We were talking about blogging and came to the realization that with all the party planning we've been doing for our 20th anniversary our blog has been somewhat of an afterthought...whoops. So, we've decided to add a few monthly features that will remain consistent. The first being "Our Favorite Things"! Every month we will choose a handful of things (places, products, supplements etc) and share them with you, why we love them and why they deserve your time of day! Without further ado, here is our first edition:

#1 - Nutracleanse

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Nutracleanse is a Canadian product made in Mission, BC. It is a gluten free 100% natural food product based on a Finnish recipe. It is made up of ground flax seed, psyllium husks, dandelion root powder, burdock root powder and fenugreek seed powder. All the ingredients are sourced from organic suppliers and there is absolutely no fillers!

Why we love it: Nutracleanse is extremely high in soluble fiber which slows down digestion and has a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity which can help prevent and control diabetes. Soluble fiber can also interfere with the absorption of LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and make you feel fuller, longer aiding in weight maintenance and weight loss. If you were to take a serving of 1/3 cup daily you would be getting about half of your recommended daily fiber intake which most people have trouble with. Bonus that it makes you poop! We've had so many clients with chronic constipation, IBS and diarrhea and it's been a major relief for each condition. We recommend starting with 2 tbsp and working your way up as adding fiber too quickly can cause some gastrointestinal discomfort. It is also a source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, has ingredients that support liver function, elimination of excess fluid, blood purifying agents as well as an ingredient to help release mucous from the intestinal wall. The product is extremely versatile and we have clients who bake with it, drink it straight with some juice, add it to their morning oats, mix it in smoothies...the possibilities are endless! We like to say we're batting a thousand with this one, everyone who gets a sample comes back to buy it!

#2 - River City Herbals Calendula Ointment

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River City Herbals is a local Manitoba company that has stormed the market with an unparallelled product that helps everything from eczema to insect bites and IT REALLY WORKS! We are referring to their calendula ointment. Calendula improves neovascularization in tissue, or the growth of new tiny capillaries, which improves blood circulation and helps skin wounds heal. It increases the speed of tissue repair for open wounds as well as for tissue injuries.

Why we love it: The Calendula ointment has only 3 ingredients, calendula, olive oil and beeswax...what!?! Trying to find an everyday product for the body that has multiple uses and has minimal ingredients that we can pronounce is like searching for a four leaf clover (you've heard about them but, never actually found one). We recommend it for all types of rashes, contact dermatitis, eczema, allergy rashes, fungal infections of the nails, sunburns and relief of insect bites. Sarah uses it on her son's hands and legs as he spends many hours in a chlorinated pool and develops dry scaly skin. With a thin coating of the calendula overnight it is all healed up the next morning! Obscure uses we've found for it are as a cuticle oil, as a tattoo ointment which promotes healing of new ink and preserves pigment. There is very little scent to it but, tends to go on a bit greasy until it absorbs fully so if you are using it on your face, do it at night.

#3 - YOMM Hibiscus Tea

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Another local company Yomm Beverages which is based in Winnipeg, MB using high quality hibiscus flowers grown at the YOMM Corporate Concept Operations centre and farm in Nigeria. While most of us are familiar with tea mostly the green and black varieties, tea from the hibiscus flower has it's own special benefits. Hibiscus tea contains fruit acids, amino acids, vitamins and bioflavonoids which are beneficial to good health. The tea is effective when consumed both hot and cold which makes it great for all seasons! Hibiscus tea is rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants and minerals. It can also be beneficial in ridding the respiratory tract of bacteria that may lead to infection.

Why we love it: We love the company just as much as the product! Yomm Beverages helps farmers in Africa to develop new technologies and approaches to improve farming practices and increase the commercialization of the crops they grow, thus providing these farmers with an opportunity to generate more income. Not only are they contributing to the local economy but, to their heritage communities as well. Wanda drinks this tea each and every day because of it's unique benefits such as the capability to lower systolic blood pressure, the ability to rid the respiratory tract of bacteria that may lead to infection and for it's pure sweet and rich flavor! We also love that it blocks an enzyme that breaks down starch to sugar which means less sugar is absorbed into the body...weight loss anyone? It's also rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants and minerals and you can drink it hold or cold, it really doesn't need any sweetener as the flavor is amazing on it's own. Because it's summer you can also make tons of fun cold patio drinks and cocktails! In fact they have some recipes on their site. You could even add alcohol for a real party but, we didn't say that.

#4 - Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

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Really we can't say enough about Eminence products in general. These products are made in Hungary with some USDA products being made in the United States made with fresh fruit pulps, plants and exotic spices from organic environments making them incredibly nutrient rich and not only the healthiest choice for you, but also the most effective, results oriented collection around. Eminence takes a natural holistic approach to skin care and their products are bar none the best we've ever tried (and we've tried pretty much everything). Bonus that they use Biodynamic® farming, solar power, recyclable packaging, wind energy, geothermal heating and pretty much every other sustainable source of energy, fuel and power available to them. Plus, you can get them locally in Winnipeg at City Looks Salon & Spa, we love them too!

Why we love it: The Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant is one of their most fantastic products. Both of us use it religiously and love the way it makes our skin baby smooth instantly. The salicylic acid from strawberries shrinks pores and brightens skin. Rhubarb is packed with ascorbic acid which helps collagen production and fights the look of wrinkles. The powerhouse ingredient here is lactic acid which helps improve the overall texture of your skin and it's full of other skintastic ingredients like chickpea flour, rice, co-enzyme Q10, ALA, oats and thermal mud. Not only good for your face you can use it on any rough or bumpy areas like the back of the arms or to nourish the very sensitive decolletage area. We would never go without it and a little goes a long way! A bottle will last you months, even used daily. Plus you can feel good about not slathering a toxic storm of chemicals all over your skin which just makes you feel more beautiful inside and out!

#5 - Jane Iredale Dream Tint Tinted Moisturizer

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If you're looking for a natural make-up line, look no further! Sarah has been delving into the world of everything makeup after being a notorious "fake-baker" for 7 years and totally destroying her skin (there's a lot to cover up and it's a work in progress). Sarah also suffered from daily breakouts of scarring cystic acne before transitioning her diet so let's say she is the best possible test subject for good quality makeup. Trying everything on the market she settled on a very popular department store makeup brand that gave okay coverage and color but, after a skin consultation learned that all that goop was being absorbed and compounding the multiple skin problems she already had. Have you read the ingredients on conventional makeup yuck! She was introduced to the Jane Iredale line and has never looked back!

Why we love it: The dream tint moisturizer in particular is a great product to have in your makeup arsenal. It is super hydrating for saggy looking, dehydrated skin and creates a soft-focus effect that minimizes the look of large pores and fine lines. It is a very soft look so you wouldn't use this on it's own for going out but, add your favorite finisher on top but, could be used alone if you just want a fresh, glowing skin look without lots of coverage. The peach brightener is Sarah's favorite because it hides darker patches left from scarring and really lifts the complexion. It's also rated SPF 15, Vegan, gluten free and certified cruelty free.

We hope you test out and love these products as much as we do! They certainly deserve your attention.