The PURA Muse November 2019: Sarah Chan
A PURA Muse is a woman who inspires us with their content, business, work ethic, values or beliefs. This woman is aligned with the goals and motivations that we strive for each day here at Pura Botanicals (if they are already a Pura lover, it makes it all the better!). Our monthly muse is working to elevate their community through their business, volunteerism, or their commitment to wellness, and they consistently advocate for well-being & intentional living.
The PURA Muse November 2019: Sarah Chan
Having grown up in the City of Edmonton, how do you think the city has evolved in the past five years?
There has been a surge in local creators building their reputations and businesses! There is cross-promoting and collaborating within those spaces as well! Our food scene also continues to get better and better. Yum!
We love your passion for music & dance. Can you tell us about being a piano teacher, and how music and dance have impacted your life?
I never planned on having a career in the arts, I always thought I was going to be a lawyer. The reason I have continued to work as a musician and teacher is because it brings me so much joy. Nothing comes close to the deep connection I feel with my students and their families. Nothing is more gorgeous than playing music every day, it is beautiful and therapeutic.
I was playing a student’s song the other week and his mom said, “what a gift, to be able to do that” - I sometimes take for granted that what I do is a gift. On the logistics side, owning and operating my own business has given me flexibility over my time. This is especially important as I handle the bulk of parenting at our place, and I invest a great deal of free time in social advocacy within our community.
As for performing arts - music & dance - these creative outlets are my foremost resources for self-care and neuroplasticity! I am learning more & more that if you want to build your capacity and think differently, you need to have arts in your life. They help your brain sparkle - creating is fun!
I wear so many hats. It can often be disorienting and I sometimes feel misunderstood. The lowest common denominator, though, is that I am 'Miss Sarah'. My values and work ethic translate across all my roles. Whether it’s being a mom, teacher, social advocate, citizen, wife, mentor… my integrity, instincts, and sense of humour are always present.
What I’ve learned within myself is to trust my instincts. There are so many people, priorities, and it is noisy out there. It has been quite a journey for me, to return to my confidence in knowing who I am. And, discovering new depths within! I’ve learned a lot about myself and the big, wide world out there. Sometimes I feel like public life has chewed me up and spit me out. I had to gather new tools; I needed to rely on the love, support and encouragement of the best friends you can imagine. I had to face the saddest and most wounded parts of myself and dig deeper than I ever have before.
I am happy to report that challenge has been purifying and galvanizing - I am stronger than ever! I have gained much through struggle. I love the power in being softer, more refined and, leading through love.
What do you find to be the greatest challenge that you face when trying to balance the many things you are passionate about?
I’ve gotten much better at this! I try to always ]trust my gut and ask myself a series of practical questions including...
- Am I the best person for this job?
- Does it have to be me or do I know someone who would be a better fit?
- Do I have enough time to do my best?
- How can I best help & serve?
- How does this request align with my work and my values?
- Is it fun?
We are inspired by your infectious energy and passion for community engagement & volunteerism! Can you give us an idea of what a day in the life of Sarah Chan looks like?
A lot of people ask this, and I find that each day is a little different. I have also refocused much of my time on self-care (hence the return to trusting my instincts). I think my life is better represented as a week. Regular things I do each week include...
- Getting the kids all breakfasted and off to school each day
- Yoga, pilates, or somatics
- Hip-hop at Kore Dance Studio every Tuesday night
- An unsatisfying amount of administration
- Connecting with my friends & loved ones
- Teaching 33 students per week
- Sexy mom stuff like planning meals, grocery shopping, making lunches, laundry, project managing the kids, taking kids to appointments, and cleaning. Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages!
- Spending time at Spruce Ave Junior High with my mentee from BGCBigs
- Meeting with one of the organizations or initiatives I am involved with.
- Attending events with Mayor Iveson
- Snuggling my babies
The great thing about my schedule is that there are lots of weird curve balls that are random and fun! This fall I have guest-hosted a Drag Queen Bingo in support of The United Way, and I went as a DRAG KING! I got to go to Jasper on a sweet vintage train as a member of the CN Community Giving Board, and the family enjoyed an outdoor concert at the new Jim Venas stage. I raced as “Secret Spice” in a University of Alberta plasma car derby - in support of United Way. I was Honourary Co-Chair for the annual BGCBigs Lobster Lovers dinner. I visited a different school or sometimes two every day during read-in week. Finally, I delivered a keynote on wellness to grades 4 to 9 at a local school.
Each week has hilarious, joy-sparking stuff peppered throughout it - I am really lucky!
Can you share some of your favourite self care rituals with us? Do you and your husband have any joint self care rituals or ways you like unwind together? We know Don is a fan of our Nobleman Face Oil, but we have heard that he enjoys using your Cocoa Honeycream Mask once & a while.
I am ALL about the self-care these days! I love seeing every little opportunity to do something nice each day. I’ll treat myself to a Kashmiri Chai at Remedy Cafe. Buy myself flowers. Drink a coffee in bed. Have lunch with a friend. Write down things that make me happy or hilarious stuff my students say to me, so I’ll remember it later. And, of course, PURA is a huge part of my life. Each time I use a PURA product, I pause & focus on how good it smells and how I am using clean products made of real ingredients by real people. It is totally luxurious. Those moments are golden for me, especially on the days when I feel like a pile of trash.
As for rituals Don and I practice together - we’ve recently started going to yoga! It’s a game-changer for mindfulness and release. At home, I force him to wear whatever mask I happen to be wearing, if he is within arms reach. He often invades my bath soak! Cost of entry is applying my Cocoa & Rose Body Oil for me.
We're flattered that you have loved and supported PURA for such a long time - even before we rebranded, when our original logo was an egg with a flower growing out of it. What attracted you to using our potions and how do they make you feel?
My first Pura Botanicals product was a rose facial mist. It was divine. PURA products are gorgeous, smell amazing, have fantastic results, and are extremely flexible. I love that there are no rules to using the products. You can tailor them to what you need that day and be your own chemist. I like to mix the Overnight Masks on my face as I have combination skin; the acne parts are REALLY bumpy and the aging/dry parts are elsewhere.
I am currently really into the Ambrosia Beautifying Serum. Massaging my face every night has become ritualistic and I even say nice things to myself while I do it. It’s sort of embarrassing but, I’ll tell myself good job on something that went well that day or just something gentle & kind like, “let’s be nice” or “now you get to rest”! It is just one of the ways I appreciate myself each day.
Overall, my PURA potions are an everyday treat, and an incredible value - They go a long way! Plus, I feel really good knowing real, very fine, and loving people are behind creating and producing the brand. It is a win-win-win!
XOXO, Sarah Chan
Miss Sarah Chan
From Left to Right: Overnight Garden Mask, Zingara Gypsy Mist, Cocoa & Rose Body Oil, Ambrosia Beautifying Serum, Rosemary Clarifying Mist, Seashell Mane Mist, Nurturing Nova, Overnight Watermelon Mask