Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sleep in & Save at Farmers' Markets Plus More Tips

Think you need to get up and go on your summer weekend mornings to get the most from your local farmers' market? Sacrifice your sleep no more.

According to a recently released Consumer Report, arriving late to market is actually a good thing.

"The sellers rarely want to haul their bounty back to the farm, so look for deals near closing time," says the report.

Other tips for shopping farmers' markets include
  • Don't be caught off guard, bring your own - shopping bags that is. Check out these funky (and inexpensive) designs or add some European flare to your shop with a modern basket.
  • Plus don't forget reusable produce bags to keep everything a bit separate and again, reduce plastic bag use.
  • Think ahead. Why not buy berries in large quantities and freeze them? Great for making smoothies in the winter.
  • Then there's bartering. If you are shopping at the end of the day, you might just try engaging in a 'price discussion', just be sure it's a fair price.
Looking for a shopping bag with style? Check out the great selection of bags, baskets and totes at Lavish & Lime.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Win $25 at Lavish & Lime - Extended

We love to win free stuff and we know you do too, so we're extending our Win $25 contest until July 15th so more of you have the chance to win!

Simply find us on Facebook - here, this makes it real easy - and become a fan. All fans will be in with a chance of winning a $25 gift certificate at Lavish & Lime, but just one will be chosen the winner on July 16th. Imagine, a mini shopping spree...

Plus all fans will be kept up to date about our latest deals, news and more so you really won't lose either way. What are you waiting for?

Browse our entire eco-collection here and consider the possibilities.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

8 Tips for Choosing the Best Sunscreen

Choosing sunscreen isn't easy. The number of brands – old and new - packing the shelves seems endless and researchers are constantly churning out new findings on what ingredients are deemed 'good' and 'bad' for our health.

Here are 8 tips to keep in mind for choosing a safe, effective sunscreen this summer.

1. To get the most from your sunscreen, look for 'broad spectrum protection' meaning it protects against both UVB rays, which cause sunburn, and UVA rays, the leading cause of premature aging of the skin. All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but only some protect against UVA.

2. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are minerals and sunscreens containing minerals are best, according to the National Geographic Green Guide. These two minerals reflect ultraviolet (UV) rays before they reach your skin, while other sunscreens use chemicals that absorb UV rays. Minerals also block both UVB and UVA rays. However, it's worth noting that recent medical research has identified some concern around titanium dioxide.

3. You really want a sunscreen as chemical-free as possible. Avoid brands containing parabens (methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl- and benzyl-) as they can interfere with your hormonal systems and more. Other chemical ingredients to avoid include: benzophenone, oxybenzone and octinoxate. Chemical sunscreens don't always protect against UVA rays. In fact, evidence shows that some - including those containing the chemical Avobenzone, or Parsol 1789 - can break down in sunlight in as little as half an hour. See the Green Guide for more ingredients to avoid.

4. Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant because let's face it, even if you're not near water, you're more than likely going to sweat at least a little with the heat or while working out. Keep in mind that water resistant and waterproof are not the same. Waterproof is actually considered an incorrect term when applied to sunscreen products, says the Environmental Working Group, as no sunscreen product is completely waterproof.

5. If you're swimming in the ocean, choose a biodegradable sunscreen with plant-based ingredients to avoid damaging coral and other marine life. Any doubts, check out this great article from National Geographic that explains why.

6. Doctors recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of a minimum 15. Higher SPFs will give you more protection, but once you reach SPF 30, there isn't a huge difference between products with higher SPF values. An SPF 50 product, for example, only blocks about 1.3% more UVB radiation than a SPF 30 product. When you start seeing 50, 70, 100 it seems the numbers are more about marketing than effectiveness. Keep in mind SPF is a measurement of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays. It does not cover UVA rays.

7. Steer clear of products that combine bug spray and sunscreen. Bugs may not be a problem during the hours that UV exposure peaks plus sunscreen may need to be reapplied more frequently than bug spray, or vice versa. An even bigger concern is that sunscreens often contain penetration enhancers. According to the EWG, studies indicate that concurrent use of sunscreens and pesticides leads to increased skin adsorption of the pesticide.

8. Look for a sunscreen that is safe for adults, children, babies – the whole family. This saves you buying more than one bottle, which is in many cases non-recyclable.

Be sure to check out your current brand or any you're considering on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. It offers some good information and rates 400+ sunscreen products. The #1 brand is Soleo and it's available online here. Interestingly, the traditional
brands we all used growing up like Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropic rate low on the database because of their ingredients.

Browse the complete range of Soleo sunscreen products from Australia plus other great items for safe summer sun protection at Vancouver-based eco boutique Lavish & Lime.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Name Your Price with PriceWhispers at Lavish & Lime

We know times are tough. We know that you're expecting more and more interactivity - more say - when you're online.

That's why we've introduced the price-setting service PriceWhispers at Lavish & Lime. Through PriceWhispers you can name the price you're willing to pay for any product on our site.

To try PriceWhispers, just look for the 'Name your Price' button on any product page. When you click on it, a window pops up showing the name and regular price of the product, plus two mouse-activated sliders: one that lets you set the price you're willing to pay, the other the maximum length of time you're willing to wait for the product to be available at your chosen price.

Shoppers using the service must first set up an account which can be done quickly and easily at Then you can start bidding away.

While we don't accept every bid (especially the incredibly cheeky ones) we have been accepting lots. So go ahead - make your bid! What are you waiting for?

Visit Lavish & Lime and start naming your own prices now.

Freshen your Grill with 5 Minute Lime Salsa

Why buy it (and yet another jar/container) when you can make it fresh - in just five minutes?

We're talking about salsa, which we admit is a little bit off our usual track, but we came across a recipe from one of our panel members that includes our favourite ingredient - yes, lime - and it's truly yummy, so we thought we'd share.

According to our foodie consultant, Kasey Wilson of Bon Appetit & Wine Access fame, this recipe is ideal as an accompaniment on top grilled meat and fish. "This salsa is a good alternative to guacamole. It's fresh with a bite and so delicious it could even be used alone as an appetizer," she says.

We say, let him loose on the grill on Father's Day and serve up the result with a hit of this super salsa.

5 Minute Avocado-Lime Salsa

2 firm avocados, diced
2 red tomatos, diced
3 green medium sized chilies, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least two hours, until chilled. Try this delicious salsa with grilled chicken, prawns or fish.

Source: Spirit & Style, Kasey Wilson

Visit Lavish & Lime's eco living collection and check out some of Kasey's recommended must-haves for the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Garden in a Bag Gets Top Marks for Teachers

We saw it. We loved it. The Garden in a Bag concept is so unique, we just had to have it here at Lavish & Lime.

Now you don't just have to take our word for it. Canada's national online newsletter for Moms gave it a thumbs up as a great teachers' gift this week.

They call it a "gift that represents growth, life and beauty with the simple act of planting seeds."

And it's true. Everything you need to grow a lovely flowering plant or herb comes in the bag. Then you grow the plant in the bag. Ideal for brightening up any sunny windowsill, these plants can be grown indoors year-around.

The seeds are organic, the coconut drainage husks are organic and the packaging is minimal to keep it eco-friendly. These bags are made in the US.

SavvyMom particularly liked the idea of kids personalizing their gift by colouring the picture on the bag and writing their name or a message. Choose from pretty purple and yellow violas or organic sunflowers. This is a great option for teacher gifts, but don't stop there, we've found grandparents love these bags too.

Read the SavvyMom review here.

Browse our complete collection of Gardens in a Bag here. We have a great selection of flowers - from French Marigolds to Purple Petunias - and herbs including Oregano and Mint. Plus, don't miss our lovely Apple Tree - the perfect gift to mark a wedding or birth of a baby.


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