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My Saskatoon Blog

The End of Shampoo?

posted by Elle    |   June 26, 2014 14:39

I recently became fixated on finding a substitute for shampoo. I'm sure you've heard the buzz about the "no poo" method, but if you've missed this trending topic, I'll give you the gist. Your scalp naturally produces oils that are intended to keep your hair healthy. Frequent washing, especially with shampoo containing chemicals, strips away those oils and harms your scalp and hair. The result is overproduction of oil, and as we are all familiar with, the oil builds up. This happens because our scalp over-produces oil when our hair is dry- dried out by shampoo! Its a vicious cycle that is hard to break, but trust me, its worth it! When I first heard about this, I was very interested in saving my hair, while also saving money spent on expensive shampoos and conditioners. 

There are several different "no poo" methods, to use when transitioning away from typical shampoos and conditioners. The most popular is a combination of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. When I used this method, I would add a little bit of water to baking soda to form a paste, massage this into my scalp and hair, and rinse. I would soak the ends of my hair for a few minutes in a tall glass of water with 2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar, followed by pouring the glass over my entire head. I'd then rinse my hair and dry it. You might think that the potency of apple cider vinegar would leave a strong smell in your locks, but I found that once it dried, the scent dissipated. While this method did seem to clean my hair pretty well, it would often start to look a bit greasy toward the end of the day. I assumed this was just my hair and scalp transitioning to the change. Its something I figured I just had to push through with.

In the midst of my "push through" phase, I happened upon Uncle Mike's All Natural Products at the Saskatoon Farmer's Market. I mentioned my quest for a natural shampoo product that works, and Mike showed me his shampoo bar. The bar is pH balanced, with apple cider vinegar (I must have been on to something) which he said seals the follicle and rinses clean. Mike told me that the shampoo bar is moisturizing as well, so I wouldn't require a conditioner. Great news! I'm all about simplicity. I purchased a bar, as well as a few bars of soap and a body butter, which are all fantastic. I would definitely repurchase the body products. 

 

As for the shampoo, well, I absolutely love it! It did take a few washes for my hair to get used it- I had the slightly greasy end-of-day look for a few more days. But after a few washes with Uncle Mike's shampoo bar, my hair experienced a breakthrough. It now dries soft and clean, is easier to comb through when wet, and I can make it through the whole day with it looking great! Its a lot easier to use than the baking soda/apple cider vinegar combo, as there's no pouring or mixing required, and it smells much better. I now really enjoy the simplicity of just rubbing the bar of soap on my head (that was something to get used to at first), and it lathers nicely so you can distribute it throughout your hair. Trust me, it is MUCH nicer to use the shampoo bar than to rub the gritty baking soda paste on my head, and the results are much better. Because it comes in bar form, there is minimal packaging required, so the environmental impact is much lower than with buying plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles. But what I like most about this product is that it is locally made right here in Saskatoon! 

You can find Uncle Mike's All Natural Products at Green Ark Collected Home, The Better Good, and of course, the Saskatoon Farmers' Market! Visit Uncle Mike's online, for a more extensive list of local retailers, to read his story, and to check out his many other great products.

The Streets of Saskatoon Get Yummier

posted by Elle    |   June 25, 2014 15:58

Now that the rainy season seems to have passed and Jazz Fest is underway, its finally starting to feel like summer in Saskatoon! Dining al fresco is one of my favourite things about summer, and the nice variety of food trucks we are seeing pop up in the city makes this extra convenient. With popular set-up spots being Downtown and on Broadway, picking up a burrito, burger, or other tasty treat and enjoying it by the river or in a nearby park is my idea of summer perfection. 

As this is just the second summer of the food truck policy being passed, we are now starting to accumulate some great curb side options here in Saskatoon! Favourites that have returned this year are Snak, Disco Dogs, and Pineapple Express. Joining these "old staples" on our city streets this season, as I'm sure you've noticed or heard about, are:

 Scout Mex Hall & Food Truck

A nice variety of giant, amazing, fresh tasting burritos! The beef is delish. And the cookies...

Keep up with Scout on Facebook and Instagram for location updates!

 


Ace Burger 

This is one that I haven't tried yet, but dang! They look so good. Ace is brought to you by the folks at Congress Beer House. Follow Ace Burger on Facebook and Instagram for updates on their current location!

  

Thrive Juice Truck 

On-the-go nutrition is also something that is much sought after in Saskatoon, and the new Thrive Juice Co. truck is a great way to make that happen. These nutrient-packed, delicious fruit and veggie juices are a great way to beat the heat and up your vegetable intake. Their new raw lattes are also fantastic! Stay tuned to Thrive on Facebook and Instagram for the daily location of the juice truck!

I am liking the way this industry is ramping itself up in Saskatoon, and can't wait to see what else is in store for the summer food scene in our city! 

10 Things You Can Do as a Labour Support Partner

posted by Noël    |   June 23, 2014 11:47

As I am fast approaching my due date, the more specific details of the upcoming labour and delivery are at the forefront of my mind. Of course I've been doing a lot of research, as this is my first go around with pregnancy and childbirth. Even as a newbie, I know that having a well informed and prepared labour support partner is a hugely important asset to easing the stress involved with such a pivotal moment in the motherhood experience. Whoever the labour support partner may be, there a several things this person can do to ease the pain and make the events leading up to delivery run smoothly. Here are 10 practical things that you, as a support partner, can do prior to and during labour and delivery! 

1. Clean your vehicle and ensure it has gas in it. One of my favourite local car washes is Good Morning Car Wash

2. Install the infant car seat and have it checked out at the nearest car seat clinic.

3. Download a contraction counter app on your phone, so that you are ready with the important information that the doctor will need upon your arrival to the hospital.

4. Make a "call and text" list of family and friends, identifying which ones you will notify during the different stages of the labour and delivery.

5. Attend prenatal classes with the mom-to-be.

6. Make arrangements for existing children and pets. 

7. Ensure that the fridge is full with her favourite snacks while she labours at home.

8. Continue to experiment with the different pain relieving positions discussed during prenatal classes.

9. Be informed and in agreement with the birth plan so that you can be a strong advocate for her.

10. Make sure that the overnight bags are packed and are in the vehicle prior to leaving for the hospital. 

Remember that you are an important part of her birth experience, so be flexible and dependable!

Mothers in Saskatoon: do you have any additional suggestions for things that a labour support partner should be prepared for? I'd love to hear about your experience!

Choosing a Tree for Your Front Yard

posted by David    |   June 20, 2014 09:46

Saskatoon is experiencing a time of unprecedented growth. It is estimated that around 300 new homes will be built every month this summer. My wife and I were recently in the market for one of these new homes, and it became apparent quite early that if we didn't make a quick decision, someone else would take the house we had our eye on. So, we did our research and made an offer on the spot, the first time we walked into the home we currently own. Getting that house with the features you want, in the area you like, can wind up being a rushed decision in the competitive Saskatoon real estate market.

Once the deal is sealed, though, its time to make that new property of yours the best it can be with some landscaping (particularly if you have purchased a home in an undeveloped area like my wife and I did). The decision-making pressure should be lighter when you get to the point of choosing landscaping options for your new yard, but because our warm season is obviously so short in Saskatoon, its best to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. 

The type of tree you plant in your front yard is a huge decision that is often underestimated, and should not be taken lightly as this choice can affect your home's value in the long term. If you're planning to stay in your home for many years to come, you'll want to be happy with your decision down the road. Once the tree you have chosen reaches maturity in your yard, it could take a massive project to rid yourself of it. So, its best to do your research prior to deciding on the type of tree you're going to plant. 

When making a decision on a tree, there are five things that should be considered:

Hardiness

Can the tree survive the Saskatoon winter?

Buying local is the best way to avoid a tree that will die due to harsh weather. Saskatoon nurseries would go out of business if they sold trees that didn't match their environment. This is great first step, because it narrows the choices significantly. There's no point in finding a tree you love if it can't survive in your yard.

Space

How much room do you have to work with? Will the tree block the sun?

The next logical step is eliminating very large trees from the list. If sunlight is important to you, choose a tree that will not completely shade your house. 

Root Systems

Will the tree's roots create plumbing or foundation problems in the future?

In the house I grew up in, I constantly had a tree root pushing up the floor of my bedroom. It was expensive to fix, and we had to do it more than once. Tree roots are also known to destroy underground plumbing and cause cracks in driveways. Best to ere on the side of caution and choose a tree with non-invasive roots.

Growing Habits

Does the tree shed? How much maintenance is required?

Is the tree susceptible to infestations of aphids (tiny, pear shape insects that suck plant sap)? How much maintenance will be required to keep the tree healthy and to clean up after it? How much work are you willing to do to have this tree in your yard? These are all good questions to ask. 

Visually Pleasing

Will the tree look nice in your yard?

Finally, do you like the way the tree looks? The tree may pass all the other requirements, but if you don't love it, its best to look elsewhere. Choose a tree that will add to the beauty of your yard, as you'll be looking at it every day for many years to come. 

My front yard is quite small, so that was definitely something I had to consider when doing my research. Through exploring the types of trees that are suitable for small yards, one tree in particular continually topped the list. This tree boasts amazing fall colours that range from orange, scarlet and burgundy, and in summer is a pretty red colour. It is fairly low maintenance. It will grow to a height of only 20 feet, and will spread 20 feet in width, making it a great choice as a mature tree for a small area. This tree, available at Dutch Growers in many different varieties, is the Amur Maple. In my mind, it is the clear winner for "Best Tree for a Small Front Yard" in Saskatoon. 

Pink Cadillacs' Danny Zuko Burger

posted by Noël    |   June 18, 2014 09:04

If you haven't been to the new local diner in Willowgrove, you should get yourself over there, pronto! Nestled in the Willowgrove Community Square you will find Pink Cadillacs, my new favourite place to get a "homemade" burger and an authentic malt.  The atmosphere is truly nostalgic, from the jukebox, the decor and benches, to the outfits the servers wear, this diner made me feel like I was in one of the diner scenes from Grease.   

After perusing the menu I couldn't help myself from ordering the Danny Zuko burger, and I must say it truly was mouth watering. The burger options are endless, and let's not forget about the unique dog options on the menu. 

The menu isn't the only unique feature at Pink Cadillacs.  This diner turns into a lounge on Friday and Saturday nights with 50's and 60's inspired drinks, music, and dance moves! Honestly, for all of us who love the 50's and 60's this place should definitely be on your "must experience" list when deciding to eat local in YXE this summer. 

Now I couldn't just end this post without throwing in the Intro song from Grease! For all of my fellow Grease fans, enjoy!! 

Inspiration for Documenting Baby's First Year

posted by Noël    |   June 16, 2014 13:38

It's hard to believe that in three short weeks I will have completed 9 months of being pregnant! It truly is unbelievable how quickly the time goes by and how much your body can change is such a short period of time. I've been taking selfies every other month, but haven't been as diligent as some ladies I know.  It's too bad really, but the thought of documenting my ever-expanding body wasn't super high on my priority list.  With that being said, I do want to make it a priority to document the first year of my little one's life.  After browsing for hours on Pinterest, here are a few of my favourite "baby's first year" photo collages.  They are in no particular order, but my favourites are the ones with mommy and baby. 

Mommy & Baby  

 

Personal Message & Image

 

For the Artist

 

Favourite Stuffed Animal

 

The Ultimate Combination

I can't wait to get creative with documenting my little one's first year! I think there are endless opportunities to make a project like this personal and unique to you and your baby. If you've seen or done a unique photo collage, share it with me in the comments :)

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Shop Local

Satisfying the Curry Cravings at Meg's Restaurant

posted by Noël    |   June 12, 2014 09:23

Meg's Restaurant, a quaint spot on 3rd Avenue in Saskatoon, was voted Best Late Night Snack Shop in Planet S Best of Food & Drink 2014. I'd like to propose that it is also one of the best authentic East Indian restaurants in Saskatoon.  

About three months ago my brother-in-law boasted wildly about Meg's Restaurant, claiming it was a "must try" restaurant in Saskatoon, especially if I was craving a good dish of butter chicken or dal masala.  I fell in love with Indian food while I was backpacking overseas after finishing university here in Saskatoon. Growing up I was a typical prairie girl, with German heritage, who had her fair share of perogies, farmer's sausage, cabbage rolls, borscht, and of course rullkuchen. It is to no one's surprise that my tastebuds had never truly experienced food with delightfully flavourful colours and spices until I travelled. After returning home, all I craved was a good dish of curry or dal masala, and at the time, Saskatoon didn't have many options for the "food detoxing" backpacker.

It's been seven years since my travels and it wasn't until just a few weeks ago, while taking up my brother-in-law's suggestion, that I found the most authentic dal masala dish in Saskatoon.  From the moment I walked into Meg's Restaurant, to the last spoonful of my meal, I was whisked back to my carefree backpacking days. Savouring every mouthful, I convinced my husband to order a second round of food for us to take home.  It was like another dose of heaven the very next day.

I can't boast enough about this restaurant.  If you've been searching for authentic East Indian food, look no further! Reasonable prices, friendly service, and the most mouth watering curry ever! Not to mention, they are open super late to satisfy those late night cravings! View their menu here.

8 Tips for a Greener Home

posted by Elle    |   June 10, 2014 16:08

You don't have to pay a bunch of money for new green technology or products. Going back to the basics and using traditional methods can make a huge difference in the health of your home! Looking for a new hobby? Try something that will benefit your household, save you money, and decrease negative impact on the environment. Implementing a few small changes will take a little bit of effort to start, but is so rewarding in the long run. And its easier than you think! 

 

Hang Your Laundry

 

 

This can be done year round, even in the harsh Saskatoon winter. In the summer, take advantage of the fresh scent your clothes and towels will take on when they are dried in the sun using a traditional clothes line. In the winter, use the dry heat provided by your furnace, and indoor hanging racks to allow your stuff to dry over night. You'll see a big difference in your power bill, and will be doing a lot of good for the environment!

 

Make Canning Your New Hobby

 

Stock up at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market, harvest from your own garden, or visit your favourite local producer, pick up some glass canning jars, and ask your Grandma for a tutorial. Or, get more information here. There's nothing better than local food, preserved in environmentally friendly containers! Glass jars are an awesome reusable food storage container for a variety of things. I even take them with me to the grocery store when buying dry goods that come in bulk, instead of using a bag. I think they look so pretty, too!

 

Pare Down Your Cleaning Products

 

This is a great opportunity to get back to the basics! Detoxify your home with simple ingredients that are super inexpensive and easy to come by! Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon can be used to create excellent multi-purpose, natural cleaners. For a more comprehensive look at the importance of ditching harsh chemicals, check out my previous blog post. It includes information on making your own cleaners, and also presents some great local Saskatoon options for purchasing pre-made natural products. 

 

Pick Up Knitting or Sewing

 

 
 

Having the ability to patch a hole, replace a button, switch up a hem, or make yourself a scarf is great for saving money and prolonging the life of your clothing. The less waste, the better, so extending the number of wears you get out of your jeans is a plus for a lot of reasons. Do you have a pair of bootcut jeans that are out of style? Take the legs in a bit for a more straight-leg or skinny look (tutorial here). Once the chilly months come back around, cozy handmade winter apparel can be customized to exactly the colour and style you want, gives you a lovely feeling of accomplishment, and makes a thoughtful gift! Its also a way to make sitting down in front of the TV feel more productive. 

 

Use The Ends of the Fridge

 

 

Don't throw away those random ingredients you have left before your next grocery run. If you are unsure what to make of those last bits, a frittata is an excellent, easy way to go. You can mix in any last meat, veggies, cheese, and herbs together with a dozen eggs in a deep frying pan, cover and let sit until cooked through. Super easy and super tasty! My favourite combination for a fritatta is finely chopped brussels sprouts, mushrooms, italian sausage, lots of rosemary and thyme, with a nice dose of feta on top. 

 

Grow Your Own Veggies

 

 

Depending on your resources and where you live, this can be as large or small a project as you choose. If you're a condo or apartment dweller, little pots of herbs or one tomato plant in a pot makes a difference and will bring you delight, I promise! Consider your time commitment and the space available, and you may find that a full-fledged garden out back is the way to go. Either way, you won't regret supplementing your diet with home grown fare.

 

Collect Rain Water

 

 

Keep your beautiful veggies hydrated and save money in the process! Utilize water run-off and set up a rain barrel. The water it collects is great for watering your garden, tending to your potted plants, or other outdoor projects. It can also be brought in to flush toilets if you're really into saving water!

 

Use Dishtowels and Rags

 

 
If you're trying to reduce household waste, refraining from using paper towel is a great place to start. Use a cloth alternative, toss it in the wash, and hang it to dry! Twisted Goods usually has cute cloth options! Evaluate your old clothes and towels for rag potential, and check out some tips here

If you have some other tried and true, simple methods of making your home more environmentally-friendly, let me know in the comments! I am always looking for new ideas, tips, and tricks.  

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What's happening at Kinsmen Park?

posted by David    |   June 9, 2014 11:54

It has been a tradition in my family for almost 20 years. At least once each summer, we will all get together and have chicken in Kinsmen Park. Driving by the park a few days ago, I was reminded of the renovations I had heard the park would be undergoing over the next few years. There are several goals associated with the renovations, as the City of Saskatoon seeks to provide balance between human and environmental needs in our city and along the riverbank. 

Kinsmen Park is Saskatoon's oldest park development. For over 100 years, it has drawn in the young and the young at heart for picnics, rides on the mini train, and summer festivals. When I was a kid, I remember taking a Coke or Pepsi "Taste Test" at a festival there during the summer. Although a small detail, the memory has stuck with me into adulthood. The renovation plans for Kinsmen Park include many small details like this, details that will provide great long lasting memories for us, our kids, and our kids' kids. 

The next 25 years of development have been broken into three phases of construction, rejuvenation, and removal. As of this writing, the demolition period of Phase 1 is complete, and construction has begun with plans to be open to the public by the beginning of summer 2015. This phase will be followed by two more, as Kinsmen Park is transformed into one of the premier parks in Saskatchewan.

 

Photo Credit: City of Saskatoon

First 5 Years

Construction for Phase 1 will include a new play area with activities for all ages (including winter features), new rides including an updated carousel, a new Ferris wheel, a family swinger, and an updated miniature train. Additionally, the train route is being expanded. There will also be a "racetrack promenade" built, which is a paved public walkway along the old racetrack, as well as a winter skate path. 

In 5-10 Years

This phase will bring construction on a land/ski bridge and more terrain for skiers, a year-round concession building with washrooms, a tobogganing slope, community gardens, and enhanced informal space at the north end of the park, including a picnic area and hot air balloon launch. 

In 10-25 Years

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan will be moved north, to make use of the amphitheatre and a new civic amenity south of the east parking lots. The Spadina interchange will be converted to a roundabout, and there will be expanded boat docks. 

Kinsmen Park has long been a social hub of activity, and it is nice to see the city pushing forward in keeping it functional for future generations. The renovations strive to boost both the functionality and beautification of Kinsmen Park and our city. It is exciting to be a part of a growing city with new projects in the works every day. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing these improvements year by year as I visit with my family for chicken in the park. 

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Night Market in YXE

posted by Elle    |   June 5, 2014 16:36

Goldie's General Store in Riversdale, one of Saskatoon's gems that is typically open only (as far as I know) on Sundays from 11am until 3, is the perfect place to go on a chilled-out weekend afternoon. Stopping by to peruse the offerings at Goldie's makes for a nice complement to your Sunday trip to Collective or Anthology. Its also a great way to cap off a morning spent enjoying the local fare at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market. The items at Goldie's vary from week to week, and while you can count on "nothing specific", you are guaranteed to find one-of-a-kind, carefully selected and beautifully displayed vintage clothing and odds & ends.  

Goldie's General is located above The Hollows at 334 Avenue C South (in the old Golden Dragon building). The upper part of the building is broken into tiny rooms with creaky floors and a definite vintage feel that lends itself nicely to the eclectic mix of vintage household items, toiletries, knick-knacks, and other non-specific pieces available at Goldie's. The dog is not for sale :)

Goldie's is mixing things up a bit this weekend, with a Night Market from 6-10pm on Sunday evening. The evening will include vendors carrying handcrafted items, vintage clothing and antiques, as well as drink features and snacks! This time, its going down on The Hollows' patio. Don't miss this unique opportunity to enjoy some great local food from The Hollows and The Night Oven, while browsing goods handcrafted by some rad locals

Shop Local, YXE :)

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