Marilyn – Marilyn’s Skincare Journey (Limelife skincare products)
I never thought of myself as a sales person or someone who would run a business. I struggled for all of my teen and adult life with acne. No product would stop my skin from having painful breakouts. Then a friend introduced me to Limelife. It’s a harsh chemical free, paraben free skincare line made with many organic ingredients. I didn’t think it would do anything for my skin, but I thought I’d give it a try. It’s done wonders for my skin that chemicals and pharmaceuticals couldn’t. So now I share these products with others who are amazed with their results too. I’ve never been a huge makeup user, but I have dabbled with their makeup products and also love them. Check out my website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I stand behind all these products!
Nicholas – UNDR for Men in Kingston, ON. It is a small business completely dedicated to making the man as cosmetically complete as possible. Awesome boxers, shaving, beard grooming, apparel, cologne, and many more options. It’s truly great and the place I go to when I need to get my dad something. Click here to visit their website to shop online (shipping is free in Canada & US for orders over $75) Instagram: @undrformen
Steph – Gratefully Restored. Since this all started in March, I have had no escape from my family. There is always someone here. It feels noisy in my brain, and my little DIY projects have helped me zone out. My cousin introduced me to a magical paint that I have become an unpaid spokesperson for: Fusion Mineral. I am obsessed. You can paint ANYTHING. The closest retailer for us is located in Oakville. I was excited to support a small local business, and they acted as though I was a nuisance, and they were doing me a favour. I did a little digging and found a company located in Baden ON. They have the most amazing customer service and super quick shipping! My orders have arrived with personal touches and little thank you notes. https://gratefullyrestored.ca/ Instagram: @gratefullyrestored.
Ms. Devine – 94 Take the Cake Bakery Inc. It is hard to select just one small business. My favourite place and go-to is 94 Take the Cake Bakery Inc. It is the neatest little coffee house tucked away on a residential street in Okotoks, AB. The entire coffee house looks like you have walked into a comic book. Furniture blends in with the walls; an ode to the “Take on Me” music video by a-ha!. They have the freshest baked goods, trendy and interesting concoctions in their menu and they have delicious coffee and lattes. If you’re ever visiting Calgary, it’s worth the drive to beautiful Okotoks. You can also check them out on Instagram: @94takethecake.
Amanda – I love to eat so mine are mostly about food.
Mark’s Pizza or @marks_pizzas – if you live on the East East-side of Toronto, one of the best pizzas you will find is at Mark’s Pizza. Special weekly menus announced on Tuesdays include a few weekly staples. [Editor’s note: Coincidentally, Amanda was not aware that several of the writers on Willowjak are very good friends with Mark and his family so we ALL share this recommendation for the BEST pizza you’ll ever have! -Stacey] He shares the building space with:
Four Sweets Cookies or @foursweetscookies – Baked goods on advanced order with some selection in the store when you pick up your ‘za in case you decide you also need something sweet after the pizza party!
Nunu Ethiopian Restaurant or @nunu fusion – Meat lovers and veggie lovers can have their fill! They are doing takeout and until I am able to get back to Toronto I will dream of hitting this restaurant once again and I want them to stay opened until next year.
Delysee or @delyseestoronto – Desserts are beautiful to look at and delicious enough to eat in one sitting. Fred, the owner, offers up the best customer service and a FLAT delivery fee of $5.00 in the GTA. (This is unheard of, but immensely helpful!)
Real Talk Candles or @realtalkcandles – How can I not support a small business who makes candles called West Indian Mother that smell like, “Who cyaah hear muss feel!” If you have Caribbean parents, you will appreciate the sayings and the scents!
Allie – Farmer Jacks — Local (Burlington, ON) family-owned company that has really expanded their offerings during the pandemic to respond to community needs. Online fresh food ordering with delivery included.
Can Power Electric — Close friend’s husband is the owner. Electrician in Burlington, ON. Just had 10 year anniversary! Big and small jobs. Top quality work. Owner—Mike Serravalle.
Liza – Harmony – I’ve really been liking this shop, mostly because of their fun feminist vibe. Beautiful jewelry, funny mugs and perfect clothing. They are based out of Waterloo and offer online shipping and curb side pickup. Instagram: @harmony.online
Nelumbo – I’ve also really like this shop based out of Quebec. They make beautiful jewelry pieces and a portion of each purchase goes to sending girls to school in India. I’ve ordered rings from here and love them so much! Instagram: @nelumbo.ca
Kind Karma – This is a local Toronto business that employs at risk homeless youth to make beautiful jewelry pieces. Instagram: @kindkarmaco
Stacey – Archibald’s Estate Winery – I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t continue to promote my favourite business. I have had almost 20 years of love for their award winning apple wines that has turned to a hard-core addiction (that I don’t partake in nearly as often as I talk about it) for their hard ciders. Run by a huge-hearted local family in North Bowmanville and set on a stunning orchard where you can pick-your-own apples in the fall, their market is open to the public and they have done everything they can since the start of the pandemic to pivot and make it easy for shoppers; offering local delivery at your door, shipping across the country, curb-side pick-up and all with a smile. Please consider them for your Christmas shopping – they make beautiful gift baskets as well and their market store has some perfect gift items. Say hi to Sandy and Fred for me! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArchibaldsWinery or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/archibaldswinery/
The Willow Branch in Bowmanville, ON – I only just discovered this little flower and gift shop at the beginning of the lockdown, when I stumbled across their Instagram account. Offering tulip porch drop-offs, it was easy to see that the two sisters running this lovely shop were hustling to survive through the changes that were threatening to shut them down with restrictions. They pivoted and ramped up their social media; offering weekly subscription floral bouquets delivered to your door and doing regular walk-throughs on video in their shop so you could see every single item that they had for sale that were available for delivery and curbside pick-up. This is one of those treasured discoveries where you walk in the front door and are thrilled to realize there are more rooms in the back filled with specialty items and quaint items that suit everyone you are buying for. These women are as kind and welcoming as you’ll find, so please check them out while we still have the freedom to do in-store shopping (they are VERY adherent to COVID rules and the shop feels very safe). Find them on Facebook (click here) or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewillowbranch_bowmanville
Jacqui Devine, Independent Scentsy Consultant – I know that a lot of you already have your favourite vendor, but if you have been looking for one, my cousin is the best! That might be because she’s an addict herself and can rhyme off perfect descriptions of every scent by nose-memory and because she likely has it burning in her wax warmer at home. Reach out if you are in the Durham Region and know that you are supporting someone who works her tail off and who is part of this Willowjak-family, as a PSW to people with developmental disabilities as well. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacquidevinescents
Deb – I love Gather in Bowmanville. I have been ordering via her social media since the beginning of the lockdowns. In the beginning before curbside got established, she even delivered. They are on Insta as @gatherthegoodthings. They are big supporters of area crafters and creators in the shop…especially women.
The Snug, for takeout food. They have done a fabulous job of keeping everyone’s spirits up and having amazing meal specials, again, right from the get-go of this pandemic. They also offer a great selection of their pub faves frozen. One of the pioneers of dealing with the pandemic as a restaurant. They are on Facebook as Walsh’s Snug.
Michelle S-B – Village Laine Yarn Cafe in Pickering Village – I took up knitting in the very beginning of this year and these folks have been amazing! From zoom sessions, to texting videos on techniques, to helping choose the best yarn and needles for a project, and then shipping the purchase, they are literally the best! Their subscription boxes are amazing too — you’ll love them, I know it! Instagram: @village_laine_yarn_cafe or Facebook: facebook.com/villagelaineyarncafe or www.villagelaine.com
Fancy – I recently found Urban Flora and I love her site. She makes the most beautiful smudges; she combines the sage with other herbs like rosemary or lavender. I’ve only bought for myself but they would make a lovely gift. She has other items available such as crystals, jewelry and journals. Her website: https://urbanfloratx.com/collections/all?page=2 or IG: @urbanfloratx (she has videos demonstrating how to properly smudge in the house).
Lauren – Tatu Rafiki – A Tanzania-based company. Three Deaf Tailors who stitch beautiful Kitenge products using locally-sold fabrics. They ship globally. They up-cycle, their products are stunning and well made, they often donate their products to those in need and spread a lot of love. https://www.instagram.com/taturafiki/ or find them on facebook.
I’m trying my best to pay it forward by dealing hope and sharing stories & tips on caregiving and how to survive hard things. I blog a lot about single parenting my adult twin sons who both have autism, and the challenges we face in surviving the everyday challenges and planning for a future full of unknowns.