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Crookedfinger Art: Sustainable Fashion & Art

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Crookedfinger Art is an expression of my person style and creative impulses. – Kim Cadenhead

Meet Kim! 

Kim Cadenhead is the founder of Crookedfinger Art.  Kim has a unique quirk, two crooked pinky fingers, a result of a genetic glitch.  Her little quirk resulted in the inspiration for her company name, it is an ode to her unique characteristic which she embraces and has allowed her to flourish as an artist with her original artistic style.  Kim is passionate about various medias for art projects.  Her portfolio includes: paintings on canvas, mixed media, handcrafted sustainable products and graphic t-shirt designs.  Kim recently took part in an artist workshop in North Carolina.  The workshop gave Kim an opportunity to grow as an artist and finesse her painting skills.  Her experience there lead to her latest creative endeavor a series of floral paintings on both canvas and repurposed wooden trays— both wonderful works of art for home decor.

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Kim is an artist who is inspired by the environment around her and incorporates the very essence of her surroundings into her paintings, handmade items and mixed media projects.  In my humble option, I view Kim’s most recent floral collection as having a touch of influence from impressionist paintings incorporated with her own modern signature style, blending beautifully together.  Her floral paintings from her 2016 collection are my personal favorites.  Kim sells both original canvas artwork and canvas prints.

Sustainable Fashion and Eco Art

Since moving from Toronto, Canada to the Cayman Islands, Kim has visited local thrift shops to gather materials for her latest sustainable art projects.  It is her aspiration to repurpose materials found locally and transform them in sustainable handcrafted products including: beach tote bags, hand tote bags, messenger bags rugs, pot holders, coasters and even mixed media art pieces.

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It is rather astounding when you take a moment to realize the magnitude of materials available that has the potential to be repurposed and used in a sustainable way.  All of her eco-friendly items are handmade.  Kim’s sustainable art pieces have all been made from magazines that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill.  Kim is an artist with an eco-conscious mindset.  Her sustainable fashion and home products prove that recycled and repurposed materials can be transformed into chic sustainable products.

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Support Local

Kim’s artwork and eco-friendly products are available for sale at Art Nest Creative Studio, at Pasadora Place.  You can also visit Kim at Camana Bay’s local Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays.

Stay Connected

Follow Kim on Facebook, click here

Follow Kim on Instagram, click here 

Visit her website, click here 

 

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Sea of Hope: Preserving the Heart of our Planet

 

Photo Credit: National Geographic

SEA OF HOPE follows iconic ocean explorer and conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle, renowned underwater photographer Brian Skerry, author and captain Max Kennedy, and their unlikely crew of teenage aquanauts on a year-long quest to secure their future. Deploying science and photography, they hope to inspire the creation of blue parks across an unseen and imperiled American wilderness.

It was an absolute honor to be published in Mission Blue’s Ocean Stories.  Please visit their website to read my full article Sea of Hope: Preserving the Heart of our Planet.  Sea of Hope is airing 15th January 2017 on National Geographic.

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

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Epiphany: How A Family Of Explorers & Conservationists Overcame Their Fears

 

View Epiphany Movie Trailer

A popular definition of epiphany as defined in the Oxford Dictionary is: “A moment of sudden and great revelation or realization.  For me, an epiphany is a sublime moment.  It is an awakening, when your thoughts come into focus and there is a moment of clarity.  The opportunity presents itself as an illuminating thought.  A moment of such great revelation can bring forth incredible things.

I have had the privilege to get to know award-winning filmmaker and wildlife cinematographer Michael Maes and his wife Ellen Cuylaerts, an award-winning wildlife photographer.  They are truly two of the most amazing people I have ever met.  They are inspiring, compassionate, kind, generous, brave and humble people.  I am grateful to know them.  As a family they live intriguing and extraordinary lives as explorers and conservationists.  They explore the world and use their gifts and talents in film and photography to share their passion for conservation with the world.  An underlying message in their documentary Epiphany is the power of film and photography.  I am a firm believer that art whether it is in the form of film, photography, writing or any other genre has the ability to create change and have a positive impact.  The photographs and film both Michael and Ellen share with the world captures stunning encounters with wildlife, marine life and spectacular scenic views of nature.  It serves to remind us this planet is worth fighting for and protecting.  Art has an incredible ability to connect us all on a universal level.

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For Michael and Ellen, film and photography is a means for them to contribute to nature and conservation— a way of giving back.  They use their films and photography to educate, and create awareness about various environmental issues.  A strong image whether captured in a still photograph or a moving picture can evoke emotion, share a powerful message and allow an opportunity for one to be enlightened and enriched.  In particular, a scene in their documentary Epiphany with Whale Sharks captures a collection of beautiful moments spent in the presence of these majestic creatures.  There is utter tranquility within this scene and the Whale Sharks swim gracefully.  The scene showed the majesty of sharks— they are not to be feared but respected.  Other scenes with Oceanic White Tips present the elegant poises and patterns of these sharks as they glide through the water, depicting them beautifully in their natural habitat.  The sharks and divers were able to inhabit the space harmoniously.  It is important to note, the divers still had to remain very vigilant at all times.  Ellen and Michael take great care in the composition of their photography by ensuring they develop a connection with the wildlife during their encounter and allow that to translate in their photography.  By doing so, it creates a powerful image illustrating that there is a story and meaning behind every photograph.  The heart of their photography and film is to remind us all what a privilege it is to live on this beautiful planet and to not take for granted our natural resources, the environment, the ocean and all animals.  There is a great urgency for a united effort and action to happen globally to increase conservation of the environment and protection of all animals.  As advocates for the ocean they are keen to promote awareness of the urgency to protect sharks.  Ellen and Michael use film and photography to promote conservation and help rehabilitate the image of sharks by showing us that sharks are to be respected not feared.  The real fear is a life without sharks.  The reality is if sharks continue to be slaughtered for their fins and their population continues to rapidly decline they will face extinction.  Sharks have been roaming the ocean immensely longer than humans have inhabited the planet.  It would be a great tragedy for sharks to become extinct.  There is no coming back from extinction.

 

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Recently, I had the opportunity to watch their documentary Epiphany a film that is inspiring and moving.  The film left a profound impact on me.  It is a film that I hold dear to my heart, as it was truly special to watch a film friends of mine had made and with such admirable bravery they shared their story with the world.  I implore others to watch their award-winning documentary which is currently available on iTunes.  The documentary touches on a variety of themes: the power of art and film, conservation of sharks, environmentalism, Autism, the unbreakable bond of a family and finding bravery to overcome fear.  Michael and his family are incredibly courageous to share a vulnerable side of their lives and their journey through life with the world.  Primarily, the narrative of the film tells the journey of Ellen and how she finds the bravery to overcome her fear of the ocean.  It is her kids that leads Ellen back to nature.  It is on this journey, Ellen rediscovers her love for photography which allows her to overcome her fear of the water by swimming with sharks and photographing them.  The film also touches on Michael and their kids Margaux and Max leading extraordinary lives with autism.  A takeaway from their documentary is that there is a need in this world to look past each others differences and accept one another as they are.  We are all uniquely different and that is what adds to our individual beauty.  There is a need for society to stop labelling and creating divides due to differences— being different can be a remarkable gift.  A beautiful message within in the film, is the families unbreakable bond.  The diagnosis of Autism running in their family understandably initially created a feeling of isolation, fear and hardship.  However, together as a family they were able to thrive and live out their passions.  All of them having wonderfully marvelous courageous lives.  As a family they inspire us all to live a life of compassion, kindness and bravery.

 

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The power and healing of nature is beautifully interwoven within the story which unfolds throughout the documentary.  Nature serves as a catalyst to connect the family together, strengthen their bond and open doors for amazing opportunities to share their passion for conservation, film, photography and art.  A beautiful synergy is built between the family as they collectively immerse themselves in exploring nature and the depths of the ocean.  A profound message the documentary presents is that Ellen is able to move past her fear of the ocean and develop a trust within nature.  The ocean serves as a bit of a paradox in Ellen’s life, while on one hand it is the foundation of her fear of water, yet on the other, it serves to inspire her to contribute to conservation, follow her passion of photography and connect deeply with her family.  By having nature as an integral component of their lives, the differences within the family does not create walls to divide them, in fact nature bridges the family together and anchors them.  Moreover, through expeditions exploring nature, it brings forth a bravery within each of them to overcome their own personal fears.  Through their conservation efforts and giving back to nature, each of them were able embrace their individualism and remain true to themselves and their passion for the environment, photography, film and art.

Meet Michael Maes

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Michael Maes is a wildlife filmmaker, specialized in big animals and animal behavior. His portfolio (both underwater and topside) covers the polar regions, temperate waters and the tropics. He has a passionate interest for polar bears and Arctic whales.

His work has been broadcast on various national television like Nat Geo Wild, Outside Television, CBC. It also received recognition at a myriad of international film festivals; reflecting the ability to translate the need for wildlife conservation onto the screen.

In 2015 Michael was inducted as cinematographer in the Ocean Artists Society (http://www.oceanartistssociety.org), an organization uniting artists worldwide to raise awareness and protect the marine environment through art. Michael is also a founding Navigator of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (http://www.reefresearch.org), a leading scientific research centre in the Caribbean focusing on coral reef restoration, research on coral resilience, and ocean education.

More About Michael  

Website michaelmaes.com   (Currently Under Construction)

Check out some of his recent Arctic Work:

 

Q & A with Award-winning Filmmaker Michael Maes

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1. What inspired the documentary and for you to tell this story?

Ellen Cuylaerts; my wife; challenged herself to overcome her fear of water and sharks, culminating her personal growth by feeding those feared sharks. That was the story to which many viewers can relate to.

2. What is the heart of the documentary? Or the core message for audiences to take from watching the film?

Basically Epiphany is a story about all of us. Everyone has his or her fears, everyone faces challenges of life, we can all make decisions to alter our paths.

Epiphany shows the viewer setbacks can be turned into strongholds of life itself.

In short, Epiphany is a story of hope.

3. Did you face any challenges while making this documentary?

Apart from logistical nightmares, the complete lack of privacy for our family during the 18 months of filming was very exigent. Although most of the shootings were at dream locations, we constantly had cameras and microphones pointed at or near us. Especially Ellen as I was fortunate enough to be behind the camera for most of the underwater filming and all areal cinematography.

Next would be the communication between the producer (me) and the rest of the crew. Having autism makes it very difficult to communicate my thoughts; up to a point where I even think I “say” something but I actually only “think” it. That has lead to many difficult situations, frustrations and even words. But, ultimately and always thanks to Ellen, we regrouped and were able to finish a gem.

4. What was one key lesson you learned from making this film?

Don’t think what you say but say what you think!

5. Is there a particular scene in the documentary that resonates with you or has the most significant meaning to you?

To me the most emotional scene in the documentary is at the end where Ellen stands strong among tens of sharks circling her and I (you can’t see that of course as I am filming it) am lying flat on the sand at her feet; filming Ellen from that extreme low angle; all the way up to the water surface; sharks everywhere.

That scene grabs me the most as it portrays in images the fact that Ellen conquered her fear, surrounded by sharks yet she is the one who is in charge! There she stands, holding food next to her body, telling the sharks with her body-language to not come in for the food… she… her… your wife… the mother of your two children… surrounded by sharks… I cannot express how powerful that scene is for a filmmaker who’s the husband of the talent…

As a cinematographer that scene also grabs me as it is – excuse-moi the bragging – simply a formidable shot completed by the genius score of music written by the Belgian musician Eric Bettens.

6. What was your favorite filming location?

Honestly? None! They all had their particular challenges and filmic rewards. A favorite moment I could tell you: a close to two hour dive with only Ellen and myself at Tiger Beach. We were down there without bait or chum. We just wanted to have our Zen moment; away from the fuzzy madness of the production. Did we get rewarded for being there: we had three 12 feet tiger sharks and a bunch of lemons and reefies. A mind-blowing peaceful moment! This footage did not end up in the documentary as the sequences were too long and beautiful to cut. Now that Epiphany is released I will review those amazing scenes again.

7. What do you hope this documentary will accomplish? Or what is your goal or hope for this film?

Of course we want to spread awareness on the sad condition sharks are facing globally. But we also want people to think about their own life and take action if they want to. We want Epiphany to bring hope to those whom are trapped in a fixed pattern, caught in a seemingly hopeless situation.

8. What does the film mean to you and your family?

30 months of blood, sweat and tears.

9. Do you believe film and art has the power to help bring positive changes to the environment?

Many of the world’s environmental issues are far out of reach of most people. Pictures and film bring those issues closer to many, though often in the hard “documenting” way – which is good of course.

Bringing the animals and their world to the beholder in all beauty – nature as it is – makes people see the beauty of those animals. This could lessen the fear of the unknown and invoke interest in the animal or its habitat. Every time I get a message from someone I don’t know telling me some work of mine made him or her get interested in that animal or its environment, is a bigger reward to me than a paycheck.

10. Do you find using art and film as a medium allows you to see the impact and changes in the environment differently, than as opposed to just reading about the issues our environment faces?

As I am a person whom thinks in images, I would believe so. However I feel this question should better be answered by an avid and passionate reader.

More Info about Epiphany 

Website            : www.epiphany.movie

Epiphany on iTunes : https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/epiphany/id1169290433

Trailer Epiphany                     : https://vimeo.com/156486645

Special Thanks

Special thanks: Photos and video courtesy of Michael Maes and Ellen Cuylaerts

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For The Love Of Animals: Ian Somerhalder Foundation Medical Emergency Grants

 

Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

A truly heartwarming initiative was started by the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) to aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals that have heartbreaking stories of being abused, neglected or suffered a traumatic injury.  These animals are deserving and in need of a second chance.  ISF created their Medical Emergency Program to extend compassion to these animals and assist in aiding to their recovery and wellbeing.  ISF launched their Medical Emergency Grant Program on Valentine’s Day, 2014.  A day symbolizing a commitment of love and compassion towards animals— inspiring others to do the same.  Since the inception of this program, they have helped over 1,000 animals including: cats, dogs, turtles, birds, bats, horses, sheep, cows, sea lions, goats, rabbits, and more.  All have benefited from an ISF Medical Emergency Grant— giving them an improved quality of life, resulting in a touching success stories.  These animal rescues are now living happier lives with their new families in their forever homes. The testimony of these animals show, that animals have an incredible resilience no matter how difficult the hardship they faced.  They also remind of us of the incredible bond animals establish with humans, despite the suffering they endured, once they found a new and loving family in a safe environment they continue to express love unconditionally.

Animals have an exquisitely poignant way of teaching us, through demonstration, how to love and be loved. We learn compassion, as well as expand our perception of the infinite connection to the environment around us, from our creature friends–whether they are furry and lick us, or slither and swim. We owe it to these creatures to provide protection, healing and love. That is exactly why I am so proud that the IS Foundation has launched our first grant program — the Emergency Medical Grant for Animals – Ian Somerhalder

ISF provides grants to both the US and Canada and works closely with dedicated teams of amazing rescuers in various parts of the US and Canada who are on the front line every day finding animals in need of a better life and urgent care.  These admirable individuals advocate on the behalf of these animals.  Animals that receive an Emergency Medical Grant have been found either, abused, neglected or have suffered a traumatic injury.  ISF reviews applications and typically makes a decision within a week.  They then have the money sent out the following week to the treating veterinarians and rescuers.  The ISF Medical Emergency Grant criteria and eligibility can be found on the ISF website, Grant Information Page.  “The purpose of this grant is to provide animal victims a second chance by alleviating their rescuers of the financial stress of treatment so they can focus on facilitating the animal’s adoption into a permanent, loving home” ISF works with individuals, animal rescuers, veterinarians and non-profit organizations seeking to rescue and rehabilitate animal victims.  (ISF)

The ISF Medical Emergency Grants Program has done an incredible job of bettering the lives of so many animals.  Animals that have had the opportunity to recover and rehabilitate now have wonderful success stories inspiring us all to help protect and care for animals in need.  ISF has established a network of dedicated animal rescuers (grantees) and built amazing relationships with them over the past 2 years.  Their collaboration and teamwork has created a positive impact.  An added bonus, the ISF have met so many loving animals that have greatly benefited from their program.  In instances when the animal in need and the rescuer are near by, the ISF take the opportunity to meet with the animal and rescuer(s).  The ISF have shared a plethora of wonderful heartwarming success stories of the animals they have help give a second chance to. To read their success stories visit their grant success page.  Their dedication to provide resources to assist in bringing a life changing positive impact on the lives of animals that have deeply suffered, inspires us all to work together to be a voice for animal victims that have endured a painful hardship.

Must Love Animals

Below are a few success stories of the ISF Medical Emergency Grant

Meet Elsa

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Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Meet Ozzy

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Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Meet Twinkle Toes

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Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

To support the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and stay up-to-date with their projects follow them on Facebook and Twitter or visit their website 

The Cayman Islands: A Haven for Sharks & Rays

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

The Cayman Islands has built its name and reputation primarily on being a renowned diving destination.  Pioneers in our local diving community over the last few decades contributed to building our diving industry into the premier operation that it is today.  They recognized the exquisite beauty our underwater landscape had to offer and have since then made it accessible for locals and tourists to recreationally experience and explore the beauty that lies below the surface for themselves.  With a desire to showcase our natural resources comes with a commitment to preserve them.  Our duty towards conservation for both land and the ocean is beneficial not just from an environmental perspective but also an economic one.  Our tourism industry is strongly tied to our island’s natural resources.  Ergo, an obvious reason to ensure that our natural resources are protected.  Last year on Earth Day (2015), the Cayman Islands officially became a Sharks and Rays Sanctuary.  The sanctuary expands across all three islands.  This is a positive step towards ecotourism as many tourists are keen to visit places that are committed to conservation.

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

 

“I’m extremely grateful that the Cayman Islands recognized the need to make the islands a shark and ray sanctuary. Not only will their protected status benefit the health of the reefs but it’s also a strong statement towards the tourism industry which is an important source of revenue. By protecting our natural resources the Cayman Islands puts itself in the the market of the informed and eco friendly tourist making the right choice for the future generations.” -Ellen Cuylaerts

Sharks in the Water

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

By virtue of us standing by and not acting to protect coral reefs and marine life that are under threat there is a very likely possibility that corals reefs will continue to become degraded and even destroyed.  The caribbean has already lost 80% of its coral reefs.  There is an intricate connection between coral reefs and all marine life.  If keystone species such as sharks continue to decrease in population it will have a tremendous impact on the coral reefs and the marine life that depend on the reefs.  A scary thought that should be racing through everyone’s minds is what if I never see a shark in the water again?  Our fear should be driven by the thought of what will happen to our ocean and the ecosystem if shark populations globally continues to spiral down or worse become extinct.  Sharks are a keystone species and are fundamental to maintaining the health and balance of: coral reefs, marine life and the ocean.  Without their presence there could potentially be a devastating collapse within our fragile ecosystem as their role in keeping our “life support” viable is monumental.  Ultimately, we need a healthy ocean as 70% of the world’s oxygen comes from there.  Healthy shark populations means healthy reefs.  Coral reefs support 1/4 of all marine life.  Healthy reefs means a flourishing population of marine life.  This is beneficial for: our ecosystem, recreational divers, snorkelers and for fisherman.  Balance within our ecosystem is key to benefiting the preservation of the planet, as well as a thriving diving industry, tourism industry and fisherman.

We can’t fail to act to protect our ocean and marine life.  The ocean is often referred to as the heart of the planet.  There seems to be a collective assumption that the ocean is indestructible, that no matter the amount of pollution pumped into the ocean it will always reset itself, that there will always be coral reefs and an abundance of fish, sharks and all marine life.  It is as though we cannot fathom the thought that it could all go away one day.  The reality is the ocean like anything else has its limitations.  We cannot keep testing the ocean’s ability to bounce back.  It is evident that the ocean is under an immense amount stress due to climate change and the rapid decrease in the populations of a multitude of marine species.  For instance, sharks and rays are under threat.  Every year, 70 million sharks are killed for their fins (Fin Free).  In comparison it is reported that targeted Manta Ray populations have declined by an estimated 56% to 88% in recent years (Wild Aid).  With this in mind, there is an urgency for countries around the world to declare their waters as a shark and rays sanctuary.  The more protection coverage of the ocean for sharks and rays will by virtue allow for coral reefs, and fish populations to have time to recover and recuperate.  This is beneficial to everyone.

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Specifically to our waters, current research indicated that we have a lower shark population than expected for a healthy reef ecosystem.  This suggests that our waters need an increase in sharks to ensure our coral reefs can remain healthy.  Shark populations recover over a significant period of time and sanctuaries can provide a safe haven for populations to recuperate.  Presently, there are no comparative ray nor shark surveys specific to our region.  It is difficult to state how our population of sharks and rays compares to other islands in the Caribbean.  However, some research conducted by Marine Conservation International (Research Partners of Department of Environment Cayman Islands) suggests that Cayman’s shark numbers are relatively low in comparison to our Caribbean neighbors.  Notably, numbers will vary from species to species.  However, our waters have a fair population of sharks and rays. Both species are being threatened across the Caribbean and around the world.  Protecting sharks and rays regionally will benefit not only our territory but also on a global scale as it encourages other countries to designate their waters as a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures.  It is evident that the protection of sharks and rays needs to be made as a united effort, and the Cayman Islands is doing their part to help in this initiative.  Now that our waters have been designated as a shark and ray sanctuary there is hope that it  will give our shark population a chance to recover.

A Sanctuary for Sharks, Rays & Coral Reefs

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The sanctuary serves as a haven for our sharks and rays. Our sharks and rays are of great significance to our coral reefs and marine environment both ecologically and economically.  Most importantly their protection is needed to ensure their survival —our ecosystem depends on it.

The sanctuary also serves as a means to benefit our island not only from an ecological standpoint but economically.  The protection of sharks and rays has a direct impact on benefiting our tourism industry.  Sharks are a highlight for divers.  Whereas, rays can be seen in a large school at Stingray City located at the sandbar on the eastern side of Grand Cayman.  Protecting our sharks and rays within our region will not only allow for a positive impact on improving the health of our coral reefs but also it will help to maintain our status as a popular diving destination.  Flourishing reefs serve us ecologically but as an added bonus they are attractive diving spots helping our tourism industry and economy.

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Declaring Cayman waters as a sharks and rays sanctuary is a positive step towards ecotourism and beneficial for our islands.  Countries making a shift towards ecotourism demonstrates that we can find a balance between developing the economy of a country but not at the cost of losing their natural resources.  It is possible to use our natural resources and benefit from them and not destroy them —rather there is an emphasis on the preservation of natural resources as they have intrinsic value.  Specific to Caribbean islands our natural resources are everything to our tourism industry which greatly impacts our economy.  For Cayman, we could look at the ocean as the very soul of our island.  Our culture is bound to the ocean and it is imperative that we continue to move forward in protecting our ocean, coral reefs, marine life and natural environment.  Cayman’s transition into ecotourism has helped to establish the Cayman Islands as setting a positive example for other islands in the Caribbean by way of encouraging other islands to consider becoming a sharks and rays sanctuary to increase the coverage of areas that serve as a haven for them.  While, our waters protect a small percentage of sharks and rays in our region, and is making a positive impact, it would be greatly beneficial if other regional countries made their waters a sanctuary.  Alone, we can make a small difference, but together we can make a much stronger impact.  Protecting the coral reefs, marine life, sharks and rays is a global need.  

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

 

This article was also published in Mission Blue’s Ocean Stories please click here 

Sage Larock: Making Waves With Sustainable Fashion

Taryn Sage Larock is making waves in the fashion industry.  As a former model and now fashion designer, her passion for fashion and dedication to ocean advocacy reflects in her modern sustainable luxury collection of swimwear and apparel.  Her collection is “clothing that is naturally beautiful both inside and out” it is entirely sustainable, ethically made, animal cruelty free and made with the ocean in mind.  Sage Larock offers limited edition pieces that have a timeless and classic appeal.  At the heart of her clothing line is staying authentic to her love for the ocean by ensuring all of her pieces are made in both a sustainable and ethical manner.  A key component to her swimsuit collection and apparel is that they are made from “sustainable fabrics such as organic OEKO-TEX® certified cotton, Italian recycled poly fabric, which is made of recycled fishing nets and plastic debris recovered from the ocean, and extra soft hemp jersey, which is grown and produced without any chemicals” highlighting eco-friendly options that transcend and create sustainable luxury fashion.

Sustainability the New Wave In Fashion

 

“At Sage Larock, things like the environment, people and integrity have as much high value as beauty, quality and style. We want to work to change the world, but we want to help you look and feel gorgeous while we are doing it.” -Sage Larock

Taryn Sage Larock is using fashion as a platform to raise ocean awareness and prove that you don’t have to sacrifice sustainability for fashion.  When designing and creating new pieces for her collection, Tayrn is always thinking about the environmental impact and from that uses her clothing line to raise awareness about sustainable fashion and how important it is to switch to sustainable material options in order for fashion designers and the fashion industry to reduce its environmental impact.  Clothing can still be high quality and stylish while being made from sustainable, recycled and non-toxic materials.  Her commitment to providing sustainable fashion options draws attention to the escalating issue of society’s relationship with plastic.  In particular, her swimsuits are made from reclaimed plastic debris found on the beach or in the ocean.  It brings to the forefront that there is absolutely no need to use new plastic to make polyester to create swimsuit materials.  It is evident that recycled plastic can produce the same material and not at the cost of sacrificing quality or the integrity of making an ethical product.  This dedication to sustainable fashion and using recycled materials also highlights a positive solution to reducing ocean plastic debris.

Q&A with Taryn Larock

1. What inspired you to start a sustainable fashion swimsuit line?

I have always loved being in the water, so I am quite familiar with swimwear! But what really inspired me was becoming educated about the millions of tons of plastic that are dumped into our oceans every year, and also the horrible effect of discarded ghost nets. When I was told that swimwear fabric could be made from these materials, I thought why are were creating millions of tons of plastic (polyester) for swimwear every year when we can easily up-cycle the existing plastic that is in our oceans? Its brilliant that this fabric is being created! There are so many uses for up-cycled marine plastic & fishing nets – I believe this is just the beginning and I’m really excited to see what else can be done with these materials.

2. What do you love most about being a fashion designer?

Being able to have the opportunity to make women feel beautiful in garments created in an ethical & sustainable manner that respect life & our planet is definitely the best part for me.

3. How would you describe the process of making a sustainable fashion line?

The process for me was first getting myself well educated about what is really going on in the fashion industry and then finding out a way to do things in a way that is as ethical and as sustainable as possible. The world definitely does not need a new clothing line, but it does need people and brands who operate in a sustainable manner and who care about life & the environment to help shift the garment industry’s current reliance on cheap slave labor and toxic production methods. People will always want to purchase new things, so the key I believe is to make things in the most considerate, thoughtful way possible, to offer customer’s a high quality product, and produce it in a manner that does not compromise the environment or other’s quality of life.

4. What has your journey been like using the fashion industry as a platform to raise awareness about sustainable fashion and environmental issues?

The fashion industry is one of largest, but also one of the most toxic industries on the planet from the perspective of waste, human rights violations, animal deaths, fresh water pollution and deforestation, and it definitely does not need to be this way. I believe that the fashion industry also has an equal if not greater power (and responsibility) to create real awareness and change, which is what we hope to do, and from the very beginning of Sage Larock this was our number one priority.

I am personally a huge lover of the ocean and everything to do with marine life, so if fashion can be used to raise awareness about this and create some positive change, then that is fantastic. For us, aligning ourselves with individuals such as yourself who really care for our oceans and our planet, and also non-profits have been very effective in driving awareness as well.

Our key points of focus are marine plastic/healthy oceans, protecting old growth forests and habitats from the fashion industry, and raising awareness about the benefits of natural and sustainable materials and production methods.

5.  What message would you like to share about sustainable fashion?

I believe creating and consuming things in a sustainable, thoughtful manner is really the only way forward if we are to survive. We need to become aware that the conspicuous consumption we have all been taught is correct and normal has a HUGE cost associated with it. It will not be an easy task to change manufacturing and consuming practices, and to shift global consciousness, but one that I think can be made possible when brands offer consumers sustainable options to fast fashion, and when consumers demand that what they buy is in alignment with their principles. I also believe that being sustainable is not about being perfect, it is simply about being aware of what goes into what we purchase and making the best choices possible for all involved. It could mean creating or purchasing things that are made in an ethical manner, or things from sustainable or up-cycled materials, or buying second hand things, re-using what we have, or a combination of any of these.

6. What does the ocean mean to you?

Everything! I personally prefer to be under water rather than anywhere else.

But really the ocean does mean everything – if we loose our oceans, we are loosing over half of our oxygen.

7. What are your thoughts on the issue of ocean plastic?

Its quite scary really. I was thinking the other day that I have not been on a beach or in the ocean anywhere without seeing plastic in over 5 years. But the good news is that it is not too late and that there is a way out. Less reliance on plastic, more up-cycling and repurposing of existing plastic, more recycling for all countries on the planet, educating each other about alternatives, and using more of what we already have. And of course coming up with a way to clean up our beautiful oceans and keep them healthy.

Shop Sustainable Luxury

 

Visit their website, Sage Larock: SUSTAINABLE LUXURY – MADE IN L.A.

Photo Credit: Lori Speirs and Sage Larock

Swimsuit: Made by Sage Larock

The Holiday Gift Guide: For The Beauty and The Stud

“Le Visage is a luxury cosmetics and skincare boutique renowned for its expansive selection of exclusive brands, advanced skincare products and devoted customer service.”- Le Visage

Ready or not, the holidays are on their way.  It’s that time of year when we all like to add a little more glitz and glam to our look.  Even the guys take pride in looking debonair in their sleek suits during the holidays.   Le Visage  has an array of fabulous gifts that are the perfect match for the beauty buff and stud muffin you know and love.

Gifts for Her: The Beauty

For the lady who is a bit of a beauty buff, whether it’s your bestie or sister who loves to look glamorous at parties and chic at the office, Le Visage has narrowed down the top 5 beauty essentials that make the perfect gift this holiday season.  These top of the line cosmetics and skincare products will have you wanting to indulge a little and buy yourself something nice.  Curious what makes these products so fabulous? They are all high quality, ethically made, and animal cruelty free.

 

1. Butter London Crown Jewels 4-piece set, CI$30 & Scout Crown Jewels Cosmetic Bag in the pattern High Line, CI $18 

Butter London, is one of my personal favorites.  The Crown Jewels 4-piece set is just fabulous!  It is equipped with the basic beauty essential must haves.  The collection has shimmery colors that are trending this holiday season.  The Scout Crown Jewels Cosmetic Bag is perfect for storing your cosmetics and nifty to have to keep all your beauty essentials together while traveling.

2. Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Candle, CI $56  

What is the perfect gift for the beautiful hostess? Scented candles from Cowshed! These eco-friendly candles are great for creating the perfect atmosphere for your next dinner party or holiday get-together.  Get ready to have you home fragranced with notes of Ylang Ylang, Moroccan Rose, Palmarosa and French Lavender.  Cowshed candles use wax that is 100% biodegradable and made from a renewable source.

3. Elemis Pro Collagen Stars Skincare Set , CI $98

This skincare set has just made your beauty routine a whole lot better.  The products focus on cleansing, firming and smoothing skin.  This collection is great for the skin and has the planet in mind.  This skincare set is clinically proven and uses ingredients from the sea to help with anti-ageing.

4. Penhaligon’s Ladies Fragrance Collection, CI $47

For the lady that likes to travel, this collection of perfumes are inspired by travels from afar.  Each bottle of perfume is a time capsule transporting you to an era of exploration and daring adventure.  Penhaligon’s Trade Routes collection is an exotic palette of fragrances.  Bonus, this perfume collection is animal cruelty free.

5. Adroit Beauty Kit – Brush & Pretty Pod, CI$ 25

This is a great makeup kit to have.   A girl’s makeup brush is fundamental, but they don’t last forever.  It is important to change out the old and bring in the new.  The little pretty pods are specifically designed to keep your makeup brushes clean and in great condition.

Gifts for Him: The Stud

I think it is safe to say that when guys are getting ready for work or a party they like to keep things simple. For the man who takes pride in grooming to ensure he has that debonaire look, Le Visage has a list of 5 essentials to keep you looking like a stud.  As an added bonus, these products are ethically made and animal cruelty free.

1. Elemis Smooth Result Shave & Beard Oil, CI $37

Gentlemen, this one is for you.  Grooming and shaving is gonna be a breeze this holiday season.  This multi-purpose nourishing oil softens bristles and prepares skin for the ultimate, close shave.  Curious what ingredients make the perfect smooth shave? The active ingredients are: Jojoba, Hazelnut, and Grape Seed Oil.

2. Cowshed Bullocks Body Wash, CI $27

This body wash has a burst of citrus with ingredients such as grapefruit and bitter orange. It is free of sulphates and environmentally friendly.

3. Penhaligon’s Men’s Fragrance Collection, CI $47

This fragrance collection will compliment any gentleman who likes to get a little festive during the holidays.  The five piece set is sophisticated with five legendary scents: Blenheim Bouquet, Endymion, Halfeti, Juniper Sling and Quercus.

4. Elemis Men Daily Moisture Boost, CI $51

This daily moisturizer is great to apply right after shaving to keep skin nourished and hydrated all day.  A fantastic lightweight daily moisturizer to help defend skin throughout the day from external pollutants.

5. Murad Essential C Eye Cream, CI $69

Let’s face it even men like to keep their skin looking great.  This essential eye cream helps with anti-ageing, keeps the eye area hydrated and reduces puffiness.  So boys, you can keep calm and party on.  As an added bonus it has SPF 15 to help with protect eyes from UVA/UVB rays.

Photo Credits: Le Visage

Bee Line Designs: Buzzing About Holiday Gems

Gale Tibbetts, is a Caymanian artist and founder of Bee Line Designs.  Gale handcrafts an exquisite collection of island chic jewelry.  Her collection comprises of unique pieces made from Swarovski crystals, semi-precious gem stones, pearls and a selection of metals.  The heart of her jewelry is capturing the essence of island life.  She draws inspiration from the natural beauty of our island, the ocean and nautical themed pieces specific to the Cayman Islands.  Gale has been designing and making handmade jewelry for the past 35 years.  In addition to her collections, Gale is always happy to create custom designs and pieces.

The Holiday Collection

 

’Tis the season to sparkle and look glamorous.  Gale’s signature holiday collection dazzles with Swarovski crystals.  This limited edition designed just for the holidays features iconic holiday classics such as: Christmas Trees and Snowmen. Her craftsmanship reflects elegance and simplicity.  These holiday gems are the perfect accessory to wear for your upcoming holiday party.

Holiday Earrings: CI$25

Islands Vibes

 

Gale’s island inspired collection is a nautical theme specific to the Cayman Islands.  Popular pieces are both the necklace and bracelet with the coordinates of the Cayman Islands.  Her map jewelry collection is made from a selection of reclaimed metals and handmade locally.  These trendy charms are a wonderful gift for any island girl.  The map jewelry collection makes fabulous keepsakes for friends and family visiting the island— no matter where they are in the world they will always have their memories and a little piece of Cayman.

Map Jewelry: CI$31

Deck The Halls with Santa Claus

Get ready to the deck the halls with this island favorite holiday decor.  A special limited edition up-cycled driftwood and paintbrushes hand painted by Gale.  An ingenious way to stay true to the island vibes theme by utilizing natural materials found along any given walk along the beach, or utensils that can be repurposed into eco art.

Prices range from: CI$17 & CI$20

Shop Bee Line Designs

You can purchase these one-of-a-kind locally made and handcrafted pieces at Camana Bay Artisian Market on Wednesdays, or at Pure Art Gallery on South Sound, or Cayman Scents Boutique along 7 Mile beach near Wendy’s.

View the collections on Instagram Bee Line Designs

One-of-a-kind

For a custom design, please contact Gale at 24K-mon@fordsar.ky

Photo Credit: Bee Line Designs

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3 Girls & A Kiln: Gift Guide Island Chic Ceramic

Meet The Girls!

3 Girls and a Kiln is composed of the three dynamic artists based here in the Cayman Islands.  Their signature style is ceramic artwork that is “Island Chic” with a great emphasis on capturing the essence of island vibes.  They primarily draw their inspiration from the natural beauty of our island— a place they call home.  Other inspirations come from their love to create fun designs, witty typography, and their artistic backgrounds.  Their collection is always evolving but staying true to island vibes.  This year they released a chic black and white lion fish themed collection.  The beauty of this collective talented trio is that they come different art backgrounds which compliments one another whist bringing innovation to their brand and sophisticated line of modern ceramic products.

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts Under $50 from the 3 Girls & a Kiln Collection

 

’Tis the season to seek out handcrafted island chic gifts perfect for your friend, loved one or family member that is the artist, the hostess, the homemaker and/or the foodie.  3 Girls and a Kiln have got you covered with a stunning ceramic collection with a range of vibrant modern designs embodying the caribbean.  Their collection includes signature pieces that are indicative to island life, as well as limited edition holiday themed pieces.

For The Homemaker

The holiday collection is the ultimate gift.

Ornaments: CI$10-$18

Travel Mugs: CI$30

For The Foodie

 

-Dinner plates: CI$45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bowl- CI$40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel mug- CI$30

For The Hostess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Wine Cooler: CI$40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Coaster Set: CI$25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Large Tray: CI$40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Vase: CI$30

For The Artist

Christmas Ornament: CI$10-$18

Get your glaze on!  3 Girls & a Kiln offer pottery glazing events for private parties and the public.  What better gift for the artist than a gift certificate to their next glazing event. They can enjoy designing and glazing ceramic pieces while learning artistic tips from the girls. To book a private glazing party or to inquire details for a gift certificate email 3girlsandakiln@gmail.com

Where to Shop?

Love what you saw? You can purchase items made by 3 Girls & a Kiln at these great spots: Farmers Market at Camana Bay on Wednesday’s, and National Trust Nature Store at Dart Park.

Photo Credits: 3 Girls & a Kiln

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PWC Ocean Awareness Week: Saving Sharks

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) kicks off their second annual Ocean Awareness Week on Sunday, 19th November 2017.  In the spirit of ocean advocacy PWC’s employees are showing their love for the ocean and commitment to ocean awareness by competing with one another in a series of Ocean Friendly Challenges.  Bonus! This year, they are extending an invitation to community of the Cayman Islands to take the challenge to raise ocean awareness whether as an individual, with friends and family or with your colleagues.  In addition, PWC’s Ocean Awareness Week would like to use this opportunity to raise awareness for sharks.  In particular, they would like to highlight the dedicated hard work and commitment to protect sharks by the Cayman Islands Department of Environment through their Cayman Islands Shark Project.

Cayman Islands Shark Project

The Cayman Islands Shark Project Summary

By Dept. of Environment and Marine Conservation International.

The Cayman Islands Sharks Project provides information leading to a greater understanding, both locally and regionally, of the need to conserve these species and the environment on which they depend. With the help of acoustic tags, underwater camera traps and diving surveys, the Department of Environment together with Marine Conservation International, supported by the Cayman Islands Brewery’s White Tip shark conservation fund, have been studying, monitoring and working to protect sharks in Cayman since 2009. Sharks are now protected under the National Conservation Law in coastal and offshore Cayman waters since 2015. In order to monitor their populations and behavior this work now also includes a Sharklogger programme which involves a network of divers, snorkelers and diving centers on all three islands who are recording their dives all year around. (DOE)

For more information on the Cayman Islands Shark Project email sharkloggers@gmail.com

Take The PWC Ocean Awareness Week Challenge  

 

The challenge is focused on ocean friendly projects to help keep our oceans clean and healthy.  Living on an island we can’t help but have a strong connection to the ocean.  A love for the ocean is a bond that connects us all.  Below are simple challenges and projects inspiring a community to unite together to help protect our oceans.

Game on, for the love of the ocean

 

1.) Arrange a beach clean-up. Or join a beach clean-up hosted by Plastic-Free Cayman and Red Sail Sports

2.) Walk, cycle, carpool (cut down on carbon emissions that eventually result in Coral Bleaching such as is happening in Cayman right now)

3.) If you happen to see coral bleaching take a photo and report it to the DOE.

4.) Eliminate single-use plastics!

5.) Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle

6.) Eat sustainable seafood and support companies that are committed to environmentally friendly practices

7.) Raise funds for the people striving to save our oceans (“Plastic Free Cayman” & the “DOE Shark Project are our picks of the week)

8.) Have fun!-

For more information on the PwC Ocean Awareness Week email cloete.marique@ky.pwc.com

VIVO: Dine by the sea

VIVO is committed to being an alternative restaurant providing meals with a focus on catering to being sustainable, eco-friendly, organic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.  VIVO has a spectacular ocean view.  With this in mind, VIVO is committed to sustainability and ocean awareness.  In the spirit of “PWC Ocean Awareness Week” they have curated a special menu in support of this endeavor to advocate for healthy oceans.  VIVO will donate $5 CI per menu to the “Cayman Islands Shark Project” of the Department of Environment.  This special menu will be available from 19th -25th November 2017.

Photo Credits: Marique Cloete

SAMUDRA Skin & Sea: Wild about Seaweed & the Ocean

“Samudra means ‘ocean’ in Sanskrit”

All roads lead to the ocean; as the name suggests the ocean is the driving force behind Samudra Skin & Sea, their mission, vision and advocacy. Founder Shilpi Chhotray has an extensive background in marine biology, conservation and ocean advocacy. Her love for the ocean and dedication to the betterment of the environment is rooted in her eco-friendly skincare line, Samudra Skin & Sea. Shilpi teamed with up with inspiring and likeminded women, and together they built a socially-conscious skincare brand based in San Francisco, California. They are a mission-driven company seeking to provide products that are made from pure ingredients that gives value to an individual’s personal wellbeing, and is good for the planet. Every step of the way they have the best interest of the planet in mind with a focus on protection of the ocean. Their ethos, is staying authentic to their love for the ocean by providing a line of skincare products that combines ecological integrity, personal wellness and honest ingredients. They believe in educating consumers and the community about sustainable practices and providing sustainable products that are good for people and the planet. They take pride in going one step further by actively supporting ocean awareness campaigns.

Made with love and the ocean in mind

“Our products are 100% organic and natural, vegan, cruelty free, and handmade in small batches. Protecting the ocean is the driving force behind our methods.”-Samudra

There is nothing better than finding a product that is both good for you and the planet. Samudra Skin & Sea recently relaunched their zero-waste packaging with a very eco chic new look. The quality ingredients, made with love and the ocean in mind product itself is fundamental and not going anywhere. Essentially, a new look, but same amazing product!

Meet Shilpi

“Armed with a unique expertise in ocean conservation and social responsibility, she created a skincare line that blends ecological integrity and personal wellness using fresh and honest ingredients. Guided by this simple ethos, we built a mission-driven company committed to pure skincare that is good for people and planet.”-Samudra

Q&A with #Girlboss Shilpi, Founder of Samudra Skin & Sea

 

 

1. What inspired you to start a socially-conscious skincare line?

 

It was several experiences that started to coalesce around the same time. I’ve dedicated my career to ocean advocacy and wanted to take the message outside the circles I was constantly talking to, those who already understood the need to protect our ocean. My background in marine conservation led me to learn about the mystical world seaweeds from a conservation, ecological, and socio-economic perspective. One of my trips took me to India where I witnessed the benefits of sustainable seaweed harvesting which was also empowering local communities of coastal women. I began to learn about Ayurveda, an ancient system of holistic healing and how seaweed had medicinal properties for skin. I was pretty inspired and as someone suffering from eczema and chronic dry skin, I wanted to bring that knowledge and apply it into a nourishing line of plant-based skincare.

 

  1. What is the heart of Samudra and its products?

 

Wild harvested seaweed from the pristine waters of the Mendocino coast. Mendocino is full of magical marine life including several hundred species of seaweeds. It’s about 3.5 hours north of San Francisco, California. It’s my happy place!

 

  1. How do you go about choosing the ingredients? Are they locally sourced and made locally?

 

All of our products are sourced based on their sustainability protocol and US-based. We try to source as many certified organic ingredients as possible which is better for us and the planet. We’re proud to have our roots in California which is full of amazing produce and ethical agricultural practices.

 

  1. How does the ocean and conservation continue to inspire and influence your products?

 

The ocean is the driving force behind our mission and vision. It dictates every step of our supply chain which is why we take a serious stance against plastic-waste, toxic fillers, and promote ethical gathering of our core ingredient, seaweed. We also partner with marine conservation campaigns that benefit people and marine life including The Marine Mammal Center, 5 Gyres, and The Blue Business Council. It’s imperative that we are 100% committed to our “ocean-first” business model for us to continue to grow our brand.

 

  1. What advice would offer to someone wanting to make more socially-conscious consumption habits?

 

Look at your day to day lifestyle and take inventory of the amount of plastic waste in your life. See if you can reduce it by taking simple steps like carrying a reusable bag, water bottle, and shop for groceries in bulk. You’ll be amazed to see how easy it actually is to find healthier alternatives than plastic. It’s a process but with a little commitment you can get there. And here’s a tip… recycling is NOT a viable option. Most recycled items since the 1950’s have been shipped overseas so it’s integral we stop plastics at the source and begin supporting companies that use compostable and reusable packaging.

 

  1. What is your favorite Samudra product?

 

I love the soap bar for body and hair. I work for the Break Free From Plastic global movement and we’re constantly trying to communicate ways to use less, buy less, and experience more. This is true for the soap bar which is 100% biodegradable and comes in compostable packaging. It’s meant for hair as well which means there’s no need for bottled shampoos and conditioners which contributes to a huge amount of the plastic waste ending up in our ocean, roads and waterways. Samudra is all about “less is more”.

 

  1. What was the biggest lesson you learned from founding Samudra?

 

Every brand has its ebbs and flows and it truly takes a village. I’m forever grateful to my incredible team and community making it possible for Samudra to connect the dots between personal wellness and ecological integrity.

Shop Samudra

 

“All our products are composed of organic and natural ingredients without irritants like fragrances, dyes, synthetics, GMO’s, microbeads, glutens and parabens.” -Samudra

Visit their online store, click here