Friday, January 30, 2009

Hot Water and the Art of Bathing

Maybe it seems strange but my 15 minutes of shower time in the morning are my favorite part of the day. It eases me in, relaxes my muscles and allows me to think about the day ahead of me while enjoying some time with my favorite pleasure...a nice soap.

But lately, there has been something strange going on. There hasn't been much hot water. I have been forced to take numerous lukewarm and even a few ice cold showers. Far from getting me ready for my day, these make me sad. I cannot enjoy a nice new soap in sub zero shower in the middle of a freezing cold New York City January. I am so frustrated.

So I am trying to think why this is happening. Perhaps the landlord put a timer on the hot water heater? Is there something wrong with some pipes or something? Does anyone know a plumber?

Take my Manolos but not my shower time...seriously. Ugh

There was one amazing highlight of my week. I got this super cool little package of soap samples from LostRiverRags. Not only are the adorable little shapes but they smell super nice and there are some unique scents in there.

I keep throwing in the highlights of what I love as time goes on: You know soap, Etsy and my toy poodles. Well, add wine and the spa. In fact, my dream is to own a small vineyard with a winery and a spa but I digress. Moving right along...

In this amazing little cachet of soaps I got is one called...Vintage Cabernet with Shea. Now, I have a confession to make: I had never tried a goat's milk soap before. And it didn't let me down.

I like creamy soaps. They leave my skin feeling smooth. This one helped me suffer through a lukewarm (arg) shower with the soft scent of cabernet while soothing my wind chapped skin. I can hardly wait for warmer showers to try out more of these goat's milk soaps from LostRiverRags.

Sadly this intoxicating (pun intended) scent doesn't seem to be offered in jumbo size. So I will have to use it sparingly and stab anyone with a fork who dares try to use it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where the Hell is Clean Diva? A Tribute to an Amazing Lady named Leigh Taylor Smith

It has been far too long since I have blogged, especially since this blog is my new baby.

The good news is that I have been bathing. I even took a little time and organized my soaps.

I got an awesome soon to be reviewed soap sample from DancingWaters.

And I became the official Executive Director of the Miss New York Scholarship Pageant. It's crazy but something about which I am very excited. I was not in Las Vegas last week because I got official word of my franchise acceptance on Tuesday but I was watching on Saturday when Leigh Taylor Smith, Miss New York, became the 3rd runner up to Miss America.

Words cannot express how proud we, the Board of Directors are of Leigh Taylor. She exemplifies everything that we all want the next generation of young ladies to be. She is intelligent, motivated, well spoken, talented and ambitious. Perhaps most importantly, she knows exactly who she is and is able to show the world. I am so grateful to know her.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hold the Partridge, I'll take the Pear Tree

I mentioned on Saturday that I had gotten some soaps to try from Country Heart Gifts. This was the first Etsy soap package I ever received. Boy am I lucky it made it to me. I say this because the scent wafting out of that post envelope was so intoxicating I just held it to my nose and breathed deeply.

Then came the most fun part. I got out all of the beautifully little wrapped soaps and sniffed them individually. After my sniff test came Simon's. Simon is my younger dog and he actually likes baths and getting clean. Whenever I buy soap I like to let Simon smell it and he will lick whichever ones he really likes. I know that sounds incredibly bizarre but it is true. Simon liked many of these, especially the ones that smelled like food.

I want to be able to describe these in much more detail than just one blog post because these soaps deserve credit. Plus, I haven't used them all so I cannot tell you which is my favorite yet.

And, as many would probably guess, I could not resist trying the Spiced Pear first. Now, I love pears and I am always looking for the perfect pear scent. But what I am learning is that there are so many different takes on one scent. And this one is nothing short of unique. I mean,

observe the lovely color in the picture above.

Mostly, I couldn't figure out what made this soap so amazingly warm. I know there is cinnamon but the smell alone seemed to raise the shower temperature five degrees. It was delightful. I literally stood for 10 minutes trying to figure out what made the smell so incredible. In the end, I decided to chalk it up to great soap making and move on.

So hats off to Pam and crew at CountryHeartGifts for making my current favorite pear soap in the "Pear Soap I Want to Eat" category.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Etsy Obsession...Plus a lovely afternoon bath

So, it's Saturday at 5pm and I just got out of an amazing soak in the tub. Sadly I cannot give you a link because I cannot find the products I used. Seriously, if you can get them on the internet it takes a better researcher than I.

Today's bath actually started on Christmas Day. Thankfully it didn't involve water until today or I would be completely pruney by now. Or skinless...

On Christmas, my roomie got me a bath set because she knows me well enough to know 2 very important facts about me: 1. I am obsessed with soap & 2. I absolutely adore pears. So she bought me both in one gift. It is a White Lily & Pear gift set which contains bath salts, bubble bath, body scrub, body wash and body lotion with a bonus BATH PILLOW. I love me some bath pillow. This one says "relax" in big green letters. And since I am spending my bath times analyzing the soaps I use I should maybe think about taking that advice...heehee

I started with the bath salt and the bubble bath, which smelled really nice. As I was reading a dirty Space/Travel Romance book I inhaled the flowery and fruity scent until I was a little pruney. Then I turned on the shower and scrubby scrub scrubbed. More of that pear deliciousness wafted to my nose. What I love most about this stuff is it smells exactly the same when I sniff it in the bottle as it does when it is lathered on my skin. The lather was nice. Not overkill but very nicely scented and silky.

I know that many of the products I use are organic, fair trade, hand made and natural. This is not a hard and fast rule for me. My one hard and fast rule is animal testing and, although I prefer the most natural ingredients I am not opposed to something commercial if it smells like white lillies and pears.

So the stuff is made by Body Prescription and, if you see it, buy it. And have a fantastic bath.

Now, on to Etsy. I currently have 8 pages of stores from which I want to buy soap and then review it on here. But it is going to take me awhile. I just got in a shipment today of soap samples from CountryHeartGifts that I cannot WAIT to try. But since it might take me quite awhile to get them all ordered used and reviewed, I am adding several blogs for Etsy stores as links to this one. So check them out.

And now, off to enjoy my Saturday night.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I did NOT want to get up this morning. What is it about Fridays that just make me want to stay the hell in bed? Whatever happened to TGIF? I used to like Fridays. Now they just seem like the day that REALLY sends me over the edge into exhaustion.

And I forgot to lay out my soap last night so I opened the giant Silver train case where I keep my soap slivers (yes I cut them into pieces and store the rest so it keeps longer, what of it?) and took a gander at my offerings. There were jellies, gels and these amazing soaps I got in Europe but my eyes lit on something I hadn’t tried yet: Miranda by Lush.

Okay, so I admit I cheated a bit in obtaining this one. If you get Miranda on the Lush Web site, it is shown as the adorable light green color you see in the top left corner. I, however, got my chunk of Miranda straight from the Lush store in Vienna, Austria and it looks like the multicolored bit of wonder to your right. I wonder why the difference, the ingredients appear to be the same. And no offense to the lovely Canadians who make my American Lush because I delight in their offerings and own more of their products than anyone should but the Austrian version is way more fun. And this is coming from the girl who only speaks in primary colors. For example:

Clean Diva’s Roomie: What are you wearing tonight?
Clean Diva: My blue shirt with jeans
Clean Diva’s Roomie: Which blue shirt?
Clean Diva: You know, the one with the big sleeves…
Clean Diva’s Roomie: OH! The Turquoise one!
Clean Diva: Right. Blue. The blue shirt

So seriously, Lush, make the pretty Miranda for North Americans. If even I noticed, it’s a HUGE difference.

Anyway, this soap was wicked fun. I pressed my nose up against it and sniffed with little effect. Miranda is chock full of kiwi, bergamot, juniper berries and ylang ylang but it doesn’t pack much punch dry. As soon as I got it wet, however, I was whisked away in a shower of tropically fruitiness. The kiwi scent is awesome. It doesn’t smell fragrancy (something I adore about Lush in general) but I felt like singing that Harry Nilsson song about limes and coconuts and shaking it all up right there in the shower.

The lather is nice too. As I have mentioned before, I am not attached to lather in a “I’m not clean if there aren’t bubbles” sort of way but man oh man was this luxurious. I didn’t want to wash it off. In fact, I regretted having to wash my hair because my shampoo smells so strong.

On a side note: Does anyone know of a scent free shampoo that actually bloody works?

Now for the sad fact portion of the blog: Miranda is a Retro Lush product for North America. It was discontinued for some bizarre reason and is now only available for a limited time (Le sigh) on the Lush USA or Canada Web site. So unless you live in Europe, frequently go to Europe or have friends in Europe who are willing to send you soap, I recommend you get yourself online and order Miranda now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bring Me Some Figgy Pudding

So this morning was not so bad. I felt sort of awake when the alarm went off and I had prepared for the shower by laying out my soap.

So I know figs aren't for everyone. I know a woman who cringes at the very thought of them. I, on the other hand, happen to love them. On a side note, if you too are a fig lover (and I'm not talking about Newtons) I recommend you nosh on the Parisienne Mac Smac NYC.

But back to the soap. This morning I lathered up with Le Deliziose soap by Nesti Dante, which is made in Firenze, Italy. I just love how this soap smelled when I took it out of its wrapper. The spicy, pungent smell of black figs hit me hard. I suspect that knowing it was in my bathroom made getting up this morning much easier. But on to what happened once the soap was wet.

I was disappointed. It was like the water squelched the smell almost immediately. The lather was nice, very soft and adundant but I COULDN'T SMELL THE FIGS. That folks, made me sad. And now, a few hours later, I feel a bit itchy and tight.

I will say that this is a glycerine based soap and contains more soap than I usually seek so I could just be readjusting to "big girl soap." At any rate, I will probably use this up but not buy it again. I do want a wonderful fig soap in my collection so I will keep looking for that perfect one. Nesti Dante also makes a Fig and Milk soap so maybe I will give that a whirl. If you like luscious lather and a soap that leaves no trace of scent on the skin but does smell FANTASTIC in the soap dish, I still recommend Le Deliziose - Fico. You can buy it online here. I haven't found it for sale anywhere else on the interwebs.

For New Yorkers, you can also buy it at The Bathroom at one of their two locations (94 Charles St. and 112 Greenwich Avenue). I love this store not only for its amazing collection of soap but also for the awesome people who work there. These people GET soap obsession and will help you find the perfect bar (or gel or foam or whatever) for you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


For the past few months, one of my toy poodles (I have two) has been sleeping with me every night. He likes to snuggle really close to me and I must confess that his contributions to my comfy and cozy sleep space have made it super tough to climb out of bed in the morning.

Luckily my phone alarm went off in the living room so I had to hustle to get it.

Anyway, I digress. There is nothing more wonderful when I am bleary eyed and stumbling to the bathroom than a nice chunk of that wonderful spicy white buttercream by Lush known as Skinny Dip.

...Now that I think about it, it would be a nice addition to naked swimming...

Lush seems to call attention to the violet when they describe Skinny Dip but I honestly don't smell it. What I DO smell is the yummy blend of clove, cedar and sage. It just fills the entire shower with its powerful scent. And whenever I rub it on my skin, I am suddenly awake.

What I love most about Lush buttercreams is that there is so little soap in them. I am not someone who needs lather having given up sulfates in my shampoo about a year ago. And Skinny Dip doesn't lather very much at all. I don't find that a problem.

I love Skinny Dip. Not only do I get out of my shower awake and moisturized from head to toe but the bathroom smells a-MAY-zing while I finish getting right?

As one last compliment for the lovely Skinny Dip I will allay the fears of those who think that strongly scented soaps will counteract their perfumes. As with most Lush soaps, I can smell Skinny Dip if I literally press my nose against my skin but not really. It really just wakes me up, sets me on my feet and sends me off to enjoy my day.

You can buy Skinny Dip at a Lush store near you or here introduction

So I love soap. It's funny really. Once upon a time I viewed showering as a hassle. I mean, I did it daily (duh!) but I didn't like it.

Then I discovered Lush. Standing in the shower with a bar of creamy, buttery Jasminey wonderfulness changed my life forever.

So now, 60 or so bars of soap later...and I mean in my current rotation...I am completely obsessed.

And I would like to document it. So now, my dead readers, you have to suffer the consequences of my obsession.

I'll keep trying new soaps and reviewing the ones I try. If you love soap as much as me, make a suggestion. I am always open to try new things.