Monday, July 24, 2017

American Rhino: A Small Business with a Large Initiative


American Rhino, it's new on the scene, well they've been on the scene for a year but that's still new to me. They are popping up at Marketstreet Lynnfield and as you probably know, I've been beebopping up there lately. I had the opportunity to visit the store and speak with the owners about what they're doing and how it all started... I was drawn to them as they are one of those businesses that I like to highlight. Businesses that aren't just giving you a fun place to shop but a business that truly cares about their world and has chosen an avenue in which they believe they can help. In the case of American Rhino it's their appreciation of the African culture while trying to save one of the continent's mightiest animals, the rhino. Through their efforts they are raising valuable funds to protect the rhino as well as other African wildlife and supporting the ground team that's doing the hard work. We as consumers have the easy task, buying cute things that support a good cause.


I met with Chris Welles, founder and "Big Rhino" to chat about the brand and one of his Summer interns inadvertantly became a babysitter and watched the Propah Toddlah while we talked (thank you, Caroline!) so holla, I got to have an adult conversation! Chris is a genuinely warm guy who just happened to take his family on safari and was forever changed by the experience. They loved the culture and immersed themselves in learning about their traditions, their textiles and then the idea of creating something new to the US came to fruition. The kikoy is a textile traditional to and made in Africa that the folks at American Rhino are using to create products that we will want to buy because #1. They are very pretty #2 They are very unique to American retail #3 The American Rhino team has visibility on their supply chain and #4 We are saving African wildlife so yes, that's wonderful. As this blog post goes live, Chris is in Kenya presenting their first grant, so their business is already making a difference (in just about a year's time!). I'm excited to watch this brand grow and make change- Currently you'll find all manner of beach wear, towels, blankets, pants, tees etc but Chris gave me a glimpse into their future and there may be some denim jackets coming down the way... that excites me! For now I am just going to crush on the kikoy towels and mkoba backpack *heart eyes*


You gotta love what they're doing at American Rhino and not to worry if you're not local to Marketstreet in Lynnfield. You can see all of their offerings online and support their business that way. I told Chris while I was visiting that I'm always saying "you vote by where you spend your money" and it's totally true. I want to feel good about my purchases and make mindful choices. I would recommend checking out American Rhino before you snag something new for yourself, you might just find your new favorite kikoy pants that only get softer and softer with every wash!

You can find American Rhino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

PS. My top picks for the whole Propah family? --->Lil Rhino Onesie,  Little Rhino Hoodie, The Rhino Full Crew and the Rhino Hoodie,

Sunday, July 23, 2017

On Aging

I just turned 35 this month. For some reason, this birthday feels different, like I had attached something to the number 35, half way through my 30's you know. Numbers, huh. My toddler asked me how many numbers I was when we celebrated my birthday and he couldn't process 35 because he is three. The thing is, I don't usually feel 35 but then I looked in the mirror this week and I saw it. I had just put my face oil on one morning and I just saw a hag. Yep, I said to my husband "look at this hag"... I know, I know, that is NOT a positive vibe and I really do try to be positive and encouraging. I sort of feel like a faker. I will tell everyone and anyone to love themselves but apparently I can't abide by my own rules. I looked in the mirror and I saw someone that I almost don't recognize. I don't really like feeling this way. So, I'm putting it here and talking about it.

Aging is a natural part of life. If we're lucky, we get to age, right? Being appreciative for that every day, that's easier said than done. To be grateful for what I view as a deteriorating appearance, well, it just doesn't come naturally. Having a positive view of my looks has never been something that has been a strong suit of mine but I've managed to push through any rough patches. This is different though. Aging brings about change. With emotional and intellectual maturity comes the signs of aging. Boo.  I see the wrinkles around my eyes, the creases in my forehead. I see the dark circles and the gray hair coming in because I just have not had to do something about it. I am wearing my worry on my face (don't get me started on political climate aging me).  All of a sudden, I see the age and it's a real bummer. It's as if I woke up 4+ years after getting married and having kids and looked in the mirror again.


It's hard to say what can change this view of myself. I've had my picture taken recently, whether out and about or a shoot for my blog. When I look at these pictures, I automatically zone in on how very old I feel like I'm looking. "Why can't I age gracefully? Why is it so hard to lose weight? This is isn't reversible!" Here's the thing though, who says that I'm not aging gracefully? Not to get all "society blaming" but I look at men getting older and think, wow, has he gotten more handsome- I'm sort of programmed to think that way. Women do not get the same treatment and I say that with complete honesty, because I catch myself thinking, "she looks good for her age" when I should just be thinking that she looks good.


I cannot turn back time and I cannot do anything about the signs of aging that I'm not already physically doing. It's my attitude that has to change and it's not going to be easy but I can make it a priority, I think that I'm going to start by not being so hard on myself when I'm just getting through my days some days, you know? Starting tomorrow, I'm going to try to something, even if it's tiny, to make myself feel positively about myself. An affirmation about something I'm doing well, a dab of lipgloss and or how about not rolling my eyes when my husband says I'm pretty; this should help me ease into this new adventure called "acceptance of aging". Accepting that I am going to age is the first step. Being able to joke about having a metabolism once upon a time is the second step and counting myself lucky to have the experiences in life that bring about age, well that's the most important step. That's what I need to concentrate on. So yeah, that's how I feel about that.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Local Lovin': PIA at Marketstreet Lynnfield


Hi Guys, so I discovered this cute little shop when I was at a blogger event this Spring and I've really been wanting to tell you about it. That being said, life has been a little crazy and then blog posts have come and gone... so here we are in July and I'm finally getting around to introducing you to PIA at Marketstreet Lynnfield! Having been on a few blogger tours of stores before, I know what I like and what's just not for me... when I stepped into PIA, I was totally vibing with all the brands that this store carried (Spiritual Gangster, Good Hyouman etc) and then I met Pia herself... and was smitten. She is a beautiful person, both inside and out. I am generally a good judge of character and hers shines through both her person and her business. And do you know what impressed me most about her business? It's truly a beautiful and highly curated store one where you may think, oh but can I shop there? And the answer is YES, OF COURSE- it's welcoming of everyone (and their children) and Pia prides herself in getting to know her customers and engaging with them on a personal level. I LOVE THAT! I headed in to the store to chat with her and take some pictures, and of course the Propah Toddlah ate her marshmallows and played with her toy bin because yes, she has toys for your littles to play with while you shop.


Give us a little background as to how Pia came about. What initially drove you to start your brand?

More than 20 yrs ago when I moved to America for the first time, one of my first jobs was at a very unique boutique called Drygoods in Great Barrington which is in the Berkshires. The woman who owned the boutique, Tracy, had a bigger impact on me than she will ever know. She was one of the greatest inspirations personally and proffesionally and she had the most beautiful, most ecletic store. Her persona mesmerized all her customers including me. People loved the store for its merchandise as well as it being a place where they felt welcomed, accepted with personalized customer service, a place where they felt acknowledged. It was very vibrant. very alive. I didn't realize my love and dream for a store was born back then and more than 20 yrs later here I am.

When curating the products for your shop, where do you take inspiration from?

My very own sense of esthetiques. My limited budget, yardsales, my mother, flea markets and my home: Europe (point of information: I love where Pia takes her inspiration from since it's pretty identical to me!)


I love the way that you have shaped your business. Fresh, fun, feminine... Why is this important to you?
My place is primarily for women. Often times it's hard for women to feel themselves, be themselves, trust themselves and be OK with who they are. I struggle with this too but I want it to be different for us all. Women are amazing and beautiful, in every shape and form. I hope to be a place where that can be celebrated and honored.

What do you love to do in New England, when you aren't busy running your business?

I am an endless lover of the ocean, nature and flea markets. I also love to dance. My greatest treat is to dance at Greg Coles Dance ad Drum in Salem with Greg Coles and his assistants.



You have certainly found some fantastic early success! Where do you see Pia headed in the future?

There is a lot more room to grow. I am still very much tending to strenghtening my roots. I am endlessly grateful to Marketstreet for giving me the opportunity to be at their beautiful property in Lynnfield, MA. I am filled with gratitude to whom ever supports and enjoys Pia. I couldn't do any of this without the amazing women working with me.


So do you love Pia already? Yeah, me too. I asked these questions and was so interested to hear her thoughtful responses. This is the type of business that I like to shop. I want to feel special and loved and I want to be able to bring my kids if I need to (which is more often than not). If you are ever in the area, please stop in to see her beautiful store to meet a beautiful person to shop for beautiful things. You won't regret the trip.

You can follow Pia on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ginger Peach and Carrot Biscuits Recipe + A New Whole Foods + a Sweet Giveaway!

*This post was in collaboration with Whole Foods and their New England Stores. All opinions are 100% mine and my opinion is that I adore Whole Foods.



Whole Foods, it's pretty much one of my favorite stops as a "Mother of Two Hungry Dragons." When I have to go shopping but don't have the time to look at every label, every ingredient and want to leave grocery shopping with my sanity intact, Whole Foods is the place that helps me have peace of mind that whatever I am choosing on the fly, is going to be good if not great. The standards and practices that they have in place make me feel all the good feels. Another thing that I really appreciate about Whole Foods is that with each new store they build, they are looking to improve and added cool, new things! I was invited to the new store opening in Sudbury, MA this month and to say that I was floored, would be an understatement. The kids area alone had me all heart eyes because you know those kids areas are life savers for Moms, just ask them!

Boston favorites Clover and Pressed have popped up in the new Sudbury store so in addition to their legendary hot and salad bars, you can pretty much be all set to hunker down with lunch, the kids and whatever program they're playing in the kids area... to those who don't know, this is called "down time" hehe. Also to those who don't know, my only activity in a day may just be taking a trip to Whole Foods so the fact that they are making the store experience better and better? Well, that's better and better for me.



I wanted to create a delicious recipe for you all using some of the fresh produce that I grabbed at Whole Foods this week. The folks at WF has given me a tasty Maple Ginger Grilled Peach recipe but to be honest, I really was feeling some carbohydrates LOL so I thought what better to do than to combine the two! A flavor combination that I have always had an affinity for is the maple, honey, ginger, carrot combo. There's a sweet and a zing that always leaves me and my family very happy so I decided to take my basic biscuit recipe, swap out the shortening with butter and create something with a little of that sweet and zing! Check it out...



WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of cold or frozen butter
3/4 cup of milk
1 fresh peach, peeled and chopped to desired size, I did mine medium for bigger chunks
1 fresh carrot, shredded
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup of brown sugar
a drizzle of maple syrup

Preheat your over to 450 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon).

Cut butter in with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. I like to freeze my butter and then grate the butter in using my cheese grater. Works like magic!

Add in your carrots and peaches until the mixture is well blended. Add your milk and maple sugar and mix until the dough is well combined and a touch sticky. You can always add a little more flour if it's too sticky to handle.

This recipe can make six huge biscuits or about 10 smaller sized ones. Just be sure to line your slightly greased baking sheet with even sized biscuits so that they cook evenly. Before baking, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, watching for the biscuits to get slightly golden brown. You can eat these while they are warm with a little butter or they're perfect in the morning for breakfast as well. The peaches burst with flavor and the carrots add a nice textured crunch!



Do you want to hit your local Whole Foods for some fresh ingredients to whip up something yourself? Whole Foods has generously offered one Prim and Propah reader the opportunity to win $50 to shop in their store! You know you could make one glorious dinner and snack and dessert with that gift card! Entries are in the rafflecopter below. Giveaway open until July 28th at midnight and is open to United States residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Monday, July 17, 2017

I Tried It: Kaliks Collective + a Giveaway!

Branding is important to a degree and if I were to judge a book by its cover, Kaliks Collective calls to me with it's packaging. My initial thought when receiving some of their products this month was to totally swoon over how pretty their frosted glass bottles and labels are. You could totally say that I was vibing with them! But obviously you can't judge a book by its cover and you have to give products a try before you can recommend them to your friends and family and you guys too! I gave some of their products a whirl: The Balance Glow Facial Oil, Revive Lavender Hydrosol Mist and the Renew Facial Cleanser.



Balance Glow Facial Oil: the sheer amount of amazing oils that make up this facial oil was enough to get me excited. Marula, Neroli Essential Oil, Baobab, Rose Geranium Essential Oil, Carrot seed and more, I couldn't wait to try this even thoough I certainly don't have a need for a new facial oil. This oil goes on velvety smooth and doesn't leave a greasy film which is one of my biggest pet peeves, facial oil turn offs. Kaliks actually recommends combining this with the Revive mist and I gotta tell you that I love this at night time, after my wash and before my dreamtime oils. I guess it goes to show that if you like something enough, you can make room in your beauty routine.

Revive Lavender Hydrosol Mist: Most definitely my favorite out of the bunch because I LOVE A GOOD FACE MIST! This is the perfect mist for Summer if you ask me my opinion- hydrating and softening. Just place it in the fridge and it becomes the most wonderful after sun mist, seriously. I happen to love Lavender so if you vibe with that relaxing scent, this is definitely for you. The bottle is very generously sized as well, which you gotta love. Plus, it's certified organic!

Renew Facial Cleanser: This is one of those versatile products that you can use as a cleanser, face scrub or mask. With all sorts of yummy ingredients like marshmallow root, rosehip seed, lavender, nettle leaf and more, this cleanser really feels like more than your average face wash. I'll be completely honest that what I had been using to exfoliate for years had been actually very bad for my skin. The small granuals in the Renew cleanser get the job done but are very gentle; I don't feel like they were scratching me up rather then gently removing the dead skin.

I think if the Kaliks line were to expand then I would be there with bells on. This indie brand is one to watch because what they are producing is quality, organic skincare that you can feel good about using both literally and figuritively.  I'll be keeping my eye on them and what they're doing in the future!

You can find Kaliks Collective in their shop, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Bonus time! Want to win some Kaliks Collective products for yourself? Visit my Instagram post for an easy entry giveaway!



Monday, July 10, 2017

I Tried It! Aimee Raupp + a Giveaway


Aimee Raupp is a wellness and health expert who has helped women be inspired to take their wellness into their own hands, improve their vitality, celebrate their beauty and even works with those looking to encourage their fertility. If you check out her Youtube videos, it's kind of hard not to like her and her positive energy. She's got the good vibes of someone who's helping people and is good at it. In addition to being an author, acupuncturist, and wellness coach, Aimee has created a line of skincare products that are organic and free of the type of chemicals known to disrupt hormones (gross) so of course when Aimee's team reached out, I was totally interested in getting a peek at what they're working on. They were kind enough to share some of their gorgeously created products to try and I'm thrilled to be reporting back to you all.



Organic Cocoa Butter Eye Cream: I just turned 35 and I'm the mother of two young children so as you can imagine, the wrinkles are coming and the delicate skin around my eyes is showing a little bit of age. I embrace aging for the most part but when there's a great product that nourishes while promoting collagen, all while keeping it organic and natural, well I'm here for it. Also, if you know me, a killer scent will get me every time... and this eye cream smells like a cocoa dream.

Organic Balancing Facial Oil: I am not sure this will be my every day facial oil and not because I don't love it but I think that I'll be saving this for when I'm blotchy and my skin is irritated (kind of like it is right now, because of my Summer sweat issues!). When I break out or have redness, I don't necessarily want to use the my everyday oil. What I love about Aimee's Balancing Facial oil is that it provides anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects through its oils (sweet almond oil, argan oil and blue chamomile essential oils). It's not greasy at all, absorbs quite nicely and isn't an overwhelming scent.

Organic Coconut Sugar Facial Scrub: A sweet treat for exfoliating your face and feeling radiant. You know how after a cleanse and a good scrub your face has that shiny, effervescent glow? Yep, this is that kind of stuff.

Chill Aromatherapy Roller: I love a good "relax" roller and this one is no exception. It's not a super strong scent like some "chill-esque" or "sleep" rollerballs so you could keep this in your purse and apply without scaring people off who are sensitive to smells.


You can follow Aimee Raupp on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube!

And if that wasn't enough, hop on over to Instagram to win a great package of Aimee's products because they want to share the love!

A post shared by Amanda (@primandpropah) on



Friday, July 7, 2017

Three Ways to Buy Feel Good Accessories

You hear me talking all about fast fashion and making mindful choices when it comes to purchasing and caring for our clothing. What a lot of people don't consider, or at least I didn't at first, was that our jewelry, scarves, hats, sunglasses... all the accessories, well, they need to be thoughtfully shopped as well. It can be hard to think about it all, really, but if you keep a couple of things in mind, you can generally make good choices and feel great about your purchases even if you're making them somewhat on the fly (one of my weaknesses!)
Accessories from Fatface, ethically sourced and created 
Find Brands with Values: If you do your homework, you can find the brands that have values. Those are the type of brands that I enjoy patronizing and will recommend to my people. Take FatFace for instance. New to the US, they take pride in taking care of their employees, customers and taking responsibility for their supply chain. They know where their products are made and where their materials come from. Similarly, I love Synergy Organic Clothing, Faherty, Tapered Collection and Zanni LA. If you poke around a brand's website, you can usually tell pretty much right away if their business is transparent. Also, don't be afraid to message brands on social if you have questions. You might just get a (good) answer!

There are also brands who will make a donation to charity for every purchase. Personally, I think it's great to be able to feel like your money is going to a couple different places; a brand that you love and a worthwhile organization. Take for instance, I found a brand at Wanderlust, I love Gurus. They have a sustainable mission and plant trees for purchases.


Shop Local and Handmade: When looking for a little something special, whether it be a gift for a loved one (or yourself!), I love to shop local and/or handmade. There's something so lovely about knowing that someone made something with their hands, especially for you. Shopping local ALWAYS makes me feel good because #1 you're putting money into your local economy #2 you can see the actually people you're supporting and #3 you might start getting hugs if you come back enough!

Some of my favorite creators right now are Kelly Horrigan Handmade (a Wanderlust discovery), Linkouture, always Salem Style, Wildflower Society, Papavier, Aniram Revah and Kathy Bransfield

Second Hand Shopping: If you don't have tons of moola, never fret my pet. There's always the opportunity to go to a thrift store, vintage clothes shop or consignment shop to pick up a little something new (to you). This is a great way to keep your footprint small, keep accessories out of the landfills and also, it's nice to give a second chance to something that just didn't work for another person. Seriously, I love to get a thrifty good deal! Pro tip: Don't be afraid to pick up a cool skirt or linens with a great print. You can always head on over to Pinterest to make your own scarf, headband or really anything, because Pinterest will leave you thinking you can conquer the world!

Vintage Costume Pieces Gifted to me
I think that if you make it your mission to be mindful, then in the very least, you're thinking about your purchases before you make them. I'm not perfect and being as blessed as I am, there's often the opportunity for me to make an impulsive purchasing decision which I then make a squished disappointed face at myself... but there's something to be said about making that "fast" purchase last for a very long time, which I make it my goal to do!

Do you have any tips on thoughtful shopping? What brands resonate with you?



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Masking with my Girls

Putting a face mask on is one of my favorite self care rituals. I love to take a hot shower, maybe after I hit the gym (I said maybe) and then do a little masking before hitting the hay. I have tried many a mask in my day but wondered what my girls were using on the regular or if they had any favorites right now. So, I asked them plus requested all the selfies they could send because, if you didn't take a selfie did it even happen?


From top Left:

Jessica of Oh I Design is loving the the Tata Harper's Resurfacing Mask. "It leaves my skin with a nice glow when it's feeling extra dull. I typically use this at night right before bed and follow with an oil and eye cream."

Rachel of Healthy Chicks is using Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay- "I love that it's super simple and made from just bentonite clay. It really helps clear out your pores and gives you a nice glow. You can mix it with water or Apple Cider Vinegar. Best Part? You can get it for like $5 at Whole Foods, and a huge tub lasts forever! "


Sarah of Salty Girl Boutique has a bunch of favorites! "So I am into a few masks right now. I love Josh Rosebrooks Hydration mask around my eye area, my skin can be a bit oily in the T zone so I don't use it on my the full face. I also love his enzyme exfoliator and use that often. BUT currently started using Violets are Blue Soothing Clay Mask. The name got me. And I needed more Soothing and relaxation in my life....and it really does offer that. The smell is so relaxing, goes on easily and adds a nice feeling of exfoliation. And my skin feels so soft and clean after. After I Add some serum and Josh's new vital balm around the eyes and I feel good as new."


Cameron of Just Us Gals and Boston Green Blog is all about The Problem Solver by May Lindstrom - "It's great at pulling all of the toxins out of my skin in a healthy, nontoxic way. Plus, I love the tingling sensation when I wear it - makes me feel as though it is really getting work done."


Tricia of Ni Hao New York adores the way that the 5Yina Divine All Seasons Mask is treating her during her pregnancy! She highly recommends to her friends and her readers!


I have just started using the Black Molasses Mask from Earthwise Beauty. You keep it in the fridge so when you apply it, literally there is a cooling effect. I also really love the Violets are Blue Soothing clay mask and alternate between them currently!


Elizabeth from On Tap for Today is a huge fan of Andalou Naturals' Turmeric + Gold Clay instant luminous face mask. "It comes in a super convenient one time use pod, which is perfect for travel, and leaves my skin feeling toned and looking brighter. I imagine this is what one might look like after a good night's sleep... for now, a weekly mask will have to do! ;)"


Alex of Literally-Everything uses the May Lindstrom Honey Mud to keep her skin hydrated, nourished and freed of the day's pollutants!

Kerry of Nothing Without Yoga uses Jacq's Organics Green Smoothie Scrub & Masque. "It was something I found at my first Well Summit Ever. It feels fantastic! I love how it is slightly cooling and when it hardens it isn't too much. Not to mention my skin feels fantastic after putting it on."


So tell me girl, what you masking with these days?