Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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The Sunshine Award

I am proud to say that I have been nominated for a Sunshine Award.  Blogger awards are a great way to share a little bit about yourself, and to pay it forward by calling attention to other great blogs.  I am tickled pink that Ashlee over at Willfully Disobedient chose to include my blog on her list of nominees!  Thank you, Ashlee!

Sunshine Award

Sunshine Award

The Rules

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer & let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated. You cannot nominate the blogger that nominated you.

11 Random Facts

  1. I love baking and cooking.
  2. I am a bookworm at heart.
  3. I once jumped out of a plane, willingly!  I was sky diving.
  4. I dream about travelling and always look forward to my next trip.
  5. I have donated my hair twice.  It’s been used to make wigs for cancer patients.
  6. I am slowly removing the chemicals from my family’s daily life.  It’s a slow process.
  7. My favorite workout these days is Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30.
  8. I really want to be fluent in Spanish, but have so far to go!
  9. I plan to perfect my skin care products and one day sell them.
  10. Since I was 10, I have always had a small business venture on the side.
  11. I volunteered at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Ashlee’s Questions

– If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
I would like in a place where winter barely brushes up against the freezing mark. I love my city, but I always have a hard time adjusting to the -20 degree days in the winter months.
– Who is your favorite actor/actress? Why?
I love watching Denzel Washington.  He always gives such a convincing and authentic performance.
– What song always cheers you up when you’re sad?
With my little son, I sing a lot of children’s songs.  They all cheer me up – everything from Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to When you’re Happy and You Know It.
– What is your favorite toy from your childhood?
I loved playing with dolls.
– What is your least favorite thing about being an adult?
There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being an adult.  Is there a way to pass some of that onto someone else?
– Someone is going to take you out to dinner, any restaurant you like. Where would you go?
My husband and I have a favorite Lebanese restaurant in town.  It’s not a fancy or expensive place.  The food is great and the atmosphere is welcoming.  We head there anytime we have a chance for a treat.
– If you have kids, how did you decide on names?
We chose names that other family members already had.  My son is named after my husband and after my grandfather.
– What is your favorite holiday?
I love Christmas.  It’s a great time for family.  I also love to give gifts!
– What is your favorite book?
Oh boy – I don’t think I could name just one!  I love reading!  I recently read Prisoner of Tehran and I loved it.  I’m not sure if it’s my all time favorite, but I definitely recommend it!
– How much sleep do you absolutely have to have to function?
Since getting pregnant, I’ve learned to function with a lot less sleep than ever before.  I can get by for a few days on 4 hours of sleep.  After that, the wear and tear starts to show!
– What is your favorite way to de-stress?
Working out is the best way for me to relax.  If I can’t do that, a good movie with a bowl of popcorn will do the trick!

11 Questions for my Nominees:

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. How do you maintain balance in your life?
  3. What is/are your favorite brand(s) of makeup?
  4. Do you speak a second language?  If so, what is it?
  5. Where is your dream vacation?
  6. How do you get healthy when you have a cold or a flu?
  7. What is more important in a beauty product – packaging or price?
  8. What do you love most about blogging?
  9. Have you ever had the chance to meet a follower of your blog that you didn’t know before you started writing your blog?
  10. What is your favorite way to exercise?
  11. Do you have a bucket list and if yes, how much progress have you made on it?

And My 11 Nominees Are:

Thank you again to Ashlee for the nomination!
Congratulations to my 11 nominees! I hope you’ll find some time to answer the questions so I can get to know each of you a little bit better.
If nothing else, please check out these 11 blogs.  They are all full of great information!
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Moving from 2012 to 2013 – Happy New Year!

A quick review of 2012…

2012 was an exciting year for me, both for my blog and on a personal front.

My Blog – Au Naturel Essence

All Natural Treats for Body and SoulOn my blog, I set out to boost the number of views I got each day.  I got two major increases in readership throughout the year.  In the first quarter, I saw a big improvement and about half way through the year, my numbers went up again.  It was so exciting to know that others were keeping track of my blog.  To all of you – thank you!

I also set out to post at least once a week.  I’m quite proud to say that I exceeded that goal.  In total, I had over 90 posts in 2012!

Unexpectedly, I was nominated for several blog awards throughout the year.  You can learn all kinds of odd tidbits about me and my blog in the following posts:

Super Sweet Blogger Award

Sunshine Award

Beautiful Blogger Award

Inspiring Blog Award

Blog of the Year Award

I love the concept of blog awards.  They are a great way to learn about other blogs and to recognize other blogs that you follow.

On a Personal Front

The highlight of this year was the birth of my little boy.  I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant around Easter time.  The next few months went so quickly and yet so slowly!  Our little bundle of joy was born just a few weeks ago and he’s been keeping me very busy ever since.

Looking forward to 2013…

Looking forward, I would love to keep up with my blog at the same pace as I had in 2012.  However, I want to be realistic. Having a new baby on hand has slowed me down a little bit!  As I soon as I learn how to blog with a baby in one arm, I’ll be right on track!

Gentle Goat's Milk Soap for Baby

Gentle Goat’s Milk Soap for Baby

When I have the time, I’m looking forward to making more baby products.  In particular, I’d love to experiment with my own homemade shampoo.

Thank you for all of your support throughout the year.  I look forward to sharing more ideas and projects with you in 2013.  Happy New Year!


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s that lovely time of year again in Canada when we celebrate Thanksgiving.  For me, Thanksgiving signifies that the seasons are changing and that it’s time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.

The Origins of Canadian Thanksgiving

Wikipedia will tell you that Canadian Thanksgiving can be traced back to a couple of different originating dates.

Some trace the beginnings of this holiday back to the explorer Martin Frobisher.  He had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean.  After his third voyage, he held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey from England.  It was held near Baffin Island.

Others give credit for Canadian Thanksgiving to early French settlers who arrived in Canada with Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century.  Their celebrations were tied to the end of the harvest season.

The actual date for the Thanksgiving celebration has varied over the years.  It wasn’t until 1957 that the Canadian Parliament designated the 2nd Monday of October as Thanksgiving Monday.

The Top Three Things I am Thankful For…

1.  I am thankful for all the support you’ve all given me for my blog!  My readership has gone up exponentially this year.  I first had a big jump in readership around March. Since then, the numbers have continued to increase.  I’ve also been nominated for three awards (Sunshine Award, Beautiful Blogger Award, and Inspiring Blog Award) and have had a chance to get to know many of you.  I love following your blogs and am honoured that you follow mine back!  Thank you!

2.  I am thankful for the miracle of being pregnant!  I’m in my 32nd week and looking forward to welcoming a new baby into our lives.  My husband and I are so excited to start this new chapter of our lives.

3.  I am thankful for all of the love and support from my friends and family.  They are always there for me when I need them.  I know that I’m lucky to be surrounded by such an awesome support network. Thank you!

Thanksgiving Dinner

My family always celebrates Thanksgiving with a big family dinner.  This year, I’ve put myself in charge of making dessert for everyone.  Even though the traditional dessert is a pumpkin pie, I decided to make use of all the apples and cranberries I have in my house and make an apple-cranberry crumble.  When it’s topped with ice cream, could you really ask for anything more?  Here it is!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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The Beautiful Blogger Award – I’ve been nominated!

I’ve been nominated for a second blogger award!  Thanks to Skin Goodness, I have been awarded the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Thank you!

Getting Nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award

It’s such an honor to be nominated for an award like this.  I’m humbled and so happy that some of you might take an interest in what I have to write each week on my blog.  This award also gives me a great excuse to share my favorite blogs with you so you can check them out as well!  It’s a great way to pay it forward!

7 Random Facts About Me

As a winner of this award, my duty is to share 7 random facts about myself.  Here goes:

  1. I recently discovered Pinterest and am totally addicted to it now!
  2. The riskiest thing I ever did was to go skydiving.  It was a great experience and I had a great view while I floated down to the ground.
  3. I later discovered that a safer way to get a good view, for me, is to hike to the top of a mountain and take it all in.
  4. I love using kitchen ingredients in my face care.  Stay tuned for a post about that in a couple of weeks.
  5. Just about anything with sprinkles on it will make it qualify as a “favorite” dessert. 
  6. I’m a big fan of using skin care products made from ingredients that I can identify on my own.
  7. I’m expecting!  My husband and I are expecting our first at the end of November.  We should have a bundle of joy just in time for Christmas this year!

Another four of my favorite blogs

I nominated a number of blogs a couple of weeks ago for a Sunshine Award. In addition to those blogs, I also love to follow these four.  They each do a wonderful job on their blogs and deserve a pat on the back too!  So, I’m nominating them for the Beautiful Blogger Award too.  Congratulations! 

Blackbox Cosmetics

Texas Pioneer Creations 

Bronze Goddess

Keeping up with Kelly


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I’ve been nominated for a Sunshine Award!

This is great! I was nominated for this award Journey of a Dutch Witch!  Thank you so much!

The Sunshine Award Rules:

1. If you are nominated, you must blog a post linking back to the person that nominated you.
2. You must answer 10 questions, nominate 10 fellow bloggers and link to their blog
3. Comment on your nominees’ blog to let them know you’ve nominated them

Sunshine Award Questions:

1) Who’s your favourite philosopher?

I’m a big fan of logicians.  Aristotle is one of the most famous philosophers that like logic.

2) What is your favourite number?

It changes from day-to-day.  Today, I’ll go with 4.

3) What is your favourite animal?

I loved seeing elephants up close and personal when I visited South Africa a few years ago.

4) What are your Facebook and Twitter URLs?

Please like my Facebook page!  You can get to it by clicking here.  

You can follow me on Twitter at @ANaturelEssence

I also just discovered Pinterest!  I love it. You can check out my first few pins here

5) What is your favourite time of day? I love the morning, especially the sunrise.

6) What was your favourite vacation? I love seeing the world.  I loved travelling across South Africa.  Equally, I loved travelling to Argentina a few years ago.  We visited Mendoza and Buenos Aires.  This is a photo from our horse back riding trip into the Andes.

7) What is your favourite physical activity? Dancing!

8) Favourite non-alcoholic drink? Hot lemon water.  It’s so good for you and a great way to start the day!

9) What is your favourite flower? Right now, I’m in love with Hydrangea.  They’re so delicate and lovely.

10) What is your passion? Making a difference in everything that I do.

Ten of My Favorite Blogs:

I love reading each of the following blogs, so I am happy to nominate them for a Sunshine Award!

 Homemade Wellbeing

Ruby Beauty Organics

Stilish Babe

Lightly Crunchy

German Beauty Sabine

BIO-SIL South Africa Blog

BeautywidBrain

The Happiness Cocktail

Ayurvedic Herbal Teas

The Burlesque Baker

Thanks again for the nomination!  Have a wonderful day!