Sunday, July 27, 2008

Top 10 Reasons to Drink from a Laken Water Bottle

It’s summer. It’s hot – hopefully. You’re out and about and desperate for a drink so you pick up a bottle of water at, say, a gas station. You take a sip and suddenly feel like you’re doing something horribly wrong. Why? First, you're drinking from plastic. Second, it’s not aluminum.

Here are 10 reasons why it makes sense to drink from an aluminum water bottle, preferably one made by Laken, a worldwide leader that’s been at it since 1912.

10. If you drink from a plastic water bottle, you may feel like you’re one of the only ones left doing so and well, you actually might be. In fact, there’s considerable talk of banning plastic water bottles – at Vancouver City Hall, in Waterloo schools and San Francisco and Philadelphia municipal offices have already done so.

9. There’s no chance of the ‘steely’ after taste some people have reportedly experienced with stainless steel bottles.

8. They look good - whether in solid brights (pink, green, red, orange) or with cool designs (monsters, skull & cross-bones, flowers). Laken bottles are also available in a screw cap or easy twist spout style. The twist spout features an extra twist locking mechanism to prevent leaks. Both styles are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

7. At .65mm, the outer walls of Laken bottles are 30% thicker than all other aluminum bottles, making it the most dent-resistant aluminum bottle around.

6. Laken bottles are made in Spain, not China.

5. Aluminum is more lightweight than stainless steel.

4. Using a Laken instead of plastic water bottles means you won’t be adding to landfill waste. Laken bottles are made from 100% recyclable aluminum. According to the American Recycling Institute, only 14% of plastic water bottles are recycled. Those that are recycled are really being ‘down-cycled’, converted to a lower form of plastic, much of which goes unused.

3. Even if you fill it with juice, or other sweet, acidic liquids, a Laken will not rust as has been rumored to happen with some stainless steel bottles. Its inner coating is an epoxi-phenolic material recognized and approved by all major health authorities (Canada, US and Europe). It is guaranteed not to flake or crack like competitors’ enamel coatings. Laken’s inner coating is the same lining used in many pharmaceutical applications and is the safest protection known today.

2. Laken coats the entire inner surface of its bottles, including below the thread line. This is an important (and distinguishing) feature for Laken as it ensures that no liquid comes into contact with the aluminum.

1. Reduce the risks associated with bisphenol A (BPA), a potentially harmful and controversial chemical found in polycarbonate plastic, which is the material most plastic water bottles are made from. Recent research has shown the chemical, which mimics estrogen and is a known developmental, neural and reproductive toxicant, can leach from bottles into the contents. After a draft report from Health Canada found BPA to be potentially dangerous to infants and the environment, the federal government is moving to ban baby bottles containing BPA later this year. Our Laken water bottles a completely BPA-free.

Check out our selection of Laken bottles for adults, teens and kids at Lavish & Lime.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tips for Buying the Perfect Baby Gift

It may just be in our world, but it seems there are loads of babies around at the moment. Naturally, this means the need for lots of baby gifts – whether for baby showers, births, first birthdays, baptisms or christenings.

The question is, what to buy? If you want to give a gift that will be well-liked and even cherished, one that’s a little different from all the rest, then consider these tips.

The cute factor
Everyone thinks ‘cute’ when they think ‘baby’ so if this is the angle you’re leaning towards, you really can’t go wrong. Just be sure your gift is over-the-top adorable and in this eco-friendly climate, organic, to ensure it stands out from the crowd. Consider an organic mouse snuggly or organic bear snuggly. Super cuddly and easy to grasp, these little guys have every chance of becoming baby’s one and only won’t-sleep-without-it favourite.

First baby
Often new Moms don’t know exactly what they need, no matter how many books they read or websites they scan. Give a gift that will undoubtedly prove critical to baby’s health and safety: a baby care kit. Packed with everything from a rapid-read digital thermometer and to safety grip nail clippers, this gift is good for baby and great for Mom. Another gift to consider is a baby necksaver. Made with soft, hypoallergenic zebra print material, this ergonomically designed, award-winning travel neck pillow helps support baby’s head more effectively than a car seat insert and can be transferred to a stroller – great for running Moms. Remember a quality baby gift for the first will keep on giving as it’s passed from child to child.

What Mom’s into
Taking into account Mom’s lifestyle or interests too is key to giving a baby gift that’s cherished. For example, if she’s into music, or Dad’s in a band, then a bag of rock n’ roll bath squirties is a guaranteed hit. Or is she into greener, organic living? Consider giving a paraben-free natural baby gift pack with chemical-free body wash/shampoo, baby bum spray, balm and more. A BPA-free snack set or feeding set are also good options and so is a non-toxic 100% melamine dish set. And if she’s Canadian or at least the baby is, then a red/white organic onesie printed with ‘100% Organic (made in Canada)’ is sure to bring a smile to her face.

Another important factor to consider is the occasion you're buying for.

Baby shower: practical gifts are always popular as are those that are helpful to Mom. Try a clever Canadian-made baby bath apron that not only keeps Mom dry during bath time, but prevents her from losing her grip on a slippery baby. It makes bathing a stress-free breeze and comes in velvety soft pink/blue velour or cool green gingham (pictured above). Two more great shower gifts are a must-have diaper bag and a European baby sleeping bag, guaranteed to help baby sleep through the night and let Mom get her much-needed rest.

Birth: your friend/cousin/sister-in-law has just had a baby and you’d like to take a little something with you when you meet the wee one or send a gift in the post. A three-pack of brightly coloured organic onesies would be a welcome gift as would a set of adorable organic socks printed with ballerina shoes or Converse high tops. Another thoughtful option is a super soft and super green organic frog rattle or a teddy sculpture packaged in a lovely feather-top bag.

First birthday: a great opportunity for either a playful gift like an organic play ball and animal bowling set or something slightly more memorable like a silver plated giraffe bank. A lovely organic teddy bear is also a winner. It has undeniable classic appeal but the green twist makes it a modern must-have.

Baptism or christening: generally people think about traditional keepsake gifts at this occasion – something that will be treasured for years to come. For a contemporary twist on the classics, check out this silver plated baby comb & brush set and the matching first tooth & curl set - because the alternative envelope stuffed in a drawer just doesn’t seem right! Photo albums are always something to consider too – whether featuring classic silver plated ABC baby motifs or a suede teddy bear style.

Whatever you choose, a little thought can go a long way to making your gift one that is not only liked, but loved and well-used for years to come.

For a baby gift that's different, check out our selection of stylish keepsakes, toys and essentials at Lavish & Lime.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Eco-friendly Trends: 6 Smart Ways to Greener Living

Green is definitely the new black.

The Eco trend looks set to continue through 2008 and beyond and it’s just as much about materials as it is attitude.

Here are six smart ways to greener living that have risen to the top of the heap.

1. Safer Sipping: Take your next drink from aluminum, stainless steel, glass or plastic drinking bottles made without bisphenol A, a potentially harmful and increasingly controversial chemical found in polycarbonate plastic. Recent research has shown the chemical, which mimics estrogen and is a known developmental, neural and reproductive toxicant, can leach from bottles and sippy cups into the contents. Try Laken's lightweight aluminum water bottles made in Spain with one of the thickest, dent-resistant exteriors around and the BPA-free sippy cup from innovative designers Boon.

2. Green Toys: At this year’s toy fairs, eco-friendly products have been front and centre. Toys can be made ‘green’ in a number of ways, including using natural products such as cotton or wood with fewer harmful chemicals, reducing waste with less packaging and using recycled materials. With recent recalls for toys made in China, many toy buyers were keen on toys made in Europe. Go green for the little ones with organic cotton stuffies from Germany - luxuriously soft, super cuddly and simply adorable-looking.

3. Pass on Plastic Bags: Paper or plastic? Make it neither by toting your own reusable grocery bag and help reduce landfill waste. Lightweight and waterproof, the stylish eco-basket (pictured) collapses to fit in your purse or backpack. If this is too big of a commitment for every shop, find a second use for the plastic bags you do take home – line a small trash can, pick up after your dog or cushion those holiday postal packages.

4. Go Paraben Free: Increasing concern for the safety of the wide use of parabens – synthetic preservatives – in cosmetics and lotions has made natural products more popular than ever. Potential links have been reported between parabens, which research has shown can mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, and cancer. As a healthy alternative, try 100% paraben-free natural body butter made in Canmore, Alberta or a great outdoors gift pack containing five different paraben-free body care products. And for the little ones, choose paraben-free body wash/shampoo and natural baby bum spray.

5. Become a Flexitarian: Swap one meat dish a week for a veggie plate. Why? Because raising produce is ‘cheaper’, in terms of energy consumption, than raising animals. Click here for a huge selection of tasty, meatless recipes.

6. Be Produce Picky: Make informed choices on your next shop for produce. Download the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce from the Environmental Working Group. The wallet-sized list distinguishes between the fruit and veg that tend to be higher in pesticides (ie. apples, spinach) from the produce with a lower count (ie. bananas, peas).

Visit Lavish & Lime for a great selection of eco-friendly gifts for him, for her and the little ones. Many of these products are also Canadian-made.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

DEET-Free: Natural Insect Repellent is Safer Option

Dread heading to the great outdoors - or even your back deck in the evenings - for fear of being eaten alive by the wee beasties? Don’t relish the thought of slathering yourself with sticky, smelly, toxic insect repellent? Try going au natural – it’s safer.

Most major insect repellent brands contain DEET – a controversial bug repellent classified as ‘slightly toxic’. Application of DEET can cause important skin and eye problems, including rashes, conjunctivitis, contact dermatitis, and has been linked to neurological problems, according to the Sierra Club of Canada.

Citing health risks, Health Canada banned insect repellents with more than 30% active DEET in April 2002.

If you do use a DEET-based repellent, the Sierra Club suggests not applying it indoors and that it not used by pregnant women, children under two years or people taking antihistamines.

As a safe alternative try a natural insect repellent with non-toxic, essential oils such as citronella, lemongrass and eucalyptus with strong bug discouraging properties and bug repellent scents. Natural repellents are non-greasy, generally non-aerosol and have a pleasant odour – to us.

Other non-toxic bug tips include:
  1. Wear long-sleeves and pants when outdoors, especially from dusk until dawn. Loose clothing made of thicker materials are more difficult for mosquitoes to bite through.
  2. Replace outdoor incandescent lights with yellow ‘bug lights’ which attract fewer mosquitoes.
  3. Burn a citronella candle.
At Lavish & Lime, our natural insect repellent Bug Joose! is completely DEET-free. Made in Canada of pure essential oils, including citronella and lemon grass, it comes in a non-pressurized pump bottle - it's safe for you and for the environment too.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

5 Money Saving Tips for Road Trips

Have a road trip planned for August? Even a weekend getaway? Don't let the rising price of gas jeopardize your chance to relax.

According to a recent poll by the Hotel Association of Canada, 22% of respondents cited the price of gas as a reason for traveling less, compared to just 3% in 2006.

Keep your road trip plans alive with these money saving tips.
  1. Look for gas-rebate incentives when booking hotels. For example, the Sheraton in Ottawa has a 'Drive and Stay and Save' summer package that includes a $10 rebate nightly. Some Marriott properties also offer gasoline-related deals.
  2. Take the time to plan your trip and find the most direct route. Consult with your local Automobile Association, ie. CAA, BCAA, for a planned travel routing.
  3. Do some advance research on gas prices and although you might not remember the names of the stations, you just might remember the towns. Check for Canadian prices at
  4. Snacks are big budget killers on road trips - racks of chips and chocolate bars can be irresistable at gas stations and convenience stores. Wheel into a grocery store and pick up cheaper snacks in economy bags for roughly half the price and load up a cooler with water, juice, pop.
  5. Follow these gas-saving tips while driving: turn off the gas guzzling AC and the four wheel drive; coast to a stop and be mellow when starting - burning rubber burns gas needlessly; don't speed - it wastes gas and just one ticket can put a serious dent in your budget.
Organized travel means happy travel. Check out our kids' car organizers to help keep the backseat both tidy and quiet and for the sleepy wee 'un with the floppy head, there's our ergonomically designed, award-winning baby necksaver. Reduce the risks associated with plastic water bottles with our aluminum Laken bottles and keep the bugs at bay with our all natural, paraben-free and non-sticky insect repellent.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Easy Summer Entertaining Tips

Now that the warm weather has finally arrived we're feeling optimistic, if not a little tired of rising gas prices. We’re planning for lots of get-togethers in the great outdoors - at home. All you need is a grill, a patch of grass or deck and get ready for some summer fun!

Here are five top tips to help make summer entertaining a breeze.

1. Keep it simple
White serving dishes and dinnerware always looks appropriate and pairs well with any food. Go for the easy approach and stick to one-bite tapas-style foods - a napkin and fingers are all they need to nosh it up!

For a quick, easy tapas recipe, try this unforgettable grilled asparagus.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
  • 24 asparagus spears (2 bunches)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  1. Preheat barbecue to high and lightly oil grill.
  2. Snap off woody ends of asparagus. Toss spears with olive oil, vinegar and pepper.
  3. Cut prosciutto slices in half crosswise. Wrap each spear with a piece of prosciutto, allowing ends to be exposed.
  4. Place on grill, close lid and cook about 1.5 minutes per side or until asparagus turns bright green and is tender-crisp.
Makes 24 wraps, prep time 15 minutes

2. Dip it in colour
Dips with a selection of crackers, pita chips and crostini are always a hit - and easy. Serve your homous, spinach dip, tzatziki and even condiments in hollowed out red, orange, green or yellow bell peppers. Simply cut off the tops and stems and remove the sees from the inside of the pepper and fill these natural containers to the brim. Bonus: whole jars or containers of dips and condiments won't be ruined in the sun.

3. No-fuss flowers
Fresh blooms create instant elegance at any casual get-together and can be as easy as trimming a few stems from the garden. Display them in a central jug, pitcher or vase or go for the multiples option with a few glasses or bowls scattered around the table. Set a few blooms among a bowl of limes for an effortless summer-chic look.

4. Forgiving candlelight
Everyone and everything looks lovely in candlelight so be sure to light up and transform your yard or deck into a twilight paradise! Choose from seasonal hurricanes, votives, tea lights, patio lanterns, torches, white Christmas lights or our own new clear plastic modular candle holder that allows you to stack a few up to create your own sculpture of light.

5. Protect the juice
For optimum flavour, be sure to protect white and red wine from direct sunlight. Keep white wine cool in pottery or stainless steel encasements and avoid decanting red wine in clear containers, use a ceramic pitcher instead. Cover with a napkin to discourage any wine-swilling insects.

For more entertaining ideas, check out our selection of stylish servers and finishing touches - from our lovely white ceramic pitcher and 3-tier serving dish to our silver stackable napkin holders. And don't forget the kids! Our new line of uber cool, interchangeable Automoblox - a red sports car, purple SUV and green pick up truck - is sure to keep them entertained too!


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