What GMO’s actually are how to avoid the 7 most common genetically modified crops

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It seems to be a common belief that genetic modification is a necessary and harmless part of farming that has been used to produce a heartier and more bountiful harvest for centuries. In truth, modern genetic modification is very new technology that hasn’t been around long enough to establish it’s safety. The first genetically modified crop (a tomato) appeared on the scene in 1994 and it is now estimated that up to 65% of North American foods contain some genetically modified ingredient(s).

The world health organization defines GMO’s as ‘organisms in which the DNA has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.’ This is actually pretty terrifying when we really think about it. Far from selective breeding that IS safely used by organic farmers, and has led to the evolution of certain modern crops that are now more hearty and robust than they were in the past, genetic modification happens in a lab, and is far from natural.

Genetic modification (also referred to as biotechnology or gene technology) allows genes to be transferred from one species to another. Gm seeds are commonly modified to be resistant to high doses of herbicides, high doses of pesticides, pest resistance or a combination.

Plants modified for herbicide resistance are able to withstand super high levels of toxic weed killers which end up on the foods we eat and can lead to congenital problems, hormone imbalances and cancer. Plants modified for pest resistance (ie: Monsanto’s BT Toxin) have insecticide built into their seeds on a cellular level so when pests eat the crops, their stomachs are broken open and they die. Just think of what this is doing to the stomach lining of humans who eat the crops in large amounts?! Could GMO crops be at least partially responsible for the huge modern rise in digestive issues and leaky gut?

Scarier yet, the modern prevalence of GMO’s also threatens pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Could it be coincidental that bee populations have recently dwindled to alarmingly low numbers?

And GMO crops can also mean bad news for organic farmers as cross pollination could in theory eventually make truly organic foods a thing of the past. Crazier still, GMO crops are protected under restricted use patents so organic farmers can actually be sued by the corporations if it is discovered that their organic crops were inadvertently cross pollinated with GMOS!

Much like cellular technology, GMO’s have not been around for long enough for their long term safety to be established. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves, our families and our planet is to look for foods labeled Non GMO project verified or certified organic, especially when consuming the most commonly genetic modified crops.

The most common GMO crops are:

Soybeans: 93% genetically modified particularly for herbicide resistance, commonly hidden in processed foods and vegetarian meat options.

Canola/rapeseed: 90-95% genetically modified particularly for pests and pesticide spray, used in fried and processed foods.

Corn: 88% genetically modified particularly for pests and pesticides. Found in corn starch, corn syrup, and processed foods.

Cotton: 94% genetically modified for both herb and pest resistance. Common in fast fashion retailers, wash new clothes prior to wearing.

Hawaiian Papaya: 50% genetically modified for ringspot virus.

Potatoes: 10% genetically modified for pest resistance, also one of the dirty dozen.

Sugar beets: 95% genetically modified for pests and pesticides, always choose organic.

In the past week I have had to explain to explain on three separate occasions that genetic modification as we know it today is not normal and has not been practiced by farmers for centuries. Sometimes I take for granted that everyone in the world is as interested in nutrition as I am and I wrongly assume this is all common knowledge.  In working with clients and speaking with friends and family I am constantly reminded about how much misinformation is out there regarding nutrition and in particular GMO’s and realise it’s so important to spread the word about the dangers of these frankenfoods.

Dropping genetically modified foods from our diets is an essential first step towards better health and one we should all take to protect ourselves and our planet.

8 life changing health tips to improve thinning hair and overall health

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This is a tough one to write but I’m giving you some realness today. Of all the PCOS and hashimotos symptoms I have dealt with, the hair thinning has been the hardest for me.  It was also the canary in the coal mine, showing up in my early 20s as my very first indicator that something in my body was imbalanced.

I grew up hiding behind a thick wavy mane of shiny auburn locks. My hair became such an integral part of my identity that losing it felt like losing a dear friend. I grieved my hair. I denied it. I wore strange hairstyles and ugly bandanas. And no matter how good the rest of me felt, it was there in the background softly hissing in my ear that I was ugly, worthless and damaged.

I had naively thought that doctors would be able to quickly identify the cause and send me on my way with a simple solution. But my blind faith in doctors turned to despair after years of hopping from doc to doc that led to no conclusion and very little hair on my head.

It may sound so shallow to someone with good hair, but those with hair problems understand, hair loss can put you on a psychological roller coaster and make you rethink your entire life. Hair loss sparked my interest in nutrition, and it eventually led to both my PCOS and hashimotos diagnoses, albeit a decade later.

Perhaps the most frustrating part has been my unique situation as a working hairstylist. Seeing and touching beautiful, normal manes every day and knowing I’m still so far from that has sent me reeling into episodes of deep depression and crushing anxiety on multiple occasions. But being a hairstylist has also given me a unique advantage, as I’ve learned a handful of tips and tricks for rocking thinning hair that I use on myself and my clients daily. Most of my clients don’t believe me when I tell them I have experienced super excessive hair loss “your hair looks super full?” they always say with a puzzled look on their faces. And it’s true, I’ve found a combination of lifestyle adjustments and styling tricks to help me rock the hair I do have, stop shedding excessively and even wake up a few sleeping follicles.

So please, don’t lose hope. Thanks to a healthier lifestyle and a few hair tweaks I can actually say I am in a much better place hair wise and am ready to dish my tips in order to help anyone else who needs a boost in the follicular department.

As I write this, I am sitting at a pool with my hair down. Not slicked back into a teeny weeny ponytail that has come to be my default for years. Nope. My hair is down, and no one is giving me the side eye or staring awkwardly at my scalp during conversation. And while I’m not going to be cast in a Pantene commercial anytime soon, I can honestly say this is one of the few times in over a decade that my hair looks normal. I also have lots of fine frizzy regrowth, that most people would find irritating but is a very welcome addition to my particular head.

This is a two part blog post, but today I’ll be talking more about the diet/lifestyle side of things, because there is no sense trying to cover hair loss while still thinning excessively. It’s like shovelling your walks in a snowstorm and ain’t nobody got time for that.
As a student of holistic nutrition one of my favorite quotes is ‘what we eat can either be the safest most powerful medicine, or the slowest poison.’ This speaks volumes about the state of modern health and how important a healthy diet is to staving off disease and even reversing existing health issues.

Heathy eating should be a combination of adding the right things into our diets while simultaneously removing the wrong things. Finding a diet that works for you and your own health objectives can be a long process and I highly recommend working with a health professional such a holistic nutritionist, health coach, or naturopath on your journey. Foods that are harming your particular body may be perfectly healthy for other individuals so don’t just go crazy eliminating everything in the world, but also don’t assume that you can continue eating the way you always have because you don’t have any major symptoms.  Spoiler alert, hair loss is a symptom, especially when it manifests at a young age in a person with no genetic predisposition.

I have spent years of trial and error trying to fix my own hair probs and know how confusing all the conflicting information out there can be so I’ve complied my very best advice to start restoring your hair and your health today.

Take it slow, celebrate even the small victories and remember, we are all so much more than our hair.

1. Limit your intake of foods that cause inflammation

If you are dealing with unexplained hair loss, gluten dairy and grains should be the first things you think about removing from your diet. Sometimes even healthy foods can cause inflammation in people with intolerances so it is wise to be tested for allergies. You can do your own testing for free by completing an elimination diet, and carefully observing your reaction to foods during the reintroduction phase. I completed a whole 30 diet to identify some of my intolerances, I also ditched ALL GLUTEN and almost all DAIRY and GRAINS with the exception of grass fed butter and some occasional rice. I know giving up these three ingredients may seem super limiting, but trust me, it’s not. That’s why I’m here writing this blog. Cooking without these things has opened a whole new realm of food possibilities and my food horizons are expanding everyday.

2. Heal your gut

So much modern disease starts in the gut and healing your gut lining is a super important step when it comes to healing chronic inflammation. A healthy gut is better able to absorb nutrients form your food. You can eat all the kale and broccoli in the world but if your gut is compromised you are probably only absorbing a fraction of the nutrients. Heal and seal that gut lining! Make BONE BROTH, PROBIOTICS, and FERMENTED FOODS a part of your DAILY diet. I almost always have a slow cooker simmering away with some grass fed bones and fragrant veggies. I will literally ladle it into my mug and sip it throughout the day like tea. I also make my own kraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Take a good quality probiotic, no, it won’t be cheap but you should feel a difference within a few weeks.

3. Improve your bodies acid alkaline balance

Your blood maintains it’s own PH of between 7.35 and 7.45 but this doesn’t mean eating all the acid forming foods will have no effect on your body. An overly acidic body can leach vitamins and minerals from organs and bones as well as lead to all kinds of issues including unhealthy hair. One of the easiest ways to obtain PH balance is to squeeze lemon into hot water and drink it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. It sounds strange because lemons are acidic, but they actually help increase your bodies PH. You also want to aim for about 50% of your diet to be alkaline (mineral rich fresh veggies and fruit) Invest in a water filter that puts important minerals back into your water and aim to drink at least 8 glasses daily but push yourself to get a full 3 litres.

4. Get all of your aminos acids

Aminos are the building blocks of protein and thus the building blocks of our hair, our hair is literally made of protein after all. To better assimilate protein, avoid eating foods that require different digestive juices at the same time. Focus on eating simply. This way your body can optimally digest each ingredient you are taking in. This may seem strange and go completely against the way you grew up eating but try to avoid eating protein and excess carbs at the same meal, try to eat only one animal protein at a time and don’t consume protein with excess fat. One easy way to get readily usable aminos into your body is by drinking COLLAGEN PEPTIDES daily. I rotate between marine collagen and organic grass fed bovine collagen. I mix it into my coffee or tea every morning and stir it into my bone broth throughout the day. It tastes a bit weird, but not terrible, and I definitely notice a difference in not just my hair but also nails and skin when I am consistent with it. It is super important to eat only organic, pastured proteins when consuming animal products including collagen peptides.

5. Take the proper supplements

In a perfect world we would obtain the majority of our nutrition from the foods we eat but people experiencing unexplained hair loss likely need a bit of help. Modern agriculture has depleted the nutrients in our foods while genetic modification, pesticides and herbicide use has wreaked havoc on our guts. Being overweight and simultaneously malnourished is becoming more and more common in developed nations and this can lead to a wide range of ailments, including hair loss. Some of the most important vitamins and minerals for women experiencing hair loss are Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B vitamins (in particular biotin) Iodine, Selenium and Zinc. It is wise to get tested for deficiencies prior to supplementation, but when in doubt adding a high quality, organic multivitamin is a great place to start.

In my particular case, I have been chronically deficient in Iron for years.  Apparently this is fairly common in young women with diffuse hairloss! With over a year of consistent daily supplement my shedding has slowed tremendously but my functional doctor recommends I aim for a ferratin of at least 70 for optimal regrowth ( I still have a ways to go). I also found it helpful to remove my copper IUD to lessen my monthly menstrual flow as Iron is lost with blood. Addressing deficiencies can take time so the sooner you identify them the better. Supplements are not regulated and you could be doing yourself no favors or even harm by choosing the lowest priced option. Make sure your supplements are of a high quality, choose organic whenever possible and pay attention any fillers and additives.

6. Give your digestive system a little boost

Bottom line, you can do all of the above but if your body is not able to properly break down and utilize the nutrition you give it, you will feel like you’re getting nowhere. Taking digestive enzymes, probiotics, sipping on water with apple cider vinegar, and drinking ginger tea are all useful ways to increase your stomach acid and better utilize your foods nutrition. This kind of ties back in to healing your gut lining but I feel it also deserves to be highlighted.  Something I never used to do and now am very conscious of, is slowing down to eat.  I used to be a gross eater, inhaling the next bite before even swallowing the last. Now I chew my food well, and always try to say a quick prayer of gratitude and blessing before each meal. Gobbling down food at lightning speed stresses our digestive system and slows down its ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Don’t go too long between meals, practice gratitude and mindful eating.

7. Work up a sweat 

Not all exercise will be beneficial for all people. (It’s kind of like diet) But that is not a free pass to forgo consistent exercise. Try a few different things and listen to your bodies cues. If you feel like absolute rubbish after a HIIT class maybe give yoga a go. A good exercise routine should make you feel energised rather than depleted. It should also be something that you truly enjoy so that you keep up with it. I love soccer, Pilates and solo gym workouts so that’s what I stick with. And don’t forget to sweat. The process of sweating itself can be profoundly therapeutic and help your body shed toxins as it sheds fat. I love infrared saunas and also go in the steam room at my gym at least twice a week. Preface your sweat sessions with dry brushing and you are way ahead of the game.

8. Get your mind right 

Spend some time every day in meditation and visualise the hair you want. When you see a beautiful head of hair, don’t feel jealousy or resentment (been there) instead give them a mental, or verbal compliment and be grateful for the hair you do have. The things we focus on are the things we attract to us, as Mother Theresa said, people should be pro peace rather than anti- war. I know it’s hard but try to stop fixating on how thin your hair is. Learn to rock the hair you do have, have fun with it, try out extensions, wigs, and color. Allow yourself to learn from the hair loss and embrace the chance you’ve been given to transform yourself both internally and externally.

It has been over a year since I have implemented all of the above in my own life and I have seen obvious improvements. That being said, my hair is still not what it used to be in my teens (my hair started falling out at 20!) Hair grows in cycles and it can take a long time to see tangible changes so I am treating it as a journey rather than a destination and am enjoying all the many health benefits along the way. I’ll be back soon with some killer styling tips and more hair healthy grain free recipes.

How to calculate the numerology of your address and what it means for you

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Just a quick disclaimer, things are going to get a bit woo today so if that’s not your thing, I’ll be back more frequently with delicious gluten and grain free recipes and my favorite holistic health tips and life hacks.

I have been gone from the blog from almost two months and I know… that’s too long. I’m sorry.

The end of summer this year was filled with major change and it has taken me some time to feel settled.  I’m the kind of person who needs to feel grounded to be creative and productive.

We sold our house in July, almost bought a new one, had our house sale fall apart, lost the house we offered on, had everything that could possibly break in our old house break, sold our house again, bought a new house, sat on pins and needles for two weeks waiting for everything to close and now….here I sit on the other side of it all looking out at my new garden, albeit a snow covered one.

From this side I can say everything was worth it, but it has taken me until now to actually feel like writing for the blog or working in my etsy shop.

Over the summer I wrote a blog post about how everything works out for a reason. Initially I thought things would ‘work out’ that we would sell our house to the very first viewer for full asking price and laugh all the way to the bank. Truthfully, the selling process was incredibly drawn out, stressful and at times demoralizing. We also did not end up anywhere near full asking price and probably showed the home to at least a hundred viewers, many of whom didn’t even bother to walk through the front doors because they didn’t like the location.

We also lost the first house we offered on. The one I had mentally redecorated and casually driven past multiple times ‘on the way’ to various places. (It was on a cul d sac and truly not on the way to anything.) But now we are in a different house, and everyday I wake up grateful that we somehow arrived here.

On paper, this house would not be my first choice, a four-level split with everything original, but the feeling inside this space is something special. It came fresh from original owners who lived here 44 years and took meticulous care of the property, they didn’t die or divorce but instead are happily retiring, so they left it filled with positive vibes and love. It comes with a huge light filled sunroom, an amazing garden, and is a perfect blank canvas for us to put our stamp on. We will be doing a full kitchen reno so that I can get busy making some healthy recipes in a beautiful, clean, functional space.

From a practical standpoint, this house is only five blocks from our old one, so our kids can still walk to school and hang with their neighbourhood friends (the other house would have moved us across a major highway). It also made our DIY move slightly easier, because my husband decided we didn’t need movers with two adults and a pick up truck. Let me just say, I’m still recovering.

Finally, for the woo people, this house has a great house number, and I have found it so relevant that our last house, a 13/4, came with so many issues. Now we have a 6, and it feels so much lighter, happier and filled with potential.

As a bit of a woo girl myself, I know my enneagram, my sun, moon and rising signs, and how to do a proper smudge.  I also believe homes often choose the person and that every house comes with a unique energy, a combination of its previous ownership, physical location, layout and design, and of course, house number. Learning about it all, I’ve observed patterns in friends who live at certain house addresses. For example, all my friends with 8’s are rolling in the dough, while I know two couples who have separated while in a 14 house.

I do somewhat take the woo with a grain of salt, but when you’re on a healing journey you quickly get an open mind about how as energetic beings, we are affected by all the energies around us, and yes, numbers too carry distinct energy.

So, if you are wondering what kind of energy comes with your abode, read on.

The way to calculate your house number numerology is to add all digits until they reduce down to a single number. It is also important to note that your house number is more important than your street number so only include the actual number posted on your home in your calculations.

Example: House 68 19th ave would simply be calculated as 6+8 = 14 and then you would add the digits of 14 together to produce a single digit ( 1+4 = 5.)

There are also Karmic debt numbers to consider, these are 13, 14, 16, and 19. These numbers often come with heavy karma attached and can have tough oppressive energy to live with (I would know).

And finally there are master numbers, these are 11, 22, and 33. They carry a stronger vibration of their sum and contain greater potential for growth as well as greater challenges and upheavals.

Some people from Asian cultures don’t like homes with the number 4, this is not real numerology but a preference born of the fact that the number 4 in Cantonese sounds very similar to the word death.

In true numerology, 4’s are grounding numbers with slow heavy vibrations. They do not cause instant death and can be good or bad depending on what you are hoping to achieve in your life. Avoiding any 4’s in an address is unnecessary, especially if the sum of that address is a positive numerology number for you.

If your head is not already spinning with numbers here is a list of numbers and their unique meanings.

1 | The solopreneur house
This is a great space for those seeking independence and freedom. It’s a wonderful house number for people who are self employed and work alone. Self starters thrive here. People in this home operate on their own agenda, as a result, it is not the most ideal environment for couples without a strong foundation, or single people who want noting more than to couple up.
It has very self focused energy and at its worst, occupants can become isolated and lonely. At its best, this is a home perfect for new beginnings in business and offers infinite possibility.

2 | The lovers house
This is a place that brings occupants closer together, and helps single people living here to attract a partner. This is a wonderful home to start a family, get hitched and settle down. People in this home find themselves focused on partnerships. It is a home that has all the warm fuzzies but can trigger deep emotions leading to emotionally charged arguments. It can also create feelings of neediness and codependence.
At it’s worst, this is a tough place to launch a business and really take off in the material world. The weight of relationships can become overwhelming here. At it’s best this is an ideal home for families, new couples and love, it can be a place of balance and harmony.

3 | The inventors house
This is super high energy home bursting with creativity and ideas. A perfect place for artists and innovators and it has an upbeat, positive energy. This home will be filled with laughter and fun and is a great home for entertaining, which is super common in a three. Unfortunately, the surplus of ideas can sometimes lead to a lack of follow through, it can also create big highs and lows. People can feel a bit scattered here. Money can come and go quickly in a 3 home.
At it’s worst it can be disorganised, and the ups and downs can be tough on children. At its best it’s an awesome place to get your creative juices flowing, create a start up and have fun doing it.

4 | The turtle house
Slow and steady wins the race. This home carries a strong steady vibration and can lend itself to high achievement, however that achievement does not come fast here. This home is a perfect place to set and achieve goals, but be prepared to put in lots of hours to reach that achievement. This is a home where you will sew your seeds and watch them take root, but don’t expect a tree to grow overnight.
At it’s best this home has a strong grounding vibration and can help people get on track and move towards focused goals. A four can be a great space for someone with ADD who needs more focus. At it’s worst this home can feel boring, stagnant and even oppressive.
If you live in a 13/4 you live in a karmic debt house and will likely feel even more overloaded with work than a typical 4 occupant. It is also a house where everything seems to break and repairs are endless.

5 | The swingers house
Do you like to party? Five is the house for you. This is a house full of surprise and freedom. Expect the unexpected here. It’s a fun house for adventure seekers and those who love to travel. It’s occupants often keep themselves super busy outside of the home and it may not be a permanent residence. A five would be a great cabin or a second rental home, regardless, people tend to come and go quickly in a 5.
At it’s best it’s a great place to party and have fun. At it’s worst it can carry an unsettled energy and be an especially tough environment for those prone to sexual temptation, excess and addiction.
If you live in a 14/5 house your karmic debt house can be an especially tough place to get along with others and not a great environment for children. The energy here may feel particularly unsettled and it can trigger new fears and anxiety.

6 | The family home
Like a two, this home can be an excellent place for families, but comes with less codependency and charged emotions. It is a peaceful place. Animals children and plants thrive in a six. It may come with a beautiful garden and the energy in a six home is extremely healing and nurturing. It can be a wonderful home for growth, related to money and business, especially in service based professions, but family will always come first here.
At it’s worst, a six can come with lots of family responsibility and occupants can become overwhelmed by it all and find themselves on the backburner taking care of everyone else. They can also get so comfy in their home they never want to leave and end up isolating themselves. At it’s best, a six is the perfect number to raise a family, grow a garden, and heal.

7 | The illuminated home
This is the home of privacy and secrets. It is a great place for spiritual seekers who are not at all focused on growth in the material realm. This can be a wonderful place for artists, psychics and those pursuing higher education as there will be plenty of time here to be alone to study and expand ones mind. Water features can help the energy here feel less stagnant.
At it’s worst this home can be isolating and is not at all the ideal place for a money focused business start up (though a home based psychic or reiki master may love it here). At it’s best this can be a great place to meditate, spend time in solitude and have a spiritual awakening.
If you live in a karmic 16/7 you may find yourself ultra isolated and even be prone to deep depression and sadness in this number.

8 | The money home
If financial abundance is your main focus, an eight is your place. Living here can provide a hearty boost of ambition and motivation leading to great success in the material realm. The opposite of a 4 house, 8 homes are specifically desired by many Asian cultures and it is not unusual for 8’s to sell at a premium in areas with a large Asian population. An eight home can be tough for addicts as it leads to always wanting more and can trigger addictive behaviours.
At it’s worst, an eight house can feel a bit soulless and superficial. Owners may neglect their spiritual sides in favor of only seeking more and more in the material realm. It can worsen addictions including shopaholics, workaholics, alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts and those prone to O.C.D. and perfectionism. At it’s best, an 8 is the perfect place to start a business and rapidly grow it into something huge. If material success is your ultimate goal in life there is no better number than an eight.

9 | The humanitarian home
A nine is a number of completion. It is often a number people settle into for the long haul, great for older couples and young families. It is a welcoming space filled with love and compassion and humanitarians thrive here. As a result, it may be the kind of place where you are always the one hosting and where your social circle feels so welcome, guests just randomly pop in. This can make it tough for those seeking solitude. It can also be a hard place to truly forge ahead as nine is a number that more commonly marks the end of a journey than the beginning.  If you have already made your fortune and want to live out the remainder of your life in service a nine would be a beautiful place to do so.
At it’s worst a nine can bring losses and endings. It is more of a place to share the wealth than to accumulate it. At it’s best a nine is a home filled with warmth, love and a nurturing energy.
If you live in a karmic 18/9 home losses can be especially common and more challenging to overcome.

I think I got especially wrapped up in learning about the energy of house numbers after a girlfriend pointed out to me that my disastrous karmic 13 house could have been the source of endless home repairs and a burdensome workload. While searching for our new home (the six) I definitely had a few numbers in mind that I favored. And while I would never be silly enough to pass up a truly great home just based on house numbers, I did find myself less enthusiastic about viewing those homes with karmic debt.

I also learned that if you hate your house number and want to change it, most jurisdictions will allow a number change for a fee of around $1000, as long as the number makes sense in sequence with the surrounding addresses.

For those of us who don’t put enough weight on numerology to justify a $1000 spend, I learned another trick that I implemented in my old house. I simply put another house number on the inside of the wall in an effort to shift entire numerological vibration of the home. It seemingly worked, because the string of disasters stopped and we were able to close on the place shortly after doing so.

If are not crazy about your home address, try it out. For example, if you live in a 4 but want a 6 just go to the local hardware store and find a 2 in a similar size and color to the address displayed outside your home. Hang it on the inside of your house somewhere near or directly behind where the outer address is displayed and, voila! Enjoy your homes new energy.

What do you think?  Is the description of your home address numerology accurate? If you could chose your house address based on numerology alone which number would you chose?

If you or anyone close to you is in the process of looking for a new home, go ahead and share this with them. Maybe you can save them from the mistake I made of buying a 13 and having to make every single possible repair a homeowner could imagine in the five years I lived there!

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

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Just a few pairs available in the shop now

Now on to those Etsy lessons….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

variety of vegetables
Photo by Adonyi Gábor on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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