It is a gorgeous sunny Saturday. The sun streaming through my library window feels warm on my bare feet. Merlin, my cat, is perched on the chair behind me and he nuzzles my neck seeking attention. The Basil has flourished in the past week; it’s happy on the window sill. Once it’s big enough to harvest I’ll have to make my famous (at least at home) Pomodoro sauce with homemade pasta.
Here are the things I loved in March.
As a Certified Aromatherapist and Herbalist Candidate, medicine making is something I’m very interested in. For headaches or nausea I always grab my trusty peppermint essential oil or steep fresh mint and chamomile from the garden for a tea. Marjoram soothes sore muscles in a bath and sweet birch is natures aspirin, aiding in pain and neuralgia. A dream of mine would be to open an old time Apothecary and these are my favourite ones including the fictitious Bell, Book & Candle owned by The Good Witch herself, Cassie Nightingale. The Good Witch is one of my favourite movie series which is now a T.V show on the Hallmark Channel.
I visited Tenzing Momo the first time I went to Seattle. Hidden in a corner at Pike Place Market the shop is stocked with floor to ceiling shelves holding jars with dried herbs, essential and fragrance oils as well as Tarot decks, Buddhist prayer flags and post cards.
Last June I got to check one off my bucket list when I visited the Apothecary at Santa Maria Novella in Florence Italy. Initially a monastery dating back to 1200’s, Santa Maria Novella has been making Oils, colognes, soaps and candles with natural ingredients for centuries. The only place in North America that carries the line is Lafco in NYC but the import charges alone are close to the price of this pricy line so of course being there in person I stocked up on candles and bath oils for myself and a very unique and masculine cologne for my husband.
While researching product lines I would eventually like to carry in my own Apothecary, I stumbled upon Rose & Co in Haworth England. Traditional English Rose and Lavender bath and body products line the shelves as well as their adorable Patisserie de Bain line of bath bombs that look like ready- to- eat cupcakes.
Niagara On The Lake in Ontario is where I’m going the next time I’m in Toronto. As a kid we used to make the 2 hour drive to Niagara every few years to see the Falls and visit the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum (where I met Sandy Allen, the tallest woman in the world). I wasn’t aware of Niagara On The Lake until I started watching the Good Witch movies and researched the setting for the quaint town of Middleton where Cassie lives. The Apothecary which ran from 1820 to 1964 is now a museum and still holds the original jars and drawers where special powders and herbal remedies would be housed.
My city has a wonderful herbal Apothecary right in the hearth of Kits neighbourhood. Gaia Garden has been a fixture on West Broadway for over 20 years. You can dispense your own herbs and tea’s from oversized amber jar. Just grab a bag, a scoop and measure out the quantities you need on the scales.
Aesop is fairly new in the city with one opening recently on 4th Avenue. They’re not technically an Apothecary but they do have the feel of one. A shop with clean lines that prides itself in using natural botanicals. Aesop carries skin, hair and body products packaged in simple brown bottles and their signature white label.
And last but not least, I had to include a photo of the Bell, Book & Candle, the fictitious shop from the Good Witch series. The reason I fell in love with this series was precisely because of the story: Cassie Nightingale moves to the quiet town of Middleton after inheriting Grey House from her great aunt. New in town, Cassie creates quite a stir when she not only moves into the neighbourhood haunted house but is rumoured to be a Witch after she opens a shop filled with Essential oils, candles and herbs that offer “endless possibilites”.
Shopping In My Closet
Perhaps it’s Marie Kondo’s fault or maybe the documentary The True Cost impacted me more than I thought but this season I’ve found myself not interested in purchasing a bunch of new pieces for my closet. Instead I’ve been shopping in my own closet. If you know you have a lot of good clothes but still find yourself either bored of the same outfits or not finding anything to wear it’s time to shop your closet. Next time it rains and you have to stay indoors anyway, pull everything out of your closet and piece by piece lay a skirt on the bed then find different ways to style it. You will be surprise how that top you only ever wear with your favourite jeans, gives new life to your “old” skirt. Layer that with a jacket or boots you never thought of wearing with that skirt and before you know it, your wardrobe feels exciting and new. I went as far as pulling out jewelry and accessories and trying out the new trend for Spring of layering more than one necklace and wore it out to date night last night.
From left to right: White shirt by Wasabi & Mint, Skirt from The Latest Scoop. Blue and pink print silk dress – Vintage Escada. White jacket Sisley. Black and pink print dress as well as yellow dress with gold polkadots from Asos.com. Tie back floral top The Latest Scoop Vancouver. Ombre blue to pink summer dress by Sky Clothing in L.A. www.shopsky.com
Any time I’m travelling, I always buy at least one candle at any gift or souvenir shop I visit. There’s something special about buying a candle in a place that brings you nice memories and because our emotional system in our brains (our lymbic system) are connected to our sense of smell, you revisit all those wonderful memories every time you light the candle at home. During our most recent trip to Rossland BC I picked up a soy candle made by a local company in a Florist fragrance. I thought it would be perfect to usher in the Spring and it’s lit as I write on my coffee table filling the home with the amazing sweet scent of lilacs and roses. Another candle that brings back fond memories is the Tobacco one I picked up at the Santa Maria Novella Apothecary in Italy. I was there in Summer and it’s deep earthy almost vanilla fragrance was the perfect scent to light in the Fall.
Unless you have a signature scent (like Casmir by Chopard that I’ve worn since my teens), forking out $100+ on a large bottle of perfume just doesn’t make sense to me. Sephora offers purse sized roll-ons of all your favourite designer scents. Last year I bought Ralph Lauren Romance and wore that through the Spring and Summer. Recently I received a sample of YSL Mon Paris. It’s a beautiful sweet almost foodie scent which I’ll be picking up in a 10ml roll-on. They’re $26 at Sephora and they last just long enough for me to get distracted by another scent.
New Lush Vegan Line
I recently read that LUSH had done a major overhaul of their Bath Bomb line and have come out with an entirely Vegan line including 52 new Bath Bombs. That should last me through Autumn and I’ll admit, yesterday I drove right by Lush and literally accelerated so that I wouldn’t stop in and blow my entire cheque (that I’d just deposited at the bank 2 blocks away) on every single one.
I am in love with YSL’s Rouge Volupte Shine Oil in-stick Lipsticks. Buildable colour that goes on like a gloss and can be layered to create a deeper shade. They smell divine, come in gorgeous corals, reds and pinks AND when you order on the YSL line, they will custom engrave your lipstick (and send you 3 free samples). I personalized my hot pink St. Germain shade with my childhood nickname Jem Star with hearts and arrows on the packaging.
When Tony’s wife dies of cancer, she leaves him video footage of herself advising him of how he should live his life after she’s gone. But Tony is deeply depressed and suicidal and with nothing to lose, decides he will live the rest of his life saying whatever he thinks of people and doing whatever he wants without thinking about the consequences. We started watching it when it showed up on Netflix but after 4 episodes, we had to take a break because our credit card was compromised so until we got the new one in the mail this week, we had no Netflix! Sad, dark and really funny, this show is SO Ricky’s humour which is my kind of humour.
Date Night In Spain
Seth and I like to do something special together at least once a week. This can be going for a hike in the forest or trying out a new restaurant. Although we’ve been to Espana once before, we were inspired to return since we’re going on our Honeymoon in June and will be visiting San Sebastian and Barcelona Spain before flying down to Italy for 2 weeks in Tuscany. Espana on Denman Street is a little slice of Spain: A narrow space lined with crowded tables along one wall and the bar along the other. We sat at the bar because there was a 40 minute wait otherwise and we were hungry. Warm olives, anchovies on toast and a great variety of Spanish wines. Go early to avoid the lineup or in Spanish style, stop in for a really late Charcuteria.
Thanks for reading!