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2/28/14

Abaco Neem - Touring a Neem Farm in The Bahamas

The view from the deck of our house from Airbnb - it was ridiculously gorgeous!
You guys, I had the MOST amazing time last month when my husband and I got to go to Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas.  While we were flying in I was thumbing through one of the tourist magazines they give out and I saw a write up on Abaco Neem, a shop that creates their own skin/bodycare line, and immediately got excited because one of my products contains Neem Oil (Organic Silk Cream in case you're wondering).  I read further and saw that you could get a TOUR of the farm - yes please!  I called, booked it, learned it would take about an hour and a half (we were there for nearly four!) and here's what went down -

We walked in and were given a tour of the store by the sweet Angel (who I sadly didn't get a picture of) who took us through the product line as well as let us get a sneak peek in the back of the store!


Drying Neem leaves on racks

Miss Barbara who was making Neem Leaf Capsules - Miss Barbara mixes EVERYTHING Abaco Neem makes!

Amazing racks of handmade soaps - I may have bought five or six.

Bottles waiting to be labeled.

So why do we care about Neem as a concept?  I learned SO much - including the fact that all parts of the Neem tree have benefits - tree roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, seed kernels and seed oil.  "All parts of the tree contain compounds with proven antiseptic, immune-stimulating, anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal uses." (www.abaconeem.com)  It's appropriate for both aging, dry skin as well as breakout prone and both pets and plants can benefit as well.  Here are some of the items I bought that I fell in love with -

The soap I was referring to - it is AWESOME - so creamy, non-drying and it comes in a variety of fragrances.

The straight Neem Oil is the star of the show.  When co-owner, Daphne, showed me Neem Oil she had purchased from India (where most Neem Oil comes from) it looked like the color of molasses and had some residue at the top.  She then showed me hers which was a golden shade with no sediment.  The difference happens because the team at Abaco Neem handpicks every piece of fruit and nothing that is spoiled makes the cut.  I learned that in India they tend to be working on such a massive scale that quality control is harder to maintain.  Oh, and did I mention that Abaco Neem's Neem Oil is Certified Organic?  So much so that their oil is safe enough to ingest (it's commonly toxic because of said lack of quality control) as it's pharmaceutical grade.  Diabetics and those susceptible to slow healing of cuts, skin breakage or skin cancer are major beneficiaries.  

Okay - so I can talk about this stuff for hours - the First Aid Spray and the Neem Leaf Extract are the same product, one is in a dropper, one is in a spray.  My husband was having a skin issue on his foot and when we got in the ocean the salt dried his foot out and made it painful.  One squirt of this stuff and he had instant relief.  We used it our entire trip.  When we got home my dog had some hotspots on his tummy and we used the Neem Leaf Extract and they cleared up SO FAST.  I am in huge support of these products.

And speaking of pooches, you can grab the Pet Capsules to protect against heartworm or you can grab the Neem Cake, which is cheaper, grind it up in your Magic Bullet and add it to your pooch's food.  Just sprinkle about 1/8 of a tsp on top and you're good to go.  

So let's get to the farm!

Our first view of the farm and young trees

A Neem Tree

Neem Fruit - it takes a tree 3-5 years to produce fruit which then gets washed and the kernel inside is what gets pressed for Neem Oil.  The Bahamas get hit with hurricanes, as you know, so the folks at Abaco Neem need to keep three years of Neem Oil on hand at all times in case that happens.  

Citronella plant - who knew they looked like that?!

The farm has all kinds of trees - the pomegranate shown above, henna, banana, calabash, macadamia nut and papaya just to name a few.

Nick Miaoulis, founder of Abaco Neem, who we found out working the farm.  He gathered some homegrown goodies for us to try including Sugar Cane.

Nick cut coconuts off their Coconut Palm Trees (because they press their own Coconut Oil - PS, they also press their own Aloe Leaf Juice - I have a major crush on these people) so we could have some AMAZING coconut water and then scrape the meat out to eat that too.  They also have almond trees so we got to have fresh almonds as well!

Daniel and me enjoying our coconut water and Nick and his wife, Daphne, who are native Bahamians and some of the hardest working folks I've ever met - an incredible inspiration!

We had a wonderful time learning about Neem and getting to watch sunsets in Abaco!

Sunset from our house







2/20/14

Eyeliner 101


"How do I apply my eyeliner" is one of the TOP questions I get when I'm teaching or have a private client.  It's fine to walk you through it but I figure showing you makes it super clear so here's the video - enjoy! 



2/17/14

Girl Crush - Winter Olympic Beauties 2014


You guys - how much do you love the Olympics?  I LOVE the Olympics!  And even though there are less ladies to give a gander to in the winter vs. the summer there's still plenty of American chicas working it on and off the ice.


I feel like the ice skaters/dancers are kind of a given but we'll throw them up here anyhow - Gracie Gold and Meryl Davis both look like ice princesses with immaculate skin at all times.



But hello - Speedskater, Allison Baver, knows how to rock a serious smoky eye and beachy waves once the helmet comes off.



And speaking of helmets, check out the hockey ladies without them - Hilary Knight and Meghan Dugan clean up quite nicely!



Gold medalist in Slopestyle, Jamie Anderson, brings you black liner, glowy skin and an updo on the red carpet.



I love Skeleton Racer, Katie Uthlaender, and her fabulous red hair, full beat and fake lashes - yes please!



Apparently Women's Skeleton Racing breeds awesome looking ladies because Nicole Pikus Pace worked glitter into her silver medal run (on the eyes) and always has good hair.



Luger, Summer Britcher, works a pattern on the ice and a chestnut bob off of it.



Halfpiper, Gretchen Bleiler, keeps "on genre" with tre casual beachy waves and minimal makeup.


Both Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams are AMAZING to me because they run Track & Field in the Summer Olympics and are on the Bobsled Team for the winter.  Lolo is a fan of a more glam look while Lauryn favors a fresh face - both look fantastic!



Alpine skier, Lindsey Vonn, is all business on the slopes and a super girlie girl off - hair, makeup, jewelry - she's got the whole nine going on!



You guys, I'm obsessed with Ashley Wagner.  Most figure skaters wear the same hair/makeup whether they're performing or not but Ashley is super sophisticated on the ice and has really laid back Californian style off.  LOVE her!  AND, you can click HERE to read all about her makeup/hair decisions for the Olympics.

Have fun watching the rest of the competitions!


2/10/14

Girl Crush - Amber Heard


At the 2014 Golden Globes
The first time I saw Amber Heard (who was blond at the time) in a movie I was knocked out by how much she looked like my beautiful friend, Jessica -

Jessica Myhr - they look like they could be sisters, right?!

I thought it would be fun to look at Amber's journey from blond to light brown hair over the last two years -

Back in January 2012 she was working an ashy blond and is never afraid of volume in the hair - love that

Feb 2012 - sensible pony for Fashion Week with a statement lip and strong brow

Later in the month, hair down, roots starting to show, light lip

March 2012 - back to the platinum!  She looks so classic here and beautiful.

May 2012 - she is perfect for channeling 40's inspired updo's with a red lip

June 2012 - it looks like she got a touch up here but not super platinum this round.  Still up off the face and ruby lipped.

October 2012 - Hello!  Serious brunette and so she goes heavier on the eyeliner than she has this year.  Still keeps the bold lip.
January 2013 - still a deep brunette, winged liner and a berry lip

Feb 2013 - a little sun got thrown in there for an ombre effect - so pretty!

May 2013 - Ombre is still there, a little softened - a softer lip for her


August 2013 - Lightening up all over for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmell with hair natural and down and then a few more August pics -




January 2014 with a little bit lighter hair and back to her red lipshade


And then circling back to now - lots of volume, stronger brow and just looking stunning in general