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One of the tricky things about making your own skincare products is sourcing the ingredients.

When I started this "hobby", nearly a decade ago, I lived in a small Maine city with an excellent health food store that stocked everything I needed to get started with making soap and body care products. I could buy a little bit of this, a little bit of that. I didn't have to pay for shipping.

I could experiment and play with this hobby without a huge financial investment.

As I become more interested and invested in making my own skincare products, selling some of my soap and teaching others, I started ordering larger quantities from online suppliers.

When I was living in the United States I was able to access the many online stores and took for granted the relatively inexpensive shipping prices. When we moved back to Canada six years ago it felt like going back to dark ages in terms of online shopping; fewer stores, higher prices, expensive shipping.

Thankfully, the online shopping options have improved in Canada over the past few years.

Making soap and body care products, herbalism, and essential oils have become businesses for many people (which is great!) and online suppliers have responded in kind with wholesale sizes and pricing.

This is good for those willing to spend hundreds of dollars on an individual order, but not everyone is able or interested to make that kind of investment into materials, especially if you're just exploring or experimenting with a new hobby.

Sunrise Botanics fills an important niche in the online Canadian market. (They sell also to US customers, but US customers have so many options for buying these supplies online, whereas Canadians have much fewer.)

Like other online retailers, Sunrise Botanics sells soapmaking, cosmetic and skincare raw materials, bulk herbs, candle making supplies, and essential oils.

Unlike other online Canadian suppliers with wholesale pricing and sizes, they have no minimum order and small sizes are available for almost all of their products.

And they have $5 flat rate shipping with minimum $50 purchase. They are the only online retailer, that I am aware of, in Canada to offer this.

Sunrise Botanics has a modern, up-to-date online interface. They have an extensive inventory, products are easy to find, and shopping cart mechanics are straightforward.

Their turn-around is excellent. I received my order within 5 business days, during the pre-Christmas rush, the busiest season of the year. A similar order at one of the wholesale suppliers would have taken three weeks. And I received excellent and friendly customer service. (I am doing a review, so it was in their best interest to do so. I would hope they treat everyone the same.)

A brief summary from a company representative highlights Sunrise Botanics unique place in the Canadian market:

  1. No order minimums.
  2. Shipping charge is subsidised for order minimums of $50 and above. $5 flat rate is the best in Canada bar none for this industry.
  3. Wide range of products from oils to bulk herbs/spices, dried flowers, and raw materials.
  4. Place your order today and it is shipped in 2 to 3 business days 95% of the time.
  5. Small sample sizes available for practically all of our products.
  6. Wide range of packaging options at reasonable price points.

In my experience with the company I cannot disagree with this assessment.

Sunrise Botanics meets a unique need in the Canadian market with an extensive supply of soapmaking, cosmetic and skin care raw materials, bulk herbs, candle making supplies, and essential oils in accessible sizes and quantities; while offering quick shipping and low cost delivery.

Sunrise Botanics is pleased to offer blog readers a 15% discount at their store, good until the end of February. Use the discount code FIMBY at checkout.

I received product in exchange for this review. I do not accept compensation for my opinion, ie: you can't buy my good recommendation or endorsement, but I do accept compensation for my time and expertise in evaluating products, services and/or brands. See here for full review compensation policy.

This post is a continuation of my last one. I'm going to explain the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle, tell you what I like about it, and what resources I plan to use. I will also talk a little bit about essential oils.

The thing I appreciate most about this bundle is how focused it is on one topic. Most bundle sales don't appeal to me in part because there is simply too much stuff. Too much digital stuff, is still too much stuff.

And of course the subject is exactly what I need right now to help me get my act together for the next cold and flu season.

Bundle Details

The bundle contains 20 resources which include 4 online courses, 14 ebooks, and 2 printable packs.

I bought a bundle for myself (full disclosure: at a discounted affiliate rate) and I've done an overview of most of the material to plan my course of action in using these resources.

I'm impressed with the depth and scope of what's offered in the focused topics of herbs and essential oils. I'm impressed with the variety of teaching methods - audio, video and reading materials. And I'm super impressed with bonus offer.

The bundle costs $29.97 and is such a good deal, as I describe below.

It's only available till Monday, June 27th 11:59 EST. I have no idea if it will return later in the year as flash sale. (I usually despise flash sales, they seem so gimmicky.) If you think you can use these materials, I would take advantage of the sale while you can.

Here's what I like in these resources and what I plan to use.

This bundle has more value than my original plan to buy a couple online courses to get me ready for next winter. I do feel I have to work for it a little bit more than if I bought a specific, targetted "cold & flu" course. I have to sort through the 20 resources and set up my learning path, but I've pretty much done that work already in reviewing the material to write this post. In addition, I get more than the cold & flu material and the bonus offer is worth the bundle price alone.

Ecourses

  • The ecourse I am most excited about is Herbs & Oils: Beyond the Basics from Vintage Remedies. It covers oils and herbs, including safety and toxicology, effective dosing and advanced research. One of the things I found most frustrating this winter, as we dealt with real sickness, is the "try a bit a this" approach and folksy-type wisdom people like to dole out. When you're not very sick, when the cold lasts a couple days, folksy wisdom is nice; sipping hot tea in bed, etc. But I want to know what really works when you're battling a beast, in what kind of doses and when to use it. I'm hoping this course will teach me.

  • 5 Multi-Use Herbs (And What to Do with Them). This is a video teaching. Yay for not having to read more stuff. I love when things - furniture, food, etc can serve multi-purposes so I'm keen to learn about multi-use herbs, especially since yarrow grows like a weed in my yard and it's one of the herbs taught. I've been feeling really bad about my weedy yard and then this bundle comes along and I realize what a gift it is to have so much yarrow at my disposal!

  • The Essential Oils Course course by family physician, Dr. Edie Wadsworth. I'm especially interested in her teaching on efficacy, emotions, and safety. This teaching has a very strong Christian bias, that frankly, I am uncomfortable with, but oh well. I'm hoping it won't detract too much from what I'm learning. From the little bit of research I have already done, I believe I could increase my emotional wellbeing and lower my stress and anxiety with essential oils. I'm currently taking an online course, gifted from my mom, to help me in this regard. I'll be curious to see how Dr. Wadsworth teaching compares to what I'm doing already.

Ebooks

  • Wellness Mama is one of the go-to resources in the blogging world for recipes and DIY on all things wellness, herbal, make-it-yourself wisdom. I'ved used her recipes a lot over the years: non-toxic cleaners, homemade makeup for Brienne, etc. Her book Handbook of Home Remedies is very extensive. I'll be focusing on the cold & flu protocols for now. But this is one of those comprehensive resources you can have at your fingertips and if your cupboards are stocked (she gives a list in the front) you can make what you need as situations arise.

  • Cold & Flu Season: Are You Ready? (not yet, but I will be). This is one of the main resources I will be scouring when I put together my plan.

  • Common Sense Home Remedies Book #1 – Head, Throat & Chest - This ebook feels like folksy wisdom but I will be pulling recipes out of here. The last section on Home Remedies for Seasonal Allergies is very intriguing to me. In the past few years, I've noticed our family suffering more with these, not significantly but some. It could just be that we are being exposed to new pollens - I noticed the symptoms on the trail and also this year in Montreal. It could also be exacerbated by dairy consumption, something we didn't eat for years but are now eating (mostly organic and raw) more frequently.

  • The Beginner’s Guide To Adaptogens: Herbs For Energy, Stress Relief & Immune Support Adaptogenic herbs are something I have been experimenting with, mostly as related to mental and emotional health. Adaptogens are herbs that support good health, which includes immune function. As I understand it, "they build you up" and they are notable for their support in adrenal health. I use them in supplement form as part of my winter wellness toolkit and also as part of my anxiety solutions. But my knowledge of how they work and how to incorporate them, beyond supplement form, is surface at best. I'd like to move my knowledge of adaptogens beyond experimentation and buzz word recognition into sound practice. I'd also like to learn how to make my own preparations to save money.

  • Homegrown Healing: From Seed to Apothecary is a comprehensive herbal resource. Herbal knowledge is basically the same across most of the resources I've found. What makes this ebook unique is the gardening emphasis which I am keen about right now as I have a full sun, tabula rasa (albeit weedy) backyard and I am designing gardens right now.

  • Essential Oils: Separating Truth from Myth - The next section of this post explains why I appreciate this ebook de-bunking 25 myths about essential oils. I don't think the author holds 100% of the truth, but the information seems balanced. I had believed the myth that essential oils are superior to simple herbal remedies, which is part of how I lost the little bit of herbal knowledge I did have. I replaced it with an over-reliance on a product I didn't entirely understand. And when we got really sick this winter, in spite of using essential oils, I felt a bit misled. I'm not blaming anyone. I need to arrive at my own understanding of these things, not take other people's positions, even people I trust, for gospel truth. (This is something I am prone to by nature.)

The cost of all these resources as stand-alone products is $324.90. Even if some are over-valued (another gimmick I despise) it's still a great price.

Let's talk about Essential Oils.

I have a lot of confusion about essential oils.

They are a "relatively" new thing in the North American natural health and wellness community. I've seen them in health food stores for years but dismissed them as over-priced incense. And their meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years is due to multi-level marketing, of which I am highly suspicious.

One of my dear, close friends has used essential oils therapeutically for years and her advice is sometimes different from my friends and relatives who got into this very recently through the MLM side of things.

I started using essential oils a few years ago, and honestly, I just don't feel educated enough. At first, I thought they were ok to just experiment with. "It can't hurt!", bloggers, acquaintances, all essential oils newbies, were telling me. Well, yes it can.

And just because you've been using a product for a few months does not make you an expert.

I feel fairly ignorant about essential oils for health, but haven't had the mental energy to do anything about it. This winter I was extremely frustrated with how hit-or-miss it all felt. I'm not asking for guarantees but it's important to me that I'm using best practices and that I'm learning from people who have extensive experience and a scientific understanding (that's my bias).

The science around essential oils is exploding but a lot of confusion still exists for me.

I also don't like all the "start a business stuff" that accompanies so much of the essential oil teaching and online health teaching in general. I don't want to start a business or be coached in reaching my potential as a consultant. There is nothing wrong with these aims of course, they're just not mine.

My aim is to use essential oils with knowledge and confidence and I feel this bundle offers that kind of teaching.

This winter I watched a great, free video from Lisa Grace Byrne about essential oils. And I found her approach completely refreshing and well-grounded (no pun intended). You can access that here. Her teaching always feels so solid to me, and trustworthy. This video is not about cold and flu but overall wellness and self-care, her speciality.

The Bonus Offer (more than icing on the cake)

The bonus offer in the bundle is fabulous.

In order to use essential oils and herbs you have to have them in your cupboards. You can grow your own herbs, or wild-harvest them, but most of use buy what we need. And very few people are set up to make their own essential oils. You need the stuff to use the stuff.

The bonus offer of this bundle has you covered with a 50% (50%!) coupon code for the online apothecary Golden Poppy.

The discount applies to bulk herbs and essential oils.

Here's the bad news, it's only good for shipping in the U.S. I happen to be traveling to the U.S. this summer so I had my order shipped there. If you are in Canada and can't access this, I'm sorry. (I know, it sucks.)

Here's a screenshot of what I ordered:

You can see that my savings were greater than the price of the bundle. I needed these oils anyway, they were on my to-buy list. This was a sweet deal.

Because I am familiar with doTERRA and I buy almost all my oils through that company (because I am able to support my mom and brother in doing so), I did a price comparison and found that the average pre-discount price of buying oils at Golden Poppy was a bit less than the doTERRA equivalents. This is not surprising because doTERRA's prices are set up for MLM sales. This is not bad or good, it just is.

If you are interested in buying oils and potentially saving money/earning money by having friends/family buy oils through you I recommend doTERRA. I can get you set up with my mom who does this for a business and can walk you through the whole process. You totally want to meet my mom. She's the best.

Conclusion:

If you are at all interested in growing your knowledge in herbs and essential oils, you simply cannot go wrong with this bundle, priced at $29.97. And if you take advantage of the bonus offer (you really should), and purchase some herbs and oils at 50% off, your savings on those products pays for your teaching material.

You have a 30 day happiness guarantee with this bundle. I'm not sure how you can go wrong.

If you have any questions about the bundle contents before you purchase feel free to ask me. I will do my best to give you an honest evaluation, based on your needs and interests. I'm on Facebook, you can email me or leave a comment.

This may be my shortest "review" post ever and I'll tell you straight up, it's a hearty product endorsement.

I get a lot of emails, facebook messages, blog comments (maybe even instagram comments? can't recall) asking me about this light. The most recent arrived in my inbox yesterday.

So I just need to bite the bullet and put up a small post on the blog I can refer back to instead of re-typing the same response over and over.

My phototherapy light, which I also call my Happy Light because it's written on the lamp, is made by Verilux. Damien did the research on different brands and models and we chose this one (from what was available at the time) for its high intensity, fast session times, and large surface area.

You can find this model at amazon.com or amazon.ca. I'm sure you can buy phototherapy lamps at Best Buy and similar stores, I've seen smaller Verilux brand models at the Costco I frequent. If you're in Canada you may be interested in Northern Light Technologies.

Before making the investment to buy this light a few years ago, I did all kinds of research on what the light did, how it worked, etc. I read enough to be convinced to try it. Here are two short reviews on phototherapy from WebMD and Dr. Andrew Weil.

This is my third winter using a therapy light. The first winter I used it, there seemed to be a noticeable difference for me. But that was also the winter we were prepping for our thru-hike, a lot was different that winter, there was no control, in the scientific sense.

Last year I also experienced an improvement in my mental health. However, my winter wellness strategy is multi-faceted and involves supplements, outdoor exercise/skiing, enjoying the season, burning candles - the whole works. So it's really hard to separate the light from everything else, it's a holistic approach to health.

I use the light almost every morning for 1- 1.5 hours. I start in November and continue as long as I feel I need it. I think I packed it up in April last year.

Here's how I'd summarize my experience with my Happy Light:

  • I use it religiously.
  • I recommend it heartily.
  • It's part of a holistic winter wellness strategy.
  • Practical note: I store it during the day and take it out for my morning "therapy".
  • I bought mine at amazon.ca. At the time I bought it, it cost me $190, not including tax.
  • It's not pretty, it's doesn't photograph well like a soft candle, but it works.

If you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or intense winter blahs, these other posts on the blog (listed in order of publication) may be of interest/helpful to you:

This post has affiliate links.

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