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Wrap it Up…With Less Stress!

Welcome to Tuesday, everyone! We are back with another informative blog post to (hopefully) help with your stress levels during the festive season.


We know we can’t take away all your stress, but we do hope that by offering a few tips and tricks learned from the web, that you will at least have a few extra minutes to yourself throughout the holidays.


Today we want to talk a little bit about the stress of gift wrap. That’s right. Gift wrap.


For 99% of the calendar year, most of us are pretty diligent citizens of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Once December hits, though, all that hard work often goes right out the window. We are overwhelmed by shopping, decorating, baking, and entertaining, and sometimes our good habits are a little bit lacking.


For instance, we are all pretty good at this point in our lives about taking our own bags to the grocery store, but what about to the mall? If you’re going to be doing a few sessions of intense holiday shopping, it makes sense to take along a few reusable bags, but a quick look around the shopping centre usually tells us that most consumers are still accepting bags from retailers. And it’s ok, we get it! There is a LOT to remember this time of year, and at the same time, who among us has a reusable shopping bag big enough to carry a PS4? Or a giant Lego set?


For some people, the excess plastic, the amount of non-recyclable gift bags and wrap can be serious causes of stress. If your weekly garbage output is typically quite minimal, it can be a bit of a shock to witness the overflow that comes with all the goings-on of December.


In order to help alleviate some of that stress, we’ve rounded up a few links to give you some alternative ideas for gift wrapping that will have the super-recycler in you feeling pumped! It is possible!


The Art of Simple has some great examples of wrapping ideas that don’t add to landfill. Things like cloth wrapping “paper” that can even become part of the gift, using plain (recyclable) paper that you can decorate yourself, or reusable containers that can be great for edible holiday gifts (think homemade cookies or jars of delicious soup!)

Handy ideas! Photo from The Art of Simple.

Inhabitat also has some great ideas that incorporate reusable – and useful – items like flowerpots, old calendars or maps (interesting!) and reusable gift bags, and EcoCult offers 15 eco-friendly gift wrap ideas and a list of everyday household items that we all have lying around that can make excellent additions to gifts and gift wrapping.


Finally, of course, we also have the fabulous Aveda gifts at Willow that come prepackaged in sustainable, reusable and recyclable paper packages, which not only take the stress away from excess packaging, they also can take the stress out of gift buying in the first place. Beautifully wrapped already, and with amazing Aveda products inside, what could be better?!

If you were worried about all that Christmas morning clutter and overpackaging making your household waste limits climb, we hope this look at some alternative ways to wrap those holiday gifts has hit the spot for you.


And, if you are already a reusable item gift wrapper, we would love to hear your ideas! Leave us a comment with your tips on how to eliminate as much waste as possible this holiday season!


Thanks for reading, everyone. Wishing you a simple, easy, rest of the week, and we’ll chat again on Friday.


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Start the Party with These Glam Looks

It’s Friday, friends! And not just any Friday, but if you’re in the festive spirit, it might just be holiday party Friday…and Saturday…and maybe even Sunday. Whew, there truly is no rest for the festive!


The holiday shindigs just keep on comin’, don’t they? And, whether you’re heading out to a formal corporate event, keeping it lowkey with drinks with friends, or even, potentially a children’s Christmas party, you’re going to want to find a look that works for you.


And that’s where Aveda’s YouTube channel can come in really, really handy! Get holiday glam with Aveda hair and makeup tutorials and DIY ideas, and shake up your hair and makeup routine to say farewell to 2018.


Two of our faves right now are below. We LOVE the elegant pompadour for the holiday season! It’s vintage and retro, but with a modern twist. If you decide to try that out, PLEASE show us photos of that awesome mile-high ‘do.


We are also a little bit in love with the Holiday Rose Plum Full Face Makeup Tutorial (that’s a mouthful) because it’s glamorous but understated at the same time, using some lovely, wintery colours and really bringing the glow.


Wherever your plans take you this weekend and throughout the rest of the holidays, check the Aveda YouTube channel on a regular basis for hair and makeup inspiration. There are dozens of looks just waiting for you!

Enjoy the weekend everyone, we’ll chat again on Tuesday!


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More Help for the Holidays

Happy Tuesday, friends. Apologies for the radio silence lately. We are hopefully back for good now after a couple of issues. And, as promised a couple of weeks ago, we are going to help you make the most of your holiday season, by making sure you’re taking care of yourselves.

The Living Aveda blog has a fantastic new article entitled 12 Ways to Stay Healthy and Balanced During the Holidays, and we are here for it.

Some of our favourite parts? We love the idea of taking time to unplug when possible. The hectic holidays can take a toll on our mental and physical health, and aimlessly scrolling through social media or trying to find the perfect DIY centrepiece idea or recipe can be great at first, but can ultimately take you away from the things that are most important. This time of year it’s good to think of the adage “less presents, more presence” when making plans. And being present might just involve leaving the phone in the other room for an evening or two.

We also appreciate the “exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise” idea too! Of course if you can make a plan to hit a class or the gym throughout the holidays, that’s awesome, and will go a long way to preserving your health in the busiest of the busy seasons. If you just can’t take that kind of time, think of holiday tune dance breaks or brisk walks – either outside or in the mall – or use some of the tips provided in the article.

By far our favourite might just be the idea of random acts of kindness. Whether it’s contributing to a charity or offering a few dollars to someone on the street, or even just adding some coins to a parking meter that’s just about to expire, paying it forward can make you feel fantastic. Think of some ways to make someone’s day and just do it. It can catch on!

At Aveda and Willow we want to make things as simple as possible for you, which is why we have some of our favourite and most popular products available in gift packs for the holidays, and we are offering a free blowdry with every $100 gift card purchase! Keep it for yourself for a treat after the holidays, or pay it forward in a random act of kindness kind of way!

And speaking of RAoK, remember that our food drive for Welcome Inn continues. Drop food or cash donations off at the salon and be entered into a draw to win an Aveda gift basket, valued at $250.

There are so many ways to make sure you don’t burn out this December. And we’ll continue to have more tips for you as the month goes on.

Have a lovely week, everyone. Cheers to all of you!

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Willow’s Holiday Event is Back!

Good morning, friends!

We are thrilled to be presenting Aveda’s Friends and Family Event once again!

Happening November 23 and 24 at Willow, stock up for the holidays with 20% off Aveda products! As well, get a voucher for a free blow dry when you purchase a $100 gift card (something for them, something for you!)

This annual event also marks the kick-off of our holiday food drive for Welcome Inn Community Centre so please do consider bringing along some non-perishable food to add to our collection. Every donation gets you entered into a draw to win a beautiful Aveda gift basket, valued at $250.00.

Kick off the holiday season with our Friends and Family event!

Willow has always been proud to be a supporter of community organizations and services like Welcome Inn, and we are looking forward to making this our most successful food drive ever.

We look forward to seeing you all this weekend!

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Winter? Winter-Proof It!

Good morning! And how about that snow, huh? One minute we’re basking in a lovely fall and the next? BLAMMO. Snow on snow on snow on snow.


They say the first snowfall of the season tends to be the worst – maybe that’s just because we’ve forgotten about the white stuff over the past few months – but no matter what the saying is, this was definitely intense.


And, while we can’t technically say that winter is here (officially it arrives in a few weeks!) but it’s definitely safe to say that the wintery season is upon us, and today’s post focuses on a topic that is near and dear to our hearts. And that is, winter-proofing your hair!


The Living Aveda blog has an extremely timely post for those of us here in the northern hemisphere all about saving your hair from the harshness of winter.


Think of Aveda products as snow tires for your hair! Um, okay maybe not exactly, but it’s always a good idea to plan ahead for potential disasters and rough patches, right?


They offer “why didn’t I think of that” kinds of tips like switching up your shampoo and conditioner to one that is more moisturizing. This is key in the cold, dry air of winter. The shampoo and conditioner that got you through spring and summer with flying colours just might not cut it from now until the snow melts. They also recommend using leave-in conditioner on a day-to-day basis now, just for a little extra protection.


You are also encouraged to become familiar with the dry remedy family as we head into static season. The daily moisturizing oil is designed to treat fly-aways and provide moisture to dry hair without weighing it down. It smells amazing too, just what you need in the dark early hours of the morning for a little winter wake-up!


Rely on our Shampure dry shampoo for hat head – a few puffs of that miracle powder can fix your ‘do so that no one will ever know you just took off your hat/hood/hairband!


As a little aside, we found this handy little article that has some fantastic tips for preventing hat head in the first place!


No doubt we’ll be returning to these tips time and again over the course of the next few months. It’s good to have a little assistance when you’re struggling with dryness, static, and all those other fun* winter conditions.


Wishing you a lovely weekend, friends. Please do drive safe, walk safe, stay safe in this early seasonal snow. We’ll be back Tuesday with more info and a pretty exciting announcement. See you then!


*not actually fun

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Find Your Balance

Welcome back to the week, and welcome back to the blog!


We hope you all had a lovely weekend, too. Did it whizz by in a flash? Or did it seem to move at a more leisurely pace? Sometimes it depends on what’s going on – whether it’s in your control or not – and the two days we get can seem like more or less depending on circumstances.


If you’re like a lot of people you might find that your weekend goes at a different pace than you’d maybe like it to if you’re not in charge of how you spend your time. If, for example, there are a lot of demands on your time, or if someone else has arranged how the weekend will progress – even if it’s with something you enjoy – it can seem like there just isn’t enough time to get everything done.


Alternatively, if you are the one in charge of how your weekend will unfold, what the plans are, and how you are going to organize your time, well those weekends can seem long and relaxing. And again, even if they are busy go-go-go weekends, because you’re the one with the plan, you know how (mostly) everything is going to go.


It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? And there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the closer we get to the holiday season, the less time we seem to have. We’re almost in mid-November, and how many times have you been asked (so far) if you’ve started your Christmas shopping? Or if you’ve made plans for the holidays, made plans for New Year’s Eve?!


How do you respond when you hear that? How did you respond when you even read that? If you’re starting to feel that sense of dread any time anyone brings up the holidays, you’re not alone. Even though we know that plans have to be made, organizing has to be done, the very idea of holiday prep can strike, if not fear into our hearts, at the very least a sort of stress that can affect the way we function.

And how do we cope? We’ve talked a bit about self-care in the weeks and days leading up to the holiday season, and we do hope you can find some solace in those tips. And today we want to offer another strategy to add to your growing collection of self-care ideas. This is one we’ve highlighted in the past and one that you can find at your fingertips to provide just what you need in the form of self-care, at any time. Courtesy of Aveda, we would like to present Mr. Chakra once again, just in time for the approaching busy season.


Mr. Chakra is available from the official Aveda Canada site ( or more directly at and can be your guide to regaining balance within your mind and body whenever you need it. We highly recommend bookmarking the site on your mobile device in order to keep it handy!

From, a little bit about chakras and the chakra system:




Using the model of Mr. Chakra – an illustration with each chakra highlighted on the specific area of the body it is located, the site is an interactive way to determine what your body, mind, and soul need, and the accompanying chakra balance that can help.


By clicking on “Take a Sensory Journey,” you will be presented with each chakra, represented as a card. Choose the one that “speaks” to you, or resonates with you right at this moment. There is no wrong answer! You might respond to the colour or the symbol, or to something else entirely. Trust your intuition.


For each chakra, there will be a description, an overview of what it represents, and from there you can download a meditation and a mantra, learn a breathing ritual and discover what foods can best stimulate and vitalize that chakra.


There is a lot to be said for taking this time to get to be more in tune with what your body needs at any given moment. And if you can stop for a few minutes and reap the benefits of this practice, you’re likely to be more productive and better be able to deal with any stressors that come your way.

So try it out! Choose a chakra card via Mr. Chakra and see what speaks to you today. Try out a meditation (easily downloaded to your phone or tablet) and see if that’s something you’d like to incorporate into your day to day routine.


You can also visit Willow to check out the chakra balancing body sprays that are available from Aveda. These are formulated for each of the chakras and their aromas can help you regain that balance you need.

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Fashion and Beauty Inspiration From a Familiar Face!

Good morning and happy Friday morning to you!

On Tuesday we promised something special for today, and we always make good on our promises, so let’s get straight to it.

Some of our favourite things to post here on the blog are videos. Whether they’re DIY makeup or hair tutorials, skincare regimens, or new featured products from Aveda, we absolutely LOVE an instructional!

Most of the time we are looking to strangers for our videos – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but wouldn’t it be great to get a little instruction and inspiration from someone you know? Maybe someone like oh…say…our very own Alanah?!?

Yes! Willow team member Alanah is our featured vlogger and Instagram star today, and we can guarantee you are going to love her online presence just as much as you love her in real life. Which is probably a lot, because she’s so great!

Alanah’s YouTube channel is Alanah Lorraine and features pretty much what it says in the tagline: Fashion Lifestyle Beauty. Join her as she takes you through everything from her morning routine through to her shopping hauls (Forever 21 is a true favourite!) to makeup routines and hairstyling, and, really, everything in between.

Alanah’s energy is just as contagious onscreen as it is in person, and her videos are fun and full of her genuine, positive, and giving spirit. We asked Alanah what her favourite part of being a vlogger is and this is what she told us:

“My favourite part about the vlog/insta world is that I am constantly thinking of new ideas and using these socials as a creative outlet to express myself. I really love how the whole thing makes me feel. Taking photos and creating videos is not only fun and exciting, but it has given me so much to be proud of. I also love creating content that I can share and look back on down the road from now.”

There is definitely an art to creating online content that captures the attention of the viewer, and Alanah has done a fantastic job in perfecting this art.

Inspiration is a two-way street, and while Alanah is inspiring her own viewers with each new video and Instagram post, she also looks to others for inspiration of her own. Favourites for fashion are Tess Christine and Allegra Shaw, and for beauty recommendations and ideas it’s Lauren Elizabeth.

We are so delighted to be able to feature Alanah here on the blog and we encourage you to subscribe to her YouTube channel and follow her on Instagram (@alanahlorraine) for fun and informative fashion, beauty and more.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend! Kick it off in the best way possible with one of Alanah’s latest videos, Try On Clothing Haul. You’re going to want to go shopping after this one!

See you back here Tuesday, friends.

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Evergreen: New Life for an Old(ish) Post

Good morning and Happy Tuesday! It’s the first Tuesday of November, and that is a significant day for our neighbours – or should I say neighbors – to the south. Yes, today, after many, many, MANY months of campaigning, it’s midterm election day in the US of A. So it’s fitting that today we are going to revisit a post that features mindfulness and meditation apps, to combat stress.

This post came about in the summer of 2017, and yes, we do address the fact that summer tends to be less stressful than some of the other seasons, but honestly stresses don’t discriminate, just because it’s sunny out, do they? Nope, not at all. We do tend to associate stress with the upcoming holiday season, given that during the late fall and winter months, we tend to try and pack a lot of events in – whether we want to or not – and that alone can cause stress. Add financial worries to that (the holidays can tend to be a bit on the expensive side) health worries (hello, flu season) and other holiday issues (ah, those relatives) and you’ve got a real recipe for stress and tension.

And we did promise we would up our self-care information for you as we move toward the festive season, so today we present once again our post entitled Got Stress? Help for Reducing Stress and Taking Charge of Your Brain.

And since we write that post, there have been other fantastic apps developed that we can add to the list. Healthline lists some great ones that cover meditation, mindfulness and more for everyone – including kids! Smiling Mind is an app that can be tailored to all ages, and how great would it be to get started on the mindfulness path as a youngster?

This way to calm!

So whether you’re looking to start a full-on daily meditation practice, or you just want a lifeline in a pinch, check out some of these apps and sites to help you find your calm and your peace when things start to get hectic this holiday season.

We can’t stress enough the importance of taking care of YOU. It’s like they say in the flight attendant spiel prior to takeoff. If the oxygen masks are released, take the time to put yours on first before assisting those around you. It’s the perfect metaphor for self-care, honestly. If you’re not breathing, you can’t help others breathe. Think of it that way and it makes a lot of sense outside of the airplane too!

Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a wonderful week, let’s all hope for a positive outcome in the US elections tomorrow, and we’ll see you back here on Friday for a very special post featuring one of our very own Willow team members. You won’t want to miss this, friends, we’re excited!


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Read Our Lips: We Need Colour

Well. November has arrived with a soggy, soggy bang, hasn’t it? Hoo boy, that RAIN. Ok, we won’t go all Guns ‘n’ Roses on you, BUT you can really start to feel the move from fall into the next season (don’t worry, we won’t name it just yet) even while the temperatures stay relatively mild. We’re not frozen yet, but the dark, damp, dull days of November are most definitely upon us. Add to that the fact that we are setting the clocks back an hour this weekend, meaning it’s going to get dark a whole hour earlier, and that’s a recipe for the November doldrums. And of course it’s still a little early to be busting out the holiday decorations and festive cheer, so what do you do when you need a little pick me up?


Two words: Lipstick. Shopping.


November is grey, we can all agree on that, and what better way to add some colour than to find a new lippy to add to your repertoire!


We featured Aveda’s newest lipstick line Feed My Lips back in the spring/summer, and it’s worth revisiting now, especially with the added help of Global Artistic Director for Makeup Janell Gleason, breaking down the colours that are best for all skin tones!

The Living Aveda blog has all the details and you can read through her suggestions then head to Willow to test them out IRL.


Janell gives us the straight goods on determining your skin’s undertones (warm or cool) and how to figure that out. Then she talks trends, what’s hot for fall, and how perhaps the lipstick or gloss you wore all summer long just might not make the cut for fall.


It’s a great article with a lot of great information and it honestly couldn’t come at a better time. We need colour this time of year and lots of it! So whether you’re looking for something dramatic or something a bit more neutral, you’ll be able to find it in the Feed My Lips line, guaranteed.


Wishing you a lovely weekend, friends. Make time for the things you love when you can, and take time for yourself. The holidays are coming, and if we can get in the habit of me-time before they hit us with full force, the more likely we are to keep that momentum going. Let’s run with that.


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Moments of Care, Moments of Self-Care

As we wind down October and dive headfirst into the holiday season we want to take a few minutes to talk about self-care.


For a lot of us in the world, this has been a trying year. There are always things that go wrong in the world, but this past year, 2018, has seemed to really want to test us. Our patience, our health, our everything.


We normally do a little bit on self-care leading up to the holidays because it’s easy to forget about yourself when you’re taking care of meal planning, gift buying and giving, hosting and hostessing, etc. For this year, given the circumstances, we’re starting our care plan early.

And, with a quick look around the internet, and especially on, it would appear that we are not alone in our feeling the need to emphasize self-care and the importance of looking after not just your physical health, but your mental and emotional health too.


So, over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring some great ways to take the time you need – whatever that looks like for you – to make sure you’re greeting the holiday season in the best possible way.


And, while these ideas and tips are designed to help with your day-to-day wellness, if you find that you are feeling extra-overwhelmed at any point – to  the extent that a nice cup of tea or home facial doesn’t really do the trick – we encourage you to look to a professional for their assistance and guidance. The world itself can feel overwhelming at times, and once you add the stresses of the holidays into the mix…well, as humans, we take on a lot. So be kind to yourself, friends. It’s so, so important.


Aveda helps us kick off the self-care season with their Moment of Care series, and there are some really great choices here. Today we want to highlight a couple that are easy to do but that can have big results for us.


First up is the Beautifying Moment of Care, and at-home scalp massage, featuring Aveda’s Beautifying Body Composition oil. Follow along on the website for a step-by-step guide to a soothing massage, and take a few minutes to focus only on the uplifting aroma that can help promote relaxation.


Follow that with a Comforting Tea Moment of Care, as a way to end a stressful day. Brewing tea can be an act of mindfulness and focus, as you take the time to concentrate only on what you’re doing. Take that to the next level with Aveda’s guide to enjoying that cup of tea mindfully too with these steps from the website:


  1. Hold the cup between your palms, close your eyes and take a deep breath of the peppermint and licorice root aroma.
  2. Pay attention to the warmth between your palms.
  3. Enjoy five minutes of silent “me” time while sipping your tea.


These are just two small acts of self-care that can make a big difference in the way we feel as we gear up for the holiday season. Start now for optimal effect! If you can squeeze one or two into your day now, that will become your new normal, and you’ll already be a pro when things get extra busy.


We’ll follow these up with others in the coming weeks to make sure we’ve got you covered. For now, take deep breaths, relax, and enjoy the week. We’ll see you back here on Friday, friends.  


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