Last month I had the pleasure of attending my first Farm-to-Plate Longtable Dinner; which took place at Central Park Farms in Langley. I had no idea what to expect when pulling up their gravel driveway… but my goodness was I ever in aw.
Upon arrival we were greeted and given a spiked lemon-aid to sip on by Kendall Ballantine, who along with her partner, own and run Central Park Farms. Ballantine opened up and shared a little about how she got into farming and why she decided to specialize in non-GMO fed pasture raised animals. “Ultimately it came down to making sure the animals were raised in a positive environment”.
The evening consisted of a tour of the grounds, backyard games, and of course indulging in a family-style meal prepared by Chef Adrian Beaty. The menu consisted of pork and herb biscuits, fresh farm salad, BC Buzz Honey-glazed chicken, and one killer lard-crusted fruit pies with candied bacon ice cream. Yes, I said bacon ice cream!
All in all the evening was fantastic. I was able to reconnect with other bloggers I have met along my professional career and meet others whom I have admired for some time. If every week consisted of evenings like this one – I’d be one happy camper.
Other amazing people and vendors involved that evening:
I first stumbled upon AMK Design Shop when I was perusing around Instagram late one night and her Baby Book Journals immediately caught my attention. Next thing you know I am looking through all her book designs and wishing I could have them all!
What I love about AMK’s keepsake books is how simple and classic they are. I was never fond of the multi-coloured baby books you’d find at Chapters, and nothing seemed to suit my needs and wants. The black and white layout is clean, clear, and extremely gender neutral (having a son – I loved that it wasn’t too girly). Plus her prices are extremely affordable. All the baby books I seemed to be looking at were retailing upwards of $60-$80. No offense, that seems a little absurd to me.
Just recently I had the pleasure of connecting with Alexandra over social media and got to know a little more about her and her business.
Q: Tell me a little bit more about you, your background, etc.
My name is Alex and I live in Chilliwack, BC, Canada with my husband and my two children. We farm our own Dairy and I am a Registered Nurse by trade. I work in the community and really enjoy what I do! I love being at home with my kids and my Etsy shop just sort of started up organically when I realized I wanted to share my books with the world and provide others with an affordable simple modern book to document their child’s lives, just as I want to do with mine. I enjoy doing yoga, hiking, drinking and trying new teas and drawing of course! I have always had a passion for art but had never pursued it until now.
Q: What gave you the idea to create these keepsake books?
After having my first baby I enjoyed taking the time to document her life in an online book I had created when she was born. Two years later when my next baby came, I was looking back through the album I had created for her and realized how many milestones I missed documenting along the way, thank mommy brain for that one. Anyways I decided when my second was born that I wanted to create a book that had everything in it that I ever wanted in a baby book and to be designed with a bohemian vibe. I also wanted to create a book that was fun to document in, simple, quick and easy. Ultimately, I wanted a book that didn’t miss a step and prompted me on what to document, I mean I can only remember so much! And so ta-da! My Baby Book was born. From there I created the Pregnancy Journal and then the other three books to follow. Drawing and designing is relaxing for me so I worked on the books in the evening when the kids went to bed and months later I ended up with these five books!
Q: I love the simple and modern design of your books, did you design all 5 yourself?
Yes, I did design all the books myself, from the layout to the graphics. I had many rough drafts before I came to the final product. I feel like the books reflect our lifestyle and are modern as well. Even though I love the designs, I guess I was a bit nervous when I released the books as an artist, I wasn’t sure what sort of feedback I would get on the designs and graphics I created.
Q: What made you choose these specific 5 (baby book, pregnancy journal, etc.)?
Having kids of my own now that are growing up rather quick these days. I created five books that allow me to document their lives from conception until they graduate. The Pregnancy journal is from conception until birth. The Baby Book is from birth until five years old. The First Year Book is up until the first year. Followed by the Birthday Book for all birthdays documented from birth until their 18th. Then finally the School Years Book, which is all your school years from preschool until Grade 12 graduation.
It wasn’t until a little while ago when I was creating albums online for my husband and I of our childhood pictures that I realized all my school pictures had no years attached to many of them, which is why I created the school years book, so you can paste your child’s picture and ask them a few questions every year and see how they change and grow. I created the birthday book because I enjoy planning my children’s birthdays and I wanted a way to document what theme their birthday was, who came, gifts they got and what was on there cake etc.!
Q: What is the message you want to give your customers when they are using your books? Ultimately, I want the families that purchase my books to enjoy documenting in them together, decorating them and then opening them up years down the road and sharing all the memories they had growing up that were documented through writing and pictures in my books. I want the children who receive these books down the road to cherish them and the memories that were made over the years and documented in a place they can always look back at and makes them feel at home.
Seeing this immediately triggered my interest on how I could support an initiative that had to do with mental health. I was fortunate enough to get in-touch with one of the founders: Cassie Micona, who gave me a bit more information and background behind CQG’s.
“We are a group of 6 students all in our practicum, completing our Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Marketing Management at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Our practicum includes an 8-week sales competition where groups battle to sell the most products and have the strongest margins.” Currently the sales period runs from January 25 to March 22nd. The products are created in Richmond, BC in small batches to ensure precise measurements and craftsmanship.
Cassie and her fellow colleagues and business partners decided to donate partial proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association because all group members have been effected by mental health in some way shape or forum. Thus igniting a passion in creating a product that can not only help balance your mental health, but also raise awareness and get people talking about it.
They are currently producing twice a week at large quantities in order to keep up with demands. By doing so they have learned from experience that they were wanting to produce a high-quality product at the lowest cost possible.
Their ingredients have been sourced from local suppliers and are of the highest quality, including therapy-grade do-Terra Essential Oils. The products are simple and only contain ingredients that are necessary (they do not contain sodium laureate sulfate which is commonly found in many cosmetic and personal hygiene products as a foaming agent.)
The overall mission and purpose for this dynamic 6 was to create a product that helps balance stress. Understanding that life gets busy, hectic and stressful and sometimes you need to take a moment to yourself.
I was extremely grateful Cassie dropped off a bath bomb for me to try (Uplift) which is infused with Wild Orange Essential Oil. This specific oil contains anti antioxidants, making it perfect to re-energize and uplift the mind and body while also purifying the air – which indeed it did. The fresh, sweet aroma will definitely lift your mood and help you forget about the stresses of the day while you enjoy your moment of clarity (or until your toddler comes barging into the bathroom).
Cassie: “I think as students and young adults everyone goes through a time of darkness and helplessness. We wanted to create a product that not only helps with relaxation, but something that shines a light on mental health and gets people talking. As someone who is diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, there is nothing more comforting to me than to be surrounded by people who understand, without judgement, what I am going through.
Taylor: “I believe that no matter who you are, or what you have experienced in life, there are times that take a toll on your mental health and well being. At the age of 12, I had already experienced more trauma than a child should, and I had to learn early on that taking time for myself would be one of the most important things I do to make sure I stay mentally healthy, despite what goes on day to day.
Our products allow for me to take a break, just relax and rest and recharge my mind and body, and I believe they will do that for you too. The stigma surrounding mental health needs to end – reach out, talk to someone. It gets better. I promise.”
*There is less then a week left to place orders until the contest is closed.*
If you’re interested in purchasing a product, want to know how you can become involved or have questions please feel free to reach out.
Come join Luxurious Bath & Relaxation Inc. as well as some other local vendors on Sunday, March 19th from 2 pm – 6 pm for the launch of LB&R’s new line of natural and vegan skin care products, bath essentials, and candles. There will also be a photographer, plenty of desserts, a florist, gorgeous decor, calligraphy, and many other indulgences to keep you going all afternoon long.
Luxurious Bath & Relaxation Inc. is a local company based out of Surrey, BC, owned and operated by a mother-daughter duo. Both Harleen and her mother pride themselves on creating products that are made from natural and vegan ingredients, but also have a luxurious feel. (*all products are baby/kid friendly as well)
If it wasn’t for Harleen making these products for herself and therefore personally seeing the benefits of using natural based ingredients (where she knew of every single things going in and onto her body) LB&R would not have been born. Living a very busy lifestyle, as most do in Vancouver, she wanted to share these benefits with others. With a lot of research done via Facebook to see what her demographic would be interested in, she soon realized that other’s wanted the same things, they just didn’t have the time to do the research and would overlook the types of products they use daily (thinking it didn’t matter in the long run). Jump start to today – here you have Luxurious Bath & Relaxation Inc.
Their mission is simple: for their clients to feel pampered, and completely spoiled, every time they use the products!
It’s extremely common that people don’t make it a priority to care for themselves and turn to other methods of convenience – simply because it’s easy and available. A busy lifestyle is no excuse to forget our number one priority: making sure we take care of ourselves. This is why Harleen wanted to create and introduce products that were all natural, GMO free, and sustainable. It was vital for her to create products that were going to educate customers about the importance and value of using goods that are natural based.
In addition to being natural and vegan, LB&R’s products also have great therapeutic value; they create a variety of products and combination of scents to meet customers needs. Products range from those which will make you feel rejuvenated and help you wake up first thing in the morning, to products that will help you fight a cold, soothe skin irritation, or just simply help you sleep at night. The skin is the largest organ, but is one we often overlook. At Luxurious Bath & Relaxation Inc., they work with clients to meet their needs and make luxurious skin a priority.
Other vendors who will be at the launch:
– Kristen Day of Kristen Day Event Co.
– Rin Lee: RintzyLee Designs
– Little Sprout Creations: Jen So
– Sonia Hundal: Creations by Sonia
– Cakes by Peddie
– Ana Tochor of Pepperoni Café
– Isabelle Sarmiento of This is IT Studios
… and many more
Location: Clubhouse at 8383 159 St, Surrey Time: Sunday, March 19th from 2 pm – 6 pm
I had the pleasure of meeting Harleen the other weekend, and she was so gracious to drop off a few product samples for me to try. Below you’ll find a description on each item and a brief review of how I used and liked them. (All opinions expressed are my own).
Lavender Body Soap Bar: which is infused and made with organic dried lavender flowers.
This Bar smelt amazing – and I loved that it made my skin feeling so soft after using it, plus Lavender is great for the skin – I was even comfortable using it on my son during bath time.
Rose Votive Candle: 100% Soy Based Candle
This was great to have lit during my bath – I was able to relax (for a bit before dealing with my teething son) and the aroma was so nice and soothing. Not overpowering like some can be.
Renew Bath Soak: coconut and oat infused
I was told to add 3 Tbsp. to my son’s bath or 1/4 cup into my full bath – which is what I ended up doing. I even was recommended to use it as a face and body scrub – so why not?! It felt nice on my skin, I didn’t try it on my face though. I have extremely sensitive skin and I didn’t want to risk it. I am sure it would be fine, but I was satisfied with how I felt after my bath.
Citrus Bath Bomb: infused with lemongrass, lemon, and sweet orange essential oils and dried organic orange peel.
This one you simply just drop (whole) into a full bath. It also can act as a shower bomb to infuse your shower with the citrus scent. I haven’t be able to use this yet – but believe me I can’t wait!