World Wise Beauty Rituals & Tips: ‘BALI’ in the ‘Culture Wise’ Spotlight

Oct 23, 2014 by



World Wise Beauty invites you to travel with us every Thursday and discover beauty rituals and tips from cultures around the world.  Today ‘Bali’ is in the spotlight. Just remember, no matter where you go…there you are! Be comfortable in your own skin…

Truly Herself,



World Wise Beauty: ‘BALI’ is a 95-mile-wide island located in the Indian Ocean , only two miles east of the tip of JAVA and west of Lombok and Flores. Bali is a part of the Indonesian archipelago known as the Lesser Sunda Islands north of Western Australia. Most people who live in Indonesia are Muslim, but a majority of those on Bali practice the Hindu faith. The island is a mixture of two worlds, as there is a great Islamic influence alongside a strong Hindu pull.

Beauty Staple: Massage. A Balinese massage is a full-body, deep-tissue, holistic treatment that combines acupressure, reflexology, stretching and aromatherapy. The world renown spa treatment is The Royal Lulur, an intensive body scrub, mask, and moisturizing massage series, traditionally done before one’s wedding. The extensive use of flowering plants, rice and coconuts throughout the lulur ritual and wedding ceremony is symbolic as well as fragrant and beautiful. For the wedding, the jasmine “melati” flower is essential, and adorns both bride and groom as a symbol of love and fertility.

Beauty Food: Ground turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and spice believed to have protective and anti-inflammatory powers, is blended into the above mentioned mask to give the bride’s skin a much-desired golden glow.

Beauty Wisdom: Inside Out Beauty–JAMU a holistic herbal healing system with recipes that date back to Java more than 1,200 years ago (some liken it to Ayurveda). Used to address everything from insomnia (nutmeg mace) to coughs (onion, honey, local lime) to weight gain (turmeric, tamarind), Jamu is often brewed at home using raw ingredients, or bought ready-made from healers or even street peddlers.

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WWB IDEAL FIND: Introducing ‘SoapBox’, a Good Clean Company Spreading Suds, Hope and Good Will Around the World

Oct 21, 2014 by




Co-Founder: David Simnick ( present for Q&A)


Authentic Dedication: Empowering our customers with the ability to make the world a better place through everyday quality purchases


Lauroly Opening: Welcome Dave to World Wise Beauty. So happy to have you visit and share your story with us. Your company SoapBox has been selected as an Ideal Find and I must say you are the picture perfect company I envisioned when thinking about brands driven by their social values. From what I understand, you started out as an enterprising college student making and selling soap on the side while attending school. Your brand tag line is Soap=Hope and this is based on the following facts. Millions around the world still lack access to public sanitation facilities, clean water and soap. Many diseases are caused by unhygienic conditions and could be avoided.  So you created this great business model where your company and the consumers who buy your products could provide the necessary resources needed for children around the world to have a chance to live a clean and healthy life. Wow! Now that’s a mission! So with no further delay I will let you tell us about your brand mission and how you practically manifest your values into everything you do with SoapBox.


David Simnick, Co-Founder, SoapBox

David Simnick: SoapBox did come from a college project, but from the very beginning the aid mission was ingrained in what we did. I had worked in the non-profit and government sector and felt that there were other ways to do aid. We wanted to find a way to give back and to build something that was truly meaningful to people involved. I also wanted to find a way to give back that could really make a difference with the issues I was seeing in my work. Now with something as simple as a bar of soap, you’re looking at helping around 22,000 children every day who are dying from preventable diseases under the age of 5. On top of that, you’re looking at so many other hygiene-related things that, if you catch them on the front end with clean water and clean sanitation, there’s so much that you can do.

SoapBox exists to empower customers to change the world through their everyday, quality purchases, and that is our mission behind what we do. We are a young company run by people full of energy and ideas, and we also are full of the results-oriented people who put those ideas into action!



Lauroly Q- Where did you start and how do you select who to help when there are so many global communities that need help? What I have learned is you work with non-profit partners like Vitamin Angels and RainCatcher which is a great way to accelerate your mission. I also should mention that you also give back to shelters and organizations at home too, not just abroad. Give us some examples of how your ‘one for one’ business model works…

David Simnick: Well, originally I went to American University because I thought I wanted to go into government, and I interned at multiple places both in the for profit and non-profit sectors and at USAID while in school. I graduated a year early from American but still had no idea what I wanted to do. Around then I was offered a full-time job with this subcontractor for USAID. However, I turned it down and because I really began to feel like there was a better way to help. I was looking for a job that fully consumed me, and I wanted leadership, service, and challenge. That led me to decide to join the Marine Corp. A week before I basically finalized all my papers, I met up with a friend of mine and he told me, before you ship out you should help out my start-up company. So I arrived there and started helping him out, and realized I loved it. Everything I was looking for in a job and career just clicked and I realized, this is it. I called the recruiting officer and I told him I would come next season because I’d found something I want to explore.

I had a couple odd jobs here and there after that start-up went under, and I was eventually working for another contractor and when it hit me that I want to start my own company. I called up my best friend, a fellow Eagle Scout, and told him we were going to start a soap company. He thought I was kidding the first time I called him, but we did it!

Like I said above, soap can really affect hygiene situations, and we give bar soaps, clean water, and vitamins with our three product lines. We are trying to cover the whole picture of health and, hopefully, make a lasting difference. Our bar soaps give a bar directly, our hand soaps give a months supply of clean water through our aid partner RainCatcher, our body wash give a year’s supply of vitamins through our aid partner VitaminAngels. The bar soaps we give in the US to homeless shelters and food banks through our partner Global Soap Project, and abroad we purchase soap in local communities or work with local non-profits to start a soap-making business.

Lauroly Q- If your story wasn’t wonderful enough I was really excited to learn about the ‘clean’ production of all your products. You make a great effort to be transparent about all the ingredients you use. I was thrilled to hear you are cruelty free, vegan certified, gluten-free, made in America, Palm oil free, paraben free, petrochemical free, phthalate free, sulfate free, and 100% recyclable! Woo-hoo! When I see companies like yours, I have to ask, why can’t all companies go in this direction?  You make hand-soaps, hand wash and body wash and they all smell good and feel good too! Tell us in a nutshell how you are able to produce such a wonderful product line? I ask this because many don’t understand what it takes to produce a quality product at mass levels…


David Simnick: You said it! We’ve found that people have a lower expectation of social mission products because they have been told to believe that paying more for a low quality product is justified through the aid mission. We aren’t about to settle for that, so we have to balance the aid mission with clearly stating our product’s benefits as well. People will buy the first time for the social mission, but to buy again, the user experience has to be excellent! I started making the soap in my college apartment kitchen, but we definitely don’t do that anymore!

Our soaps are scented only with essential oils to be gentle on skin, and are full of coconut oil, olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and are super moisturizing because of it! It does take a lot of work to ensure each bottle and box is to our high standards, but we believe in our product and don’t want people to buy it just for the social mission alone.



Lauroly Q- You know Dave,  SoapBox  really is the ‘epitome’ of an ‘Ideal Find’. Your company is close to ‘angelic’. That must feel mighty good! You launched in 2010 and quickly grew. What are some of the retail outlets we can find you in?

David Simnick: Well, we just got into five new Whole Foods regions and are launching a giving program with each of the regions. Each region’s bar sales are correlated with one large food bank in the area. This hyper-local giving ensures that we don’t forget those in need who are right here in the USA. So far the program includes Northern California, Southern Pacific, Rocky Mountains, Florida, and the Northeast regions of Whole Foods but we hope to expand soon!

In addition to Whole Foods, we are in tons of natural products stores and are just starting to step our toes into big box retailers. Check out our retail locator on our website to see if we are in a chain near you!

Lauroly Closing: Thank you for stopping by Dave. You are an inspiration and make me think about pioneers in social capitalism like Anita Roddick (founder of Body Shop) and Paul Hawken (founder of Smith & Hawken Garden Store). Anita and Paul would be very proud of you! You truly do give us hope! Hope for a better world and better commerce. Keep up the great work and go out there and show other young entrepreneurs how capitalism with a conscience can work! I am sure all my lovely followers will be trying SoapBox products and spreading more HOPE amongst their friends because they are compassionate and wise…


Truly Herself,


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World Wise Beauty Rituals & Tips: ‘Greece’ in the Culture Wise Spotlight

Oct 16, 2014 by

World Wise Beauty invites you to travel with us every Thursday and discover beauty rituals and tips from cultures around the world. PLUS, learn a little culture trivia, history and geography too. Just remember, no matter where you go…there you are! Be comfortable in your own skin…

Truly Herself,


Aphrodite, Santorini Island, Greece

World Wise Beauty: GREECE: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey

Beauty Staple: Honey ( used as moisturizer as well as to lighten scars and skin )

Beauty Food: Olive Oil ( Mediterranean diet) and combined with honey used as anti-aging beauty tonic

Beauty Wisdom: The word “cosmetics” actually comes from the Greek word ‘kosmetikos’, originating in the 17th century. Aphrodite, the olympian Greek goddess of love and beauty symbolized true femininity and grace in Ancient times.

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WWB WATCH: New Study/New Calculator Looks at ‘Fitness Age’ and Your Capacity for Longevity

Oct 15, 2014 by


THE WATCH:  Moderate exercise just may be one of the secrets to longevity according to a new Fitness study recently released. It is important to emphasize ‘one of’ as the body is a complex ‘system’ and I prefer to see health and wellness as a tri-operative function of the mind, body and spirit . The concept of Fitness Age has been developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology in Trondheim, who have studied fitness and how it relates to wellness for years. According to the New York Times article attached below, Fitness age is primarily determined by your VO2max, which is a measure of your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. VO2max indicates your current cardiovascular fitness level and can be used to compare your fitness of other people the same age, providing you with a benchmark. This is all sounds fairly simple and the 11 O’Clock news might give you a 60 second report sounding very definitive but with most scientific studies like this we need to look at the context to fully understand the findings of the study.

WHAT MATTERS:  So how meaningful was this study? The researchers studied over 55,000 Norwegians and concluded that the people who had a VO2max of 85% below their peers the same age had an 82% chance of dying prematurely. This is pretty significant and certainly concludes that exercise is an important part of staying youthful and living longer. I cant help but think about my own Mom who suffered from severe Rheumatoid Arthritis most of her life and made an effort however difficult and uncomfortable to ‘walk’. In harsh winters she actually made sure to walk across her home back and forth. The benefits of those walks paid off, because even now as advanced cancer ravages her body and organs ( in addition to her RA), her heart is doing fine and she is still here. For full context, she also followed a very healthy diet and managed her weight over the years. She would not be the perfect ‘peer’ in this study and probably would score lower in the test they use to gauge fitness age. But I feel what matters most importantly is the body needs to move. Exercise is really important not just to lose weight or stay slim but to manage stress and condition the heart and do what our bodies are meant to do–MOVE.

WWB TAKEAWAY: Professor Ulrich Wisloff who led the study in Norway said, ‘Just exercise’. If your fitness age exceeds your chronological age, the good news is you can always improve it. I agree and believe the more we know about our body the better we can take care of it. Dr. Wisloff plans on directly comparing his study to other established studies like the Framingham Risk Calculator (which does not include fitness in its variables). What is also pointed out at the very end of the NYT article is the study was based on just Norwegians which may not be representative of the rest of us in the world. This key point would not make it to the 11 O’clock news and it is a pretty important factor to consider. My favorite term in health and wellness is BIO-INDIVIDUALITY and the most important takeaway here is ‘Know Your Own Body’ and learn to take care of it at your best optimum level. My mother did the best she could with the hand she was dealt, and so can you!

Here are the two tests discussed today and remember if you take the test to consider your own bio-individuality ( full personal picture) into account and make improvements where you can.

VO2max Fitness Calculator

Framingham Risk Calculator

Truly Herself,


What’s Your Fitness Age?


 October 15, 2014 12:01 am


CreditGetty Images
Phys Ed

Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.

You already know your chronological age, but do you know your fitness age?

A new study of fitness and lifespan suggests that a person’s so-called fitness age – determined primarily by a measure of cardiovascular endurance – is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age. The good news is that unlike your actual age, your fitness age can decrease.

The concept of fitness age has been developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, who have studied fitness and how it relates to wellness for years.

Fitness age is determined primarily by your VO2max, which is a measure of your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. VO2max indicates your current cardiovascular endurance.

It also can be used to compare your fitness with that of other people of the same age, providing you, in the process, with a personal fitness age. If your VO2max is below average for your age group, then your fitness age is older than your actual age. But if you compare well, you can actually turn back the clock to a younger fitness age. That means a 50-year-old man conceivably could have a fitness age between 30 and 75, depending on his VO2max.

Knowing your fitness age could be instructive and perhaps sobering, but it also necessitates knowing your VO2max first, which few of us do. Precise measurement of aerobic capacity requires high-tech treadmill testing.

To work around that problem, the Norwegian scientists decided several years ago to develop an easy method for estimating VO2max. They recruited almost 5,000 Norwegians between the ages of 20 and 90, measured their aerobic capacity with treadmill testing and also checked a variety of health parameters, including waist circumference, heart rate and exercise habits.

They then determined that those parameters could, if plugged into an algorithm, provide a very close approximation of someone’s VO2max.

But while fitness age may give you bragging rights about your youthful vigor, the real question is whether it is a meaningful measurement in terms of longevity. Will having a younger fitness age add years to your life? Does an advanced fitness age mean you will die sooner?

The original Norwegian data did not show any direct correlation between fitness age and a longer life.

But in a new study, which was published in June in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the scientists turned to a large trove of data about more than 55,000 Norwegian adults who had completed extensive health questionnaires beginning in the 1980s. The scientists used the volunteers’ answers to estimate each person’s VO2max and fitness age.

Then they checked death records.

It turned out that people whose calculated VO2max was 85 percent or more below the average for their age — meaning that their fitness age was significantly above their chronological years — had an 82 percent higher risk of dying prematurely than those whose fitness age was the same as or more youthful than their actual age. According to the study’s authors, the results suggest that fitness age may predict a person’s risk of early death better than some traditional risk factors like being overweight, having high cholesterol levels or blood pressure, and smoking.

Of perhaps even greater immediate interest, the scientists used the data from this new study to refine and expand an online calculator for determining fitness age. An updated version went live this month. it asks only a few simple questions, including your age, gender, waist size and exercise routine, before providing you with your current fitness age. (I discovered my own fitness age is 15 years younger than my chronological age — a good number but still not as low as I could wish.)

Thankfully, fitness age can be altered, said Ulrik Wisloff, professor at the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who led the study. His advice if your fitness age exceeds your chronological years or is not as low as you would like? “Just exercise.”

Dr. Wisloff and his colleagues offer free exercise suggestions on their website. But he said almost any type and amount of exercise should help to increase your VO2max and lower your fitness age, potentially increasing your lifespan.

In upcoming studies, he added, he and his colleagues will directly compare how well fitness age stacks up against other, more established measures of mortality risk, like the Framingham Risk Calculator (which does not include exercise habits among its variables). They also hope to expand their studies to include more types of participants, since adult Norwegians may not be representative of all of the world’s population.

But even in advance of this additional data, there is no harm in learning and lowering your fitness age, Dr. Wisloff advised. “There is a huge benefit,” he said, “larger than any known medical treatment, in improving your fitness level to what is expected for your age group or, even better, to above it.”


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WWB Ideal Find: Introducing ‘Nigella Therapy’ a New Patented Skin Care Line Sourced from Egypt and Fit for all ‘Queens’ Around the World…

Oct 7, 2014 by

Ideal Find: “Nigella Therapy’ Skin Care

Founder: Dr. Osama Kandil, Phd and Co-Founder ( his daughter) Iman Kandil
(Iman present for the Q&A)

Authentic Dedication:  Committed to creating effective skin care products using the highest quality natural ingredients backed by science.

Lauroly Opening: Welcome Iman to World Wise Beauty. I am so excited about sharing my new Ideal Find “Nigella Therapy’. What woman wouldn’t want to know about the beauty secrets of Cleopatra! I discovered your company at Natural Products Expo East and your booth sign ‘Discover Cleopatra’s ancient secret to beautiful healthy skin’ pulled me right in. Well of course it takes more than clever signage to impress me and I am happy to talk to you about what makes your new skin care line so unique and an ‘Ideal Find’.



As always, we are reminded that ‘mother nature’ often provides the ‘miracle cures and benefits’ we need. With Nigella Therapy we discover Nigella sativa oil is commonly known as black seed oil or black cumin seed oil and is sourced from an independent farm along the Nile River in Upper Egypt. The Nigella Seed oil has been used for thousands of years by local communities in Egypt and other Mediterranean cultures, and it is impressive that there is 20 years of scientific research and clinical studies to back your therapeutic claims. You set out to prove the skin health benefits of Nigella sativa matched its legendary mystique.

What a lot of people might not know is how science helps to formulate natural oils that end up in beautiful bottles for our skin. So I will jump right in and ask you to share a little about how you got started, the sourcing process and your exciting new US patent. I understand you are cruelty free and paraben free. Will you be working towards certifications in these areas?


Iman Kandil, Co-Founder, Nigella Therapy

Iman Kandil: Thank you for featuring our exciting new product, Lauroly! I’ve been working with my father, a scientist with a PhD in Immunology from Tufts University, to launch this line of products called Nigella Therapy. We are launching with our first product, the Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream/Serum and are working on producing a Day Serum as well as a few other products to make a comprehensive line of skin care products based on our proprietary and patented black seed oil extract called Nigenol®.

My father, Dr. Kandil conducted scientific research studies back in the late ‘80s on the therapeutic and medicinal properties of Nigella sativa, also commonly known as the black seed, and the oil extracted from the black seed. The findings from his research was used to obtain U.S. Patent #7,722,906 that describes the novel composition, therapeutic indications, and clinical efficacy and safety of Nigenol® to the skin. Yes, we are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and SLS-free. Also, the black seeds from which we extract Nigenol® are organic and GMO-free. Although we don’t currently have certifications in these areas, this is something that we are certainly looking into as we build our business.


Lauroly Q – It is amazing how much beauty wisdom regarding beauty care can be found around the world from ancient cultures. Tell us more about the ancient traditions in Egypt dating back to Queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra and how they were using Nigella Sativa oil…



Nigella Therapy Booth at Natural Products Expo, Baltimore, MD

Iman Kandil: You are absolutely right, Lauroly, it really is amazing how much we can learn from different cultures both ancient and current – if we just listen. Nigella sativa seeds (i.e. black seeds) have been used for thousands of years. Black seeds have been used in cooking, as medicinal treatment for various ailments, and its oil for skin care. According to the Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Nigella sativa seeds were found in Egyptian Pharaoh, King Tut’s Tomb, which reflects the degree of significance the seeds had during the Ancient Egyptian Era. Egyptian Queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra were also known to have used Nigella sativa seeds and the oil extracted from the seeds to keep their skin healthy and beautiful. One of the reasons that I’m truly excited about Nigella Therapy is the idea of introducing the power of the black seed, and more particularly our unique black seed oil called Nigenol®, to health-conscious communities in America.

So many of the beauty and health products we find in the market today are either somewhat effective but contain harsh chemicals or contain all natural ingredients but are not effective – this false compromise is not necessary. With Nigella Therapy, we are committed to creating effective products using the highest quality natural ingredients backed by science. You don’t have to choose between effective and natural anymore – in Nigella Therapy’s Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream/Serum, you can enjoy both!

Lauroly Q- Your skin formulation story is so impressive but what I am always really excited about is the altruistic missions behind the companies I select as ‘Ideal Finds’. I was thrilled to learn you are giving back to community on both sides of the world! You give a percentage of your profits to a U.S based non-profit as well as helping local independent farms sustain a viable business in Egypt. How did you select the non-profit to work with in the U.S. and what is your personal passion when it comes to giving back?


Sourcing of Black Seed ingredient, Nile River, Egypt

Iman Kandil: Here at Nigella Therapy, we are deeply committed to supporting our communities both in the Washington, D.C. area where we are based and in Egypt where we source our foundational key ingredient, the black seed. We whole heartedly believe in the individual and corporate responsibility to do good – Nigella Therapy offers effective products made with the highest quality ingredients to meet the needs of our customers and, in the process, we support community development projects that contribute to creating a better tomorrow for all. The Nigella sativa seeds we use are sourced from an independently owned and operated organic farm along the Western bank of the Nile River in Minya, Egypt. Instead of working with corporate farms, we believe in the importance of supporting independent farmers and small businesses as a means to sustainable economic and community development. Additionally, for every product we sell, we have committed to donating $1 to a local community development organization in the U.S. The Nigella Therapy management team will consider 501(c) 3 non-profit nominations from our community of customers and supporters and then select an organization to support. We plan on regularly revisiting this selection.

To kick things off, we have decided to support Project REACH, a local community development organization in Washington, D.C. that is rooted in youth engagement and mentorship. I am actually, personally, very passionate about inner-city community development through youth leadership development and engagement. For the past 5 years, I have enthusiastically supported Project REACH, as a volunteer leader, donor, and mentor. I could go on for hours about my experiences with the inspiring young people of D.C. and about what we can do to help eliminate some of the social and economic injustices faced by some communities, but I’ll save that for another time…

Lauroly Q- Thank you for sharing Iman. It is wonderful that you have incorporated you own passion for volunteering and giving back into your business model. I discovered you at the NPE Expo but where can consumers find Nigella Therapy in the U.S?

Iman Kandil: We are currently selling our Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream/Serum directly on our website We are working on getting the product in retail outlets across the country and around the world, so folks should connect with us on social media to stay up to date on everything Nigella Therapy! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NigellaTherapy and Like our page on

Lauroly Closing- Congratulations on the launch of ‘Nigella Therapy’ Iman. It has been a pleasure to talk with you and thank you for sharing some ancient history and modern science with us! Nigella Therapy is truly an ‘Ideal Find’ and one fit for all of my ‘Queens’ following World Wise Beauty! We can’t forget that while Cleopatra was considered beautiful she was also very ‘wise’…

Truly Herself,


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