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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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

    (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.

    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.

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.


    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.

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

    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. 

    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

    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. 

    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

    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.

    Astrologer extraordinaire Tara Chloe joins us for her first post on how your elemental sign affects your career passions.

    Sonia Chhinji of Woodlot
    Woodlot co-founder Sonia Chhinji shares her green beauty journey.

    Every day we are exposed to new ways we can improve how we live. But let’s face it: the pressure can feel overwhelming. This is exactly how I felt when I first began transitioning into a green-friendly approach to beauty.

    Making the move toward greener products can be tricky, time-consuming, and expensive. To make it work, we all have to get creative, and think long term. I started by compiling a list of products I used on a daily or weekly basis. For me, that list included: soap, shampoo, skin care, toothpaste, laundry detergent, eyeliner, blush, lipstick, and body perfume.

    My personal transition started over five years ago when I really started to pay attention to what I was eating, and how it was influencing my well-being—specifically my skin. It was also around this time that I was introduced to my partner. Fouad had been making soap bars in Toronto using a family recipe. He told me the story behind the soap bars: how he'd grown up on an olive orchard, and how he continued to make his own soap because the bars we buy in stores contain lots of nasty ingredients. It got me thinking. I'd always assumed that most of the products I used were “healthy” and good for me. Most of us are shocked once we start looking at ingredient lists. So I started paying more attention, and my journey toward green beauty began.

    Sonia Chhinji
    Sonia Chhinji
    Photo credit: Britney Gill

    If it seems tough at first, please don't be discouraged. It takes a lot of testing and sampling to find green products that achieve similar results as the ones you grew up loving. It took me years to find my favourite clean mascara, but it was well worth the effort.

    Here are some tips to transition to a greener beauty lifestyle:

    1. Create a list of the products you use everyday.
    2. Start with what you care about the most. I started with my skin, hair, and teeth. I sampled a ton of green options before settling on the ones I love the most:  Woodlot Soap Bars for nourishing skin, home-made skin care, Kiss my Face Toothpaste, and Prairie Naturals hair care. I’m still trying to find the best shampoo; I'll let you know when I do!
    3. Create a list of ingredients you’d like to avoid. EWG’s database contains a great list of undesirable ingredients.
    4. Check out places that offer consultancy and advice to help with the transition process. I loved visiting The Green Kiss with my favourite makeup options: they gave me some great alternatives. The thing with makeup, is that we've all been spoiled with function, so finding great green makeup alternatives can sometimes be difficult. If you live in Vancouver, The Soap Dispensary is fantastic. You can find great alternatives for traditional laundry and kitchen cleaning products.

    How is your clean beauty journey coming along? I’d love to hear your stories. Tell me about your transition to green beauty, or which products have become your favourites. Until next time...

    Keep it real,
    xoxo Sonia

    Photo credit: Boutierre Girls

    eco diva beauty
    Follow @ecodivabeauty for that natural beauty goodness. Photo credit: Ashley Maronik


    We get our daily dose of sustainable beauty by following our friends Eco Diva Beauty on Instagram. From inspiring wellness leader quotes to luxury lipsticks that go easy on the earth, Eco Diva is our favourite 'gram for all things green.

    night vale
    Welcome to Night Vale: popular horror podcast, and surprising source of sage advice.

    Welcome to Night Vale - Episode 75

    "But here’s a little secret for you: no one is ever the same thing again after anything. You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are. Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is. Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you aren’t that person anymore, and everything changes once again."
    ~Welcome to Night Vale, Episode 75 - Listen to the full episode.

    surreal estate
    Photo credit: Vice

    Surreal Estate

    Speaking of Welcome Night Vale, Vancouver real estate prices sure can seem like a terrifying joke sometimes. But since we're never ones to back down from a challenge, here's a short doc featuring some intrepid folks making a go at city-living in the land of the million dollar condo. Anyone know a good spot to park our camper van?

    Cavern of Secrets

    Photo credit: Hazlitt

    Cheryl Strayed on Cavern of Secrets

    Host and comedian Lauren Mitchell chats with the always inspiring Cheryl Strayed about her best-selling memoir Wild, translating her harrowing personal story from print to screen, and what it's like to be besties with Reese Witherspoon.

    michelle rizzardo

    Friends of Woodlot:Michelle Rizzardo, One of a Few founder

    Team Woodlot chatted with Michelle Rizzardo—entrepreneur, mom, and founder of the Gastown boutique, One of a Few.

    Sonia tackles the toughest of tough green beauty questions: I'm new to making the switch to clean beauty, where do I start?

    Michelle Rizzardo
    One of a Few founder 
    Michelle Rizzardo is not one to shy away from a good statement hat.

    Michelle Rizzardo is an entrepreneur, a mom, and the founder of the beautiful Gastown boutique, One of a Few. Rizzardo's goal in opening the shop was to bring exclusive and well-made designs to Vancouver. Since opening in 2005, Michelle has become increasingly passionate about empowering local artists, and facilitating a relationship between designers and consumers. With wedding and party season well under way, Team Woodlot sat down with Michelle to get her tips on shopping for special events, and to learn a thing or two about her personal approach to business and fashion.

    What sparked the decision to start your own business?

    After graduating from university, I spent three years working and traveling through Asia. When I came back to Vancouver, I went to business school with the intention of returning to Asia with an MBA. As I dove into writing a business plan for a mock clothing store that I called “Olive,” the idea started to feel more realistic and attainable. After completing business school, I knew I wanted to make this a career, and decided to stay here in Vancouver. I wouldn't have been able to follow through on opening the shop without my family, friends, and teachers. I am so grateful for them!

    Martiniano glove shoes
    A selection of Martiniano glove shoes available at Michelle's shop.

    Are there any new pieces in the shop currently that you are particularly excited about?

    I personally am a shoe and bag hoarder, so I am always most excited about those every season. For summer, I love MNZ sandals and Creatures of Comfort bags. The three summer must-haves in my opinion are Laura School slides, Jesse Kamm sailor pants, and a Clyde hat.

    Wedding season is here in a big way. What pieces would you suggest for those of us who are going to one, two (or more!) weddings this summer? 

    Feel comfortable and confident in your outfit choice—it will make your night so much more enjoyable! I always suggest wearing a stand out piece like a fun pair of shoes, a clutch, or a statement necklace. Weddings are special and are the perfect venue to try out things you wouldn’t normally wear.

    Building Block basket bag
    This Building Block basket bag is one of the beautiful leather bags available at One of a Few.

    Who is your go-to designer when picking out something to wear to a special event? 

    That's a tough one. We carry over 50 designers in the store, and I've worn a piece from each of them at one time or another. I honestly just pick whatever is fun and makes me feel good!

    Picking out gifts can be daunting. Do you have any favourite gift ideas that we could find at the store?

    We have people coming in all the time asking for gift ideas. It's always interesting when people take the plunge and try to choose clothing for others. We have lots of fun helping them find the perfect thing—when it works out it feels amazing!

    We see Woodlot products being purchased as gifts a lot. In particular, the Original Candle, the Refreshing Mist, and Charcoal Soap are guaranteed picks. Aside from that, we stock linens, pottery, books, and jewelry, so there's never a shortage of little something’s to grab as gifts!

    Martina Thornhill ceramics
    One of a Few carries a selection of stoneware, like this "eye-catching" mug by Portland ceramic artist, Martina Thornhill.

    Does being surrounded by beautiful clothes all day inspire you to dress up? Or do you keep it casual? 

    While I don’t wear my gym clothes to work, I do tend to keep it pretty casual. I'm inspired by clothing that makes me feel good, and that is made in North America or by fair trade companies. Being surrounded by the endless creativity of the designers we carry does make me dress with purpose, and I love putting outfits together every morning.

    What do you do to relax when you aren’t at the shop? 

    I hang out with my kids, my husband, my family, and friends. They are a huge part of my life, and who I am. 

    Do you have any natural beauty and health rituals? 

    I wash my face and brush my teeth every day and every night, regardless of how tired I am; and I try to drink at least eight large glasses of water a day. 

    What is your one can’t-live-without-it piece of clothing? 

    One!!!!? I can choose an outfit: My Pansy bra, a white shirt, and vintage jeans. 

    Thanks for the shopping inspiration, Michelle. See you at the shop!

    Team Woodlot