Local Love: Brandywine Botanicals

A career in healthcare and experience in floral design mixed with a love of the outdoors led Robin Kielkowski to create Brandywine Botanicals. Kielkowski took an aromatherapy course to learn the basics therapeutic use of essential oils. This class made her aware of the ingredients in products and that her true passion was with the fragrance of the oils. Next came a class in natural perfumery and smelling all different essential oils and ingredients. The successful combinations became Brandywine Botanicals.

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Robin told us, “My approach to natural fragrance is one of balance and moderation. While emphasizing awareness of using natural products and how our bodies absorb what they are exposed to, I understand there is no single right answer for everyone.” It seems her customers all have their own motivation to chose a natural fragrance. While some have sensitivities to synthetics, others have a lifestyle or a movement away from commercial products, and then many just love the smell and uniqueness.

In recent years the skincare and beauty industry has shifted towards natural ingredients. Brandywine Botanical fragrances “are derived from plants and have a complexity and depth that is difficult to capture in a lab. No preservatives or dyes are added. The colors come from plants: fresh greens, warm yellows, amber and rose blush.”

Their care for customers goes even further as Brandywine Botanicals offers a Create Your Own Fragrance Event. Her inspiration behind it, Robin said, “We had so much fun testing the fragrances and learning about each one that I wanted to share this experience.” Events begin with a bit of learning about the ingredients including advantages and disadvantages to natural and synthetics, fragrance strength classification, types of essences, and what makes a balanced fragrance. Next customers sample the fragrances figuring out what combinations they like best. And a custom fragrance is created!

Currently Brandywine Botanicals is based out of Kielkowski’s home studio and sold online and in a few local shops. But she believes the company will grow to have its own brick and mortar so she can have more interaction with her customers.

Below we have rounded up a list of Robin’s favorites and her thoughts on each!

Violetta
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“Violetta takes a floral and adds a pink pepper that I found. It is peppery, but softer than black pepper and has a touch of soft juniper. Some of my fragrances fall into the ‘gourmand’ category. I love vanilla, spices, fresh herbs and citrus and include them in some of my fragrances.”

Fresh Cardamom
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“Fresh Cardamom contains cardamom but this familiar spice is blended with florals, patchouli and sandalwood. It is interesting because the fragrance becomes soft and clean smelling as it evolves on your skin. It is one of my most unique fragrances.”

White Garden
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“The Brandywine Valley is full of beautiful gardens. White Garden was inspired by summer gardens in full bloom. It is full of heady, white florals like jasmine and frangipani and tamed with moss and vetiver. You just never know when an idea will pop up.”

Almost Summer
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“Almost Summer is one of my favorites and it always gets rave reviews. I wanted something simple and a little nostalgic for summer. There is nothing like citrus combined with florals. For this fragrance I added orange blossom. If you’ve ever been in an orange grove when the trees are blooming you will understand how the breeze carries their fragrance. They bloom in early spring….almost summer! A bit of sandalwood and vanilla take me back to the warmth of early summer at the beach and add a certain depth to the blend. I will wear this year round when I need a lift!”

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Local Love: Nfuse

Two sisters, Ann Ahl and Emily Zollinger, discovered the benefits of Magnesium on a family vacation and set out to create a way to add it into their daily routines. Ann’s husband Peter had been working with magnesium his whole life and shared its health benefits but how it was a relatively unknown mineral. So they decided to try it out. “We started taking magnesium ourselves and felt revitalized, but oral supplements had downsides,” said Ann, which led to experimenting with alternatives. On a trip to Ecuador, Ann and Emily learned that milk of magnesia is used as a deodorant. Magnesia reduces stress, relaxes muscles, protects the heart, improves sleep, AND combats body odor? “The result was no smell and smooth, beautiful-looking skin” Ann told us. And who does not want that?

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After years of research and experimenting, nfuse™ launched into the natural deodorant market, but with a completely new approach or ‘a deodorant done different’. nfuse™ is free of toxins like aluminum, parabens, and phythalates, which all have the potential to be harmful. Instead, nfuse™ is full magnesium, a nutrient over 50% of Americans are deficient in. Each use delivers about 300mg of magnesium to your highly permeable underarms. nfuse™ is “a deodorant that fuels our body with an essential mineral that is critical to the active, healthy, lifestyle we try to lead”.

Since the official launch in June of 2016, nfuse™ Deodorant has taken over the Mid-Atlantic region, appearing in retailers like Whole Foods and MOM’s Organic Markets and independent boutiques, gyms, and stores. Locally, nfuse™ is sold at Houppette (in Greenville, DE and Kennett Square, PA) and at Janssen’s Market. As for future plans, Ann Ahl says, “The sky’s the limit for nfuse™…people love this ‘deodorant done different’ and we plan to add new scents and other products that deliver magnesium and solve everyday problems.” We can’t wait to see what nfuse™ does next!

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Musical Inspiration from Cuba

Vocal Clave de Sol will be at the Ladybug Festival in Wilmington, Delaware on July 20-21st.

Vocal Clave de Sol, a musical education program in Havana, Cuba, founded by Nuria and Yamilé García in May 2009. The program started with 9 members and by 2016 had grown to an impressive 256. The lack of local recreational and artistic options for children combined with the lack of a nearby cultural institution made its creation an important initiative.

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Among its goals is promoting traditional Cuban music and culture, inviting children to learn through their interests and helping to grow their abilities. This is accomplished through the disciplines of practice, deadlines, cooperation, respect, and community, while contributing to the development of their musical intelligence and skills. Through choral singing and guitar (as well as Charango, Tres, Cuatro, standup Bass, and various percussion instruments), children aged 7 to 16 years have developed their gifts, their self-esteem, and changed their lives’ trajectories… by becoming lifelong learners. The value of learning through one’s interests in this program cannot be overstated. Students have gone on to ISA (Universidad de las Artes – the premier Arts University in Cuba), University of Havana, as well as careers in medicine, teaching, and the arts. Children wishing to join the program need only be interested and have an instrument. Sometimes, having an instrument is the only difficulty, so we are looking to raise awareness and to help put instruments in the hands of children who would like to get involved with this special program. Clave de Sol embraces the child, the child’s family, and the whole community. As it does, it engenders respect for the value of Cuban musical heritage and the Cuban dedication to the arts, in addition to other cultures, arts and… education. They have been invited to tour of the Martin Guitar Factory with one of the company’s guitar designers. Additionally, there is talk of developing an exchange program both with Blair Academy and a local private school in Delaware.

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On Sunday, July 23, they will perform at Drom in New York City.  Imagine being a girl or young woman and having the opportunity to travel outside of your country for the first time and welcomed guest artist. Special thanks to Carlos Alejandro for sharing this gift.

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Serenity at Jade Retreat in Costa Rica

Jade Retreat is located in the heart of the Central American jungle where natural beauty meets the clouds. A large portion of the land in Nosara is protected, and the beaches are untouched. No one is allowed to build within 100m of the beach. For years, the beaches of Nosara have been culling surfers from all over the world.

Nothing beats an early morning run along the Pacific, followed up by fresh coconut water. Set your intentions for the day with meditations or private yoga by the pool. Heaven on earth. We were privy to all of the local insiders tips on where to dine with plenty of varied restaurants tucked away like hidden gems.

Evening sunsets are the perfect way to relax and take in the natural surroundings.

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Quad tour through the jungle with stops along the way to meet locals and dine at The Black Sheep Pub.

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Surf lessons on Playa Guiones beach where you can surf some of the longest waves in the world.

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Amazing views and great adventure on Miss Sky Zip Line. Letting go of my fears was well worth the ride on one of the longest zip lines in the world.

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There are many words that describe Jade Retreat.  The ambiance hangs loose from dawn to dusk. Counting the days until we can return.

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photo: by Carlos Alejandro

 

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