Sunday, December 26, 2010

Guest Blog Two: Heather reviews Lovin' the Land's Duplin County Wine and Sesame soap

A Handmade Soap Virgin's First Experience:

When I started reading this blog I had never used handmade, organic soap. My skin is so extremely sensitive that almost every soap I tried in the past caused a reaction such as a rash or dryness to the extent of peeling. I found one brand of soap that worked marginally well (meaning it didn't cause a bad reaction, but it was drying to an extent) for me in high school and have used it almost exclusively since, so I was a bit wary of venturing into uncharted territory.

Having known Clean Diva since college, I was aware that her skin is as sensitive as mine and was confident that if handmade soap did not cause her problems, I should be able to give it a try as well. When I saw that she wanted guest bloggers to review new soaps, I decided to take the plunge.

The Duplin County Wine and Sesame soap by Lovin' the Land practically jumped up and down for me to choose it. Growing up in rural south Georgia, we picked muscadines every year and to this day, the taste and scent are among my favorites.

My soap was shipped the day after I placed my order and arrived a couple of days later. The packaging was very pretty and I could smell the soap even before I unwrapped it. The combination of sesame and muscadine wine creates an interesting aroma - each scent can be deciphered, but together they create an understated and clean smell. I took the time to cut my soap into smaller pieces, as Clean Diva suggests, and then headed for the shower.

The scent of the soap does not intensify much once it's wet, it just smells even cleaner, if that makes sense. It produces a small amount of smooth, silky lather that leaves skin feeling moisturized and soft. Normally after a shower, I put on lotion to keep my skin from getting too dry, so in order to have a moisture comparison at the end of the day, I put the lotion on only one arm. There is very little difference in how my arms feel now, more than 12 hours after my shower. The arm without lotion still smells faintly like the soap, which is a nice surprise. I plan to keep every slice for myself, so I can say with confidence that this soap gets high marks.

I must admit that this experience has made me want to try more handmade soaps. Many thanks to Clean Diva for sharing her adventures in soap so that others can become enlightened!

Friday, December 10, 2010

At a Loss

Winter is strange.  I want to enjoy the Christmas Season.  Hell, I work half a block from Rockefeller Center and I should delight in the joyous lights, etc.

But I am so tired.  So very very tired.

And there is no good reason.  I am sleeping at night.  Life could be less stressful but it could definitely be more stressful too. 

Something about this season, as we head toward the darknest night of the year saps my strength completely.  Getting out of bed in the morning hurts.  Going to bed at night, I read about a paragraph before falling into a dead sleep.  Boy howdy does it blow.

And, to make matters worse, I have a soap that I have been using.  I picked it up at a shop in Savannah last February and it looks like wood.  And it smells amazing.  Trouble is, I threw out the packaging and cannot find it anywhere online.  So I can't even share it with you. 

I don't know what to buy my brother for Christmas and I am more dreading the 12 hour drive than contemplating time with family.

You know what I am?

That's right...the Grinch.  And his little dog is my poor poor Simon trying to navigate the Christmas season with his extremely cranky mother. 

I need a nap.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm back and guest bloggers

How long does it take until one is no longer jetlagged?

At any rate, I have two guest bloggers coming up:

Heather and Alyssa!

One of them is going to win the contest.  And you guys get to benefit from their soapy wonderfulness.

And I bought TONS of soap in Europe...stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Texture is everything

I am on the countdown now, kids.  In a little over two days, I board a plane to Venice.  From Venice, the moms and I will grab a ship and travel to Split, Croatia; Naples, Italy; Rome, Italy; Florence/Pisa, Italy; Marseilles, France and Barcelona, Spain.  Then, because we are in the neighborhood, we will spend a day in Paris. 

I am beyond stoked.

So waking up these past few mornings has been hell because 1.  The day to leave has not yet arrived and 2.  Work has a tendency to get crazy when one is about to leave the country for 12 glorious days. 

So I have been playing with my soap, so to speak.  I've reached for Lush products these past two mornings and both are only available to me due to my uncanny ability to know what works best frozen.

First up is Snow Showers shower jelly from Lush:

Snow Showers

Oh how I love this one.  First of all, the shower jellies are just unadulterated shower time fun.  I drop them constantly (good thing I'm not in prison) and just make a HUGE mess.  And this one smells like oranges and cognac.  It's a Christmas soap.  It doesn't scream Christmas to me but it does scream good times.  Also, googling to find the picture above also took me to a new blog, Rotten Otter's, which seems to be a blog by someone with strangely similar taste to me. 

But seriously, if you haven't tried a Lush shower jelly, you should.  They are a rockin' good time.

And now for the Rest-In-Peace oh favorite soap of mine portion of our program. 

Lush used to make something called Buttercreams and they were barely soap.  15% soap, 85% things that smelled yummy and made your skin feel even yummier.  They barely lathered and they didn't smell like much dry.  But oh it was like rubbing your body with the most luxurious sweet smelling wonderfulness in the shower.  Of these, The Emperor of Ice Cream was my favorite.  Jasmine, vanilla and...Orange honey.  How I coveted the Emperor.  How I loved him.  How I cherished him.

So, of course, Lush discontinued the buttercreams.  I've yet to find anything else that smells like Emporer of Ice Cream.  Luckily, I still have some. 

And, even now, hours after the shower, I can smell it. 

I smell good.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I used the same soap two days in a row.

Last holiday season, the Romeo Mike (aka Room mate) got a gift certificate to Bath and Body Works for Christmas from somebody at her work.  She used it to buy stuff but, most notable, Yuletide Pear Vanilla Body Cream.  Because she has this amazing ability to make things last that I don't have (I use or lose things incessantly.  It's how I roll).

This stuff smells pretty rockin'.  And what's grooviest about it is that she tends to waft that scent everywhere she goes.  And when she hugs my pups, they start to smell like it and that's cool.  Because I love pears.  If you need to know more about that click here or here or even here.

Anywhoodles, when I was picking out soaps over at Lippincott, I came across Vanilla Pear (no link because they don't have it up right now.) 

I tried it yesterday and was like...meh...but COME ON it's pear.  So I tried it again.  And this morning I really really liked it.  It smells just like the lotion. 

Maybe I should buy the Romeo Mike a bar for Christmas.

Anyway, I know that's a tiny little review but I am pretty brain dead.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stuff I LOVE!!!!! Volume 2

So far, I only have one guest blogger in my little contest!  Are you all going to just let her win?

No worries, kittens.  I have a whole new set of Stuff I LOVE! for your perusal. (Please note all pictures are from the seller's Etsy store).

First up, the vegan friendly Refreshing Pear and Berry Soap    It's no secret that I love pears and anything that smells like pears so this soap by Island Girl Craft N Gift is right up my alley!

Another thing I love?  Champagne.  And what's perfect with champagne?  Strawberries!  And what doesn't give you a massive hangover?  Strawberries and Champagne Shea Butter Soap by The Soap Shop.  If that isn't a compelling argument to buy this soap, I cannot think of a better one.

Ok so this next one doesn't look like much but it is made with muscadine wine, an amazing Southern secret that I really miss now that I live in Yankee land.  (Sorry Yankees)  North Carolina's own Lovin' the Land sells Duplin County Wine and Sesame soap.

For other Southern bits of wonderfulness, they also have Sweet Potato Pie Soap, check it out.

For a super unique scent combo, I am intrigued by Grapefruit Gardenia soap by Bella Bath & Body!  I like the post on Etsy for this one because I learned something new.  It turns out citrus fragrance oils can make you sensitive to the sun.

Some months ago, I published a blog here about the substandard soap at my office.  This next little gem (or should I say gems) could be the solution.  They are called soap leaves and are made from REAL LEAVES covered in soap.  You can use them for one wash and are left with a cute little leaf to throw away and freak people out when they look in the garbage!  One order gets you 20 soap leaves and you get to pick the color and the scent.  The are made by Outre Beauty Bistro and I am in L-O-V-E.  Please buy some of these.  I think I may.  Check out her other soaps too because they are gorge.

Button's Bubbles brings you Baton Rouge soap.  This one is in honor of my colleague, CT.  She is from New Orleans, which is not Baton Rouge but the scent description of this soap reminds me of her...oak mixed with a sultry blend of Cajun spices.  BAM!

One of my blog readers, Joanna has this incredible shop called Product Body and, in this unbelievable shop, she has this soap called Poison Apple that looks and sounds like a shower dream come true.  It has the scent of apples and cinnamon and graham cracker PLUS a little black pepper.  Sign. Me. Up. and not just because Joanna posts things that help me learn about soap beyond "I like this.  It smells good."

I came across the Gingerbread Sugar Spa Massage Bar while watching the Philosophy people yap on QVC or HSN about how liquid soap is better than bar soap.  NO WAY!  This soap has nubbies for massaging and sugar for scrubbing.  All while smelling like the holiday appropriate but admittedly awesome all year gingerbread.  Wowsa.  It's made by Nanas Soaps.

 Beyond the Christmas Song reference in the description (this is the ONLY non-Chipmunks Christmas song I can tolerate...mainly because my father and I delight in rewriting it every year) Sweet Roasted Chestnuts soap just sounds warm and yummy.  It reminds me of the smell of chestnut vendors in NY at Christmas.  And while it may be cold, NYC is magical around the holidays. Thanks for making this one, Beacon Creations.

The final soap for this installment of Stuff I LOVE is Bottoms Up by lymonia dawkins.  This soap seems to carry the unwritten slogan of "if one thing is good, 10 is even better."  This is my life motto too.  Everything in excess.  So.  It is scented with roses, orchids, other exotic flowers, honey, pineapple and spice.  LOVE IT!  Plus, it is super pretty.

And that's all for this week kittens and puppies.  Sign up for the contest!

Oh NO!

This morning, I got up and opened the trunk of soap I have.  I thought I would go with something different than my norm. 

My hand grasped my tub of Foaming Sugar Scrub by Hartley Soaps.  I've had it longer than I would like to admit but have never used it.  Here is the photo from the original Etsy posting.

The scent is Eucalyptus and Spearmint but the smell is somehow sweet and minty.  It's unbelievable.  I cannot even describe it appropriately.  The listing said it has lavender in it.  That makes sense.  The scent would make an amazing linen spray.

But I digress.  The formula of this stuff is incredible.  The second water hits it, it gets sort of foamy.  Like a bath fizzy but not because the texture remains velvety soft and maintains that incredible smell.  The description describes it as a scrub but there is nothing abrasive in the product.  If it is secretly exfoliating my skin, I will be completely in love.

The big issue.  This product doesn't seem to be available on Hartley's Etsy site anymore.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Best Absinthe Episode I've Had in Some Time

Good morning all!  I used a soap yesterday that made me think of a story. 

Back in the Spring of 2008, I was spending some time in a hotel room with my favorite German, Ronny and some other friends.  It was 4am and we decided to do some additional drinking.  We called room service and had them bring up spoons.  And then we proceeded to consume two bottles of German absinthe.  Oy.

I had a meeting at 7:30am during which I had to sit in front of a whole bunch of complaining people.  I looked over at the person running the meeting and she said "Hey, I would like to field most of the questions this morning if you don't mind." I replied "I think that's a great idea because I am fairly sure I am still drunk."

It was not my proudest moment. 

That was the last time I imbibed Absinthe, even though I still have some in my house. 

Shockingly enough, I still love the smell.  So when I was cruising Etsy looking for some soap to purchase and I saw this picture...I had to stop.

Absinthe Shea Butter Soap soap
I had to have it.  Plus, I have been eyeing Naiad Soap Arts for some time!  So order it I did and waited.

When I received the package in the mail, it had been way too long since I got new soap because it felt like Christmas.  The first thing I noticed is how professional this soaper's packaging is:

Now, my photography skills are sincerely lacking but use your imagination.  It's nice.  And I swear I could smell the soap through the

Here is the box once I opened it. It's kind of hard to see what with the bad light, but I adore the stamp in the soap.

So...the big story.  How was it?  The answer is pretty good.  This is a really hefty bar and, even after cutting it up into hand sized strips, I still barely wore down my strip in one long shower.  The soap foams nicely and certainly gets the job done.  I didn't feel pinched or dry after.  So, all in all, a really great soap.,

I only have one complaint,  As soon as the soap got wet it stopped smelling.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, this is not my favorite thing.  But gosh my bathroom smells good from having it in the soap dish.

And now for a gratuitous puppy with soap picture:

Friday, November 5, 2010

I just discovered Regretsy

Before today, I had never seen  I'm not sure if I am glad I've seen it now but it does bring to light that there is some strange stuff going on at Etsy. 

Luckily, none of my soapers were attacked by the catch phrase "Where DIY meets WTF" but one Alchemy request showed up that made me laugh until I cried.
 **Ahem**  Did one of you guys make this soap for him?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Honor of my Simon

Hello all.  Today is November 4th.  2 years since we elected President Obama (for better or worse) and 3 days since the birth of my youngest furbaby and the light of my life, Simon!

Weighing in at a massive 5 pounds, Simon brings so much joy to my life that I cannot believe I got by without him. 

When I first got Simon, on Christmas day 2007, he didn't even weigh a pound but he could make some massive noise.  He was a gift from my dear friend Dennis and had a big white bow tied around his adorable little midsection.  When he came walking toward me, I was in shock.  How could I ever keep something that tiny alive?

We had to take him to the vet in order to clear him to fly home.  The vet warned me not to take him outside until he weighed at least 3 pounds because NY streets can be dangerous and covered in germs.  He spent the entire plane ride from Savannah to NYC perched on his brother's head in the carrier.  I loved him instantly but also knew that he was going to be VERY different from his brother Teddy.  Where Teddy was light, Simon was dark.  Where Teddy is quiet, Simon is LOUD.  Where Teddy is mellow and relaxed, Simon is HYPER. 

When it came time for Simon's first bath I was nervous.  He was so very very tiny and I didn't want to sting his eyes or dry out his puppy skin.  I had noticed that Lush sometimes has dog washing parties so I asked them for a mild soap recommendation.  I was told that Honey, I Washed the Kids would be the perfect option.  Scented of honey and caramel, it seemed perfect for my little boy. 

So we gave a bath a whirl.  Simon loved it.  He licked at the soap and it didn't seem to even bother him.  He played with the bubbles.  I only dropped him under the water once and he came out soft, clean and smelling amazing.  To this day, I only wash Simon with this soap.  He loves it.  I love it and it's perfect.  In fact, at my house, we call it "Honey, I Washed Me Simon."

Happy birthday Simon.  I hope we spend many toffee scented years together.  Mommy is on her way home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stuff I LOVE! (and a little friendly giveaway)

Other people call this soap porn and, while I love that name,  I didn't want to steal it from some of my favorite bloggers. 

So for now its the typically descriptive Erin description "Stuff I Love"

I've been combing Etsy looking at soap and falling in love every five minutes.  Sadly, I have 36 soaps I have yet to review and an impending trip to Europe to pay for so...I can't.

But maybe you can.  And then tell me about it.  In fact, if you buy something from my Stuff I LOVE! lists during the month of November, I would love to have you do a guest blog.  I'll post the blogs during the month of December. Everyone who blogs here will be entered to win a $25 Amex gift buy more soap (or pay bills or whatever but soap is more fun.)

Here are the rules:

1.  You must review a soap listed on my Stuff I LOVE! blogs during the month of November.
2.  You cannot review a soap you made
3.  You must notify me by emailing me at no later than December 1st, 2010 of your intent to blog.  Please let me know which soap you will review.  I will confirm your email by replying.  If you did not get a reply, I did not receive the email and you should re-send.  No confirmation means I did not receive your entrance.
4.  A list of guest bloggers will be listed on this blog on December 2nd, 2010.
5.  Completed blog must be received no later than December 15th, 2010.
6.  Please try to keep the reviews as positive as possible.  We are not trying to humiliate or embarrass anyone or put a soaper out of business.  I reserve the right not to publish a blog that I think will harm the soap maker's business or mental status.
7.  All Guest Blogs will be posted between December 16th and 31st.
8.  Guest bloggers who blog about this competition will get an extra entry.  9.  Guest bloggers who blog about this competition will get an extra entry.
9.  Winner will be chosen by a random drawing (using a computer generator) on January 5th, 2011 (giving me time to get myself home from Georgia).

10.  Winner's prize will be shipped via USPS between January 6th and 10th, 2011. 

And now for Stuff I LOVE!  I'm going to be prolific in order to give you tons of choices! (Please note all photos are from soapmakers soap.)

Cute Little Duckie Soaps on Ponds by Sheri's Soap Opera:
These typically come in lemon verbena scent but you can choose a different one.  They are SO CUTE!

Beyond the fact that this is called Blackstrap, which makes me think of all sorts of naughty things but it contains figs.  And we all know I would buy poo if it smelled like figs.
Blackstrap - Handmade Soap - Brown Sugar, Coconut, Vanilla, Fig
 Cereal Killer by Anderson Soap Company is an olive oil soap and it smells like fruit loops.  Since many of you don't live in NYC and therefore cannot have cereal milk soft serve at momofuku milk bar, this one is for you.  It SAYS it's great for the kids but I say eff the kids.  Erm...what I mean is use the soap for yourself!  Alternately, I am totally into the Spring Salty Bar (second picture)
Cereal Killer Olive Oil Soap BarSpring Salty Bar  (VEGAN Friendly)

Vegan friendly Rose Quartz Gem Chunk Soap by Angelic Soap!  This one cannot be described.  Observe:

Rose Quartz Gem Chunk Soap

For the show obsessed people among us, I recommend SudsNSuch's Magic Slipper Rubberband Bracelet and Ring Bubblegum Scented soap.  Not only does it smell of bubblegum, one of my favorite shower time scents but it has take away gifts inside.  Give them a friend and say "I thought of you while I was in the shower this morning."
Magic Slipper Rubberband Bracelet and Ring Bubblegum Scented Soap
And from my secret favorite soap blogger, Anhoki, Life is Beachy.  Reading this incredible soaper's blog always reminds me of how short and important life is.  Look at this beauty:
Life Is BeachyI will just copy her description of this soap because it makes me laugh:
As I sip my flirtini I see the tiki hut filling with babes in bikinis and dudes in Speedos. Guido is at the bar spinning and tossing around bottles. Free drinks! An ukulele, bongos and a few of Eduardo's closest buddies are serenading us as the sun begins to set. As I take it all in the aromas of fresh ocean breezes and bird of paradise fill the air. A tap on my shoulder has me startled. I turn to see Eduardo with nothing more than a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a smile. Life is beachy.

Life is beachy is a wonderful oceanic blend of bird of paradise and ocean. Made with olive, coconut, canola, palm and soybean oils with mica for color. Fresh, clean, simple.
Aunt Nancy's Soap brings you Chocolate Serendipity which sounds like a fudge brownie for your skin.  Yum Yum YUM.
Chocolate Serendipity Handmade Soap with Cocoa Butter
The most crunchy all natural sounding soap on my list is Honeyed Lemon Magnolia Granola Bar by Etsian GetLathered.  It combines so many things I love and makes me kinda hungry for breakfast.  So it's PERFECT for morning.
My last one for this week is in honor of my upcoming trip to Europe.  Capricorn Soap Company's With Love From Paris.   I'd buy this one for the packaging alone.
Image of With Love From Paris
This should be plenty to get you started.  I hope someone is willing to turn their $10 into $25 and get a new soap.  Come one, come all guest bloggers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To Sick to Blog

Sorry kittens.  I had a nice little shower with Lush's currently not being made soap Pineapple Grunt but halfway through my shower I realized I could barely stand.

So its been sofa sleeping all day for me.

I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

hmmm...something I realized today about Lush

Hey there folks, it's Old Favorites Monday again.  Since its the start of the official Christmas season in my house (the roomie loves her some Christmas) I thought it would be appropriate to dig out some Snow Fairy Shower Gel by my friends at Lush

I know I have been kind of down on Lush lately and, while I prefer soaps from small hand made soaps, I really do love Lush.  It's the first place to show me that soap went beyond Dove and that things made by people's hands are preferable to things made by machines.  And while I find Lush's continued use of SLS to be disturbing, I suppose SLS is not some evil baby-stealing ingredient that makes you insane.  In fact, many of you reading this may wonder what my problem is and why I keep harping on the evil's of SLS.  For those of you, I encourage you to click here and read a blog post written by Victoria, BC based Rocky Mountain Soap Company for a little more detail on why SLS is not our best friend.  The bottom line is that it just isn't natural and therefore has no real place in a product that touts itself to be handmade and natural.  It's just an opinion, but one that seems many of my sensitive skinned kindreds share.

But moving right along. 

I'll tell you the good first.  I love Snow Fairy.  It's FUN.  It's pink.  It smells like bubble gum.  It calls out to the Debbie Gibson loving tween I was not so terribly long ago.  It foams, it bubbles and the smell sticks around long after the shower, something I also like.

However, while showering I discovered something interesting.  I was perusing the list of ingredients and saw the following:

Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Lauryl Betaine, Perfume, Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride), Lactic Acid, Synthetic Musk, Cocamide DEA, Titanium Dioxide, Iridescent Glitter (Polyethylene terephthalate and Acrylates copolymer), Benzyl Benzoate, FD&C Red No. 4, D&C Red No. 33, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Who with the what now?
So I get the synthetic musk because real musk is an animal product.  Water I know.  SLS...yuck...
But WHAT is the rest of that crap?  Fortunately, Lushopedia answered some of it but seems icky.
Is it just me or is nothing in there really that natural sounding.
Now, here are the ingredients for Honey, I Washed the Kids:
  • Honey Water (Mel Aqua),
  • Propylene Glycol,
  • Rapeseed Oil,
  • Sunflower Oil,
  • Coconut Oil (Brassica napus; Helianthus annuus; Cocos nucifera),
  • Water (Aqua),
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate,
  • Sodium Stearate,
  • Sodium Hydroxide,
  • Perfume,
  • Beeswax (Cera alba),
  • Sweet Orange Oil (Citrus dulcis),
  • Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia),
  • Aloe Vera Extract (Aloe barbadensis),
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides),
  • Titanium Dioxide,
  • *Limonene,
  • *Linalool,
  • *Benzyl Benzoate.
Is it just me or do those seem more recognizable?  I checked out lots of Lush products and Snow Fairy seems the most chemically.  Am I totally off base?

I still love Snow Fairy, though.  It's like being Barbie for a few brief moments.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I got so excited I forgot to take a picture!

I had a fantastic shower this morning.  Alyssa, one of my wonderful blog readers, recommended that I purchase Pumpkin Apple Butter Soap from Lippincott Soap Co. And OH MY GOD am I glad I did.  Before I launch into a total love fest analysis of my morning shower, a little about Lippincott.

My newest favorite soaper is based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (interestingly, home of some of my favorite clients) and they use food grade oils in making soap.  It's cold process and they are moving toward using only organic palm oil.  No yucky SLS to be found. 

No, onto Pumpkin Apple Butter Soap.  I took it out of the plastic and sniffed.  It smelled nice but nothing to write home about.  Then I got it wet.  Seriously, the entire shower was a cloud of warm, spicy yumminess.  I tried to ignore it while I washed my hair but kept picking up my little sliver of soap sniffing it.

When the time came to finally lather up I lathered and lathered and lathered because this soap just smells so good.  Maybe my nose wasn't sensitive enough to differentiate between the many many scents described by the soap maker but I can describe Pumpkin Apple Butter as fruity, like a warm pie or cobbler without the bread I guess like the filling of the aforementioned.  And the fruit is heavy on the cinnamon. 

The lather on this soap is like a dream.  Abundant, creamy and silky.  I used it to shave my legs and it worked like a charm.  There is also something in the soap that is softly abrasive and served to gently exfoliate, which I appreciate.

Post shower, the scent doesn't linger much, which is fine because that prevents a mix with my perfume.  However, my skin is soft and feels hydrated. 

This soap is definitely on my top 10 favorites list and that is saying something.  Thanks for the recommendation, Alyssa.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When soap smells like...well, soap

Lately, I have been going through my soap collection and cleaning house.  I'm getting rid of stuff with SLS and soaps I don't like.  It's a shame you cannot donate soap to a shelter or something.  I always cut my soap into chunks because I like to preserve and because I like the soap to fit in the palm of my hand so it is fresh.  This means I have a hundred little (meticulously labeled, in most cases) baggies of soap. 

At any rate, between the past their prime soaps, the soaps I don't like and the soaps that have fallen victim to either the bathroom humidity or NYC bug problems, I am throwing out massive amounts of soap.

Of course, I am also discovering some never used/never reviewed bars of soap.  That part is cool. 

At any rate, I came upon an unmarked bar of soap in my stash.  It is brown and white and looks like it should have some sort of chocolate scent.  I suspect I know where this came from: some odds and ends I ordered not thinking that, due to the fact that they are odds and ends, they aren't labeled.  I sent most of these to soap loving people who don't take "tasting" notes but this one must be a left over.

I won't announce where I suspect it came from because I don't know for certain.

But this soap...well, it sucked.

It was pretty enough but it smelled like nothing.  Like detergent.  It reminded me of the soap smell in the showers in my cabin at summer camp.  Just plain clean the dirt away soap.  I suppose, in theory, there is nothing wrong with soap that smells like soap but I am the girl who prefers her dish soap to have a unique scent (like lavender and lemon grass is that so wrong?) so for me it was like a wasted shower.

I get that some people have allergies (I do too) but why would one want a detergenty smelling soap?  I don't get it.  But a peruse of my old stand by Etsy shows me that many soapers have a scent free soap.  Does scent free mean "smells like soap" or something different?  I COULD order one and find out but that would be a waste of money for me. 

I tossed this soap out immediately.  It was too pretty to smell of nothing. 

I must be some kind of aromatherapy addict because it just started my day off wrong.

Monday, October 25, 2010

*Happy Dance* *Happy Dance*

I just bought SOAP!

I won't spoil you too much by telling you exactly what I bought but I bought from two stores I have been eyeing for some time and who have highly covetable soaps!

Lippincott Soap Co. (thanks for the recommendation Alyssa)


Naiad Soap Arts 

Can't wait!

OFM...Old Favorite Mondays

This morning, as I was contemplating my giant bag of soaps (I really should take a picture of the really is huge) and I caught sight of an old favorite.  At first I thought it was the amazing Lush Demon in the Dark but it was actually another old favorite: Sea Vegetable or just "Sea Veg" for those of us who are hopeless Lushies.  I got kind of excited when climbing into the shower with my old friend. 

As the lovely lavendar scent surrounding me and my skin started to feel that clean yet hydrated feeling I adore about Lush soaps, I was at least temporarily pulled from my Monday morning slumpfest.  And it got me to thinking.

Perhaps I should bathe every morning with an old favorite.  Hence, OFM.  It sounds like a dirty gangsta rap group but is really very very clean.  I dig it. 

Interestingly, after getting out of the shower, I notice the shower rash.  Not as bad as previously blogged about but there nevertheless. So, I consulted the Lush Web site and yes, SLS.   I wonder if  I am developing a tragic reaction to SLS. 

This week, I intend to invest $20 in new soaps to try.  It's like Christmas...but with SOAP.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stuff From All Over

Part of learning to be a less lazy blogger is checking out the tremendous backlog of my favorite blogs.  Here is some of the awesome stuff going on in soapy cyberspace right now!

The incredible Tierra Verde Soaps is having a ROCKIN Soap giveaway.  There are some massively lust worthy fall soaps over there and some lucky person is going to win three bars.  I hope its me as I have my eye on Lemon Poppyseed, Autumn Ambrosia and Star Anise!  Hop on over by clicking the link above and enter to win!

A Perpetual Clean Diva Favorite, Burnt Mill Candles & Soap is making Lumps of Coal Soaps for Christmas!  Check out the pictures over at Burnt Mill's Blog!  Sign me up.  I think I will make this my bathroom soap for the Christmas Season and maybe even buy some for stocking stuffers. 

Super cool soaper, Kylee Lane of Luxury Lane Soap is looking to buy a home outside of her price range so we all have to help her expand the business by buying something.  Allow me to make some recommendations.  I think the Winter Frost soap is perfect to ring in the quickly approaching winter.  The brand new Companion Soap Cube is a super cool innovative soap.  If you are more of a "simple bar of soap" type of person, I think that Dirty Hippie looks awesome.  But let's help this wonderful soap artist buy her house!

I'll be back to tell you about new shower experiences next week.  Until then, enjoy the nippy weather and remember to buy Hand made.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gardenias again, I must be homesick

Today I did it!  I actually got out my back of not yet tried soapies and tried one.  I stuck my hand in the back and pulled out...

Gardenia by Mistral

At first I couldn't remember where on Earth I picked this up...but then I recalled.  It was November of *ahem* 2008 SoHo NY with my BFF Viv and the Amazing John who had come to visit from Chicago.  Good times.

I have previously blogged about how much I love gardenias...second only to Jasmine, they remind me of Savannah and early feminine and wonderful about soap.

And Mistral delivers.  The soap is obviously manufactured and I am a sucker for home made but it's nice.  The bar is hefty (it should be at $8) and the scent is heavy.  Plus, it says Provence on the bar.  Since I will be in Provence in about a month, I was stoked to see that and it helped me temporarily forget that I have to actually work during that month.

The lather is good enough for even the biggest lather lover and it left my skin soft and smelling of flowers. 

I'd recommend it, and I may even use it again. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Long Overdue Soap Review

Ah...I'm so glad to be bad to back at this blogging business, not the least of all is that I missed all of my little soaps.  I've been using the same old same olds down to nothing, not because I adore them but because I have been too busy to change them out. 

This morning I reached for a soap that I bought back in August.  I was in Las Vegas with a colleague for training and we stopped by Basin White at the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and were instantly awed by their adorable soaps.  We picked up a Birthday Cake bar for another colleague (that's a completely different story) but one soap in particular caught my eye.

Take a look at the promo shot from Basin White's Web site:

Yes indeed, its a soap called Rubber Ducky and it claims to smell of sweet apple.  I hadn't tried it until now but, truth be told, I never did smell these supposed sweet apples.  So, you ask, how was it?

Well, the lather was phenomenal.  Just a few swipes between the old hands and I had tons of bubbles.  It's really darned cute and it did seem to get me clean (hell, even my feet smelled ok for most of the day) but it didn't pack a punch of scent and I really do like a heavily scented soap. 

If you like adorable soap that won't compete with your natural or man made scent, this may be for you.  Alternately, I recommend it for guys with a secret love of duckies but who don't want to smell like girls all day. 

And, just to make sure you get the full impact, I'll leave you with a picture of my little baby duck posing with my bar of Rubber Ducky.

Be warned, what you are about to witness is obscenely cute:

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Horror of Horrors

One of the ways in which I am incredibly girlie is that I have always had a go-to perfume.  When I was in my late teens and through my late twenties, it was ALWAYS, ALWAYS Chanel No. 5.  I thought that anything worn by Marilyn Monroe and immortalized by the incredibly amazing Andy Warhol (see below)

had to be the ultimate in femininity.  As time went on, I started to see the draw of jasmine, a middle note of No. 5,  which seems to be my Achilles Heel of scents.


I was at JFK about to board a plane to Germany in the Fall of 2008 when I came upon Bvlgari's Jasmin Noir at the Duty Free shop.  Liking the smell from the bottle, I sprayed a bit on myself and then hopped the flight.  6 hours of being cooped up in the plane later, I could still smell this scent.  It's different from No. 5, warmer and homier somehow and it lingers in a way that's not heavy handed or overwhelming.  Long story short, I had discovered a new signature fragrance.  To this day, I love it, even if I do leave it mainly for night time as it is a slightly naughty fragrance.

I like it so much that I even bought the shower gel.  I've been using it for those special nights out for almost 2 years.  It helps to layer the scent and has a nice, yummy texture.  It's liquid and probably a smidge harsher than my normal soaps but it smells so nice.
I've had two occasions lately that called for the shower gel.  Two Saturdays in a row, as a matter of fact. 
Both times, I have noticed a red rash on my arms, chest and neck.  Could I be allergic to my shower gel?  And why would it happen all of a sudden? Why am I having such a horrible time with soap lately? 

I wonder if I can find a more natural, less chemically soap that smells something like Jasmin Noir?

Friday, October 15, 2010


So, my feet stink.  I mean REALLY smell.  People are always telling me that its because my soles are cloth or because I buy cheap shoes.  So I buy some uber expensive leather soled shoes and...guess what...they still got smelly.


How can someone who is complete obsessed with soap have such smelly ass feet?  And what are the tricks to make it stop?  Please don't tell me to always wear socks, that just isn't logical.  I went to the local drug store looking for something that can help.  Sprays barely mask, odor eater soles are bulky and unbearably uncomfy.  

...there are some smelly foot soaps but we all know how I feel about store bought liquid soap from drugs stores...shudder.

What's a smelly footed gal to do?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Savannah Soap Finds Day One: Red Clover Tea

So day one of the Savannah Soaps finds week involved an extremely early shower with Red Clover Tea soap from Nourish.  The shop itself is really cool and exactly the kind of place I could see myself opening if I ever got bored being an insurance mogul in training.  The smells wafts down Broughton Street and invites me in with pictures of cute puppies in the window and promises of many many kinds of soap made by people in my hometown.  You just cannot get more inviting than that.

Of the three soaps I bought this time, I was most enamored at first sniff with the Red Clover Tea.  This soap is a glycerin soap that is made by
local artisans and cut to size.  It is sulfate free and detergent free.  And it has some tea leaves on the top.  I was REALLY excited to try this one.  Here is a picture I took of it myself. 

I am not the best photgrapher so just deal with the crappy quality. 

So, it was the first one of the batch I tried was ok.  I think someone who is into soaps that smell good but don't have a scent that clings to the skin would like this a bunch.  It has a nice lather and a creamy consistency.  I will note that the soap has to be really wet to build up a lather but, once it does, it is foamy.  For me, however, the scent was not potent enough once in the shower.  And that's my favorite part.  Plus, the little tea leaf bits kept sticking to my skin. 

I do feel as though my skin was moisturized and soft when I got out of the shower, which is really nice.  But I didn't get that steamy perfumey quality I like so much.  So I recommend this one to those who like a soap that smells better dry than wet. 

I am a little sad because it smells SO GOOD when dry.  The bulk of this one will be sealed and kept for a potential present.

I have more soap from Nourish coming up as well as the mysterious shamrock soap Haley mentioned.

Stay tuned.

This One's For My Girl

Whil hanging out in Savannah, Caroline and I had a real opportunity to discuss some important topics in our lives.  She talked about the next steps in her career, her incredible work with at risk youth and where she sees herself over the next few years.

I, not being very deep, talked about soap.

Okay, so it wasn't exactly like that but we did get in some soap talk.  Much to my astonishment, Caroline actually reads my blog.  She told me that she loves peppermint.  It is her absolute FAVORITE.  So, now that I am home, I did a little research on the aromatherpy uses of peppermint.  Some of what I found is below.  I found it here.

Therapeutic properties of peppermint: Anti-inflammatory; relieves pain, muscle spasms, and cramping; relaxes the nerves; kills viral infections; decreases gas and indigestion; clears lung congestion; reduces fever

Uses for peppermint: Peppermint helps the digestion of heavy foods and relieves flatulence and intestinal cramping, actually relaxing the digestive muscles so they operate more efficiently. A massage over the abdomen with an oil containing peppermint can greatly aid intestinal spasms, indigestion, nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Erm, interesting.
I bought Caroline a bar of peppermint soap from Nourish.  I put it in her shower and even had the chance to use it myself before leaving.  It was cool, refreshing and tingly.  I must say, my best friend has good taste in scent.

So, I put together a top 10 list of desirable handmade peppermint soaps just for Caroline.  Here they are, for your perusal and hers.

(In NO Particular Order)

1.  Cacao de Menthe by RoseandRoot.  This vegan soap has a healthy dose of peppermint oil but also some cocoa to make it brown and smell a bit of chocolate. 

2.  Peppermint Denture Soap by LoveLeeSoaps is soap that smells like peppermint and looks like dentures.  So Caroline!

 3.  After the Workout Soap by SoapyBlessings is perfect for Caroline because she has to work out often these days and I know there are aching muscles involved.  According to the description, the peppermint oil and eucalpytus help both joints and muscles.  Awesome.

4.  I'm really into the idea of Beer Soap Rosemary Mint

Made by Juicy Bath, this soap contains beer and peppermint, two of Caroline's favorite things.  Plus, it says it is enjoyed by both men and women.  ::cough::

5.  Intentions makes a soap that looks so much like a cancy cane, I can almost taste the mint on my tongue.  Appropriately named Candy Cane Ribbons, it reminds me of the many Christmases I drove to Caroline's to chat and get her amazing gifts.  Caroline is the best gift giver on Earth.

See?  You can smell it already, right?

6.  This next one reminds me of this past weekend and eating peppermint bark from River Street Sweets.  On Saturday, Caroline and I loaded up with the stuff and ate and ate.  Gosh it was yummy.  And this soap from  Etsian Aniselle is just what I need to keep around to remind me of that day.

7.  Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow - L'Alchemie has a peppermint soap that looks like a Pride flag!!!!!!!

8.  Exploding Frog Soaps by Howard's Home.  Frog soaps that explode need no explanation.

9.   Ice Storm by Bella Bubbles over at DaWanda looks like a cool piece of ice.  It's just lovely.

10. Last but not least, Vanilla and Peppermint Kisses Soap in the shape of feet make this list complete.  Thanks to Jay Jay's General Store for making the perfect Peppermint Soap.

I cannot, for the life of me, dear reader, imagine that you have a best friend more wonderful than mine.  But if you have one who comes even close, I highly recommend spending 3 or 4 days with that person.  You'll be shocked at how much things stay the same even when they change.

So, this soap's for you Caroline.  I hope you enjoy the peppermint soap I left in your shower ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

I went to Savannah and I bought soap

Hey ya'll!  I just got back from a trip to Savannah.  I went specifically to see my very best friend of all time, Caroline.  I have loved Caroline from snarky comment 1, which occured one afternoon in the sixth grade.

We ate and ate and ate.  We went on some tours of our home town like tourists and we went...SOAP SHOPPING. 

Savannah has some pretty great places to buy soap, including a super cute store called Nourish where I have shopped before but I got a bit more carried away this time.  All in all, I bought six bars of soap. 

One I left at Caroline's house because she was using something non-handmade.  But the other five I brought home to try.  Here is a picture of my loot:

I hope you are excited as I!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love, Love, Love

So I just got in from the Shining Stars event for the NGLCCNY.  It was fun.  I enjoy getting dressed up and having someone do my makeup.

But, wonderfully enough, my day started earlier than usual at 6am.  I got out of bed and went, book in hand, to the shower.  I sat on the side of the tub while the bathroom filled with steam and I just inhaled the warm air while reading a few chapters of A Girl's Guide to Vampires, which by the way, is hysterical. 

Then, after finally deciding I had dawdled enough, I climbed into a steamy shower with my newest bar soap acquisition...

The Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooove Bar...was making its virgin round.

Doooo dooo do dooooo doo dooo

You get the point. 

Shaped like a heart and smelling like rose and jasmine, Love Soap was a special edition for Lush deal.  So if you want it, run to the closest Lush store and hope they didn't sell out yet because they are going, going, gone.

At any rate, it has been so long since I broke out a new Lush soap and this was delightful indeed.  I must confess that, like a small child, I enjoy soap that has colored foam.  Using this soap is like painting yourself orangey red like a demon....muahahahaha.

Anyway, ahem, it was fun.  Lush nails things like texture, scent and color like no other large batch soap. 

This is a real winner.  I wonder why Lush won't just break down and make a full time soap that smells like Sex Bomb. 

At any rate, I'm sleepy and off to bed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I went to Lush today and kept it under $25

Ok, so I clearly need new soaps.  So when the roomie announced she needed to go to SoHo to visit the Genius Bar at Chez Steve Jobs I tagged along.  I needed shoes for the Shining Stars event tomorrow night and SoHo is ALWAYS fun.  Of course, after the Great Bidet Disaster and my realization that I need to cease being the world's crappiest blogger and actually write some blogs, I needed inspiration.  And what is more inspirational than Lush?

Ok, so maybe buying from awesome Etsians...but Lush has some things that Etsy doesn't.  For example, hipster sales girls who don't judge me for my soap obsession (and who get extra points for being A-DOR-ABLE) and that smell.  You know the one.  Tourists complain about it and it gives you total headache after 5 minutes but it is still incredibly.

Plus, being the day after VD, I knew something would be on sale.

Well, miracle of miracles, I only spent $22.  This has a bunch to do with the fact that I already own just about everything, but I was pleased with myself nonetheless.

Here is what I got!

It's red.  It sparkles.  It's small.  And it smells like Sex Bomb.

Tom Jones once said, when referring to a Sex Bomb: Now you found the secret code I use to wash away my lonely blues. So I can't deny or lie cause you're the only one to make me fly.

And who I am I to argue with Tom Jones?


Second, I bought B Electro...this is some limited edition madness with which I am now COMPLETELY obsessed.  It smells like flowers (such as jasmine and rose) mated with things that make you want to wake up in the morning (aka fennel and grapefruit) and had a bastard love child that neither wants to claim but will one day take over the world.  One sniff made me want to go to the gym.  Appropriate gym soap is hard to find but this one is perfect.  Here is what it looks like:

Kinda like the green goo under the streets of Gotham City in Batman.  But you get the point.  Love Love Love it. 
Tomorrow I have to feel sexy, which means soap with some Jasmine (hmmmm....Love Soap?) followed by Bulgari.   Bulgari allows me to convince myself briefly that I look like Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  Which, I don't.  And never will.

But I digress.

Soap reviews later.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

When Depressing Things Happen to Soap Loving People

So, a few weeks ago I went to Vegas.  We won't discuss the trips because it was frankly dreadful (nothing nice to say...say nothing at all...blah blah) but something TRAGIC happened while I was away.

The neighbors upstairs improperly installed a bidet and, when the hot water pipe melted, the result was an indoor rainforest in my apartment.  Everything was basically fine in the end but alas, my favorite soaps in my favorite soap dish were destroyed.

RIP Nectar, RIP Jasmine Jubilee, RIP Wasabi, RIP McCarren Park, RIP I Heart Bacon and...RIP Tiny Bubbles.  I think that's all. 

As you can see from the pictures above, I have a big blob of used-to-be soap in my favorite dish purchased for me by my favorite mother.  It makes me SO ANGRY because I typically don't buy soaps twice because I like to try new ones.

These were my feel good soaps, my go to soaps MY FAVES. 

Stupid neighbors.  Who puts a bidet in their bathroom in Brooklyn anyway?  I could have given them some amazing heinie washing soap for the shower if they had only asked.