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 packaging...num.my.

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 www.regretsy.com.  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 card...to 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 kennedy.rodriguez@gmail.com 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 sparkles...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!