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Eco-tourism in Merida and the Yucatan

Our week in Merida

My family and I just got back from being in Merida for a six days, and we are so excited to come back and tell you all the stories ranging from places we visited to how we stayed healthy while away.

Staying healthy

Traveling with food allergies is no easy task. When my family and I travel, we either stay in eco-friendly hotels or rental homes. For this trip, we opted to stay at Casa Limonero, featured in Conde Nast. This gave us the ability to cook our own meals to ensure we did not get sick. A trick that my mom and I have learned is to pack both Hum and Vital Protein to make smoothies or add to water, and a lunch for the air plane. Since we were traveling into another country, we had to eat our food before entering, but this food helped satisfy our stomachs until we got settled at the house.

The first thing we did in Merida was go to Eco Sana located in the Plaza City Center to grab something to eat. Here they served healthy salads, smoothies, vegetarian and vegan options along with clean sources of protein. We also found the cutest kiosk selling organic coconut products called A-ku-a. There we bought organic coconut meat and water which we would use for our smoothies throughout the week. After that we headed to pick up groceries, essential for the meals we would make.

Most stores in Merida carry organic coconut and almond milk. All stores carry stevia which is a healthy alternative to sugar, a wise choice since it is actually grown in Mexico. There is always good produce there, but you have to learn how to wash your fruits and vegetables. Our house had special drops to clean the produce with, so you do not get sick. My family and I personally opted for more of the traditional grocery stories versus the local market located in the center of town which was a bit like sensory overload.

Stores we Visited

Although we did not go to Merida to shop, we definitely stumbled upon some great places. My mom found a few boutiques before our trip like the natural perfumery, Coqui Coqui. It was so beautiful we ended up going every day. It is a perfumery, tea salon, a beautiful artisanal shop with residence above it. We will be doing a separate green beauty review on Coqui Coqui and other eco beauty in the Yucatan.

Merida

Some of the perfume at Coqui Coqui

Another place which we fell in love with was the concept house, Casa T’HO. This colonial house had around 7 stores which all contained hand made luxury products, all made from Mexican artists. By the time this post goes up, they will also have a restaurant. We fell in love with one designer in particular, Daniela Bustos Maya whose work is all made from crochet and uses vintage coins. While we were there, Casa T’HO had a wonderful Zona Rosa exhibit featuring all pink images.

Merida

One of the local artist who’s work was displayed at Casa T’Ho was Daniela Bustos Maya

Eating out

On the occasion which we did eat out, we ended up finding great places.

I celebrated my 20th birthday in Mexico and during the day, stumbled upon Pola Gelato Shop which served sorbet. I ended up getting the banana hibiscus and pineapple with tamarind. It also happens to be right down the street from Coqui Coqui!

Later that night, my family and I went to Rosas y Xocolate, a local hotel, spa and restaurant in Merida. In fact, it won “The Best Urban Hotel” in all of Mexico by Food & Travel Magazine in both 2015 AND 2016! Then Caniras, a culinary organization awarded it with  “The Best Hotel Restaurant in Mexico” in 2016. Eating out anywhere with allergies is challenging, but everyone as Rosas y Xocolate was incredibly accommodating and of course, made delicious food. We even got to meet the owner, Sr. Carol who was the nicest man and helped us with out order, which was perfect and delicious. We even got a bonus tour of the hotel afterwards by him.

Merida

How beautiful is the residence? Visiting Rosas is a MUST in Merida

After our wonderful meal, my family and I walked a couple doors down and found a Chocolate museum. You can walk right in and learn about how chocolate is made. They had artisinal chocolate that was for sale which went back to support the museum. There was even sampling so I highly suggest you go after dinner.

Places we Went

One of the places I have been dreaming of going, and one of the main reasons my family went to Mexico was to visit the Pink Lagoons in Las Coloradas. This is about a three hour drive from Merida. For about $15 per person, a special guide will take you through. The water is so pink, it looks magical. For those who want to get into the bright colored water, it needs to be pre-arranged by a guide in order to talk to the owners of the salt factory. There are micro-organisms that live in the water, which makes it pink so you are not allowed to swim in it, but the drive is still totally worth it. Many people opt to stay in Valladolid or Rio Largartos to break the trip in half.

Merida

Message us @hauteandholistic for questions about the pink lagoon.

Afterwards, we went to see flamingos and clay beds. This clay is used for facials and body scrubs, but more on that in a separate post.

The following day, we had the most incredible guide, Rodolfo. He is Mayan and speaks perfect English, Spanish and french. He took us to the magical ruin of Uxmal which on March 25th (their equinox) the sun shines through the main window of the ruin.

MeridaAfterwards we went to see a Mayan shaman and his botanical garden. Our last stop for the day was Mayapan. We happen to visit this lesser known ruin on the Winter Solstice. On this day and during the Summer Solstice, a symbolic snake will appear alone the side of the ruin. The ruins in the Yucatan are full of symbolism and sacred geometry, but there will be a separate post about coming up.

Merida

Mayapan on the Winter Solstice with the serpent

Casa Limonero

MeridaOur hosts for this award winning home were two of the most resourceful, kind and warm individuals. Throughout our time there, they were able to provide us will guides, restaurant suggestions, food and just about everything you can image.

This was truly a trip of a lifetime. Make sure to check back soon for a full review of the Green Beauty and Eco we experienced while in the Yucatan.

Love and Light

H&H

My Magic Mud: Charcoal that Whitens your Teeth

My Magic Mud

A year ago, if someone would have asked me what first comes to mind when I hear the word charcoal, I would have said something along the lines of “a grill” or “ a cookout”, but today, the first thing that I think of is toothpaste, specifically My Magic Mud ®; an activated charcoal, fluoride free toothpaste.

Created by Jessica and Justin Arman, My Magic Mud was first developed in Jessica’s kitchen as a solution for her daughter who had incredibly sensitive teeth susceptible to cavities.

magic mud

Image Courtesy of My Magic Mud

The ingredients:

  1. Coconut shell charcoal
  2. Calcium bentonite clay
  3. Organic mint extract
  4. Organic orange peel extract.

Although they seem simple, these ingredients all play a significant role in the toothpastes performance. The coconut shell charcoal is activated though a scientific process and then used to draw out bacteria and toxins from your teeth’s pores. The calcium bentonite clay strengthens enamel and boosts your mouth’s immune system. The organic mint extract acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and the organic orange peel extract is a natural tooth whitener. When all these ingredients are combined you have a messy, but wonderful toothpaste.

Justine states “We believe in natural alternatives to toxic chemicals. Fluoride isn’t needed for strong, healthy teeth, especially not in our drinking water.” Since we tend to swallow toothpaste, fluoride goes through your intestines. Even worse, according to the Global Healing center, Fluoride is one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man.

magic mud

Image Courtesy of Les Jay

My Magic Mud is also vegan, cruelty free, gluten free, non-GMO. If there was ever a charcoal toothpaste to try, this is it, especially since it is dentist recommended.

So why is Charcoal good for you?

It has detoxifying strengths like being able to grab onto everything ranging from dangerous chemicals to dirt and oil. Though limited medical research has been conducted, activated charcoal is a form of carbon which is a rebirth of ancient medicine techniques along with being used in African tribes as a form of teeth cleaning. Charcoal attaches to everything it crosses paths with, like stains, tartar, bacteria and even viruses.

Our Giveaway

Interested yet? Good because we are giving away 1 peppermint toothpaste and an activated charcoal whitening  tooth-brushing powder away. These products retail for $29.98, but you have a chance to win it for free here on @hauteandholistic. Make sure to follow @mymagicmud for a chance to win.

Love and light,

H and H

Indie Beauty Expo, New York City, Some Personal Favorites

Indie Beauty Expo

Indie Beauty Expo, Personal Favorite Roundup

After returning from a whirlwind week in New York City I wanted to share some of my personal favorites from IBENY 17 (Indie Beauty Expo).  I was first introduced to some of these brands in May at IBE Dallas and am confidently retain them on the top of my list.

The brands that won me over meet a variety of prerequisites such as their low carbon footprint, personal mission statements, high quality ingredients and mindfulness towards health, not to mention their appeal to a wide range of consumers:

Kindred: I met Frances, the owner, at IBE Dallas and visited with her again in NY. Driven by her own skin challenges she created a line of high quality, organic oil based skin care. I love all the aspects of her products from the beautiful fragrance to the delicate nature of the non-greasy oils. Her cleansing oil is appreciably light which is unique among the crowd of organic cleansing oils. Kindred’s facial Oil Cleanser helped me break a 25-year habit using a market-leading Japanese cleansing oil.  Also, her facial mask clays are formaldehyde-free, a known environmental toxin.  Their newly released Eye Treat, which contains caffeine and botanicals, is a new favorite of mine. It’s perfect for my puffy allergic eyes and I use it morning and night. It’s perfect or those mornings when I wake up like Hitch. Kindred just released a solid moisturizer baton, which is compact and TSA-friendly for travel. As an added bonus, I love that the packaging on all Kindred products is designed for protection while travelling and it’s reusable. Many of the products have a light sandalwood fragrance.

Luk Beautifood: This luscious lip nourishment company from Australia really drew me in with its packaging (wrapped in reusable fruit-printed cloth to clean computer and phone screens) and its edible food-grade ingredients.  Women ingest a lifetime of lipstick pigments, waxes and petrochemicals that contain heavy metals and toxic pigments, which are endocrine disrupters accumulating over a lifetime compromising our immune system (read more here). The fact that Luk Beautifood contains food grade ingredients places them at the top of my list. In fact, I had one for a snack on my way to JFK (JK).  The company’s owner is a food scientist with years of experience behind herself in food testing, creation and preparation.

Luxe Botanics: This beautiful South African brand is sourced from high quality oils and fruits from South Africa. Not only is it brilliantly made, backed by science but a portion of proceeds go back to the communities that produce their core botanicals in Kenya, Brazil and Malawi. From Nature to Nuture, we love this brand. They have three core botanicals: Marula Oil from Kenya, Camu Camu Berry from Brazil, and Kigelia Africana from Malawi. Their products are made with pure botanical ingredients in combination with compounds synthesized from natural and organic bases. They are ethically harvested with science behind them. Luxe Botanics are vegan, cruelty free, and ethically and sustainably sourced. The founder and creator studied biotechnology in Australia. She had a successful nine-year career working for pharmaceutical in both Australia and Singapore, before deciding to pursue her dream of creating Luxe Botanics.

L’odaites:  This tiny gorgeously packaged line is from France.  With only five products, this line is derived from natural pure extracts from fruits, flowers or seeds.  Using the fruit sugar from dates is an interesting concept. Through cold processing they maintain the integrity of the active ingredients. These date-based products are rich in minerals which support healthy skin, including the synthesis of collagen and elastin. A study in Pakistan treating facial skin with date extract improved elasticity, pigmentation, redness, brightness and hydration.  http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics4020013

Osmia Organics:  This line was created by Dr. Sarah Villafranco who left Emergency Room medicine to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Drawing on her medical background and after a lot of experimentation she created Osmia, a broad line of beauty products derived from consciously-sourced plant materials. Although I didn’t get to spend that much time with her, I was highly impressed by her line. Her personal story is compelling to all of us who are too afraid to make a change no matter where you are in life. I tried her Nectar vital rose drops and loved them. Her spot treatment which is used for breakouts is tea tree oil free making it ideal for people with sensitive skin.

Little Moon Essentials:  This all-natural affordable line is one of my favorites.  All the products are organic and made in Colorado. Their wonderful organic bath salt soaks are calming and restorative and I have personally used their products for years. It is a way to bring nature into your bathtub.  I love their Clear Skies Ahead room spray, Dream Cream, and sugar scrubs.  They have a cooling spray, called Lift Off, which is great to use after a day at the beach or when you’re experiencing hot flashes or both. This brand is very affordable for people looking to transition to green products. You can read more about detoxification through salt bath therapy here.

Olverum: This brand is simplistic and singularly focused producing a gorgeous German cult bath oil. The smell is out of this world.  We met them at IBE Dallas and can’t get enough of their formulation of plant extracts, specifically selected for their traditional therapeutic properties. Olverum provides a luxurious synergistic nighttime experience from bath to bedtime. This treasured olfactory treat from the 1930’s has us swooning for it today.

Element Candles:  Another company we met at the Indie Beauty Expo in Dallas and happy to see them in NYC has a unique collection of candles that are as clean as you’re going to find. Most people with allergies and respiratory issues must be careful of candles. They may contain heavy metals in wicks, toxic fragrance, petrochemical derived wax and they produce soot that gets into the air exacerbating respiratory illnesses. This candle has none of that.  As an asthmatic I can get behind a product specifically designed to avoid all those problems.

 

Indie Beauty Expo

Seen above: The Blackout from The Makeup Mitty and Element candle.

Mitty: Say “goodbye” to disposable wipes! The Makeup Mitty helps you clean up your act without messing up the planet.  This company offers large sizes for the face and a mini size for your eyes and other tiny areas. This product is a reusable low carbon footprint wash mitten. It is gentle enough to use on the most delicate skin.  These Mitties outperform and outlast wipes and washcloths and in the long run reduce your carbon footprint. Being overly fastidious about my products I discovered that the Mitty can also double as a cleaner for cosmetic brushes.

Source Vital:  These friends from the Indie Beauty Expo in Dallas and NYC have two products I’m crazy about:  Deozein Zest deodorant and their Tranquil Multi spray.  We have been crazy for their innovative clean roll-on deodorant for months.  Making a switch to a clean deodorant can be tricky for some people during their transition from conventional products. Especially in hot locales like here in South Florida, it can be a smelly experience no matter how clean your diet is. We put it to the test. This deodorant performed wonderfully. It even survived Miami Swim Week castings. Deozein Zest is not just a cover-up, their formulas eliminate odor for both men and women. Source Vital formulates their deodorant with pure essential oils, natural mineral salts and seaweed extract, all known for controlling bacteria that cause odor. Source Vital is a broad-range company that has many full lines and custom formulas, but I had to mention our favorites.

Ayuna, Less is Beauty:  This beautiful high-end line from Spain offers a small line of theory based products.  We especially love their volcanic glass and carbon mask. This very gentle mask helps to draw out impurities, reduce skin sensitivity and leaves your skin feeling radiant and rejuvenated. The collection is elegant and complete.

Stay tuned for future writings on H&H as we continue to review other outstanding brands from the Indie Beauty Expo Dallas an New York.

Dr. Elizabeth Trattner

Neither Haute and Holistic nor I have been compensated for any of these reviews. All of the coral pictured have been collected over a lifetime and have not been excavated from our precious oceans.

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