When I was back home in April, my sisters and I ventured out to the Merrie Monarch Arts + Craft Fairs — multi-day fairs of local Hawaiian vendors from across the state that accompany the annual hula festival. There are hundreds of incredible artists at the various fair locations throughout Hilo, and it seems like the entire population of the island turns out to see if their favorite Hawaiian brands have booths, or if the newest upcoming Hawaiian designer has a pop-up where you can get their new designs. It can be crowded and intimidating, which definitely usually isn't my scene. But because I'm so rarely home during the festival, I couldn't resist and I'm so glad I went — it's totally worth it to brave the traffic, crush and the Hilo rain to get your hands on some of the best of the best Hawaiian-made arts, crafts, fashions and products.
My favorite part of the craft fair this year was the fact that I bumped into one amazing vendor in particular that — because I'd gone to high school with her! — I'd been following on Instagram for a while.
Mamalani | Handmade by Hawaiians
One of the reasons I'd been dying to try some Mamalani products — which range from deodorants and body powders to oil blends, sunburn sprays, wellness tinctures and more — is because they're handmade, all natural, and organic. In the past few months (and obviously ever since I found out we're expecting), I've been making a concerted effort to clear out the environmentally harmful, often unhealthy if not downright dangerous, products in my medicine cabinet and self-care regimen, especially those that aren't cruelty-free. Plus, I love that when I use these products in particular it feels like I'm incorporating a little bit of home into my everyday life here in California.
So I was beyond excited when Mamalani owner, maker (and fellow Kamehameha Schools alumni) Mele Kalama-Kingma told me that she was offering a monthly health and beauty subscription box she curates not only with her own products, but with amazing products from other Hawaiian makers. Each month's box features a new theme that highlights a native practice or plant that is essential to overall health, along with a recipe.
It's called Go Native! and it's my new favorite thing.
Here's the most recent Go Native! box for May, centering all around 'olena (tumeric)...
This months box featured:
- Hemo, an oil that's great for congestion, sinus and earache relief, and is infused over 6 weeks with Hawaii grown ʻolena and hydroponic basil. By Mamalani + The Lotus Blossom in You.
- Anti-inflammatory Hawaii 'Olena Hydrosol Facial Mist, made using organically distilled 'olena for hydration and healthy skin.
- A custom sachet to tuck away in your drawer, hang in your car or just to place in spaces in need of some extra love. The bags are made by local favorite brand, Kealopiko Three Piko, and are filled with Moloka'i pōhinahina and ʻuhaloa (both plants found locally), and are scented with 'olena, black pepper and ʻiliahi (sandalwood).
- Hawaii Island Powdered 'Olena Cooking Spice
- Honua Skincare 'Olena Oil Sampler, to counter inflammation for a healthy, ageless and glowing face.
- Waiahole Farm Raw 'Olena Root to use for tea.
These three products above are probably what I've been looking forward to trying most. One of the [weird?] side effects of pregnancy for me has been nasal congestion, particularly in the mornings. I haven't wanted to take anything over the counter for it, both because that can be tricky and because it usually clears up by the early afternoon. But it's no party while I'm all stuffed up. So the Hemo oil will definitely be something that I keep on hand.
I'm also always looking for ways to improve the health of my typically problematic skin. In April's Go Native! box, I had a chance to try out Honua Skincare's Pa'akai Cleansing Cream and it has made an incredible difference in my overall complexion — haven't really had any breakouts recently, and a lot of the blemishes I thought were just permanent fixtures in my skin have cleared up. So I'm game for trying both the Hydrosol Facial Mist for an extra boost of hydration, and Honua's 'Olena Oil Sampler if and when problem areas crop up.
I've already incorporated all the rest of the amazing products that came in April's Go Native! box — as well as a little extra oil I picked up from Mamalani to help ease the pregnancy headaches I've been getting lately too — into my everyday routine, and can't wait to do the same with these 'olena products!