Monday, January 24, 2011

Jan. 24, 2011 - A couple of products

Last summer I tried a new dish soap that I'd found at Target.  This was when I was constantly on the lookout for earth friendly and local products.  The soap was from a company called Caldrea.  (See the post about it HERE, scroll down to about halfway through.)  There were things I liked about it and things I didn't.  In the end I decided not to buy anymore because it was pricey compared to other earth friendly products I could get.

So, a while later...a month or two maybe....and totally unrelated, I won a giveaway on a blog I'd been following.  My prize was (I got to choose) a bottle of natural toilet cleaner from the Mrs. Meyers company.  I had never heard of Mrs. Meyers products but apparently several other people on the blog had.  Maybe I'd just never paid attention?
While reading the label I noticed in the fine print it said something about Caldrea.  I don't remember now if it was something about 'a division of Caldrea' or just what it was that caught my eye but I was intrigued.  I sent a little email to 'Mrs. Meyers,' thanking 'her' for the prize, and then asking if they were the same company as the Caldrea dish soap I had used.  I got a very nice reply, thanking me for thanking them (lol) and although they never said if it was all the same company or what, they said they wanted to send me some scent samples of their products.  Very soon after than I received a large envelope in the mail.  I thought it would just be some little scratch-n-sniff type things of scents they carry.  No, these were actual samples of dish soap.  Cool!
There are five samples.  They look big enough that I'll get two, maybe three, uses out of each one.  The scents (left to right) are: Lavender Pine, Sandalwood Riceflower, Ginger Pomelo, Sea Salt Neroli, and Basil Blue Sage.  I was more excited about this than the actual prize that I'd won!  LOL!  They've been sitting in the envelope here on my desk for months now because I was waiting to blog about them.  Well, I guess once I took the picture I could have gone ahead and used them but no, they've just been sitting on my desk.  Ooops.

As for the original prize, I don't like it.  Our water is so hard and nasty, and our bathroom doesn't get cleaned as often as it should, so this stuff doesn't seem to do anything.  Maybe on an already clean toilet, used for regular upkeep it would keep it clean but on something already very dirty......bleah.

Sometime after winning the Mrs. Meyer's cleaner I won another giveaway on the same blog.  This time I won a package of Skoy cloths.

The website describes them:

The SKOY cloth is a fabulous, absorbent, biodegradable and natural multi-use cloth.  Our re-usable earth friendly cloth is perfect in your kitchen, bathroom, and on most surface areas in your home or office.  SKOY cloth can be used in place of your sponge, wash cloth or paper towels. 

It is a European made product and 100% biodegradable because it is made from a natural cotton and wood-based cellulose pulp.  SKOY cloth is a chlorine-free product using water-based colors and inks.  After an independent composting test, SKOY cloth broke down completely within 5 weeks.

The SKOY cloth is a durable product due to the reusability factor and can last months.  Using a SKOY cloth is equivalent to using 15 rolls of paper towels in an average home.  With the high cost of paper towels, as much as $2 per roll, SKOY cloth is the obvious choice for your wallet and the environment.

The SKOY cloth has an absorption factor of 15x its own weight.  As a result, producing the most superior cloth product available.  Imagine using 15 sheets of good-quality paper towels at once… This is how a wet SKOY cloth will feel in your hand. 

The SKOY cloth is long-lasting because of the wash ability feature.  It dries quickly, so it is not a breeding ground for bacteria.    Have you ever used your sponge, then smelled your hand and it reeked of horrible bacteria? That will never happen again if you microwave your SKOY cloth regularly. It is also dishwasher and washer/dryer safe. Cleaning your SKOY cloth will keep it healthy and germ-free.  Please see Use & Care for instructions.   

The cool and unique designs will make cleaning fun!

When I got them I was disappointed.  Not sure what I was thinking they'd be like but what I pulled out of the package was a bundle of colored squares that were stiff like cardboard.

The packaging was cute but I looked at these things and thought they couldn't possibly be any good.  I had visions of them becoming nasty rough things that either didn't get into places you needed them to or would be leaving bits behind as you cleaned.  I tossed them under the bathroom sink and there they sat for months.  Then one day I was going to throw them out but decided that wouldn't be fair if I hadn't even tried the poor things.  So I decided to give the bathroom sink a little wipe down just to say I'd used them.  And whoa!  These things are freakin' awesome.  They are indeed like sponge-towels!  There is no pulpy mess left behind.  They soak up tons of water.  They wring out easily and spring back to shape so you can get right back into cleaning.  I ended up scrubbing the bathroom and that one yellow Skoy cloth handled it all and looked no worse for the wear at the end of the day.  I draped it over the edge of the bucket to dry and when I wanted to use it again just a bit of water brought it right back to its sponge-towel gloriousness.

I love these things!  Since I finally started using them, the same one has scrubbed my bathroom many times and still looks good as new.  Ok, true, I haven't used it with really harsh chemicals to get the nastiest places scoured but I bet they'd do pretty good.  If you ever have a chance to try or buy these, I say DO IT!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jan. 22, 2011 - Bath & Body Works regular haul #2

Today I came across a coupon for a free preview size lotion, no purchase necessary, and since hubby and I needed to go to town anyway we swung over to Bath & Body Works and kinda went hog wild.  I'd also found a 20% off your entire purchase coupon, which is why we bought way more than intended.

The free preview is the upcoming Carried Away scent, ' lush raspberries, white jasmine and whipped vanilla.'  It's an ok scent, but probably not something I'd buy again.  Not sure if it's the jasmine or what but something sort of morphs the raspberry smell into something else, almost plum or something.

Grabbed a couple more small Lemon Vanillas from the 75% bin.  I don't want to get too involved with this scent because I know it's going to be harder and harder to find.  I do know that the outlet store had tons of products in this scent last time I was there.  If I really wanted to I could go back there and stock up.

Grabbed a regular size body butter in Secret Wonderland scent just to help round out my stash of that scent.  Also grabbed this as a way to get the Buy 3 Get 2 Free deal.

Coconut Vanilla is one that I've paused to look at every time I've been to either the regular or the outlet store.  I always pass on them but not today, not with the Buy 3 Get 2 Free deal and my 20% off coupon.  It's described as 'A tropical twist of coconut milk and cool vanilla that's the perfect summer escape.  Key Fragrance Notes: Creamy Coconut, Pineapple Sorbet, Exotic Vanilla,'  and it smells like a soft coconut with just a hint of other fruit.  The vanilla is there in the end.  I really like it but hubby was not so thrilled.  Guess I'll have to use this on days I he won't have to smell me much.

Hubby wanted in on the action too and picked out several things for himself.  After sniffing all of the mens sprays he went with Noir because that's the one I liked best.  He also got a small Noir shower gel from the 75% off bin.  He found Ocean and Citron gels in that bin too, but no Oak.
Noir - a bold, exotic blend of black cardamom and white musk. Key fragrance notes: Sage, Coriander, Cardamom, White Vanilla, Vetiver and Amber Musk.
Oceana refreshing blend of cypress, vetiver and yuzu.  Key fragrance notes: Bergamot, Cypress, Nutmeg, Patchouli, Cedarwood and Vetiver.
Citron - a citrus blend of white woods & lemon zest.  Key fragrance notes: Crisp Bergamot, Sage, Lemon Zest, Brisk Woods, Tonka Bean and Sandalwood.

 And of course, had to get more Dark Kiss.  I got a small lotion, spray, and shower gel to get the 3 for $10 deal.  When hubby was drooling over the scent later we decided it smells like some kind of fruity candy.  Wish I could have gotten a body butter in this scent.  I think this will replace Twilight Woods in my shower for a while.

All my coupons worked out this time.  I got the deals I was going for.  And I got a survey thingie on my receipt so I can get another $10 off coupon.  And I really should stop shopping there now.....LOL

But I won't.  Not yet anyway.

Jan. 22, 2011 - Bath & Body Works regular haul #1

Earlier this week I was having a very boring, crabby, non-productive day.  What takes care of all those problems?  Shopping!  I had to go to town for a few necessities anyway but my crabbiness gave me a 'Why not!?' attitude and I headed over'd you guess?......Bath & Body Works.

I had a couple coupons and I had a kinda sorta somewhat solid plan for what I wanted but things didn't work out so well.

I had wanted to get more Warm Vanilla Sugar shower gel because my little travel size bottles would not last as long as my lotion and body butter.  Found the regular size bottle and grabbed one.  Somewhere along the line though I grabbed another travel size of this scent and it wasn't until I got home that I realized 'Duh!  I don't need more of THAT scent!'  (My guru says to just take it back and exchange it.  I hate doing that kind of stuff though, so I'll probably just use it.)

I found the body spray hubby had wanted, and grabbed that.  Then I found more of the small size shower gels in his scent in the 75% off bin, so I grabbed a couple more of those.

I saw lovely Twilight Woods scented body butter in cute little travel size tubs and noticed a sign telling me I could three travel size items for $10 so I looked around for other scents in the small size....
...and found Dark Kiss, 'a seductive blend of dark berries with a kiss of vanilla to unleash your most primal passions.  Key fragrance notes: sensual incense, Mirabelle plum, and night musk.'  Now, I had ordered a fragrance oil dupe of this scent to make soap with but had not made it yet when I saw one of my guru's videos talking about how much she liked this scent.  When I saw this little bottle I gave it a sniff and figured I'd give it a try.  Turns out hubby absolutely loves this scent.  When he sniffed it that day as I was showing him what I'd bought his reaction was "MMM, I *like* that one," and he had to give it another good sniff.  When we were in the store today (post coming up) he happened to pick this scent up and had the same reaction.  And when we were back home later today and I was sorting through things to take blog pics, he happened to sniff that one again and was almost in a sort of man heaven, "Aah, I. Like. That. Scent!"  Makes me giggle, thinking if I'm all showered and lotioned and spritzed up with this he won't be able to stay away.  Heheee!

And somewhere in there I might have screwed up on the 3 for $10 items.  When I used my coupons, I should have gotten a travel size item free but the checkout girl used it on one of the 3 for $10 items which then cancelled out that deal.  In the end I paid over $10 for two of the items and got one free, when really I should have had the 3 for $10 PLUS one more free travel size item.  Like I told you, this store is frustrating.  At least my $10 off a $30 purchase coupon worked.

Jan. 22, 2011 - Bath & Body Works outlet haul #2

Last weekend we went to hubby's work party at Kodiak Jack's in Oshkosh.  Since it was a fairly early dinner time (moved up because of the Packers playoff game that evening) and because we were heading to Oshkosh, we stopped at the Bath & Body Works outlet store again.  I had wanted to get a couple more things in Warm Vanilla Sugar scent and hubby wanted to see if there was a mens body spray in the Twilight Woods (for men) scent.

I opted for the small $.99 sizes again and got a body lotion and a body spray in my yummy favored scent.  And then I stumbled upon something so glorious.....a bin full of body butters for 75% off!  And there was Warm Vanilla Sugar!  SCORE!

I also found Twilight Woods in that bin of cheap butters so I grabbed it.  Back at the travel size section I found Twilight Woods and grabbed a body lotion.  And that was it.  I had to stop myself because I already had so many things at home, and because we needed to get to the dinner party.  But now I'm really wanting to go back and grab oodles more of those cheap butters because I've used the Twilight Woods one for several days now and I'm loving it.  I actually prefer these butter types in tubs over lotions in bottles or tubes because it's so much easier to use and you know you're getting every last bit of it.

A small but nice haul.  :)

(Oh, and the only mens body spray we found there was in Citron scent so we didn't get any.)

Jan. 22, 2010 - Bath & Body Works outlet haul #1

I discovered that we have a Bath & Body Works outlet store near here.  How awesome is that?  The YouTube guru said there aren't alot of outlet stores and you're lucky if you have one near you.  Woot!  So I have a regular store in Fond du Lac and an outlet store in Oshkosh.  If I want the newer type things or have awesome coupons I can go to the regular store, and if I want the older things with everyday awesome deals I can go to the outlet, and they are about equal distance from where I live.  Hehee!

One problem I have with B&BW is that the stores are overwhelming and frustrating.  There are so many discounts and deals that it's hard to figure out....or keep track of.....what you need to buy to get those good deals.  Buy 3, Get 2 Free of this type, 3 for $10 of that type, 50% off these, 75% off those.  Gah!  Oh, and don't forget the coupons.  Free this or that with the purchase of that or this, $10 off if you spend $30, 20% off your total purchase.  Arg!  It's like a you need to take a course to shop there, otherwise you are paying dearly.

Luckily (?) the outlet store does not accept coupons because of the already discounted prices.  That's one less worry when I go there.  LOL!  Hubby and I went to the outlet for the first time a couple weekends ago.  I was expecting some minimalist, bare shop, something like a Sav-A-lot store.  I was pleasantly surprised and even found that I like the outlet more than the regular store.  It's a lot bigger for one.  Anyway, our first visit was just to scope it more than anything.  But, of course, I had to buy a few things.  I kept seeing things that my YouTube guru had discussed in her videos and I'd be all "Oooh this is the one she says is good/gone/hard to find/etc." and had to have them.

(The candles from my previous haul are in this picture.  Ignore them.)

Hubby picked this Cranberry Woods candle.  Described as 'A mysterious blend of cranberry, rich black currant, and raspberry layered with notes of cinnamon bark, cedarwood and warm amber,' all I really smell is cranberry when I do manage to get a whiff of it.  As mentioned in the other post, it seems we have to put the candle someplace out of the way in order to smell it.

These are two items (the scent anyway) I got as a direct result of videos I'd seen from my guru on YouTube.  The Twisted Peppermint hand soap is 'an invigorating blend of cool, refreshing mint, white sugar, and a hint of vanilla.'  The menfolk in my house are not fond of mint so I'll probably have to use this up myself but that's ok because it's a really nice soap in a really nice scent.  The Winter Candy Apple body lotion is a 'mouthwatering blend of crisp apple, candied orange and rich cinnamon spice.'  It sounds divine but I've found it's too, I don't know, cheap perfume-y.  The lotion itself if nice but this scent will take some getting used to.

When I saw Warm Vanilla Sugar I was so happy.  I've made soap in this scent several times and it's one of my favorites!  It never registered in my jumbled brain that I would now be able to get the real thing.  Doh!  I saw these little travel size bottles for $.99 and couldn't resist.

Hubby was sucked in too and picked a small bottle of Twilight Woods (for men) shower gel.  This surprised me a bit because he's not a shower gel guy, and he's not into we both like this scent and I'm glad he picked something for himself.  It's described as 'an unforgettable, masculine blend of cedar, white pepper and musk.  Key fragrance notes: Dark Woods, Vetiver and Spice.'

No, I didn't really need any of these things but what the heck.  It's stuff that we'll use, stuff that will be gone soon and not something to clutter the house for years to come, and it's my fun new obsession.

Jan. 22, 2010 - Bath & Body Works online haul

I had gotten a Bath & Body Works gift certificate for my birthday and used it to order several candles.  You may remember that I am a total wax tart junkie when it comes to home scents.  Shortly before Christmas though, for whatever reason, hubby and I got into a candle burning kick.  So what did I use my gift certificate on?  Candles.  Yes, BATH....and.....BODY....and I bought candles.
I'd seen many reviews on YouTube, people raving about how wonderful Slatkin & Co. candles they smell so wonderful, and the scent is so strong.  I really love the warm, cozy, foodie scents so that's what I went with in my order.  I got Creamy Nutmeg, Homemade Cookies, Vanilla Bean Noel, and Mint Chocolate in the smaller size, and Vanilla Shortbread in the large three wick size.  I'd wanted Frosted Cupcake and Hot Butter Rum but they weren't available when I ordered.

The only one of this group that I've burned so far is the Mint Chocolate.  The scent is wonderful!  The strength of that scent though (the 'throw') is kinda weird.  When we had it burning on the coffee table and we were sitting on the couch watching TV, I couldn't really smell it.  However, if you left the room you could smell it.  The other day I moved this to my desk and had it burning on the top shelf.  Sitting here at the computer I couldn't smell it at all, but when I came in the house from being outside I smelled it immediately, even from the back room.  I guess we'll need to put the candles somewhere central or out of the way when we burn them.

I'd also seen a review on YouTube where the person said her small candles burned lopsided.  We have that happen too.  We try to turn the candles, but it seems like the wick wants to sag over to one side.  We've had to prop them slightly to try and even things out.

Overall though, I don't know if I'll buy any more of these candles.  I still like wax tarts more.  I know B&BW has those wall flower thingies that you plug into an outlet and they scent your rooms but I don't really get into the plugin types.  Just something about using electricity.....I don't know, maybe it's only fractions of pennies to use them?  I don't know.  They also have the scented oils.  I'm considering trying those.  I was never interested in them before because I didn't like having liquid sitting around in case the cat got curious or rambunctious.  My fattycat is fat and old now though, so I don't think he'd cause trouble.  And I keep my warmers on the top shelf of my desk so everything would probably be ok.  Maybe I'll try the oils one of these days.

So, I got all those candles with my gift certificate, but I did get one body product too.
This is a small bottle of Lemon Vanilla body lotion.  The B&BW guru that I've been watching on YouTube had said that this scent is being discontinued and they'd become hard to find soon.  There is just something about lemon that always catches my attention.  (Remember the Lemon Oatmeal soap that I just *had* to make?)  When I saw this still available on the website I ordered it.  This is a very lemony scent, as you would expect, but there is not much vanilla.  It's like the vanilla is just enough to take the sharp edge off the zesty lemon.  Very nice, I like it.

Moving on to my actual store hauls...............

Jan. 22, 2010 - Bath & Body Works

Towards the end of 2010 I got really frustrated and disappointed with handcrafted soaps.  Part of it was because I'd gotten so dry and itchy as the cold weather set in.  Part of it was that I was no longer enjoying *making* soap either.  I had tried Lush before the holiday and was disappointed.  And then Christmas came and Santa got me some products from Bath & Body Works.  Yay!

I'm going through a major B&BW phase right now.  Before this I think I'd only been in that store maybe once in my life, and at that time I'd scoffed at it all because I felt it was highly overpriced.  I used to just grab a cheap bottle of body wash and a blah lotion from Walmart and be done with it.  It got me clean and it softened what needed softening....job done, move on.  Since falling into the curiously fascinating world of homemade bath and body products though, I'm more willing to explore those pricier products in wonderful scents.

So I'm going to post my Bath & Body Works hauls, and natter a bit about them.  :)

Christmas Haul
I actually bought this for myself while Christmas shopping.  I was good though and tucked it away until Santa put it in my stocking, even though I was so anxious to burn it.  It is the smaller size (4oz) candle in Vanilla Caramel scent.  YUM!  And here we are nearly a month after Christmas and I still have not burned this.  (We've been burning other candles first.)

Santa also brought me this three piece set in Secret Wonderland scent.  The set contains small, 3oz bottles of shower gel, body lotion, and body spray.  The scent is described as 'Our exclusive Secret Wonderland is a whimsical blend of luscious strawberry, frosted jasmine petals and white amber inspired by a world you never dreamed existed.  Key Fragrance Notes: Luscious Strawberry, Gardenia Petals, Jasmine, White Amber.'  I have not used these yet but I do like the scent and I love how that labeling looks.

Santa brought me another three piece set, this one in Twilight Woods scent.  I suspect 'Santa' picked it because it has Twilight in the name...hehe.  The scent is described as 'Indulge your senses with our exclusive Twilight Woods, a hypnotic fragrance inspired by a romantic walk in enchanted woods.  Key fragrance notes: Juicy Berry, Soft Mimosa, Apricot Nectar, Warm Woods.'  This is what I've been using the last several days and I quite like it.  It's a bit more 'perfumey' than I'd usually go for but not enough to turn me away.  I've seen people review it as having a strong grape smell.  Grape?  I don't get that at all.

That's my Christmas Haul of Bath & Body Works stuff.  Small and sweet.  Stay tuned for more hauls, once my addiction started and I wandered back to the store......