26 Nov 2015

THE MAGIC OF THE PRAIRIES

Prairie People, Prairie Provinces, Snowflake, winter wellness festival, prairie girl, prairie yogi, Vanessa Kunderman,
image by Tine Butler photography
The prairies hold a special kind of magic. A modest, humble and charming air dances between the wheat fields and doesn’t let up when the snow blankets over us. Each of us is enchanting in an unassuming way. We’re self-deprecating and witty, never admitting that we are anything special, but that’s because it’s hard to describe the sort of magic that happens here. It’s unspoken yet understood between each of us.

It’s felt when you see a fresh pair of snow tracks on your walk to the store for milk, knowing that someone else braved the weather to make their hot chocolate creamier. It’s felt when you see a friend burst into the coffee shop, snowflakes dancing into the room behind them. And you really feel it when your love sits down in front of you, flopping his warm toque on the table, and his fuzzy toque hair stares back at you with intention.

We own this cold. It’s in our bones, and it makes us who we are. It is the True North.

We may be known for our golden fields, a staple that we only come to appreciate once we leave to see the rest world, but it’s the short days and dark mornings that make their mark on us. We retreat into ourselves. We conserve. We come from a heritage based on survival, enduring the harshness of Mother Nature, knowing her tough love makes us stronger.

Many of us resist this part of our land, fighting the weather and letting our resistance get the best of us. But it is about embracing the change of seasons to allow us to feel everything we went through over the year. It’s a natural cycle: spring brings rejuvenation, summer allows us to be light and merry, and grow the food that feeds us, fall is the harvest and preparation, and winter is the retreat. It is the time to hibernate and work on ourselves. To let our spirit take over and mull over everything it experienced through the last cycle.

We need to dedicate winter to ourselves. We need to allow ourselves a time of reflection in front of a golden fire, wrapped in a soft blanket and a mug of a warm coffee between our paws. We can’t go-go-go all the time, because we aren’t designed that way. When we ease into the natural order of this existence, we can flourish. We can blossom again when spring comes.

It doesn’t mean we need to bury ourselves underground and only emerge when the snow starts to melt. But it does mean we need to retreat inward. Slow down, and go with the flow. If the wind is howling outside, shrieking out with bone-chilling ferocity, then park yourself on your couch and watch the storm, grateful for your safety. But don’t be afraid to bundle up and make snow angels when the air is soft.


In the prairies, we’re lucky enough to have four seasons: four seasons that allow us to properly fuel through our natural cycles so we can be the best version of ourselves that our spirits intended us to be.

Prairie People, Prairie Provinces, Snowflake, winter wellness festival, prairie girl, prairie yogi, Vanessa Kunderman, Vanessa Kunderman is a writer, designer, and avid crystal collector. She runs a modern spirituality website, Rogue Wood, aimed at making magic and spirituality practical and part of the mainstream. She is a published author and poet, and loves driving fancy coffee. She began her foray into crystal studies after receiving a black onyx and rutialated quartz necklace while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer as a teenager. Her favourite crystals are nummite and moonstone. Want to learn more about the healing powers of crystals? Sign up for Vanessa's SACRED STONES workshop at SNOWFLAKE winter wellness festival.

20 Nov 2015

SAVE MONEY + LOOK GREAT // 5 AU-NATUREL BEAUTY PRODUCTS

natural beauty, au naturel, Tannis Miller, yoga girl, prairie yogi, uses for coconut oil, uses for green tea, apple cider vinegar
The $300 billion dollar beauty industry has tricked us into thinking that to have good quality beauty products, you're going to have to spend a lot of dough.
The average women between the age of 16 and 65 shops for cosmetics five times per year. And on average those women spend $15,000 on cosmetics in their lifetime (and yes, sometimes more).
But what if simple, whole, and inexpensive ingredients (that you probably already have in your pantry) could work just as well as the well branded, cutely packaged products you buy at the fancy beauty stores.
Going natural with beauty products may seem a little “pie in the sky” or a regime that is exclusive to those living in community with waist length dreadlocks... But our very notion of what beauty products are supposed to look like (and cost) is as a result of this multi-billion dollar empire’s marketing tactics.
But here is the simple truth: there are a ton of ways to look and feel more beautiful without spending your life savings.
Here are my five favourite au-naturel beauty products that work, and won't break the bank.

Coconut oil (obviously).

There is no way this list could be complete without this sweet, sweet oil. So of course takes the first spot. If you are unfamiliar with the wonders of this magical oil, simply type it into your search bar, this claim will be supported by millions of blogs, worldwide. Here are just a few 15 of my favourite uses for coconut oil. (note: I always use virgin, organic coconut oil)
  1. Lather up with this great basic lotion. Its cooling properties make it an amazing summertime moisturizer.
  2. Get cooking! Use this non-dairy butter substitute in baking, stir-frys and even on toast. It’s great for cooking because it has a high smoke point.
  3. Mascara be gone! Use as your eye makeup remover
  4. Prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
  5. For super smooth legs, use instead of shaving cream
  6. Protect from harmful ways with this natural SPF 4 sunscreen
  7. It’s a delicious tropical massage oil
  8. Due to its high lauric acid and MCFA content, it’s a great metabolism-booster
  9. If you rub a tiny dab on your hands and then your hair, it’s a great frizz-reducing hair serum
  10. Pucker up and use as a natural lip balm
  11. Use as an intensely moisturizing leave-in conditioner. Rub into dry hair, put a shower cap on and leave for several hours... wake up to silky soft hair, just rinse out! Grat for winter static.
  12. Reduce the itch of mosquito bites
  13. For some people, it can help to reduce acne
  14. It’s great to stimulate hair growth when rubbed into the scalp, daily. It’s also a great deep conditioner — just apply it before bed, put a shower cap on and rinse out in the morning
  15. Add to smoothies to give them a nutritional and flavour boost

Raw Honey

Start looking to the honey jar for more than sweetening your tea. Raw honey is extremely anti-bacterial and ultra moisturizing. 
Use raw honey, as a simple face mask. Warm it between your fingers, and then softly apply it to your entire face. Leave it on for five to ten minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Voila — sweet, soft, glowing skin. For dewy skin, repeat weekly.
Put your Bioré face strips down, and pick up raw honey for natural blackhead removal. Add a few drops onto a lemon wedge and rub it all over your face, emphasizing trouble spots. Leave the mixture on your skin for about five minutes, then rinse with cold water.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Skip your regular shampoo and instead mix ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with a cup of water to eliminate chemicals and product build-up. Follow with your usual conditioner.

Green Tea

What does it do? More like What doesn’t it do? It flushes out toxins from the skin and helps majorly to promote radiant, smooth, acne-free skin. Not only is it a natural fat burner, but it’s also a natural diuretic which helps to eliminate excess water weight and bloating.
How it does it: Green tea contains catechins — anti-bacterial agents that suppress acne-causing bacteria and help to regulate hormonal imbalances. It also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness in blemishes and scars.
Green tea can also combat dark under eye circles with this super effective home remedy:
How to: Chill a cup of green tea in the refrigerator. Dip 2 cotton cotton pads in the cool tea and place them on your closed eyelids. Sit back and relax for 10-15 minutes. As an alternative, you can swap the cotton balls for chilled, used tea bags.
For more green tea uses (because like coconut oil, the list goes on. And on and on), click here.
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions to swap your expensive beauty products with au naturel alternatives. Be mindful that, although awesome and convenient, these all-natural beauty tips are nothing without proper self-care like sleep, physical activity, plenty of water, stress management, and a nutritious diet.
Happy cosmetic grocery shopping!
natural beauty, au naturel, Tannis Miller, yoga girl, prairie yogi, uses for coconut oil, uses for green tea, apple cider vinegar"Tannis Miller is a Creative Communications student majoring in public relations who strives to inspire health, balance, and creativity in a modern world of stress and chaos. She is a certified personal trainer and former professional fitness model who believes in self-care inside and out. Tannis is an advocate of emotional expression, stress-management and all things fashion and beauty."