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Product Spotlight
Travel Amenity Kits
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We’re thrilled to introduce a skillfully collaborated collection of Bella Lucce’s bestsellers, now offered in TSA-friendly sizes tucked inside chic cotton travel bags. Our new Travel Amenity Kits enable you to take your favorite Bella Lucce luxuries for face and body on the road no matter where your travels may take you. Whether you’re off on an adventure by plane, train or automobile, we wish you happy travels!

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From Morocco With Love

Shop Bella Luccè's nonprofit to discover a treasure trove of handmade Moroccan luxuries and learn how adding beauty to your life can change the lives of indigenous Berber people.
Visit From Morocco With Love.

Latest Obsession
Inspirational Jewlery from LuluBug
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My teenage daughter recently left for a summer service trip to Thailand. I was scouring Etsy for a piece of inspirational jewelry to give her when I stumbled upon LuluBug. I’m smitten with her whimsical, original designs in sterling silver. My Chloe scored a locket that said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…” but I’ve got my eye on several other pieces as well. Who could resist the “You are my sunshine” necklace?

Ingredient of the Month
Crushed Freshwater Pearls

Crushed Freshwater Pearls: Celebrated by Asian women and ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia for more than 3,000 years, pearl powder has a rich history and a myriad of legendary tales about its use at the Imperial Palace. Created by pulverizing real freshwater pearls, it is reputed to boost skins brightness and is rich in both amino acids and trace minerals.

Find it in: Shiitake & Green Tea Antioxidant Serum, Detoxifying Giinger-Wasabi Masque, Orchid & Crushed Pearl Body Creme

Food For Thought

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

- Steve Jobs

Home Spa Rituals
Lavender- Honey Milk Bath

3 tbsp. Dried Lavender Flowers*
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk or Buttermilk
1/3 cup Honey

Process lavender flowers in a blender until they become a powder, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides as necessary. Whisk together lavender powder, milk, and honey in a glass bowl, then pour into a jar. Before each use, shake the jar and pour half of the mixture into the bath. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes enough for 2 baths.

*Dried lavender flowers can be found in the spice section of gourmet and specialty stores. (Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board)

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I highly recommend the following cozy nooks and places of interest- they represent some of my favorite stops on the web.

NY Times Travel Blog : For those days when you're trapped in your office, but dream of snorkeling expeditions to Belize or biking through Spain.

Yoga Journal : An ever-changing source of information about yoga, meditation and healthy cooking.

Women's Rights Blog : An eye-opening look at the state of women's rights around the globe.

Daily Candy : Unwrap a surprise in your email inbox every morning. It's the only site you'll ever need for the latest in travel, culture, nibbles and libations.

101 Cookbooks : Delectable new recipes every single day. Never fret over what to make for dinner again!

Greetings from Bolgatanga, Ghana

June 11, 2010

I’ve spent the last few days in northern Ghana assisting the Widows & Orphans Movement. Founded in 1993 by Madam Betty Ayagiba, WOM serves 8,000+ widows throughout the northern regions. The organization focuses on empowering women though skills training that facilitates job acquisition (traditional kente cloth and basket weaving, seamstress skills, hair styling and shea butter production), microcredit loans to widows to support new enterprise, legal rights education and protection from abuse, HIV education, as well as nutritional, educational and medical support for orphans. Sound like an insurmountable task? One cannot imagine how large the mission is until you understand the plight of widows in northern Ghana.

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Teaching the women how to weigh each ingredient

Traditional tribal practices in this region can be particularly cruel to widows. Upon the death of a husband (who may die at any age and for any reason), the wife is automatically accused of witchcraft and blamed for his death. She must then endure a series of dehumanizing and dangerous rituals lasting a week or more. Among them: being stripped naked in public and made to wear only leaves, having her head shaved, being made to drink a putrid concoction created by a soothsayer to prove her innocence, being doused in boiling water, etc. After the shame and humiliation, she must then take a new husband from the deceased’s family in order to continue bearing children in his name. If she refuses, she is rejected and regarded as an outcast- she loses all of her property and her home. As many of these women are illiterate and have many children to care for, the outcome is often unthinkably horrid. Worse yet, tradition holds that the first man to sleep with a widow must marry her, leading to frequent rapes of widows who are particularly young or beautiful.

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Gathering wood to build a fire to melt all of our ingredients

I was invited to Ghana after meeting a local woman at the Global Shea Conference in Bamako, Mali in March of this year. She asked me to help train the women in the creation of finished goods using their shea butter, as buyers for the raw shea butter itself are often hard to locate and offering finished goods could add value to the WOM operations. After 3 planes and 23 hours of straight flying, I landed in Accra, Ghana’s capital city for a few meetings with my friends at the West Africa Trade Hub. The very next morning, I hopped a 6am charter flight to Tamale and was greeted by Mr. Clements, WOM’s accountant. We then continued 2 hours north by car, passing round mud homes with thatched roofs and gorgeous shea parklands to arrive in Bolgatanga.

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Pouring fresh shea butter balms

WOM had diligently gathered 22 widows together from in and around Bolgatanga and we spent the next two days in a series of trainings. The women learned how to make a simple balm out of readily available local ingredients, how to cost the product accordingly and how to label and market the balm throughout Ghana. We took a trip to a local salon to do market research, studying the various types of product available, their origin, ingredients and cost. We learned that local pomades are typically created with mineral oil or petroleum jelly and artificial dyes. The balm these women will be offering is 100% natural, with more than 80% locally-produced shea butter, creating a rich hydrator for the brutal West African climate. I was continually impressed by the motivation and bravery of these women and their determination to lift themselves and their children out of poverty, as well as the dedication of Madam Betty in serving them. My time in Bolgatanga also included a visit to Madam Lucy, the Deputy Regional Director of Bolgatanga to plead with her to offer her support and any available resources to this new endeavor.

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Success! They’re cooling down…

The women plan to imminently enter the market with their pomade within the next month or two and I’ll be working with them to secure other locally available cosmetic materials to formulate several complimentary products in hopes of employing a full-time team of women to produce soaps, soaks and balms to further support the critical work of WOM. For now, I’ve said goodbye to the widows and wished them much luck in this exciting new project. I am eternally grateful to Madame Betty and her team for their warm hospitality while in Bolgatanga and for the deep appreciation of women’s rights I’ve reinforced while here. I’m transiting back through Tamale today to facilitate some meetings between Madame Betty and a shea buyer I am familiar with locally, then heading four hours west by car to Bole to work with another group for the next few days. I hear the road to Bole is 87 kinds of crazy…let the adventure begin!

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The beautiful widows of Bolgatanga

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