Stronger as a visual communicator, I had always had my challenges writing copy with minimal visual context. Sprawled around my working glass table were my sticky notes of stories and I saw a connection between two different events.

groceryShowcasewest-gsw2013-02Earlier this spring, we had the honor to:

  • Attend the annual Grocery Showcase West 2013 Tradeshow and Conference
  • Meet with Leigh of The Lipstick Project

groceryShowcasewest-gsw2013-09Grocery Showcase West, April 2013 Keynote

groceryShowcasewest-gsw2013-15Dr. Lowell Catlett
Regent’s Professor/Dean and Chief Administrative Officer
New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

I pulled excerpts from Dr. Lowell Catlett’s keynote session earlier in April during Grocery Showcase west focusing on the aspect of people and bonding.

“For Healthy people, we’re finding that you can’t separate them from PLANTS, ANIMALS and PEOPLE… We like people. We generally like to be around people.

A mother can go through the most difficult child labour on the planet, and the moment that her new infant is put in her bosom, what is the first instinct most mothers do? They smile, they are happy.”

Why? It’s the bonding chemicals.

“When you’re in the presence of people you like, particularly your children, your significant other, your spouse, or others … your body to date would produce 114 different good steroids.

Most prevalent one?
Oxytocin, which truly does make you giddy and happy.

114 different chemicals and steroids? They’re called bonding chemicals for a good reason… They’re important as they are the basis of building your immune system…”

Coffee chat with Leigh Boyle of The Lipstick Project

I met Heather and Robin earlier at a recent shopping event at Arhundara, sharing awareness about The Lipstick Project, which lead an invite to our chat in person.

December 2011, Leigh and The Lipstick Project team, use their passion…
While on assignment in Mekelle, Ethiopia she began volunteering at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital. It was there that TLP (The Lipstick Project) was born and it became a much-loved part of the holistic healing process for the patients in the Mekelle hospital. Back in Vancouver since December 2011, Leigh now uses her passion to bring professional-grade holistic healing services to men and women in hospitals, hospices and care centers in Vancouver through The Lipstick Project Society.

Insight in Leigh’s volunteering

I am always grateful everyday that my family chose to raise their children in Canada. Many cultures and societies globally have progressed and changed. By default as a young female, with Asian heritage, with education, part of Generation Y, and as an unmarried individual, I would have not have as many positive opportunities today.

I admit I let my East Van pride cloud my judgement when I learn that another Gen-Y’er is brought up in an affluent circumstance. (Cue flashbacks of whiny young adults). Usually it takes a while for a fellow Gen-Yer to earn my respect, but this North Van girl amazed me with her decision to experience another culture and language in a developing country outside of North America.

Leigh shared her story about her experience learning about “help and contribution”.

Feeling isolated, she desired to become a part of a unique community in her new home where she would feel comfortable and welcome. Picture a young, female Canadian who is fluent in English, but not as fluent in the local dialects and cultural communication in various Ethiopian towns and remote areas. Back home, her family sent her a story about a hospital nearby who treated women with childbirth injuries.

Unfamiliar with the medical field, I asked why I never hear about childbirth injuries amongst my family, friends and colleagues. Growing up in Canada, we often forget that we have access to many of the latest medical technologies and practices, as accessibility is not possible in other countries. Childbirth has its many complications, and with less or no accessibility, many mothers have to take a longer time to heal and get back to daily life again.

Leigh felt compelled to contribute to the hospital and to become a part of what they do. She offered to clean toilets, scrub floors – anything so that she could be there and see more of what goes on in the hospital. The surgeons told her that they had everything covered but that if she had wanted to do something that would simply make the women happy, she was more than welcome to do that.

Collaborating with the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, she found ways to bond with the patients by visiting them weekly and doing manicures and hand massages with them.

Think about the average manicure time.

To get the good (bonding chemicals), it takes about 30 minutes to form when around people.

Dr. Lowell Catlett

The Lipstick Project… the restoration of dignity, the recognition of our common humanity, and the knowledge that beauty also works from the outside in…

Keep an eye out for an upcoming profile on The Lipstick Project team. In the meanwhile, learn more about The Lipstick Project >

The Lipstick Project is looking for You.

If you are an esthetician or makeup artist, email