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Holiday Survival Guide: Nature Fitness Challenge

’Tis the season for a lot of holiday cheer, gift giving, holiday parties, fabulous eating and spending time with friends and family.  This time of year can get a little crazy, running around checking everything off our ‘To Do List’ and fitting in time for everyone and all of our holiday parties and dinners— not to mention work.  As it is the busiest time of year for everyone, it is easy to become feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.  Breathe! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.  Might we offer a solution to finding some time for yourself?  Take time out of your day even if it is just 5-10 minutes to spend outdoors.  Reconnecting with nature will help you reset and recharge.  Being immersed in nature can have a positive impact on your health, well-being, mind, body and soul.  (Nature is truly great for that.). While you are outdoors taking some time for yourself and recharging, why not include a very easy-to-do exercise challenge?  It is a win-win! It keeps you active and helps reduce your stress.  Take part in Alicia Proud’s 12 Days of Fitmas Challenge! One move a day.  How easy and manageable is that?  Feeling inspired, visit Alicia’s website for more great fitness and healthy eating tips. 

Start the workout today as we countdown to Christmas/Holidays and continue on. You got this!


Looking Eco Chic While Working Out

’Tis the season to treat yourself.  Activ Angels has a great selection of sustainably made leggings.


Photo Credit(s) Alicia Proud & Lori- Ann Speirs

Proud Brand Ambassadors for Activ Angels 

Holiday Gift Guide: Holiday Flavours In A Tea Cup

Christmas and the perfect cup of tea goes hand in hand.  Some of the best holiday moments are simple ones— when friends and family come together.  Tea Time in Cayman has premium loose leaf tea available at local tea and coffee hotspots, supermarkets and online.  Their range of loose leaf tea comes in a variety of 36 flavours.  Never underestimate the power of tea— filled with so many health benefits and antioxidants.  During the holiday season, things can get a little bit hectic and sometimes a little bit crazy.  Don’t worry, you won’t crack under pressure with a cup of tea nearby. Tea is well known for helping to reduce stress and help calm one’s mind.  Get ready to bring out your holiday tea set and serve up your friends, family and guests some deliciously festive flavours.  Today, we are sharing our holiday favourite flavours by Tea Time in Cayman.  PS- As part of our Eco Conscious Holiday Gift Guide, we thought these teas make a great gift for the hostess, guests visiting for the holidays and the tea lover. 

Holiday Tea Collection: Tea Time in Cayman

Christmas in Cayman, Fresh Peppermint, Guilty Pleasure – Chocolate Mint, Caramelicious,  Oh Natural – Peppermint, and One 345 Taste of Swanky.  A delightful collection of flavours that capture the essence of the holidays.  

Christmas in Cayman: When it’s finally December and that Christmas Breeze (salty sea breeze) rolls in, you know the holidays are just around the corner.  Swirling with cinnamon and spice, this therapeutic herbal tea is based on a classic, Ayurvedic formula to promote longevity, stamina, balance. 

Oh Natural – Peppermint: A classic holiday flavour, good old fashioned peppermint. After eating a holiday feast, a nice cup of peppermint tea is the best thing ever.  Benefits of pure peppermint tea is said to relax the muscles, ease nausea, headaches and even alleviate bad breath!

Guilty Pleasure – Chocolate Mint: Chocolate and Mint are two must haves during the holidays. This tea is perfect for chocolate lovers.  It also has red tea, rooibos contains exceptionally high levels of flavonoids, which act as antioxidants.  As the name suggests, you don’t have to feel guilty drinking this chocolate flavoured tea. 

Caramelicious: A rich taste of caramel, it doesn’t get any better than this.  It is a lovely tea to serve guests during dessert at your holiday dinner party.  Oolong is known for its many incredible health benefits including boosting your metabolism to help burn fat faster.

Fresh Peppermint: The classic peppermint tea with a boost of green tea.  Perfect to give your metabolism a boost and help relieve heartburn, stomach pain or nausea.  

One 345 Taste of Swanky: A Cayman holiday tradition is a glass of Swanky.  The true definition of “Swanky” is imposingly fashionable and elegant; however, most locals would know this as a traditional Caymanian drink made with Seville oranges and brown sugar. This tea was inspired by the “Swanky Kitchen Band.”

Stay Connected With Tea Time in Cayman

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Tea Time in Cayman

The Making of a Sustainable Swimsuit with Sage Larock

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” -Rumi

Taryn Larock is the founder of Sustainable Luxury Swimwear by Sage Larock. Their ethos is not sacrificing sustainability for style. Sage Larock is committed to offering ethically made and sustainably sourced sustainable swimwear for women— “We want to dress women who want to change the world” (Sage Larock). Their sustainable luxury swimwear is made from sustainable, recycled or organic materials (non-toxic and plant based dyes) — and ethically made in Los Angles, California. Sustainable fabrics used in the making of their swimwear is made from upcycled swimwear fabric, which is made of recycled fishing nets and plastic debris recovered from the ocean. They also use ECONYL®, regenerated nylon made from waste, to make their swimsuits. Sage Larock is dedicated to using sustainable fashion as a platform to raise ocean awareness, focusing on plastic ocean pollution and abandoned drift nets. Their swimwear is inspired by the love of the ocean and respect for the environment and commitment to ethical fashion. Sage Larock takes pride in their integrity and respect for our oceans and planet. They are committed to working with sustainable materials and suppliers around the globe and hope to incite positive changes in the fashion industry. Their dedication to protecting the ocean expands to their partnership with NGO’s Healthy Seas, Ghost Fishing (Ghost Divers) and Canopy. A percentage of their swimwear sales goes towards helping these NGO’s in their efforts to protect our oceans and rainforest.

Why Does Sustainable Fashion Matter? 

The future of fashion is circular fashion. Sustainable fashion is the way forward. For Sage Larock, their ethically made swimwear tells their story, one that is about a journey of transforming reclaimed ocean plastic waste and fishing nets into fashion. Each swimsuit made from upcycled ocean plastic serves as a reminder that we can all do our part to be proactive and help facilitate positive change towards causes that are close to our hearts. According to a report by UNEP and FAO the 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are left in our oceans each year. Moreover, “Half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres- the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles- leak into the ocean each year, not only affecting marine life, but, fundamentally, all of us.”- Make Fashion Circular. With this in mind, it is becoming more evident that fashion brands need to take notice of both the impact the fashion industry has on the environment and the escalating issue and growing concern of ocean pollution. Sustainable fashion is not a trend, it is lifelong commitment to creating positive changes, providing a solution to plastic waste and encouraging social responsibility. Eco Fashion is not just a design philosophy but a statement. It encourages transparency of the manufacturing of clothing and brings to attention the great value of providing ethically and sustainably made clothing. Furthermore, it presents a challenge for fashion brands to consider stepping up their game and changing their business model whereby their focus becomes setting standards of sustainability and ethical sourcing.

Interview with Taryn Larock, founder of Sage Larock

1. What is the process involved in making a sustainable swimsuit?

The entire process of sustainable design considers the impact of your product from start to finish has on people, animals, the environment & the planet. We use Oeko-Tex certified fabric that can be upcycled at the end of the swimsuits lifecycle, and we produce ethically & locally in Los Angeles.

I don’t believe you can create sustainable products without taking every step & its possible effects into consideration. What we all need to consider is can something can be considered sustainable that is ethically produced in a factory with fair working conditions, if the fabric contributes to deforestation & habitat destruction, or the fabric is made with chemically intensive dyes that causes birth defects in workers families and pollutes rivers?  There really is so much green washing going on in the fashion industry with brands wanting to appear ‘sustainable’, so it is good for everyone to be educated about this process and what goes into their clothing.

2. Where do you get your inspiration from when designing your collection(s)?

Everywhere actually – we are constantly inspired by vintage photography, architecture, nature. I would say our aesthetic is ‘less is more’ – not necessarily less fabric & showing more skin, but just clean, well cut, minimalistic design that brings out the best in a woman’s figure instead of distracting from it.

3. What interesting fact(s) would surprise people about designing and making sustainable swimwear?

The quality is often better than traditionally made swimwear! I mean that because polyester fabric that most swimwear is made from is made of plastic and it in my opinion does not feel great on your skin and is full of  chemicals. Also, many brands produce in sweat shops, and I don’t believe that someone who is working 14 hour days and is not treated well is going to be able to put the same care & love into making something as someone that loves their work, makes a living wage and has good working conditions. Also, because sustainable fashion is still somewhat new, many people think that because something is sustainable style & quality have to be compromised – but its definitely not true!  We believe in leading with both sustainability and design.

4. How do you source your sustainable materials and why do you choose those particular materials?

We currently use Econyl Okeo-Tex certified upcycled fabric. The world definitely does not need more new plastic being manufactured, as we already have 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic that will never biodegrade floating in our oceans, not to mention what is in landfills or incinerated (which leads to lung disease). Traditional swim & active fabric – polyester – is an incredibly toxic, chemically intensive material that is made from the same petroleum oil based plastic PET as water bottles. If we can up-cycle and use the plastic that is literally already killing our oceans – and therefore our global oxygen supply – why should swimwear or activewear be made by making new plastic? And why would we want those harsh chemicals so close to our skin?

Outside of skinny dipping, or wearing a vintage style cotton swimsuit, up-cycling exciting fishing gear & plastic from our oceans to make our swimwear is the next best option we felt. So we chose a fabric that uses low impact dyes, is made in a environmentally contentious manner, and utilizes existing ocean plastic debris.

5. The Fashion Industry is said to be a major contributor to placing a negative environmental impact on our planet, how does sustainable practices help decrease this negative impact?

The fashion industry is said to be the 3rd most polluting industry on the planet behind oil & animal agriculture – and for what – a t-shirt or dress we will forget in a year or two? Its not at all worth the massive destruction it causes to our Earth, other people’s lives, and other animals. I recently read that the fashion industry also is one of the top industries that relies on slave labor, so all these things need to change. Consumers have an incredible ability to influence this change and power with what they purchase, wear and support. From that perspective it is pretty amazing to be in a time where we as individuals have such a great opportunity to make a difference in what we wear. Its just a matter of deciding what kind of impact we each want to have on the world environment and other people’s lives.

6. What advice would you give to emerging and/or established fashion designer seeking to adopt sustainable practices?

I would say look at how you make things and what you are making them from, and just make sure you are proud of what you are putting out there and how it is produced. Just because everyone else in the industry is doing things in a certain way and it makes money does not mean it is the right or best thing to do. And just start by learning and educating yourself and your employees. I think brands have a responsibility to know what their business practices are and what the effects are from start to finish. No one person or brand is perfect, but we should all at very least be aware of the effects of our actions.

7. What are the greatest benefits of implementing sustainable practices in your business model?

I definitely believe in the inherent benefit of doing something good just for the sake of doing the right thing, or the best you can. I also have seen that the trend of sustainability is only just beginning to grow – so it makes sense in the long run financially as well.

 8. What is a typical day behind the scenes designing and making a sustainable swimsuit like? 

Always different, and never boring!  Some days it is sewing new swimwear and casting models for shoots, but most days it is attending meetings and working on new non-profit alliances, and working on being better at what we do. Our ultimate goal is to be as sustainable as possible while making women feel great about themselves and feel beautiful, so we are always working towards reaching this goal.


*Proud Brand Ambassador for Sage Larock.

Photo Credit: Lori- Ann Speirs

Nature is my Gym: 5 Sustainable Essentials For Your Workout

I love a great workout that makes me break a sweat.  There is nothing more satisfying.  Nature is my favourite gym. I love being outdoors.  In the spirit of setting fitness goals and stepping up my game when it comes to workouts, today on the blog we are sharing 5 sustainable essentials for your workout.  This is where sustainable fashion meets the gym.    

1. Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is imperative when you are doing a workout.  Especially, if nature is your gym, it can get pretty hot outside.  Always have your reusable bottle on standby.   

2. Reef Safe Sunscreen

Hello sunshine! No matter if you are running, holding a plank for 30 seconds or swimming in the ocean, don’t forget to put some sunscreen on.  Living in the Caribbean you can’t help but think about the ocean.  With this in mind, it is important to choose reef safe sunscreen options.  Coola sunscreen is available at Le Visage at Camana Bay. 

3. Sustainable Fashion: Sustainable Swimsuit


Who knew swimwear could be so versatile?  This just in, swimsuits make a great workout top.  Great for pilates and yoga.   My personal favourite is sustainable luxury swimwear by Sage Larock.  Their commitment to sustainable fashion and creating ocean awareness is noble.  Sage Larock’s fabulous swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic debris and drift nets.  Furthermore, “We use only sustainable fabrics such as organic OEKO-TEX® certified cotton, Italian upcycled swimwear 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”(Sage Larock).  Sage Larock is also partnered with NGO to give back a percentage of their swimwear sales to help our oceans, and also NGO Canopy to ensure endangered forests are not logged to make clothing (Sage Larock). 

4. Sustainable Fashion: Eco-friendly Leggings 

When it comes to your gym wear it’s all about the leggings. Sustainable Fashion Alert! Your workout wardrobe just got a whole lot cooler.  Sustainable leggings made from recycled plastic bottles are a real game changer.  These super comfy leggings are available at Activ Angel from the  Niyama Sol collection. 

5. Sustainable Fashion: Eco-friendly Sneakers


Hit the ground running with these sustainably made sneakers by Parley and Adidas.  Interesting fact, each shoe is made from 11 plastic bottles and recycled materials. Essentially, 95% of each sneaker is made from Parley Ocean Plastic and the remaining 5% is made from recycled polyester.  The inspiration comes from tackling marine plastic pollution such as, removing plastic debris and litter off of beaches, out of the oceans and intercepting plastic before it ends up in the ocean. The plastic bottles and other items collected at beach cleanups is upcycled into recycled materials used to make the shoes. 

 Photo Credit: Lori- Ann Speirs 

NB* Brand Ambassador for Sage Larock.  Brand Ambassador for Activ Angels. 

Miss World Cayman Islands 2018: Kelsie Bodden Be Kind to the Environment

The newly crowned Miss World Cayman Islands, Kelsie Bodden is embarking on a journey of raising environmental awareness during the Miss World competition held in Sanya, China and the Miss World “Beauty with a Purpose” project.  Kelsie’s personal motto is: ‘Go in to the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.’  With this in mind, she is doing just that.  Kelsie is using her reign as Miss World Cayman Islands as a platform to work with local environmental non-profit organisations in the Cayman Islands, as well as within the local community to raise awareness about local environmental issues.  Her passion for the environment expands to her personal blog with an all new series, “BE KIND TO OTHERS & BE KIND TO THE ENVIRONMENT,” In the first blog post of this new series, Kelsie discusses her dedication for protecting the environment and the local environmental organisations she has teamed up with alongside Miss World Cayman Islands.  Here is an excerpt from the blog post, “There is only one Earth and we want to be able to enjoy it’s many treasures now and in years to come. Earth provides us with the necessities we need to live. Sometimes we take these resources, like water for granted but its time for us to show mother nature the respect she deserves” (Kelsie Booden).  To read more of her article, click here.  A message that reminds us of the great importance and responsibility we all share in protecting the environment and being environmentally responsible.  There is no planet B, we must take greater care of the planet.  

Prior to winning the Miss World Cayman Islands Pageant 2018, Kelsie along with other Miss World Cayman Islands contestants went on an environmental tour around the Cayman Islands allowing the contestants the opportunity to connect and engage with local conservationists and gain a better understanding of local environmental issues and conservation efforts. Highlights of the tour included special guest speakers: Johanna Kohler from Shark Conservation Cayman, Andrew McGovern from Ambassador of the Environment The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman (Developed by the legendary Jean-Michel Cousteau), Douglas Cameron and Paul Lankford from The Lodge & Peripheral, and Kafara Augustine from Health City (Conservation and Sustainability practices).  Overall, the contestants had an eye-opening experience learning about shark conservation, coral reefs, plastic waste, plastic upcycling projects, sustainability and conservation.  Kelsie reflected on the environmental tour by saying, “On our environment tour, I quickly learned that we can all be “Ambassadors of the Environment”.  As I listened to all of the presentations (by Eco Diver Reef Foundation, Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau, Shark Conservation Cayman and the Gentlemen of Peripheral) one recurring topic was that Cayman’s ecosystems both on land and our marine life have always been envied by others, with this in mind it is important that we help sustain our uniquely beautiful islands!” A heartfelt message that encourages us to not take our precious ecosystems for granted.  It encourages us to all think of ourselves as “Ambassadors for the environment” whereby we can all actively do our part to help preserve precious ecosystems, protect the environment and work alongside local conservation organisations.  Director of Miss World Cayman Islands, Pamela Ebanks-Small found the eco tour to be “Very informative and opened my eyes what we can be doing.”  

Kelsie Bodden Representing the Cayman Islands at Miss World Pageant 2018

An empowering and inspiring message from Kelsie Bodden. 

Stay Connected with Kelsie Bodden and Miss World Cayman Islands


For all things happening with Miss World Cayman Islands and Miss World Cayman Islands 2018 winner Kelsie Bodden join them on social media.

Photo Credits: Miss World Cayman Islands & Kelsie Bodden

Welcome To Sharkphoria

What is Sharkphoria? Sharkphoria is a science based Patreon channel dedicated to creating shark awareness and to share marine biology content through videos. The person behind Sharkphoria and creator of the videos is a marine biologist and shark researcher, Johanna Kohler, based in the Cayman Islands. As part of the non-profit collaboration, Shark Conservation Cayman, Johanna studies the local shark population which is also part of her PhD. Her shark research interests include shark behaviour and ecology, shark reproduction and human-shark conflict mitigation.

By becoming a Sharkphoria Patron, anyone can now step into Johanna’s world and join her on the journey to a PhD in shark research as she is not only sharing fun, science based shark video tutorials, but also exclusive insights and first hand experiences.

Sharks are one of the most misunderstood creatures.  Many people fear sharks as a result of blockbuster movies and sensationalizing media.  Media, which continues to give sharks a negative reputation, doesn’t help.  According to Johanna, sharks are not something to be feared, but rather respected. What is truly terrifying is the paramount decline of shark populations globally and the thought of a future without sharks.  For many shark conservationists, the common goal is to change the public perception of sharks and show them in a new light— highlighting how truly fascinating and important sharks are.  Johanna’s 8 years of experience in shark research and working with sharks together with her undying passion for these animals and her job, make her the perfect shark advocate. If you love sharks or want to learn more about sharks, even if you are scared of sharks, then Sharkphoria is an excellent resource for amazing shark content and marine biology background. 

Watch the Sharkphoria Trailer and Watch the full Welcome Sharkphoria Video here.


Love & Support Sharks and Shark Research

Donate towards the cause.  Patreon is a website and crowd-funding platform which makes continued financial support for creators and their projects possible. The idea behind it is that many people add to one pot to directly support individual creators which enables them to continue their work. The goal of Patreon is not the once-off donation of large sums but rather smaller, consistent financial support to keep a project alive. The payment may be for a video, song or short story depending on the creator. Johanna is creating videos for Sharkphoria Patrons. Her different tier options provide different benefits in addition to the paid post (i.e. video). Check out her tier options, there is something for every wallet with lots of different perks.

An Interview with Johanna Kohler

  1. What does Sharkphoria stand for?

Sharkphoria the combination of the words “shark” and “euphoria”. I made it up. It’s my word for the joyful feeling I get deep inside when I see a shark.

  1. What kind of content can viewers expect?

Become a shark expert! Sharkphoria is a science based Patreon channel that lets you step into my world of shark research by becoming a Patron. Ever wondered what it is like to be a marine biologist, a shark researcher or just want to know more about sharks and the ocean? 

With 8 years of experience I’m creating educational and fun content revolving around sharks, research, diving, the marine environment and my PhD journey. There will be tutorials, field trip expeditions, vlogs and much more.

  1. What inspired you to start this project?

My vision for the channel is to provide high quality, informative content to the Patrons. I see Patreon less as a donation platform and more as an opportunity for everyone to subscribe to university level content for a small donation. Doctorate degrees often include a teaching component and I consider this a good opportunity for me to share my knowledge. 

I’m German and started out as dive instructor. I did my undergraduate at the University of Cape Town (marine biology | oceanography). For 3 years I’m based in the Cayman Islands where I work for Shark Conservation Cayman. People ask me questions about marine biology, the ocean, fisheries, sharks, shark research and field trips all the time. 

Many are interested in the marine environment, even when they don’t live near the ocean, and want to know how it all works but not everyone wants/is able to take the route to go to university and study marine biology. It is however important for us that did, to share our knowledge with the public in order to do effectively work and conserve the marine environment, including sharks. 

Via the Sharkphoria channel, everyone is able to become a marine biology and shark expert. It doesn’t matter where you are, whether you live by the sea or inland, no matter what your job is, whether you are in school or working in an office, the videos are online and accessible worldwide. The public perception is the biggest challenge we face in (shark) conservation. We need to work together. Sharkphoria via Patreon allows me to that! 

  1. How is my patronage helping sharks?

For less than the price of a cup of coffee per video you get access to university level shark and marine biology content and to conserve sharks. First of all, by subscribing and helping me to continue my work you not only educate yourself but others as well. Raising awareness and outreach helps sharks.

But it doesn’t stop there. By signing up you are supporting my scientific work as well. The research funding doesn’t cover my living expenses therefore I need your help to continue with the research and conservation efforts. 

  1. What is your PhD thesis on?

My PhD thesis is on the behaviour and relative abundance of sharks in the Cayman Islands with special reference to the Caribbean reef shark. The Caribbean reef shark is endemic to our region which makes the population more vulnerable and research, to understand their population dynamics, of high priority.

  1. What is your favourite shark?

Tiger shark – They are incredible. They are the fourth largest shark, they travel super long distances and their teeth have a funky shape. Oh and I love their pattern, simply stunning!

  1. What’s your vision after your PhD?

After the PhD, I’ll continue to follow my passion to study sharks and to share my knowledge with others in return. My goal is to use our research to develop better ways to protect sharks and the marine environment so future generations are able to benefit from and enjoy the ocean like we all do now.

  1. What is your favourite or most memorable shark experience?

This is hard, every shark experience is a great memory. I guess the most impactful experience was my first ever shark encounter. I was snorkeling in Australia when two large bull sharks showed up. It changed my life forever! 


Johanna Kohler

Shark Conservation Cayman