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Get Girls Back to School

Moroccan girls go to schoolGirls on their way into school

This September, 100% of every purchase of Kahina Argan Oil on givingbeauty.com goes to funding girls’ education so they can go BACK TO SCHOOL.

WHO: Girls in rural Morocco who otherwise would not be able to go to school past 3rd grade
WHY: Girls from rural areas of Morocco must travel to larger cities for access to education beyond basic elementary school. They need to be boarded, an expense that most families cannot afford – and conditions in government run housing are poor and unsafe. Education For All Morocco provides free, safe boarding homes for girls so they can continue their education. The organization, which was founded in 2007, has recently opened its fifth boarding home in the High Atlas region of Morocco. It costs approx. $2,000 to provide free food and board to each girl for one year. The organization is providing housing for approximately 100 girls.
HOW: We are donating 100% of sales (that’s $36 for 30 ml argan oil and $82 for the larger 100 ml size) of Kahina Argan Oil purchased on givingbeauty.com to Education for All Morocco.
WHEN: The entire month of September, 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit Education for All Morocco’s website HERE.

This is Kahina’s fourth year supporting EFAM and we could not be more thrilled to continue with your help this year.

Kahina throw rugs hand-loomed by the women of Kahina in Morocco


presenting the rug edited

In May of 2011, on a trip to visit my argan supplier in a remote village high in the Mid-Atlas Mountains, I was shown the weaving cooperative in the village, where the women who crack the nuts for our argan oil were learning to weave rugs as a way to make extra money. The following year, Kahina donated money to buy sheep in order that the women would have wool to use for their weaving. In 2013, on a return trip to the village, I was presented with a beautiful hand-loomed rug decorated with the Kahina circle and star graphic. My rug has lived beside my bed warming my feet and heart ever since.

Kahina Berber Rug

 

Earlier this year, I asked the women to weave me more rugs exactly like the one they presented to me three years ago. I am thrilled to now offer these exclusively on givingbeauty.com. SHOP NOW.

Each 2’ x 4’ rug is hand-loomed using virgin sheep’s wool and natural dyes by the Berber women of the weaving cooperatives who also do the work of cracking the nuts for our argan oil.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil NEW from the women of Kahina Giving Beauty

Prickly Pear cactus photo edited for blog

Prickly pear seed oil came onto my radar shortly after I discovered argan oil in Morocco in 2007. Numerous suppliers in Morocco were touting the anti-aging effects of the hard-to-obtain oil, which was taking off in Europe at the time. I tried many samples from different producers and, while I was becoming convinced of the skin claims, the scent was something that I – not to mention my husband – couldn’t exactly embrace as part of my nightly ritual (something akin to grassy cat urine).

Then, four years ago, my argan supplier in the Mid-Atlas mountains began a Prickly Pear Seed planting project to provide additional economic activity for the women inhabitants. The work of extracting the prickly pear seed oil is even more labor intensive than for argan oil, requiring approximately four days to collect and dry the tiny seeds for one liter of oil. Since that time, I have witnessed the growth of the cactus plants on my annual visits, including watching them survive one severe drought that practically demolished every other harvest (and which took its toll on the extremely resilient argan trees).

The same attention to every harvesting and production detail that has resulted in our superior argan oil, has produced a superb outcome in our new Prickly Pear Seed oil. Richer in weight than pure argan oil, the Kahina Prickly Pear Seed oil goes on velvety smooth without leaving skin greasy and has a unique odor reminiscent of fresh hay (to me, at least).

While we love our argan oil for its multi-tasking prowess, particularly its ability to control sebum production, prickly pear seed oil is finding a place in my anti-aging arsenal for its high concentration of tocopherols, betalains (powerful antioxidants) and Vitamin K. And, like argan oil, it is loaded with essential fatty acids to smooth and plump fine lines and wrinkles.

Prickly pear seed oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids (approximately 83%), especially linoleic acid (63%), tocopherols (1000 mg), betalaines, Vitamin K, amino acids and trace elements. Ideal for mature, dry skin, prickly pear seed oil moisturizes and softens skin while restoring skin’s elasticity, protecting against free radicals, and brightening under-eye circles.

Our pure cold-pressed Prickly Pear Seed oil is bottled at the source, including the Berber women in even more of the value chain.

Available only on givingbeauty.com.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil bottle cropped

 

Katharine and Elle Magazine do Morocco

Moroccan beauty ingredients

Moroccan beauty ingredients

It was with immense pleasure that I had the opportunity to travel with April Long, Executive Beauty Editor of Elle Magazine to Morocco last January. April joined me in Fez in the hopes of unlocking the traditional beauty secrets of Morocco, with an exploration of the ancient walled city to discover my scent inspiration for our Fez Body Oil and Hand and Body Balm launching this week.

January is not an ideal time to travel to Fez. The cold is the kind that seeps into your bones, even when its 55 degrees, while rain runs in rivulets down unpaved dirt streets. Howling winds blew the furniture over on the rooftop of our riad in the the old city.   But April revealed herself to be an intrepid traveler, undeterred by the conditions from exploring every alleyway, madrassa, spice stall and antique shop, with our noses and my trusted friend Majid as our guides.

April and Majid in the Fez Medina

April and Majid in the Fez medina

We spent a lovely, though chilly, afternoon in the home of Yasmine, who showed us her own beauty secrets passed down to her by her mother (obviously very effective). We ground roses, chamomile and lavender to mix with rhassoul clay and savon noir to soften and clarify skin and hair, while drinking Moroccan mint tea and eating delicious homemade pastries. Concoctions in hand, April went off to the public hammam (I opted to stay behind, having experienced the hammam many times before – and feeling more comfortable stripping down in a roomful of complete strangers than with the Executive Beauty Editor of a major fashion magazine).

April Long receiving a lesson in making her own traditonal  Moroccan beauty treatment

April Long receiving a lesson in making her own traditional Moroccan beauty treatment

As April writes in the August issue of Elle, “…at the hammam, I tapped into something else that gives argan oil its power….I felt a sort of sisterhood, and not just because we’re all topless. We may not have a single word of shared language, but we all want soft skin and shiny hair; we all hope to walk out looking radiant,” says April. “Ultimately, it’s all about connection.”  The beauty of shared rituals – Kahina’s message exactly. It was wonderful to share this experience with April – and realize one more wonderful connection.

Staying warm and well-fed inside the Riad Laaroussa in Fez

Staying warm and well-fed inside the Riad Laaroussa in Fez

A beautiful partnership – Kahina and Archive New York

Kahina Rosemary Lavender Argan Soap

It happened over coffee with textile designer and founder of Archive New York, Amira Marion. It was a cold January morning in New York and I was yearning for color. We were looking at my photos of Morocco when we stumbled across a photographic tile study I had done and inspiration struck. We decided then to collaborate on a series of prints for Kahina based on these images, the first of which is the wrapping for our Rosemary Lavender Argan soap.

This is the original tile, discovered in Fez:

original tile

 

For Archive New York, Amira creates graphic interpretations of traditional Guatemalan prints to use in a beautiful line of home textiles. Her line, launching this month, is already selling out at Steven Alan in New York. She brings her fresh take on traditional design to create the beautiful papers enclosing our soaps.

To see more of Amira’s work and learn more about Archive NY, click here.

Go USA!

Kahina for Team USA

 

Three cheers for team USA! Win or lose, we’re having a great time watching the 2014 World Cup!

Microsoft donates matching funds to help girls in Morocco achieve higher education

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 2.01.14 PM

Today, from 12:00:00 PM EDT until tomorrow at 11:59:59 AM EDT, Microsoft YouthSpark will provide matching funds at 100% for every donation from $10 up to $1,000 per donor per project via Globalgiving.com. Join Kahina in donating to the Bernard Mejean Scholarship for Girls’s Education to provide economic support to enable young Moroccan girls to pursue high school.

Young girls in Morocco often lack educational opportunities and the resources to pursue high school and higher education. Economic pressures and sociocultural attitudes prevent many from getting their high school degrees: the time-consuming burden of household chores falls primarily on young girls; and in rural areas schools are often far from home, and families do not have the economic resources to pay for transportation.

The Bernard Mejean Scholarship Fund contributes to the costs of books, school supplies and further course instruction, and will alleviate the financial burden of travel and enrolling in high schools or universities far from the students’ homes.
Funding Information

$25 will provide one girl with books and school supplies for one year of higher education

$50 will provide one girl with transportation to a place of higher education for one year

$100 will provide 4 girls with books and school supplies for one year of higher education

$200 will provide 4 girls with transportation to a place of higher education

$400 will provide 16 girls with books and school supplies for one year of higher education

$4,000 will provide one girl with tuition and school supplies for 4 years of higher education

About the Bernard Mejean Scholarship Fund for Girls’ Education
The Bernard Mejean Scholarship Fund for Girls’ Education was created in memory of Bernard Mejean, who was born and raised in Morocco and studied in the United States. Bernard recently lost a long struggle against illness, but is remembered by his generosity and his many contributions to his community. Bernard’s brother, Bruno, began a fund for under privileged female youth in Morocco. This fund provides the resources needed to achieve young women’s dream of pursing higher education. The fund is a Microsoft Youthspark partner.

Open House at Everlane NYC

Kahina at Everlane

Everlane, a fashion e-tailer that’s made a name for itself with pared-down styles at “radically transparent” prices, is hosting their biggest pop-up yet in NYC this June.  We’ve been a fan of Everlane ever since it launched, so we were thrilled when they asked to include Kahina Argan Oil in their model home.

From their site:
“We’ve created a “home space” in our shop where all of the objects will be accompanied by their origin and cost stories. To uncover these, we researched household items and partnered with Taavo Somer’s creative agency Friends & Family and a number of like-minded brands, including Kaufmann Mercantile, simplehuman, and ABC Carpet & Home.”

You’re invited to stop-by, try on Everlane’s signature styles, and tour the house of the future, featuring Kahina Argan Oil. 

Where: 199 Lafayette St, NYC
When: Housewarming launch party is Friday, June 13th, 7-10 PM. Otherwise, stop by every day from 11 AM to 6 PM from 6/13-6/28
More information: Click here

 

Great roots!

The recent release of the VHR Cabernet Sauvignon from Vine Hill Ranch, Katharine’s Napa Valley”roots”, is receiving rave reviews. Here’s the most recent from esteemed wine critic Antonio Galloni in his wine blog Vinous:

The 2013s from Vine Hill Ranch, block by block

It’s hard to believe just how far Bruce and Heather Phillips have come in just a few years. Of course, the Phillips family has been supplying grapes to some of the Napa Valleys top wineries for decades, but that is not the same as making wine. Ever since their debut vintage 2008, the Phillipses have quietly but surely staked out a place for themselves among the top producers in Napa Valley. Vineyard guru Mike Wolf and Winemaker Françoise Peschon bring an extraordinary level of passion to Vine Hill Ranch that is evident in every detail.

Vine Hill Ranch currently produces just one wine, which is a blend of six separate blocks on the property. The 2013 harvest was a full three weeks ahead of 2012. Peschon opted to leave the wines on their lees as long as possible. The 2013s were racked in March, right after the malos finished. The five blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon in this tasting are all vivid and remarkably different. Block 6L, the single largest component, is drop-dead gorgeous. Petit Verdot has yet to be used in a final blend at Vine Hill Ranch, but the 2013 is beyond beautiful. The 2012, tasted just prior to bottling, could turn out to be one of the wines of the vintage. I also had a chance to re-visit the 2010 and 2011 from bottle. Both wines confirm their place among the best wines of their respective years. Readers who haven’t tasted Vine Hill Ranch owe it to themselves to do so. This is without question one of the most exciting properties in Napa Valley today.

- Antonio Galloni

Hearty congratulations to Katharine’s brother, Bruce, and his wife, Heather, for spearheading the project, and to the passionate and dedicated wine-making team!