The Latest Issue of PANACHE Is Here!

 

Cover- Issue December 2018

Sabrina Reynolds’ 2019 collection of leather handbags shines in our final issue of 2018! Read her rebirth story by Marshelle Haseley on page 17. Then island-hop with us to Grenada as we shine the spotlight on Belmont Estate- a true foodie’s paradise. Kaleidoscope makes a colourful splash back into the Jamaican market- learn more about their future plans for the vibrant island. Get wooed once more with Miami Temptations as you check out Choiselle’s new soursop oil infused face elixir; amazing holiday recipes and more!

Happy Holidays from #TEAMPANACHE!

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The Trailblazing T`Shura Gibbs

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Interview by Tricia Williamson

Our cover girl, T’Shura Gibbs, has served for almost twenty years in the airline industry getting her start with AJAS Aviation Services then Avianca Airlines where she served as General Manager for Jamaica before joining US Airways as Station Manager for several Caribbean Islands. She then switched industries, moving on to Jamaica’s sole electricity distributor, JPS, where served as Regional Director with responsibility for almost half of the island. After five highly successful years at JPS, T’Shura decided to trade “kilowatts for CBD” and took up the role as CEO of Zimmer and Co. She is the former President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sits on the Operations Board of Junior Achievement Jamaica, the CanEx Jamaica Advisory Board and is the Executive Director of the I Love MoBay Foundation.

PANACHE: What exactly makes T’Shura Gibbs tick?
T’Shura Gibbs: Knowing that I am able to make a difference in the lives of so many people; knowing that we are creating jobs and adding to our country’s economic growth is enough to get me going.

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PANACHE: What motivated you- a former regional director for an energy company to decide to get into the cannabis industry?
T’Shura: The tremendous medical benefits; I first learned about the health benefits of medicinal cannabis in 2015. In 2017 at the CanEx conference I seized the opportunity to participate in the industry after realizing the extent to which the medicine could change and improve lives and what I saw to be a significant opportunity within the Caribbean.

PANACHE: What product/ service is your company Zimmer & Co focused on now? Where can Jamaicans and travellers to Jamaica find them?
T’Shura: Zimmer is a health and wellness distribution business that right now is focused on hemp-based CBD products. Our products are available in pharmacies island wide. Some products require a prescription, therefore, requiring a visit to a doctor.

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PANACHE: Given that your company distributes a range of medicinal cannabis products what has that retail experience been like for you both success and challenges?
T’Shura: One of the biggest challenges is the stigma associated with cannabis and the lack of education from both end users and medical practitioners surrounding the medicinal benefits of cannabis. We have embarked on a campaign to educate both groups which have been effective. We consider it a tremendous success every time we get a story from one of our customers about the difference the medicine has made in their lives. Hearing an individual go from living a life of discomfort and pain to happily enjoy their days and moments after taking our products gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

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PANACHE: What would you say differentiates your business from other cannabis companies?
T’Shura: In Jamaica, many of the companies are focused on cultivation while we focus on finished products. While some are developing the input and commodity that is medicinal grade cannabis and its various extracts, we are focused on finished products and in the process lead the way in terms of educating the medical fraternity and our target audiences about medicinal cannabis, its uses, effectiveness, and medical properties. Additionally, as a licensed distribution pharmacy; we have opted to specialize in medicinal cannabis.

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PANACHE: You’ve received a US $1M investment into Zimmer & Co, can you tell us what that investment will be used for?
T’Shura: Our investment will fund working capital and the expansion of our product portfolio and the markets in which we operate.

PANACHE: What are the challenges you think the industry in Jamaica/Caribbean faces financially/ legally or opportunities that need to be pursued to truly move forward?
T’Shura: The major industry challenges include: banking issues; not enough governmental support for small farmers to enable them to fully participate in the industry, lack of education surrounding growing cannabis for medicinal purposes and speed. This industry is the fastest growing globally and is evolving daily. We salute the recent moves by the Jamaican Government but Caribbean governments on a whole need to move faster and more purposefully if we are to secure the collective benefits that exist for our region.

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PANACHE: How can Jamaica’s formal cannabis market, now in its nascent stages, ensure that everyone (from the ground up) truly benefits?
T’Shura: The legal cannabis industry holds the promise of tremendous economic benefit for Jamaica. First it offers a significant source of additional tax revenues, but more compelling is the transformative power it holds when a fully engaged industry sees the benefit of the job creation and all the attendant economic benefits that come with opening up a thriving economic sector – people buying houses, renting apartments, purchasing cars, eating at restaurants, investing in the stock market, etc. The potential economic impact of this industry to Jamaica and the direct improvement it will make to the quality of lives of so many Jamaicans warrants the attention and focus it has started to receive from the Government, JAMPRO, the Economic Growth Council and other entities charged with driving growth in the country.

PANACHE: What’s your ultimate goal for Zimmer & Co in 3 to 5 years?
T’Shura: We expect to be a major player in the industry shipping products globally and providing world-leading work environment and culture.

PANACHE: We have noted that in addition to CanEx 2018 you are also a guest speaker at the Doing Power Differently Breakfast workshop on October 28 in Kingston Jamaica. Why is it important for persons to attend each of those events that you are headlining?
T’Shura: Ongoing education is key to our personal and professional development. We all have our individual stories and experiences that we can share to help others along the journey of life. CanEx 2018 was a huge success with delegates from 22 countries present; Doing Power Differently is already sold out.

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PANACHE: As a working mom and entrepreneur/ CEO how to do balance it all?
T’Shura: Balancing is hard; so I try to integrate the two. I am fortunate to have a strong support system and with the advent of video calling, I am able to do homework via WhatsApp. I have two young sons (and two older daughters) who hang out in the ‘chill corner’ at my office when I am there on weekends. They stop by the office on the way home from school when I am working late and I try to take them to and from school and extra-circular activities as much as I can.

PANACHE: What is your mantra? What motivates you?
T’Shura: Our Vision, ‘Helping People. Changing Lives.’ Is not just a four letter word, it is something I believe in.

PANACHE: Any final thoughts?
T’Shura: Thank you for this opportunity. I hope our readers will conduct their own research into medicinal cannabis and in particular CBD, and talk to their doctor or pharmacist about the benefits of these products.

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The Amazing Amanyea

By Marshelle Haseley

Amanyea released “Aye aye,” her debut single and video in mid- September, sending waves through Jamaica, the region and even farther. The movement inducing tune was an absolutely fantastic start to a new chapter in her journey that appears to have so much magic ahead.

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All Photos courtesy of Amanyea

It is said that names are powerful, and the names that are given impact us greatly as we walk through life. Amanyea says her name has a number of meanings in various cultures. “I love my name because of the different derivatives it has in many different languages and cultures,” she explained.

Amanyea said, “I was named after a dancer, Artistic Director in Chicago Amaniyea Payne. The meaning she chose to use for her name is “Amani” means “peace” in Swahili and  ‘Yea’ is a light force, a call ‘to you’—so combined it means ‘peace to you’.”

She said her mother chose to use “Aman” which means “peace” in Hindi, and the same “Yea” as a light force— combined, her name means the same— “peace to you”.  She said, “It is something you acquire, but it’s also something you always extend ( like reciprocity with mutual respect ).”

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The artistic talent embodied by Amanyea would have been shining brightly for years leading up to the start of this new chapter in her journey. She said at this point, her mantra is  “Dawg wid too much massa sleep widout suppa.”  She explained her mantra to mean, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great. And while doing so, don’t lose focus because of the opinions of too many people (masters).”

The outstanding young Jamaican dancer said she did not get time to realise she could dance. “Mommy being Dr. L’Antoinette Stines, Artistic Director of L’Acadco, I started dancing at an extremely young age,” she said. In a funny tone, she said she has yet to realise she received the gift of dance.

Singing, however, was a different process. Finding a tone which best suited her soul was a process— digging deeper to discover who she was as a musician— both as a vocalist, and a songwriter. “I realized I wanted to do it when I was 11— then I realized that I ‘needed’ do this at 18. The only thing that was stopping me was fear and opinions— hence, the mantra.”

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“I received many, many years of formal training in dance. I trained with Dr. Stines at L’Acadco, Ballet Training with Elizabeth Samuda and Cathy-Ann Gibbon for Royal Academy of Dance, Cuban Moderna with Arsenio Andrade, and many more,” she said. As soon as she was inspired to begin her journey as a recording artiste she did a number of vocal training sessions, “ but not enough to say I am vocally trained,” she added. Amanyea said her vocal training sessions are important and is continuous.

Her style is unlike anything one would see walking through the city of Kingston. Her eclectic style stands out in any crowd, though she is not a physically tall person—her style and the energy she wears around it makes her seem ten feet tall. Asked about her style she said, “Travel and my background. I grew up around artistic, cultured, ‘MAD’people.” She said fortunately, she has been traveling before she could walk or talk.

“I love different cultures, I love traveling and I unconsciously grab from these different experiences and cultures I’ve encountered,” she said warmly. Amanyea’s mother and brothers are all lovers of music. She said they would listen to Bach, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Beyonce’, and then Jay Z. “It was a vibrant, colourful home that I grew up in.  I was exposed to a wide range of music from a very young age,” she said.

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The uncontainable creative life force within her may be responsible for how she experiences the process of creating. She said what she enjoys most about creating is freedom. She said, “I enjoy the freedom of my mind. I get to express in so many different ways, freely, uncensored and comfortably.  I get to freely be myself.”

Many artists say they experience a depth which seems almost like an out-of-body experience when immersed in their craft, but she said she views the concept a little differently. “For me, it’s the other way around. Being immersed in my craft is a ‘reality’ for me. I don’t feel lost, I actually feel like I have found ‘Om’— ultimate consciousness” she explained.  She said her experience is as though everything else she focused on made her lost, while her craft remains the only stable thing in her life. “I finally told myself that  4 years ago— and ever since then, I have been the most focused and ‘found’ I have ever been.”

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Amanyea was asked how she maintained a powerful energy amidst challenges such as a recent injury. She said, “After going to four different specialists in the past year I finally got an MRI done. I had a flap of cartilage that needed to be shaved down. I went in for what may seem like an hour surgery tops and came out 4 hours later. Turns out I had Grade 4 Chondromalacia of the patella and the femoral sulcus.” This means Amanyea had a condition where the cartilage on the under surface of her kneecap deteriorated and softened—a condition common among young athletes.

She was also diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and Synovitis, which is the medical term for a condition where the body tissues lining the joints possess cavities—causing pain and swelling when the joint moves. For any dancer, this would feel like a nightmare.

On April 5, 2018, she said,  “I had arthroscopy surgery done, debridement and microfracture of the femoral sulcus and patella. I lost 17lbs post-surgery and after 8 weeks I started my physiotherapy journey.”

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“I am going to be honest with you— I had fear, emotional pain, and I felt discouraged. I am still pushing and this is still very emotional for me. But I must say – I used my support system as much as possible. I tend to be a loner— but during this whole process I realized how much I need my friends and family,” she explained.

She said she also wanted people to get to know her on social media, “Me— not the pretty side but, me. But social Media only saw the semi-hard parts of my journey. I went through a lot more than I chose to share. I was bedridden for 6 weeks, sent to the hospital because of bad reactions to the pain medicines.

Did more than half of my painful journey without pain meds because I was afraid of the side effects.”

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She said, “ If I didn’t have my friends, and my family around— I wouldn’t have made it this far. I am lucky to also have a physiotherapist who is also a friend— and especially my Mother, Dr. L’Antoinette Stines. She did everything for me, lol “bade me, feed me, everything me” – when I couldn’t myself. It’s okay to need help. I told myself I will be able to do what I love. I am lucky to have 2 loves, Music and Dance and the people around me definitely told me the same. Don’t worry, we got this.”

In wrapping up we asked Amanyea three final questions:

P: What can we look forward to from you?

A: Music. This is only the beginning of my career. I can’t wait for people to hear more of my music and see more of my art, blossom. My aim is to blend all my talents together in one. I released my single September 7th, and the feedback had made me so excited. I am grateful, that so far, people love what they hear and see. Shocking of course, because I am being vulnerable, putting my art out there for people to either love, ridicule, scorn, hate etc. But so far I am humbled at how well received it has been. So, look forward to more music and dance, but not separated anymore. 

P: Where do you visualise seeing yourself one year from now?

A: Can I tell you one year from now? lol I see myself being an artiste, just more potent.

P: What message would you give to Amanyea at 15 years old?

A: Do not be afraid. Cliché? Yes. But I was so afraid to do all the things I wanted to do, I was afraid of opinions, of being laughed at. Dancing was my comfort zone. I wish I was confident enough to sing, and write. Join clubs just for that. But I was afraid.  Fear is a hell of a thing. 

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Sennheiser PXC 550 Review

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Written by DJ Courtney

Let me start by saying I’m now torn, as I recently did a review of the Sony 1000XM2 which is comparable, and in my opinion they are both on par, but let me get into the details.

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Unboxing the headphone was the first time I noticed was how good they looked and felt. Included in the box, was a very simple case, which includes a micro USB cable, wired connection jack, a connection to use on airplanes, the manual -which I normally don’t read, however, that changed quickly as understanding the functionality wasn’t as easy as I expected.

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As was expected from Sennheiser, the headphone had some great features, the noise-cancelling was excellent with a switch that adjusts ambience. You can use gestures on the right ear up, to stop/play/forward/next track etc., however the only drawback, these features were very sensitive.

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Another feature, which I found interesting, was how to turn off the device. This was done by closing the Headphone and to turn it on, you open them. Initially, I had my reservations in regards to the call quality while using the headphone, but that soon changed when I installed the app, which allowed me to adjust the setting to my preference. After I charged the headphone for about 4hrs-I’ve been using it for a combined 17hrs so far.

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So why should you buy it… because it’s made by Sennheiser, & I’m a DJ so I should know- Just kidding.

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The truth is, the Sennheiser PCX550 has great sound, quality, durability & a reputation that speaks for itself. This headphone can more than compete with its competitors in the same price range.

Dive Into Pure Grenada’s Underwater Festival

The Pure Grenada Dive Festival is an opportunity for divers of all abilities to immerse themselves in the Caribbean destination’s fascinating underwater world.  The second annual Festival took place from October 3-6 and it showcased the destination’s rich and diverse eco-system as well as the bountiful and vibrant marine life that can be found off the islands’ shores.

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Photo source: puredivinggrenada.com

With Grenada being the home of the World’s first Underwater Sculpture Park and the Caribbean’s largest wreck dive the Bianca C, the festival is a must add to your list of travel goals. Everyday of the festival was given a specific theme based on Grenada and Carriacou’s dive offerings. Day 1 was designated Reef Diving in Grenada and Carriacou, which is literally translated to mean ‘the Isle of Reefs’.  The destination’s reef systems are healthy and support diverse marine life including seahorses, turtles, sharks and rays.

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Photo source: puredivinggrenada.com

Underwater photo enthusiasts were also challenged with a fun-filled photography competition with the chance to win prizes for categories such as the most creative selfie, best reef photo and best wreck photo. Day two, themed Wreck Diving, catered to all divers offering a beginner’s pool diving course and the opportunity for certified divers to explore some of the islands’ 14 wreck dives including the newest, M/V Anina.

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Photo source: puredivinggrenada.com

The second half of the festival presented a robust schedule of sustainable activities for participants to make a positive impact on Grenada’s underwater ecosystem. October 5, or Project Aware Dive Against Debris day, included scheduled clean-up dives off the shores of all three islands in the destination and local school outreach presentations aimed at educating Grenada’s next generation on best practices in dive marine conservation.

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Photo Credit: Orlando K. Romain -Dive Grenada – Ring of Children_UNDERWATER SCULPTURE PARK

The final day of the festival, Invasive Lionfish Eradication Diving day, started at the picturesque Morne Rouge Bay/BBC Beach with the boats sent off to predetermined dive locations and reconvening with their catches at Coconut Beach Restaurant on Grand Anse Beach. The Lionfish were skilfully prepared and served at the evening social event in which they were a hit with participants.

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Photo Credit: True Blue Bay Boutique Resort

Grenada’s coast is a haven for diverse marine life due to the warm waters and healthy coral reef systems and sponges and divers and underwater photographers are spoilt for choice in discovering them all. Dive enthusiasts are encouraged to book early for the third annual Pure Grenada Dive Fest, which is planned for October 2-5, 2019. Make your bookings at www.puredivinggrenada.com.

 

Bowers & Wilkins T7 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

Written By DJ Courtney

If you’ve never heard about Bowers & Wilkins before, this brand represents class, style and quality. So when I got the Bowers & Wilkins T7 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker to test- my initial excitement was obvious, however having experienced it, I have mixed views.

Firstly, when I unboxed it, as expected you could see the quality and workmanship that went into designing & building this speaker- it is top class.  The T7 box came with the speaker and the charger included, however, no USB cable.

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Photos courtesy of Bowers & Wilkins

This wireless speaker had a nice spider web/honeycomb design in its housing with a rubber frame around plus the finish was black blended with dark grey. It’s not too big for a portable speaker, but it’s not exactly lightweight either nor can it hold in your pocket.

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The foremost thing that I noticed which bothered me, was what I thought was a USB charging port. It actually turned out to be just for updating the device. Thus, the only way it can be charged is with the charger that comes in the box which I later used and charged it for about five hours.

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Connecting the wireless speaker was easy, the buttons are built into the frame at the top. The Bowers & Wilkins T7 also offered a connection via auxiliary cable. Nonetheless, I decided to test the Bluetooth function by connecting my iPhone and let me tell you, the sound was incredible! I already own two other Bluetooth speakers and the T7 blew them out the water. With that said, this didn’t have a speakerphone function. It has two speakers at the front and a subwoofer styled speaker at the back, nevertheless, as I said before, it sounds awesome.

I’ve been using this wireless speaker on and off now for about six days, yet I’ve still not charged it since the initial power up- now that’s a battery life that I can’t complain about at all.

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This is definitely a high-end speaker, so you’re definitely paying for a quality well-made Bluetooth speaker, which produces great sound from a reputable brand.

It’s presently on my living room shelf for all to see, as this is not one of those speakers to have around the pool or outdoors, unfortunately, it is not water-resistant or waterproof. But all in all, it’s the best sounding Bluetooth speaker for that size I’ve ever used and heard.

 

Caribbean Travel & Lifestyle Magazine