Valentines Day is for everyone and not just couples in love.  

It is about self love, family love, friendship love, fur baby love, neighbourly love, loving the planet and all that nature has to offer us.

Help spread the love. 

Wishing you love today and each day of the year in everything that you do. 


Soulier Design Studio specializes in sustainability, eco-friendly design, products + lifestyle




It is possible to enjoy an Eco Friendly Valentine's Day to show your love ones that you care while being kind to your planet at the same time. 

Valentine's Day ranks very, very high up there with Christmas for extreme consumerism. Gifts, gifts and more gifts = lots and lots of garbage and lots and lots of emissions polluting the air from all the trucks delivering those gifts.

Eons prior to Valentine's arrival, tv commercials bombard us with commercials about cut flowers, chocolates, dinner reservations, lingerie, perfume etc. The store shelves have been packed with Valentine cards, balloons, gifts~in non recyclable paper, I might add, heart-shaped boxed chocolates and stuffed teddy bears for the past weeks and weeks! We are all being prompted to purchase, purchase, purchase all this STUFF! 

Not to rain on your parade and as lovely as all this gift giving is, Valentine's Day further exhausts our Earths dwindling resources.  I recently read that it is estimated that over 1 billion Valentine Cards are mailed out all around the world.  

Wow, isn't that incredible! It is just really too bad that most end up in landfills with all the other piles of waste already there.

As a society we  need to become more conscious consumers and really stop and think, " hummmm, so many trees were destroyed making these cards and boxed goodies" and then consider an environmentally kinder alternative.  

Cut red roses-eco friendly?  Think again.  One of the least actually. Those red roses had quite a journey getting to your local supermarket.  They most likely were grown in Ecuador or Columbia due to the perfect year-round climate. However, they are drenched with fungicides, insecticides and herbicides to keep away the critters. Unfortunately, the workers are unprotected mostly women and children and ultimately end up with a multitude of health issues ranging from respiratory to neurological. Once the roses are harvested then they begin their very long voyage in a refrigerated, emissions pumping truck to your local supermarket where they sit in an energy sucking refrigerated cooler waiting for your purchase. 

Hey, I know it appears that I am turning what is supposed to be a day of love and romance into a day of doom and gloom. 

That is definitely not my MO.

My intention and my gift to you on this Valentine's Day 2018 is to get you to step back for just a moment. Step back from getting sucked into the pressures of the overwhelming consumerist vortex and the feelings of duty, guilt and obligation that you absolutely must buy gifts this day. Because we sometimes loose sight of this, I also want to gently remind you that the greatest gift that you could possibly give to your love ones and them to you, is love and affection year-round, spending valuable uninterrupted time, creating wonderful memories together and showing true appreciation for each other.  Just speaking the words I LOVE YOU is a symphony to the ears! NO card can ever replace that.

On a personal note, I feel so very blessed as this is how my husband and I live our life each and every day. 

It really doesn't get much better than that does it??

Now, if you are looking for a few fun ideas to make today extra special, try some of these easy on the pocketbook, earth-friendly ideas. 

Mother Earth will truly thank you.

Photo - courtesy of  Jaymi Heimbuch

Ditch the box of truffles this year and spend time making this yummy fondue for the two of you to enjoy using Fair Trade Extra Dark Chocolate. The recipe includes some interesting ingredients such as a little chili powder, cayenne pepper, dark rum and cinnamon. Marry it with your favourite fruit!

 Photo - Courtesy of Heirloom Flower Seeds

If you really still want to give the gift of flowers, how about giving some heirloom flower seed packets to be planted in the garden. Flowers are beautiful, very eco-friendly as they feed the birds, the bees and other important insects in the garden. If you plant perennials you can enjoy their beauty for years to come.

Dinner, Movie, Candles + Wine are always a nice way to spend the evening especially when it is in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Staying at home translates into not having to deal with or waste time on the crowded roads, at the restaurants or movie theatres, your evening is on your schedule and keeping your car put in the driveway means that there are no car emission contributions by you.  Bonus!! It's a win, win evening. Flickering candles - healthy bees wax only please, some organic wine from a local winery, a lovely home cooked meal, a Romantic Comedy on the big screen and voila ~ you have the perfect ambiance for a romantic Valentine's date with that very special person in your life.


LOVE .... knows no age


Pictures courtesy of Google

Soulier Design Studio specializes in sustainability, eco-friendly design, products + lifestyle



I have connected with so many exciting, interesting, creative and like-minded people these last few years since I have been actively engaged on LinkedIn.  These new friends have truly enriched my life!!

One lovely friend that I have started to chat with regularly, introduced me to ECO TOURISM.  Eco Tourism is defined as, "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." according to (TIES, 1990) The International Eco Tourism Society.

My friend wrote to me to tell me a little bit about herself and her role as a design intern at this resort in the Maldives of which she provided a link. I had no idea that what was in store for me on the other side of that link was this incredibly beautiful world known as Soneva.

Everyone's vision of paradise is individually unique but this is definitely mine. Everything about Soneva is mind-blowing. I mean everything.  All I can say is Wow, Wow, Wow!! 

On this kinda chilly, rainy May weekend, I would certainly prefer to be Kicking Back at Soneva for sure.

In 1995, on the deserted island of Kunfunadhoo in the Maldives, Eva and Sonu Shivdasani built their home and Soneva Fushi. Living an environmentally responsible lifestyle and building a small villa here, became the foundation of a very successful business model of resorts, spas and world-class hotels. As their website states, "Soneva was the first 'castaway' resort in the Maldives, pioneering a trend for back-to-nature luxury holidays."

I love their philosophy (Slow Life) and their passion for the Environment.  SLOW LIFE" stands for (Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wellness Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences). Soneva's resorts are responsibly constructed by the use of sustainable materials,  recycled waste materials while consciously conserving water or preserving ecosystems; doing their part to reduce their Carbon Footprint. Soneva, hires the local people, buys local products and utilizes sustainable business practices to support the local community.

I could go on and on about this wonderful place but I really must show you some pictures so that you can see what I am raving about.            
Without further ado ...  

Photos - all courtesy of Soneva

I wasn't kidding was I??

Wouldn't you love to be KICKING BACK ON THE WEEKEND and living the "Slow Life" at Soneva Fushi too?

Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability, Eco-Friendly Design, Products and Lifestyle.

Please visit us at https://www.soulierdesignstudio.com



Today is Mother's Day!! 

A day to celebrate all mother's, motherhood and the glorious bonds between their children.....

A day of tribute to show our extreme gratitude for all that they have done for us......

So many of our values, thoughts, habits have been forever imprinted in our lives from the teachings learned as children from our Mothers.....

Mother's Day can be an extremely difficult time for those remembering their loved ones.  On a personal note, my siblings and I, lost our mother 39 years ago.  It seems like an absolute eternity. I was just a teenager but I still live my life by so many of the wonderful lessons that my mother instilled in me and so do my siblings.  As I become older, I realize how they have truly impacted and enlightened my life. The most magnificent life lesson that comes to mind is to be respectful to others. It is my belief that if more people paid attention to just this one life lesson, the world would be a much better place.

I can hear my mom saying to me, just like it was yesterday, to always be kind and courteous and to consider other peoples feelings. To always be polite, not discriminate and to respect peoples differences.  My mother's wise words of wisdom have resonated with me my entire life and I too have passed them down to my children.

Motherhood for me has been my life's greatest gift. My beautiful son and daughter, now adults, have grown up to be truly amazing, wonderful people. I could not be happier!!

If you are fortunate enough to be able to share this wonderful day with your mother and show appreciation for her support and guidance through life's many challenges, or if you are a Mother yourself, I wish you the most spectacular Mother's Day possible. Kick up your feet, celebrate being a Mother and enjoy your breakfast in bed on this SLO MO Sunday. (I had a lovely and delicious French Toast breakfast in bed compliments of hubby this morning)

If you are remembering your Mother today, it is my wish for you that her memory cradles you and brings you great comfort.

Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability, Eco-Friendly Design, Products and Lifestyle.

Please visit us at https://www.soulierdesignstudio.com



One of my most popular posts, with several thousands views, is on TRANSFORMING A SCHOOL BUS INTO AN RV.  People find this subject so fascinating!

What my husband and I learned when we were considering this project was that school buses are a wonderfully safe vehicle to convert. They are kept in optimal maintenance condition because they are transporting children to and from school each and every day. The side metal panels are also heavily re-enforced in the event of a collision.

If travelling is something your family likes to do, converting a school bus into an RV, may be a fantastic DIY project that the entire family can enjoy. 

We were very fortunate, when we purchased our bus (for $500.00) what a deal, that all the seats had already been removed. Yeah!!  This is one of the most labour intensive jobs of this entire project.

Just like designing a space in your home you should plan the layout carefully dividing the space into various sections.  Our bus was 40' long and our layout plan included a sleeping area in the rear of the bus, a bathroom area, a kitchen/eating area, a living area and the driver area at the front of the bus. 

We didn't install or wire an electrical source for our bus since it was parked at our property and not used for travel. Our bus was used as a safe way to camp and sleep without having to worry about bears having us for dinner.  However, if you are travelling with your bus, you will need an electrical source to power appliances.  Other necessities include a stove, sink and refrigerator and of course a sleeping area.

Installing solar panels on the roof to power the bus and appliances is definitely the way to go to create an eco-friendly bus.

Converting another school bus or possibly an Airstream, I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them, is definitely a project that we would like to tackle again in the future.  We certainly learned a lot from our first fantastic experience and really had a blast!  
Here are a few fabulous school bus and Airstream interiors with some great ideas to get you started just in case you are thinking about trying this fun project.

If this is camping, I'm in!!

Airstream Interiors by Christopher Deam  



Rachel Horn and husband renovated this Airstream with Style   

photo - Pinterest

photo - Pinterest

photo - Pinterest

How about you. Is this something that you might consider trying?

If you would like to read Part 1 of TRANSFORMING A SCHOOLBUS INTO AN RV you can find it here.

Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability and Eco Friendly Design and Products http://www.soulierdesignstudio.com   




As I reminisce about the past year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you so very much for supporting De-Sign of the Times and visiting on a regular basis.

My life has been forever enlightened and I am truly grateful for the wonderful new relationships that I have made with my readers/followers and new friends.

At the moment, I am sitting in my STUDIO thinking about my New Year's Resolutions. This is something that I typically do not rush into. I usually like to spend the first week of the year rolling some ideas around in my mind.

Does your Resolution List for 2017 look like this????? ......

1.  Join the Gym - Exercise 5 x per week
2.  Lose Weight - 25 lbs min
3.  Become a Chef
4.  Eat Better
5.  Take in an Art Class
6.  Learn to Play the Piano
7.  Learn to Sing
8.  Remodel the whole house
9.  Spend more time with the family
10.  Spend more time with friends
11.  Get more Organized
12.  Learn to speak French, Italian, German
13.  Take part in an Ironman/woman event
14.  Learn to Sew, Knit, Surf, Ski
15.  Climb Mount Everest
16. Become a Brain Surgeon


Isn't this exactly what we do to ourselves?

We set ourselves up for failure right at the start of the New Year by setting WAY too many unrealistic, completely unattainable goals. By years end, we are depressed and feel like losers because we haven't been able to fulfill most/any of them. I have been guilty of this myself in the past. 

This year let's take a healthier approach by adopting smaller, manageable and realistic goals that will enrich our lives, ones that you can truly commit to and therefore translate into sustainable lifestyle changes. Sometimes it’s just one very tiny thing that will ease your every day experiences.

Personally, I have one main resolution/goal for this year. It is to Improve my overall Health. Having experienced a few health challenges over the past few years, this is a really important priority for me! Now, I am not going to make myself crazy by setting anything in stone but there are a few things I want to change/improve in my life right now to help me achieve this resolution and I would like to share them with you.

Maybe these are changes you might also like to incorporate into your life as well. I would love for you to join me on this journey in realizing these goals. 

They are ......

1. Well let's face it, practically everyone wants to shed at least a few pounds.  So do I.  I plan on incorporating in my life some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day. Studies show that this can be achieved in 10 -15 minute increments and does not have to be performed all at once with the same benefits.  This for me is a doable, realistic and sustainable goal. I am not someone who spends hours and hours watching TV each day but a half an hour away from my computer (I spend way too much time in front of the computer, as you probably do as well) will do wonders at benefiting my/your overall health.  

I practiced Yoga many years ago and enjoyed all of its health benefits such as relieving stress, increasing flexibility ~very important especially as we age, and keeping you fit. I just purchased a Yoga DVD by Elena Brower which has a 30 minute AM sequence ~ to invigorate, tone and revitalize and a 30 minute PM sequence ~ to release, balance and stretch your body. I love it!!  

Of course, walking is another great way to add physical activity to your day, while connecting with nature, and spending quality time with your family, friends etc. I plan on doing more of this as well.  

2.  Although I eat fairly healthy, I would still like to make improvements in this department.  I want to eliminate all processed foods entirely, (hubby will not be happy) because as you know, processed foods are chock full of sodium, MSG and additives which are definitely not good for your health. Additionally, I would like to add some meatless dinners to our meals each week, prepare more RAW dishes and enjoy more organic fruit and vegetables.  We plan on adding a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse to our backyard this spring so we will have our very own abundant supply. I can't wait!!! I wrote this post about these amazing domes a few weeks ago. 

If adding RAW is something you are interested in doing, here is an amazing RAW food cookbook that I have added to my kitchen library.  I fell in love with it and you will too.  Live Raw was written by lovely, lovely Mimi Kirk, who is 78 going on 26!! Clearly Mimi practices what she preaches.  Not only are the recipes raw, they are gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian.

I have enjoyed many of the spectacular recipes in this book.  You can also find Mimi on YouTube creating many of her recipes or you might want to check out her website to learn more about her.  Mimi is travelling the world lecturing and sharing the benefits of her Live Raw lifestyle. She is a wonderful person and is absolutely fascinating!! Someone, I would really enjoy meeting.   

Pics - courtesy of Amazon

3.  Enjoy more downtime and having some fun is the last of the changes that I would like to share that I feel will positively contribute to benefiting my overall health. Do you feel like you are on a never-ending treadmill?  Well you are not alone.  Most people do not take the time to recharge their batteries and are walking around as sleep and rest deprived zombies.  It does eventually catch up to you.  So, my plan is to spend more time relaxing. Relaxation translates into a multitude of different things for different people. To some it means couch potatoe time and watching TV.  I also enjoy sitting on the couch by the fire in the living room with hubby watching a fabulous film while enjoying a lovely glass of wine but for me it also means reading, playing the piano, talking on the phone to friends and family, having dinner parties, going to dinner parties. Just plain old fun!

We would love for you to share with us your goals for Sustainable change in 2017 and learn how they will transform the quality of your life!! 

Soulier Design Studio specializes in Sustainability, Eco Friendly Design, Products and Lifestyle.