependable, hard-working, domestic, generous, logical, sensible, determined, strong, powerful, rational, loyal

              Earth signs: Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo 

              Earth is an industrious sign who can easily work her way to the very top. She is loyal, patient, and driven by her desire to bring people together. Earth is not one to give up on her dreams, and she usually achieves them.

              Earth is very capable and strong, but he rarely asks for help unless she absolutely needs to. Although he cares deeply for his loved ones, he can sometimes fail to put his feelings into words.

              She often needs to balance the "give and take" in her relationships by reaching out to ask others for their input, and how they feel about the changes she's made.

              Earth knows how to create foundations and help things grow. She is a natural leader, who can steer a team with grace and humility. Earth knows how to wait for change to occur on its own, but she also knows how to cultivate positive action in the world around her.

              Common Careers for Earth signs: game designer, doctor, software developer, project manager, writer, physical therapist, art director, technical director, spiritual leader, veterinarian  


              Hari Nef was born on October 21st, making them a Libra and an Air sign.

              Air

              Harmonious, insightful, uncertain, thinking, intelligent, flirty, indecisive, unique, detailed, visionary, playful

              Air signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini

              Air is the visionary. Often Air is one who thinks up a new idea, and inspires others to drive it to completion. She is playful about her passions, but still consumed by them. To find happiness, she needs something substantial to hang her hat on. Alighting on the right career, which gives her the opportunity to display her many talents, is vital to her success.

              Air often has a hard time committing. She flits from one job to the next, like a butterfly never lingering too long in one place. Should Air ever choose to stay, her workplace will prosper, but Air may feel her creative energy depleted by the daily grind

              If Air feels he can’t stretch his wings in a group, he may have to pursue his passions on her own, or risk having his talents stifled by closed-minded people. 

              Air thrives when given the opportunity to set her own pace and hours, which is why those who fall under the Air sign often find themselves starting their own business, or working freelance.

              Common Careers for Air signs: entrepreneur, model, interior designer, makeup artist, photographer, events planner, dancer, architect, florist


              Rihanna was born on February 20th, making her a Pisces and a Water sign.

              Water

              Empathetic, emotional, moody, creative, nurturing, unpredictable, deep, refreshing, caring, dreamy, tender

              Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

              For Water to be truly happy she must discover her passion. Water is selective about the route she takes, but when she finally finds her true path, she flows with heartfelt care down each of its winding ways. 

              Water is often quite skilled and multi-talented in many areas. Water needs to take on a position that he can embody with confidence. 

              Water is imaginative, sensitive, and intuitive. For Water to shine, she needs to express her passions in a positive, loving environment—in a place where she fits in and feels loved. When comfortable, Water can draw from a deep well of power.

              Water sometimes seeks validation outside himself, which can lead Water to struggle to find stability. Water can be tough on himself, so he often requires loving reassurance of his worth from his friends and family.

              It's important that Water finds a way to balance her moods, and not let them get in the way of her concentration and vast potentialIf Water likes her position, co-workers, and surroundings, she will prosper greatly.

              Common Careers for Water signs: teacher, musician, jewelry maker, psychiatrist, nurse, yoga instructor, dentist, creative director, script writer

              Black Crane Jump Suit
              Take a Friday night romp in this fun linen jump suit by Black Crane.

              WEAR
              Linen Jump Suit by Black Crane

              Inspired by Japan and made in Los Angeles, Alexander Yamaguchi and Momoko Suzuki's Black Crane is slow, minimalist clothing that works for every body. Try this whimsical linen jump suit: it's the perfect fit for a fun night on the town with your gal pals. 


              TRY
              Popcorn & Sunsets

              Jonsing for a tasty Friday night movie nosh that won't spoil your diet? Sarah Britton of My New Roots suggests skipping the buttery movie snack, and air-popping some nutritional yeast-seasonsed popcorn at home. Nutritional yeast or nooch tastes great—it gives you cheesy flavour minus the empty calories—plus it's full of protein and fortified with B-complex vitamins.


              Paltrow and friends enjoy her cooking al fresco. Photo credit: Ditte Isager

              READ
              The State of the Domestic Goddess

              In this fun, food-for-thought piece, Emily Gould grapples with the fantasy of the domestic goddess, a role she claims falls to "a non-professional" with "self-taught, this-is-just-what-works-for-me vibes." Gould dips into Gwyneth Paltrow's latest cookbook It's All Easy and Chrissy Teigen's first, Cravings, for a devilishly delicious take on domestic goddesses of the food-Instagram era.

              Kate Beckinsale as the man-creepin' Lady Susan in Love & Friendship. 

              WATCH
              Love & Friendship

              Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks may be our fave dig of 2016, but back in the day Lady Susan was all like, "If she were going to be jealous, she should not have married such a charming man!" Watch her in Love & Friendship, the latest Jane Austen film adaptation, as she flirts and creeps her way to a new husband.

              Sonia Chhinji
              RECAP

              Journey Into Clean Beauty: Tips + My Personal Story

              Sonia opens up about her personal journey into green beauty, and offers some helpful tips for anyone thinking of making the switch.

              WHAT'S UP NEXT WEEK?
              Astrologer extraordinaire Tara Chloe joins us for her first post on how your elemental sign affects your career passions.