Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday stock update!

We had lots of new Bath Bombs made today by my new Bath Bomb elf. The Tub fizz is ready to be smashed and brought upstairs too. The new Organic Glycerine soap is made. The new Natural Pot Pourri is made and if my elves are very very good over the next two days the new face line will launch on Saturday. Oh, and the new Hair Butter and hair oil is ready.
The Aquis Towels will be back in stock tomorrow.... and we have lots of amazingly priced Aquis Hair Turbans.. the lowest price we have offered them in 10 years!
Silk pillowcases are back in stock.
New Holiday cards, fingerless gloves, sparkly party scarves, pashmina capes, stunning jewelery, badger balm gift sets, Mistral Soap.... and the list goes on. Of course we have gift certificates for both product and hair services and a full set up of products to gift the Curly Haired people in your life!
Come and see us, things are selling out fast and at this late date we won't have much time to restock things.
The store is open 7 days a week until the 24th and Thursday and Friday nights we stay open until 7 and on the 21rst we'll stay open until 8!
Get thee to the post office and follow your nose.... :)
Don't miss a glorious sniff of the Colin & Justin Candle line! We remain the only place in Canada that carries them!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Open House + Sterling Silver Jewelery show & sale Dec 9th!

We have an extra special treat in the store this week! A few weeks ago we brought in a small selection of handmade sterling silver jewelery made by an old friend/artist from Dundas. On this Sunday December 9th from 12-4 Clare will be here showing a larger collection of her amazing work. Pop in and see the the awesome pieces and check out the boutique while you are here! There are lots of new items to see at the boutique to help you complete your holiday shopping.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Yay for Holiday Giveaways!

Check this out! One of my favourite bloggy peeps is doing a huge giveaway next week and I have a secret reason to tell you about this... and I think you should take the steps to make sure you are eligible for a week of amazing giveaways.

An old pal of mine writes this great blog called "The Art of Doing Stuff" which you simply must start reading! On Monday she starts her The Great, Gargantuan, Giftmas Giveaway … of stuff. and all you have to do is go to her blog and follow the instructions to take part. They're easy instructions. Karen is good at giving easy instructions on doing stuff, after all that's her art. Her Motto is "'cause it ain't that hard. Any of it." and she means it!
So, get on with it. :)


Friday, September 7, 2012

Best Curly Story ever!

I had to share this with you!
 One of my longtime DevaCurl product and hair salon clients has been sharing the products with her young daughter but earlier this summer was the first time Mimi came to the ellënoire salon to get her hair cut.
Mimi's mom sent us this note today after Mimi returned to school from summer vacation:

 "I would really like to thank you, Noelle, from the bottom of my heart, for showing me and my daughter the Deva Curl way. Mimi is 12 and has spent most of those years being teased about her appearance for one reason or another. Today she came home with a story to tell that caused happy tears for a change- she totally choked up. She told me that people in school are coming up to her and telling her that she has the most GORGEOUS hair they've ever seen. People are playing with it and trying to tuck their fingers into her curls. She was absolutely glowing with happiness. Thank you, Noelle, for showing me the way, David for my beautiful cut, John for your help in the store, and Sara for your patience with Mimi- taking the time to explain things step by step as you gave her the first haircut to make her cry for a good reason."

Kids are so beautifully honest, which of course means they can also be terribly cruel. I am so glad for Mimi's sake that something so simple like wearing her hair natural brought out the appreciative nature of  her classmates. The fact that in a world where flat-irons, blowfryers and other hair torture devices are being marketed to little girls alongside their back to school gear there are still kids who can fall in love with someone else's gorgeous natural curls.

Later I'll tell you about the confused curly girl in the drug store asking her mom to buy her a curling iron and how I stopped that from happening. ;)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The New that is News

Did you see our newsey newsletter a couple of weeks ago?
I know some of you do not subscribe, but feel free to add yourself to the newsletter mailing list to get advance notice of sales and specials.
Click here to get on this magical list!
I am writing today to remind you about some of the great products mentioned in the last newsletter that we have to get you through the rest of this summer.

Here is why you MUST own these things for all your summer adventures!

Muscle Mist-takes the sting out of mosquito bites... along with all its other amazing pain killing, sinus congestion, headache fixing skills it has!

Aquis Towels -Sand won't stick to them!

Sports Suds Suds- takes the stink out of workout gear AND smelly sandals!

Badger Balm... Organic Sunscreen, After Sun Balm
and so much more...

 Here is the link to the full newsletter.....don't miss the coupon at the bottom!
YA you heard me... COOOOOUPON! But you have to read the letter first... don't print it... just show up to the shop or online store and mention the coupon to save $$$$$$...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Of Mums, Scots and their Candles in Canada

My faithful readers will know that my beloved Mummy was a big part of the start of my business. During preparations for selling things at our church's annual "Holly Fair" (Have I told you this story? I don't know. Read it anyway) Mummy would make natural pot-pourri and candles. Between the Health Food store, Tandy craft stores and our garden she managed to get enough things together to make it all. I was her happy little helper. I still have all her candle moulds and random other ancient items. I've tried to make candles over the years, but I didn't want to use paraffin wax like she did-there were very few choices back then-and my experiments with beeswax were less than stellar. I have thought about trying to make soy wax candles but the last few years have been so crazy I haven't taken time to do the research and development aka playing around with it.

Every week someone comes into the store and is shocked that we don't carry candles. I bring some in at Christmas time, but not consistently because most candle companies insist on using artificial fragrances which just give me a headache and my policy in product choices for the store is clear. If I or my staff won't use it, I won't sell it. Everything in the store has been used by one of us before it hits the shelves with no exceptions.

In 2011 friends of mine launched a candle line handmade by them and their family in Scotland. I knew based on their lovely taste in decor that the candles would be just as lovely but I was pleasantly surprised that they had chosen to use only natural fragrances and soy wax in their candle line. In November for the grand opening of our boutique they brought me a couple of their creations and I was delighted to give them a try. One of the Cedarwood & Rosemary container candles sat next to my bed for months and was a delightful scented way to fall asleep (you don't need to light good quality candles to get the scent). One of the Scots Pine boutique candles got me through a power outage so I could still read! I soooo loved these candles!!

 Oh wait, those aren't the candles! Those are the friends that make them! ;)

So here we are a few months later, after a few queries, and attempts at trying to work out timing and how to get candles across the "pond" without costing an arm and a leg and we have them!

Yes! That's right! For the first time in a Canadian shop ellënoire is the first stockist of the C&J Home range of candles. 
Available in 6 stunning scent blends using renewable soy wax & essential oils as fragrance, as described by Colin and Justin.....

"We’ve carefully mixed the relaxing woody tones of lavender, one of the world’s most popular aromas, with a dramatic undercurrent of zesty lime to create a heady fusion scent that will lift and invigorate the atmosphere. Stimulating to the max, our double L combo is fresh, clean and romantic. Just what you need to lift your spirits in an ever more stressful world!"

"Waves of sweet, zesty orange dance around subtle hints of Patchouli to create a balanced scent pairing that will stimulate and freshen your home or work environment. Combining classic citrus tang with Patchouli’s sensual, earthy aroma is an aromatic coup de grace and one that will cut through and lighten even the darkest atmosphere"

"May Chang oil, when carefully distilled, expounds a deliciously fresh, invigorating bouquet. Known as ‘Mountain Pepper’ in Mandarin, May Chang’s revered lemony perfume is utterly uplifting and composed with spicy, invigorating ‘notes’. We‘ve played the peppery package along side hints of aromatic Bergamot (best known as a scenting ingredient in earl Grey Tea) to unleash op

Cedarwood & Rosemary

 "By combining the incense-like woodiness of soothing, luxurious Cedarwood with the fresh pine notes of Rosemary, we‘ve fashioned a luxurious, heady aroma that may help combat the stresses and strains of everyday life. It’s all about the combo; Cedarwood’s woody-balsamic undertones will tempt relaxation while the uplifting effects of Rosemary will assist in energy balance and aura cleansing"


Scots Pine

"Capturing the spirit of the Highlands, our Scots Pine scented candle evokes woody, rolling hills and deep water lochs. Imagine Robert Burns waxing lyrical about the joys of nature; he’s sitting in a white washed Northern cottage and his imagination is running free. So too will yours with our romantic Scots Pine aroma. The very essence of Scotland, this lovingly prepared scent is rugged, grand and heady. Light the wick and enjoy the relaxing ambience as it swirls around your home"

"We’ve taken natural Geranium oil - famed for its floral, minty bouquet -and blended it with succulent Mandarin to create an aromatic marriage that is energizing, heady and uplifting. The result is a sophisticated modern home scent that will appeal to both genders in equal measure"

So, you see, it all ties together....  My lovely Scottish mum and her Candles in Canada and My equally lovely Scottish friends Colin & Justin and their Candles brought to Canada. I hope you come by straight away to sniff a few, or take a chance and order from our website. Trust me when I say, these candles smell every bit as beautiful as the C&J decor you have enjoyed on TV over the years!

We'll be burning a different candle everyday in the store this week and talking about it on our facebook page If you are local pop in and follow your nose!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In the Swim?

This morning a client emailed me about swimming and her hair and how to swim in chlorinated pools without hair damage. When I was writing back it occurred to me that you my ellenoire-ites might benefit from this tip too.
This tip is for all hair types, but especially important if your hair is dry, damaged, curly or artificially coloured.
N.B. Lots of salt pools are still chlorinated, just to a smaller degree. Step 1 is key for all sun and swim time to prevent damage. Step 2 is key for chlorinated pools.

 To prevent chlorine damage takes 2 simple things.
1) Prevent chlorine from getting into the hair.
2) Neutralize what may have got in.

When you go to the pool prepare two bottles of conditioner. One plain, One with a tbsp or two of lemon juice in it.

Almost any kind od condtioner will do, but we always suggest you avoid conditioners with sulfates, petroleum & silicones.
Here are the Steps:

1) Before you enter the pool put plain conditioner in the dry or wet hair (avoid the skin if you wear a bathing cap or it will sling shot across the room. I kid you not)  

2) When you get out of the pool, rinse the hair well (don't wash the hair, it's pointless. You cannot wash chlorine out, you have to neutralize it) then apply the lemon conditioner and run in through the hair well then rinse well.

3) Apply a little of the plain conditioner, rinse and style as usual.
That's it!
 Play Safe!

Cheers, Noelle

Monday, July 9, 2012

O Blinding Light, O Light that Blinds

Ok, so I started this post a few weeks ago. can you read it and pretend it's June 23rd or so? I had some complications with some surgery so a lot of things got put on hold.... but I'm back....

So here we are.. Summer. Sunny, Sunny Summer..a few more days and all the kids will be finished with school. I just saw four young scoundrels of the local graduating class of eighth graders racing by on bikes and skateboards giving me a tiny taste of the how the neighbourhood will transform over the next weeks. I wonder though, were they wearing sunscreen? Certainly back in my time of carefree summer days sunscreen was never discussed. It was always said back then that if you didn't burn in the sun you didn't have to worry about wearing sunscreen. My medium shade or "olive coloured" (really, I don't look like an olive, but that's what people call my skin tone for some unknown reason) mixed race skin has only had two or three sunburns ever. I think I only got them when I was swimming for hours. I certainly never shyed away from the sun. I still don't.

The myth of the base tan & dark skinned people being safe in the sun was perpetuated by my mother who was quite a sun worshipper herself. I have fond scent memories of the Coppertone creaminess that she smeared on herself while lying at the beach watching us swim at our beloved campground in the Rideau Canal area. I discovered my own favourite suntan oil in my teens in the 80's with another powerful scent memory of "Tropical Blend" noted for its awesome marketing campaign about giving you a "Savage Tan"

Savage is right.

Those were the days before we knew what we know now about skin cancer.The myths about tanning still prevail.
As you likely know, cancer in all it's forms resound personally with me. My mom, my grandmother, my stepdad and I all had it. I'm sitting at home right now recovering from my final reconstructive surgery after having breast cancer and all it's joys in 2008.

Skin Cancer doesn't kill people all that often, I guess that's good news, but skin cancer has a lot of bad news too! I know a few people who have had it, and the stories are not pretty. I have one client who got a very bad case of advanced skin cancer on her leg. The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes before she knew she had it and once they removed the cancer and the nodes she was left with a compromised lymphatic system. What does that mean? The lymph system is like the sewer on your street. It drains crappy toxins out of the body. Just like a sewer that's been blocked, a lymph system that has been taken apart just won't drain things right. What happens when the lymph system gets backed up? Like with the sewer, you get a large amount of fluid that has nowhere to go. SO, she gets to wear these really attractive compression tights everyday ....

Nope, so not kidding. How would you like to try and wear a sundress with that?

So! Get 20 minutes a day of sun for your Vitamin D intake (in the summer, in winter take supps) After that???
Don't be an idiot and wear sunscreen and remind your Olive-like friends to do it too!

On top of the sunscreen issue we at ellënoire would prefer you chose clean products that don't mess you up in other ways. There are about 1000 bad chemicals in many large company sunscreens I could go crazy boring you to tears about why they may put you at risk of cancer, endoctrine disruption, icky skin rashes and such but I won't. If you have ingredient questions than always feel free to ask. If you read the links below you will see the names of many of the sunscreen ingredients that are on the bad list....

I only sell one brand of sunscreen and it's the only one I trust: Badger. You may have seen the Badger Balm line around my store over the years and hopefully for the sake of your skin, your sleep and your sanity you've tried some of the amazing products from the brand name. Ellënoire is one of the few places in Canada that stocks the entire line of Badger Balm products.

Badger Sunscreen is AaAAAAAamazing! They have everything from Sunscreen Lotion, to Baby sunscreen, to Sports sunscreen, Unscented and on and on. Here are the buzz words you need to know about Badger Sunscreens: 100% Natural & Chemical-free Protection, Certified Organic Base, UVA/ UVB Full Spectrum Sun Protection Cruelty Free, Non- Nano, Paba Free, Vegetarians/Vegan (some have  Beeswax, some don't), mineral protection, non-comedogenic I could just talk forever about how great this product is!!

We trust Badger so much that everyone on staff uses it daily, and in order to get you in the store to try it we offer the best price in town on the whole line. The last time I checked we offered the best price of any major retailers/ updated websites in the country.
 So! Get your butt in here (or to our website) and get your butt and face and legs covered in the best sunscreen on the market (in my opinion, but this is my blog so my opinion is the only one that matters no? ;p)

Me and my opinion are always here to answer your skin care & sunscreen questions.... Happy Summer!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

My First Love - The Sixth Anniversary of the Natural Perfumers Guild Blogging Event

I've been quietly sitting still (inside my head, I don't ever actually sit still) all morrning thinking about my first love in the world of scent and I am just not sure I can pinpoint only one. I know that my first essential oil love was patchouli as you may have read in my blog post last year. As a kid I had lots of scented things that could be classified as my first love. I thought about twisting the story, and picking one thing, but I just can't. Twisting stories, taking out details is kind of akin to lying in my book. I try to edit, I try to be brief... I really truly do.... but loquaciousnous is in my nature.
I wanted to write this in the big wing back chair in my scent room at my newly build boutique, but the staff will be there, the scents in the space will be obscured by the yeast and toasty sugar smells form the bakery across the hall and so I've chosen to write in my fave local cafe. The smells here are divine, freshly local roasted coffee brewed to perfection, rain through the front door, spicy squash soup.... perfect on a cool, rainy spring day.

My first love.
 I recall a hand carved wild boar that I know now must have been made from sandalwood, brought from some far away place by one of my parents well travelled friends. I think I remember that is actually belonged to my sister and I used to take it and rub it for the deep woody scent. There was a soap that the Steager family gave to me. I still have it somewhere(no, I don't use the soaps I truly adore the scent of. If I do, I keep the end of the bar so I never forget what it smelled like). It was peachy pink ball of soap, and an artificial floral of some sort. I am not fond of artificial florals, but this particular one is still a favourite.

Scent memory is such a funny thing. I vividly recall the way my little sister smelled when she came in from playing in the grass and dirt... everyone thought I was crazy but I HATED that smell. The smell of pork roasted with garlic... what an acrid nose scraping smell... I knew as soon as I opened the front door that that is what Mummy was cooking for dinner. It tasted good, but yuckarama did it smell awful. My talented and oversenstive nose has brought me a lot of things: The socially annoying habit of walking into a room knowing your carpet is slightly mouldy, the laundry in the basket sat in the washer an extra 24 hours and smells fusty, the cat litter needs to be changed, and that dinner was cooked with onions.... all in one sniff.
 Funny looks from people when I ask "what's the smell?" and they say "what smell?"
The ability to create a perfume based on a salad I made earlier that day.
The joy that comes from making someone a blend to make their home smell exactly how they imagined.

So, I told you... my first scent love will be hard to pinpoint. Was it the original Anne Klein that I loved? The brown glass bottle of the Lauren (was it really Green Apple? or did I just call it that?) or the Giorgio Beverly Hills that my parents bought as a gift...? The tiny Halson sample that I got as a gift with purchase?


Perhaps. I didn't have a first love. Perhaps, I am a perfume slut. The Rizzo of perfumes. Never hopelessly devoted.... but still ....There are worse things I could do,
Than try a perfume or two? ;)

Maybe my first love isn't important. Maybe it's my current love that is the key to my history with scent. I sit in my stunning scentarium(not now, still in the cafe) surrounded with an insane collection of interesting Natural ingredients (I'm sadly allergic to many synythetics, iuncluding the aformentioned daliances) essential oils and absolutes and extracts from obscure places... but when I first fell in love I never would have known the love that I share with scent now.

Oh Boronia, Oh Helichrysum, Oh Costus root.... How ,would I ever have known you without the journey through the lands of cheap floral soaps, Jean Naté gift packs, and boys covered in Polo and Original Speed Stick (ya really, we called it Eau de Ross, since Ross was the first boy I knew that smelled like that) ?

Really at the end of the day, my first love was Russell Winham and he moved away to the Maritimes in 2nd grade and I never saw him again. After that heartbreak my first love was destined to never be the same... *sigh*

Be sure to see some of the "First Love" blogs of my fellow guild members as we celebrate our 6th anniversary!

Ambrosia Jones
Charna Ethier
Christi Meshell
Elise Pearlstine
Emily Pienaar
Isabelle Gellè
JoAnne Bassett
Liz Cook
Anya McCoy

Sophia Shuttleworth

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's a Beeeuuutiful day in the Boikshuhs!

So, a bunch of years ago I went on a really cool bike trip -it was the summer of 1984. My sister had convinced my parents to beg, borrow and steal enough money for an exchange trip to Japan. Luckily, some of the money they begged for came in US dollars and the exchange rate was in our favour in those days so there was a little left over to send me on a trip. Did I want to go on some sit still kinda trip? Uh, no. Not me. Cycling was the passion of the day for me, and I had read about bike tours in Europe and places like Vermont and so that is what I chose. We found a student trip for me through this cool company: the Student Hostelling Program I don't believe I had ever been to Vermont before but it seemed like a neat place to go and there was enough money in the kitty for me to go on a 14 day bike tour.
We signed me up for the trip and soon the the welcome package arrived with the ugliest orange panniers you have ever seen. I was told to ride for a certain amount of time/ distance per week in the time leading up to the trip with 20+lbs of weight in the panniers and to climb lots of hills. I filled my panniers with Richard Scary books, encyclopedias and soup cans and rode Dundas hills for weeks until we left for New England.
If you have ever been to Vermont I don't have to tell you how amazingly beautiful the place is. If you haven't..... then look.....

I woke up every morning for two weeks to views like this!

For my hardcore cyclist readers the riding would have seemed quite pathetic. We only rode 20 miles or so a day but for a group of 16-18 year old kids many who had never seen a real hill before in their lives 20 miles of riding with full packs in the Vermont Green Mountains was plenty. The range of quality in the bicycles was pretty vast too... don't even get me started on Amy's piece of Schwinn... ;) So, needless to say it was a tough 2 weeks. Get up at 6am, split shower time with someone because showers cost 50 cents for 10 minutes, cook breakfast, clean up, pack-up the tents, pack the gear onto the bikes, ride all morning, hang out somewhere quiet for lunch, ride a little more, maybe stop at a swimming hole or museum, ride more, stop for a snack, or some REAL, Original Made in Vermont not by Unilever Ben & Jerry's, ride more, unpack, set up tents... hang out, eat, whine because your legs are destroyed, go to bed... repeat.

Anyway, so I bet you're sitting there reading my pretty little story wondering "What the heck is the soap and curly hair girl going on about now?"
Well as many of my readers know, I went to college in Vermont (Canadians, that means University) . If you read back a few months you will see the story of how I started my business in part due to a store in the town where that school is.

Buuut! Did you know how I ended up at that college? I don't think I've told this part of the story on the blog before... maybe I have.... well... you've read this far.... ;)
So, anyway. Back to my story. Through the whole trip we had 3 things that we talked about all the time. 1) The Middlebury Gap, the longest climb on the trip. 9 miles up, 5 miles down..... a Monster ride toward the end of our 2 weeks 2) The Falls of Lana, a swimming hole that we were supposed to find early in the trip but never did. Everything else on the trip that got us lost, couldn't be found etc. was referred to as "The Falls of Lana" 3) The Mountains. The mountain range we were riding up and down was the Appalachian Mountains which includes the Berkshires of Massachusetts (where the trip started) Green Mountains of Vermont, The White Mountains of New Hampshire (where the trip ended) and every morning one of our trip leaders loved to yell "It's a Beeeeuuuutiful day in the Boikshuhs!" despite the fact that we spent only one day in the Berkshires.

In the middle of the trip we ended up in the town of Middlebury for a lunch break on our way to somewhere. We sat beneath some trees on a lawn of what I found out was the campus of Middlebury College. Two years later I matriculated at Middlebury, and as you have likely read earlier in this blog I learned more about soap, natural fragrance and other fun things that are the bulk of my career now than I did in school.

For years after I left Midd I've returned to town to visit friends and favourite stores and have always returned with amazing memories of those friends, the gorgeous State of Vermont, and a few dollars worth of soap and custom perfumes (I usually spent the bulk of my budget just taking time off work and getting from Toronto to Vermont)

One of those trips I came home with a simple bar of soap from a company called Vermont Soap. I have always kept a few products from small companies in New England in the shop so after trying this awesome bar I called them and brought it in. I think that was in 2004?
It's been a bestselling product line ever since! Chemical free, made with tons of natural and organic ingredients, made by an special company that uses simple tried and true methods for making natural soap products. We make our own line of soap now, but the Vermont Soap is a mainstay in my bathroom, and it should be in yours!
 We've decided to put the whole line on sale this week, just for a little springtime fun!
The house needs little spring cleaning I bet!

The bar soap is the top seller, but the Liquid Sunshine Organic Cleaning Spray is a family favourite. Click on the link for a fun story about how we use it in my house. The Organic Pet Shampoo is a bestseller now but in the first year we carried it we thought it was a dud. Our rule in the store is we bring something in a few times and when the requests roll in for more then it becomes a permanent product. The Pet Shampoo lasts SO long due to the teeny tiny amount you have to use that it took our clients a year to go through the bottle... even on big dogs!
Don't miss the Liquid Sunshine Organic Cleaning Liquid it's the full strength big brother of the Cleaning Spray which can be used to clean everything from

The Vermont Soap Bars are the ultimate favourite. They come in a large collection of scents. Vermont Soap uses only natural, essential oils to scent their soaps. Every bar is moisturising to some degree, each with a light scent, or unscented. Fine for face, body, kids, dogs etc. The shampoo bar is a perfect addition to any camping trip, a simple way to be a sulfate free, chemical free, lake friendly, un-stinky camper. I wish we had these on our bike trip!

These are the varieties we usually carry.
  • Aloe Baby Soap - unscented, simple
  • Butter Bar-suuper moisturising
  • Citrus Sunrise- light and tangy
  • Honey Soap- warm, sweet and a little spicy
  • Tea Tree-for the tea tree lovers
  • Woodspice-deep, spicy, manly
  • Lavender Flowers-like a field in Provence
  • Lemongrass-Lemongrassy!
  • Oatmeal Lavender-Provence at breakfast time
  • Unscented Cocoa Butter-a little chocolatey
  • Peppermint Magic-wake up soap!
  • Patchouli Hemp-ask me one day about patchouli, hippies and Vermont...
  • Rosemary Herb-Culinary, green and lovely
  • Shampoo Bar-the Grand Poobah of the Shampoo Bahs. You should try it!

There is a ton more to the story of my bike tour to Vermont, but I won't bore you with it today.
Pop into the store, pick up some VT soap while it's on sale and if I have time, I'll tell you more!
 This sale will end on April 30 so get your butt in gear..... see..what I did there?
The post, is about bikes... gears... get it?

I hope we see you soon!




Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pin me Baby!

I am a girl. A much, much girlier girl than my kettlebell swinging, mohawk sporting, doc marten wearing, 5 speed driving self will ever suggest to most people. In my apartment in the Toronto Beaches people often commented on how much girlier my home was than they would have imagined from working in the restaurant biz with me. The loud "Carla" (my 90's curly stereotype) type waitress that I was in those days didn't make one think floral prints and lacey antique doilies I guess. You, my ellenoire audience may not have that impression because I own a pretty scent & soap boutique with a quirky little curly hair salon in the back. In fact since I opened my store, many people have suggested that since my store is lovely my home must be also.....
 HA!!!! I occasionally let them in on the truth of many enterpreneurs: I work constantly so my home is an afterthought, a place to hide, sleep eat etc. When the store bills are paid, my sons summer camp/ dental appointments/ skates/ shoes etc are paid for then maybe there will be a little left over for things for the house.... but not until then. So, the secret I am sharing today is one about a crazy aspect of my neglected house, a little about what makes me the curious person that I am( in business & otherwise) and a little about the things that make me happy. I've found something that may change a habit that is intertwined with these things  I'll tell you the story.....

I. Noelle Smith. I am a magazine hoarder. Ok, there. I said it.

No, really. HOARDer. I think I could safely say I have too many magazines in my house at this moment to fit inside my car. Just last week I managed to sort through about 200 and get rid of more than half. The first box was so heavy Tim could barely lift it. Tim doesn't live here, he doesn't seem to care about the magazine issue much. Thankfully!
This cupboard was filled to the top with glossy love until last week. What did I tell you?!

Although, over the years of magazine hoarding many a relationship was damaged by the magazine issue. With one boyfriend, in an attempt to be just like his really organized mother I clipped recipes, craft ideas, exercise suggestions, articles about stuff I liked and sorted and filed them. Every night I sat watching Star Trek TNG old & new episodes (which I liked)  & politely tolerated Twin Peaks & Xfiles with my geeky S.O and clipped my little magazine pieces with my fave razor blade tool. I had a little basket where I stacked the clippings and a box with files to fill the following night. It was a lovely little system. Well, until the basket got too full and when I ran out of time to file everything. Then I realized I had an insane number of topics and it was too hard to keep track. Decor ideas, shoes, clothes, recipes, crafts, scented things I love, travel ideas, bikes, and on and on it went.... Then I gave up and just kept the whole magazine.
The collection got really large because back then I was using public transit and a magazine was the perfect commuting tool. Reading kept me from boredom, or the horrid thought of talking to someone on the bus (In Toronto, we did not talk to each other) Those glossy books kept me happy with ideas of fashions to make, things to buy, decorating to inspire and bits and pieces of things that eventually inspired what is now my career. My life on either end of the magazine reading commute wasn't all that great so living the fantasy life of being either the mystery girl on the bus buried in the magazine or the fantasy life of the girl who wore, owned or lived in/on/with the lovely things in the shiny pages was all consuming. Magazines have always been my hiding place, my reality bites but oooooh this is pretty hiding cave from the world.

 I learned that boyfriends/ men don't always "get" the concept of that fantasy. When that boyfriend & I bought a house together I began buying serious design mags for inspiration. I would happily show up with clips in my "decor ideas" file for our outings to pick paint colours and would be promptly scolded "Our house will never look like that!" and I would cock my head and try to explain that it was the "feeling" or "mood" of the room in the pic I was trying to capture and that I knew our house was not that big blah blah blah. He soooooo did not get the allure, the fantasy, the way that images on a page from someone elses life or imagination could inspire me. He dumped me, I took my magazine collection and left. I have never filed an article in any organized fashion since.

Although now, there are rules with the magazines. Fashion mags get recycled fairly often unless they are a special issue or have a stunning cover. I keep the mags ellenoire has been featured in or issues that inspire business ideas. I keep the mags that I haven't finished with yet (I re-flip through them, over and over). I keep Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings and Victoria without excuse. I take them out all the time for ideas for the store.  There has always been an "I open it first" rule about magazines. I take the second or third one from the rack, and no one else gets to open the mag before me. *I have the same rule with new scents that come into the store btw*

ANYWAY! You clean freak people don't get it I am sure of that. The men don't really get it my experience.

So... the whole point of this rambly ramble is I may have found the solution! I used to think the internet was the solution. Over the last few years I would find the website for a thing I found in a magazine and keep it in my favourites file then chuck the magazine. Problem solved right?  The favourites file in all the browsers is word based and annoying. I still had to remember how the heck I filed the link. It was almost easier to recall where I was when I read the magazine and then I could likely recall what year I read it and then go to my pdeudo system of mags on my shelf and find it there (Yes, my memory works like that. i.e. There is a gorgeous pic of a French style garden in a Real Simple mag issue that I read in July of 2008 in the waiting room of chemo and one day I will have that garden and I will never forget when or where I read about it) I have just never been able to make the a filing system or the favourites system in my browser to work like my memory does... in pictures and threads that connect them.......

Enter Pinterest.  A website I had heard something about a few times, but there are just so many social media things to learn about, so many ways to share links and such, so many of them kind of boring to follow, annoying or hard to link things to so I didn't try it. Eventually the glossy mag like, high res images gloriousness that is Pinterest drew me in.

What's not to love! Huge Colourful Images to scroll through, like or re-Pin!
 I had tried a site called Fab that had a similar addictive quality to it but Fab only had pics of stuff they sold. Pinterest has stuff from EVERYWHERE! It's like my girly Holodeck of endless Glossy magazine yumminess. Computer! Ideas for cat eye makeup for the party tonight!! Computer! Show me Kettlebell workouts!. Computer! Show me images of relaxing places and spaces! Seriously? How did I ever live without this?  I instantly started pinning things like a mad thing! I have added and created files (or in Pinterest lingo "Boards" Get it? Pinning Interesting things to Bulletin Boards?) like the old days.  Everyday I have to add new categories to keep up with hundreds of things I have posted already. My only wish is that there was a way to keep some of my pins private. I don't really care if people see my pins and like the rule about being the first to open the magazine, I kinda want to keep what I find to myself.... but I guess if everyone made their pins private then it wouldn't be as fun!

A friend asked me this week what Pinterest was. This is how I described it: "It's basically a gigantic online magazine with the ability to take images and "pin" them to your own bulletin boards for others to see. It's kind of like tearing out stuff from a mag at the doctors office but in an online, easy to save and share way with every magazine you ever wanted to flip through. It's all visual, which is why it's more popular with women. Each image is a link to something to buy, read or learn about. The topics are limitless. You can pin things to read later or read as you pin. You can categorize them etc... I have boards for food and recipes, clothes I like, ideas for my house, workout ideas etc. It's fun if you are a visual person"
 I told Tim about the description, and he told me to blog about how I use it. So, here we are.
It didn't occur to me until I read some of my friends other friends replies to her query that people see it as many different things. For example, one person said:  "It has recipes and crafts. If you click on one item and open it you can follow it to the web page an get the full instructions for the recipe or craft"

Lovely, Happy Recipe Pin Board... I have one of these!

 Meanwhile I'm reading this persons reason for using it and wondering if her only interests are recipes and crafts....? Really? I have to specifically limit my time on Pinterest because I could easily spend an entire day. Yes, really. A whole day. I plan to use it as the ultimate magazine that I can peruse anytime I want. I plan to use it to store links I need to find later. I plan to use it to save insane quantities of recipes I want to cook. I am already using it to capture inspiration for my business. I am working on a new marketing campaign for the store on one of my boards. BUT! The best part?  I am currently plotting to go through my existing magazine collection with all its turned down corners and find links to those things, pin them and recycle all those magazines!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Wooly tale for Valentine's Day

This winter has been less than winterlike. To me, one of the best things about winter is bundling up in warm, soft clothes. Growing up with a Scottish mother wool was part of life. I was happy to wear my wool sweaters as long as they didn't touch my skin. A blouse with the cuffs and collar pulled up to protect my skin from getting "itchy" or a turtleneck. made wearing those scratchy things bearable. I was on the cross-country ski team for all 5 years of high school and wool was a neccesity as a layer to keep warm during long practices and races. For skiing I wore my Grandfathers wool long johns and long sleeved undershirt but still not right against my skin.
Whenever anyone complained about being cold anywhere near my mother her response always was "Put on some wool!"
Through most of the winter you will find at least one wool garment on me, and now I can wear even the most "scratchy" sweaters right against my skin. I think it's a Scottish thing.

I remember reading about cashmere and understanding that not only was it soft and lovely but it was also an expensive status symbol. As a grown up I've been given a few pieces of cashmere. Some vintage, some new. No matter what, I tend to wear them until they are threadbare. Cashmere brings the best of wool and crazy gossamer softness together.

A couple of months ago after trying for years to get to the One of a Kind Show in Toronto during the holiday season we finally got there! It was a couple of days before my birthday and while walking the aisles of the show I knew by the questions he was asking Tim was trying to work out what I might like for my birthday.
We found this amazing booth with lots and lots of gorgeous colours of cashmere garments, lingerie it looked like. With a deeper look we discovered that their specialty seemed to be that they made longjohns... right there in front of you. You picked a pair of underpants, and the legs you wanted and they made them for you. How cool is that!? My birthday gift ended up being a lovely purple cashmere undershirt/ singlet with co-ordinated underpants from this lovely company Sartoria.

This Saturday February 11th we have the pleasure of bringing Sartoria to the ellenoire boutique. Sara will be at the boutique from 12-5 showing a selection of her ready made garments and sewing up longjohns for some lucky people.
There will be lots of fun Valentine's day things to choose from to go along with these cashmere and merino (I could write a whole blog about my love of merino wool too!) pieces too. I hope we see you!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Dear Curlfriends

 I hope this finds you well on a chilly Sunday afternoon. I’m just writing today to fill you in on a few things about the goings on in the curl world at ellënoire.

Many of you know by now that we have a full time curly hair salon located within our boutique, but I am writing today to confirm that you do. No more part time haircut availability. No more “private salon” aka my dining room…. Just a fantastic salon dedicated to curly clients specializing in the DevaCurl method, with a few appointments available for our straight haired friends ;). If you haven’t been in yet I hope we see you soon!

This week we have our special guest stylist coming back in from New York City to cut and colour hair for us. He will be working closely with our fantastic new stylist Sarah so she can get to know each and every one of David’s clients haircuts. Sadly, there will come a day when David will be too busy with the cast of Glee, or working on magazines across the globe to work at little old ellënoire and we want to make sure our local stylist is ready to take over. Sarah is trained as a DevaCurl inspired stylist and has been in the hair industry for 10 years. She has embraced the Deva method and has developed many clients at ellënoire already.

Please feel free to get in touch to book an appointment with either David or Sarah. David is here from January 30th- February 2nd and Sarah is currently available from Tuesday – Saturday with appointments available based on your schedule. Rest assured that we often book evening appointments to accommodate clients work schedules.

I am also hoping today to encourage you to add your name to our regular mailing list over at Just scroll to the bottom of the page and there is a little box there to type your email into, from there you can choose which mailing list(s) to be on:  1) General ellënoire info, sales, promos, events list

and/ or 2) Curly Hair Events & Product Information List.

The detailed information below should explain how we do things at the salon. As always, feel free to get in touch with questions about your hair, product use or booking appointments. 

Hair at ellënoire

What we will do

We will cut all hair types, for all ages and genders.

We will cut your curly or wavy hair dry so we can see how it falls according to the Curly Girl/ DevaCurl philosophy

We will teach you how to use our sulfate free system so you can have perfect results at home

We will help you find a hairstyle that fits your style, and your lifestyle

We will dry your hair using only gentle hood dryers and state of the art curly hair dryers and diffusers

We will use only sulfate free and bubble free cleansers

We will use only silicone, petroleum & paraben free conditioners & styling products

What we won’t do

We will not chemically straighten your hair. Not now, not ever.

We won’t carve, slice, razor or tunnel your curls

We won’t rake, spin, twirl or otherwise change your natural curls’ shape

What we might do

We may consider straightening your hair with a blow dryer (aka “BlowFry”) but only after you are a customer with hair in outstanding condition and only by special request, for special occasions. We will never straighten/ blow out damaged and dry hair. Never.

Curly Hair at Ellënoire

Our goal is to make your natural hair texture look the best it can naturally, rather than try to change it with tools such as combs, brushes, rollers or hot blowdryers or straightening irons.  We are happy to cut, style and colour all hair types, but if you have hair that is anything other than stick straight, that is the texture we will work with and that is the texture you will leave with.

1) We sell the DevaCurl products on our website and in our store at all times.

2) The “Dry Talk”: a conversation in the store about how to use DevaCurl products the best, and in some cases a prescription for which items are best for your hair type/ issues. This is free and needs no appointment and takes about 15 minutes. This can be done on the phone also.

3) The "Full consult”: a chat with one of our stylists: 10 minutes or so, no charge.

4) The “DevaCurl Wet to Set”: a teaching session with one of our stylists. We do your hair with you so you can learn hands on how to use the products. $40 takes approximately 1 hour. Some clients will book the “Wet to Set” just when they want their hair to be perfect for a special event. You will leave with beautiful hair empowered with the knowledge of how to make it look the same at home.

5) The "DevaCurl Virgin Cut & Set" includes a consult, a haircut and full hair set with full teaching of how to use the DevaCurl products (so you can recreate perfect hair at home) for new clients $75. 90 minutes minimum based on the drying time of your hair. You will leave with beautiful hair empowered with the knowledge of how to make it look the same at home.

6) The “DevaCurl Vixen Cut & Set” Includes a consult, a haircut and full set for clients that have had either a “DevaCurl Wet to Set”: or a "DevaCurl Virgin Cut & Set” service (within the last year) $65 60-90 minutes based on the drying time of your hair

8) Trim/ Oxygenation - a quick trim for regular clients who have already had a "Cut & Set" or "Wet to Set" and just need a quick clean up in between haircuts to keep the hair looking it’s best. Suggested every 6-8 weeks. $20 for 15 minutes. The oxygenation service may be added to a "Wet to Set" for new clients.

We also offer services for children, full colour services, deep conditioning treatments and occasional visits from guest stylists with varying prices. Please ask when you book for price information about these services.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hi everyone! Sorry it took so long for me to post the winners from the draw! I'm getting ready for some surgery in a few hours and have been bogged down with boring grown up stuff getting ready for that. Ready? Day 1 - hula-la Day2-QuoterGal Day 3- Heather
 I have found Heather, if you are QuoterGal or hula-la please get in touch with your mailing address to and I'll send you your prize as soon as I verify your identity.
 Congratulations and thanks for playing!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Joy in January - A Natural Perfumers Guild project and Three-day Giveaway Day 3!

Today is day 3 of a 3 day project. I've been writing some tiny fun posts for the Natural Perfumers Guild event "Joy in January" Each post has been devoted to some information about SAD* (seasonal affective disorder) and some Natural Fragrance tips that may be helpful to people who suffer from it. See Day 1 here , Day 2 here.... and don't forget to comment on any or all of my blog posts for a chance to win prizes from me.

There are many other bloggers involved in this project, and each one of them is offering posts with information about SAD, ideas to combat it, including ideas involving Natural Fragrances. I encourage you to read as many of these blogs as you can, and enter the draws for their wonderful products.

Oh joy, Oh Rapture Unforeseen!

So, since starting this series I've been thinking a lot about SAD, and all the things it must do to the sufferers as well as the sufferers of other kinds of depression. As I said on day 1 I am lucky enough to not suffer from depression. Maybe I did that winter in Vancouver, but that was a time where I allowed another person to convince me that the things that gave me joy were stupid, weird or wrong....
I'm a pain in the ass rebel at heart, so I still snuck away to eat my favourite chocolate, take an extra long shower with my favourite shower gel, or into a local soap shop to smell the products there.
I learned some very important lessons that year, but the thing that seemed relevant to this topic was matter how bad things get never, ever forget the things that make you happy. 

On my FaceBook page today I had someone say "If chocolate could be made into an essential oil, instead of eating dark chocolate for SAD, I could inhale it instead" Well! Chocolate does come in an essential oil! So does Vanilla, and all kinds of other familiar things. But it doesn't have to be an essential oil, or a scented product.... it just needs to be something that gives you a little bit of light through the darkness, a little giggle, a little JOY!

So here is your challenge for this post, make a list of some of the things that make you happy. Certain songs, certain foods, certain smells, whatever!
 Maybe it's the scent of homemade bread that makes you smile. Make some, or pop by a local bakery.
 Or fresh flowers? Make your way to a florist or local greenhouse and take a great big inhale!

One of my friends loved working with horses in school. After 20 years of varying levels of depression and addiction she went back to the barns. The smells of the barns, the fresh air, the hard physical work it all changed her. I never see her because she spends all her free time there but when I do. She's happy, 20lbs lighter and ridiculously HAPPY!

Maybe today Joy and Rapture are Unforseen, but perhaps tomorrow you will seek them out and see more clearly.

I was thinking about posting all kinds of my favourite fun and silly songs about Joy, because music so often helps me as I said yesterday. I chose nutty songs like 'Oh Joy, Oh Rapture, Unforseen' 'Where are the simple joys of Maidenhood?' A Muppet version of 'Ode to Joy'...

oh what the heck... you have to see this one...  

;) But, I want you to decide the scents and activities that bring you Joy and find a way to EnJOY them!

Smell the Roses! The Chocolate Chip Cookies! The Barn? Find a tiny way everyday to put a smile on your face.

So, readers... for this giveaway I am giving you your choice of JOY!
You see, my store specializes in custom scenting bath products... so you get to choose how this little gift set is scented! If you win, I'll send you a list of Natural Fragrances we have and the choice is all yours.
A Custom Scented Bath Bomb, A Custom Scented Lotion, and  Custom Scented Room Spray! As you like it!

This is it. The end of this wee series. Thanks to the NPG for such a great idea. I hope somewhere through this I helped one or two of you. Goodnight Irene!

Comment on this post to be entered in the draw for this prize.
Prizes for my draw will be mailed to winners in the USA, Canada and the EU only. You will find bloggers in Australia, Canada, South Africa and Vietnam, so please check their mailing policies.

1. You, the poster can post as anonymous, but that will make you ineligible for the drawing.

2. I'd love it if you sign up for my newsletter, or "like" my page on Facebook, but that isn't a requirement of this blog. Please just leave a comment that shares your difficulty with SAD. We need to get the word out there so others reading this may recognize the disorder has aromatherapy and natural perfumery as an alternative healing modality.

3 I do want you to leave your first name or a nickname, ISP (eg., gmail) and location. That way, when I announce the win, and you reply, I'll be sure I have the right person.

*SAD is a recognized disorder characterized by depression, among other symptoms.* Light therapy is the most common treatment, and the Guild feels the need to share the knowledge that fragrance can also be uplifting and pull people out of depression. The NPG wants to include fragrance therapy and our members will host a three-day blog event to reach out to those who suffer from SAD. Please visit the blogs listed below of the other Guild members, add your comments to enter the draws for their prizes. be sure to check that they are ok to ship to your country. Winners of the three-days of drawings will be announced here on Thursday, the 19th.