Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

Plant Walk with Lisa Marie Holmes. Yarrow << Achillea millefolium >>

Plant Walk with Lisa Marie Holmes. Yarrow << Achillea millefolium >>

Thank you for joining today’s Plant Walk! I am so happy to have you along with us and can’t wait to dive into our plant of the week: Yarrow << Achillea millefolium >>

Let’s take a walk to meet the magical powerhouse and dear friend, Yarrow. This cooling & drying herb is a member of the daisy family. Native to North America, Europe, and Asia, it can be found in grasslands and open forests. Keep your eyes peeled for Yarrow along the roadside, or on your next walk around the neighbourhood. Yarrow is just about everywhere

This herb is an ancient medicine that has been used around the world for thousands of years. Traditionally it was used for magic in ancient China to receive divine answers from the heavens. Legend has it that Yarrow received its Latin name (Achillea millefolium) because the Greek warrior, Achilles, used Yarrow for protection. Achilles would bathe in Yarrow, believing it made him invincible during battle. This beauty was also used to heal the wounded soldiers.

As seen in this ancient tradition, one of Yarrow’s primary usages is for wound healing. Yarrow is a great ally to include in your first aid kit – as it is antiseptic and styptic, meaning it stops bleeding. 

However, wound healing is just one of the ways Yarrow can be used as it is an herb that is a polycrest, meaning it can help with a wide range of ailments, and has lots of actions and usages. For example: 

-The flowers can be used as a diaphoretic – aiding the body to allow a fever to run its course
-Mild bitter to help stimulate digestion 
-Antiviral making it a great remedy for a cold 
-As a cardiac tonic to reduce blood pressure 
-Antimicrobial used specifically for urinary tract infections
-Antispasmodic used to help females with menstrual cramps

Plant Walk with Lisa Marie Holmes. Yarrow &lt;&lt; Achillea millefolium &gt;&gt;

Plant Walk with Lisa Marie Holmes. Yarrow << Achillea millefolium >>

One of my favourite ways to use Yarrow is as a flower essence, which is an energetic medicine similar to homeopathy. Flower essences are used for mental and emotional health, and Yarrow can help one to set healthy energetic & emotional boundaries. As an herbal essence, Yarrow has been one of my dearest medicines, as I can pick up on others stress and emotions around me. It allows me to keep my own energy aligned by not take in the world around me, and keeping me grounded. If you are a highly sensitive person or an empath like me this medicine can work wonders. 

Making Yarrow tea: When using Yarrow, due to its bitter flavour, I like to pair it with some of my favourite aromatic herbs. An infusion recipe that I personally use when I am feeling a little bit under the weather is:

1tsp Peppermint
1tsp Elderflower
1tsp Yarrow 

To make this infusion you add the ingredients to two cups of hot water. Steep for 5-10 min, and enjoy! 

Due to its wide range of benefits Yarrow is an excellent herb to keep stocked in your medicine cabinet. It is a safe medicinal herb but should be avoided if you are pregnant or have a known allergy to the daisy family. As always there is far more to this herb than what I was able to share in this brief summary. If something that you read spoke to you then I encourage you to experiment with the medicine that calls to you, and to build a personal relationship with Yarrow. This information is meant to inform you on just how powerful Yarrow is – so that you can consider including it in your practice. It is my hope to empower and enlighten all on the different benefits of herbs, reminding you that medicine is all around ;). However, it is not meant to be used as medical advice, or prescription. 

Thank you for reading along I hope that you keep your eyes peeled for Yarrow next time you are on an outdoor adventure, and I can’t wait for next weeks journey.

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Sources: The Herbal Academy herbarium : Yarrow 

Hunter, Candace. “Yarrow Myth, History, Folklore, and Magic – The Practical Herbalist.” The Practical Herbalist. 20 June 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2015

yarrow with lisa marie holmes

Plant Walk: Health Benefits of the Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

The Health Benefits of Strawberries (Fragaria Vesca)
Also known as “Alpine Strawberry” and “Wild Strawberry”.

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Thank you for joining today’s Plant Walk. Today’s topic is about the amazing health benefits that both the Strawberry and its leafy green parts embody. Strawberries are part of the rose family and are native to North America. They dangle on the vine, are soft, and when crushed, have a very strong Strawberry scent. Once you finish this wee read and discover the nutritional benefits, you will quickly realize that a Strawberry’s sweetness extends far beyond it’s flavour. 

There are over 600 varieties of Strawberries and in Ontario and we are finally seeing some fresh local ruby coloured gems make a grand appearance in our gardens, the wild, and in our local markets and shops.

About 5 years ago, without prompting or influence, I started eating Strawberries whole - including the green leaves and small stems. I know that this might sound odd as usually we are served Strawberries with the green parts cut away but intuitively I felt like those leafy greens contained medicinal benefits. Just recently, I discovered what those benefits are and I am so excited to share them with you.

BOTH the red juicy fruit of the Strawberry and its green leafy parts are packed full with medicinal benefits and the flavour is SWEET to boot! Because the fun medicinal facts about Strawberries are extensive, I have compacted and made dot jot notes to summarize my favourite tidbits of information that I think you will find most interesting.

About the StrawBERRY:
(Actually fun fact - the Strawberry isn’t actually a typical berry!)

  1. Strawberries are packed full of Vitamin C. In a cup of berries you can get ~100 milligrams which is more than the recommended daily allowance for an average adult! The Canadian Vitamin C RDA (recommended daily allowance) currently stands at 75-90 mg/day.

  2. Strawberries are low on the glycemic index (40) making them a good food choice for diabetics.

  3. Strawberries contain anthocyanins which is a flavonoid known to reduce the risk of heart disease. Anthocyanins are also what gives the berries their beautiful rich red colouring. To gain the full benefit from the anthocyanins, make sure that the Strawberries are fully ripe and red when you consume them.

  4. Strawberries contain polyphenols which means that they may also be helpful for lowering blood pressure.

  5. Strawberries also contain folic acid, anti-oxidants, ellagic acid, and kaempferol which have been shown to be anti-cancer protectants.

  6. Strawberries also contain quercetin which is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, fighter of free radicals, and has many more delicious health super powers.

Okay, so those are some amazing quick Strawberry fun health facts for you. Clearly these ruby coloured gems pack a big punch in the medicinal realm but what about their leaves? Well, you will definitely want to start eating or infusing the leaves once you read on!


Beyond the Berry - The Green Leaves: 
The green leafy parts of a Strawberry carry a LOT of medicinal benefits to them too so don’t cut them out next time you enjoy the fruit. The leaves are practically flavourless but the slight taste you may experience is a bitter one (which isn’t so bitter after-all :P ). We all know that bitter foods are great for liver health and good for digestion. The leaves are also astringent, tonifying and have diuretic properties which is great for the lymphatic system. They are also known to help prevent night sweats and are good for eczema if taken internally and used as a wash. Furthermore, they contain caffeic acid (not caffeine) which has been shown to reduce arthritis symptoms and inflammation of the joints. Lastly, the leaves also contain and provide trace minerals such as iron, calcium and more vitamin C (YUM!). 

If you aren’t keen on eating the Strawberry whole like I do, green parts and all, you can actually remove the green leaves and make a wonderful nutritional herbal infusion with them.

How To Make An Infusion:
To make a Strawberry leaf infusion and utilize the benefits of this powerhouse Plant, use freshly picked or dried Strawberry leaves. Add a heaping teaspoon of dried leaves into a cup of hot water or 4 or 5 fresh leaves, then let steep for 10-15 minutes, strain and enjoy.

Thank you for joining my first online Plant Walk. I hope you enjoyed the flavour of the week ;)
Please remember that there is much more to the Plants discussed in this Plant Walk series than can summarize in my wee articles. It is impossible for me to epitomize the depth that each Herb embodies so if a Plant that we come across resonates with you, I encourage you to personally dive deeper and establish a stronger spiritual connection with that Herb yourself and/or with a trained professional. This series is meant to uplift and empower so please take it lightly and do NOT use the information provided as a diagnostic tool or medical advice. Thank you for your understanding.

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Strawberries
Source: Jo Franck, Master Herbalist.

Let's Share a Cuppa and Chat: What is an "Herbalist"?

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Let’s share a cuppa and chat tea🍵.

As a registered herbalist, I get a lot of interesting head twists and questions about herbalism and what exactly it means to be an herbalist. Well the dictionary defines it as: “a person who practices healing by the use of herbs.” This is a pretty accurate and fair general definition of the term; However to me, being an herbalist means a wee bit more 🙂.

When studying the medicinal benefits of a plant, there is a lot of science, pharmacology, chemistry, and hard knowledge that goes into understanding the effects that plant has. It is really cool and complicated and overwhelming at times but anyone can pick up a book and learn about the properties of an herb. For me, I believe that the practice of herbalism requires much more << heart >>.

Developing and nurturing a deep sense of connection and intuition with the botanicals that we use as medicine is where the fun begins! As plants are holistic in nature (humans are too!) a beautiful relationship exists between us and the plant community. In fact, we can learn a lot from out plant allies if we just take the time to sit, connect, watch, and listen to them.

Personally, I see plants as our allies, my friends, and as spiritual beings. This may sound odd or different to some of the followers joining my online community, but that’s ok. The more you learn, the less unknown it will become 😉.

Herbalism is an ancient healing modality that has survived the last 5000+ years. It has become ingrained in every culture under the sun and has impacted our lives more than most of us are even aware. As much as this profession has ancient roots, it continues to persist in this day and age, more than most of us probably realize, with both power and grace. 

When I was in my late teens I dated a German guy. His oma would take me through her garden and sing to her plants every morning and every evening. She told me that she learnt this practice from her grandparents and over the years she could tell that her gardens grew heartier and more abundant when she greeted them and addressed them as beings, not just as “things”. An old wives tale? Well, not really that old, eh? Our elders are wise and tend to be more connected than most of us now. We have much to learn from our elders and ancestors.

As an herbalist, I have the honour to connect with the earth, it’s rhythms, and learn more than what a textbook can teach us. It truly is a beautiful profession and I do not take this “career” for granted. More on this during our next cuppa.

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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WHY Fusion Mineral Paint?

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Enchanted Echinacea

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Enchanted Echinacea

WHY FUSION MINERAL PAINT?

Recently I have been posting a lot about a paint line that Jennylyn, the CEO of Fusion Mineral Paint, and I created. Inspired by the Herbals that I work with in my Botanical Apothecary, we are overJOYed with this collaboration and the creation of the Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Paint Collection.

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Divine Lavender

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Divine Lavender

This collaboration has been an incredible experience because I have been able to bridge my passion for a << Healthy Home >> which includes our body as well as the structure of the home that we live in, with my personal creative flair for interior and exterior design. How, you ask? Well, Fusion Mineral Paint is proud to produce a VOC free, non-toxic, lead free, ammonia and formaldehyde free paint. Ah Ha! And with that we have a harmonious **fusion** (pun intended).

Have you ever heard of VOCs? VOC stands for: Volatile Organic Compounds. I first learnt about VOCs in medical school as they have been shown to be harmful to our health and act as a possible contributing factor to headaches, sinus and throat irritation, liver and kidney damage, and even cancer. The second time I heard about them was from my husband who is in the construction industry. Talk of harmful VOCs is strongly recognized within his profession as VOCs are often found in paints, glues, air fresheners, cleaning products, etc…

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Sacred Sage

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Sacred Sage

Okay so why Fusion Mineral Paint? Well seeing that my priority is to protect our << Home >> I am always ensuring that the products I bring into my family’s home supports my goals. Beyond the amazing quality that Fusion upholds, Jennylyn and I had so much fun dreaming up the most beautiful colour palette. It was such a natural and beautiful joint venture and as you can see in my previous Facebook & Instagram posts, there is a story behind every colour and every Herb.

I am relatively new to the DIY scene but my appreciation for all things beautiful was really nurtured during season one of Holmes & Holmes, where for the first time in my life, I had so much fun learning what it takes to make a home beautiful and, of course, healthy. To learn more about the story behind this Herbal inspired paint line, please click here.

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Goddess Ashwagandha

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Goddess Ashwagandha

I love seeing everyone’s beautiful creations with these grounding, neutral, earth tone colours. Please keep posting and tagging me so that I can continue to follow along and see the beauty that you create. Thank you for inviting me into your << healthy home >>.

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Twilight Geranium

Lisa Marie Holmes Signature Collection: Twilight Geranium

National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019

“Red Roads Protection”

“Red Roads Protection”

All anyone wants in this lifetime is to be heard and acknowledged. Unfortunately, for many, this is not a reality. In your own life, whose voices have more weight than others? Whose influences do you allow to shape your opinion? In the space that you fill on Mother Earth, do you make room for different people with different stories to join and walk with you? Are you open to listening to the people who have been ignored and beyond that, do you make an effort to amplify their voices?

Today is National Indigenous People’s Day in Canada. How do you celebrate this powerful culture rich in history, tradition, and spirit? I honour the land that I stand on with a prayer and ceremony. I thank my sisters and brothers from the Métis and First Nations communities for enlightening me and for sharing their stories with me. Stories of struggle, passion, pain, purpose, truth, fear, and love. I hear you. I love you. I see you. I celebrate you. You matter.

There is so much more that we can do to amplify these voices and to make more space for this very special and stunningly beautiful culture. Tears well up in my eyes as I write these words as I know that I am not perfect, I have been ignorant, I have been blind. However, I now can’t un-see what I have seen. I cannot un-know what I now know. We all have blind spots but I think there are are lessons missed when we don’t check them so let’s open our hearts and ears and minds. Let us shed the veil.

“7th Fire - Awakening After The Great Sleep”

“7th Fire - Awakening After The Great Sleep”

All Featured Artwork is Created by: LauraLee K. Harris - Sioux, Oji-Cree, Salteaux, Micmah, Chipewyan, Montagnais, Ojibwa, Assiniboine First Nations.
To purchase view and her art, please click on this link: http://www.lauraleekharris.com/gallery.php?ser=avail&fbclid=IwAR1Kgj-aQDYnQneRakpPBGLwEmkD-maX8WWZc4ddNwMd6BmdWA7mYcEyvEE


Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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The Caymen Island's Caribbean Club

This is the view from our balcony. Every night we had a perfect view of the sunset.

This is the view from our balcony. Every night we had a perfect view of the sunset.

The Caymen Islands
This January Michael and I joined our friends for a spontaneous 4 day trip in the Caymen Islands and could have stayed forever. The island is growing at a very fast rate but it has in no way lost it’s special island charm. 
The direct flight from Toronto to Grand Caymen is a simple and quick 4 hour flight. Before we knew it we had left -30 degrees weather in Toronto and had arrived in paradise at a comfortable +28 degrees. 

Accommodations
We chose the beautiful Caribbean Club Boutique Resident Hotel to accommodate us for our quick getaway and we were not disappointed.  The hotel is located a quick 7-10 minute drive from the airport, right on the famous 7 mile beach. 

morning mimosas!

morning mimosas!

The Caribbean Club is truly a home-away-from-home and unique in its design.  This boutique resident hotel is pure class and every detail has been polished to perfection.  To say that this is simply a hotel does not give it justice as the Caribbean Club combines everything you need from a hotel with the added comforts and amenities of home that are usually missing in your standard hotel room.

What really struck me while we were there was the unique feeling that we didn’t feel rushed to leave our suite. You know the feeling you get when you stay at a standard hotel room, even the nicest ones, and you think “ok, where to next?” because you don’t want to linger in your hotel room for too long? This hotel offered a completely different experience - we didn’t want to leave! 

Our suite was an experience in and of itself and we never once felt ‘stuck’ or separated from the rest of our group since we were sharing the same suite with them. There was really no reason to feel rushed to leave the room because it was so comfortable, had the views, the food, the living room, the dining room, the balcony, and our friends! I thought that this would be an ideal place to return to when our own family grows and we have kids running around.

Within the one suite each couple had their own bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, sliding glass doors with access to their own sections of the balcony, wall to wall windows with a ton of natural light, and plenty of room to spare. There was so much space we never once felt like it was too close for comfort. It was the first time I have traveled with friends and shared a suite like that. Usually each couple gets their own room and the group gets divided up but this was more like a home… just better!

A Traveling Celiac
From a celiacs perspective, traveling and having access to my own kitchen is invaluable.  I have traveled to many countries and although I do my best to do my homework and communicate my gluten free needs when I dine out, nothing trumps having a kitchen of my own to make my culturally inspired gluten free meals in. Having the option to cook for myself if I don’t feel safe dining out gives me peace of mind and that is something worth paying top dollar for. 

Click here to see my top 5 favourite tricks for traveling celiacs!

gluten free menu

Restaurant Dining
Beyond the kitchen in the suite, there is an on-site top class Italian restaurant called Luca. Luca offers authentic Italian food with an array of options for vegetarians and meat eaters alike and they also provided me with an exclusive GLUTEN FREE MENU!

This is a dream for every celiac. Not only are they aware of what gluten free means, they actually have a whole separate menu for us and ensure that when you tell them that you are a celiac they consult with the head-chef and cook everything separately with extra caution regarding cross-contamination.  We were also told that if you let the restaurant know of your celiac disease in advance when booking the reservation, they will prepare you a gluten free dessert free of cross-contamination. Bonus!

Brunch
On Sundays Luca offers a first class brunch. People from all over the island line up to dine and enjoy the delicious buffet brunch. The restaurant makes up for the fact that there is a line by pouring everyone complimentary champagne while they wait. I can’t complain about that!

Caribbean Club Highhlights:
Every home amenity and detail was thought of.

The Caribbean Club has won some impressive awards this 2019.

The Caribbean Club has won some impressive awards this 2019.

- There is a fully stocked kitchen in every room with top quality appliances. I am talking dishwasher, fridge, oven and stove top, blender, dish ware, Tupperware for storage, glassware, food processor, cookware, etc… If you need it they’ve provided it.
- Laundry machines.
- Comfortable beds and pillows (which is hard to find when traveling, especially when sleeping next to a 6’4, 210lb man.)
- The balconies are expansive with incredible patio furniture. The sun bathing chairs were professionally dressed with really comfortable padding & decorated with a beautiful crisp white Caribbean Club sheet. 
- The hotel is west facing so every night we parked our butts on our balcony and watched the sun-set over the expansive horizon of turquoise water and white sand beaches.
- The water is nice and calm so swimming or floating around on floaties is no problem.
- Friendly staff.
- The boutique experience ensured that the beach was never overly packed and there were always plenty of beach chairs always available.
- Plenty of privacy.
- Fully serviced beach front with a delicious cocktail and hors d'oeuvres menu.
- Infinity pool - this was my first experience playing in an infinity pool and the views were spectacular.
- There is a grocery store & alcohol shop directly across the street from the hotel. There is also a market (Camana Bay) 1.1 km away.
- The Caribbean Club has been awarded 3 prestigious awards on Trip Advisor 2019 for
1- Top 25 Small Hotel in the Caribbean.
2- Top 25 Luxury Hotel in the Caribbean.
3- Top 25 Hotel for Family

Thank you to everyone who made our stay at the Caribbean Club Boutique Resident Hotel so very special. Michael and I made memories that will last a life time. We cannot wait to return, hopefully sooner than later! A special thank you must be made to our dear friend Mia Parres for the incredible hotel suggestion. See you in the sun again soon!

Photo Gallery:

Thanks for following along on our quick 4 day journey to the Caymen Islands!

xoxo Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Michael and Lisa Marie Holmes' Wedding Photos

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It has been a year and a half since Michael and I said “I do” in August, 2017. Since our wedding was filmed and aired on the DIY Network USA and HGTV Canada, we had to sit on our engagement and wedding photo albums for a while so that we didn’t reveal too many details before the show was released.

Now that it has aired, it is with much anticipated joy that I share with you some of our most cherished moments from our wedding day captured on film. Even my own family and wedding parties haven’t seen all of the photos yet! Trust me, it wasn’t easy keeping these private for so long but it was definitely worth the wait.

Our Private Blue Mountain Outdoor Wedding

The Blue Mountain region of Ontario has a very special place in my heart. I have been coming here since I was 19 to visit my family as my parents moved here in 2007. The Blue Mountain region offers so much more than the famous "Blue Mountain Ski Resort.” In this beautiful and quaint area of Ontario there is a rich cultural history as this is the original land of the Pétun (Tobacco) & Wyandot (or Wendat) people.

With rolling hills sculpting the land alongside the shores of the Georgian Bay water, hiking trails that cut through dense and untouched Canadian forests, and little communities scattered along highway 26 full of artists and artisans, there is much to revel in. The air smells different up here, more fresh and clean with the soft scents of pine and cedar.

One thing I always knew for certain was that when I married the love of my life, I wanted to do it outside, barefoot, connected to the land, and surrounded by nature and all of 4 elements (earth, water, air, and fire). This land is very special to me and I am thankful that I was able to be married in this beautiful region that I now call home.

August 11, 2017. The Dress Rehearsal:


August 12, 2017. Wedding Day: Team Bride Getting Ready.


August 12, 2017. Wedding Day: Team Groom Getting Ready.


August 12, 2017. Wedding Day: Ceremony and Reception.


Our Official Wedding Day Video:

Michael and I had set an intention for our wedding. We wanted the focus of our wedding to be on more than just the two of us; we wanted to celebrate and throw a party in the name of love, for everyone in our lives, and that is exactly what we accomplished. In so doing, we received more love than we could have ever expected or anticipated. It’s an amazing feeling being on the receiving end of so much love and we continue to feel that same dedication from our friends and family to this day.

Thank you so much to everyone who was involved in making Michael’s and my wedding so very special. From the hair and makeup artists, to the film crew, to the friends that are family and the family that are friends, and to everyone in between who has supported our relationship from the very beginning, THANK YOU! We could not be where are are today without your unwavering love, kindness, support, and guidance.

xoxo Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Our Icelandic Engagement Photoshoot

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Engagement Photos In Iceland

Michael proposed to me on November 29, 2015. We followed that with engagement photos taken in Iceland August, 2016. We chose Iceland for our engagement photo shoot for several different reasons:
1- We thought that we would secretly elope first before having a formal Canadian ceremony; however, naïvely, neither one of us realized the amount of paperwork that needed to be done before we left so we decided that an engagement photo shoot would be a great way to make our trip extra special!
2- Michael and I wanted our engagement photos to be a little unconventional and different from the norm. Iceland is without a doubt one of the most rugged and breathtaking countries that I have ever been to. We thought that having Iceland’s dramatic landscape as the background of our engagement photos would help tell a tale of both love and adventure.
3- Neither Michael nor I had been to Iceland before but Michael’s ancestry can be traced back to the Vikings. Iceland is a Nordic country so we thought it would be really cool to explore some of the historical roots from his father’s side. Furthermore, as someone with a passion for healthy traveling, I was drawn to this country for its amazing reputation for hydrotherapy (my favourite!!). We spent 10 days soaking in beautifully preserved hot springs, cold springs, and hiking through the mountains. (side note - If you ever consider visiting Iceland, the country of fire and ice, please do so with a gentle foot and be aware of your environmental impact as this is a country that does everything it can to preserve its wildness and integrity.)

Our friend Jon staying hydrated as we spent 12 hours driving around Iceland searching for the perfect backdrop to our photos.

Our friend Jon staying hydrated as we spent 12 hours driving around Iceland searching for the perfect backdrop to our photos.

By complete coincidence I found one of Iceland’s most renowned photographers and we spent the day touring through glaciers, mountains, volcanoes, beaches, and flat lands with the very talented Jon Gudmundsson. It was an extraordinary experience touring through Iceland’s gorgeous vistas and we had the added benefit of getting a private tour with our photographer who is a local Icelander.


Homemade video of our 10 days in Iceland:

Video made by: ME! Watch until the very end, that is my favourite part ;)
These are some of our favourite moments from our trip to Iceland.


Our engagement photo gallery:


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Iceland will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was an honour traveling to this magical island country and doing it for the first time with my fiancé. Iceland for me will be remembered as a special trip for so many different reasons. It was the first time that Michael and I traveled and lived out of a car for 4 days together in a little Suzuki that he was literally too big for. He wasn’t able to stretch his legs out for 3 consecutive nights haha. It was spontaneous because we toured around the golden circle with no schedule or agenda. Everything we did was on a whim and as a result we created the best and most unexpected memories. We went sea angling, whale watching, hot spring hopping, ate authentic Icelandic cuisine, swam in the ocean, made friends with some locals, and hiked day and night (because you can do that when the sun doesn’t set in August). Lastly, taking our engagement photos with the beautiful Icelandic landscape in the background is so special as it marks the beginning of our lives together; full of adventure and love.

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xoxo
Sending love & light,
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Bridal Bliss or Nightmare?

Hindsight is 20/20. Now that I have lived through the planning my own wedding and have been a part of subsequent friend’s and family members’ weddings, I have learnt a lot over the last year and a half. Seeing how other people behave, prepare, and execute wedding duties has taught me a lot about weddings, especially my own. I can now reflect back upon my own wedding day and share some insight into what I would have done differently. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy every second of mine and Michael’s (or Mike Jr. as you may know him as) special day but there are always lessons learnt in everything and I want to share those with all of you.

Growing up I was never the girl dreaming about her future wedding day. I knew I wanted to get married but the logistics of the wedding itself was something that I didn’t get invested in. I had heard horror stories from other people over the years about how the bride turns into a hot mess (“bridezilla”), or family members fight, friendships becoming ruined, etc… and it really stressed me out. This fear of the “crazy” that weddings can evoke in people had a profound impact on me and made me terrified for my own wedding day as I didn’t want to become the next bridal disaster story. Often times, this one day gets built up so much that, in my personal opinion, people end up placing too much pressure and expectation on it which only leaves room for disappointment.
Leading up to, and including the wedding day, I tried my best to keep it as simple as possible. I wanted to be as cool as a cucumber - but, to be perfectly honest, in doing so I think I slightly minimized myself and the occasion and over-compensated in the opposite direction. By being so acutely aware of everyone else’s needs, I found myself dismissing my own.

As much as I still believe in my original philosophy of making every day as important as a wedding day, I think I could have basked in the bridal bliss role a little more fully and guilt free.

If you are someone like me who is unsure of how to find a healthy balance between bridal bliss and bridal nightmare, here are my biggest tips to future brides and grooms:

1- Live it up - Don’t be afraid to go into full on bride and groom role, or groom and groom, or bride and bride. If you let other people’s judgements hold you back from diving into your dream wedding day, you will quickly realize that you cannot make everyone happy and the only thing that matters on your wedding day is you and your partner - the rest becomes fluff. I discovered that if someone is offended or criticizes you for asking for something simple, then they aren’t really celebrating you after all and they are not deserving to be there. However, please keep in mind that there is a fine balance between dismissing your own needs and becoming self-centred and overly demanding (cough *bridezilla* cough). Essentially, don’t let the culture of weddings change you. Follow your heart and do what serves you and your partner above all else.

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2- Veils - Based off of point number 1 - If I could go back in time, I would have worn a veil. In an effort to play the bride card down, I didn’t wear a veil. At the time I didn’t quite understand the concept and symbolism of a veil however, after seeing a few of my friends get married wearing them it really grew up me quickly. I now appreciate the value of a veil from a bridal fashion statement perspective and I think that it adds a nice delicate touch. And seriously, when will you ever again get the chance to wear a veil again in this lifetime!? Don’t be afraid!

3- Vows - Michael and I read beautiful vows that were full of truth, love, and words that resonated with us. However, they were not our own. If I could go back in time I would have written my own vows and asked Michael to do the same. We didn’t do that mostly because we didn’t know how. We found it difficult to put into words the love we feel for each other, and not having an older sister or someone to guide the way for me left many questions unanswered. We made the best choices we could in the moment; however, after experiencing the effects of personalized vows at subsequent weddings, Michael and I both said we wished that we had of written our own. Luckily for me, on our 1 year anniversary, Michael gifted me vows that he wrote by hand, so I ended up getting them after all :)

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4 - Hire a professional wedding planner for the day of the wedding - After Michael proposed to me my mom quickly volunteered herself to be our wedding planner. This was gratefully accepted as it saved us a lot of money by not having to hire an official wedding planner. Click here to read my other 5 tips on how we saved money! However, come the actual wedding day, my mom was in a frenzy. She was super stressed out about the execution of everything, set up, tables, etc… and wasn’t able to enjoy the day of the wedding with me, the bride! She also didn’t have as much time on the day to dedicate to herself for hair, makeup, etc… Poor thing. My mom had the best of intentions but for everyone’s sake, hiring a professional wedding planner at least for the day of, would have been great for everyone’s sanity. Therefore, as much as I encourage you to save money by being smart (here are my top 5 tips to save big money) I highly recommend hiring a professional wedding planner just for the day of the wedding so that those tiny details such as design, chair set up, etc… can be delegated.

5- Pre-made photographer shot list - This is probably one of my biggest and most important tips. Again, without someone giving me advice on how to organize the photographers, (I naively assumed that they would know what to do and guide us effectively on the day of), I didn’t end up getting as many varied group shots with friends and family as I would have liked. Had I given a shot list to my photographers outlining every photo, I would now have a lot more precious moments captured with different group from mine and Michael’s lives.

These are examples of 5 lessons that Michael and I learnt leading up to and including our wedding day. I hope that these insights help shine light on a few things to consider when you or a loved one is planning a wedding and may have feelings of bashfulness like I did.

xoxo Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes

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The Benefits Of Grounding/Earthing

I’ve had some people ask me lately to discuss grounding techniques and why I like being barefoot outside. 🌱👣
Grounding, also known as “earthing” is a really cool phenomenon that takes place between humans and the earth. I think, from a healing perspective, grounding should be used daily if possible. There is a vast supply of electrons on the surface of the earth that we once had an intimate connection with; however with the evolution of modern lifestyles, we have created a physical separation and barriers between us and the earth itself. As a result of fashion and modern living trends we spend less time connecting because of the daily use of shoes, we walk around concrete jungles, and live in high rise buildings 🏙. Science is beginning to prove that this literal disconnect from the earth is having physiological impacts on our health and can create an internal “static”. Grounding is the process of making skin contact with the earth and I’ve been told that as little as 15 minutes of physical connection can have substantial improvements on ones health. The exchange of ions by connecting barefoot to the earth has been shown to help in chronic disease, insomnia, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, inflammation, pain, and cardiovascular disease. Also, from a mind-body connection perspective I personally find grounding useful in becoming more present. With so many of us living with our heads in the clouds, making a physical connection to the earth can help mentally and emotionally ground us as well.

I know this may be a different cultural norm in North America and for that reason I think I would get along just fine in Australia and New Zealand as they walk around barefoot all day every day - even to do their grocery shopping! I think it’s brilliant. Mike Holmes Jr., is it time to go down unda !? 👣

I urge you to consider how much time you spend out doors and make a conscious effort to make a physical connect to the earth. Get your children playing in a safe area around the yard. If we can start teaching children at a young age to make a connection with the earth I think it will have a positive impact on their immune systems, overall health, and also their environmental footprint as they will develop an appreciation for the planet and the flow of energy.

If you suffer from insomnia, try walking around barefoot before bed! I know it has worked for some close friends of mine, and I hope it helps you too.

xoxo Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes

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