re-thinking my beauty "indulgence"

Recently I had the opportunity to spend the day with a team from ATTITUDE, talking minimalism, natural households, healthy families, and beauty (read all about it here).  It was such a great day! 

ATTITUDE is running a new campaign to raise awareness of the dangerous ingredients in basically all beauty products, particularly haircare. If you post a picture of the ingredients on your current shampoo bottle on Instagram and use the hashtag #whatsinmyshampoo (or #dansmonshampoing), ATTITUDE's team of scientists will look at the ingredients and give you the percentage of ingredients of concern. How cool is that?  Another tool I always recommend is ewg.org's skin deep app, which lists many (but not all) beauty products and their ingredients, rating them on a safety scale. 

One reason I love ATTITUDE, and why I've used their products long before I started collaborating with them, is that they score in the lowest possible category on EWG's scale (low is good!), and they're EWG certified. Most products with these safer ingredients tend to cost two times the price, if not higher, that conventional brands, which deters a lot of people. But ATTITUDE products usually cost less than the products I was using before I made the change to safer beauty. Yes, less. But back to my beauty "indulgence" that's left me super torn...

Years after switching to safer shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand soap, I've clung to my dry shampoo. As a busy mom, I love that it lets me look great even on day three after washing. I don't have the time to shower in the morning before getting my three kids to school, so I shower at night, which means even on Day 1, my hair has already had all night to collect natural oils, leaving it a bit limp. I asked ATTITUDE to analyze my dry shampoo and I was straight up horrified. 100% of the ingredients registered as allergens, cancer-causing and toxic. !!!!!

The main ingredients (tip: the ingredients are listed in order of amount used, so the first ingredients are what your products have the most of) are Isobutane, Propane, Alcohol Denat and Silica. I don't want to be spraying these things on my head every day! Dry shampoo is definitely the worst offender in my beauty regimen, and I've often likened it to a little indulgence (you know, like that extra glass of wine, or croissant - not hurting anyone, but obviously not the best option), but now I'm re-thinking it altogether. Especially for something I put on my head  - the home of my brain! - and so near my mouth - the main access point to the rest of my body - I can't believe I've been so careless. 

The ingredients in my old shampoo were similarly scary, and I was so relieved to know that it's been over a year since I've slathered those ingredients on my head! But still, I can't switch to all safe products for my entire life, and you probably can't either. Something I've learned on this journey towards safer living is that you don't have to change everything to make a change. Start small - maybe sunscreen or shampoo. Grow from there as your lifestyle and budget allow. Find DIY recipes (like my deodorant!) and affordable companies (like ATTITUDE!) to get started. The important thing is to educate yourselves about what's in your products and then make the decision that's right for your family. For me, it means using safe shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand soap, and finally tossing my dry shampoo. Not every product in my home will rate as low as ATTITUDE on EWG, but I'm doing what I can for our family and that feels good :)

 This post was in collaboration with ATTITUDE
a company I've loved for years. All opinions are my own. 
Photography by Rachel Cheng Photography for ATTITUDE.


50% off English Muffin Shop!

One of my favourite graphic art print companies, English Muffin, is sadly closing their doors, but not before offering a huge 50% off sale for the next few days! (code BYEBYE50)
English Muffin prints are modern and clean and bright and I just love them. We have the Montreal print in our kitchen and we're complimented on it literally every time someone comes into our kitchen for the first time. The Montreal print seems to be sold out, but the Toronto one is still there in the shop. I just bought the map of Montreal for our kid's bedroom. Any kid who goes gaga for trucks would also love any of the truck prints.
The maps are my favourite (I love the Europe map, the Africa one, and of course, the Canada one, but they have whole world maps as well as one of the USA, too). Check out this great brand and sale while you can!
 This post isn't sponsored, I just wanted to share the love of one of my favourite one-local to Montreal shops, and make sure everyone benefited from the 50% off sale! It ends on November 17!



Hey friends! I have had so many links I've wanted to share with you lately but am just sitting down to crank out a post. Blogging is a tough gig to find time for! I love Instagram because it's so much more immediate, but I still absolutely love reading blogs and writing my own, so here we are :)

I hope you find these links useful, helpful, and inspiring, as I did!
  •  My friend Alison always gets it right when she opens up about how small space living works for her family. Here she shares how to say no to holiday gifts that will take up space, and other options instead.
  • Grieving with hope. This year, we walked through unimaginable heartbreak with dear friends of ours, and I found this to be so true for them and anyone who grieved alongside them. 
  • I love Ana's modern porch renovation! We live on the second floor of a triplex, but if I ever lived on the main floor or were able to conduct a reno of my dreams, the porch would be pretty darn exact. 


no-fun November (AKA Whole30-ish)

At the end of October I was gearing up for my annual No Sweets November when I got it in my head that I should push for a bit more. I'm all for challenging myself and self growth, so I figured, why not give a moderated Whole30 a try. Whole30, for those who haven't heard of it, is extremely restrictive, but so many friends have tried it and loved it, so I was curious.

Below is the basics of the 30 day Whole30 challenge:

  • Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy.
  • Do not eat dairy.
  • Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30, and will compromise your life-changing results. These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
I decided to do a Whole30-ish challenge, where I would omit all sugar, sweets, grains, alcohol and I added caffeine to my list of contraband too. I never banned legumes, because I found that too restrictive. Here's how it's been so far...

Overnight Oats Recipe

After 1 Week, I had to add certain types of grains because even with tons of healthy fats, protein, and heaps of veggies and fruit, I was STARVING. A typical breakfast would be 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, and 3 eggs. Within 30 minutes, my stomach was growling and I was hungry!

I decided that since I was already "cheating" by having legumes, I wouldn't guilt myself over further modifications. The point was to really challenge myself to eat healthier for the month of November, not to obsess over food and be constantly hangry. I decided to also allow brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat noodles (soba), and oats. I still wasn't baking donuts or making my favourite white flour pizza dough, or noshing on homemade dutch oven bread, and that was more so the point - to wean myself off of white flour and sugar.

After a week, I have to say, I'm proud of myself for having zero caffeine, booze, sweets, and white flour. I was much happier once I introduced a few grains because otherwise I was needing to spend too much of my day preparing food and eating to feel full, it just wasn't sustainable. I miss pasta, but not like I thought I would. We usually have pasta (white, because whole wheat pasta is gross to me!), at least three dinners per week, and I'd love to get to a place where it's more of a treat and not a nightly thing. Even going down to twice a week would be helpful for me, so I'm glad for experiencing a week without to realize that it is possible.

I hardly notice the lack of caffeine or alcohol, and going without sweets has been surprisingly bearable. It's mostly the white flour I miss! I would kill for a savory scone or hot bagel, but I'm not daydreaming about cupcakes, donuts, or cocktails. Ok, maybe a cold glass of pinot grigio would be nice, but I promise, it's been fine :)

I clarified this on Instagram and wanted to mention it here too - I'm not doing this to lose weight. I don't own a scale, and this isn't a body image thing. Some people do Whole30 for that reason, and that's totally fine for them, but it's not my motivation. I've had several friends hear I'm doing Whole30 and try to talk me out of it with the reasoning that I don't need to lose any weight. While flattering, I don't think weight tells the whole story of health. I'm a raging sweet tooth and I eat more white flour than I know I should. I'd love to curb my sugar cravings and reestablish healthy eating habits. I want to reach for an apple when I'm hungry instead of a cookie. I want to experiment with bulgar and barley and brown rice instead of always using my go to white pasta as the base of a meal. What I love about Whole30 is that it's forced me towards those habits. of course, I'll go back to occasional sweets and alcohol and white flour when this is all done (YOLO! ha!), but my hope is that I'll be more balanced.

This weekend I have two events that I plan to suspend my Whole30-ish challenge for - drinks and a movie with some girlfriends, and hosting a dinner party for some friends from church. This isn't a contract and this past week's efforts aren't wasted because I'll have a glass of wine with the girls, and white bread at the dinner party. In fact, that's how I'd love to end up long after this is over - enjoying these delicious treats occasionally, guilt-free, instead of daily, knowing I'm not making the best choices.

Have you ever tried Whole30? Or a version of it (Whole30-ish)? I'd love to hear how you found things! And if you're joining me this month, how's it going? Please share!