Beauty, boundaries, Education, Knowledge, Reflections, theshineprjct, Travel

travel stories

for any of you that have followed this blog over the years, you might have known by now that I’ve travelled quite a bit. I have usually only talked about where I’ve been and the fun activities I’ve planned out. It dawned on me the other day though; that I’ve never talked about the deep learning I experienced on my travels. When I look back at older travel pics and what I felt about the places I went to over the years after leaving Toronto only once in my life and then later living in Japan-those experiences changed me. The other night I was flipping through old photo albums and very specific interactions with profound occurrences that shaped my mindset moving forward…I could only think of four really powerful stories.

I’ll share them here over the next four weeks and they are indeed packed with details that I probably would have never shared in general conversation with anyone. These experiences do speak to where the world is headed right now and why it’s important for humanity and society to get it together personally and culturally-so stay ready to read them! 🙂

-shine

Travel stories – a series of lessons

Ayurveda, Beauty, Fashion & Beauty, Food, Health & Wellness, Holistic Health, Knowledge, Toronto

Ayurveda and the Afro Natural: It works!

Saying the phrase ‘getting your edges snatched’ sounds pretty intense but for real though- you really don’t want that at any point during your healthy hair journey. The idea is to nurture the hair, keep it hydrated and healthy right? I’ve talked about Ayurveda a number of times on this blog so we’re at a point where I’ve incorporated this into all areas of my life and it’s actually replaced most of my hair care. With more time to do my weekly routines-I mean, I’ve always cared for my hair and it’s undergone plenty of phases but one of my biggest focuses after the first lockdown last year was moisture and hydration.

Braids and low buns can really snatch those edges….and shocking information too! Lol

For those of you who are familiar with the hair type classification chart created by Andre Walker (Oprah’s Hairstylist), Many say the chart doesn’t matter but in some instances it helps. I know now my hair is type 4 and low porosity. The porosity is a huge deal because for years I wore braids (I love them, this is my favourite look!) I still wear them but I realized that my strands needed ultimate hydration that would retain the new hair after all the growth/gains. Also, I’m VERY focused on my hair and keeping its thickness! As we age, hair does go through some change and I’m not there yet; BUT it’s better to take care of the hair as naturally as possibly with the most benefits. I’ve got thick strands and as I’m ‘low porosity haired’ natural black hair enthusiasts call it. Hair length is definitely a last result for me BUT thickness, (intact edges and minimal heat damage are my focuses!)

I found both (Curly Proverbz) Farida Sharma and Khadija Dawn Carryl of (Henna Sooq) I perused quite a few You Tubers and stumbled on both their pages I had always bypassed. I think what got me was the fact that they promoted Ayurveda and that they both promoted curly, coily, kinky natural hair and it was pretty thick!!!

I watched her mention of amla and fenugreek which I had used for face masks in the past and for cooking too-but she kept referring to them as game changers. She then showed her before and after pics-mind you it’s been 10 years to see her full transformation. The results are amazing!! So with more time to explore and no need to rush my weekly schedule, I dove right in!


She talked about onion juice (sulphur based) which I was not a fan of, but the detailed content was what got me into that! She talks about tea rinses from chamomile to lavender to green tea (I had always seen tea as an ingredient for hair colour change in the summer (but I found out it eliminated shedding!)

I opened my cupboards and found Yerba Maté and coffee grounds which had been collecting dust in their bags for a few months. Apparently they’re DHT blockers and great for the scalp and follicles.
She then spoke the praises of Henna! I was so hesitant about henna because of the dryness I’d experienced previously not knowing there were new and updated ways to use henna!

I’m writing about herbs now that summer is here! All the fresh herbs work really well during the warmer months and I can’t wait to mix more of them to try out what works. I found out that there are many herbs I’ve known before but didn’t know all their names and functions. If you’re ready to get your kitchen messy while you cook too: here you go!

Here are some of the tools you’ll need to get started:

A fine strainer, vinyl gloves, cheesecloth, mason jars, ceramic bowls with plastic spoons (henna shouldn’t be used in metal as it could cause a reaction on your scalp and skin)

Henna (Neutral) It doesn’t dye the hair. It does strengthen the strands. (Your hair should be handled with care after an application of henna as the hair strands really get reinforced.) An excellent deep conditioner of your choice is required.

When you choose a henna shade to colour your hair, aloe vera powder, juice or puree is required to give your hair the moisture it needs while colouring or covering greys. It really works!

Tea Rinses – Green, White, Black, Nettle, Chamomile, Lavender (Mostly either eliminates shedding and/or strengthening or moisturizes the hair across the board.)

Roots – Garlic, Burdock Root, Garlic, Onion

Ziziphus which is dried red dates a staple I used to drink in Japan! (if you find it in powder form, it can be added into pastes OR as whole dates they can be brewed into a tea!) VERY GOOD for moisture and curl pattern formation.

Herbs and Roots – Neem, Ginger, Fenugreek, Ashwaganda, Cloves, Hibiscus, Licorice Root

Growth – MSM, Vitamin C, Biotin Oil/Serum,silica (bamboo)

Essential Oils – Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint, Clove, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Orange, Lemongras (Good for the scalp)

Moisture – Raw Organic Honey, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera Juice or pulp, Cactus (Nopales, find at a Mexican Grocery Store.)

Oils – Olive,Jojoba,Hemp,Coconut,Carrot,Avocado,Sunflower,Almond,Castor (Jamaican & Regular) *there are many more that are so ideal but it really does depend on your hair type and preference-what works for me may not work for you!

I tried henna a few years back to colour my hair when I didn’t need colour and now during quarantine, I started seeing greys! Yeahhhhh they’re here now. I had seen Mums and Aunties of friends with orange strands (henna dyed greys) and not liking what that looked like…….so I took my time learning how to set it up and mix the pastes. You can also buy the henna pre-mixed (Vatika) so you won’t have to wait for the dye to release for hours before application.

Henna mixed with indigo which gives a dark chestnut brown colour and wow-it looks good. I’m gonna play with what gets hair a lighter brown for a more sun kissed look! We’ll see what happens.
Hair YouTuber Farida has a system where you pre make these deep conditioner (I call them hair hockey pucks) they’re frozen pods. It takes some time to prepare but making enough of these to last 8-15 weeks saves so much time. Here’s a little secret: I go to the discount racks of my local grocers and buy old avocados and bananas the riper the better and whip that shit up-however many pucks that makes, I’ll make 30 or more! My hair is getting thicker so 1 puck is no longer enough so I use 2 now! Look at that-Everything needed in your conditioner base all from your fridge and pantry! Avocado, banana, plantains, hibiscus (sorrel),kale powder, herbs- I mean the list is endless. My hair is eating GOOD! 🙂 I have a bit of an apothecary on my shelf now with all the herbs and counting because it works!


I made my first set of pucks and of course I didn’t expect Rapunzel hair overnight but what I did get was incredible hydration!!! I realized that my low porosity hair needs a deep, deep conditioning EVERY WEEK! Not just deep conditioner either-I needed all those ingredients mixed with a rich conditioner (MANUKA HONEY & MAFURA OIL INTENSIVE HYDRATION CONDITIONER or
JAMAICAN BLACK CASTOR OIL STRENGTHEN & RESTORE TREATMENT MASQUE or Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle) on high heat. I had a bonnet dryer attachment that I used sparingly and started using it every week with my henna hockey pucks all mixed with castor oil, more herb powders and plenty more Jamaican Black Castor Oil…..my God! Really, I get it now-it’s a game changer!!!

My hair changed!! Shrinkage was tighter, curls were tighter, my hair got darker, shedding was minimal to none and it was growing alot even after my only trim of 2020! Heat damage from silk pressing was visible on my ends and my roots on those same strands were growing in thicker. The thicker roots became so apparent that the ends looked very thin and lifeless-so I’m really taking time with the ends and gradually trimming them off at home! We don’t have a choice right? I think this homebound haircare routine is teaching me how to really delve deeper into holistic beauty practice. Another thing I’ve found also is that many of these ingredients are found in Africa and India as well….most tropical countries actually have most of these plants so as I pick up provisions in any tropical market, I find many of these ingredients at a much cheaper cost. Even with the prices going up this year. (Jojoba is expensive now yooooo!)

Prices are going up on everything so I traded out tons of products for the herbal counterpart. Also, I bought my first massive stash of things late February 2020 and most of them have just about finished this month! For shit you use weekly 1 year plus is a long lasting period of time to have these kicking around!

I started taking Ashwaganda tincture internally and realized I can also use it on my scalp too! Ashwaganda happens to be one of the herbs used in the hair teas and hair pucks. So my goal was to get into adaptogenic herbs that can be ingested to balance hormones and sleep deeper as well as get it onto my scalp and strands.

During the last quarter of lockdown, greys started popping up in the middle of my head and a few light strands on my temples. I debated for awhile whether I’d be using drugstore boxed dye or getting it dyed at the salon. Lockdown made the decision easy. So this is where I am now I started looking into henna. For anyone who’s tried henna only a handful of times, there are so many methods to protect the hair from drying out. Aloe vera juice, powder or pulp is excellent in the mix (I’m re-iterating here again okay?) You know those snatched edges that often referring to on social? Amla powder is amazing for it! That dehydrated look when the hair dries out after a wash n go or the frizz that pops up after a humid day with a low bun looks very different these days with Amla involved. Another thing too……I started making my own hair oils because many of this mass marketed companies put the cheapest oil as their base with the herbs (mineral oil anyone?) That ‘s the worst for Black hair and skin!

Darker colour wheel – Browns and Blacks

Lighter colour wheel – Blondes, Light Brown

Many of the henna sites recommend adding lemon to the mixture-please don’t use lemon on anything! It’s not great for afro hair! This stuff is designed to strengthen, thicken and grow the hair! The strengthened strands are enough! Also too-you can’t go blonde with henna if you’ve got darker hair but you’ll see a lighter hue than you’re natural colour!

This is another option in case the salons don’t open for awhile longer in Ontario. Henna (good quality kind), brahmi, moringa, triphala, burdock root, neem, ashwaganda, castor oil, shikaikai, fenugreek, amla, tea rinses (black, green, chamomile, nettle, lavender) all these items are mentioned above; check them out to see how they’ll benefit you and your hair! I also ask myself if I can/will be able to eat any of these items for everything else. Many of them work well in foods too! Lavender lemonade anyone?

The key to making all this work for you is to pre make everything you’ll use because 1) it gets messy 2) It takes time 3) It is best to buy the herbs in larger sizes. (the amount of tablespoons you start putting into your concoctions because the stuff works so well, will have you finishing a 100g bag quick!)

The Afro/Indo connection:

Coconut milk, moringa, cloves and neem all come from both continents and are widely used in body, food and haircare. These ingredients are excellent starting points for mixing herbal ingredients together. I have always been a big supporter of Ayurvedic herbs for years but not to the extent that I discovered this past year!

I started mixing herbs into my regular hair conditioner alone and found some of the recipes on their YouTube channels. I found that I really liked AMLA, Fenugreek and Henna. I also found that nourishing masks (pre poos) before an actual shampoo really strengthens my hair and strands. I can see some new strands coming up within a few weeks of use. Another observation I’ve made is that when I use the herbs with heat its sooo good for 4C hair. I use an extension with a blow dryer weekly for optimum results. I’m looking to invest in a hair steamer though. It is summer and of course it is hot; but even 20 mins instead of a full hour under it; changes the hair tremendously.

Just want to note that not everything works for everyone but this is something worth trying once you see the transformation. If I do a follow up article I’ll show my before and after in a few more months. Hydration is really what took me by surprise here. Good luck on your possible holistic hair journey!

You could be making green sauce, pasta sauce, tea rinses or hair juice (to replace plain water.) That’s the best thing about natural anything!

Beauty, Fashion & Beauty, Health & Wellness, Holistic Health, Product Reviews

Top 10 Products I Discovered During COVID and Going With Me into the Second Wave

March 2020 seems like a distant memory while looking back a few seasons. Seasonal changes happen with products-But with more time close to home, varying your beauty regime seems more of a curiosity than a luxury. When I’d head out to pick up toiletries I looked for items on sale, items that had a great fragrance and multi-usage items that are effective enough to replace some of the things I’ve always used. With a tighter budget I bought some items and started doing some of the treatments myself. I’m a little biased because I’ve noticed that I love flowers on everything. I started doing my own microdermabrasion, laser treatments, manis and pedis. My skills have gotten better but nothing like the real thing. It’s gonna be like this for a while- so might as well get used to it!

Here are my top 10 products that have grown on me and love to use:

1.J.R Watkins Body Oil Mist in Grapefruit – I’ve always loved the fresh and clean smell of citrus but grapefruit…..smells like a bright sunny day! The oil is quite dry, free from silicone and mineral oil so it actually hydrates the skin and smells naturally powerful. Its base oils are soy, rosemary and apricot kernel. I use it after the gym and also on my freshly braided hair. This will definitely take you into the winter months and give you that midsummer pick me up! If you’ve read any of my previous beauty articles you’ll know that I love more natural fragrances for everyday use! It retails for about $7.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada.

2. Nuxe Florale Body Oil (Summer Use) This French made oil is also quite dry but smells more exotic than fruity! It is said to enhance body, face and hair. I use this mainly for fragrance during summer and it’s incredible! It’s dry consistency makes it a longer lasting fragrance. I pour that in plain lotion and voila-it smells better and you are hydrated too! There’s an original version without floral notes.

3.The Ordinary (Niacinamide) – The Ordinary isn’t just all hype. Niacinamide is excellent for oil control (which thankfully I still have)….it’s also great for marks/spots, it reduces the pore size which controls the oil and the face glows. It’s VERY good! This product works well to combat the new maskne issue,it keeps the skin supple and clears it up beautifully you’ll notice the difference in a few short weeks. Use a thin layer so you don’t have the product flaking off as it dries quickly.

4.Sukin Super Greens Facial Moisturizer with (Kale,Spirulina,Parsley,Chlorella) – I discovered Sukin at Marshall’s and Winners about 7-8 years ago in the ‘natural’ skin care aisle. This Australian brand knows how to use their ingredients. Most of the ingredients are organic but the most effective lines they carry are the charcoal based and Super Greens line. It’s pretty inexpensive, it’s on sale almost always at Rexall now and is the only thing that soothes my skin.It gives a healthy glow ALL the time. If you’re a green vegetable and smoothie fan…..what goes inside is also excellent for the outside!

5.Gold Bond Rough and Bumpy Daily Therapy Cream – I recently acquired a home IPL hand unit from silk’n.ca before quarantine and now that I’m six months into my own home treatments with the help of many Youtubers-it is recommended to use BHA (Beta Hydroxy Creams – Salicylic Acid) to keep the bumps away! This specific cream is not sold in Canada but can be ordered online! It works well for coarser hair types and works well for ‘strawberry legs’. If you’ve got the strawberry dots you know!

6.Rejuvacote (Nail Growth System) – No more shellac manis once a month like I used to-for years!My last mani was in February. I let my manicure grow off, cut my nails and started using this nail hardener to grow them back to what they were. The hydrolyzed wheat protein, soy and calcium keep the nails strong. They really do grow in 14 days and for ladies with dry nails as a result of the hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing-it works incredibly well! This is $13.95 a little pricier than regular hardeners but it lasts long! You apply every other day to keep the nail coated. Don’t let it flake off unless the layers are thick and can no longer stay on.You’ll have long,strong nails you can file into coffins or ovals easily,I promise.

7.L’Oreal Paris Fine Flowers Cleansing Milk – If you backtrack a few years on this blog, I’ve talked about the double cleanse method (I learnt in Japan) with an oil or a cream. I discovered this really fragrant cleansing milk that I actually replaced my oils and aloe vera cleansing cream. I developed a bit of ‘maskne’ from wearing masks outside when running errands especially during the summer heat. The cleansing milk calms the flare ups without over drying like tea tree oil. This cleansing milk is excellent for getting rid of make-up (even though make up isn’t necessary now -with these protective COVID masks) It soothes the face, and moisturizer isn’t necessary.It has beautiful Jasmine/Rose extracts. This goes on sale often at any drug store, the regular price is about $13.99 but you’ll see it for $8.99

8.Dabur Herbal Neem Toothpaste – I buy this at my local Desi/South Asian Market as a replacement for the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Toothpaste-because you know,#flouride. This herbal toothpaste does not have it (flouride) and it’s flavoured with Clove Oil (fresh breath),Acacia Arabica (decreases gum inflammation) and Neem extract to strengthen gums. The strengthening of the gums you can actually feel. Some pastes are too sweet or to harsh especially the whitening ones. Consider switching it out completely and alternating both-you won’t regret it!!! This sells at most stores for about $1.99

9.Rose Water – I nixed the witch hazel and micellar water. I believe that flowers are the key!The rose water reduces inflammation, helps heal up the scars, hydrates deep into the skin and just smells soooo good! I use the rose water in a spray bottle to refresh the skin after a workout, as a light perfume, as the water base in my bentonite clay masks instead of plain water and as a daily toner in my routine. You can find the rose water at Rabba’s for $2.50 or at Loblaw’s for $2.50! It’s great! Stock up while you can-it’s always sold out at both places, especially during quarantine/lockdown.

10.Bulgari Omnia (Sapphire) – Sometimes you want to smell real good! Like for special occasions. I like Eau de Parfums/Toilettes with Vanilla base notes. For some reason Bulgari perfumes are not often carried at major department stores and boutiques in Toronto. I used to use the Omnia in the brown and silver spray clutch and it smelled like chocolate. As you know by now……I’m at Shoppers Drug Mart frequently. There’s a side display of perfumes with selected smaller bottles for $19.99! You’ll find all the ‘celebrity’ and higher end perfumes in 25 ml sizes at decent prices.

I know it’s a very challenging time and self-care may seem like a frivolous endeavour. When you’ve taken care of your insides-with meditation, by eating well, a fitness routine and finding your life’s purpose-take time looking for great beauty deals. You can find some excellent products to make your routine as luxurious as possible. Always remember you’re worth it-take care of your soul as well as your outside. Stay well!

Beauty, events, Health & Wellness, Holistic Health, Reflections, supply, Toronto, women & entrepreneurship

Lift & Co’s Expo & Legalization in Canada

As of October 17, 2018 Canada is one of the first countries in the world to legalize non-medical pot at the federal level. That day put Canada on the map as being the first G7 country in the world to legalize non-medical pot federally.

After walking around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on both days during the Expo, I was surrounded by anything BUT a bunch of smokers (they weren’t allowed in the building anyway!) I was introduced to topics surrounding Cannabis use as related to medicare, food, body pain and  CBD oil based products for pets and beauty! All panel discussions talked candidly about how to normalize public engagement and all leaders within the industry spoke on their perspectives.

IMG_4706

One of the first questions I asked was…..Soooo what about Jamaica? One of the major questions I asked Lift and Co’s CMO about the country with the strongest advocacy for cannabis’ medicinal and health benefits (for many generations.) An official announcement was released late May 2018 after theshineprjct.com’s interview confirming that Jamaica will be the sole exporter of Marijuana to Canada.

As of May 27 of this year, JMCC has just announced agreements to provide medical cannabis to Canadian LPs, pending Health Canada’s approval. JMCC operates a collective in Jamaica that is owned 51% by local farmers and 49% by JMCC Canada.(Jamaican Medical Cannabis Collective)

CEO Diane Scott and Jamaican Minister for Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Andrew Wheatley gave a joint presentation entitled “When Countries Collaborate” on the final days at the LIFT Conference shedding some light on this decision.

Other things to note:

  • JMCC is well on track to produce volumes equivalent to the large Canadian producers.
  • JMCC is already under contract to provide Jamaican cannabis to three Canadian LPs, pending Health Canada approval.
  • It has signed a three-way supply agreement with a developer of cutting-edge medical and health cannabis products, and an LP that remains confidential.
  • It has received signed letters of intent to purchase from another seven LPs, and is in discussions with another half-dozen in Canada and Europe.

The Jamaican government is focusing on Canada as a major market for its legal medical cannabis and has been very supportive of the industry. Furthermore, it fully supports JMCC. 

Folks,meet Kerri-Lynn McAllister (Chief Marketing Officer, Lift & Co) She describes the trepidation she had after being vetted by Lift and Co as their now Chief Marketing Officer! ‘I was head hunted from a tech space. I wasn’t too keen on working in the weed business at first but once I saw it’s potential and investigated some more-I found my role was exciting. IT was an opportunity to shape an industry’.

img_4713

How has the discussion about Cannabis changed since she joined Lift and Co? In six months she reports that plenty of people want to come out of the woodwork to talk about stocks/investments or how it’s helped them or family members. She was not aware of the discussions people were having prior to joining the organization. So it’s been interesting to see who was or wasn’t interested in the topic. It also shows that there is still some hesitancy to discuss topics on how to change public perception.

Do you see a difference in the getting this together-organizing it, running it? The size and scale in Vancouver is smaller but the vibe is incredible. Our events team is on the ball and have created an amazing event. Vancouver was a little more challenging to set up the event. There’s only one venue. January is the only time we were offered and January isn’t the best time for an Expo but we still have very successful attendance. From the dispensary perspective and the prevalence of cannabis businesses in the recreational market it seems Vancouver is more progressive but Toronto is way more open.

This year’s expo seems heavily focused on every avenue of the cannabis industry-it seems as though there’s an opportunity everywhere where does it start? End? Many insulary services and external products for women and particularly exciting beauty products. She noticed that Sephora was starting to carry CBD products. It’s a huge market. Food, Machinery,Textiles is all here. We don’t allow you to sell anything while exhibiting. Everything has to be above-board. We welcome various segments of the industry. We feel that there are so many auxiliary products that can serve the industry. The real focus at this Expo are the licensed producers and the niche companies.

img_4763

Canada as the Cannabis leader: Setting World standards How? So the Netherlands now gets mentioned for the first time in the whole discussion. Cannabis isn’t legal there but the by-law is re-translated to include all substances. So Canada would be the first country behind Uruguay to legalize it. And second, the first UN country to legalize it for recreational use at the Federal level. Canada is also considered a pioneer of medical cannabis use. Germany and Australia are nations observing Canada’s process in order to monitor recreational use over there!

A thought: As Canada is attempting to build a profitable Cannabis industry,one would hope that foundations like Lift and Co could join in the fight to remove charges and laws protecting those accused of profiting from Cannabis illegally. McAllister agrees that it’s not fair. We both agreed that it is a topic to be re-visited once details are ironed out from the retail point of view. Many aren’t talking about how to connect lawmakers and big businesses about deep changes that must be made to criminal legislation at a local and federal level. No organizations have come forward to discuss…..So many issues that were called into question spur a whole new set of questions. What does it look like for other provinces? What does it look like internationally? How will the cannabis industry look come October 2019?

Am I staunch Cannabis supporter? Yes and No

Do I recommend it to minors? NOPE.

Do I recommend it to treat ailments and diseases that pharmaceuticals should not be treating? Yes! 

Personally, I have vastly changed my opinion on the matter. After seeing my best friend’s Mom fight the battle of her life for almost five years with vicious stage three abdominal/cervical cancer. Seeing one of the strongest women I know lose weight and strength…..I was alarmed with how much medication was administered to her. Her condition, her overall body pain and deteriorating health after each aggressive chemotherapy session was heartbreaking. THC and Cannabis oils were not considered an option so late in her treatment but I do often think about how much it might have alleviated her pain.

Marketing Cannabis: Challenges and Opportunities

Although there were many restrictions imposed on marijuana industries on how information should be disseminated it didn’t dampen many companies/brands from reaching the public. All organizations ran into snags but found very specific techniques wildly successful. By employing savvier techniques to promote higher distribution of info and less visible imagery (lending more to the pothead stereotype), it’s made them more advanced than other industries which is one of the most difficult images to shake-off; especially in society or groups that still see weed that way. (As a drug)

In many cases it seems like a generational roadblock combined with a competitive push (to compete) with massive pharmaceutical brands.

What happens when all standard pharmaceutical cocktails fail terminally ill patients and/or chronic pain survivors? See Pain Warriors Movie 

In many cases pharma drugs are overwhelming to the system. Hurdles to overcome post-operative and/or incurable pain- includes insufficient funding, unwillingness to collaborate with Marijuana organizations from tactics like stonewalling, to the rejection of advertising and/or co-collaboration, lack of legal support, limited staff, little or no funding for startups, no bookkeeping and/or accounting services, restraints on public (social media) platforms about what can/can’t be mentioned (wording) online. The list goes on……

So where does that leave a rapidly growing and slightly forbidden industry in 2019?

One of the key answers to this ‘blazing’ question: Find the organizations that will. Cannabis organizations are savvier, they find the best in their respective lanes/industries and the right UN-biased yet open-minded companies who would like to grow with the industry. Find the companies courageous enough to overlook the stigma and see how far the movement can go. (The movement has gone so far that legislation has currently been approved at the House of Commons, and awaiting final approval) McAllister strongly suggests ‘If you’re paying attention to the space and you’re a professional services business-you’re ignoring Cannabis to your own detriment. You’re letting your political views get in the way of growing business’. (Are you?)

How Does The Growing Industry Work Around The Social Stigma? These are some VERY excellent marketing and promotional take-aways that have worked well for the industry. 

  • In short-harmless but necessary features such as clean & clear, unbiased branding, well-emphasized key mission statements (CULTURE, HEALTH/WELLNESS and COMMUNITY for example) emblazoned all over venues and promotional material (and actively creating those environments for the public to focus on.
  • Tactile and sensory marketing to convert socially doubtful and biased (opinion) to genuinely embrace items containing secondary marijuana products with an openness that might not have been possible 10 years ago. i.e. taste,test,smell

Many online platforms (Twitter, FB, IG) have rules and regulations for promoting ‘illegal substances’ online. Certain photos, commentary and suggestive language cannot be used. Marijuana businesses often align themselves in terms of community-building, health/wellness/awareness and/or industry building. All cannabis industries ran into snags but found very specific techniques to achieve success. By employing savvier techniques (strong digital and traditional marketing) was used to promote usage and/or distribution; it’s made this sector more advanced and in many cases they have more of an advantage because they’ve created a stronger movement like what we’re seeing now. Aurora Cannabis has done a fine example of clearing away the ‘pothead’ image-which is one of the most difficult images to erase pre-legalization. i.e. Collaboration with NXNE

What are some of the opinions for and against Marijuana?

Seems to fall into 3 camps:

  1. Post-operative terminal illness survivors who try to live day-to-day while searching for holistic topical methods to combat pain. In most cases Dr. prescribed pharmaceuticals numb pain and makes all tasks slightly bearable. (On the fence.)
  2. Those who do not tolerate use as an alternative choice under any circumstances (Is that societal, cultural, generational, institutional?)
  3. And those who use it recreationally and accept it.

In Ontario a private retail model is set to go public April 1st this year-What this means for Ontarians is that recreational marijuana is currently sold online for recreational use and will be sold by licensed re-sellers to the public. Will this make business better? Will it change the way other countries and societies at-large view Cannabis? Only time will tell.

Beauty, Food, Health & Wellness, Holistic Health, Information, Knowledge, Recovery, Reflections, Toronto

Ayurveda – What’s Your Dosha?

When weather changes, life conditions and circumstances change our bodies respond and react. For me, Ayurveda serves as a maintenance and management tool. With a Canadian climate Ayurveda is a very useful tool for weight management, skin maintenance and overall body health and wellness.

While in Japan for example, I found it very humid, so humid that I had (heat rash) that just appeared the first few months of moving there. I’d  never experienced rashes in Canada and I didn’t know what to do. I immediately consulted my book: Absolute Beauty by author and Ayurveda Practitioner Pratima Raichur. One of the first things to look at before using anything is to do the quiz and discover what your body is doing right now! The quiz helps you to understand where your body is imbalanced and it is often not the symptom that shows up on the surface-it’s a series of symptoms that create one reaction or illness.

Dosha Skin Quiz.jpg

You’re usually asked to complete a quiz that asks about skin and shows you the kinds of foods you’re eating, the foods that are aggravating or causing your symptoms and what you’re doing daily. Ayurveda gets you to tap into your life in detail by figuring what your body needs to heal or recover from its dis-ease. More than likely the foods that we all love the most are the ones that should be eaten in moderation or avoided completely.

I visited Dr. Sonal Bhatt for the first time 11 years ago. She’s one of the best Ayurveda practitioners in Toronto with a vast knowledge in Western Medicine as well! I had visited my family Dr. a few times and he wrote my skin eruptions off as a temporary skin flare up and gave me a series of harsh antibiotics. Without analyzing my symptoms too much,the first thing she did was look at my finger nails,the whites of my eyes,my lips,my hair strands and she pulled my skin to check for elasticity and hydration.

I love avocados, bananas and olives all of which I should not be eating. However I can tolerate these foods prepared with other fruits vegetables and spices! I also love peanuts and cookies (those of which I really have tried to scale back.)

She asked me to go into my Dr’s office and request lab tests asking for nutrient levels,antibodies,hormones,iron levels and hemoglobin. I returned with the results and her diagnoses was even more accurate than the test results. She sent me to get the test results so she would not administer ‘natural medicines and herbs’ that were too dangerous or would cause adverse effects.

She recommended I find a colon hydrotherapist (who I’ve recommended to many over the years) once I started ‘cleansing’ my system with all the herbs. I found a very experienced and knowledgeable colon hydrotherapist (Karryn Arato) owner of  (West Toronto Wellness Centre) on Bloor St. W. She’s one of the most youthful and healthy persons I’ve ever met!!!!!! Between both of them I used to travel back and forth to check for progress, and to receive more herbs and concoctions.

Owner/Founder Karryn Arato

@wtwellnesscolonics

Dr. Bhatt gave me all kinds of hand-prepared pills and capsules made with all kinds of herbs (usually bitter) to be taken with every meal or a few times a week with VERY specific instructions. Once those customized preparations are made it’s usually enough to last 3 months or more and the most incredible thing is that I see her very early on before said symptoms are severe-usually the issue disappears within a few weeks!

IMG_6274

Because Ayurveda, like most Native medical treatments, works with the body’s earth elements, symptoms are described in accordance to senses. Ingredients are used to diminish or balance overactive reactions within and outside the body. So for example: If the skin has acne breakouts and is maybe red and inflamed that’s considered heat, so a cooling food like cucumbers or Papaya are applied to the skin with Turmeric and honey (a natural anti-inflammatory)…..Get it?

I spent about a month mixing honey, turmeric and mashed Papaya all over my face and the eruption disappeared in about 10 days!

Many of us don’t pay attention to what our bodies are saying until the ‘disease’ appears. Ayurveda focuses on self-healing, prevention and maintenance. Author and Ayurveda Practitioner Pratima Raichur even has recipes with all natural cooking ingredients-some you might have to look for (in Brampton.)

With the quizzes online or in any of most informational books you’re able to see what your body does normally, what it’s doing abnormally and what it needs to achieve balance. Pre-mixed and measured face oils, face scrubs,teas and tinctures all need to be rationed, refrigerated or kept in dark bottles to prepare. Once you understand what the item is supposed to look like, how it’s supposed to smell and the expiration of the concoction-it’s easier to make the batches every few weeks!

Processed foods, fast foods,canned foods and chemically engineered foods can aggravate other times the body only shows symptoms at a chronic/critical stage. Which is why it’s important like any other medicine to finish it all and take at the recommended time!

Every season-I check the quiz, look at my symptoms/reactions and do a 30 day fast. It’s only required to do 9 but I find that the fast/cleanse doesn’t feel too extreme if it’s stretched out for a longer period of time. I do it this way to prepare my system for the next season or after a major change like a trip/flight or back to back partying OR stressful times and situations.

If I’ve eaten badly/poorly and had a fair amount of alcohol-the fast/detox/cleanse is more intense and will run for a longer period of time.

This detox is mainly an elimination of low vibrational foods and more nutrient rich ones which correct any bothersome symptoms such as gas, constipation, extreme sweating, body odor, bad breath, indigestion,weight gain, skin eruptions, joint pain or persistent colds and flus. (I haven’t had any of those symptoms in sooooo long.)

Living or travelling to another country for the first time was a huge change for me health wise. When I returned to North America I needed to overhaul my diet. It was really hard to eat foods I wasn’t used to. I developed allergies to foods I previously enjoyed. I used the little knowledge I had of Ayurveda back them to balance EVERYTHING.

Creating balance means eating a particular way to balance your body’s constitution. You may be required to also fast anywhere from 9-40 days or more! (With very specific foods of course.) After that a Pancha Karma (or five treatments) is needed to remove all the waste accumulated and ready to be dumped out. It involves colon cleansing, intense massage with steam/heat/herbs and induced vomiting. It’s a long process but the results are long lasting. It’s an amazing feeling afterwards-you feel lighter,cleaner,gut not as bloated and energy levels are sky-high. Countries with seasonal changes are places where it might be a better idea to fast and/or cleanse for clarity!

I found Ayurvedic practitioner (Sonal Bhatt) on Dupont St. She now has a new location on Lawrence Ave. in Toronto. She’s one of the best in the city, along with her assistance-she offered me an in-depth quiz and analysis which helped my established body constitution (Kapha) and she ordered a few lab tests and we found out with those results that I was deficient in every vitamin.

Sonal Ayurveda

Dr. Sonal Bhatt – Ayurveda For Total Health

Iron, B12, Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Vitamin E and many more. I took them separately instead of a bottled multi vitamin (too many fillers.) She recommended that I isolate the supplements to recover from deficiencies more quickly. She gave me tons of herbal supplements made from hand-picked herbs and I took them for about 3 months and   felt brand new!

I incorporated dietary changes into my daily routine. That was 10 years ago.
I recently went to see her again last year! As your body is constantly changing with age,jobs, life schedules and dietary changes-the old instructions she gave me were no longer required. I kept the previous instructions-I know what to do when something gets off track. (If I’m out and not eating or drinking what you’re having I’m not boujee I just can’t eat it-I really don’t feel great eating certain foods-I always try to find what alternatives work best!) One of the things I use to balance my combination/oily and sometimes overactive skin is all the oils inside and out. (Evening Primrose on a 15-day rotation, Cod Liver and Flax.) Within a few days EVERYTHING balances out-not to mention my skin looks great! Toronto water can be a little harsh, these oils protect everything from hair to nails to skin!

I was sometimes eating take out foods and foods that caused inflammation in my system from canola or soy oil used to prepare items so I tried to stay off of cooked foods for a while and it worked. I followed some of her guidelines for at least 3 months and all the symptoms ceased.  The treatments were and still are very effective! Visiting my Ayurvedic practitioner maybe 4 times in a decade means the results and advantages are PRETTY good! I usually don’t see my Doctor except for my routine annual check-up or an ear or eye exam.

So many household brands are embracing the Ayurvedic concept. What’s great is that companies making that subtle shift also make it easier for us to incorporate balancing practices and nutritional fasting into our busy schedules. As commercial brands evolve as they also dis-spell the myth that eating well and healthy is expensive or impossible.

I still consult a few Ayurvedic and other holistic books here and there for more understanding about ways I can change my meals and balance my skin and digestion. One of them is Queen Afua’s: Heal Thyself This is just one pathway to healthier living/eating.And yes, it’s a persoanl choice. There are many out there that’ll work better for you! We’re in month two of 2018-here’s to a cleaner lifestyle!

-shine

Beauty, Fashion & Beauty, Food, Health & Wellness, Holistic Health, women & entrepreneurship

Naturals for Naturals: An All Natural Product Marketplace!

14099756_175459396215541_438390703_a

Awesome grassroots brands with amazing stories, make healthy living effortless! Living naturally becomes essential when chemicals and toxicity reach high levels. #naturals4naturals is one of those brands holding this philosophy!

 

FOR NATURALS ONLY: @naturals4naturals launched an all natural marketplace FOR NATURALS ONLY.  That means only products with all natural ingredients. 🌿🌿🌿
Go to www.naturals4naturals.com to shop all natural products for men, women, babies, and pets.  You can also sign up as a vendor. (Link in the bio @naturals4naturals)
🌿🌿
Our Story: 1 daughters and 1 mother were tired of checking the labels of “natural” products and still seeing so many ingredients that were not truly “natural,” so they came together to create Naturals 4 Naturals by IveyDale. We are a team of 3 women collectively known as IveyDale (our last names + mother’s maiden name) who are committed to adding more natural & organic products to our kitchen and medicine cabinets.
Why Naturals 4 Naturals? For me (Amber the oldest daughter), it started when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2012. I could no longer afford to put chemicals into my body and I started changing my diet. Because of my health concerns, I started looking at labels like a hawk. The sad reality, which many of you already know, is that a lot of our food is extremely toxic. If you have a natural, organic, or vegan product line and you would like to partner with them, contact them at http://www.naturals4naturals.com/
19380117_440445286318825_5718845565618356224_n
Beauty, Fashion & Beauty, Toronto

Top 5 Hair Products from Back in the Day: What’s in Your Momma’s Vanity Drawer?

I visit my Mom once a month. In the Summer, I usually stop by her place with nothing else except for flip flops, a sundress and shades. If I’m staying over and not rockin’ the braids (some Summers I don’t-) I need products that work as good as what I use at home. (I’m always trying out different curling custards and gels!) I had a look in the cupboards in her bathroom and just like me, she had TONS of product.

I reached in and some of the stuff was laughable. I chuckled because I saw products my Mom used to use on my hair when I was little. The products of my childhood!!! I started checking for dust and grime on the various bottles and containers because they were pushed deep, deep into the back and I opened bottles and jars to smell the contents and look for expiration dates to see if anything had gone bad. This stuff was all new!

The product was purchased a few weeks ago-maybe a few months back……If my Mom is still buying this stuff-not only is it what she is used to, but it’s got to be some stuff worth trying out. Here are the 5 items I found:

let's jam extra hold

SoftSheen-Carson-Let’s Jam-Condition & Shine Gel (Regular Hold)

If I don’t feel like wearing the ‘fro, I do a sleek low bun. I do a centre or side part, get all the edges in from front to bank. It’s sticky enough to get the hair all down, a little wavy and VERY shiny! It’s great-however, depending on how much you put on it can get a little greasy. Actually, more than greasy…..my forehead was shining lol It does a good job,still!

 

Queen Helene Cholesterol

Queen Helene-Cholesterol-Hair Conditioning Cream

With many days of extreme heat and sun…hair can get thirsty. If you’ve got low-porosity hair (What’s your porosity?) a good deep treatment might be what you need. I dumped half the jar on my hair and combed it through from root to tip before a typical co-wash. I put on a plastic cap, wrapped it with a heated towel and was left with some hydrated curl-defined hair! I didn’t think it was going to do anything with this massive amount of hair but glad I tried it out!

 

mane-n-tail-conditioner

The Original-Mane ‘n Tail-Moisturizer-Conditioner

This is great for co-washing. Hair ends up super curly, super moist and dries well for the perfect wash and go! This doesn’t flake or dry-out on you midday. Try the LOC method with this and you’ll see how well it works. The conditioner is not too thick. If you decide to blow out your hair in the Summer, this gives a very smooth and bouncy laid bob!!!

 

world-of-curls-comb-out-cond-8oz-15

World of Curls-Comb-Out Conditioner & Oil Sheen (Moisturizer)

This product made me laugh because this is a ‘Jheri-curl’ product.   I wondered why she’d be using the ‘juice’ without having jheri curls. I sprayed it on with the Mane ‘N Tail as part of the co-washing style process and it gave a very wet and wavy look that dried that way. I checked the ingredients and one of the main ones: GLYCERIN. It’s an excellent humectant for dry hair! (Ease up on how much you use though, it can be a little greasy if it’s not applied to wet or damp hair.

SoftSheen-Carson-Care-Free-Curl-Instant-Moisturizer

SoftSheen-Carson-Care Free Curl-Instant Moisturizer with Glycerine

Of every item I tried in her stash I felt they were just okay. This is the ONE product I took home! It’s perfect! IT goes on smooth, deeply absorbs into the hair and disappears. It leaves the hair with defined, hydrated curls. It helps my thick hair dry faster and you can apply as little or as much as you like! I use this so much now that instead of buying a bottle or two at a time I started purchasing a 946 ml salon-sized bottle which lasts a few months.This product has been carried into the cooler months and still operates the same way in Winter. This product also has glycerine and can be used with a deep conditioner and/or grapeseed,jojoba or olive oil combination it looks the same every single time.

If you have a chance, check your Momma’s stash you’ll be surprised some of that stuff will never go out of style!

 

 

Beauty, Fashion & Beauty, Product Reviews, Toronto

Introducing YsthéAL: Highly Concentrated -The Perfect Product for Luminous Skin!

I’d never seen Avène products until I’d been to a cosmetics counter in Asia. Many Asian women use it to hydrate and cleanse their faces. They have an extensive facial and body care line and they’ve recently added YsthéAL Intense. It can be used together with the water. The water is excellent for tired,oily,dehydrated and aging skin.

When asked to try their newest product, I decided to give it a try. It smooths fine lines and wrinkles which I’m not sure I need for that just yet lol. ‘It promises to be 2x concentrated than the rest of the range’ (Concentrated it is!) It’s recommended to be used at night for effectiveness. It’s a good idea, it’s VERY concentrated.

It’s got ‘Retinaldehyde’ it restores radiance and luminosity to the skin. ‘Radiant skin is always in’ #YstheALIntense. With Summer finally here  it reduces age spots, blemishes and the (Pre-Tocopheryl-Vitamin E) Keeps it hydrated.

It was much colder in May (when I received the product.) I found it really drying to the skin. Be mindful of more sensitive areas like nostrils, lips,ears and eyebrows. There is quite a bit of initial peeling and mild irritation. If you alternate days and use the product as it suggests-‘Only basic moisturiser should be applied over it if you have very dry skin’. I recommend this method for sensitive skin also.

So far I’ve used this after my Clarsonic deep-cleaning, microdermabraison or laser treatments it works VERY well. It’s great for sun damage and hyperpigmentation which is great for darker skin. The results are immediate!

The product is as concentrated as it says it is and does what it says it should do. Eau Thermale Avène YsthéAL Intense Anti-wrinkle skin renewal concentre at 30 ml retails at 55.00. Avène products are sold in drugstores across Canada. #YstheALIntense

Beauty, Product Reviews

Update 3 (FINAL) – Beautystat.com: AVIVA Hair Revitalizer Advanced Growth System

I know I’ve taken some time to post but it got quite busy. After 100+ days of using AVIVA,  the product is amazing! I was able to grow a few inches of hair to eventually cut off most of the straight ends. With such rapid growth….I’ve noticed my new growth hair texture strands using AVIVA are not as strong my hair growth process without the supplements.  I’ve been applying more protein-rich natural ingredients to strengthen my hair! I’m using lots of avocado,egg and coconut oil mixtures. This is helping to fortify the new growth! For anyone looking to purchase this product-eating healthy and drinking water is imperative! (Drink lots of water!)

 

Extreme close up

 

Some might argue that hair is growing regardless….but in this amount of time (exceptional results)! In the first picture this is the last blow/dry press out I did after completing my last package of capsules (89 days). In the second picture that was a shot taken at (46 days!) Notice how much thicker  my ends are at the bottom. My nape hair and temple hair grew the fastest. My hair is thicker on the right side than the left side and all those became further enhanced with AVIVA! I cut off about 4 inches off on the left damaged side and 2 inches and my hair is 2-3x thicker than before! I’ll continue with the hair growth system to achieve APL (Arm Pit Length) Hair! This AVIVA hair system trial is brought to you by Beautystat.com!

 

New cut close up

Damaged left, healthy right

 

August 2014,left chop

 

Special thanks to  Owner Adrian Carew of Hair 91 (91 Scollard-Yorkville) and Shanna Thornhill of Depicted Beauty in Toronto for the trimmings, treatments and photos!  For more info about AVIVA hair system please visit:www.avivahair.com

 

DISCOUNT —> Use code AVIVAbstat14 to receive a 20% discount and FREE shipping on all AVIVA products at www.avivahair.com.

 

-shine

Beauty, Product Reviews

Update 2 – Beautystat.com: AVIVA Hair Revitalizer Advanced Growth System (46 Days)

46 days of use! Super thick roots. With kinky-curly hair you can’t really judge by length unless you straighten the hair! I can say that it takes a little longer to comb through my hair when wet and it’s denser in areas where my hair sheds the most. My hair is thin where it naturally parts at the front-left. My hair also snags onto scarves in the Winter at the nape of the neck. I had some breakage this past winter! (Gained it all back!)) After flat ironing my hair last Friday I see about an inch or half an inch of “length”. This is isn’t bad for a little over a month! And I learnt to increase my water intake to eliminate the breakouts!

 

Note: I dust my ends every two months and I have my hair cut after it’s been flat-ironed! Notice I cut my hair in April and see my ends in June! I blow out and flat-iron my hair 1x-2x month! Heat often interrupts the growth process! AVIVA capsules…..are awesome!

 

Top left March 2013 Top Right Sept 2013 Bottom Left (after trim) April 2014 Bottom Right June 2014
Top left March 2013
Top Right Sept 2013
Bottom Left (after trim) April 2014
Bottom Right June 2014

Before the trim!
Before the trim!

I’ll keep you posted with results in July/August!

-shine