Rock your natural nails! Organic nail care tips

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I’ve always preferred rocking my own natural nails rather than using stick ons, acrylic, gel nails e.t.c. People who use artificial nails regularly usually end up with weaker and sometimes even damaged nails. The glues used and contents of the acrylic mixtures are highly toxic not to mention  the solutions used to dissolve acrylic and gel nails.

Your nails deserve grooming and attention just like your skin and hair do. Your diet and health have a lot to do with how your skin, hair, and nails look so we should all really start from there. Drink lots of water, eat a good balanced diet with enough calcium. A daily serving of fresh yoghurt is a good way to keep your calcium level up.

I highly recommend the use of a moisturizer regularly on your nails to keep them healthy and strong. I use a lot of Shea butter and my own specially formulated cuticle oils. Cuticle oils are widely available and quite easy to come by. Rub the moisturizers and cuticle oils over your nails and cuticles and gently massage them. This even helps to improve circulation in your fingers. This practice is better done at night so that the moisturizers stay on and work while you sleep. Once in a while you could pamper yourself by applying generous amounts of moisturizer to your hands, feet, and all your nails, then wearing gloves and socks to bed. The gloves and socks trap the moisture while it is absorbed by your hands, feet, and nails.

Trim or cut your nails after you have soaked them for a while, or right after a shower or bath. This prevents rough edges or damage to your nails. Also, avoid cutting or shaving your cuticles but rather use a cuticle stick to gently push them back after you have soaked them. You can repair cracked cuticles and remove dead  skin by soaking your fingertips in lemon juice and vinegar. After the soak, you can use the lemon peel to gently rub against your nail and cuticle before using the cuticle stick to push back on the cuticle.

I’m not a fan of too much buffing when doing a manicure. Just a little buff to smooth the nail over is fine. Over-buffing can weaken the nail and cause damage. A nice quick buff is great, followed by a good hand and nail moisturizer preferably organic, and one that includes Shea or cocoa butter.

Use a good quality nail polish and clear top coat to give extra protection  to your nails. I am discovering a whole lot of non toxic nail polish brands and can’t wait to try them all. Here are a few:

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Ultra long-wearing, glossy, vegan friendly nail lacquers by Zoya are free of harmful industrial chemicals like toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) that have been known to contribute to various health problems. Other organic and Eco – friendly brands include  Scotch Naturals,

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BUTTER,

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Organic Glam,

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And Vapour.

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Even short, natural nails can look really fabulous if they are well taken care of. Even though I love having long nails I’ve been keeping them shorter since I had my son almost almost two years ago. I can’t wait to have long nails again!
My last tip would be to use softer nail files rather than metal ones, and to be gentle and not so rough when filing your nails, also better done after a soak or after your bath or shower.

Till next time! Stay natural, stay fabulous! ♡

M.Y. All new Ginger and Cinnamon soap

I have been feeling the need to diversify my soap collection by adding a sort of “spicy” soap. I’ve done neutral, fresh, floral, and fruity scents but nothing really spicy.

My hubby mentioned something about Ginger soap and that got me thinking and formulating. I made three different soap batches using ginger but this one beats them all. I LOOOVE IT! !!!

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I made a Shea butter and coconut oil soap base and then added some fresh ginger juice and Cinnamon powder to create these warm, spicy bars of goodness. All you spice lovers are really going to enjoy this one and I can’t wait for them to cure so I can try them out myself.

If you are a soap maker and want to have a go at using ginger in soap, juice some ginger by cutting up the ginger and blending with a little water, and then running it through a sieve.

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Add the juice at trace and be sure to discount the water content slightly to balance out the ginger juice. You can also try doing a hot process soap and then adding the ginger juice after the soap is cooked. I tried one like that with coconut milk and ginger juice and that came out really nice too.

Till next time!

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DIY: Coconut Milk

I have friends living here in the tropics who actually drive to the supermarket to buy imported, canned Coconut milk! (* side eye *). C’mon now! Fresh, preservative free Coconut milk is not so difficult to make if you live in the tropics or if you have access to some good coconuts. Now read, watch, and learn!

For a nice thick milk I like to use mature coconuts with lots of thick fruit inside. Grate the coconut fruit to make it easier to puree. Like this:

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Next to the blender I have the juice from the Coconut a.k.a  “Coconut water”. Add some coconut water to the grated fruit:

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And blend into a puree:

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Next you will need to run it through a sieve to get a smooth milk.

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I’m about to use this in soap making so I like it thick. For a thinner consistency, add more coconut water, and voila!

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Your very own, fresh, homemade coconut milk. Try it out sometime!

🙂

Madame Yasmeen’s Coconut Mint Swirl

Coconut oil is just soo amazing! When used in soapmaking, it gives a beautiful bubbly lather and a gentle but thorough cleanse. Check out my latest handmade soap creation coming out of the pink factory – Madame Yasmeen’s Coconut Mint Swirl.

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I used only Coconut oil as the oil component for making this soap and then added some peppermint essential oil to the mix. The Brown swirl is made with pure cocoa extract.

Need I say more? Diviiiine!  🙂
Some people don’t like peppermint oil or minty products at all. But I tell you if you are a mint lover, honey, you will loooove this one! Some people say Coconut oil soaps dry out their skin so I made sure to “superfat” these soaps that is, I added some extra oil to counteract the drying effect. This week I will be trying out other versions of M.Y Coconut Oil soap including exfoliating ones! I’m hyped! And heavenly scents abound in M.Y Beauty Cafe.

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One love 💚

Take a peek into my half-caste world.

I’ve always been the “different one” growing up in Ghana (West Africa), where being a Ghanaian means having black skin and kinky hair. I have always been referred to as “obroni” or “blofonyo” meaning “white person”. My father of Lebanese origin felt, lived, and insisted on his “Ghanaian-ness” until the moment he died. He never enjoyed the satisfaction of complete acceptance by his beloved Ghanaian people and he knew it.

There are so many others like me who live the daily struggle of trying to fit in yet being constantly reminded that we are “half-caste”, we are “obronis” and no matter what we do or say, no matter how we speak or act, we are looked at differently. I feel it every time I take a walk down the street or drive in my car. I feel it when I go to vote and the official looks up at me and says mockingly, “Ei, you too are you a Ghanaian?” I feel it when sellers who assume I don’t speak the local languages discuss in those very same languages whether to charge me the regular price or the “obroni” price.  I used to get angry and indignant. Sometimes I would bark back in the local language to the shock and dismay of those who thought I couldn’t understand what they were saying. But eventually, as I upgraded myself in spirit and moved into a more positive frequency, I began to realize that most of these people who made sure they pointed out how different I am, are themselves caught up in their own dark, ignorant world of insecurity and sometimes even self – hatred. Those people can’t see or express their inner beauty, and they definitely don’t look like this:

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This photo,  by the way, represents my loyalty to country and solidarity with nature, depicted by red, gold, and green.

Things may not change significantly in my lifetime,  although I have noticed some change no matter how gradual and how small. The first “rebel” who paved the way for mixed race Ghanaians to come into prominent view is the former president of Ghana flt. Lt. Rtd. Jerry John Rawlings. Over the years we have overcome many obstacles. Our national soccer team finally included the likes of Kevin Prince Boateng and now Akwasi Appiah, not to mention the movie, arts and entertainment industry where many mixed race Ghanaians are finding some joy.

Will we ever be considered just Ghanaians and not “that different breed of Ghanaians”? How long will it be before a mixed race person can walk down the street in Osu town, Labadi or Nungua township without kids skipping behind them and singing, “blofonyo! How are you! I am fine thank you!” This, by the way, happened to my 2 year old and I just recently in Nungua. I watched him as he stopped walking, turned around and looked at them quite curiously, as if wondering why the heck these people were following us and singing. Then my mind went back to my childhood in Osu,  and how I used to get that almost every time I walked down the street. Poor Nolly is yet to understand how different he is and how much he will be made to feel like he doesn’t belong here even though this is all he has known since the day he was born.

The struggle continues…. But someday, I believe that a very large fraction of the world’s population will look like this:

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One love 💚

The Open Air Stock Exchange – February 2015

Growing up,  I always wanted to be a philanthropist. I wanted to help the sick, the poor, the less fortunate. Even through the music I make, I hope to touch and to provide  healing energy. The growing pains definitely came.  Idealistic thoughts eventually gave way to more realistic ones after I experienced some disappointments and setbacks but I have always remained determined to do my best and to give back to this world as much as I can.

As an Eco friendly artisan, I understand the challenges faced by people just like me in the (still developing) Ghanaian economy. I wanted to be of assistance to small businesses and innovators who had talent but who needed exposure, education, and inspiration. This motivated me to start “The Open Air Stock Exchange” – an eco friendly cultural market that provides a platform for artisans and eco friendly innovators to showcase our talent to the rest of the world.

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I set up the “Eco club” in 2011, made up of environmentally friendly businesses, artists, artisans and handcrafters, and now, 4 years later, we have a strong following made up not only of Ghanaians, but also of people in Ghana who come from all over the world.

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The event itself is held on the first Saturday of every month at the Goethe Institut – German Cultural Centre in Accra. This fantastic location gave us the bridge we needed to reach Germans in Ghana, and eventually other nationals wishing to fuel their Eco friendly lifestyle.

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At the open air stock exchange you will find handmade products,  organic soaps and body products, organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and juices, solar products, local clothing companies, beads and accessories, and if you are lucky, a clearance or jumble sale.

Here are some of M.Y (Madame Yasmeen’s) organic and natural soaps and personal care products:

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And here I am with some of my beloved vendors and friends:

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Fulera makes beautiful handmade accessories
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Georgina - Books and home decor
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The beautiful Anne Sackey having a T - shirt clearance sale
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Abdul Karim - Artisan and crafter
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Akila - handmade bead bags

I am so grateful to everyone who believed in my dream and who share the vision of a brighter future for Artisans and innovative entrepreneurs in Ghana. Thanks of course to the Goethe Institut for sponsoring the venue and being of great help to us. If you are in Accra we hope to see you at the next market! First Saturday in March!

One love ♡