Elegantly Eco

Eco-Friendly Beauty, Fashion, Reviews, and Info


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Eco home: Sleeptek Natural Rubber Pillows

I love a good pillow. For me it’s essential to getting a good night’s sleep. Conventional pillows are filled with synthetic fill that are usually treated with chemicals such as flame retardants. You know that plastic-like, newness smell some people love so much? That’s the smell of carcinogenic chemicals. I always used to get a headache when I got a new pillow with synthetic fill. I had no idea back then that it was the chemicals in the fill that were giving me monster headaches. Since I’ve switched over to natural / eco-friendly pillows I haven’t had that problem. No need to air out the pillow for days and days before using it anymore.

Recently I bought two natural rubber pillows from Grassroots, one of my favourite online and retail stores. I bought the Sleeptek Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow in travel (or kid) size and the Sleeptek Natural Rubber Contour Pillow. The travel pillow was bought for my husband, though he let me try it out before I bought the contour pillow. I have to say, I’m impressed with both pillows so far. The travel pillow is the perfect size to use in the bed between the knees for some added support, or for the airplane. It’s encased in an organic cotton cover and filled with shredded natural rubber. The contour pillow is great for supporting the neck. The loft is adjustable by removing some of the shredded rubber. Just a warning though: make sure that you empty the pillow somewhere easy to clean, like the bathroom. The shredded rubber reminds me of dandelion seeds, easy to blow away and they can get everywhere. I had bits sticking to my clothes and hands when I transferred some of the rubber into the plastic bag that the pillow came in. If you have children or pets you want to make sure they don’t ingest any of that rubber by accident. Other than that small inconvenience, I am sleeping very well on my contour pillow and hubby loves the travel sized pillow for knee support. Both pillows come in organic cotton covers that can be washed and the shredded rubber core can also be washed in cold water then hung to dry on a breathable drying rack. Both pillows come with a three year warranty. The travel pillow was on sale when I bought it at $50.00 CAD and I received 10% off the contour pillow since I have a Live Green Toronto card.

“Why rubber? Natural rubber is hypoallergenic, absorbent and resilient, and known for its excellent heat and moisture regulation. The rubber is harvested by tapping the milk of the common rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), which contains an antibacterial substance that acts as a natural dust-mite repellent. The rubber is also a renewable resource that is sustainably harvested.” Grassroots

Pros:
-no more headaches from chemically filled pillows
-sustainably harvested rubber
-no need to air out immediately
-hypoallergenic
-dust mite repellent
-adjustable loft
-washable

Cons:
-can be messy to empty the pillow if you want a softer support
-can be pricey

Cost: Natural Rubber Contour Pillow $179.99 CAD, Shredded Rubber Travel Pillow $62.99 CAD
Available at: Grassroots
Rating: 5/5

To read more about off-gassing or eco home items, check out my review on Organic Cotton Sheets and the Natura Firm Top Mattress my hubby and I bought.


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@NellaBellaBrand London Bag

Well folks, this is my first big purchase of a vegan bag. I’ve had bags that were vegan before. But my new Nella Bella bag was a big purchase for me because I finally got to replace my old leather Roots bag. Now before you get up in arms that I had a leather bag, let me tell you that I bought that bag way before I went green and cruelty free. That bag is now more than 10 years old. It cost me a lot of money, so when I went eco-friendly I decided I would only replace it when it got worn out. It lasted a lot longer than I expected! But I’m quite happy with my Nella Bella London (Nu Essex) bag. There are a few pros and cons with this bag. If you look at the picture above, it looks like the top part of the bag has a pouch. But it’s actually a separate mini bag that sits on top of the larger bag. The mini bag can be converted into a clutch or shoulder bag with the different straps. See pictures below.


Here’s the mini bag with different straps (cross body, short handle, chain).

I love that you basically get two bags for the price of one here. I tried using both layered on top of each other but found that I liked the simplicity of using just the large bag for everyday use. The mini bag will be useful for when I’m traveling and it’s even nice enough to use at fancy parties. On the back of the large bag you’ll see the logo embossed on the bottom. I actually flipped the bag around and use the backside as the front. Why? There is a zipper pocket there that makes it easy to stash my keys, transit pass and cell phone. Also, the front is the side that the straps latch onto. I found it inconvenient that the straps were in front of the zipper as they get in the way of zipping the bag open or closed easily. But that’s a small thing to complain about in my mind. So I just got used to using the backside of the bag as the front.


This is the front of the bag where the straps latch onto the metal rings in front of the zipper.

Another small thing I found inconvenient is the cross body strap that comes with the bag. It is super long! It’s adjustable thank goodness. But for a petite person like me, I had to adjust the strap to its smallest configuration. I kind of wish I could shorten the strap  by cutting the extra length off, but it wouldn’t look good if I did that. The length of strap wouldn’t be a problem for a taller person though. As for the inside of the bag, my only complaint is that the interior zipper pocket should be larger. I can’t fit all of my cosmetics in there! I’m going to have to buy a cosmetic bag to keep it in one spot in my purse. If you don’t bring much cosmetics with you then you won’t have this problem. But I bring a small mirror, some blotting paper, lip liner, lipstick, lip balm, eye drops, a small tube of hand cream and some stomach medicine with me wherever I go. I don’t always use everything I bring with me but it’s always nice to have on hand in case I need it. Another small thing I didn’t like about the bag: the zipper isn’t finished at both ends. It gives the bag a somewhat unfinished look. I hope in the future they finish both ends. That would look so much better.
The little things that bug me: small interior zipper pocket and zipper isn’t finished on one end.


The large bag with all the different straps (cross body, chain, short handle). Keep in mind what I’m showing as the front of the bag is actually the back.

Pros:
-light, streamlined look
-comes in a variety of colours: red, blue, beige, white
-two bags for the price of one
-different straps for different looks and uses
-large enough to fit a tablet or ereader
-vegan
-affordable
-Canadian company

Cons:
-inside zipper pocket too small
-cross body strap too long for petite people
-strap clips onto front of bag obscuring zipper
-zipper not finished at both ends

Despite the small design flaws, I think that overall this is a good bag and I’m happy with my purchase. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of this bag. It’s much lighter than my old bag for one thing. It also cleans easier because of the material and there aren’t a lot of external pouches. It has a nice, streamlined look and is large enough to fit a tablet or ereader in the large bag. Even the clutch is a good size. I would definitely consider purchasing another Nella Bella product.

Cost: $98.00 CAD (on sale at Grassroots when purchased), regular price $129.00 CAD
Available at: Grassroots, Logan & FinleyNella Bella, List of other Stockists
Rating: 4/5

Do you have a vegan bag? Have you ever bought Nella Bella’s bags?


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Eco fashion: @NellaBellaBrand London Bag

Well folks, this is my first big purchase of a vegan bag. I’ve had bags that were vegan before. But my new Nella Bella bag was a big purchase for me because I finally got to replace my old leather Roots bag. Now before you get up in arms that I had a leather bag, let me tell you that I bought that bag way before I went green and cruelty free. That bag is now more than 10 years old. It cost me a lot of money, so when I went eco-friendly I decided I would only replace it when it got worn out. It lasted a lot longer than I expected! But I’m quite happy with my Nella Bella London (Nu Essex) bag. There are a few pros and cons with this bag. If you look at the picture above, it looks like the top part of the bag has a pouch. But it’s actually a separate mini bag that sits on top of the larger bag. The mini bag can be converted into a clutch or shoulder bag with the different straps. See pictures below.


Here’s the mini bag with different straps (cross body, short handle, chain).

I love that you basically get two bags for the price of one here. I tried using both layered on top of each other but found that I liked the simplicity of using just the large bag for everyday use. The mini bag will be useful for when I’m traveling and it’s even nice enough to use at fancy parties. On the back of the large bag you’ll see the logo embossed on the bottom. I actually flipped the bag around and use the backside as the front. Why? There is a zipper pocket there that makes it easy to stash my keys, transit pass and cell phone. Also, the front is the side that the straps latch onto. I found it inconvenient that the straps were in front of the zipper as they get in the way of zipping the bag open or closed easily. But that’s a small thing to complain about in my mind. So I just got used to using the backside of the bag as the front.


This is the front of the bag where the straps latch onto the metal rings in front of the zipper.

Another small thing I found inconvenient is the cross body strap that comes with the bag. It is super long! It’s adjustable thank goodness. But for a petite person like me, I had to adjust the strap to its smallest configuration. I kind of wish I could shorten the strap  by cutting the extra length off, but it wouldn’t look good if I did that. The length of strap wouldn’t be a problem for a taller person though. As for the inside of the bag, my only complaint is that the interior zipper pocket should be larger. I can’t fit all of my cosmetics in there! I’m going to have to buy a cosmetic bag to keep it in one spot in my purse. If you don’t bring much cosmetics with you then you won’t have this problem. But I bring a small mirror, some blotting paper, lip liner, lipstick, lip balm, eye drops, a small tube of hand cream and some stomach medicine with me wherever I go. I don’t always use everything I bring with me but it’s always nice to have on hand in case I need it. Another small thing I didn’t like about the bag: the zipper isn’t finished at both ends. It gives the bag a somewhat unfinished look. I hope in the future they finish both ends. That would look so much better.
The little things that bug me: small interior zipper pocket and zipper isn’t finished on one end.


The large bag with all the different straps (cross body, chain, short handle). Keep in mind what I’m showing as the front of the bag is actually the back.

Pros:
-light, streamlined look
-comes in a variety of colours: red, blue, beige, white
-two bags for the price of one
-different straps for different looks and uses
-large enough to fit a tablet or ereader
-vegan
-affordable
-Canadian company

Cons:
-inside zipper pocket too small
-cross body strap too long for petite people
-strap clips onto front of bag obscuring zipper
-zipper not finished at both ends

Despite the small design flaws, I think that overall this is a good bag and I’m happy with my purchase. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of this bag. It’s much lighter than my old bag for one thing. It also cleans easier because of the material and there aren’t a lot of external pouches. It has a nice, streamlined look and is large enough to fit a tablet or ereader in the large bag. Even the clutch is a good size. I would definitely consider purchasing another Nella Bella product.

Cost: $98.00 CAD (on sale at Grassroots when purchased), regular price $129.00 CAD
Available at: Grassroots, Logan & FinleyNella Bella, List of other Stockists
Rating: 4/5

Do you have a vegan bag? Have you ever bought Nella Bella’s bags?


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3 Best Glass Water Bottles

At this point in my life I have used lots of different water bottles. I used to love Siggs until I found out that they were lined with bpa. Then I switched to glass water bottles and here are my faves below.

Lifefactory
This is the bottle I like to keep on my night table. Read the full review here. It holds 650 ml or 22 oz so I can sip on it during the night if I feel thirsty. When I wake up in the morning I drink about a cup or two of water before going about my morning routine. This lovely bottle is dishwasher safe and the silicone sleeve can be removed if needed.

Cost: $20.99 CAD, 650 ml / 22 oz bottle
Available at: LifefactoryNoah’s Natural Foods, Big Carrot
Rating: 5/5

Paani

This lead-free recycled Italian glass has a vintage look to it with the opening and the shape of the bottle. During the summer I like to keep this one in the fridge as the water cools quicker than in my lifefactory bottle. In the wintertime it lives on my kitchen countertop and serves as my backup bottle. The top is a bit cumbersome to use and doesn’t seem all that secure so I don’t take it on the road with me.

Cost: $18.50 CAD, 500 ml / 16 oz
Available at: Grassroots
Rating: 3/5

Bkr

This snazzy number I picked to reside on my office desktop. It matches my tea mug almost perfectly. It’s the most expensive bottle of the bunch but looks so sleek and clean I couldn’t resist it. It also comes in a variety of other colours for the silicone, bpa free sleeve.

Cost: $34.00 CAD, 500 ml / 16 oz
Available at: Fresh Faced,  White Apothecary
Rating: 5/5


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3 Of The Best Glass Water Bottles

At this point in my life I have used lots of different water bottles. I used to love Siggs until I found out that they were lined with bpa. Then I switched to glass water bottles and here are my faves below.

Lifefactory
This is the bottle I like to keep on my night table. Read the full review here. It holds 650 ml or 22 oz so I can sip on it during the night if I feel thirsty. When I wake up in the morning I drink about a cup or two of water before going about my morning routine. This lovely bottle is dishwasher safe and the silicone sleeve can be removed if needed.

Cost: $20.99 CAD, 650 ml / 22 oz bottle
Available at: LifefactoryNoah’s Natural Foods, Big Carrot
Rating: 5/5

Paani

This lead-free recycled Italian glass has a vintage look to it with the opening and the shape of the bottle. During the summer I like to keep this one in the fridge as the water cools quicker than in my lifefactory bottle. In the wintertime it lives on my kitchen countertop and serves as my backup bottle. The top is a bit cumbersome to use and doesn’t seem all that secure so I don’t take it on the road with me.

Cost: $18.50 CAD, 500 ml / 16 oz
Available at: Grassroots
Rating: 3/5

Bkr

This snazzy number I picked to reside on my office desktop. It matches my tea mug almost perfectly. It’s the most expensive bottle of the bunch but looks so sleek and clean I couldn’t resist it. It also comes in a variety of other colours for the silicone, bpa free sleeve.

Cost: $34.00 CAD, 500 ml / 16 oz
Available at: Fresh Faced,  White Apothecary
Rating: 5/5


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January/February: Empties

AllThingsJill-oil_thumb.jpg
Image Source: All Things Jill

All things Jill, Zen Lotus Massage Oil:
I finished my bottle of this great stuff in mid-February.  I love the subtle smell!  As I mentioned in my full review of this massage/body oil, I think it’s best used in the summer months when I’m only looking for a light body oil. I would repurchase it when the weather gets warmer.
Cost: $11.95 CAD, 125 ml
Available at: All Things Jill, Grassroots & For other retail locations click here
Rating: 5/5

mvo-tr-cleanser

Image Source: Fresh Faced

Marie Veronique Organics, Treatment Cleanser:
I’m also pretty fond of this cleanser. Other cleansers for acne prone skin have left my skin dehydrated.
The ingredients in this cleanser are a balance of acne control & hydrating properties so this works wonders with my skin. Plus it smells great too! Once I finish my current cleanser I’m going to repurchase this one.
Cost: $38.00 CAD, 4oz/120ml
Available at: Fresh FacedLilou Organics
Rating: 5/5

mvo-tmist

Image Source: Fresh Faced

Marie Veronique Organics, Treatment Mist:
This treatment mist is on my Best of 2013 list. I’ve tried a lot of toner’s & so far this is the one I keep coming back to. I’m glad there isn’t any emu oil in this product! I’m not vegan but I like to stay away from animal by-products in my personal care products. I was hoping to repurchase this from Fresh Faced but they aren’t carrying it again until spring. 😦
Cost: $38.00 CAD, 4oz/120ml
Available at: Fresh Faced, Lilou Organics
Rating: 5/5

rahua-treatment_thumb.jpg

Image Source: Fresh Faced

Rahua, Finishing Treatment:
Another of my old faves, Rahua’s products just seem to work really well for my hair. This product is also on my Best of 2013 list. The star ingredients of Rahua, Palo Santo, & Quinoa are wonderful for nourishing, soothing & hydrating the hair follicles & scalp. My hair gets really lustrous when I use this stuff. I use it sparingly though, since it’s expensive. What I like to do is scrunch this into my hair after my shower & it holds my hair all day as if it were a hair gel!  I repurchase this whenever it’s on sale. Have gone through 2 jars in the last two years.
Cost: $52.00 CAD, 2fl.oz/60ml
Available at: Fresh Faced
Rating: 5/5

drmist

Image Source: Well.ca

Dr. Mist, Deodorant:
I had to stop using this for a time. For some reason it was drying out my skin.What I do now is roll some witch hazel on my armpits & let it dry. Then I put the Dr. Mist on. This technique is working so far & my skin is no longer getting dried out.  Dr. Mist is still the best deodorant I’ve ever used. I’ve already repurchased this.
Cost: $8.79 CAD, 50 ml
Available at: Well.ca, The Big Carrot, & most Rexall Pharma Plus locations.
Rating: 4/5


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One of a Kind Christmas Show 2013

ooak

Squee! I went to the Toronto One of a Kind Show (OOAK) yesterday (open now until Dec 8th). I know I know, its kinda geeky of me. But ever since my high school teacher introduced me to the OOAK I’ve loved it. The first time I attended it was held in the old Automotive Building at the CNE & it looked like a winter wonderland. I thought I’d died & gone to heaven. Since then, the show has of course gotten much larger & more commercial. I’ve come to realize that though the products sold here may be of higher price points, sometimes you do get what you pay for. And if you buy things of better quality & buy less often, you really are saving money. Plus I love supporting Canadian businesses so its all win win for me! To read more about the history of the OOAK Show click here.

And now without further ado, here’s my must visit booth list for the OOAK Show where I either bought or admired things in the booth. I’ve listed the booths by alphabetical order.

@ooak_toronto Marcelo glass artisan booth A20 beautiful #earrings #pendants #jewelley

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Marcelo Glass Artisan – Booth A20
Marcelo Escobar makes some lovely glass jewellry. He had earrings, pendants & bracelets on display. While I really loved the artistry I don’t need any new jewellry right now. But I will keep him in mind for the future! This is what I love about OOAK. Discovering Canadian artisans that I haven’t heard about.
From: Montreal, QC.

@noujica booth A38 @ooak_toronto lovely #scarf & #bags

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Noujica – Booth A38
They make lovely handmade scarfs, hats, belts, earrings & bags from materials such as organic cotton & recycled leather. I bought a lovely cloud scarf for myself at this booth.
From: Montreal, QC.

Tiffani
Image Source: One of a Kind Show

Tiffiani Sabri – Booth B09
I wasn’t really in the market for some new artwork. But I was walking by Tiffiani Sabri’s booth & one of her pieces caught my eye. I just couldn’t resist. I bought a small painting from her & am mighty glad I did!
From: Kitchener, ON

massage-oil
Image Source: All Things Jill

All Things Jill – Booth C21
Also mentioned by Adria Vasil in her post last year about OOAK. I stopped by the booth to sniff her lovely products & bought her massage oil in Zen Lotus which can also be used as a body oil. The oil also comes in Aegean Mint & Sunflower Citrus. Looking forward to trying it out!
From: Calgary, AB

@mandala_designs booth C04 @ooak_toronto #clothing #local

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Mandala Design – Booth C04
One of my fave clothing lines is made by local designer Mandy Armstrong. The booth looked pretty busy so I didn’t go in & try on anything. But I know I can easily get her clothes at Fresh Collective.
From: Toronto, ON.

ressac-R14
R14 purse
Image Source: Ressac

Ressac – Booth D48
Bought a gift for someone at this booth. I can’t say what or for whom obviously! LOL. But Ressac makes modern, edgy bags, wallets & other accessories from recycling punctured inner tubes. I love the clean, modern lines of their products & the different colour options. My next go to place when I want a new bag or wallet.
From: Sherbrooke, QC

@oauthentique oh la la Dead Sea mud soap! @ooak_toronto #soap #organic

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osoap
Picture of Olive & Grape Seed Soap & their Dead Sea Mud Soap
Image Source: Moi

Olive Authentique – Booth D20
Adria Vasil mentioned Olive Authentique in her post last year about OOAK. I took a quick look at their website & fell in love with the Dead Sea Mud Soap (which I purchased).  I also bought a bar of their Olive & Grape Seed Soap to try. They smell so good!
From: Lakefiled, QC

ppl-maudebl
Maude Blazer
Image Source: Paper People Clothing

Paper People Clothing – Booth F08
I discovered Paper People at Fresh Collective when I went to the Kensington boutique for the first time earlier this year. Turns out Adria Vasil also mentioned them in her post about OOAK last year! Local designer Jennifer Fukushima creates new clothing out of recycled materials & eco-friendly textiles. I love the style of her clothing line & of course that it’s eco-friendly. Plus they make everything right in my city!
From: Toronto, ON.


Dvorak Nuts & Chocolate – Booth G52
I just had to stop & see what the “better than sex” sign was about, it made me laugh. Turns out it’s their dark chocolate product. And yes, it is delicious! Though some might argue about the title & whether it is better than sex! LOL. I bought 3 packages. One for me & hubby, & the other two to give away.
From: Delta, BC

Diana Diamond Dress
Image Source: Desserts & Skirts

Desserts & Skirts – Booth H26
Another clothing line available at Fresh Collective.  Really, the gals at Fresh Collective know what’s what! Designer Nicole Boudreau also is a Toronto designer. Love their totally feminine line of dresses, tops, & skirts. I purchased a purple tunic/dress from this booth. Both Nicole & her friend were so friendly & funny too!
From: Toronto, ON.

Capelet_1-380x500
Corso Caplet
Image Source: Vespertine

Vespertine – Booth N30
Melanie Ferrara uses eco-friendly textiles to design her new line of “modern, conscious, effortlesss…& beautiful” clothing. I actually met Melanie when I ordered some custom pieces from her a year ago when she was making clothing under her Device Design line.  Love the new look Melanie!
Note: Quote taken from Vespertine’s About page.
From: Toronto, ON.

A50-lalouve
La Louve Dress
Image Source: Annie50

Annie50 – Booth O48
Also available at Fresh Collective, Annie50 is inspired by retro clothing styles but with a modern twist. I love the vibrant colours of their clothing & the unique way they put pieces together. You can choose from up to three colours for some styles in pants, dresses, skirts, tops, etc. I have their Sunset dress in black.
From: Montreal, QC

Blouse_Three_of_Joy_Skirt_Diego1
Image Source: Eve Gravel

Eve Gravel – Booth P44
”Contemporary…flirty & feminine” is a perfect way to describe Eve Gravel’s clothing. Eve herself was there at the booth & she was so nice. Her staff at the booth were also very helpful. I tried on a couple of things & ended up buying the Three of Joy blouse pictured above.
Note: Quote taken from Bio page on Eve Gravel website.
From: Montreal, QC

sf
Image Source: Studio Fresh

Studio Fresh – Booth S29
Okay I’ve talked about Studio Fresh before in my I heart Canadian-made clothing post. I’ve been back to their Danforth Avenue store a second time since my first visit & bought more clothing from them. Connie Meyer’s designs totally suit me. They are whimsical but with a modern & urban flair. The booth was so busy that I couldn’t hope to get into their fitting rooms. But I will definitely go back to visit the store again!
From: Toronto, ON

Ssw
Image Source: One of a Kind Show

Skinny Sweats – Booth R23
I really liked the idea of sweats that didn’t look all baggy & ugly but were still comfy. Skinny Sweats solves this dilemma with a woman’s body in mind. Their skinnies come in different styles & fabrics. I think these pants would be perfect for wearing with long boots in the winter! And in the warmer months they would be a good replacement for yoga pants. I tried on a couple of pairs of the skinny basic but they were way too long for petite ole me. The lady at the booth said they could do a custom pair to fit my height! Now that’s service. Not many designers would do that for you! I’m going to buy one in black & another in a different colour or fabric. I haven’t decided which colour yet.
From: Toronto, ON.

Toni_Desrosiers268156_809
Image Source: One of a Kind Show

Abeego – Booth V23
Abeego makes eco-friendly, reusable wraps & pouches as an alternative to the decidedly non-eco-friendly saran wrap.  Their wraps can be used to “Package cheese, form around produce, wrap lunch items, baked goods and more.” I personally use their flat wraps to freeze organic veggies I’ve chopped up.  That’s more eco-friendly than buying a plastic bag of frozen veggies from the supermarket. I bought a package of their different sized wraps & also two of their pouch type wraps. Best thing about Abeego’s products? They are washable & reusable. When they’re finally worn out they can be placed in your compost bin! You can also buy Abeego at the Grassroots store.
Note: Quote taken from One of a Kind Show Abeego Aristan page.
From: Victoria, BC

Well peeps, there’s my round up. I also saw a lot of art, sculpture, & other things that caught my eyes. Of course I can’t mention them all here! Otherwise my post would go on forever. Just get yourself to the  One of a Kind Show & have some fun!