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A wellness boutique founder’s Santa Monica condo brings the outdoors in

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Photo: Taylor Stoffers

Tired of the political climate in Washington, DC, and craving a change in her personal life, Chelsea Poling headed west to Santa Monica, California, and purchased a 1,400-square-foot condo with a sliver of ocean view and a storage room for her bounty of beauty products. Poling’s condo is not only her home, but her workspace — she’s the founder and CEO of online wellness boutique Rose Botanica.

“We offer natural skincare, body care and makeup, as well as products that support internal health, such as incense, crystals and candles,” explains Poling. “It’s like a holistic plethora of items for your well being.”

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Photo: Taylor Stoffers

Poling spent six years working for NASA in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Greenbelt, Maryland, before transfering to the Agency for International Development, where she enjoyed a four-month stint as a procurement officer in Sri Lanka. Launching her own company combined her passion for natural wellness and beauty with a business degree from the University of Central Florida.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

Working alongside a designer, Poling sought to create an aesthetic that could best be described as ‘natural chic.’ “Growing up in Florida, I’m so accustomed to being surrounded by water, so I really wanted to be as close to the beach as possible,” says Poling. Her wish list also included an outdoor space where she could catch a few rays in between filling orders. “As an entrepreneur who works from home, sometimes I’m not able to get outside for long periods of time, so it’s nice to have that access right in my home,” adds Poling.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

The main living space includes an office nook — an idea her designer initially rejected. “I have a small desk and a bookshelf where I keep some work documents,” says Poling. “I like to keep it very minimal without a lot of clutter. There’s also a floor-to-ceiling window that provides a lot of natural light and gives me energy throughout the day.” Poling says she does far more working than TV-watching in this space, so the layout functions just fine.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

It’s no wonder Poling’s combined bedroom and bathroom is a sanctuary of self-care. “The bed is great, of course, but I have a chaise lounge with a little side table that I use pretty frequently for reading or practicing deep breathing.”







Photo: Taylor Stoffers







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

There’s also a meditation altar, adorned with crystals, smudge sticks and mementos from her ancestors. “If I’m meditating or even just hanging out, I always have incense or a candle burning to set the mood and help me relax,” notes Poling.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

The ensuite bath is the perfect spot for a long soak (which Poling indulges in “at least four times a week”) or testing out new products — most of which are neatly displayed on clear acrylic organizers from The Container Store.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

“I have more beauty products than clothes, so I even dedicated part of the walk-in closet to them,” admits Poling. The gilded antique-looking mirror that hangs above the soaker tub was purchased from Anthropologie and reflects even more light into the space.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

Though it looks serene and calming now, the rooftop patio did not come together without struggle. “We got all the furniture from Restoration Hardware, but failed to measure the staircase leading up to the rooftop,” says Poling. She had been toying with the idea of purchasing a saltwater hot tub, which required the use of a crane. “We piggybacked the furniture onto the crane rental for the hot tub to make it work” explains Poling.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

The outdoor space features an L-shaped sectional with mud cloth-inspired throw pillows, as well as a fire pit whose gas tank is cleverly disguised as a side table. “I wanted a large wooden dining table and this one can seat up to six,” adds Poling.







Photo: Taylor Stoffers







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

She uses the lush rooftop space nearly every day and often hosts get-togethers for local women involved in the wellness industry. “We’ll make food downstairs and then dine up on the rooftop where you get a little view of the ocean.”







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

Another major selling point was the climate-controlled storage room off the garage where Rose Botanica goods are packaged and tied with a bow. “We’ll probably grow out of the space eventually, but for now it’s nice to have immediate access to the products. We try to include a note with each order, and I don’t think a shipping department would be able to offer such a personal touch. It’s really nice to have that ability.”







Photo: Taylor Stoffers

While the design project took about seven months to complete, Poling says it was all worth it in the end. “My friends and family who visit from out of town always say, ‘I feel like I’m at a spa right now!’” By incorporating natural elements and intriguing the olfactory senses, Poling has created a space that’s “very comfortable and livable, but beautiful at the same time.” To her, it’s the ultimate act of self-care.

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New home? Prepare for the unexpected

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(NC) Buying a house, getting married or having your first baby are all major life events that are likely to affect your finances. But whether you’re in the midst of a major life event or not, it’s important to check in on your finances regularly to maintain good financial health.

Your financial health encompasses things like your spending, savings, borrowing and future financial plans. It also means dedicating a set amount of savings for unexpected future events. It can even include optional credit protection insurance, such as TD protection plans, to help cover your debt balances in case of death, a covered critical illness or total disability.

Even though it can be tough to think about the unexpected, life is unpredictable and it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Find more information at td.com.

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Mortgage pitfalls to avoid

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(NC) Throughout life, you may have moments where you’ll make a large purchase or invest in a costly item, like your family home. But whether you’re in the market for your first new property or already have a mortgage, leaving this asset unprotected can be costly.   

Insuring your housing financial debt, as well as debt for other big-ticket items like a new boat for your lakefront cottage or keepsake jewelry like an engagement ring, is a smart investment in your well-being.

To help protect your debt balances like a mortgage, your bank may have optional credit protection insurance products.

“Your home is one of your biggest assets, yet illness can happen at any stage of life. Worrying about your mortgage when the focus should be on health isn’t a situation anyone would wish for,” explains Shirley Malloy, vice president at TD. “Fortunately, we offer mortgage protection to provide coverage for your outstanding balance should you face a covered critical health event.”

Mortgage protection can be purchased whether you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage or already have a home financing solution. But what about protection options for credit card debt?

“Given the unprecedented circumstances of this year, many Canadians are trying to plan for the unexpected to protect themselves and their finances,” says Malloy. “TD balance protection plus is an optional product designed to help you deal with your credit card payment obligations in the event of a covered event, such as loss of employment.”

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Is your internet too slow? It’s probably not you

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(NC) We all know the aggravation of a school lesson that just won’t stop freezing or the family video call that looks more like a photo montage. And, as we adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on our day-to-day, that slow connection can have frustrating consequences.

Working from home and learning remotely, both need fast, stable internet, something not enough Canadians have yet. Even if you have fast devices in your home, if the infrastructure in your area is not optimal, your connection won’t be either.

Right now, cities have the infrastructure needed to ensure access. But rural and remote communities are hugely underserved, with fewer than half having high-speed internet, and fewer than a third of households on reservations have high-speed connections.

Fortunately, change is coming. The Universal Broadband Fund is backing projects across Canada right now to ensure the reliable, high-speed internet connections families need to work, study, access services online, and safely stay in touch with each other.

The fund existed before COVID, but as a response to the pandemic, its timetable has been moved up by four years to a target of 98 per cent of Canadians with high-speed internet access by 2026. With the faster pace, at least 90 per cent of us should be connected by the end of 2021.

The fund is focused on improvements in rural and remote communities across Canada to fix the disconnect between internet access for urban and rural households.  This means more remote work opportunities, better access to remote learning and safer access to healthcare, no matter where you live.

It’s not just for good connections at home, either. The improvements mean much better access to mobile networks on highways between remote communities. The result is better, safer navigation and access to emergency services for your family, even on the road in the middle of nowhere. Mobile projects will be focused on serving Indigenous communities and the roads leading to them.

The shape these improvements will take in your area will depend on where you live. Canada is huge, and its communities are hugely diverse, with diverse needs. Keep an eye out for local projects — they’re a small part of something much bigger.

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