Friday, May 31, 2013

It's the "Little" Things_See Body. Love Self. | Smell Good Spa™

 Guest Blogger - Ivy Cooper

Anything we desire to flourish must be nurtured.  A relationship with oneself is no different. Building a loving relationship with our body and ourselves is just like any other relationship.  It must be committed to and nourished daily.  The strength of the relationship becomes stronger with each decision we make to choose a healthier, happier life.  

If you are an enterprising woman, like me.  Then you are probably eager to achieve goals and celebrate accomplishments in your life. Sometimes we can be so busy looking at the “big” things we are working towards, that we forget to acknowledge the small steps along the way.  I am learning the art of reverencing the “little things” that I do to love my body and myself.  Just like any external relationship, positive reinforcement helps to build trust, intimacy, and a lasting bond. When we choose self love, it positively reinforces our commitment to our relationship with ourselves. So I started noticing the “little” things that I do to love on me.  Here are a few:

  • Taking the time to sit down and eat a meal, acknowledging the blessings of the nutrients, flavors, and nourishment
  • Pausing to give thanks, meditate, and pray before jumping out of bed in the morning
  • Taking a short walk for 10-15 minutes in the middle of a busy day.
  • Using my favorite body product during a relaxed, meditative bathe
  • Painting my toenails a color that makes me feel happy
  • Deep conditioning my crown
  • Enjoying my favorite fruit during a short moment outside in the fresh air
  • Pausing during any moment in the day to inhale and exhale deeply, giving thanks for life
  • Looking in the mirror and noticing the things I LOVE about what I see
  • Saying those things out loud

The best thing about choosing to love you is that you can start now! It is a choice, followed by small steps everyday to make your relationship with yourself a priority.  It doesn’t take a spending frenzy or a two week vacation.  You can begin doing the “little things” within your day to love on you.

Questions for Discussion:

Can you relate to any of the little things that I shared?
What are some of the things you do to love you, that you didn’t acknowledge in the past?
What are some new things you can do to build a loving relationship with yourself? 

As an agent for social change Ivy founded See Body. Love Self.™ a body positive movement. Through this movement she encourages women to “Embrace your body today. Love yourself always.™” Using the lessons learned in her own body journey, she educates others about how to live a body positive lifestyle. See Body. Love Self.™ advocates releasing judgment of self and others to, embrace a healthy love relationship with ones self. Learn more about Ivy and her positive platform at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My 3 Fun-in-the-Sun Products | Smell Good Spa™

With all the talk and questions about brown skin people needing sunblock or not,  I want to share my three favorite sun-protection products with you.  Although these products are not a substitute for sunblock/sunscreen, they are excellent as a protective barrier between the sun and healthy skin. Those who suffer from inflamed skin (eczema) can also find comfort using these products. As I mentioned earlier, I don't use sunblock on a daily basis.  These products are my go-to for outings, and my pre-sun care before applying sunblock when at the beach.

For the remainder of the month, grab my favorites at a 20% discount.  Brown skin lady (in my Mos Def Yasiin Bay voice), these products are formulated with you in mind. Plus, you can make them smell as good as you like, customizing with any Signature Fragrance Oil.

  • 1st Fav: Marinade - A liquid shea formula that can prevent hyper-pigmentation and aids in the fading away of hyper-pigmented spots.  It's silky smooth and non-greasy. Grab It Here

  • 2nd Fav: Tantouchthis Spread - The name alone speaks for itself.  Think of it as a browning oil in butter form.  A product high in vitamin C, delivering sun kisses for bronzy skin, while preventing hyper-pigmentation.  Oh, yeeeeah.  Grab It Here

  • 3rd Fav: Whip Cream Body Lotion - Abundant in aloe vera and shea butter for epidermal comfort. Making it a perfect after-sun product. Grab It Here

Remember, this special offer ends 5/31/2013, 11:59p EST.

A Whole Woman Deserves Wholesome Products

Be Whole,

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Shoot, my people are from Africa. I don't need sunblock!" | Smell Good Spa™

Growing up I lived under the assumption that I, nor anyone with brown skin would need sunblock for  protection from the sun.  And, why would we? We are descendants of tribes that lived, toiled, and enjoyed life under the brightest star; Then brought to an unfamiliar place, our ancestors toiled under harsh conditions under that same sun.  Sitting around listening to the elders, not once did they mention anyone that they knew getting sunburned or a skin disease.  I remember playing outside for hours under the sun, never seeing my skin, nor my friends' skin (light to dark brown) change in anyway.  Overtime, "My people are from Africa", became something that was just said (always a chuckle afterwards, as if someone told a joke), really not giving any thought to, "Hmm, is it possible that my skin could benefit from using sunblock?"

About 15 years ago my answer came.  I was laying on the beach enjoying the sun and sea air, and King T. was fishing.  I think he turned into a fish.  The brotha got sunburned!  We were both so shocked to see the scaly skin on his shoulders peeling and the damaged area turning red.  Later that day, we could still feel the heat coming from his skin, and the area was a little tender. We just never seen that happen to any brown skin person, regardless of how long they were out in the sun.  Needless to say, he didn't want that experience again.

Sunblock is not something that I use on a daily basis.  However, I do apply product that will give a protective barrier to my skin when I'm outside for a short period of time, or running errands (I'll share more about those products in a post later today).  When my family and I head to the beach, not only do we take our sun-protection products, SPF15 comes with us too.

Lately, this topic about brown skin people needing sunblock is popping up more than ever.  I see it in my Google Alerts just about everyday, and I see black mommies posing the question on social networks, no doubt, for the sake of their children.

Hey lady, do you have beautiful brown skin?  If so, what are your thoughts on applying sunblock?  I know you have your big fancy hat and umbrella for shade, but do you see a place for additional skin protection?

Do you agree, disagree, or really just don't care about Ava's statement (video), "People of color not needing sunblock is a myth"?

If you didn't know, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  Here's an insightful article about brown skin people and skin cancer, "Blacks are Susceptible to Skin Cancer".  The adjective black being used as a proper noun makes me crack my neck from left to right, but the article is informative.

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Be whole,

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Am Itiel and I Set the Table | Smell Good Spa™

Over the weekend, I read a lengthy article in the Sudan Vision Daily.  The subject matter is incense, so, of course I took a necessary moment to read the article.  Incense is a remarkably impressive ingredient of the human heritage, culture and even psychological state and has been known to humanity ancient time. That opening sentence nudged me to continue to read.  The words, human heritage and ancient time brought a smile to my face, and the childhood memory of the first time I smelled sweet smoke.

Growing up in a bustling metropolis like Philadelphia, I always enjoyed my downtown trips.  Secretly, it was the knowing of without a doubt I would have the pleasure of walking pass a vendor burning incense.  It wasn't just any kind of street vendor.  It was the one always decked out in some type of regal garb, with a look of a true knowing of what they were offering, and that only the people who knew that there wasn't any mystery behind it, but just a pure enjoyment of what they wanted it to be, would buy that offering.  I always wondered: If I look like both the giver and the taker of the sweet offering, why didn't we visit the table.

Today, I am the one setting the table with those sweet offerings.  No longer encumbered by the stigma that many placed on the burning of incense.  I am actually proud to contribute to a part of my culture that has been present since ancient times; Having my daughters prepare incense beside me, as the tradition of the Sudanese women.

This is one of my favorite highlights in the article.  This is what the women do for the bride on her wedding day.  A whole day is devoted to this preparation.

On that day, the women sit down on the ground, each holding a small axe with which they break the sandalwood into equal pieces. Others put on fire a big baking iron sheet on which a reasonable quantity of sugar is cooked until it becomes golden in colour. Yet other women mix different kinds of perfume in a big vessel. The pieces of sandalwood are placed on the molten sugar and mixed together until they stick together and the mixture of perfumes is poured on the sheet and a powdered mixture of aromatic bark and musk is sprayed while the iron sheet is still on fire and, with the rising vapor, the scent diffuses throughout the neighbourhood announcing the wedding.

Yummy, right?  Talk about sweet savor. I would love to visit Sudan just for a wedding day. 

...the incense in the Sudan is of diverse types, purposes, rites and instruments...

The incense I create serve me well in my home, and for different purposes; Honey-me time, family game night, doing-absolutely-nothing moments, "me, myself, and I", and during times of thanksgiving.  

How do our incense serve you?

You can read the article, "Incense - Charm, Ritual, Brisk Trade", in its entirety here.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

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