Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My hair feels like a million dollars #guineapiggirl

You know the new Canadian "paper" money? That's what my hair feels like. Plastic and slippery and impermeable. YUCK! A million times over....  I tried a new hair product for my weekly deep treatment on Sunday. Left it in for 3 days since I'm lazy didn't do my hair forever. Usually when I use my standard DevaCurl products and a little olive, or pure argan or camellia oil for deep treatments I get great results. I went to bed last night thinking my hair felt oddly slick and shiny. When I did my hair this morning I realized..... CONES!!! The dreaded CONES! Not pure silicone thank God, but there was dimethiCONE and another funky ingredient in this new product. I understand dimethicone can be water soluble, but whatever was in this stuff was not water soluble at all.
This product won't be on my store shelves ever.
You're welcome. I remain your curly guru, and guinea pig.
Tomorrow I should be back with my normal CONE free head. ;)

P.S. That is not a million dollars, and that is not me.....

Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby, if you ever wondered....

How did this whole ellënoire thing get to be where it is today? 
I found an old write up I did for something in 2010 before we had the salon. I thought it was a good one to share today since I have no time to write much. It's a festival week doncha know?  I'm just starting the second work shift of the day. Early shift is between 8 and 4ish for me on Mondays, and then I head back to work at 9ish for part two. For this festival week much of my time is being spent printing labels and signs, sorting through new and standard stock product to be put out in the big tent, making new recipes for surprise product launches and supervising staff making bath bombs, soap, bath salts and tub fizz. Like I told you last week, orchestrating a festival is a little like juggling cats. 

 This weekend is the Dundas Buskerfest, right outside our front door so we don't have to travel far. This year I will out of the country for the festival, so it all has to be ready 2 days early on top of everything. I've only missed 2 Buskerfests. One in 2009 for my 20th College reunion in Middlebury Vermont, and in 2011 to meet my Cancer sisters when we all travelled to Texas to visit a friend who was dying of cancer. This year it's my 25th College reunion (sorry Canadians, you don't really seem to have an equivalent to what US schools do for class reunions) and I'm off to hang out with old friends for 4 days. Luckily, I have lots of amazing friends, family and staff who are willing to take care of both my store and home stuff while I'm off. 

Everything in the store and in the big tent and on the website is tax free (the sale equivalent of tax free that is, the goverment makes me collect those taxes still)  starting on Friday, so don't miss this opportunity. Even the locals can shop online and pick it up later if you don't want to brave the crowds and the parking issues. We'll waive the shipping fee if you pick up of course. Use the code " Busker" on the website.... 
 Ok here's the post from 2010: 

What is ellënoire?

According to the BBC/HGTV television home makeover stars Colin & Justin: ellënoire is “Everything to do with grooming and staying beautiful” I think that is a perfect way to describe what we are. Walk in, tell us your grooming and beauty issues and we will help you fix them. Naturally.

Sure, there are things we specialize in like Natural Curly Hair Care, Custom Blended Natural Fragrances, Handmade Bath & Body Products (unscented, or scented as you like it) and fun personal care items from around the world but the big picture of what we are is deceptively simple.

Almost 20 years ago in my living room I started ellënoire with 3 gallons of Lotion & Bubble Bath, 11 fragrances and a HUGE dream of what this company would become. For totally selfish reasons I wanted the business to be my playground, a way for me to create fun products, make a living and never go back to having a “real job” ever again. Over the years my customers have kept me on my toes. Their repeated requests for certain products and services have shown me the path to making ellënoire what it is today. 

So, when you wander in and see a Towel for drying your dog, next to the makeup that Lady Gaga uses, beside a natural insect repellant and a snoring remedy near a whole section dedicated to curly hair it may seem quirky. Just know that the things in the store are here because 20 years of customers have told us that these are the things they what they want to make their lives easier, to make their skin better, to make them more beautiful.

Have a great weekend folks! Come by the booth and pester my staff and get great deals. I'll be here.... 

Or here......
Perhaps you've seen the area before...;) 

Yup... seriously, that's my old hood. I've never met Daryl though. See y'all when I get back! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hail thee Festival day?

Festival Season has begun! In case you missed the updates on all our social media outposts on Sunday of the last weekend we were in Waterdown at the launch of a new local street festival. Many of you were off doing that cottage thing, or freezing your butts off at a campground wondering why every year on May 2-4 weekend you think you should be sleeping in a tent when parts of not too Northern Ontario still have frost overnight.
WE, the ellenoire team of street festival professionals were dragging our weary asses out of bed to round up the last few boxes, banners and labels and other bits and bobs that assist in us schlepping a good representation of the boutique and stuffing it into an attractive, but not too pretentious looking 10x10 tent.

A lot of my readers and followers became customers due to a festival we were set up at. Every year we set up at 3 or more local street festivals. The Dundas ones of course are our biggest ones: The Busker Festival on the first weekend in June and the Cactus Fest on the third weekend in August.
We show up at the Locke Street festival in early September every year, although one year the rain was coming down so heavily while we were trying to pack the loaner pickup truck that we had to call it a day. As you can imagine Bath Bombs and Soap do not travel well in the rain. That was the year that we started packing everything in plastic Rubbermaid tubs.

 There's never a dull moment on a festival weekend. I'm generally exhausted before they start because I do all the ordering (from 3 countries and up to 20 different suppliers) and coordinate those shipments to pass though customs smoothly so all the components of each handmade product is in place on time to get it made, cured, dried, bottled, labeled, packaged and priced. This usually takes 3 weeks before the festival starts.
 A festival crew is usually anywhere between 3 and 8 people which includes regular staff to run the store, while the rest of us are out on a street somewhere. We've helped quite a few students make a few bucks over the years. We have so much fun that they return year after year. We've employed every age from 14-70 years and occasionally I've had my son, or my brother around to help.

This is a funny one from the Busker Fest in 2011, we had only just moved into this temporary location 4 weeks earlier but still had 30 feet of tents out front on time. John was trying to not look up as Tim, in his staff uniform kilt was climbing a pole to retrieve something.

Locally we have become known for a few things in our festival tents. I'm often at one end flipping my curls around showing people how to use curly products to have perfect, frizz free hair. Hey!? If I can have no frizz while working sweaty 12 hour days in a damned tent I can teach ANYONE else to do the same. Tim is generally at other the end spritzing someone with muscle mist or showing how great their hands can feel after a sugar or salt scrub treatment in the laundry tub we use for demos. 
My favourite memory of our scrub tub comes from one year at the Locke street festival. You see, we have a 5 gallon bucket hidden under the sink drain to catch the rinse water from the hand scrub demonstration. On this particularly busy and very hot day the bucket became very full of yucky water. I have very funny picture somewhere of a friend and festival helper holding a 3/4 full bucket of greyish water mixed with a blend of sugar and salt and hand washing dirt etc. The bucket had become known as the "scum bucket" and from that day, our friend was known as "Scumbuckety Iain" 
 If I find the picture, I'll post it. It's a classic exaample of one of our "eboys" as our team of
 male festival staff have become known. 

This past week with the long days at the store and the 12 hour day at the Waterdown festival my feet were quite sore. I woke up for a few days after the festival with painfully swollen hands and feet. Since the doctors have no clue why, and I head for blood tests tomorrow this hideousness has become known as festivalitus. This is not my favourite festival memory, and I may start planning my Hobbit costume for next year. 
I need a pedicure AND I have cankles. Kill me! 

Just for putting up with this awful picture of my tree trucks for ankles you can have 10% off anything mentioned in this post until June 15th. Mention it in the store or use code "hobbit" at checkout on the website. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hello Muddah.....

Ah, Mother's Day. In my day as a little kid that meant a race to finish a ceramic ashtray, yes 
that's what we were taught to make. Weren't the 70’s awesome? Or hoping the glue would dry 
on some sort of twisted tissue paper art (no, not twisted art... art made from little bits of twisted 
tissue paper) In my family there were no big brunches out or get-togethers but I served my share of those in many restaurants. 

What do you do? Family stuff? Breakfast in Bed? Cook a meal together? Presents? Tell me all about it! 

 If you are gift givers Here's a list of all the fun things I think you should consider for your well deserving, hard working mom: 
- A Silk Pillowcase so she can wake up with perfect skin and perfect hair. 
-Music for her Alone? A lovely relaxing CD of Piano and Harpsichord music by a local musician  
-The gift of frizz free hair! The DevaCurl try me kit is a perfect start! 
-Gift Certificates are always welcome, and you can order them online and have it emailed or pop by the shop for one. 
-Soap? Do we have soap! Some of it is on the website but there's a ton more in the shop. 
-Does Mom workout? Work too much? Have arthritis? Has she tried Muscle Mist? Magic in a bottle I tell ya! 
Does Mom love Lavender? We can make almost anything you can name in personal care in Lavender. Just ask!
If you want help picking something for Mom , just ask. We make lovely gift packages customized to your specifications and don't forget that Cleaning stuff is on sale until mid May.... Just in case you think cleaning mom's house, or kitchen or doing her laundry would be a nice gift. Don't you dare give her cleaning products as a gift!

Tell me all your Mother's Day Stories so I can live vicariously through you. Whatever you do for Mother's Day, be sure to count your blessings if your Mom is still here to celebrate with. My beloved Mummy died a few years ago and I'd love to eat some terrible brunch with her or make ugly ashtrays for her. 

Me and my Mummy 

 Happy Mother's Day to all of you loving, caring, hardworking moms out there

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Are ya done yer Spring Cleaning? Great! Then you can come and do mine!

Spring Cleaning Supplies are still 20% off! To order on the website use the codeword "Clean"
Did you see my post last week? Have you thrown out all your ancient makeup? Have you heated the vinegar and tried the cool trick I taught you and cleaning all the gucky surfaces in your house? Here's a lovely stove top to inspire you.
Mine generally looks similar, if not worse than this stolen photo. No, I'm not kidding, but my fancy vinegar soap cleaner will get all this stuff off.
I told my son last night the only thing I want for Mother's Day is a clean kitchen. Maybe you should do that too! Find out what your Mom's biggest cleaning pet peeve is and get that done for her for Mother's Day. I can hook you up with everything you need!

The Bulk refill stock has arrived for the liquid soap I mentioned last week, so run in to get yours now! Bring your own bottle or grab one of ours! The Unscented Zero-VOC  Liquid Sunshine Spray and Wipe is back in stock too. This product is also refillable!

For more cleaning inspiration don't miss the post here by my blogger friend over at The Art of Doing Stuff.
I am using the toilet brush trick all the time now!
The no-touch, drip dry toilet brush technique to help avoid the puddle at the bottom of the toilet brush holder.
Please ignore the torn apart flooring and the hideous, pasted on with crazy glue wallpaper.

Happy Cleaning! Happy May Day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Clean all the Things!!!!

Now, back to biz. This week, we talk about SPRING CLEANING! I am offering 20% off all cleaning products linked in this post. Click the links below for more info or pop into the store. To order on the website use codeword "clean"
Everyone from Canadian Tire to some of my natural perfume friends are talking about Spring Cleaning this week and we all have a different view on it.
My favourite way to clean is very natural and simple and I bet a lot of my natural food and skin care readers are getting into natural cleaning too. Let's be real, one of the best things about Pinterest is surfing though posts about weird household things you can use to clean things rather than buying expensive, nasty chemical based stuff from the grocery store.

In my house the things on the list below is what I use to clean pretty much everything. If you read this blog often I'm sure you can imagine that my house is basically unscented and there are certainly no synthetic fragrance laden cleaning products or nasty migraine inducing dryer sheet stenches anywhere.

This is my basic list:
Organic Castile Soap and other lovely natural soap based cleaners 
Double strength cleaning Vinegar -regular will do too
Essential oils (We strongly recommend not using any large amount of essential oils for cleaning anywhere your cats mouth or paws might touch and do not use tea tree oil around any pets)
Toilet Bombs (link and recipe to come next week)
Microfibre cloths and occasionally Miracle Sponges
Steamer mop
Spray Bottle- 16 oz or larger
Wool dryer balls
Sports Suds 
I have a bottle of ammonia and a bottle of peroxide around for really heavy cleaning and stain removal.

My favourite cleaning blend is to measure out 1 cup of castile soap and 1 cup of vinegar. Heat the vinegar- I use the microwave because I'm lazy but you can heat it on the stove top if you're all old school like that ;)- until it's almost boiling and mix it with the soap in a spray bottle. Go to the yuckiest place to clean in your house. In my house the yuckiest places are either the stove top or the bathtub. Spray your lovely new natural cleaning product on the yucky, sticky oily or soap scummy surface and walk away. Yes, I said walk away. Come back in 15- 30 minutes or so and wipe with a wet cloth. Don't call me to tell how amazing it is, I ALREADY know! It's the best thing ever! Right? I got rid of all chemical cleaners a few years ago and have never looked back. Try it, you'll like it and you'll love how much money you save. Until May 4th you can buy Organic Castile Soap  here at 20% off the regular price OR bring in your own clean bottle with a good screw top lid and save even more when we refill it!

 My bathroom of course is full of all kinds of fun, clean, green and lightly scented bath products but you know what else my bathroom is full of? Old makeup! For many years I've trained my clients to stop storing their natural bath products and makeup in the bathroom because the heat and humidity from the stuff you do in the bathroom can make these things go bad faster. For some reason I broke my own rules on this one. The preservative systems in your natural lotions and liquid or waxy makeup (foundation, mascara, liquid eyeliner,lip gloss, lipstick) and such are not really meant to withstand a lot of heat. So, your second cleaning tip of the day? Go through all your bathroom stuff and look at dates if there are any, and sniff each and every thing! Weird? Yup! Trust me, it works. If something smells off, you know like the week you were on the diet and ate no butter, then when you gave up the diet and ate the butter that was sitting on the counter all week....? That kind of off. The fancy olive oil you stored in the cupboard above the fridge and forgot about kind of off.  Rancid oil off I mean.
I recently took a lipstick out of my bathroom and put it in my makeup case. Just last night in the car on the way home from Easter dinner I asked my son- aka slave boy in the passenger seat who is slowly learning how to hand me orange slices, pain killers and such in a way that I can see them whilst driving- to hand me my lipstick since my lips were really dry. Seconds later after I put some on I was begging for a tissue and some water since I had clearly put on lipstick that was so old it wasn't just rancid it was the most vile, putrid tasting evil and someone was actually trying to kill me with this horrible taste. I do not recommend this method for finding out you own lipstick that is older than your children. Honestly? If any of your makeup is older than a year it's likely you should throw it out. Some powdered makeups will be OK, but keep them out of your bathroom. If it goes in your eye, like mascara or eyeliner - 6 months is the longest you should ever keep it. Yes really.

So, there you have it, one spring cleaning post done. I do like to add images to my posts but all the cleaning images I found on the interwebs were of  a) people wearing rubber gloves which you don't have to do with these natural cleaning ideas, unless you have a fancy manicure to protect b) people who were all happy and smiley and sh**, and I really never wanted anyone imagining me happy cleaning anything.... so I got you this picture.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's a Hard Knock Life?

Oh my. What a hard, hard few weeks it's been. Both Sarah's decision to leave the shop in search of love, and yet another front desk person's decision to leave are all coming to a head (to their deadlines, to an end, to fruition, to completion... you pick) this week. As of Thursday I am, once again chief bookkeeper, receptionist, senior hairstylist, cleaning lady, soapmaker, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.... or so it seems. In posts from last week you will see the details of the staff we are looking for. After much gnashing of teeth (Oh do be quiet, I am enjoying the over use of dramatic phrases!) and howling at the (bloody) moon in frustration, anger and other cruddy emotions I had a long, hard talk with myself and said..... Noëlle you idiot! (numbskull, doughhead, ignorant slut.. you pick) You, and you alone have dragged this business through way, way WAY worse than this!!! A simple change of the guard amongst the staff is seriously no big deal!
This week in fact is the 6th anniversary of the start of my chemotherapy. It might even have been on this very day, but chemobrain has relieved me of recalling all of those pesky dates and details. I went in to work the very next day. That I remember. Le sigh.
 I could reminisce for hours about all the unpleasant things I've been through while keeping this business open and how somehow as of now it's still going ok..... but I won't. 

Since this song, this character and this philosophy seem to follow me... I'll let you listen to this. 

 ... of course I picked the original Broadway Annie version! ;)