Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homemade Whipped Cocoa Butter and why I love it

The Story 

Making natural, simple and effective skincare and haircare in my kitchen predates my Grenada Soul Adventurer days. Who remembers the start of natural hair revolution circa 2008-2010 among women and men of African descent? Apart from putting me well on the path of self acceptance and love (gotta love that unruly free mane of kinks and curls) it also introduced me to home made natural ingredient products. I made everything from from hair treatments with aloe vera grown in my front yard to flax seed hair gel and whipped butters for my skin and hair.
Years went by and I had less time to spare. As you do- adulating is real! I found my holy grail hair product on a shelf and creamed my skin with pure shea butter, cocoa butter or coconut oil- less fuss and no worries. 

Last Christmas I decided to curate little "Me Time" gift sets for some of my friends. I was inspired to make a whipped cocoa butter and a mocha sugar scrub. I packaged them in mason jars and labeled them with cute Christmas themed tags which included the quirky names I had come up with for the products and an ingredient list. I was quite proud of my delicious smelling creations.  

On Christmas Eve I delivered my little packages...everyone loved the treatments- including Grenada  Chocolate Fest founder Magdalena Fielden who tried some that I gifted her daughter. 

Fast forward to this year's Grenada Chocolate Fest... I had the opportunity to demonstrate how to make my whipped cocoa butter at the Healthy Benefits of Chocolate Beauty Workshop.

Cheesy Smiles for the Photog
Photo cred: Grenada Chocolate Fest 
The day of the workshop arrived and I was excited yet nervous. Luckily I was in good company:  Chocolate expert and educator from Montreal Karine "Miss Choco" Guillemette clued us in about all the healthy benefits of cocoa, entrepreneur Zoe LeighSmith from Maida guided a hands on cacao body scrub workshop and Kisha from Blue Haven Spa taught us how to make a chocolate face mask.

We had three people to each table and everyone got involved- mixing, smelling, touching, oohing, aahing and tasting! 

Zoe from Maida
Photo cred: Grenada Chocolate Fest 
Participants getting hands on whipping up their chocolate potions
Photo cred: Grenada Chocolate Fest 
Kisha from Blue Haven Spa
Photo cred: Grenada Chocolate Fest 
Elle Coco having a cheeky taste of the Chocolate Face Mask
Photo cred: Grenada Chocolate Fest 
The energy and enthusiasm from all of our participants gave the afternoon a light atmosphere and everyone left in a cheerful mood- with new friends and  paper goodie bags containing their handmade beauty potions. 

 With my fellow #SpiceBloggers Divya and Terrieann and my trusty whipper (I swear my mother has owned this from before my birth)
Photo cred: Grenada Chocolate Fest 
Here are 4 Ways I love using Whipped Cocoa Butter

Daily Body Moisturizer 

This luxurious whipped butter melts right into your skin. It does its job and you won't look greasy or feel hot. Living on a tropical humid island you tend to want to keep it light. Who else has experienced feeling trapped in your own skin and sweaty after using store bought creams with long ingredient lists? Chances are there are some pour blocking ingredients. I had not used them in so long I almost forgot that feeling.

To lighten scars and stretch marks 

In case you did not know, I am a mama- infer into that what you like from the heading. My daughter started walking just shy of a year and falls down ever so often and get little scrapes. Every night after her shower- or shah-wah as she calls it we sit down in bed and cream---keem. Before making the whipped butter I used the solid block of cocoa butter. Without fail she would take a bite. I don't blame her- it smells soooooo good...but I digress. I have noticed that when I use the butter straight away, paying special attention to her scrapes, the skin hardly discolors and with consistent use marks fade away. It is amazing!  

Solid Cocoa Butter Blocks
Makeup Remover and Facial Cleanser

Once you scoop the butter out it does not take long for it to melt into a rich oily consistency. Both cocoa butter and coconut oil melt at body temperature. It makes an excellent oil cleaner and leaves your skin feeling buttery soft. Water proof gently escorts it off your eye lashes leaving your lashes firmly attached to your eye lid.  We all know there are often casualties in the war between our makeup remover and our waterproof mascara.

Facial Moisturiser 

For the longest while I neglected moisturizing my face because I was afraid it would make my t -zone more oily than it already was. It is not a sexy glow. I have also had tiny bumps in that area since my early teens. Fellow spice blogger Divya had recommended I use an exfoliant and start moisturising. Again, what I love about the whipped cocoa butter is that my skin can breath and the butter absorbs without leaving me shining like honey glazed cake. I find I have best results when I apply it to an almost dry face (not dripping wet and not completely dry). 

How I made it? 


Cocoa Butter
Coconut Oil 

Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler- mix it with coconut oil (2:1 ratio or equal parts)...the more coconut oil you use the softer the consistency of your cream - chill in the fridge or freezer until it begins to harden (but you don't let it to solidify)- whip into a luxurious fluffy cream. Voila!

You can actually store this outside of the fridge in our tropical climate...I just would not recommend leaving it in extremely hot places like your car. I learned that the hard way.

You can watch a recap of the Facebook live video from the workshop here. While you are there give them a like!

You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more day to day updates- I am loving instragram stories lately.

I would love to hear from you, have you made any beauty treatments and creams in your kitchen? What has been your experience? 

Leave a comment below

Friday, June 9, 2017

Grenada for the Highly Sensitive Person

"...But highly sensitive people are far from being weak. On the contrary, they are strong, perceptive, intuitive, and exceptionally artistic individuals who have a wonderful gift of insight to offer."
- Madisyn Taylor , Daily OM

Earlier this year I watched a video on youtube by a creator  Shir Levi called Life as a Highly Sensitive Person. A lot of the things she spoke about  resonated with me and I started to wonder whether I could be considered a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). In the video she mentioned an online quiz . I took it and affirmed my suspicion- I am a highly sensitive person.

Reflecting on all the characteristic traits of HSPs (included at the end of the post) I can make more sense of the way I experience the world and navigate in a way which I can I thrive instead of feeling drained and disconnected. I am also a Gemini- which means I spend a lot of time overthinking things and living in my head. This can cause confusion and make it hard to tap into calm wisdom if I am overstimulated or overwhelmed.

If you identify as a HSP or consider yourself an introvert (not exactly the same- though there are some overlaps) then here is the Grenada Soul Adventurer Guide to you refueling and tending lovingly to your soul so you can feel great.

Hike Mout Qua Qua

I would rate this a 4 out of 10 on the challenging scale of hikes. There is a clear path but quite a bit of uphill. Not recommended for young toddlers. I love being in nature, incase you did not know this. It is a place where I feel completely at ease. I have space contemplate things with a clear head. The further away I get from the daily distractions that can leave me drained and the further I get to a place where only the present moment matters- I am at ease.

For me being in nature simplifies this complicated life. I am free to appreciate the lush verdant mountains without thinking about my giant to do list or what I am even doing with my life.  It will take you about an hour to get to the lookout if you take the leisurely approach to climbing mountains (lots of photo stops, lots of sighing in gratitude). This is a fun hike and all you need is some good company that is interested in more than small talk. I have found that I do better one on one or in a small intimate group than with a whole bunch of people- where I can feel overwhelmed and withdrawn.

Go to a Yoga Class or  Develop Your Personal Practice  

(Photo by Arthur Daniel from Grenada Chocolate Fest)

If you are a yogi or are curious about the practice Grenada is a great place to start. There are a few studios on the island and you can find their schedules and information in a Facebook group called Pure Yoga Grenada. My favourite classes are with Malaika from Spice Harmony Yoga and Dawnelle from Fountain of Youth Yoga (unfortunately Dawnelle is currently off island). These two teachers have a balanced approach to guiding a class- it is both physical and spiritual- which is a big deal for me personally. I always leave their classes feeling rejuvenated and centered. My Gemini mind is usually going a mile a minute and I need to take very intentional steps to quite it. I also enjoy practicing on my own at home or  a beautiful tree top ocean view space called Sankalpa Yoga Studio (pictured above) at True Blue Bay Boutique Resort. Last summer they offered free studio space- hopefully they will again this year.  (Check out the time lapses of my personal practice on my IG)

Visit Tropical Gardens  

Grenada has several beautiful gardens blossoming with a myriad of tropical plants. They are   a serene and glowing world of flowers and crops. Plants have such a magical and calming effect. Marveling at their beauty will give you energy.  I also enjoy going to plant nurseries, mainly for food seedlings for my own garden. Although I am not the best (consistent) gardener out there I do enjoy tending to my crop for a few months. Who remembers my kale and sorrel harvest on the IG stories last Christmas and Kwanaza.  It was very comforting to know where my food came from, and, that atleast I was not using harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides (whoops I wondered off a bit there).

Have a Sole Adventure Off the Beaten Track 

I give this advice to my fellow Grenadians and travelers alike. Move out of the routine and into a place where you feel like you can just reset away from superficial distractions, crowds and demands- and go alone!  Last October I took a 24 hour sanity break at Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate which runs two air BNB cottages. The cottages are tucked into the mountain sides of Non-Pariel in St. Mark and have a beautiful ocean view.  Estate owners Kim and Lylette will leave you up to your own devices and you can explore their grounds safely, marvel at beautiful cocoa pods and just chill out. This a great place unplug for social media to do reading, creating, uninterrupted thinking and contemplating the state of things. Life can be quite overwhelming, especially for the HSP. Taking time to yourself in a calming, safe and peaceful environment can help put things into perspective.

6 am at the Beach

I know the idea of strolling along a secluded beach sounds heavenly. However, you can have the same feeling on one of the more popular beaches in the early morning hours. I feel like most people who go to the beach in the early morning are cultivating a healthy self care practice.  While I was preggers with N I would go to the beach in the early morning hours and just sit in solitude, sometimes I would journal and sometimes I would just enjoy the negative ions charging up my feel good vibes. You will see a few people having their morning soak or walk and for the most part you know they are there just to do something good for their soul and it feels great to be in the company of others from a distance.

Do you identify as a highly sensitive person? (take the quiz if you are unsure)
How have you taken care of yourself and what are some of your favorite places in Grenada to explore?

What are some of the attributes of Highly Sensitive People describes HSPs (and I paraphrase) as follows: 

Emotionally- mainly seen as shy, introverted and socially inhibited (or can be socially extroverted). They are often acutely aware of other's emotions.

Physically- Low tolerance to noise, glaring lights, strong orders, clutter and/or chaos. They tend to have more body awareness of themselves and know instinctually when the environment they are in is not working for them.

Socially-Introverted HSP may feel like misfits. They actually enjoy their own company and are totally comfortable being alone. Bother introverted and socially extroverted HSP often find they need alone time to recover after social interactions.

Psychologically- HSPs compensate for their sensitivity by either protecting themselves by being alone too much, or, by trying to be "normal" or sociable which then over-stimulates them into stress.

Relationships- can be difficult. In relationships they may be confronted with their unresolved personal issues.  They can however, offer their partner the gifts of their intuitive insights.
 Childhood Wounds have a more devastating effect on HSPs. It is important for them to heal their past hurts because they cannot just forget them and go on in denial.

Spiritually- sensitive people have a greater capacity for inner searching. This is one of their greatest blessings

Nutritionally- HSPs may need more more simplicity in their diet. They may be vitally aware of the effects of food on the health of their body and their emotional stability.