Our travel kit is always packed and suitcase ready because we are a traveling family. We have a whole set of toiletries and herbal medicine dedicated to globetrotting. Whether staying close or going across the pond, our kit has been sufficiently stocked with the basics to take care of the whole family.
This may sound strange, but Niles is (and I know he always was) his own person now. When we go out to eat we order him his own plate of food. He’s not nursing anymore and sleeps in his own bed, in his own room. He has a whole life at daycare with friends, not to mention he’s forming sentences, many of which begin with an emphatic “NO.” He is not a baby anymore, so no longer feels like an extension of me, if that makes sense.
So with Niles being Niles, coupled with traveling to Cuba, which is where our most recent adventures took place, I felt like it was a good time to reevaluate our travel kit. Cuba was the first place where I felt like finding medicine or medical care could be challenging for us. We’ve managed fine through language barriers and no internet access before, but somehow experiencing them both in one place, with a toddler, seemed like too much for me to wrap my head around. This feeling was also heightened by the fact that Niles was sick with a bad stomach virus days before our departure. It made me think about what we would do if he was seriously sick while we were away.
I know we can’t plan for every illness or scenario, but because the actions and benefits of herbs are wide ranging and overlapping, we can be pretty well prepared should some sh*t go down while we’re on the road. At the very least, having the medicine that we feel most comfortable using can buy us time while we look for a local healer, clinic or hospital, should that need arise.
Compiling this version of our travel kit, while totally worth it, was by far the most time-consuming packing task. We have about 120 herbs in our apothecary and we make all of our own body care. Some items were no-brainers and of course, we have most of our product line included in the pack, which is helpful. However, in addition to selecting a handful of herbs to make our kit more complete and robust, I had to think about the following:
1. When we get sick, what does it usually look like?
2. What is the most convenient and efficient way to take this medicine?
3. What if I need to get something in or on my body faster?
4. How many issues can I address with this medicine?
This is a great exercise for everyone. Whether you’re into natural healing or not, having the medicine you need for your family on hand when you’re traveling will put your mind at ease. When you’re away from home you need to know what to administer to yourself or loved one in a pinch. Bring what you would use at home. It’s definitely not the time to experiment with medicine you aren’t familiar with. For us, it’s herbs, but for another family, it could be Tums and Tylenol. If you’re flying, it’s always a good idea to have some items in your carry-on luggage too, in case your bags are lost or delayed.
Ok, so here is what’s in our Herbal Travel Kit and my reasoning for including it:
Back row, left to right
- Cod Liver Oil – You can read all about the innumerable benefits of Cod Liver Oil here: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/. To keep this short and sweet, we take it as a family because it noticeable improves our immunity and increases our energy. Specifically for Niles, a spoonful a day keeps the daycare germs away!
- Echinacea, Osha and Elecampane Tincture – This is our serious anti-infection blend for colds, wet coughs and congestion, sinus and upper respiratory issues. To name a few of this blend’s benefits: it clears and dries mucous; calms and soothes the lungs and bronchial tubes; is anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antimicrobial; and oxygenating so you feel like you have more room to breathe.
- Niles’ Wipe Solution – Back in our cloth diapering days we used to make our own baby wipe solution as well. It’s a mixture of castile soap, aloe vera liquid, apple cider vinegar and calendula infusion. This is our soap-on-the-go if, especially during the flight when our hands get sticky handling Niles’ food, or if there is a situation with vomit.
- Iwilla Remedy Herbal Bug Spray – Mosquitoes feast on Tami, we can’t leave home without it. It also doubles as an effective antibacterial spray.
- Hyperbiotics Pro 15 – To keep gut health in check, especially while trying new foods and not having access to bacteria rich food, like yogurt. It’s also good to have if you do get sick and need to replenish your gut microbes.
- Iwilla Remedy Relax. Relate. Release Herbal Oil – We use this topically for muscle aches, headaches, anxiety and even cramps.
- Iwilla Remedy Stomach Ease Oil – Topically for gas, nausea and an assortment of tummy troubles.
- Iwilla Remedy My Skin Glows Vegan Nourishing Cream – This is our go-to for diaper rash prevention and healing, dry skin patches, baby eczema and sunburn.
Middle Row, left to right
- Hyland’s Teething Tablets – Because you can’t control when teething is going to occur or predict its intensity.
- Iwilla Remedy Good Night Wellness Elixir – When we originally formulated this herbal extract blend we called it Stress Free Travel to help calm Tami’s nerves during flights. As a strong sedative blend, it has a number of valuable uses for bringing your energy down to help you relax, travel and sleep. We’ve even had a client use it to help her process grief when a loved one passed away. We don’t sell it on the website yet because we’re still testing and playing with the name.
- Iwilla Remedy Skin Spirit Face Oil – It’s the only product we use on our faces to keep them gleaming, acne and blemish free.
- Lavender Essential Oil – If you could only take one essential oil with you, choose Lavender. It’s antibacterial, antiseptic, a relaxant, helps clear congestion and does soooo much more, which you can read all about on the interwebs. Remember though, that essential oils are the most potent form of the plant, so less is, actually, better.
- Catnip and Skullcap Tincture – This is another teething remedy to help ease the pain and the anxiety around teething.
- Selima’s Hair Oil – Apricot kernel oil infused with rosemary and nettle to keep my scalp and hair shiny and healthy and to prevent breakage.
- Jamaican Dogwood Tincture – For headaches and migraines, which we don’t experience often, but I’d rather have something on hand, just in case.
- Iwilla Remedy I Love My Armpits Travel Deodorants Baby Powder and Floral Fields scents – Perfect travel size to keep us fresh for the week.
- Tiger Balm – A strong muscle relaxant that we use after we’ve shuttled all the luggage it requires to travel with a toddler.
Front row, from left to right
- Activated Charcoal – To help bind during excessive vomiting and diarrhea.
- Aloe Vera Pills – We purchased these pills from a healer in Cape Verde back in 2013 and yes, they are still effective and strong. We use them for more severe gastrointestinal issues.
- Advil – Definitely not my first choice, but admittedly good to have on deck when we run out of our natural remedies, don’t have the proper one or can’t get access to a better alternative.
- Two tea blends – I honestly don’t remember what herbs are in these tins, something delicious I’m sure for when I want to enjoy a hot beverage. I’ll pull these out on the plane or in the evening before going to bed.
- Cayenne Pepper – Excellent hemostatic herb and my go-to for small cuts.
- Muscle Rub – Not as strong as Tiger Balm, so it’s perfect for Niles if he falls.
- Salt and Baking Soda Toothpaste – Simple and effective tooth powder recipe that alkalinizes the mouth and is antibacterial.
- Iwilla Remedy Smile Lip Balm Speckled Blood Orange – Can’t leave home without it.
- Eyebright – This herb is most commonly used for eye problems, as its name suggests and we have used it for conjunctivitis with success. I’ve found that it’s also an excellent remedy for the sinuses and we use it for sinus infections and congestion. It is also very gentle, thus perfect for Niles.
- Chamomile – I have fond memories of drinking Chamomile as a child; it’s probably the first herb I turn to for comfort and calm for the whole family.
- Tea ball, tea bags and droppers – All the tools we need to administer the medicine.
Admittedly our social media posts are like unicorns, but if you’ve been following the faint trail of pixie dust then you know we settled into our new Atlanta home and that the online shop is up and running. Our community, that’s you, has always been so supportive of us and now more than ever we are so grateful for your presence and encouragement.
It’s not easy running a business, not easy building a family, and certainly not easy picking up the life you loved and moving it to a new state. Thank you for being our cheerleaders. Thank you for your patience as we flowed through transitions. Thank you for your love. When we reach out and keep everyone updated on our happenings, we always receive a grandmotherly virtual hug in return. And that feels good.
In the spirits of gratitude and homesickness (yep, I admit it), we wallowed and then decided to create a small gift of appreciation to you. Here is a link to our first, short and freeeeeeeeee e-book, 18 Herbs & 6 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Diet. It’s four pages chock full of information that we hope you’ll find useful.
It feels like every day we hear of some new supplement, treatment, vitamin, or super food that can be taken to heal our whole body. I know I get overwhelmed by it all. It’s all too much hype (and misinformation) and you end up spending your money on something you’ll take for two weeks, and then forget all about. I want to be healthy in the most economical and efficient way possible. For me, that’s incorporating herbs into my current lifestyle and diet. Complicated protocols aren’t always realistic to follow when you’re living a busy life. Instead of taking several vitamins and other supplements, we drink herbal infusions and use every opportunity we can to add herbs to our food. Burdock in soup. Maca in yogurt. Sumac on popcorn. Dandelion in salad. Chaga in coffee. Basil infused in water. The list goes on and on.
Our goals with 18 Herbs & 6 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Diet are to give you a good starting point for using what you have in your kitchen in different and creative ways; to introduce you to a few new herbs that you can add to your home apothecary; and to help you think about your current diet and ways you can add a nutritional boost with little extra effort. Download it. Print it. Post it in your pantry. Use it to spark ideas and share your thoughts and creativity with us.
I have not been as sick as I am right now in years. Six years to be exact. I remember the dates because Tami and I were on our honeymoon in southern Spain and I was suffering miserably with a cold, sinus infection and cough. We weren’t yet “woke” health-wise, were relying on middle school Spanish and were staying in a very isolated time-share hotel that only had Chapstick, pretzels and condoms in the store, if that’s what you want to call it. To boot, Tami was also low-key freaking out because she was in another country with this woman she just married. Of course, she didn’t tell me that little tidbit until several months later.
It’s sad, but we’ll always remember our honeymoon as a pretty crappy experience. So it shall also be of Thanksgiving 2016, the first holiday we celebrated in our new ATL home. Same symptoms. Same misery. Added bonus of an equally sick child. At least this time, Tami’s sure that I’m a keeper.
Because I never, ever want to forget, because I can’t think clearly when I’m sick and because everything lives on the internet forever, here is my cold protocol:
• Tea: Eyebright and Chamomile (1 cup, 3+ times per day)
• Tincture: Blend equal parts Echinacea, Elecampane, Elderberry, and Calendula (1 dropperful every 2 hours)
• Decoction: Elderberry, Echinacea, Clove, Cinnamon, Calendula, Eyebright, Hibiscus and Osha
• Garlic: Chewed raw with food, (1 clove, 5+ times per day or as much as your stomach can tolerate)
• Add 1/8-1/4 tsp each of Ginger and Cayenne Pepper to hot honey-lemon water
• Add 1/8-1/4 tsp each of Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper to hot soup
• Incorporate adaptogenic herbs like reishi to resist stress and help the body return to its normal state.
• Warming foods: soups, broths, anything Indian (yum)
• Avoid sugar, coffee, fruit juices, dairy and alcohol (unless it’s whiskey for a Hot Toddy)
• Infused water with lemon and cucumber
• Swallow spoonfuls of raw, organic honey throughout the day
Find the balance between resting and getting in enough gentle movement throughout the day so that the lymphatic system remains stimulated. With the assistance of the immune system, the lymph nodes neutralize and eliminate poisons, bacteria or infectious microbes that may be present. What cannot be neutralized in the nodes is carried by the lymph to the liver, colon, lungs, skin, bladder and kidneys to be eliminated from the body. There is no pump to move the lymph like the heart pumps the blood. Lymph moves by stimulation through movement and exercise, also by the electro-magnetic energy system of the body.
• Take a walk outside for the fresh air.
• Beginner Yoga: Forward fold, Downward Dog, Child’s Pose, Cat and Cow, slow Sun Salutations.
• Advanced Yoga: For immediate relief of sinus congestion, pressure, pain or headache, do a headstand or get into wheel pose for 5-10 deep breaths or as long as you can safely hold the pose. Use the assistance of a wall or ask someone to spot you. If the last time you did a headstand or a backbend was when you were in the 5th grade, then ignore this suggestion entirely. Safety first. Don’t call me talkin’ ‘bout “I hurt my neck!”
• Jala Neti – The process of cleaning the nasal passages with salt water.
• Pour eucalyptus or lavender into an essential oil diffuser.
• Sleep with a humidifier to help relax the bronchioles.
• Hot facial steams with essential oils to loosen congestion.
Spend some time reflecting on the questions: “Why do I need to be sick right now?” and “What’s my pattern of illness?”
Circling back to our honeymoon, we weren’t nearly as herbally equipped as we are today. I’m pretty sure we relied solely on Campari and orange juice (2 for 1 happy hours!) to relieve my symptoms while traversing Spain. It goes without saying that it wasn’t very effective and the infection just ran its course.
Then much like now, but with way more intention and wisdom, I’m supporting my body, but also surrendering to the natural healing process. It’s given me a great deal of time to think about the timing and deeper meaning of being this sick and uncomfortable.
Our honeymoon was the culminating event of a series of major transitions. In that same year, not only had Tami and I gotten married, she started a new job and we purchased and moved into our Brooklyn apartment. Big year. Six years later and we can clearly see the similarities.
The emotional accumulation of the last year is literally pouring out of me. It’s a challenge for me to express all feelings in the moment (there are just so many). I like remaining calm and analytical. Most things don’t actually bother me, and when they do, I’m aware and I do take time to process, but not too much time. I just like to keep moving forward, gain the spiritual insight and get back to feeling peaceful. As quickly as possible please.
Our process of moving from Brooklyn to Atlanta was down right maddening and long, lasting over a year. I’m realizing I internalized a lot of that emotional stress. I was so determined to stay positive, grounded and patient that I allowed little else in (or out). Unchecked, unrealized, unprocessed emotions always find expression in the body, be it through pain or illness. I’m receiving a lesson to remember and instead of rushing through it, I’m allowing it unfold with gratitude. Even as I type and acknowledge the huge transformations that have taken place in the last year, the congestion is loosening and my breath flows a little more easily than it did moments ago.
Here’s my personal mantra for the next 30 days. It seems like self-confidence waxes and wanes like the phases of the moon. While I’ve been on an emotional upswing, I know just how easy it is to backslide into negative, low-self worth, and self-disparaging thinking. We all do it. We convince ourselves that we can’t, we shouldn’t, we’re not skilled enough, we don’t know enough, etc. Release all that mess. We have to harness the power of the mind/body/spirit and daily remind ourselves of how beautiful, divine and powerful we are.
You know the State Farm commercial with the couple that declares they are never getting married, never having kids and never moving the suburbs, but end up making all of these huge life transitions anyway? That’s Tami and I, 100%. We never thought we were having kids and vehemently knew, just KNEW, we were not leaving Brooklyn.
Well, we need to stop making such finite declarations.
A change that’s been over a year in the making is finally coming to fruition. The Lusts of New York, will soon be the The Lusts of Atlanta.
Some time in 2013 we slowly began to realize living in New York no longer served us. In spite of how much we loved, and still love this place for its pace and energy, those very same reasons for moving here were draining us. For all of New York’s freedom, diversity, innovation, great food and convenience, we want a little more simplicity: space (of course), a backyard, our very own driveway, silence and to see the stars at night.
Naturally, having Niles has sped up the awakening of these dormant desires that we probably could have shushed back to sleep for a few more years. But we can’t ignore the lightness in his energy, the extra space in his body and brighter twinkle in his eyes when we’re not in Brooklyn. We see you Niles and we honor you. We’ve made a decision as a family to be rooted in a location that feeds us all.
Our other baby, Iwilla Remedy, is coming along for the ride too. We need to lighten our load, however, so from now until September 13th the whole shop is 40% off. No coupon code is required. This offer doesn’t apply to the gift sets and cannot be combined with free shipping. We have limited quantities in stock, so grab what you want while supplies lasts.
From September 14 through October 16 (ish) the online shop will be closed. We’ll be moving, our personal and business belongings will be in storage and we’ll be in a temporary living space. Until we settle in our new home, we will be fully focused on staying grounded and present through this transition. Business will resume as soon as possible.
As always, thank you for your continued love, encouragement and support. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more frequent updates and herbal happenings.
Selima, Tami & Niles
We’re super excited to announce that our Unscented I Love My Armpits Travel Deodorant is now included in Post-Po Provisions boxes. Post-Op Provisions is a new company that curates post operative care, care packages. When the founder (and surgeon), Debby Nowak reached out to us about considering our natural deodorants for the boxes, I was over the moon excited and thought, “what a freakin’ brilliant idea!”
We all know someone who has had surgery or a procedure done and it can be challenging to think about what to get them to aid in their recovery, make them feel comfortable, supported and loved. Because Post-Op Provisions boxes were designed by a surgeon, included in them you’ll find a thoughtful variety of basic medical supplies, personal care items, treats and even surgery-specific apparel.
Sending flowers and cards are nice and mood boosting. Having food delivered is very convenient. For those of us who are more practically oriented in their gift-giving (I certainly am) choosing a Post-Op Box for your recovering loved one is the perfect way for you to express how much you care.
I love how there are more and more marketplaces opening up for natural food and product lovers. It’s a good sign of our times that people are becoming more aware of the food they put into their bodies and the products they put on their skin and use to clean their homes.
We’re choosing healthy, choosing clean, choosing organic, choosing natural and choosing what supports our best selves. With our dollars we are demanding better choices from manufacturers!
With all that said, Iwilla Remedy is now available through Direct Eats!
Check out the sale going on now if you want to stock up. http://www.directeats.com/beauty-sale/
Has time sped up? Surely it has because it is already December and this year is nearly over. Niles is 10 months old and we cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. He is crawling and cruising all over our apartment, “talking,” and discovering this large world. He’s powerful, commanding attention from passersby everywhere we go. And he can eat; sweet potatoes, rice and beans, and Mommy’s special homemade lavender applesauce are his favorite foods of the moment.
Sometimes, when he wakes up from a nap, looking a little disoriented, we remind him that he’s on Earth, in Brooklyn, and that we are his loving parents. The best gummy smile in the whole world emerges. Love like this feels so good! I am convinced that this relationship we have with Niles is the closest we will ever feel to giving and receiving true, unconditional love.
Unconditional love. Sit with that thought and let its juiciness marinate your heart. Children are our teachers and when we observe their behavior and receive their wisdom, we can learn so much. When was the last time you saw a baby hold a grudge? They are masters at forgiveness and release – lessons we adults take years to remember. Niles is not keeping score on my attempts to feed him avocado. He simply spits it out and picks up the cheese. When Tami pulls him away from his favorite toys, surge protectors and iPhone cables, he yells, then moves on to his magnets or blocks. Because he is still getting his sea legs, when he falls (thankfully they are also masters of resilience), we comfort him as he cries all of his pain and frustration out until he feels better. And in the essence of determination, he squirms to be put down, and then tries again. I don’t believe babies have poor memories. I think they simply know how to release emotion and keep on moving.
While the challenges at his at age may seem trivial, they are as significant to him as our adult responsibilities are to us. Worry, shame, blame and other gripping emotions that have us holding on instead of letting go, keep us in a state of suffering. These are learned patterns; we don’t come out of the womb this way. Niles, as he is observing and absorbing our every action, response and energy, is being taught how to “behave,” according to our principals and lifestyle (Spirit help him)! I try to remember this when my tank is running on empty. It’s ok for him to see Mommy tired, frustrated, embarrassed, or heavy-hearted, so long as he also watches me take some me-time, meditate, shake that nonsense off and try to find the source of my sadness to work through it. I don’t want to stew in negative emotion, nor do I want to teach him that behavior. It doesn’t serve us; there are no solutions in that pot.
And for all of this – the emotional waves of parenting and those days when we think “I have no f***ing clue what I’m doing – that he witnesses, he loves us anyway. All. The. Time. Unconditionally. The patience in his side-eye says it all “Yeah…y’all didn’t get that quite right, but it’s ok, I’m still thriving and I love you.” Incredible.
Because we adults are layered with all of this programming – the behaviors and patterns we learn from our childhood, environment, culture and society – our love comes with conditions…so many of them. We love those who “deserve” it and are apathetic, unforgiving, and judgmental to the rest. But guess what, the sun rises every day and shines on us all, whether we recognize, appreciate, deserve it or not. So in the spirit of the holidays just because, I am working on this beautiful lesson in love gifted to me by my child, loving without conditions. Loving just because. Loving even though there is hurt. Loving because it is the path of least resistance. Loving anyway.
Enjoy this wonderful holiday season and let us all usher in the New Year with renewed hearts and minds.
Join us in welcoming our son, Niles Maël Lust into the world! Niles was born at home on February 19th at 7:57 a.m. after 51 hours of labor (yes, you read that correctly)! He’s so amazing, so loving and loveable, smoochable and familiar. It feels like we’ve spent many lifetimes together and have been reunited here once again. Our hearts have expanded in ways we didn’t think possible. Our family feels more complete.
Why all the secrecy? We, admittedly, didn’t share with many people that we were pregnant or that we even wanted to expand our family. We weren’t intentionally being secretive. We would talk about making an announcement, but it never felt right. We wanted to maintain a quiet, sacred space around the conception, pregnancy and birth. It’s a special time that gives you abundant gifts of presence, reflection and healing. We wanted to honor the time by being fully aware of the shifts and the opening that were taking place.
So here’s a brief recap of our process. Our story begins with us being honest about wanting children and admitting that truth, aloud, to each other and to our community. This happened in January 2014. When you are aligned with your truest desires and are energetically ready to receive, the pathway to your goal becomes incredibly open and clear of obstacles. We chose a donor who mirrored Tami’s compassion and creativity, blood type and medical history. We tracked Selima’s ovulation for three months and were pregnant in May. That’s lightening fast.
The pregnancy was normal: morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester, increased physical energy and “the glow” in the second, followed by discomfort and the return of fatigue in the third. And no pregnancy would be complete without the final, get-this-baby-out-of-me agitation! Selima was healthy; the pregnancy was infection-free. Keeping Selima’s iron up was the only physical challenge, which we tackled with diet, supplements and herbs.
Because we didn’t experience the many medical issues that often come with pregnancy, we were able to focus on strengthening our communication and teamwork to prepare for Niles. We had a “to-do” list for each trimester that included tasks such as preparing frozen meals, buying baby gear, hanging shelves, de-cluttering, etc. And we talked, and talked, and talked. We had a vague idea of what kind of parents we wanted to be before we conceived. In these conversations, however, we dug a little deeper as well as hashed out some details. Cloth diapering vs. disposable? How do we feel about spanking? What principles from our childhood do we want to carry on and which ones need healing and releasing? How will we honor Niles’ voice, perspective and individuality, so he develops a healthy sense of self-love and self-worth? Home, hospital or birthing center? Pets? Weekly allowance? While we obviously couldn’t talk about everything, when we thought of something, we talked about it.
Lastly, why 51 hours? We’re still processing this ourselves and will continue to for many more months. Labor is transformative, not just for the birthing mother, but also for the partner and baby. We all needed to be ready and 51 hours was how long it took. Tami and I had to find our voices and power, individually and as a unit. When I felt defeated, which was basically for the first 1.5 days, I needed to trust Tami, follow her guidance and believe in her belief of me. As our midwife stated, I needed to ride on Tami’s wings. Tami needed to know and believe that she could hold me. When she and I clicked, Niles began his final descent and within hours was born.
Now we’re in a new journey, integration. Who are we as this new family? As we learn and grow in this new next phase, we’ll share our lessons. No more secrets.
This rich, healing cream is light enough for me to use on my face daily, yet also powerful enough to combat skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and rashes. It’s good for cuts and scrapes, too. This smooth and supple cream is made with a blend of health oils (sweet almond, aloe vera, neem seed and vitamin E) in a shea butter and beeswax base. It also includes skin-healing herbs and soothing essential oils: calendula, bergamot, Roman chamomile and frankincense/myrrh. Every Iwilla products is handmade in Brooklyn. The company is owned by two women dedicated to helping educate people about the power of pure herbal products. They offer private consultations, as well as answering any and all product questions within 24 hours.
In terms of packaging and scents, this natural one feels familiar, like any deodorant you’d pluck off the shelf at Duane Reade. The Baby Powder scent didn’t differ much from a Secret, for instance, and it also comes in Floral Fields and Herbaceous Woods. It kept me smelling fabulous through multiple sweaty situations, thanks to ingredients like arrow root powder and betonite clay. But it’s messy going on, leaving a slick residue, so you’ll have to hold your arms up and let it dry for a bit before getting dressed.
My name is Akia, and I’m a 17-year-old future entrepreneur. I am a lover of natural hair, old school hip-hop, and all things 90’s. Brooklyn, New York is my birthplace, and where I call home. Although I’m a city girl at heart, I am in love with Southern cuisine; there’s nothing like it! I take great pride in who I am, where I’m going in life, and what I have to offer.
Spoken word is one of my favorite things to partake in and something I have grown to deeply appreciate. Volleyball, softball, and football are my favorite pastimes, and my favorite sports teams are the L.A Clippers and the New York Giants. My mother’s baked mac & cheese is my favorite food, in case you were wondering.
I love experimenting with my hair, especially color. Other than that, you probably won’t catch me on the NYC subways, or outside that much because I’ll probably be locked in my room writing some poetry.
If you remember, during the holiday sales weekend, November 30 through December 1, we collected all proceeds from sales made on our website and donated them to Cape Verde for Life. Cape Verde For Life (of For Life, Inc.) helps boys in Cape Verde who come from low income families, yet are brimming with potential, to meet their families’ basic needs. By providing support in the areas of health, education, extracurricular activities, mentoring and employment, these young men are better equipped to focus on their education and future. Additionally, Cape Verde For Life helps guide the entire family toward self-sufficiency through career-building support for the parents.
Your sales helped us collect enough money to pay for the boys’ extracurricular activity fees for the season AND also covered their transportation costs to their weekly English classes for the entire semester! We thank you for your generosity and kindness, but the participants and families who benefit from Cape Verde for Life’s life-uplifting work thank you even more.
Enjoy these photos of a few of the participants and know in your hearts that you’ve truly made a special difference in their lives.
Meet a few of the participants:
Erivam, who prefers to be called Tchi, is a charming 12-year old with an enterprising spirit. He loves player soccer and listening to music and knows the lyrics to almost every song. Tchi excels in languages including our English classes but needs math support. He is considering a future on the production side of the music business.
Giovanny is an almost-twelve-year-old middle child of five. He is shy and is what people in Cape Verde refer to as a “good boy.” He takes pride in excelling in school and loves drawing. He would love to be an artist or architect one day.
Jose, or Zezito, is a fifteen year old whose family life and neighborhood have failed to taint his gentle manner. He is clearly very bright as evidenced by his flawless memory, but has been held back in school a couple of times due to absences as he’s had to hustle to help provide for his unemployed mother and family. Zezito dreams of becoming a pilot, but he will need to complete his education if this dream is to become a reality.
Tami and Selima Lust started their plant-based body care line because, like so many of us, they were tired of relying on traditional medicine. “We started listening to our bodies’ signs that our diet and lack of exercise were causing us harm. …Cancer scares and, unfortunately, losses within our families [also] had a huge impact on us deciding to live better and healthier lives,” the couple says. “And, sadly, hearing the doctor say that surgery was the only solution to Tami’s uterine fibroids was the last confirmation we needed to change our lives.” Their business, Iwilla Remedy, offers a variety of body oils, lip balms, skin cream, insect repellent, and a private consultation service. Local organizations were vital to the duo’s success: In 2013, they won top prize in the Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUP! Business Plan Competition, which helped them secure funding, while the Business Outreach Center in Brooklyn offered a key mentor. “Most importantly, our mentor gave us the space to be authentic and, with each strategic decision, she held us accountable to what we said we wanted to build. That helped us make decisions that were best for our lifestyle and business.”
Cape Verde For Life (of For Life, Inc.) helps boys in Cape Verde who come from low income families, yet are brimming with potential, to meet their families’ basic needs. By providing support in the areas of health, education, extracurricular activities, mentoring and employment, these young men are better equipped to focus on their education and future. Additionally, Cape Verde For Life helps guide the entire family toward self-sufficiency through career-building support for the parents.
Should you need to re-up on any Iwilla Remedy essentials for yourself or loved ones, consider purchasing during this time to join us in supporting a cause that uplifts youth and families in need.
Our herbal and first aid skills were recently put to the test when Tami bruised her ankle at the gym. Our home apothecary is fully stocked with herbs, oils, powders, capsules, syrups and salves for most ailments that arise regularly. But we weren’t in the comforts of our Brooklyn abode. We were visiting family in Powder Springs, Georgia, which is about 40 minutes outside of Atlanta and we had only traveled there with the essential toiletries and supplements. Maca root pills, I Love My Armpits Deodorant nor our daily nourishing syrup were going to come to the rescue this time.
When Tami returned to the house from the gym we all, her mom included, sprang into high gear gathering ice packs, ace bandages and pillows to implement RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. One of the associates at the gym advised Tami to pick up an over the counter anti-inflammatory like Advil or Tylenol. Very good advice indeed, but you know us, OTC drugs are always our last resort. We knew that there would be an herbal alternative in the kitchen cabinet.
Spices do more than add aroma and flavor to your food. They are also excellent plant medicines. Some of cinnamon’s healing benefits, for example, are stimulating digestion, specifically stagnation and fermentation in the colon, as well as providing relief from stomachaches and flatulence. It is antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal and so much more. Additionally, not only does it sweeten food and drinks, it does so while balancing your blood sugar levels. Now that is one smart spice!
While cinnamon also increases circulation and could possibly have helped with Tami’s ankle, we chose turmeric and cayenne pepper as her ankle allies. Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory herb and blood thinner. Cayenne pepper stimulates circulation and is also anti-inflammatory along with being an herbal catalyst, which means that it accelerates and improves the formula’s absorption into the body. Together these two herbs, prepared as a tea and taken 3 times a day, curbed the inflammation while simultaneously increasing the rate of fresh and clean blood being carried to the injury. As a result there was no bruising and the swelling was significantly reduced, which also reduced the pain.
Two simple kitchen spices made all the difference in Tami’s ankle recovering more quickly than if we had just stuck to the RICE regimen. Take some time to look up the healing benefits of the herbs in your kitchen (or ask us). I bet there are a lot of gems there that can be used in a pinch next time you have a burn, bruise or cut.
Not too long ago a read a Facebook status from an old friend in which she described the coughing and burning sensations in her throat and eyes that ensued as a result of using a strong household cleaner. Sometimes, even when we consider ourselves to be in the know on natural, we default to the products most heavily marketed, deeply discounted, or use them because they are what mom always used. Ajax, Pledge, Clorox, Lysol, Pinesol, Windex, etc., who amongst us hasn’t used one of these household brands? Not everyone knows that there’s an alternative, so I offered up the suggestion that she make her own multipurpose spray with water, vinegar and a smell-good essential oil of her choice, such as lavender, tea tree or sweet orange.
Essential oils, while the most potent form of any plant and highly volatile are safe when diluted properly and many are antibacterial. To give you an example of how useful they are, let’s take a closer look at the therapeutic actions of lavender: antiseptic, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, bactericide, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, rubefacient, sedative, sudorific and vulnerary. That’s a mouthful of benefits! It’s normal for a single plant to have a plethora of actions. Whole plants, whether dried or used in their essential form, offer layered, multidimensional benefits and healing.
Our household spray is made up of exactly what I suggested to her: vinegar (1.5 cups), water (1.5 cups) and usually sweet orange essential oil (~75-100 drops). We use it to clean all countertops and surfaces, including wood; the stove; and, along with baking soda, the bathtub and toilet. Our cleaner for our hardwood and tile flooring is very similar, though sometimes I’ll switch it up and add liquid castile soap or a strong herbal infusion of dried herbs, such as pine, cinnamon, peppermint leaf, or clove. I’m 100% satisfied with these natural, not to mention, inexpensive, homemade solutions. They clean effectively without ever leaving streaks or residue; are environmentally friendly; and gentle on my skin, no gloves or masks necessary.
Next time you run out of commercial cleaner, consider taking it off of your shopping list permanently, so that you can make your own, cheaper and safer alternative. Here is a great starter supply list along with the recipes and infusion instructions:
Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar
Liquid Castile Soap
Essential Oils (Lavender, Peppermint, Orange, Tea Tree, etc.)
Dried Herbs (Pine, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Cloves, etc.)
Basic Household Spray
½ Cup Water
½ Cup Vinegar
75-100 Drops Essential Oil
Mix all into a spray bottle
Shake and spray
Floor Cleaner with Strong Herbal Infusion
1/2 Gallon Hot Water
3 Cups Strong Infusion
1 Cup Vinegar
Floor Cleaner with Castile Soap
1/2 Gallon Hot Water
1 Cup Vinegar
2 TBLS Liquid Castile Soap
Strong Herbal Infusion/Tea
4 TBLS of Dried Herb
*If using Cinnamon powder or Cloves 1 TBLS is plenty
3 Cups of Fresh Boiled Hot Water
Pour water over your dried herbs and let steep for 30 minutes
Strain and add to vinegar and water solution
Every college student enjoys receiving mail from their loved ones. If you know a college athlete, then the College Sports Kit may a perfect way to ease his or her homesickness. Through our distribution partnership with Minimus.biz, I Love My Armpits Unscented Travel Deodorants are now available in over 1000 college campus online bookstores across the nation, including Spelman College, Notre Dame and Stanford University! See this wonderful care package for yourself here.
Minimus is the world leader in retailing and wholesaling travel-sized and individual sized products.
On August 6 spent the day on Governor’s Island with our friends at Brooklyn ARTery teaching passers-by how to make their own face and body scrubs. Participants ranged from small children to the elderly. With over a dozen natural ingredients to choose from no two scrubs were the same and each participant got to express themselves in a unique and empowering way. Check out the pics!
Making your own face and body scrub is an easy and fun activity to do with friends or children. It’s also incredibly therapeutic and beneficial to your skin, which needs regularl cleansing to remove build-up; hydration to repair damaged skin and restore and balance oil production; as well as gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells. Using moisturizing and absorbent oils, gentle exfoliants, herbs and essential oils, you’ll be surprised how easily and quickly you can restore your skin’s natural, healthy glow.
Below are three recipes you can try at home in under 10 minutes. Each recipe makes approximately 2 ounces, or enough to fill a baby food jar. Use a small amount once or twice monthly and you’ll have enough for several months. These recipes are also all oil-based, so do not require refrigeration and will remain well-preserved in a tightly closed jar in your bathroom.
Additionally, you can’t go wrong with using ingredients from your own kitchen or home apothecary, so try adding other ingredients you have on hand like cucumber, avocado, aloe, banana, even coffee grinds, detoxifying clays and circulation enhancing spices like cayenne pepper (watch your eyes)! When adding foods other water-based ingredients, store in the refrigerator and use quickly as it will not keep as long. Most importantly, have fun!
“Fortunately for us, nature has provided plant-based ingredients that effectively repels bugs without posing risk to our health and the environment. One such option is Iwilla Remedy All Natural Bug Spray Herbal Insect Repellent. They were generous enough to send me a bottle to review. Their natural repellent is formulated with apple cider vinegar, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, cinnamon, peppermint and neem oil – married together, this blend acts as a natural insecticide, antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
The first thing that struck me was the fragrance – it possesses a refreshing, spicy and almost exotic fragrance that is not off-putting or overwhelming to the senses. I love the combination of natural ingredients – not only are they effective at warding of mosquitoes, ants and other such insects, the antibacterial, anti-fungal and cleansing properties that it holds can also help balance the skin’s PH and encourage detox. It sprays on evenly and rubs in nicely without leaving a sticky or oily film behind. I have been using it on myself and my daughter and I absolutely love it. We went berry picking and fishing and my daughter only got bitten once, while I remained bite-free. I resprayed about two hours after first putting it on and we were good to go for the rest of the day. Bug Spray is stored in a 2oz glass bottle that is curbside recyclable and travel friendly. In addition to their natural repellents, Iwilla Remedy also offers lip balms, skin creams, body oils and deodorant that are all formulated with natural plant-based ingredients. We proudly add Iwilla Remedy to our Ethical Shopping Guide for their dedication to providing affordable, sustainable alternatives in the sector of body care.”
Remember the DreamBuilder Project we talked about back in January. Here’s the blog post to jog your memory. Well the teaser videos are ready for viewing. Check us out along with the 9 other amazing entrepreneurs who participated in the project with us.
The Journey Begins Video
Meet the Entrepreneurs Video
Registration opens Saturday, June 14th!
It’s time to relax…relate…and release once again! Get away for day, and join us in an indoor/outdoor art gallery for dynamic workshops, delicious food, shopping, holistic wellness and pampering services, organic juice spritzers, and networking with dynamic, successful, and inspirational women.
* Get Wise Awake with meditation coach Sebene Selassie
* Jumpstart your Money Makeover with Denise “Sexy Money” Cooper
* Learn why Pretty Shouldn’t Hurt with Afro State of Mind’s Lurie Daniel-Favors
* Flow in the Sacred Cypher with hip hop phenomenon Toni Blackman
* Awaken your Goddess Sense with Oceans & Rivers founder Lindsay Fauntleroy
(CLICK HERE for workshop descriptions)
Holistic Wellness & Pampering Services:
* Reiki and Massage
* Angel Card Readings
* Manis and mini-facials
* Flower Essences and Herbal Remedies
* Ancient Blends Naturals by Yendys
* Curandera NYC
* Karen’s Body Beautifu
* Iwilla Remedy
* Sacred Studio Brooklyn
* Harriet’s By Hekima
* Bed Stuy Botanicals
and more Goddess Treasures!
* Delicious Ethiopian cuisine by Bunna Cafe
* Organic juice cocktails, wines and spritzers by Sipping Naturally
Limited child care spots are available for the day with our partner, Little Sun People Day Care Center. We encourage you to register early!
$40 advanced online registration, $50 at the door
Group discount rates available for parties of 10 or more
For My Sweet Art Gallery, 1103 Fulton Street, between Claver and Franklin, Bed Stuy
Our silent auction begins online July 15th! Stay tuned!
Last week I made the first ever combo post. Combining True Beauty Tuesday (TrueBeautyTuesday) and Web Window Shopping Wednesday (#WebWindowShoppingWednesday) called True Beauty Window shopping featuring Iwilla Remedy.
As mentioned in my last post the ladies (the owners) where wonderful enough to send me several samples to review for my post. I can’t say enough how wonderful the items are….so great in fact it earned them two post because well one was just not enough.
In my first post I featured their gluten-free I love my armpit deodorant (which I am still using by the way), but I also wanted to highlight a few of the other items that I received and share with you my “Must have item”
Herbal Insect Repellent:
Let me just say I don’t think that I have ever come across a repellent with such a wonderful scent….when I shared it with others they questioned if it was repellent because it had such a nice smell.
My Skin Glows Cream:
I shared this product with both men and women and received the same response….. “Ummmm where did you get this….I want some!” I think that says enough.
Speckled Blood Orange Natural Lip Balm:
I share this product with someone who has loves to be outside in the Summer and likes to keep her skin and lips hydrated without be greasy (she really hates greasy stuff). She loved the coverage of the product and said that her lips felt really good.
My Must have item:
My Must have item is the I Love My Armpits Natural Deodorant the travel size version. As a person who has spent a lot of time on the road traveling for work I can’t explain to you have I love this product. Natural, travel-size, deodorant and a reasonable price…simply priceless. My advice to you is if you are going to be traveling anywhere soon this is the item to pick up.
What happens when True Beauty Tuesday and Web Window Shopping Wednesday meet? Well a whole new feature of course…True beauty Window Shopping. A new two part feature for products that are so outstanding that they deserve to be featured twice.
I had planned to make this post yesterday for True Beauty Tuesday and then I thought about the wonderful products that I had the pleasure of reviewing and instantly thought these products could also be featured on Web Window Shopping Wednesday. In the ever changing internet based world we now do more shopping online than ever before and these a some great product that you may not find on your local shelves, but they are products that you need to know about.
Let’s be honest it can be difficult to purchase beauty products online for obvious reasons….you can’t feel the texture or connect with the scent. That’s why I am excited to introduce you to the Brooklyn, NY based Iwilla Remedy. The company was gracious enough to send me several products to review and I couldn’t be happier
Today’s Web Window Shopping Wednesday shopping feature is the Baby Powder scented I Love My Armpits™ deodorant.
While opening this product I had that OMG! moment…you know when stumble across a product that offers a scent of sheer bliss.What makes this product even more amazing to me is that it (along with of of the Iwilla Remedy products) are created with wellness in mind. Since going gluten-free almost four years ago I have a had a hard time finding products that are g-free so I am always excited to find beauty products that consider the allergy needs of consumers. I have been reviewing the these products two weeks now, and I am excited that the ladies of Iwilla Remedy reached out to me because I love this Armpits and this product (pun intended)
Do you want to learn more about the other great products I had the chance to review from Iwilla Remedy, the item I picked as my must have item, and reactions from my testing team? Then be sure to join me here on Tuesday for #TrueBeautyTuesday part two feature.
An herbal syrup is a very delicious and quick way to take or administer herbal medicine when you don’t have time to make a tea or when the herbs are bitter and unpleasant tasting. Syrups are especially good for children or any one who will reject unpalatable medicine, despite its benefits.
I just made a year’s supply of nutritive herbal syrup for less than $30. The medicine was made right on time as Tami and I returned from traveling this weekend, feeling depleted with scratchy throats and a developing cough. Three tablespoons a day and we’re already feeling much better!
For this syrup I chose herbs that were tonics, nourishing and cleansing to the body. A few (not all) of the many medicinal benefits of the herbs I’ve used in this blend are included in the recipe below. I’m excited to share the recipe with you because you can easily make it too and save yourself some money and time when sickness arises.
Make the medicine when you’re well and you’ll have it when you need to feel better.
4 Cups Water
1 Cup Raw Honey (preservative, relieves dryness and pain in throat)
1 Cup Raw Sugar (preservative)
½ Cup Brandy (preservative)
4 TBLS Nettle (highly nutritive, anti-inflammatory)
3 TBLS Red Raspberry (reproductive system tonic)
2 TBLS Mullein (relieves lung and bronchial congestion)
2 TBLS Chamomile (nervine, digestive, antihistamine)
1.5 TBLS Schizandra Berries (liver restorative)
1 TBLS Hawthorn Berries (cardiovascular tonic)
1 TBLS Elder Berry (antiviral, treats colds, flu and coughs)
1 Cinnamon Stick (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral)
7 Cloves (painkiller, warming, carminative)
- Measure and add Schizandra, Hawthorn, Elder, Cinnamon and Cloves to a 4-quart saucepan.
- Pour water into saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes or until liquid has reduced to approximately 2 cups.
- Remove from heat.
- Mix in remaining herbs into saucepan.
- Cover and let stand until liquid and herbs are room temperature. Overnight is preferable to ensure that all of the medicine has been extracted from the herbs.
- Once cool. Strain herbs using cheesecloth or coffee press.
- Pour liquid back into the pot.
- Stir in honey and sugar. Warm the liquid on low heat if necessary to dissolve the sweeteners, but be sure to keep the temperate under 100 degrees to retain active enzymes in the honey.
- Stir in Brandy.
- Remove from heat and bottle.
- Store in the refrigerator.
- Enjoy daily or at the onset of sickness.
Other herbs that are great in syrups are: blackberry fruit, black cohosh, burdock, cayenne, comfrey root, dandelion root and leaf, Echinacea, fennel, ginger, marshmallow, peppermint, plantain, St. John’s Wort, uva ursi, valerian and yellow dock.
Consult with your physician when adding any herbs into your health regimen, especially if you’re currently taking any medications or suffering with chronic illness.
Natural deodorants DO work and they work well. As consumers we have grown accustom to pharmaceuticals and personal care products masking or making it nearly impossible for us to discover the real issues and imbalances that are present inside of our bodies. Antiperspirant deodorants are an excellent example of this because they are designed to prevent perspiration.
Sweating is a natural bodily function that serves a critical purpose of regulating your body’s temperature and most importantly helping the body get rid of toxins. These toxins don’t always smell like roses. In our pursuit to be so fresh and so clean, we’ve adopted short-term solution to correcting our odor: pore-clogging antiperspirants. If I don’t sweat, then I can’t smell.
Now, however, there is a growing awareness of how detrimental many of the ingredients in our personal care products are to our bodies and overall health. As a result, people are researching ingredients, reading labels and changing buying habits to support brands that use natural ingredients. We are more informed, more diligent and more careful. We are reclaiming our bodies!
There is one missing link, though. While we change our products, we often forget to also adjust our mindset. I often converse with potential customers about how they’ve been using natural products for a while, but they’ve grown frustrated because the products don’t work as well as the “bad stuff.” This is particularly true when discussing natural deodorants. “They don’t ever work” and “I have to reapply, which I never had to do before,” I most often hear.
Let’s think about this in the context of how the body works. When you drink a glass of water, you urinate a few hours later. When you eat a meal, you have a bowel movement. If you put a foreign substance into the body, the body takes what it needs for nourishment and tries to release the rest. This is the work of the eliminative organs (lungs, kidneys via bladder, colon and skin). If you’re using an antiperspirant, the underarm skin is absorbing, but not purging. With a non-antiperspirant the skin performs two functions, absorption and elimination. This elimination happens through perspiration. Sweat is wet. As you sweat you may wash away the deodorant you applied in the morning and will have to reapply.
Regarding efficacy, let’s talk about odor because your sweat doesn’t have to be stinky. Bacteria growth causes odor for sure. Bacteria are already always present on your skin. As you sweat, the moist environment facilitates bacteria growth. An excellent antibacterial natural deodorant tackles this basic presence of bacteria in a jiffy. Where we run into trouble is when we’re not hydrated, when we’re stressed (mentally and emotionally), when we don’t exercise, when we’re sick either with a chronic or acute illness, and when we eat poorly. All of these factors can either contribute to or hinder optimal health and your body’s ability to do its job.
I once received the feedback that I’m asking too much of my clients. You know what, I am asking a lot of our clients. I’m asking you to take good care of yourself, to be mindful of your body and how it responds to your life. So, de-stress, eat well, laugh, move, do all of that and more of the things that make you truly feel better. Yes, that’s what I’m asking because you are worth living your best life and you deserve to get the best out of your products and your money’s worth. Practice being “natural” inside and out.
“Iwilla Remedy I Love My Armpits- $9.99 What a a positive affirmation! I love My Arm Pits. Who gives their armpits any attention? To love them is to use botanical ingredients that heal the skin rather than harm it. The clay and herbs in Iwilla Remedy’s formula work together to absorb moisture, limit bacteria growth and neutralize odor. The glide on stick is a bit grainy in consistency, but it performs. The Spicy Lemon, Baby Powder, Herbaceous Woods, and Floral Fields scents effectively neutralize odor. They have small travel sized ones you can take on-the-go for convenience!”
Thank you Michelle of Dream In Green Girl for the awesome review!
Iwilla Remedy is a Brooklyn, NY based company that is producing a very high quality line of plant based personal care items. Right now they have a face oil, deodorant, bug spray and this extremely nourishing skin cream. This cream has been an awesome addition to all the other body lotions I use. It’s richer and thicker, and really effective at treating very dry spots on elbows and feet as well as on my face. Its rare to have a lotion that feels good on both face and body but this lotion really works. On my face I only need to use the smallest bit but on the rest of my body I go nuts. It was especially helpful when I got sunburnt during the winter on our spring vacation. When I started to peel when we returned home, this lotion was one of only a few that stopped the flakiness all day.
The lotion has a slight exfoliating feel to it at first (maybe thats why it nourishes so well?) and then it goes deep into the skin and the effects last all day. At $21, this lotion seems a bit pricey, but it has lasted me for quite some time and has been really useful on my kids’ eczema as well as all the different uses for me. I really like the scent as well: sweet, earthy, with a hint of minty-ness.
The founders of this company consider themselves herbalists and are committed to using only top-notch ingredients, and of course, never test on animals. (hard to believe that cruel practice still goes on, but since it does, DreamInGreenGirl makes a point to only use companies that adhere strictly to no animal testing.)
The other products are great as well! Give IWillaRemedy.com try, it might just be the only lotion you need all summer long!
Full Review: Okay, this one is less of a beauty staple, and more of a human necessity. It’s also proof that natural deodorants are getting so. much. better. Iwilla’s deodorant is made with sweat-absorbing clays, bacteria-blasting neem oil, and gluten-free arrow root powder. (No baking soda, as that can cause little red bumps and irritation for some people, the founders note.) It comes in a variety of scents and even a super-tiny travel size ($3.99). It may not work like your toxic stuff on your beast-of-a-boot-camp day, but it’ll take you through a whole lotta Tabata sans stink.
Meet the winners of BPL’s 2013 PowerUP! Business Plan Competition: Selima & Tami Lust of Iwilla Remedy; Erin Proud of Brooklyn Pattern Company; and Sonja Neill-Turner of Brooklyn Sandbox. Hear how they did it!
Wednesday, May 7, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
280 Cadman Plaza West
Brooklyn, NY 11201
The Women of Color Club at Brooklyn College is sponsoring an entrepreneurship conference on Thursday, May 8, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. We’ve been invited to speak on a panel about the challenges and opportunities we’ve faced as women of color in business; how institutionalized education hinders or contributes to an entrepreneurial mindset; as well as to answer questions posed by the audience. We’re really looking forward to a lively conversation. Joining us on the panel will be Janell Stewart of Kinky Curly Coily Me and Miriam Milord of BCakeNY.
Head on over to our partner retailer, Open Sky for 20% off My Skin Glows Nourishing Cream. Sales ends on May 7 at 6am!
Here’s the full interview as seen on Yahoo Voices! Much love and gratitude to the writer, Sarah Afshar for inviting us to sit down with her.
Iwilla Remedy a natural skin care company created by Selima and Tami Lust. With everything from deodorant and face creams to lip balms and oils, Iwilla guarantees to relieve, restore and invigorate your body. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with one of the founders of the brand, Selima about this amazingly underrated beauty brand and here is what she had to say…
(Q) Hello Selima. How are you? Tell me a little more about Iwilla Remedy…
I’m well, thanks for asking and for inviting me to chat with you. Iwilla Remedy is an all-natural line of body care products. Our line is comprised of I Love My Armpits Natural Deodorants, My Skin Glows Nourishing Cream, Skin Spirit Face Oil, Smile Lip Balms, Bug Spray Herbal Insect Repellent as well as Stomach Ease and Relax. Relate. Release. Wellness Body Oils. Everything is made with all natural, plant-based ingredients with no hidden preservatives, harsh chemicals or colorants. Additionally, each product has a wellness component to it – we call it body care with a purpose – for example, I Love My Armpits Deodorants detoxify while preventing odor and My Skin Glows Nourishing Cream is excellent for dry skin, eczema, psoriasis and even rashes.
(Q) Behind every great creator lies a major source of inspiration. I have to ask, what inspired you to create this brand?
My wife and business partner, Tami Lust and I created the company out of a personal need to feel better and find safer and more effective alternatives for our health issues. Going through cycles of acne, back pain, anxiety, stomachaches, constipation, etc. got old quick. Cancer scares and unfortunately, losses within our families had a huge impact on us deciding to live better and healthier lives. And sadly hearing the doctor say that the only solution to Tami’s uterine fibroid tumors was surgery, was the last sign of confirmation we needed to urge us to change our lives.
We’re not anti-doctor by any means. We were just stuck in this medication cycle that wasn’t yielding results and we decided to reclaim ownership of our health and our bodies. We changed our diets, started exercising regularly and learned to manage stress all the while altering our medicine from allopathic to herbal. As we studied and learned more about the benefits of botanicals, we started creating our own body care and herbal medicine and eventually decided to share some of what we were making and using with the world.
(Q) Currently, what are your most popular products? Tell me a little more about your best sellers…
I Love My Armpits Natural Deodorants are by far the top sellers with My Skin Glows Nourishing Cream and Bug Spray Herbal Insect Repellent, placing a close second, depending on the season. Tami and I created the deodorants because we both had breast health scares in the family that inspired us to really take a closer look at what we were putting on our underarms, a part of the body that is often neglected. The deodorants work well to prevent bacteria growth and to absorb moisture externally, so you’ll sweat, but not stink.
My Skin Glows Nourishing Cream is a true multipurpose product. We like to keep things simple by reducing the amount of product we use or keep in the house. We just don’t need all of this stuff. My Skin Glows is an all-in-one, for body, face, feet and even hair (depending on your texture). Whether I cut myself dicing vegetables, need to hydrate my cuticles, or get cracked heels from wearing flip-flops all summer, My Skin Glows is the go-to. Customers tell us new uses for the cream all the time and it’s really heart-warming to hear this type of feedback.
Tami is a magnet for mosquitoes in the summer. When the bugs get to her, the swelling she experiences is out of this world! Because of this, we absolutely had to develop our own insect repellent. Bug Spray, which we tested in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cape Verde and of course Brooklyn, works, not only as a repellent, but should you get bitten before applying it’ll help reduce the itchiness and the swelling. Plus, it’s totally safe for children.
(Q) I absolutely love your natural deodorant. I have to ask, what are the benefits of using a natural deodorant?
Thank you, we worked really hard to formulate a natural deodorant that works. Sweating is a natural detox and one way you can help your body with this cleansing process is by using natural deodorant. Natural deodorants are made with plant-based ingredients that your body understands how to metabolize. Read your labels carefully though because they are not all made the same. Free of aluminum and other harsh chemicals your body doesn’t understand (parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, and triclosan), natural deodorants work to facilitate the body’s elimination process by leaving your sweat glands open, allowing the body to release toxins effortlessly via the underarms. Natural deodorants, because they reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals, also reduce your risk to illnesses, such as breast cancer, kidney disease, bone disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, they smell great and fight bacteria growth, so you’ll smell fresh even when you’re sweating.
(Q) You have quite a few wellness body oils. I absolutely love the Skin Spirit Face Oil. It is one of my favorite natural serums.
Thank you so much! Skin Spirit Face Oil was created because Tami and I both suffered with chronic acne and all the gels, serums and cleansers failed us. We would take prescription medication to reduce the breakouts, but the bumps would return with a vengeance. Being an adult with chronic acne has such a damaging effect on your self-esteem. We were really frustrated by it and eventually decided to take matters into our own hands by formulating Skin Spirit Face Oil. It’s been the only facial moisturizer we’ve used on our skin ever since because it’s just that good at preventing the breakouts, evening complexion and balancing oil production. Of course, acne is also diet, hormonal and stress related, so it helps that we try to live a balanced life.
(Q) I love the idea that you do not test on animals. What is your stance on animal testing?
Animal testing is really cruel and wholly unnecessary. We, as humans, have to evolve and stop believing that animals are less intelligent, less emotional and overall less affected by our actions. I think that is how companies justify animal testing, because they some how do not believe that these beings are important. They are, they have spirits and we need to love and respect them.
(Q) For those beauty enthusiasts that are reading this interview, what would you like them to know about Iwilla Remedy?
I want people to know that we’re an authentic company. Everything Tami and I formulate comes from the heart. Our products are not just skin care, they are herbal medicine and we make them with that intention in mind. We have very high standards for what we put in and on our bodies. We would never offer the world a product that we wouldn’t use ourselves.
For more information about Iwilla Remedy, please visit www.iwillaremedy.com today.
Link to article on Yahoo: http://voices.yahoo.com/exclusive-interview-iwilla-remedy-12628470.html?cat=69
“Iwilla Remedy : With the tagline of “Body care with a purpose,” we love the natural skincare line including favorites like the Body Oils, Smile Lip Balms and the I Love my Armpits that are made of botanical ingredients that work together to absorb moisture.”
The dangers of using DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) in insect repellent have been public and known for years. DEET should be avoided because it is a skin irritant that also causes brain cell death and behavioral changes such as seizures, memory loss, headaches, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath. It’s an effective solvent with the ability to dissolve some plastics, rayon and spandex. Imagine the damage it poses for your sensitive skin, your largest organ.
While DEET is on your “don’t” list, some of the ingredients in natural bug sprays deserve a raised brow too. In this chart, we’ve highlighted a few popular natural insect repellents and some of the ingredients that should be on your ingredient watch list because as they are either synthetic or GMO (orange highlight) or toxic (red highlight).
Iwilla Remedy’s Bug Spray Herbal Insect Repellent is made exclusively with fragrant and cooling botanical ingredients that work together to repel mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, and gnats all while soothing and hydrating the skin.
“If you have a long night ahead of you – prom and then the after-prom celebrations – chances are, you’re going to need to freshen up your deodorant situation. Dancing and warm weather equal sweat. Take a travel-size deodorant with you. They’re usually small enough to fit in a clutch. I love this Iwilla Remedy travel-size deodorant. The ingredients are all-natural, and there are a few fun scent selections (I love the Spicy Lemon!). It’s tiny enough to put in any bag, and will definitely help you out in a time of sweaty need.”
Thank you TrendHunter!
Iwilla Remedy not only provides plant-based body care and skincare that relieves, restores and invigorates the body, but natural deodorant solutions as well.
‘I Love My Armpits’ deodorants are made with exclusive botanical ingredients that work together to absorb moisture, prevent bacteria growth and neutralize body odor, all while giving your skin soothing, regenerative relief. You can use it daily to receive pleasant full-day protection and a cooling scent that adds refreshing day-to-day protection against bacteria.
Simply apply a thin layer or two to your underarms. If you’re transitioning from antiperspirants, give your armpits several days to release the toxins and make room for the I Love My Armpits solution. All deodorants are made with all-natural ingredients.
Happy Spring! With the temperatures climbing, we’re finally out of the Polar Vortex here in the Northeast. I could not be happier for this shift. However, as with every change that occurs in our lives, there is stress associated with it.
With April being Stress Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to assess the pressures we feel in our lives and introduce new tools to help us cope. Stress is mental, emotional, and/or physical tension related to change. Any change, whether wanted or unwanted, sudden or subtle, recurring or long-term can cause imbalances in the body.
Change is truly the only constant, but we all react to our stress differently. Here are 4 herbs that mitigate the effects of stress in specific ways, such as through your digestive tract or nervous system. Choose the herb that best suits where your stress manifests.
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – If you’re like me, then your stress goes straight to your digestive system. Chamomile’s nervine and digestive aid qualities make it a wonderfully gentle remedy for stress related digestive issues such as nausea, cramping, gastritis, indigestion and flatulence. Matricaria recutita can be taken as a tincture or standard infusion: 1 tbls dried herb to 8 oz fresh boiled hot water.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Sleepless nights are not only a symptom of stress, but exacerbate it. Among its numerous health benefits, Lavandula angustifolia is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, nervine, sedative and aromatic herb that alleviates symptoms related to your stress-induced insomnia like headaches, nervousness, fear, anxiety and hysteria. Drink the dried herb as a tea or put a few drops of the essential on your pillow.
- Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) – Versatile with a long-standing traditional use as a nourishing tonic to the nervous system Scutellaria galericulata will support and offer comfort and relaxation through your stress and anxiety that may rear its ugly head as high blood pressure, exhaustion, insomnia, arthritis, neuralgia and muscle tension. Enjoy as a tincture or infusion.
- Oat Straw (Avena sativa) – For stress that causes mental exhaustion leading to depression oat straw will be your ally. Avena Sativa is the grass of the same plant from which you get your oatmeal. Its nutrients and constituents make it an excellent herb for rebuilding burnt out nerves and helping with depression, anxiety, exhaustion and overall weakness. It is best enjoyed as an overnight, cold infusion.
Tami and I, along with Maud Andrew from the Brooklyn Public Library, discuss the PowerUp! Business Plan Competition on BK Live! Check out the interview below.
We’re going to be on TV tomorrow, March 18, 2014 at 12:00pm EST. The lovely folks at BK Live invited us on the show to talk about winning the PowerUp competition. Tune in tomorrow at noon, to Time Warner channel 756, Verizon Fios channel 46 or stream it online at BRICartsmedia.org/bkindiemedia.
More about BK Live:
Brooklyn Independent Media is the first 24/7-television channel created by, for, and about Brooklyn. The channel, which features programming produced and curated by BRIC, emphasizes local news, civic affairs, and arts and culture.
Brooklyn Independent Media’s current line-up includes BK Live, a new flagship daily show that highlights local stories and personalities from the borough’s diverse neighborhoods. In addition the channel will feature a variety of genre-specific programming, including music and film, as well as original programming co-produced with a growing slate of Brooklyn partners and media makers who will help BRIC showcase a wide range of subjects and creative content curates with Brooklyn viewers in mind.
We were just invited to participate in Shirley Chisholm Women’s Empowerment Conference at Medgar Evers College on March 15, 2014. It’s a full-day conference of panel discussions, mini breakout sessions, a VIP Reception and Art Auction. Keynote speakers include NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and NYC Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Panel discussions will cover the status of women, health, education, leadership, civic and political engagement, jobs and economy, finance and youth engagement. We’ll be there with a table of Iwilla Remedy goodies, taking shifts, so that we each get to experience these dynamic speakers. Here’s a link to all the details: http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2014/03/10/3rd-annual-womens-empowerment-conference/.
Encouragement from a customer goes a long way…
When Spring is in the air, it brings with it a sense of renewal, growth and regeneration. The energy of the plants begins to rise, bringing forth lush greenery and new life. If we mirror the cycles of the seasons, then we too should feel a sense of renewal as the sun brightens our homes and warms our skin for longer periods throughout the day.
To make room for this renewal, we often do annual routines like Spring cleaning the home and fasting or detoxing for religious or spiritual reasons. We’re sheading in order to create space. As you consider how to prepare yourself for the shift, consider an activity that has longer lasting effects, a routine that you can maintain after this surge of energy lifts. For us, yoga has become a practice that shifts with us through cycles of change, seasonally and in life.
I know, I know, you’ve heard about the benefits of yoga over and over again. I was a total non-believer too. Even when we first began our practice over 3 years ago, I would give Tami and our instructor the ultimate side-eye. You want me to downward, what? Teeth-sucking and neck-rolling for an hour and a half.
But Tami really wanted me to try it with an open mind and the stars aligned just right as one of our dear friends was studying to get her yoga certification. The die-hard cheerleaders that we are, we went to her classes. I couldn’t show up with an attitude, that’s just rude, so I participated with little resistance, for her of course.
Reluctantly, I admitted that I liked it. We started with a non-traditional practice called Dahn Yoga that incorporated more deep stretching, Tai Chi, Qigong, energy and breath work. No postures I couldn’t pronounce. Our friend continued to invite us to class, we kept going and I’ll be damned if the unexpected happened. My back and posture improved so much that I eliminated chiropractic care for my scoliosis. From three appointments a week for years, I was down to zero and still haven’t been back.
For Tami, yoga taught her awareness of her current condition. Let’s think of Tami as a ball of knots. This is her normal. Her energy is very high, especially when left unchecked. Through yoga she’s able to identify the parts of her body that hold her tension, her behaviors that trigger it and how to release it. Yoga has given her language and tools to manage the ebb and flow of life.
When our lives have changed, so our yoga practice has evolved to give us the support we need during each phase. During the first year of building Iwilla Remedy it was all about managing stress and releasing doubt and insecurity (yes, yoga helps with emotional balance). Now, we are using it for pre-pregnancy support to not only open up the hips and build stamina for carrying, but also for preparing the womb spiritually and expanding the heart.
Yoga is one of the tools in our toolbox to help with the changing seasons. Maybe it’s yours, maybe not. While you Spring Clean, think of how you intend to fill that space you’ve cleared with a wellness practice, routine or activity that you can sustain year-round.
We recently sat down with Maxine Margo Rubin and Abba Charice Carmichael of The Many Shades of Green, a radio program that delves into topics that affect the environment in Brooklyn and beyond. Their aim is to raise social awareness via culture, politics, the environment and the arts. By empowering the public with knowledge about sustainability and information on what is happening in their own backyards, The Many Shades of Green inspires people to take action in “greening” their lives, and contribute to keeping the planet healthy for the seventh generation to come.
During our 30 minutes together, we discussed our journey with Iwilla Remedy and how integral social responsibility, sustainable sourcing and community involvement is to us as entrepreneurs.
You can listen to the broadcast live at the times below by going to www.bboxradio.com and clicking “Listen”.
Wednesday March 12 at 2:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 13 at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, March 15 at 8:00 a.m.
Monday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m.
Thank you Refinery29 for such a glowing review of I Love My Armpits Floral Fields!
The full article is copied below for your reading pleasure.
So, I am not exactly a Natural Beauty Warrior, as much as I wish I was. I don’t want to minimize the potentially hazardous chemicals in the beauty products we use, but at the same time, I am a beauty maven that would feel incomplete with only organic products in my life. So, I risk it, and try to stay healthy in other ways, such as eating healthfully and getting my butt to yoga on a regular basis.
That being said, I woke up one day and suddenly became obsessed with ditching conventional deodorant for good. My husband pointed out years ago that my aluminum-packed deodorant was probably terrible for me on multiple levels, but I rolled my eyes and continued to swipe. That is, until one day, I was sudsing up in the shower when I realized that my armpits felt kind of sore. It was almost like I could feel pores being blocked. And, suddenly it just occurred to me that putting potentially cancerous chemicals right by my girls, every day, just wasn’t a good idea. As much as I loved my clean-laundry-scented stick, I became determined to give it the heave-ho and find a natural deodorant that wouldn’t leave me smelling like a rotten grapefruit by mid-afternoon (sorry).
My first contenders were Tom’s of Maine’s Wild Lavender stick, and Dr. Hauschka’s Fresh Deodorant. Now, it’s hard to say whether or not my B.O. was offensive enough that others would notice when I wore either of these, but in my personal opinion, neither of these guys worked, as much as I wanted them to. I wanted to try SoapWalla’s cream deodorant (which is the only natural deodorant that I’ve ever heard accepting rave reviews), but the hassle of having to order it online combined with the fact that you have to apply the cream with your fingers prevented me from pulling the trigger.
Then, one day, my intrepid and ingenious editor, Megan, shoved this new deodorant in my face and insisted that I give it a try (she’s nothing if not determined). This stuff is totally crunchy in appearance — the product itself is grainy and gray-green, and the scent is bracingly, and I mean bracingly herbal. (Don’t be led astray by the “floral” name.) But, let me tell you: This. Stuff. Works. So, I invite you to join me in happy, healthy armpit land. It’s worth it, promise!
Iwilla Remedy I Love My Armpits Deodorant in Floral Fields, $9.99, available at iWilla.
My wife and co-founder of Iwilla Remedy, Tami Lust, and I have both suffered with chronic acne as adults, I throughout my teenage years and into adulthood. Tami was one of those fortunate popular kids who couldn’t even spell blemish. Until she was 28 years old.
There are many causes of acne: bacteria, allergies, hormonal imbalances to diet, digestion, stress and insufficient elimination of toxins. Just as there are numerous causes there are endless promises by manufacturers and retailers to deliver you glowing, clear skin for the low, low price of $49.95.
Instead of a product promise, I’ll give you two tips to help relieve your pimple blues:
- Be present in your life. Life is complex. When Tami and I became absolutely fed up with our acne, we had no other choice but to go within. Through actively listening to our body’s reactions to daily life we learned our acne triggers. Doctors track blood pressure, height, weight, blood work, etc. We started tracking the everyday day stuff like food, stress/emotional levels, physical activity, sleep and drawing correlations between them and our breakouts. Make a simple chart for yourself and likely within a month you’ll notice a pattern emerging, then you can make the necessary adjustments to reduce your breakouts.
- Simplify your products. When Tami and I shifted our approach to healing our chronic acne, we changed our soap; stopped using products with ingredients we didn’t understand; and simplified: we didn’t need separate products for spot treatment and moisture.
As makers, we enjoy formulation, so we created Skin Spirit Face Oil that helps with all of our concerns: breakout prevention, moisturization and fading scars, all with natural ingredients. It’s the only product we trust on our faces.
As you chart your habits, skin’s responses, and discover that your products are really multipurpose, we hope you’ll feel empowered to make the changes your body needs for optimal health.