A Holiday Soundtrack
 
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There may be just less than two weeks until Christmas, but the holiday season has been in full swing around here for a few weeks now, at least in our little shop! Hopefully you've been decking the halls and enjoying the pure joy and love that comes around during this magical time of year.

We've put together some of our holiday favorites of this season, so grab a hot mug of cocoa, light a fire in the fireplace, cozy up under a warm blanket, and turn on these good tunes beside the twinkling lights of your tree. From our little home to yours, we wish you a cozy and joyful holiday season.

Holiday Soundtrack // Listen on SPOTIFY

  1. Winter Wonderland/Don't Worry Be Happy - Pentatonix, Tori Kelly
  2. That's Christmas to Me - Pentatonix
  3. White Christmas - George Strait
  4. Home - Lights & Motion
  5. Carol of the Bells - the bird and the bee
  6. O Holy Night - Handsome and Gretyl
  7. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Perry Como, The Fontane Sisters, Mitchell Ayres & His Orchestra
  8. My Favorite Things - Kelsea Ballerini, Joey Alexander
  9. River - Sam Smith
  10. Last Christmas - Yoke Lore
  11. Silent Night - Janelle Kroll
  12. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
  13. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon
  14. Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
The Benefits of Soy Wax Candles
 

The temperatures are dropping, blankets are being pulled out, and the holidays are upon us. Another words, it's time to get cozy! Time to pull together with loved ones and gather around a fireplace with a glass of wine, and what better way to add to the ambiance during this season than with a few too many candles scattered on kitchen counters and tabletops, shelves and night tables, fireplace mantles and coffee tables.

We reached out to Jessica Cornwell, the owner and creator of North + 29 Candle Co., whose candles we are proud to carry, and we asked her to shed some of her expertise on the benefits of burning soy candles versus the paraffin wax that can be found in every department store in the country.

Without further ado, we'll let Jessica take it from here...

In the last few years, we have seen a huge spike in soy candles. Why are they so darn trendy? Well, aside from the creamy consistency of the wax, the great scent throw, and the really awesome small batch makers that are making these products come to life – there ARE actual health benefits to soy candles as well.

Image: Jessica Cornwell

Image: Jessica Cornwell

WHAT IS SOY WAX? Let’s start with the basics. Soy wax is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. The majority of the world’s soybeans are grown right here in the USA. The harvesting and extraction process of the soybean oil converts the fatty acids in the oil from unsaturated to saturated, leaving behind a wax that is solid at room temperature.

Soy wax solidifies in flake form. Due to this, candles made with soy wax are prone to slight appearance imperfections. Frosting and uneven surfaces may occur, but these minor imperfections will never affect the quality of the burn.

Image: Jessica Cornwell

Image: Jessica Cornwell

WHY IS IT SO GREAT? Soy wax is completely renewable, unlike petroleum-based wax such as paraffin. In addition, soy wax is extremely clean burning, is eco-friendly, carbon neutral, and does not release toxins into the air. Many individuals who get headaches when burning candles switch to soy candles due to these non-toxic properties.

Paraffin on the other hand, which is still the most commonly used candle wax today, creates toxic benzene and toluene when it is burned. These two toxic chemicals are both known carcinogens, and are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes.

A couple other benefits of soy wax are that it is easy to clean up with soap and water, so there is no need for harmful solvents, and it is not subject to animal testing.

Image: Jessica Cornwell

Image: Jessica Cornwell

MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK // Soy wax also burns cooler, resulting in a longer lasting candle. So initially, you may be paying more for the product, but the lifespan will be longer than some of the alternatives. Be aware of a cheap candle claiming to be made with soy wax, most likely it is mixed with many other unnatural additives and very little soy.

Image: Jessica Cornwall

Image: Jessica Cornwall

SUPPORT LOCAL // Purchasing a soy wax candle supports our loca lfarmers in the Midwest and stimulates our local economy. Also often times, when you purchase a soy candle, odds are it was created by a local small business instead of imported from another country.

Whatever your candle of choice is, you now can make informed decisions based on what the label says and feel good about it too!

Shop our soy candles, handmade by knowledgeable, hardworking makers like Jessica.

 
Sarah Wheeler Comments
Eight Steps to Simple Living

Our home is our place of refuge, relaxation and comfort. By having a simplified home, it lends us more space to relax, think freely and be creative.

When I was thinking about how we created our slow-living/simple lifestyle, I thought, “where do I begin?!”. It has become such a natural part of our lifestyle now that I had to really sit back and dissect the ways we have made this happen for our family. It is still a work in progress every day as new challenges and more “stuff” pops up, but I am proud to say we have really embraced this style of living in a non-extreme, modern way.

Here are some of the methods that we've found useful in achieving a slower, simpler lifestyle.

 
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Start At Home

“Imagine your home as a place where time moves a little slower.” -Simplicity Parenting

Our home is our place of refuge, relaxation and comfort. By having a simplified home, it lends us more space to relax, think freely and be creative.

1. It may seem obvious but getting rid of stuff is the best place to start. We started slowly so it wasn’t so overwhelming, and broke it up by room. The closets are the easiest place to start. We asked ourselves “what haven’t we used in a while and probably never really will?” and donated those items. “What’s broken or missing pieces, torn or out of shape?” and trashed/recycled or donated parts if possible. By doing this we make more room for things we love and can therefore have easier access to them. This may be an ongoing process—a good addition to spring cleaning. We have also really cut back on shopping. We really only frequent the supermarket and the bookstore and small local shops. This way we aren’t tempted to purchase things we don’t need!

2. Handmade and homemade. We use our hands and creativity to make foods from scratch, craft DIYs and rearrange furniture and décor. You may be asking, “how is this a way to simplify?” but I have found it has had a HUGE part in making us appreciate the little things and motivating us to keep things simple. When we make meals and baked goods from scratch, we savor them and waste less. Crafting is such a beautiful way to enjoy being in your home, therefore motivating us to keep it a space that is simplified and a representation of ourselves and what we love.

3. Cleaning supplies and routines. We mostly make our own cleaning supplies using simple ingredients, and we try to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. This way we aren't scrambling to clean the house before guests come over and/or we aren't leaving tons of housework for one day of the week. I'm always more calm and inspired when our home is clean.

 
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4. Cozy nooks. Create cozy little spaces meant for quiet time, enjoying a book, craft or tea. It's all about relishing in the simple pleasures.

5. Meal prep and rhythm. We have a dinner rhythm that works beautifully! Each day is a different meal theme that we stick to each week. For example, Monday is a Mexican themed dish, Tuesday is a fish dish, etc. This helps to keep shopping and meal prep simple because it becomes routine. We aren't scrambling to put something together last minute, which frees up more time for us to enjoy outdoors as a family before dinner.

 
 

Savor Your Time

"Activity without downtime is ultimately - like a plant without roots - unsustainable." -Simplicity Parenting

I think this is often overlooked in our fast-paced, get-ahead world. There is a balance to be achieved for holistic happiness and success.

1. Free play. We do our best to not overschedule ourselves and especially our son. One of the most important things to me as a parent is to give my son lots of free time to play, explore and learn about himself without time constraints and lots of restrictions. The same can be applied to adults. There is nothing like enjoying a favorite hobby with no time limit.

2. We implement "rest days" where we enjoy our home and outdoors with no obligations for the entire day. I learned this in the book "Simplicity Parenting" and love the idea of it - if you have a busy day, counteract it by making the next day a no-obligations day.

3. Politely declining. We have become much more confident with saying "no" to things when we saw how it really improves our mental state and energy when we don't have commitment after commitment.

 
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These are just some of the many ways we have scaled back our lifestyle to make room for things that are most important to us. We are by no means experts on this area, but any help or inspiration that we can pass on means the world to us.

There is such a large scale on simple living, from those who move into tiny homes and get rid of most of their belongings to a more easily attainable conscious consumer who makes little tweaks to their lifestyle. It all fascinates me, and I love learning new tips.


Brooke Fiorillo is a wife, mom and creative living in coastal Connecticut. Brooke's adaption to simple living and embracing the present moment has fascinated me. They have done such a beautiful job raising their baby boy, Anchor, to enjoy nature, play freely and grow up at his own pace. Brooke and her family run a blog called root + dwell where they share craft ideas, simple living tips and more. Keep an eye out for their shop of handmade goods, opening very soon. In the meantime, this is one of my recent favorite posts on root + dwell.

Inspired By 02 // Ceramic Spoons

Inspired By is a column in which I examine one single piece in The Safari Collective shop. I take inspiration from the item, based on its functionality, appearance, and the emotion it provokes. Using this inspiration, I then search far and wide for photographs and scenes which fit with the theme of the piece, providing the reader with fresh ideas of how this particular piece can be added to their life.

I've chosen to feature these gorgeous ceramic and twine spoons we've recently added to our shop, handmade by Christiana Hedlund in Portland, Oregon. These beauties have received more compliments than I can count since they've arrived at our brick-and-mortar, so I thought it'd be fun to use them as the object of focus in this next edition of Inspired By. Check out below for ideas of how to incorporate these into your home and life.

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Meet the Maker: Jenny Rodriguez
 

Meet Jenny Rodriguez, the sweet woman behind our newest jewelry in the shop. When Jenny and I first crossed paths, I didn't even need to see her work to know that I would love it. Her heart and soul bleeds through into her designs, and I'm honored to have her beautiful jewelry in our little shop. She graciously agreed to do a "meet the maker" interview for us. Head down below to get to know this lovely artisan!

The basics. Jenny Melissa Rodriguez; Mesa, Arizona (within the Phoenix area); Owner & Jewelry Designer for my company, Pure Life Jewelry, and I also help run the marketing and bookkeeping part of my parent's business.

Describe yourself, your art, and the story of how your passion/business came about. I'm definitely a huge optimist and try to see the good in every situation. I really love the beach, beautiful weather, traveling, adventures, good music, art and ridiculous amounts of coffee (we're with you there, Jenny!). I was born and raised in Arizona, but I will forever be a beach bum.

My jewelry is a reflection of my ideals in how we should all follow our passions and crazy dreams. I believe that you should travel, see the world, and not give into what you think society wants you to do. The name of my company mirrors a popular Costa Rican saying "Pura Vida!" and it directly describes my vision for Pure Life Jewelry, as a symbol of living life to the fullest. I was raised with the notion that you should always live courageously and live a life of passion and meaning. For me, making jewelry is not a job or just a business; it is my small way of contributing to your story and journey.

I have always loved making jewelry, even as a kid I was making beaded bracelets and selling them to my mom's friends or setting up a "little store" outside my house to sell friendship bracelets. I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As I got older, I took my jewelry passion further by enrolling in metal-smithing classes and I instantly fell in love. There is just something about creating from your own two hands that fills my soul. So finally I decided to leave my full-time job and really focus on my company. I work part-time with my family where I help with their marketing, and focus on my jewelry the rest of the time.

What are you currently working on? I am working on busting out my fall line! I am so stinking excited about launching it. Right now i am focusing on incorporating more gold-filled pieces. Some of the pieces will be adorned with beautiful lapis stones and fun geometric shapes.

Describe your workspace. My workspace is in my home. I was blessed enough to find a place that has a perfect room for a studio. It was converted into a room by the last owner; he used to run his chiropractic business from home. I even have my own separate entrance! It's so perfect, with lots of lighting and I get a view of what's going on outside. It's my home away from home.

Please share a little bit about your creative process. The process of creating jewelry is my absolute favorite. It's so fun to see how an idea evolves into an actual piece of jewelry from a mere sketch. I usually start a piece by sketching what I want it to look like, then refining the structure to be more feasible. From there, I find stones that go along with the design and will compliment the piece. Then I create a sample piece and wear it out, test its durability and if it passes the test, then I work on creating other styles that compliment the colors and the piece. I always try to base a collection off of color. For me, that usually helps with creating a more cohesive line.

How do you begin your mornings? I love to take my mornings slow. I usually wake up pretty early, make some coffee, chill with my pup, Tuffy, and plan out my day. When it is not super hot outside, I love to sit on my porch and enjoy the outdoors for a bit. Since I work from home most days, I like to be able to begin my morning outside.

What does a typical day look like for you? Most days I focus my morning on following up on emails, working on marketing, etc. Afternoons are spent working on orders and packaging them. I try and run any errands in the afternoon as well because traffic in Phoenix is not very fun to sit in during rush hour. Once 6pm rolls around, I try and wrap up as much work as I can. That doesn't happen all the time but I try to be good about it. Anything tech-related that stimulates my brain, I shut off. Evenings are usually when I spend time with my boyfriend, family or friends. I think stepping away from your business and technology completely at night is important. It helps with the balance of owning a business and enjoying everything else.

What inspires you on the daily? Daily, I am inspired by the creative community in Phoenix. Everyone is so incredibly talented, it really pushes me to strive for excellence. I am also very inspired by music. I always have been. I love hearing of new bands or collaborating with friends on creating a fun playlist.

Where do you hope your business is five years down the road? In five years, I would love to 1: Be focusing on my company full-time, 2: Own a traveling jewelry boutique and 3: Still fulfilling my dream of spreading my vision for Pure Life Jewelry, as a symbol of living life to the fullest. For me, making jewelry is not just a job or business, it is my small way of contributing to my customers' life journey.

 
For Mom

Mama's Day is just around the corner! I don't know about you but May seems to always sneak upon me. One minute I'm thinking winter is dragging and the next, we're turning the page on the calendar from April to May. If you're struggling to figure out something unique for a Mother's Day gift this year, we have a whole page on the site dedicated to just mom.

I'm excited to also say that we've partnered with local florist Colleen of CEP Florals to offer beautiful custom bouquets for locals.

Colleen has worked her magic and put together two gorgeous options to choose from - one filled with whites and oranges and one with blues and purples. Each bouquet will be freshly made for you to pickup on Mother's Day weekend, wrapped and ready to gift to mom.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To reserve your bouquet, stop into the shop or order online here. Orders must be placed before Thursday, May 11. Don't forget to let us know when you would like to pick up your bouquet, either Saturday, May 13 between 9am and 2pm or Sunday, May 14 between 9am and 12pm.

Refresh Your Skin for Spring

Spring has finally arrived. Some days it may not completely feel like it, the rain is certainly making its presence known here in New England this month, and the temperatures aren't exactly warm, but the earth is showing signs that it is awakening. Although dark and rainy today as I write this, I look outside my window and I've never seen so much vibrant green as I do right now. 

As the earth awakens, so too do we. Our bodies feel energetic, full of life, and ready to take on a new season. The winter always seems to be a time for rest, preparing us for spring and summer, and all the bustle and activity that comes along with it.

 
 
 
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We recently began carrying a new skincare line in our shop, handmade right here in Connecticut by NaturalAnnie Essentials. Annie, the lady behind the brand, began her journey in natural beauty a few years ago when her daughter was born in an effort to give her daughter a healthier, chemical-free life. Since then, she has expanded her knowledge and started her own natural bath and body company. I was thrilled when Annie and I crossed paths, as I was on the hunt for a new skincare line, as well as natural soy candles, to add to our shop for the spring season. When I learned that Annie was local to us, it seemed to be a perfect match.

 
 

Annie so graciously gifted me two of her products to use for myself at home: her face wash and face butter, both of which we are currently carrying in the shop. I just began using both of these products a couple of weeks ago, and I can already tell just how special they are. For the past few years, as I've gotten older and learned to give my skin the extra love it needs, I've been very strict about only using all-natural and cruelty-free beauty products. No longer do I ever seem to find myself in a pharmacy shopping for beauty products or browsing the beauty aisle at Walmart. By following this practice, I now know the exact ingredients that I am putting on my skin and, essentially, into my bloodstream, and that's a pretty big deal. I'll admit, the NaturalAnnie Essentials Face Wash and Face Butter are probably the two best that I've used so far.

 
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There's really no better time of year to make the switch to a natural beauty line than spring. I urge you to know what you are putting into your body. Your skin will thank you, not just this season, but many seasons down the road, too.

 
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Check out our full collection of NaturalAnnie Essentials at TSC. And for the next 24 hours, all NaturalAnnie Essentials will be 10% off using code LOVEYOURSKIN.

Be sure to give Annie a follow over on her Instagram and her blog! She is the biggest sweetheart you'll ever meet.

Winter Days With Lamou Design
 

It's the middle of February. We just had a blizzard a few days ago so all the Earth is coated in multiple layers of that beautiful, white (but cold) fluffy stuff. It's straight beauty. It really is. Yes, it's cold. I won't deny that. I mean, getting out of bed in the morning and putting my feet down on the chilly hardwood floors, trying not to shiver too violently until I can locate the biggest, warmest sweater I own, it's almost painful. To take the dogs on our walks, I have to actually sit down to put on my boots and lace them up. It's not as easy as slipping on sandals in the summertime. Driving anywhere is freezing for the first ten minutes, until the car warms up. It's dark and grey and the days are long. But winter. Oh, winter. There's something so totally mesmerizing about you. 

I've always been a seasons sort of girl. I love the sun on my skin in the summer, but I love it as equally as the crunch of leaves in autumn, the fall of snow in winter, and the chirping of birds in spring. They all hold so much beauty, so much promise. We just have to choose to see it.

There's this term going around like wildfire -- hygge. It's all the rage, and I totally get why. Hygge is a Danish term that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful and beautiful. It's a quality of coziness and comfort that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. And seriously, what is better than finding hygge in the winter months. I'm all about it.

To truly savor and appreciate these winter days, I think it's important to love the space that you're in, because you are spending so much of your time indoors. Since we bought our house nearly three years ago, our living room has gone through many furniture arrangements, but to me, it's never really felt "finished" until recently. I think we finally settled on pieces that work well for my neutral-loving self and our crazy family (dogs included). It provides enough seating for all and finally feels completed.

I recently partnered with a wonderful company led by two incredibly talented female entrepreneurs (and you know I'm all about that). I was thrilled to be able to work with LAMOU Design to add the final piece to our living room. When LAMOU sent me this beautiful side table, I couldn't contain my excitement (there's an Instagram story somewhere in virtual space to prove that. Oh, and a discount code at the bottom of the post!). What I love most about this table is the warm tones of the design that I chose for the tabletop. It ties in so well with my goal of creating a cozy and inviting space, an essential part of hygge, not to mention happily surviving the winter months. Another quality that I was thrilled about was the quality. And I don't just say that. The hairpin legs are the real deal. Unlike most products from most home furnishing stores, these legs are solid steel, not hollow. They hold up like magic in my house with two extremely active pups running around and crashing into just about everything. The table top is made from real Russian birch, and it's absolutely beautiful. The quality of this table is unlike most. I know it's going to be a piece of our home for many, many years to come.

I've learned that you can't let winter control you, you have to take control of winter. Light as many candles as you want, always have a cup of hot tea in your hand and a simmering kettle on the stove, string twinkle lights across your walls, wear knit socks all day, light a fire in the fireplace, read your favorite books, cook a lot of meals, and layer on the blankets. Whatever cozy feels like to you, do it, and do it big. 

Even the dogs approve. <3

So while you may long to feel the sun on your bare skin once again (and trust me, I get it), take time to savor winter and all that comes with it. Take time to create a space that you love, and, most importantly, take time to sit back, soak it in, and enjoy it. Because as the snow falls outside, the indoors become even more special.

LAMOU is offering all TSC readers and customers a discount code for $10 off any order. Use code TSC10 at checkout.


Special thanks to LAMOU Design for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are wholeheartedly my own.


 
Unity
 

Hi dear friends. Phew. It's February 2nd as I write this and what a turbulent couple of weeks it has been. There's so many emotions that I've let myself feel over the past days as our country goes through some very momentous times. While this blog and shop isn't about politics, I feel it's as important as it's always been to be able to speak our minds and our hearts. I've struggled with holding my emotions and opinions inside me during this election. If you know me personally, you know where I stand. But professionally, with this shop, I've tried to keep things underwater. Eventually though, I came to the realization that I couldn't any longer.

We are a store, yes. We are a business, yes. But more importantly we are a collective. A collective of dream-chasing artists, many of which are strong women. We are a woman-owned business and we stand for that. I want this blog, this site and our storefront to be a place where people can come and feel safe, a place that stands for something, a place of comfort and hope when you need it. So know, that through all these trying times, we are standing with you, marching with you, and we support you in speaking up, speaking for equality, and speaking for love. We stand with you in unity.