The second installment of the Afrobella Holiday Shopping Guide is all about bellas who daydream. The kind who seem to float by on a cloud, and doodle in the margins during boring board meetings. When you’re so bogged down by day-to-day stress that you can’t see straight, sometimes it’s the only way to survive the pressure.

Here are gift ideas for girls who just want (or need) to have fun.

Although the bubble bath still holds the title as the ultimate exercise in cleanly decadence, a good, long, hot shower can do wonders for the soul. It’s not just about the scented soap, or the rich, lathering body wash, or the invigorating sugar scrub. The aromatherapy experience is what takes a typical shower from necessity to luxury. Give your escapist bella a VIP Gift Bag from Maryam’s Soap Nook. The creator and owner, Maryam Diaab, has been making beautiful handcrafted soaps for about seven years now. Her knowledge of aromatherapy truly makes her products an indulgence for the senses.

Maryam’s interest in aromatherapy started when she had her beautiful daughter, Sarah. Using a carefully researched combination of lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile oils to calm her worked like a charm. And Maryam’s products are luxurious to say the least.

The gift bag comes stocked with a large 8 oz. jar of Whipped Shea Monoi Body Butter. I got one in Coconut Cream, and it smells sweet and rich as coconut cream pie. The butter is a thick, creamy product that slides on, sinks in, and makes your skin feel like slick silk. The 8 oz. bottle of Exfoliating Body Wash with Jojoba Beads and Kukui Nut Oil exfoliated my skin, made me smell like an exotic flower (the scent I got was Tahitian Petals), and made me feel smooth all over. The gift bag also includes Japanese Camellia Body Oil, Luxury Body Mist, and two bars of handmade soap that look like miniature works of art. I got Pumpkin Pie, and Exotic Rose with Bergamot. I’ve been showering with the Pumpkin Pie (that sounds kind of weird, no?) and I love it!

The gift bag costs $65 and is well worth the price. I highly recommend her stuff!

We all have to exercise, but some workouts are more fun than others. To escape the drudgery of an aerobic workout and the bleakness of winter, check out the Jamaican dance-u-mentary, It’s All About Dancing.

It’s $14.20 on Besides offering insight into the fascinating (and sometimes scandalous) underground world of Jamaican dance, the DVD features step by step instructions on the hottest steps, like the Wacky Dip, Willie Bounce, and Weddy Weddy.

Trust me – I hate working out and this video just makes me feel like I’m dancing at a club on the beautiful Jamaican coastline.

Often, escapist bellas love to add a romantic touch to their outfits. I bought a very similar flower necklace from Target for a close family member. Instead of a silver chain, the rose hangs from a beautiful purple silk ribbon. I fell in love with it instantly.

Target has a great selection of sterling silver pendants, and bellas on a budget will be surprised at what they might find for less than $20!

For these kinds of bellas, the ultimate CD stocking stuffer is what else? The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani.

I’ve loved Gwen ever since “Just a Girl” and “Trapped in a Box” started getting airplay on 120 Minutes on MTV. (I think 120 Minutes was possibly the only show to play “Trapped in a Box!”)

Gwen is one of my beauty icons, for sure. I know many of her longtime No Doubt fans are hating her current rapstress persona, but I really like some of the tracks on this album! My favorite is “Yummy.” If you need to get away from your day to day grind, I recommend you put it on and get ready to dance.

The beat is irresistable, and I’m sure that Gwen will have you “feelin’ yummy head to toe.” (you see me?)

Just for fun, here’s one of my favorite No Doubt videos, for “Sunday Morning.”

Gwen looks gorgeous in that leopard skirt, and I love that they’re all eating and having a food fight instead of being uber glam in haute couture like some of her recent videos.

Stay tuned for the final installment of the Afrobella Holiday Shopping Guide, tomorrow!

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Indigo says:
December 18, 2006, 3:45 pm
Maryam Soap Nook products are wonderful! It's unlike anything I've used before and the scents are amazing..with them you don't have to wear a fragrance and still smell yummy at the end of a long day. I also purchase it for my daughter and it has completely healed her eczema scar (from scratching) Simply decadent!
lauren says:
December 18, 2006, 7:53 pm
hey bella, found some good holiday deals! at walgreens they have a buy one, get one free for Loreal foundation, powder, and blush til Saturday!(not sure if it includes the HIP makeup line) - and at Sephora i just got the Bare Minerals "get startd kit" for $60, it includes 2 foundations, mineral veil, warmth color, 3 brushes, bare vitamins skin rev-er upper, and a how-to DVD(over $100 value), can't beat that! happy shopping!
Maryam says:
December 19, 2006, 12:54 am
This comment is for indigo actually, I wanted to know if I can post her comment on my Testimonials page? When Sarah was about one her doctor told me she had eczema, that's when I came up with Sarah's magic and have been using it on her ever since, and no signs of eczema since that doctor's visit! It's the combo of oils, particurly the Emu oil (Emu is transdermal and goes past all the layers of skin, and it takes with it all the properties of the other oils, butters along with it!!) I found it fascinating, and so glad it worked. I really didn't want to put a steroid cream on my daughter.
al-fallujah says:
December 20, 2006, 10:46 pm i missing something here...afrobella in love with gwen stefani who is featured ahem prominently...blond wig? ala mari.lame monroe...ill be back to peruse the offerings...first a drink or two
accidentalextraordinaire says:
December 21, 2006, 2:20 am
I'm looking at the gwen cd pretty hard... thanks for the recommendation!


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