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A blog about conscious living for health happiness and beauty

A blog about conscious living for health happiness and beauty

By definition to be conscious is to be aware of and responding to ones surroundings; awake.

Too many people sleep walk through life.  We allow life to push us to and fro like a piece of seaweed drifting on the tide.  The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the friends we have and the thoughts we think are all things we can choose.  You could even choose to hold your breath right now until you pass out, but chances are you wont, and why is that?  Because it is not pleasant and is harmful, yet we unconsciously make unpleasant choices daily that harm our bodies our minds and our planet.  Together lets wake up and choose more carefully so we can write our own stories while becoming our best selves.

It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities – Albus Dumbledore

 

10 things I’ve learned from a failed Etsy shop and a new shop that just hit 100 sales

My first 100 sales on Etsy might seem like peanuts to some people, but I consider it an accomplishment worth celebrating so I am giving away a FREE pair of shoes to one lucky person.  (You choose the pair, I foot the bill) If you like vintage shoes jump on over to my instagram page @lesagevintage, it’s super easy to enter and I would love to meet you and see what you’re up to on the gram!

shoey (1)
Just a few pairs available in the shop now

 

 

Now on to those Etsy lessons….

This is my second vintage shop on Etsy, the first far surpassed 100 sales actually ending up in the thousands but this time around the process has been smoother and I’ve hit that 100 sales way faster.

If you have been toying with the idea of opening an etsy shop this is a must read, you can learn from some of my mistakes so you don’t have to make them in the first place.  Please like and share this post if it speaks to you.

Remember, in business losses are lessons.   If things go awry now and then be grateful, those are the most impactful learning experiences you will ever have.

And now without further ado… The top ten things I have learned from my old Etsy shop and from those first 100 sales in my new one.

  1. Start. Your. Shop.  It seems simple but honestly, so many people want to wait until they feel like everything is perfect to take action.  Guess what guys…  You’ll never have all the answers and perfection is an instagram filter.  Its not real. If you want to start selling on Etsy you’ve got to start listing products.  The beauty of etsy is that it is not just a selling platform, it is a search engine.  People will find your products even if your photos, tags and descriptions aren’t perfect at first. Once you start you will be able to make tweaks as you go.  I kept putting off opening my shop because I couldn’t find a suitable live model.  Eventually I just said F it, and began photographing my items hanging on a plain wall, with footwear displayed on a sheet.  Did it fulfill this image of perfection I was striving for? Far from it.  But I made my first sale within 48 hours and now 6 months later I’ve hit that 100.  All that time agonising over hiring a model could have been spent making money!
  2. Offer a good product and be ethical.  If you want to import mass produced goods from factories, there are some great platforms for you to sell on, but Etsy is not one of them.  Etsy buyers are generally there to support small businesses and find unique items.  The marketplace has recently become saturated with things found on wholesale websites and it makes me so sad.  Yes, you might trick the average consumer into buying your imported products and you might even make a killing in the process, (a few shops come to mind) but there is no honor in taking sales away from genuine artisans.  Focus on filling your shop with products that align with Etsy’s Tou’s, and make sure those products are of a high quality.  I only buy good quality pieces for my shop and am careful to include any flaws in my descriptions so that I am not misrepresenting my items.
  3.  Niche down a bit and identify your avatar. When I see a shop selling handmade fly fishing hooks, wooden figurines, and lace doilies I do not think ‘awesome selection’, I think, ‘what a mess.’ Yes, you want to have a good selection in your shop, but you should fit within a certain niche in the market. Hopefully Etsy will soon make it possible for people to run multiple shops from the same account (ETSY CAN YOU HEAR ME?!) But until that happens, if your products are too different they probably should be in different shops. The key is to focus on selling items that look like they could belong to the same person.  Ie find your avatar, and the easiest way to remain consistent is to use yourself as that avatar.  It’s impossible to appeal to every person in the world so that should never be your goal.  By basing your product offerings on your own wants and needs you can be fairly certain there will be an audience out there for it, and without too much effort your shop will take on a curated appearance.  I’m a curvy, minimalist, vintage loving girl who cares about the environment and has a slight shoe obsession, I bet just by reading that you can guess what my product selection might look like….
  4. Take good photos.  Now you may go to my shop and say, ‘what does she know about taking good photos?’ Admitadly, very little, but I’m comitted to the process of learning.  I recently bought a mannequin and after spending an entire afternoon photographing bags, I realised the metal pole was awkwardly in the shots and the photos just weren’t as good as they could be. Yes, I could have just used them, but I knew exactly what I needed to tweak to make them better, so guess how I spent the entire following afternoon? (Tip: before photographing your entire collection, take a few test shots to make sure you like how they are looking!!)  We can only do so much working with what we’ve got. Yes, I may not be a professional photographer but I will put in the time to change the things I do have control over whenever I can.  I couldn’t find a live model so I purchased a mannequin.  I didn’t have a great camera, so I hit up the pawn shop.  I. just. can’t. with photoshop, so I use the simple photo editing software built into my lap top.  I wouldn’t buy a wrinkled garment thrown across someone’s bed, so I steam and hang all of my clothing prior to photographing.
  5.  Offer good customer service.  Etsy has their own algorithms and they do take into account your response times to convos as well as how quickly you ship items.  In my last shop, I found myself getting annoyed with people asking the same questions over and over again. Where is my tracking? It’s been a week shouldn’t my item be here?  Will you take $20 for this $80 item? etc.  So I started ignoring some of the more repetitive and irritating questions.  While I still maintained a 5 star rating, I ended up getting a couple unsavory reviews for poor communication, and as a result my shop was pushed lower in the algorithm.  At the end of the day, I was not operating good business.  People don’t realise how often you’ve been asked the same thing or why you have to charge a certain price for something, if they are taking the time to reach out to you they deserve an answer.  I now have a few custom made responses to my more common inquiries typed out in a word document, and when I get a standard question I copy and paste.  I also always try to slide the persons name into the response to personalise it a bit.
  6. Use Esty’s calculated shipping option.  Not only will this help you rank higher in the algorithm, but when people ask why you charge so much for shipping you can cut and paste your custom response explaining that Etsy calculates your shipping and you do not profit off of shipping fees.  On the flip side, I grossly underestimated shipping costs MANY times in my early days on etsy.  I have ended up paying money out of pocket to ship things to Europe or Australia because I thought, ‘$20 to ship a winter coat sounds reasonable.’  I kept putting off using shipping labels because I didn’t want to buy a shipping scale.   I have probably lost $100’s in international shipping over the years, but that scale only cost me $20.  I also don’t dread packing orders and holding up post office lines like I used to.  Shipping labels save time and money, take it from me!
  7. Tweak. Tweak. Tweak.  Your shop should be treated as a work in progress.  Etsy has built in software that shows you where your traffic is coming from, as well as the key words that are generating the most hits.  Use all the tools Etsy provides, they are there for a reason.  There are tons of articles out there explaining how to tag and title your items while keeping Etsy SEO in mind, read those.  If your tags aren’t bringing you traffic, change them.  And remember, trends (and tags) change.  Keep on top of the most relevant tags for your items and you will keep on top of the market.
  8.  Price compare and pay yourself.  Most vintage sellers can relate to the term ‘seller regret’, but I promise you, that regret is felt tenfold when you sell those items for less than what they are worth.  I sold some killer things for some ridiculous prices in the beginning.  A mint condition 1930s Hungarian folk blouse for $30, an amazing 1960s pink alpaca coat for $40 and a pair of 70s lace up campus boots for $45.  Anyone who knows vintage and just read those numbers is probably cringing.  It is so easy to search up an item and see what a similar thing would sell for in other shops, so DO IT!  This is also a great way to learn about what is trending and what titles and tag words are being used.  Whether selling vintage or handmade, it’s important to price compare and charge somewhere towards the higher end of the middle.  No one want’s to buy the most expensive item, but people can also be wary of deals that sound too good to be true.  Most importantly, make sure you are PAYING YOURSELF enough.  If you actually have made that item by hand it is not unfair to ask a living hourly wage (plus the cost of materials)!  Yes your prices may seem high next to shops carrying imported goods but at the end of the day your integrity will pay off and those shady shops will weed themselves out, I’ve seen it happen time and again.
  9.  Crunch those numbers.  It’s easy to blow through those extra pay cheques that magically direct deposit into your account every week, but it’s super important to identify your actual profit margins.  Don’t just tell yourself ‘ I made an extra $500 this week.  If you ended up investing $100 on ads and $200 on product or supplies, you really only made $200.  Be meticulous about keeping records, go over your finances every month, keep a careful inventory, and try to save as much as you can.  You never know what rainy days lie ahead, which leads me to my last and most important lesson…
  10. Don’t build a castle on leased land.  Etsy is a wonderful platform.  I recommend Etsy as a great place to start for any artesian maker.  I used my etsy earnings to pay a down payment on a house, buy a car, and take my kids on a few mini vacations.  Etsy has been good to me, but it has also broken my heart.  In 2015 my old shop disappeared seemingly overnight.  I went from making close to $6000 one October to $1200 the following month (and watched helplessly as those numbers dwindled lower and lower still).  It happened.  And while I ultimately blame myself and my mistakes for the downturn, the truth is, even if I had run a perfect shop it could have happened.  Etsy is constantly making their own tweaks and algorithm changes.  These changes will not always benefit every shop and some shops will inevitably be hurt by them.  It is an incredibly helpless feeling to have your numbers drop so quickly without any warning, and I know I am not alone.  Just google ‘my etsy shop has died overnight’.  This is a phenomenon that happens and no blog post on Etsy success should come without a warning.  Putting all of your eggs in one basket is a bad idea for any online endeavor.  While I am currently focusing on using etsy as a place to get my business started, I am simultaneously running a blog, using social media and working with a business coach to plan my standalone shop.  I’m also back in the salon working as a stylist so I have multiple sources of income and get to be creative both on and offline!  I hope to always be involved in the Etsy community because I love it, but I am no longer foolish enough to put all of my hope in it.  I have learned that lesson the hard way and encourage all new sellers to proceed with caution and create a long-term plan that goes beyond Etsy.

So there you have it.  My 10 lessons from a failed Etsy shop and 100 sales in a brand new one.  If you’ve been mulling around the idea of starting an Etsy shop I hope this gives you the encouragement to go for it.  It truly is a super easy, user friendly way to dip your toes into ecommerce and it is FUN!

If you have any more questions about getting started on Etsy, feel free to reach out and if you like vintage shoes be sure to enter my IG contest @lesagevintage.  (The shoe collage above is just a teeny tiny baby taste of the amazing selection of vintage shoes I have up for grabs in the shop right now.)

 

6 major symptoms of Candida overgrowth and 6 effective steps to treat it

variety of vegetables
Photo by Adonyi Gábor on Pexels.com

(disclaimer: I am not a doctor, only a former sufferer of Candida who has researched this topic to death. I am happy to provide links to medically backed documentation if needed and while I am not authorized to give medical advice, I am happy to provide suggestions that have worked for me and others in the treatment of Candida overgrowth.)

Candida is an evil, tricky beast. It lives in everyone’s gut and is designed to work symbiotically with our microbiome, but it can quickly become a monster if given the oppurtunity. Some things that trigger candida overgrowth are; excessive carb, sugar and alcohol consumption, antibiotic and hormonal contraceptive use as well as a high stress lifestyle.

Being an opportunistic fungus, it can be notoriously hard to eradicate once it takes over. The best measure of defense against candida is to avoid an overgrowth in the first place. This can be done by opting for natural forms of birth control and avoiding antibiotics when not medically necessary. It is also important to eat a low sugar, grain free diet rich in pre, and probiotics and to manage stress with whatever means necessary.

Unfortunately, thanks to modern high carb, high stress lifestyles candida overgrowth is becoming a chronic problem for many people. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just a female problem, men are also susceptible, however, studies have shown that high estrogen levels can be a contributing factor.

It is common for candida sufferers to be labeled as hypochondriacs due to the long list of vague, seemingly unrelated symptoms, however, it is not to be taken lightly. In severe cases of long term, untreated candida, the fungus can spread into the blood stream leading to effects on the brain, heart, and lymphatic system. It overburdens the liver as your body struggles to filter out endotoxins. It increases intestinal permeability, leading to leaky gut and other associated disorders. It is shown to trigger autoimmune disorders and has even in some studies been linked to higher instances of cancer.

Scary stuff right? In my quest to heal my own autoimmune disorders I kept stumbling back upon the word ‘Candida’ and decided to learn all I could about it. Eventually, I reached the conclusion that treating this yucky fungus would be a necessary first step in my healing journey.

So how do you identify Candida overgrowth in your body and what do you do if you think you’ve got it?

There are some obvious symptoms of candida that shouldn’t be ignored, these include;
1. Fungal infections (yeast infections, jock itch, ringworm, toenail fungus, perioral dermatitis etc.)
2. Fatigue, brain fog and worse than normal forgetfulness
3. Autoimmune disorders and associated symptoms
4. Digestive issues (bloating, gas, gurgling stomach, stomach pain and nutrient deficiencies)
5. Mood swings and irritability
6. Intense carb and sugar cravings

If you recognise two or more of these symptoms in yourself, it is time to get serious about crushing this evil fungal monster, so  you can take back control of your overall health.

One thing I have learned from my own experience, is that Candida is not quick or easy to treat. It may be tempting to just toss back fistfuls of antifungals and go on living, but the process is not so simple. Massive Candida die offs will cause symptoms far worse than the actual Candida itself and is not advised (take it from someone who has learned this one the hard way!)

In order to let your body do a good job of detoxing, it is important that your method of attack is slow and strategic while special care is simultaneously taken to support your liver throughout the process.

There are many candida cleanse kits available online as well as in stores and they are not all created equal!  If you choose to go this route do your research and read reviews. There are also a few super effective antifungals available otc. Because I’m such a granola cruncher, I always opt to go the natural route first, however in in extreme cases of Candida it is recommended that you seek medical advice.

My six most important natural tools for fighting candida are;
1. A parasite cleanse. Parasites may seem unrelated to Candida but they can operate symbiotically. Parasites often reside in your liver and it is vital that the liver be strengthened first so it can do its very important job of removing all the endotoxins produced in the Candida die off. Many anti-parasitic ingredients are also antifungals so starting with a parasite cleanse is a great way to come out swinging and weaken that candida right out of the gate.

2. A well planed diet. When battling candida, a well planned diet is life. A grain free, reduced carb diet is what worked for me but in severe cases a full blown anti candida diet or keto may be necessary. Candida lives off carbs and sugar, it needs to be essentially starved for a long period of time to actually die down to healthy, long term levels. In addition to avoiding high glycemic foods adding fermented foods such as sour kraut and kimchi to your diet, can be helpful to replenish good gut bacteria.

3. Antifungals. One of the trickiest things about Candida is that it can build up a resistance to various antifungals, which leads to the argument that antifungals should be rotated. Still, other scientists would argue that this can lead to quicker strain mutations and make candida stronger in the long run.  I don’t know about you, but I find conflicting advice super confusing.   At the end of the day what worked for me was selecting one high quality herbal antifungal and simultaneously supplementing my diet with natural antifungal food sources such as raw garlic, kefir and pau d’arco tea. Start with the recommended dose and taper it up or down according to your die off reaction.

4. Liver support. Warm water with lemon, dandelion root tea, bitters, these should all become a part of any Candida fighting diet. Your liver will be working overtime for you throughout the duration and is going to need a little extra love to get the job done right.

5. Sauna and dry rubbing. This is a detox tool I personally used with positive results. I am sure people can do a fine candida cleanse without it, but I found it useful to speed up my toxin elimination and it seemed to reduce die off symptoms as well. Rub a bore bristle brush over your body starting at your extremities and moving towards your heart, step into a hot sauna (infrared is best) and get your sweat on. That’s it. Not only is a good form of detox, it has improved my cellulite and made my skin glow.

6. Probiotics. Good ones. They can and should be taken throughout the duration of the candida diet but especially when your course of antifungals is over. Because antifungals will inevitably kill off some good bacteria, it is extremely vital that the good stuff be replenished. I now try to maintain a steady stream of probiotic supplementation for maintenance. I know good probiotics can be pricey, but they are so worth it. I have had scary moments where I’ve noticed symptoms creeping back up when I don’t take them for prolonged periods.

So that’s it, I would say my candida symptoms have improved about 85% since the completion of my cleanse and have stayed steady at this level. I ended up staying on a fairly strict candida diet and antifungals for three full months and continue to supplement with pre and probiotics regularly. Whenever I notice symptoms creeping up I find relief in cutting back carbs and amping up my probiotics.  I plan to undertake another three-month candida cleanse some time in the next year and hope to knock this beast out completely. I’m also quite confident that eating a largely grain free, moderate carb diet has helped me to maintain the progress I have achieved.

On another note… I seriously can not wait to sell my house so I can start messing up my kitchen again! I have so many great grain free recipes just waiting to be dropped. Stay tuned. xx

Sometimes good things come in bad packages – my house selling fiasco

yellow concrete house
Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on Pexels.com

Life can have a weird way of working itself out. I’m reminded of this very lesson in my current life as I go through the tumultuous process of selling my house.

It would seem to the outside observer, everything that could go wrong so far, has.

Initially we listed without an agent, after three months with only five showings we threw in the towel and decided to ante up and re list with a realtor in the spring.

This ended up working in our favour as over the spring our dead market thawed a bit and we were pummelled with showings right out the gate.

We were quickly easing our way towards a sale (I could feel it) when one night as I was vacuuming my basement to prepare for a viewing, I stepped in something wet and smelly. It turns out we had a sewage back up. We had to cancel all upcoming showings and put our listing on hold. At the time I thought, this is the worst possible thing that could happen, but then I got the insurance cheque.

Let’s just say everything was well taken care of, including a fluffy new basement carpet and a good chunk leftover because we did a lot of the work ourselves. Disaster averted.

And then, a week later we got an offer.  After a few shenanigans (including some insulting low balls and writing a bunch of our personal possessions into the offer) we were able to agree on a price. It was less than I had hoped but something I could live with, and it was an offer!

I was sure things were looking up, until I awoke one morning shivering and could almost see my breath hanging in the air. Our furnace had died during an unusual cold patch.

I could hardly believe our luck.

Again, we got an insurance cheque and my husbands friend was able to install a high efficiency furnace that he had refurbished for a fraction of what it would normally cost. He told us our old furnace would have never passed inspection and I realised, this had all once again been a blessing in disguise.

As our closing day approached, we went house hunting and found an adorable place across from a park on a huge lot. I paid the deposit and spent a few glorious days visualising how it would look with our updates and furniture. I had a place worked out for my studio, and big plans for the backyard, and then we got the call. Our buyers financing had fallen through, and they had waited until the very last moment to tell us.

Now here we are again, showing our house almost daily and waiting for the silver lining in all this to reveal itself (as I’m sure it eventually will).

When things seem to be going awry, I’m reminded of a Chinese parable that was told to me as a little girl and has stuck with me throughout my life.

To paraphrase:  A poor famer diligently saves money to purchase a fine horse, but soon after the purchase, the horse runs away. A neighbour offers his condolences saying, ‘sorry to hear about your horse, that is some bad luck,’ to which the farmer replies, ‘bad luck good luck, who can say?’
The neighbour thinks the man is crazy, of course the loss of an expensive horse could be nothing but bad luck, but he is given pause when days later, the farmers horse returns and has brought another fine horse with it.
So, the farmer gives the second horse to his son, but his son is thrown from the horse and badly breaks his leg.
‘Sorry about your sons bad luck’ says the concerned neighbour again upon hearing of the accident, but the farmer calmly replies, ‘bad luck good luck, who can say?’
A week later the emperor comes to the village and takes every able-bodied young man to fight in a gruesome war, because of the broken leg, the farmers son is spared.

The parable goes on but I digress, sometimes things don’t work out, and for good reason. That failed relationship that left you feeling like your heart had been stomped by stilettos may have needed to end to open the door for your soulmate. That job you lost (and hated) finally freed you up to find the career of your dreams.

There are stories of people who have missed flights that have later crashed. I even remember hearing about a woman who worked at the world trade centre sleeping through her alarm for the first time ever on the morning of 9/11.

In my own life, learning of my first pregnancy as a broke, unmarried, 23 year old seemed like a full blown disaster. When those two lines appeared on a pregnancy test a second time, with a barely three month old baby, I basically considered my life to be over. Now at 33 with two amazing sons and a PCOS diagnosis I am so very thankful for both of those successful pregnancies and never does a day pass when I take them for granted.

My entire autoimmune diagnosis has actually ended up transforming my life in so many ways and I am actually healthier in my body and mind than I ever was pre-diagnosis.
Whatever you may be going through at the moment, give it time. It’s hard to see the whole picture when you’re standing in it, but at some point in the future it will all make sense.

Sometimes life hands us lemons, and have you guys seen the prices of lemons lately?

(Have you ever had a tumultuous house selling experience that worked out in the end? Tell me!)

Why I love and sell vintage clothing

Do you like vintage?

I started buying all of my clothes almost exclusively second hand back when I was a teenager (aka. before it was cool.)

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It became a weekly ritual to meet up with a girlfriend, and hop on the subway.   We would travel to the farthest outskirts of town where the best thrift shops always are and spend leisurely afternoons rolling up and down the isles.  Our cart would be overflowing by the time we hit the change rooms.  We would try on ensembles for each other, meticulously picking only the very best pieces to keep.  Sometimes we would trade.  Often a friendly stranger would comment “that is a lovely color on you” or “you just have to get that one”.  Our outfits were always on point.

 

People would constantly ask where we got certain things, and I would vaguely say ‘a thrift store.’ I was greedy and wanted to keep our spot a secret, but word spreads.  With vintage showing up more in magazines and on celebrities, our secret spot soon became a local hang out for hipsters.

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Despite the new thrifting competition, I could never give up the thrill of the hunt.  I began travelling to small towns, digging through estate sales and even putting ads on the internet ‘I want to buy your vintage!’  I realized, regardless of how many hip kids had taken up thrifting, there was still so much cool stuff out there for me.  In fact, 15 years later I still find at least one amazing thing nearly every time I thrift.

I was happy to continue amassing an epic collection of vintage until I saw the show hoarders and realized that could be my future. I had taken over an entire shared closet and purchased an industrial rack to hang extra items in the living room.  When another friend told me about this little site called Etsy I gave it a go, and sold my first item within hours of listing it. My online shop was born and my boyfriend got his half of the closet back.

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Over the next decade I sold thousands of items, even reaching a few big bloggers,  B list celebrities and a well known fashion designer.  I was loving what I did and doing what I loved but somewhere along the way my reasons for selling vintage changed.

When you are looking through discarded clothes as often as I am, you quickly realize how many clothes are actually discarded.  And then you realize, someone had to make those clothes.  And someone had to make that fabric.  And it was dyed and cut and shipped out to be sold.  As I did the mental calculations I became aware that people were being exploited to produce this fast fashion and epic waste was being generated as a result.  As I learned more about the environmental impacts of the modern clothing industry I grew even more resolute that doing fashion in an eco-conscious way was my calling in life.

suedeer

The global fashion industry is valued in the TRILLIONS.  There are close to 8 billion humans on the earth and if each of us bought just three items of clothing/ footwear a year there would still be a global need for the production of 24 billion items annually.  But we don’t just buy three items! The average American family spends $1700 on clothing a year while the average American individual throws away 65 pounds of clothing annually.  The scariest thing about these huge numbers to me, is that to make all of these rapidly consumed items, a lot of waste is generated.  The waste generated by the fashion industry pollutes our air, water, and soil and is a huge contributor to our modern global health crisis.  And health is probably why you are reading this blog in the first place…

jeanjack

Even though my shop is a teeny corner of the internet, I am proud to sell vintage and items made from vintage fabrics with my own two hands and be a part of the solution rather than the problem.  I ship everything in biodegradable, recycled packaging and sell items that are either entirely handmade by me out of vintage fabrics, or true vintage.  I also tend towards natural fibres as these have a much lighter environmental footprint.

There are so many items in the world we could stop producing clothes today, and still have enough for generations.  Sadly, due to greed, the fast fashion industry is not stopping, but we can make better choices about the things we consume.

Next time you feel the need for a wardrobe update, go browse a thrift shop, or check out an online vintage store.  You will be amazed at the treasures that are out there.

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If vintage is your thing feel free to follow me on IG @lesagevintage for shop updates and discounts. If you’ve been feeling enticed by any of these super cute coats you can find my shop here, all coats are 20% off this month for readers of my blog and IG followers, just use coupon code SPRING at the checkout.

xx

 

 

 

How a long term lie taught me that honesty is so important

woman standing on road
Photo by Pedro Sandrini on Pexels.com

My lie started as a little tiny baby lie but grew into something so tremendously ridiculous that it effected my life and permanently altered my friendships.

In a world where lying seems like a normal part of existence, I unfortunately had to learn the hard way that honesty trumps all.

My parents put me into school in a year too early. I had been deemed intellectually ready, but in many ways, I mentally was so not. When one of my classmates invited everyone in the class to her birthday except for me I was crushed. I asked her why and she said it was because she didn’t want to be friends with a little kid.

So as any seven year old would do, I went home crying and at the suggestion of my Dad, I started to lie about my age. We decided that in the minds of eight year olds, an extra year of life could go a long way.

If you ever listen to little kids playing on the playground, the very first question they ask each other is ‘how old are you?’ ‘Six and a quarter’ or some other super detailed number they answer, always making sure to include every single precious month. To kids, years of age are like facial tatoos among gang members, instant street cred.

So, I began to tell my peers I was one year older, and thanks to the short attention span of young kids, a year older I became.

Eventually my body grew to match my faux age, and my confidence grew with it. I found my people, wonderful, hilarious friends who accepted me for me, but I just couldn’t shake the lie.

Never did it seem to be the right time to say, ‘actually guys, I’ve been lying all along, I’m only 14 (or whatever age I had faux turned that year).’ The thought of coming clean made me feel like the biggest weirdo, (which I probably was) and to protect myself from shame and discomfort I kept on bs-ing.

It was just such a bizarre situation with no easy way out. I was no longer being bullied and had friends that surely wouldn’t care what age I was, but I was certain they would care that I had been insecure enough to lie in the first place.

One day I was finally over it. Every birthday brought with it a sense of dread and I finally told one of my friends the truth. She agreed everyone might think I was a freak and helped to keep my secret as another shameful birthday passed, but the feeling of complete honesty felt so good that I told another friend and another until eventually, I was outed to all of our peers.

Did I ultimately lose friends because of my lie? Not completely, but people looked at me differently.

When my two best friends heard about my age from a mutual friend, they confronted me, and as expected, made me feel super weird about it. Everything I said from that point on was met with a certain scepticism. They seemed to look at me like they didn’t even know who I was any more, and how could they not? Even though nothing but my age had really changed, in their eyes I had been a completely different person all along. A liar.

Breaking someone’s trust is easy but earning it back can be so difficult. That is why moving forward I have built my life on honesty.

It seems that lying has become such a normal part of life that it is almost to be expected but it doesn’t have to be that way. Honesty feels so much better for everyone involved.
We humans get so wrapped up in lying for our benefit that we fail to realise our lies also hurt others.

When I found out one of my favorite vegan bloggers was busted eating meat because of her own health problems I was admittedly horrified. I had been struggling with health issues for years but kept up a vegan diet because I had been told repeatedly by people I trusted that it worked for them and I was probably just doing it wrong.

While other vegan bloggers have received flack on the front end after coming clean about switching to a more paleo lifestyle, those are the people whose brands ultimately survive, because they chose honesty.

Buying kids ways into Ivy league schools, hurts the kids whose grades should have allowed them those spots but weren’t born into financial superiority.

Lying about cosmetic surgery hurts the little girls (or boys) who grow up hating themselves because they don’t look a certain way.

Lying about affairs hurts everyone involved and lying when you are in a position of power or influence is especially harmful.

People actually believed that Kylie got her new lips from sucking on a shot glass, and just look at the carnage that little doozie of lie caused.

Lets also not forget that lying hurts the liar. Unless you are a complete psychopath, carrying the guilt and burden of a lie is heavy and uncomfortable.

I know first hand how hard it is to come clean about a lie that’s already out there but choosing honesty over lies going forward makes life so much easier.

My experience has changed my entire outlook on honesty and I firmly believe lying should just be avoided in all cases, unless, it is to make someone feel better about themselves. So if your wife asks if her butt looks fat or your dad asks if his hair is thinning, go ahead and stretch the truth a bit.

I drank celery juice for 30 days and here’s what happened.

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Celery juice is all the hype these days. Perhaps you too have observed the recent trend of hot girls on Instagram touting it’s health benefits?

If anything can convince me to try out a bizarre health trend with absolutely no medical evidence to back it up, it is the dewy skinned, flowing haired selfies of (often surgically enhanced and photoshopped) babes telling me I too can have a #healthylife if I just power back 16 ounces of salty green sludge every morning.

I have a love hate relationship with juicing. I love drinking fresh pressed juice and can literally feel the plants enzymes flowing into my body and giving my cells life but I hate assembling/ cleaning out my juicer. The bags full of wasted pulp bother me a bit, and I still have not figured out a use for it other than to feed my compost (I’ll keep you posted on that one). I did manage a decent carrot muffin with carrot/ pineapple pulp at one point, but celery pulp, blech!

I don’t even really like celery at all to be honest.

Sure, it finds it’s way into many of my soup recipes and can cool off a plate of hot wings but that’s about it for me. The stringy texture and bitter salty flavor has just never appealed.

As per the medical medium, you are supposed to wake in the morning and down a 16 ounce glass of celery juice on an empty stomach waiting 30 minutes before consuming anything else.

Well, being lazy and adverse to cleaning out my juicer, I decided I would be smart about it and just blend that celery in my trusty vitamix. I thought I would save myself some time, and with a house on the market, the less cleaning I need to do the better.

Between the time I spent powering that green bad boy down (literally gagging over the sink) and then dramatically running to the bathroom for the rest of the day, no time was saved.

Guys, don’t just blend a full bunch of celery into a smoothie without fruity additives. Trust me on this one. Thick, frothy, celery smoothie is not the business.

After my false start I almost dropped the plan entirely. A hot almond latte just seemed so much more enticing in the morning, but for the blog, and those luscious IG models I persevered.  To save time (but for real) I pre-washed my celery the night before and had my juicer set up and ready to go on the counter the next day.

I have to say, drinking fresh pressed celery juice is not what I would consider a treat, but after my traumatic introduction to drinking celery, it was definitely do-able. I knocked that green boy back like a champ and noticed a burst of energy more powerful and longer lasting than any almond latte has ever provided.

The following morning, I dutifully continued with my celery experiment, but decided to add a half cucumber, one lemon and a granny smith apple to the juicer.
(Adding to the celery juice is not prohibited by the medical medium, but is discouraged. Regardless, I didn’t feel like torturing myself every morning for the next month and the extras improved the juice taste so dramatically my kids even knocked back shots of it.)

Even with my controversial add ins, the results of my experiment were pretty amaze.

Celery juice is said to improve skin tone and digestion. It is also great for increasing stomach acid which helps us better absorb nutrients from the foods and supplements we consume. It acts as a diuretic and is helpful in allowing the body to flush out fat and toxins.

Sometimes its easy to miss subtle changes that happen slowly over time so I took before and afters for my own reflection. Once I get over how much I hate how I look in photos, I will post the pics, but for now you will just have to take my word for it.

The whites of my eyes began to appear brighter at just a few days in and the redness in my skin decreased exponentially at around the half way point. I usually put on some bb cream or foundation in the mornings so people don’t ask me if I’m tired or sick, and by the end I honestly didn’t even really need it.

The dark circles under my eyes seemed to lighten, but that could also be due to getting more sleep or having my allergies ease up a bit towards the end. (Snow mold kills me every spring and I have finally found a natural solution that works for me that I can’t wait to talk about in a future post.)

Additionally, I have also noticed less hair shedding in the shower which is a huge win for me. Maybe I can attribute that to the improvement in circulation (celery juice increases it) and the extra iron I was getting. (There’s iron in celery juice, who knew?!)

Finally, I lost a half inch from my waist! Since switching to more of a paleo diet, I’ve actually noticed my body composition shift from very pear shaped to more of an hourglass, my breasts have grown nearly a cup size in the past 6 months without any increase in weight, and I’ve learned this is actually a common occurrence on the paleo diet. I’m not sure if I can attribute the 1/2 inch loss to the celery juice or just my improved diet in general, but I’ll take it.

All in all, I would have to say celery juice is a worthwhile health hack to add to your daily routine. If one month of c-juicing has produced these benefits I can’t wait to see what I will look like in a year (fingers crossed I will transform completely into an ethereal IG goddess… ha!) but in all seriousness, I’m gonna keep juicing those green things and hope to soon replace my coffee with juice entirely in the near future.  A girl can dream right?

Here is my every day version of ‘celery juice’ much improved with my healthy ad ins. (On a side note, has anyone else noticed the price of celery shoot right up since the start of this whole celery juice craze?  Price is yet one more reason to dilute your juice with some tasty, healthy add ins.)

Celery Juice (+ other goodness)

1 large organic bunch of celery – celery is a member of the dirty dozen and not something you can really peel so it should be purchased organic.

1 organic cucumber – These are another dirty dozen member, however sometimes the organic version is so pricey that I will opt for conventional and just be sure to wash it well and peel it before juicing.

1 organic granny smith apple – these have the lowest sugar content of all the apple varieties and add such a crisp, green sweetness to the juice. If you cant find organic, just be sure to peel it.

1 lemon peeled – Lemons are an absolute superfood for your liver. One of my best friends is a nutritionist and she always says one of the easiest things we can do to improve our help is to drink lemon juice on a daily basis.

Optional add ins – ginger, turmeric, cilantro, or parsley. Sometimes I’ll also add one of two of the optional add ins for a little boost of anti-inflammatory detoxing power.

If you can’t do normal celery juice, or want to stretch your juicing budget a little farther, try my version and let me know what improvements you notice in your health!

Happy juicing.

Start where you are, how consistent baby steps lead to success

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These adorable little arms belong to my youngest son who is working on his ‘business.’  He wanted me to buy him bulk candy to sell at school but when I told him he would have to give me a cut of all his profits he was not impressed.  While I might seem like a greedy mean Mommy, I was trying to teach him a valuable lesson.

I asked him to get really creative about how he can start from scratch with what he has now to raise the money for the candy all by himself.  This way the business is all his and he won’t get taxed by mom.

Well, my little entrepreneur decided to go through his old pokemon cards and build his own packs , selling each pack of 10 for a dollar.  He’s barely made a dent in his expansive pokemon collection and now has a good amount to invest in his candy business as well as the satisfaction of knowing that he did this on his own.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start in our own lives.  I haven’t been blogging much this month for reasons I will address below, when yesterday I was listening to a Lewis Howes podcast episode and he said something that made me stop in my tracks.  ‘It’s amazing what can happen if you show up for something every week for 6 years.’ He said it casually as he introduced his guest, but as someone who knows what Lewis actually has built in the last six years, it was one of the most inspiring things I’ve heard in a while.

I was like, ‘hot damn Lewis, you just lit a fire right up under my booty.’ This morning I jumped out of bed bright and early and got cracking on some blog posts that have been simmering in the back of my mind for a bit.

This blog is not going to write itself and if I don’t make things happen, in six years I’ll never know what could have been had I just shown up for myself every week.

This past month has been a real doozie at my place.  I have my house on the market and have been hosting showings pretty much daily. Of course, I want the showings but I feel like I haven’t been able to use my kitchen for fear or messing it up. I am a notoriously messy cook and when I get in that zone ingredients have been known to fly all over the place.

With so many showings, I had expected our house to sell by now, but the consensus is that our street is too busy for most of the viewers. As a courtesy to all the future homes I look at, I will always do a quick google map search to determine that the property of interest is in a location I like so I don’t waste peoples time. (Can you tell I’m getting jaded by all the cleaning, maintaining, and lack of cooking and recipe development that I truly want to be doing?)

So rather than just waiting for that sale so I can get comfortable in my kitchen again, I’m going to use this cooking downtime to blog more about general health and my growing business.  I’m just working with what I’ve got my friends.

I opened my vintage shop at the end of December and already have 60 sales, this may seem like peanuts to some, but I consider it a huge achievement, especially since I’ve grossed over a 1k monthly and have so far treated it as a side hustle while I still work my real gig as a hairstylist.

I’ve also been steady developing my eco clothing line and have hired a business coach to help me strategize how to move forwards in the most efficient way, as well as a social media expert to assist me in making better use of Instagram, because if any of you follow my accounts @lesagevintage or @tha_wild_sage, you know I’m struggling in that department.

I’ve been filling my head with knowledge and positivity, listening to inspiring podcasts and reading some great books. I am daily drinking green juice, working out and using who I was 6 months, 12 months and six years ago as a barometer of my success instead of comparing myself to others.

The point I’m trying to make is, my lack of consistent blogging in recent days doesn’t mean I’m not still moving in a trajectory towards my end goal.

Sometimes we just need to start where we are and work with what we’ve got. Rather than getting bogged down in the details, if we consistently take baby steps towards an end goal, its amazing what can come out of it in the other long term. And remember,  it’s more than ok if those baby steps travel in more of a zig zag than a straight line.

I recently heard the story of Colin O’Brady. He’s a tremendous athlete and the first person to transverse Antarctica alone. In his 20’s he was burned so badly that he was told he wouldn’t walk again. He talks about how during his healing process, his mom would move his chair just a little farther every day so he would be forced to take just one more step than the day before. Eventually, he not only walked, but competed in triathlons and went on to set a world record in Antarctica!

If you have established an end goal but keep spinning in circles when it comes to working out all the details, just start where you are now.

Make one choice today that will set you in the right direction, and tomorrow you can make two, then three and so on.

Maybe that means getting a salad instead of pizza for dinner or going to the gym instead of bingeing on game of thrones. Maybe you just need to write that blog post you have been procrastinating and stop using the fact that your house is on the market as an excuse to sleep on it (*coughs*).

We’ve all heard the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day, well neither was a blog, perfect health, a perfect body, a podcast or a brand.

Tony Robbins famously says ‘People overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade.’ That’s because we always get so bogged down in the details about how we are going to accomplish things rather than just show up for ourselves everyday (or week) and take those baby steps towards our future.

Start where you are and start now.  It’s constant baby steps that lead to success and you’ve come this far already.