Brand Spotlight: Mahalo Skin care

Greetings Beauties!

February celebrates love and I really wanted to pay tribute to a beloved brand of mine that reminds us to honor the skin we’re in! Ladies and gents, I give you the all natural, luxurious, cult-favorite brand, MAHALO !

To me, Mahalo is a true homage to love and to life; it is a celebration of our skin and a manifestation of how we should treat it. Maryna Bundyuk, founder and creator of the brand, is such a charismatic, passionate woman who has poured her heart and soul into this brand. Her reverence for life, nature (hello beautiful bamboo packaging!) and people are deeply reflected in Mahalo.

Maryna of Mahalo in lab

Maryna in her lab filling Vacation Glow bottles. Golden! Photo credits: Maryna Bundyuk

Her brand is the result of a labor of love, it is an expression of self-love to be carried out through skincare rituals.  Mahalo goes beyond skincare by spreading the inspiring  and powerful message of GRATITUDE ( Mahalo means “gratitude” in Hawaiian).  For that reason (and of course, for the gazillion skincare benefits), this brand is one of my go-to’s.  In a world where beauty and skincare issues are considered superficial, I find it so refreshing that Mahalo sparks such a profound sentiment. I really believe in practicing gratitude every day, no matter what the circumstances. It helps me focus on the positive and move forward.  So, what does gratitude have to do with beauty, you ask? I believe true beauty starts from within, with not only what we eat, but with cultivating positive thoughts, moral values and constructive behaviors.

 

My Mahalo Staples

  • Vitality Elixir Rejuvenated Serum
MAHALO duo Pic Monkey

For maximal hydration, I layer the Vitality Elixir serum and the balm.

This serum is one of my favorites.  For my dry skin, I find it has the right consistency.  In the winter, I use day and night.  The Vitality Elixir Rejuvenated Serum* gives me the skin I’ve always dreamed of;  the “I woke up like this” skin! I even use it around my eyes. Ever since I started to use it, I’ve noticed that I need less makeup. Before using it, the skin on my lower face was very dry, rough and looked dull. After consistent use, my skin is deeply moisturized, less itchy and back to its normal state. This serum is truly a powerhouse, and if anti-aging is a concern of yours, this is what you need to try. Let’s talk ingredients, shall we? If you’re looking for high-quality ingredients, look no further. Tamanu oil is known for being restorative with anti-inflammatory benefits.  Then, we have the greatest Omega 3 source in chia seeds, not to mention Sea Buckthorn oil; one of the highest source of vitamin C. Another skin superfood included in this serum is turmeric, a golden plant that treats acne and skin inflammation. The scent of the serum is a bit nutty but I don’t mind it at all.  My skin drinks it, so it stays hydrated and well fed.

Ingredients: calophyllum inophyllum (Polynesian tamanu)*, salvia hispanica (chia)**, aleurite moluccans (kukui)*, nigella sativa (black cumin)**, daucus carota (carrot seed)**, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn)**, curcuma longa (turmeric)**, helichrysum italicum, pelargonium graveolens (geranium), non-gmo mixed tocopherols, ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10)
*Clean ingredients: organic + local and/or wild harvested (when available)
**Organic Supercritical Co2

Price: 110$ USD/30ml/1oz

 

  • Mahalo Balm

If you know me, you know I’m all about the balms! I have very dry skin, and the cold weather makes it worse. The Mahalo Balm* is THE moisturizing,  healing balm everyone needs in their beauty cabinet, no matter what your skin type is.

Maryna in her lab filling bottles of Vacation Glow.

It’s one of my daily essentials, the kind you need when stranded on a deserted island! It’s so multi-purpose:  I use it on my face, on body scars, under my eyes, on any dry spots, on my chapped and cracked lips, in my hair, to tame my eyebrows, etc. On colder days, I’ve tried it many times under makeup, and it actually gives me dewy skin, no greasy cheeks. It protects my skin and gives me maximum moisture when I layer it over the Vitality Serum. When my skin is completely dehydrated or in need of major TLC, I’ll use it as an overnight mask (just a thin layer, don’t overdo it). I wake up with plumped and deeply moisturized skin. I find that it retains moisture, so I don’t have to re-apply moisturizer or toners during the day.  In addition to turmeric, which gives it the gorgeous bright orange color, the Mahalo Balm has avocado and grapeseed butters, macadamia nut, carrot and rosehip oils. The exotic scent of lavender, geranium and Hawaiian sandalwood will make you think you’re in paradise! For me, this balm is a necessity, it does it all!

Ingredients:  macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) butter*, theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter*, vitis vinifera (grapeseed) butter*, calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil*, cera alba (beeswax)*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) oil*, prunus amygdalus dulci (sweet almond) oil*, azadirachta indica (neem) oil*, aleurite moluccans (kukui) oil, calendula officinalis (marigold) flower*, hibiscus sabdariffa (hibiscus) flower*, symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) supercritical oil*, daucus carota (carrot) supercritical oil*, tocopherol (vitamin e), curcuma longa (turmeric) supercritical extract*, lavandula augustifolium (lavender) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) flower oil*, santalum paniculatum (Hawaiian sandalwood) oil*

Price: 72$ USD/ 50ml

Final thought…

Mahalo Care evokes sophistication and embodies the true character of eco-chic beauty. What are your thoughts about this gorgeous brand? Let me know what are your Mahalo staples!

Until next time,

Arabesque xo

*Gifted sample

No Affiliate links

 

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Giving Back series: Botanical Me

Greetings everyone!

Botanical Me sisters

Jill and Carly: Botanical Me

I started this Giving Back series because philanthropy is inherently part of my value system. I find it fascinating to learn about how men and women of the Green Beauty community use their platform to help those in need. Today, I want to share the mission of two humble and selfless women, who, in reality, are heroines of the modern day (they just don’t wear capes!).  I’m so proud and honored to feature the work of my friends and sisters, two beautiful souls:  Jill Hansey and Carly Lodkey,  sisters and founders of  Botanical Me.

Their brand offers natural, plant-based beauty and body care that heal, inspire and most of all, give back! Botanical Me is a beautiful range of beauty oils, pure essential oils, lip balms, and pulse-point roll-ons. In addition, the brand offers gift items such as chocolate, tea, and honey imported from Africa. Each skincare product leaves your skin protected and nourished, while your spirits are calmed and renewed. Through Botanical Me, Jill and Carly literally save lives: they have a strong partnership with Malaria No More, an organization dedicated to eradicate malaria in the world. The “ME” in Botanical Me actually has a double meaning. First, ME stands for Malaria Eradication, which is connected to their charity work to stop malaria deaths. Then, the “me” is also about a person’s journey to better health and awareness of toxins and chemicals in beauty products.

Botanical me set 2

Botanical Me’s range of products.

How it all began…

Jill and Carly had already been operating their retail store in San Diego for 8 years before Botanical Me was born. One evening Jill was having a conversation about malaria with her husband, who is a native of Nigeria and a malaria survivor. She had a “light bulb” moment that she and her sister could use their business as a platform to help people.

It is wonderful! We’re honored to be a part of their charity and contribute to their life-saving work.  There are so many blessings:  a broader world view, greater humility, increased empathy, a feeling of being part of something bigger, meeting other cool people from all walks of life who are also inspired to make a change. Just thinking that something we have done has saved even one child’s life and given a family a healthier tomorrow is beyond words.

– Jill & Carly, founders of Botanical Me

What is malaria ?

iStock malaria kills

Credits: iStock

Malaria is a blood disease caused by a mosquito bite (Plasmodium parasite) and can be transmitted from person to person. It affects the lives of over 200 million people around the world every year.

Symptoms: fever, headaches, vomiting, if treatment is not administered, illnesses such as anemia, hypoglycemia and death can occur.

800px-Malaria_No_More_logo

Credits: MalariaNoMore.org (logo)

malaria-2 standard tribune com

Child with severe malaria symptoms. Credits: Standard-Tribune.com

According to MalariaNoMore.org:

  • Malaria is one of the top 3 killers in the world;
  • Every 60 seconds, a child dies of malaria, it means 453 000 children per year, so that’s 1 300 kids who have their lives cut short every day because of a mosquito bite!

Why it also concerns you…

If you think you’re safe, and therefore think to yourself it isn’t your problem because your country isn’t a malaria risk zone, think again! This matter concerns ALL of us. In 2013, there were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide, mostly women and children. Although malaria was eliminated from the US in 1951, MNM  makes a census of 1500 cases annually caused by returning travelers.  Because of what we’ve been shown in the media, we often associate Africa to poverty and death.  However, it is a beautiful continent, the second largest one in the world actually.  Africa offers such a wide range of natural resources, some of them, such as shea butter, are included in our coveted green beauty products. It’s our duty and responsibility to protect that land and its people.

Web_Jill_Africa_

Jill in Africa

There is hope!

So, you know the bad news about malaria, it’s lethal.  Now, onto the good news, malaria is not only curable, but it is a preventable disease! MalariaNoMore.org concurs that over the last decade, malaria mortality rates have fallen 58% among children under the age of 5.  That’s good, but the goal is to complete eradicate malaria. Jill and Carly often travel to Africa to import natural ingredients and they donate 10% of their profits to Malaria No More. The proceeds directly impact the daily lives of those they seek to help. Here’s how…

Mosquito_Netting wikipedia

Mosquito nets prevent from getting bitten at night. Image: Wikipedia

The funds go towards: 

  • providing diagnostic tests;
  • buying medicine and treatment; did you know that a full course of malaria treatment costs only 1$ and can cure a child in 1 to 3 days?
  • buying mosquito nets; don’t forget that malaria is caused by a mosquito bite, and the Plasmodium parasite bites at night between 9pm and 5am, so nets are an important prevention tool;
  • creating education programs.

The sister duo chose to partner with MNM because this organization has focused strategy and the widespread government, media and pharmaceutical relationships in Africa that are needed.

Why helping Botanical Me is very personal to me…

Radiologie cathéter malaria post

I’m getting prepped for a femoral venous catheterization, before an apheresis treatment.

I was born with a genetic blood disease commonly called Sickle Cell anemia (SCA). Essentially, unlike normal round/oval red blood cells, mine are shaped like crescent moons, semicircular (hence the name “sickle”, a sickle is a tool made with a crescent-shaped blade). Normal red cells travel easily through the blood vessels to take the oxygen to every part of the body.  However, my sickled cells get stuck in the blood vessels, which means the oxygen doesn’t get through. This causes a lot of deep chronic pain and it damages my bones, my muscles and my organs.  Sickle cell anemia is a disease mostly diagnosed in patients of African descent.

So, what does that have to do with malaria?

While my illness can be debilitating, it confers me somewhat of a protection against malaria. How? It is very complex. Researchers are still trying to understand the mechanisms that create SCA patients’s resistance against malaria.  Let’s just say that my sickled red blood cells are not “healthy” or viable enough for the parasite to implant and lodge itself in my bloodstream.

Final thought…

Every time I think about Jill and Carly, I am reminded that this life is not about my ego, but that it’s about finding my purpose and answering my higher calling. When they are not are not busy saving lives, the Botanical Me duo is learning more about the wonders of nature. Women like them make the world go round! I urge you to support their brand and their cause, your kindness will save lives. When you purchase a product from the brand, you’re taking care of yourself (at a budget-friendly price, might I add), but more importantly, you are saving a child, a woman or a man’s life. Please give back!

 

Until next time, take care!

Alex xo

To support MalariaNoMore, click here. Let’s defeat malaria! World Malaria Day is April 25th 2015.

Note: all information and statistics on malaria are sourced from MalariaNoMore and CDC

Images, unless stated otherwise, are courtesy of BotanicalMe.

Brand Spotlight: Laurel Whole Plant Organics

Greetings beauties!

This is my first Brand Spotlight blogpost in a series of many more to come (hopefully), where I will feature brands that epitomize the very definition of Green Beauty. My first choice is, in my opinion, the essence of green beauty: Laurel Whole Plant Organics !

 

“As we are awakening and learning where our food comes from, this is also a time to be aware of where our skin care comes from, how its made, and what is in it. The most effective skin care is raw, organic, farm sourced, handcrafted and made with love. It’s time to raise the bar for skin care ingredients.”  

Laurel_AboutFounder-e1408502047441

The radiant Laurel Shaffer, founder of LWPO

– Laurel Shaffer, founder of Laurel Whole Plant Organics

 

Laurel Whole Plant Organics is a cult-favorite among bloggers, magazines’s editors, and skincare junkies everywhere… and with good reason!  I have been longing to try some of the products ever since the brand was under the Sequoia Beauty banner.

From Sequoia Beauty to Laurel Whole Plant Organics…

From Sequoia to Laurel Whole Plant Organics

Left: Sequoia Beauty Right: Laurel Whole Plant Organics

One of the changes from Sequoia Beauty is obviously the packaging. Personally,  I much prefer the current packaging to the former one. Sequoia Beauty’s packaging was cute, but the LWPO’s package looks more sophisticated, refined, less amateur-ish.  Natural beauty, sweetheart and founder Laurel Shaffer wanted a packaging that clearly reflected its content. To that I say: “Mission accomplished!” Aside from the packaging, the major shift from Sequoia is the elimination of lotions in favor of balms, which was a bold move, but a smart one! I, for one, love balms! Because I have such dry skin, I tend to gravitate towards them. I’m all about the balms!!  In addition to the balms, Laurel altered most of the original formulas, taking into consideration new plant sciences and discoveries, not yet available 4 years ago, when Sequoia was created. Just recently, LWPO launched an Eye Serum.  If you’re wondering what the difference is between the the Eye Balm and the Eye serum, keep in mind that both are great and can be used depending on your own skin type and skin needs. However, Laurel suggests using the Eye serum during the day and the Eye balm at night.

“Whole Plant Organics”, what does that mean?

What makes this brand unique is that Laurel strives to create 100% ‘whole plant’ organic formulas.  That means the plants maintain their vibrancy, as if they were just plucked from the earth.  The ingredients cannot be chemically refined in anyway, as she feel that only dulls their efficacy. She and her team only accept certified organic ingredients, as they have an average of 40% more antioxidant content.  She also doesn’t use ‘natural’ ingredients that are actually synthetic, like ascorbic acid, CoQ10, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, and others… ALL of those ingredients can be found in the living plants that we use, so they prefer to formulate with that in mind.

Plants Love Science

Laurel-Antioxidant-Face-Serum-440x1024 red heart

Plants Love Science

On every Laurel WPO’s label, you’ll notice a red heart and the words “Plant”, “Love” and “Science” written below the heart.  These words are Laurel’s guidelines, she translates them into 3 major aspects: Purity (Plants), Efficacy (Science) and Love. For Laurel, the purity and efficacy aspects go hand in hand;  the purer the ingredient and formula, the more effective the product. Period.  And the love aspect is so important!  Laurel is deeply dedicated to creating a facial experience that truly transports people and takes them away. She wants us to feel loved and taken care of when using her products.  Again, I say: “mission accomplished!” It may sound corny, but every time I use Laurel’s products, I feel like I just pampered my skin, as I would take care of a loved one.  I feel like I matter, and when you use products that make you feel loved, you feel good about yourself.  Love conquers all, right!

Laurel’s #1 Beauty tip

Laurel believes that less is more! I wholeheartedly agree with that statement! Laurel loves single ingredients such as rosewater, honey and unrefined oils. She also believes in the power of caring for our skin with love and proper skincare.

Final thought…

What attracts me to LWPO is the inherent dedication and passion to educate and inspire women to use skincare as an act of self care and of self love, not to mention that she uses the most cutting edge studies to formulate her products. I honestly trust Laurel’s integrity, so I’m confident that her products are pure and efficient.  Laurel WPO is in alignment with my personal values, not to mention that the products have become essentials in my routine. I have tested many, many, many brands and products since I started blogging (and even before that!) I can assure you, Laurel WPO is one of the most comprehensive lines I’ve seen. And, something tells me it’s only the beginning!

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews on select LWPO products!

Regards,

Alex xo

*All pictures, courtesy of http://www.laurelskin.com

What are your favorite products of Laurel Whole Plant Organics?

 

Highlights of 2014

Greetings !

First post of 2015! Happy New Year to all of you! Wishes of health and the rest will come along naturally!  I have extended my vacation Holidays to rest and take time away from the blogs, social media and internet.  It felt so good!

Time flies so fast.  It’s already been a year since I started blogging and I have received products from so many brands.  I couldn’t possibly name them all, but I wanted to mention my highlights.  I take testing really seriously because I believe you, founders, crafters, and artists, put your heart and soul in your creations, so I want to be as objective as possible.  And for the readers, I want to be as truthful as possible.  I started this blog solely to document my own passion and share my findings with you.  I chose to do so establishing my own rules, but abiding by one fundemental principle: integrity.  I would NOT recommend a product or a brand I would not purchase myself.  I am like you, an active woman trying to figure out what works and doesn’t for my skin and ultimately for my health.  I am NOT an expert on skincare, I simply know what works for my skin, and what works for me might not work for you.

This is not a review, but a listing of some of my favorite products for 2014.

 

SKINCARE

Cleanser

I have such dry skin, so I like to use the cleansing oil method or cleansing balms, especially in the winter. This balm is truly one of my favorites.  It’s also a multi-purpose balm, I use it as a spot treatment (I dab a little where I need and leave all night, when I wake up, pimple is almost invisible).

 

Toner/mist

Laurelskin.com

Credits: Laurelskin.com

This mist is UNREAL! Hydrates, nourishes and so soothing.  It was love at first spritz! When I use this elixir, I feel like every cell of my skin relaxes. A must-have for everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facial oil/serum ( I picked a face oil and a serum)

  • Organic Bath:  Enhance facial oil   I call this one my “glowing agent”.  I like to wear it under makeup and I promise, it’s a natural highlighter! Skin is moist, moisturized and glowing!

 

Enhance-Face-Oil_249634ba-6d03-4e4c-9119-9554805ce2b6_large

Credits: Organicbath.com

 

 

odacité night serum

Credits: Odacite.com

Amazing.  Amazing. Amazing. I try to recommend affordable products, but this one is worth every penny (I don’t say this lightly!).  If your budget allows it and if you want a high quality results-oriented serum with fresh, pure and organic ingredients, this is the one to get.

 

 

 

 

 

Exfoliator    

Josh Rosebrook enzyme mask

Credits: Joshrosebrook.com

The enzymes from the herbs, plants and fruit work together to exfoliate and encourage cell turnover.  Go easy if you have very sensitive skin (the walnut shells may irritate), but every skin type can benefit from using this exfoliator.  My skin tone really really improved. You get radiant skin!

 

 

 

Mask

Golden path alchemy illuminate mask

Credits: Goldenpathalchemy.com

If you love “DIY-ing” with your skincare products, this is a great one! Pure clays draw impurities from your skin.  A real treat for your skin. There is so many ways to use this mask.  It repairs and helps with hyper-pigmentation. Indulge! (You will read more about my love of Golden Path Alchemy brand in 2015)

 

MAKEUP

nudus image

Credits: nudus.com.au

 I could not do an annual highlights blogpost and not mention this brand.  NUDUS takes the cake when it comes to highlights! Holy Grail lipstick brand! I’m not one for bold claims, but for NUDUS, I’m stealing Tina Turner’s lyrics and I say (in my humble opinion!): “You’re simply the BEST, better than all the rest…”  These lipsticks are everything lipsticks should be: pigmented, fun, vibrant, non-toxic, long-lasting, pigmented, pigmented and also pigmented.  Did I mention they are pigmented?  NUDUS is setting the bar really high for natural and mainstream brands everywhere! Stay tuned for more on my love for NUDUS, I will show you how I wear the different shades!  (Pigmented!)

Cheers to 2015!

There you have it, folks! The year 2014 was my first year of blogging and I discovered so many interesting brands. Now, after a year of intense testing, I can’t wait to share with you what I liked and didn’t like! I hope you’ll stick around and continue to read my posts.  Great things are happening!

Spot any favorites of yours? Leave your comments and questions!

Take care!

Alex xo

Giving Back: Jacq’s Organics

Greetings beauties!

They say there is more joy to give than to receive…

I love the Holidays, but it’s always bittersweet for me.  I feel so grateful to have a family that loves me, a roof over my head, food on the table, etc.  But it’s not the case for everyone…  My heart aches for those who don’t have all of that…especially for the Holidays. I started the Giving Back series because I wanted to highlight green beauty brands who do charitable work all year long, not just for special occasions.  I think kindness should be an inherent part of all of our lives.

Today’s Giving Back post is about Barbara Jacques’s philanthropy.  She is the founder of Jacq’s Organics, a family owned all-natural brand with products suited for all the family.  I have been using the Sweet Orange line for almost a year now…and I love it.  Barbara is special to me for many reasons, but also because we are both Haitians and share most of the same values about life.

Giving Back

Everytime you purchase a product from Jacq’s Organics, proceeds go to an organization close to Barbara’s heart:  J/P HRO (Haitian Relief Organization) for which actor Sean Penn is a Board Member. This organization has the mission of helping the many thousands and thousands of Haitians affected by the 2010 Earthquake.  J/P HRO  helps Haitians to transition to resilient, sustainable and prosperous communities. Jacq’s Organics also donates 1% of its annual sales to several non-profit agencies. That is what I call: Kindness in action!

Barbara Jacques, founder of Jacq's Organics Credits: B. Jacques

Barbara Jacques, founder of Jacq’s Organics
Credits: B. Jacques

I asked Barbara to talk to me about the specifics of J/P HRO and how she practices kindness in her personal life.  This woman is a beauty, inside and out!

Here’s what she had to say…

 

1.  First, how would you describe Jacq’s Organics? 

Jacq’s Organics is a family-friendly product line that’s hand-crafted from raw, environmentally source ingredients that serve the purpose of providing skincare that’s free from harmful harsh preservatives. We take pride in being a cruelty-free brand that does more then give back but also helps make a difference and shed light on the importance of living green.

Jacqs sweet orange

Credits: Jacq’s Organics

2.  What sets you apart from the other green beauty brands?

I realize that there are lots of green beauty brands. But what makes Jacq’s Organics different is that it was created when I learned I had an ovarian tumor while pregnant. Even though I lived a green lifestyle, what I learned is that beauty products and even the food I ate contributed to the growth of my tumor. There are many factors including lifestyle, family history and environmental factors that affect our body. This made me re-evaluate and learn about what it was I put in my body and on my skin.

My experience also taught me to appreciate life including the mot simplest things which translates in our product line. More importantly, I’d like to utilize my story and my experience to share with women that are currently battling an illness to stay strong and fight for your life. You are not alone and you do not have to suffer in silence, but instead fight for the life you want.

This is what makes Jacq’s Organics different. It’s not just about skin care or bath products.

3.  What is your motto or philosophy when it comes to giving back? Why is giving back important to you?

I have childhood memories of my mother making dinner after working long work hours for my siblings and I and then feeding the homeless that lived in our neighborhood. We didn’t have much; honestly, we didn’t have anything and she was a single mom, but she always helped those in need. So, giving back for me is not just about giving but supporting our community and helping those in need. Giving back is important to me because there were days and holidays where we didn’t have much. I know first hand how it feels to not have and the huge difference and impact giving back has. This explains why I worked in non-for-profit because you can help individuals in so many ways. Plain and simple.

Credits: J/P HRO

Credits: J/P HRO

4.  Why did you choose to get involved with J/P HRO? 

We choose to donate to this organization for several reasons. In addition to their focus on medicine, community development, engineering and construction, and relocation for the millions of people, there is a genuine effort to save lives and build sustainable programs.  Even after the media stopped coverage in Haiti, this organization continues to show and proves its efforts and you can see the positive impact it has.

Credits: J/P HRO

Credits: J/P HRO

The second reason I choose to be a part of a charity connected to Haiti is because I am Haitian. I’m a first-born generation Haitian with family living in Haiti. I see that many of the decisions made by the government and aid given from charities not only impact the individuals living in the country but it also impacts the families of the individuals living abroad. Haiti is a place that I hold near and dear to my heart.

 

Funding for Education is vital. Credits: J/P HRO

Funding for Education is vital.
Credits: J/P HRO

 

5.  How do the funds help?

The funds donated to this organization go towards providing medical needs, camp and relocation management, creating community infrastructure, education, engineering and construction. But remember, money is not the only way to help this organization. Individuals can help by spreading the word, volunteering and by taking action. One way individuals can take action is by creating a local fund-raiser to help the individuals working hard to help rebuild the country.

 

6.  You have children, so how do you instill the values of giving back and of kindness ?

Giving back is very important to my husband and I. I believe the best way to teach is to show. I have a 3-year-old toddler and we don’t buy her toys. However, she has a room filled with toys from family members and friends as gifts. I became overwhelmed with the excessive amount of toys, so I sat down with her and explained to that she had an excess amount of toys and there are children with no toys.

I explained to her that we are going to be giving some of her toys to those children who didn’t have toys. She agreed and starting sorting through her toys. We volunteer, serve on boards and mentor under privileged kids. My daughter will learn from my actions.

Personal note…

I was born in Canada, and I’ve never been to Haiti, but it’s dear to me because my parents are Haitians, so I was raised with their values.  Haiti was called “La Perle des Antilles” it’s french for “Pearl of the Carribean“.  Haiti hasn’t always been the poor devastated country it is, it used to be a place praised by many for vacations and getaways, and it was is a wonderful place.  The media portrays a negative image of Haiti, but make no mistake, Haiti even though ravaged by nature, is a beautiful and resourceful island.  Don’t believe everything you see on television. Haiti isn’t solely about poverty and hunger… even faced with adversity, there’s joy, warmth and faith. Haitians are not only resilient and hopeful, but they are determined to overcome whatever comes. The people make the country, not the other way around!

Here is an image of the Haitian Presidential Palace before and after the Earthquake that shook the nation on January 12th, 2010.

Presidential Palace (before and after) Credits: LaDepêche.fr

Presidential Palace (before and after)
Credits: LaDepêche.fr

 

If you want to know more and donate to J/P HRO, please go to:  http://jphro.org/index.html

If you’re interested in Jacq’s Organics, go to: http://www.jacqsorganics.com/

 

Don’t forget, the true spirit of Christmas is selfless!  A simple gesture could make a big difference in the life of someone else…and in yours!

 

Happy Holidays to all!

 

Alex xo

5 beauty tips from Lina Hanson

Greetings beauties!

 

It’s no secret I love Lina Hanson and her Global serums for face and body.  Today, she shares her simple beauty tips to achieve healthy glowing skin.

The beautiful Lina Hanson. Credits: Tumblr.com

The beautiful Lina Hanson.
Credits: Tumblr.com

 Here are her 5 beauty tips anyone can do!

1.  Hydration from the inside out

Hydrate your skin from within by drinking water. However, the type of water you drink also matters.  Alkaline water is great because it helps detoxify your body and enhance your immune system. A healthy body equals healthy skin. My favorite alkaline water is Essentia water. It also tastes delicious!

Essentia Water Photo credits: Essentiawater.com

Essentia Water Credits: Essentiawater.com

2. Dry Brushing

Dry brushing your skin is such a great way to increase circulation and release toxins. It also removes dead skin and clears up clogged pores. I like Eco Tools Bamboo Bristle Bath Brush.

EcoTool Bamboo Dry Brush Credits: EcoTools.com

EcoTools Bamboo Dry Brush Credits: EcoTools.com

 

3. Exfoliation 

Remove dead skin cells by exfoliating your face and body at least once a week. It will quickly improve the appearance of your skin and let your skin breath. You can even use ingredients from your kitchen cabinet. For the face, raw sugar or brown sugar is a great and inexpensive option. For the body you can use something slightly more coarse like sea salt.

4.  Body and facial oils

Hydrate your skin with oils. Some people are nervous to use oil on their face, but the truth is, an oil will absorb into the skin faster than a regular water-based moisturizer, and will leave your skin with a beautiful glow. The same goes for your body. Hydrating your skin with an oil is the best way to get glowing skin. I use Global Face and Body Serums morning and night.

 

Global Serums Body and Face

 

5.  Superfoods

Spirulina is one of the best super foods for healthy skin. It increases skin metabolism and wards off free radicals. It also prevents candida bacteria which can lead to acne. Spirulina can be taken as a supplement or powder form daily. I always add it to my morning shakes.

Spirulina in powder or in pills.  Credits: Energiseforlife.com

Spirulina: tablets or powder           Credits: Energiseforlife.com

 

 Satori

Sample of Satori Perfume Oil provided by Lina Hanson

Sample of Satori Perfume Oil

*Satori is Lina’s new creation: a perfume oil.  It is an uplifting blend of Vanilla and Sandalwood, along with crispy notes of citrus and ginger.  I really love it, it’s perfect for everyday wear as it’s not overpowering.  It has a little mystery to it, which makes it very intriguing.  The perfect scent for the strong modern woman who likes a touch of sophistication. Satori is set to be launched in January 2015.  Stay tuned!

Start today!

It’s easy to procrastinate and put these tips off to the New Year… but don’t!  Don’t wait another day to start… Healthy glowing skin can NOT wait! Start today, start now !  If not all five beauty tips, at least one, then add another one the next day, your skin will thank you for it!

Personally, I know I need to drink more water than I do now.  What about you, what beauty tip do you need to start practicing more?

Special thanks to Lina Hanson for her collaboration.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

Much love,

Alex xo

*sample provided by Lina Hanson

Green beauty meets excellence: the EcoDivaBeauty online shop story

Greetings beauties!

Ever wondered how your favorite shop came about?  Well, wonder no more, here’s the story behind one of my favorite green beauty online shop: Eco Diva Beauty! Grab some herbal tea, sit down and relax!

 The Original EcoDiva: Charlene Swanson

Though it launched only a year ago (March 8th 2013), our beloved, most trusted online green shop was born in its founder’s heart, Charlene Swanson (aka The Original EcoDiva), almost a decade ago… (that’s 10 years in the making, so don’t give up on your dreams!)

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Charlene’s life story reads like a novel!  When she shared her story with me, I was so moved, I kept picturing who would play her, if her life was to be adapted in a movie…and believe me, it should!  For me, it feels like Eco Diva Beauty has been here forever.  It is where I placed my very first order (September, 24th 2013) when I turned to natural products over a year ago.  The shop as well as its founders have a special place in my heart.  Their story is so beautiful, so I wanted to share.

We can all relate to having a dream, and Charlene is the perfect example of the modern woman who fought to make hers come true…and did it ever !

Humble Beginnings

 As a young girl, Charlene was ordering expensive skincare and makeup from the” big city”.  It wasn’t natural, but that’s where her love for beauty products began.  She did look for natural products but didn’t find the level of quality she was looking for.   She grew up surrounded by nature, up on the Alaskan Highway, so she never questioned its beauty and had an inherent respect for it. Her family lived in an old Army camp converted to a sawmill and, naturally, she grew up to be a … lumber trader!  And then, she moved to the big city. Despite the fact that lumber trading is a traditionally reserved male turf, she became very successful, eventually creating her own lumber company, which allowed her to care for her 2 daughters she was raising alone, as a single mother. She was also a pioneer in the industry because she led the way in terms of only selling wood from sustainable managed forests (FSC Certified).  Still, she realized her passions and her profession weren’t in alignment.

Charlene Swanson, founder of Eco Diva Beauty

Charlene Swanson, founder of Eco Diva Beauty (photo credits: Garcy Fry)

Being the connoisseur she is, Charlene was frustrated by the unavailability of proper organic and luxury beauty products (no Kjaer Weis back then!!). She often thought of creating her own line, but she knew she wouldn’t be content with that alone, knowing her tendency to search for new things.  She remembers vividly when her dream took seed in her heart.  Eco Diva Beauty was born out of the desire to see women make conscious decisions about their well-being (beauty, skincare, wellness) without having to compromise their health and the environment.  As a true trailblazer and visionary, Charlene then had an epiphany.  She knew right in that instant she would move heaven and earth to find  the most eco-friendly, luxurious and cutting edge products and have them in one beautiful location.  She wanted busy people like her who also love the planet to be able to find their beauty and skincare products in one place. She thought to herself: “I’m such a Diva!” and because all divas have alter-egos (just ask Beyoncé!), hers responded: “well, at least, I’m an ECO-diva!” And this is how the name ECODIVA was found.  Would you believe me if I told you Charlene Swanson, self-proclaimed EcoDiva, owner of the most prestigious online ecoshop, did not trust technology back then?  So she headed out to the Registrars office to get the “ecodiva” name registered.

As it is often the case when pursuing a dream, the daily struggles of reality set in and damper our hopes.  So, it did for Charlene, until she began to exhibit physical and emotional side-effects of her unsatisfying life. After her doctor wrote her a prescription that said “Deepak Chopra”, she spent a week with him at the Deepak Chopra Centre in California.  There, she came to understand that we, humans, are creators of our own life with the assistance of a higher power, however we choose to call it.

Mother-Daughter duo

She then enlisted the help of her daughter, you might have heard of her (ha ha!!), her name is Garcy Fry (you’ll get to read all about her in an upcoming feature).  The pair of them successfully manage EcoDiva Beauty.  I think I speak for many of us when I say that the Eco Diva Beauty online shop has set a high bar of excellence for all online shops by raising and sustaining ethical, moral, social and environmental standards.  Although we should be responsible for our own health by knowing and researching what’s in our products, we don’t all have time for that.  And that’s where shops like EcoDivaBeauty come in.  You can trust their commitment and their passion for our community.  You can count on them for answers.  When I shop at Eco Diva, I have peace of mind, I know that every product, from every brand has been researched and approved by the mother-daughter duo.

Here’s what you should know about Charlene Swanson…

She’s EVERY woman, but she’s also in a league of her own.  She’s a hard-working woman and quite the entrepreneur (with 2 companies to her name)!  She’s an adventurer, a go-getter, a dreamer, an achiever, a story-teller, a lover of nature and sees beauty all over creation.  She is truly and remarkably beautiful from head to toe and from the inside out.  She is courage and strength.  She is bold and daring.  She’s also level-headed and determined.  I gave you the short version of Eco Diva (yes, short!)!  I know we all look at Eco Diva Beauty and think we’d all want to own such a shop… Don’t think for a second that running a shop is a smooth-sailing affair! Even now, with the success of her online shop, Charlene still juggles both her sustainable lumber trading and the Eco Diva shop.  She remains humble and pragmatic, knowing full well that her first company allowed her to fund her second one. Also, she doesn’t think that she has is made; she thrives to do and to give the best everyday, because she wants the best for her Eco Divas…that’s you, you, you, you and I!

I truly love Eco Diva and it’s so much more than a business.  It’s an energy for beauty in all things inside and out, physical and meta physical.
I want women to be empowered and to know that they can affect the world in such a significant way by just being women.  Most women dictate what the family consumes and purchases and this gives them a powerful vote for our environment worldwide each and every day.”
                                                                                                                                                        – Charlene Swanson, founder of Eco Diva Beauty
Did Charlene’s story inspire you to keep dreaming and have faith in life? Have you ever shopped at Eco Diva Beauty?  
Let us know what you think? Here’s your opportunity to let the Eco Diva Beauty team know your questions, needs, concerns…  and while you’re at it, give them some love!  Show some gratitude for their hard work!
We Heart You, Charlene! (Ok, you too Garcy!)
Until next time…
Arabesque xo