Friday, August 26, 2011

Aug. 26 - Bath & Body Works Haul

Fall is right around the corner.  It can't get here fast enough, in my opinion.  It's the best time of the year!  Watching soap makers videos on YouTube, debuting their fall and Halloween products . . . seeing stores starting to bring out the glorious fall items . . . and then watching Ellie taunt me with Bath & Body Works new fall products . . . it's a bad time for the shopaholic in me. 

Two nights ago we had a bat in our house.  YUCKY!!  Hubby didn't know about it before he left for work so I had to spend a day knowing that creepy little monster was somewhere in the house, just waiting for darkenss to fall again.  I was not about to go looking for it without hubby here and found a wee bit of peace in knowing the little bugger would probably stay  hidden all day if it wasn't disturbed.  Even so, I didn't feel like staying in the house.  LOL 

Where could I go?  What could I do to pass some time?  Go shopping!  Ooh, go to the mall because you don't get there much!  OOOH, go to Bath & Body Works and check out the new fall things!!!  And that's what I did.
(I wasn't just sniffing those candles, Ellie!)
Yeah, I wanted pretty much everything when I got to the Halloween stuff.  They have tons of festively fun things, whether it be spider tops on the hand soap pumps, or cool decorative covers that slip over the hand soap bottles (so you can dress up your non-Halloween soaps), or glow in the dark bits on labels.  Spooky soap dispensers, fun packaging, tons of fall scents.  Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to go there.

After finding some self control, I picked one hand soap.  I got the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin scent in the deep cleansing formula.  I would have loved to get more, some other scent, but I still have a bottle of the cinnamon scent from earlier this year and that can be considered fall-ish so I just got this one bottle.  It's described as 'spicy pumpkin puree with sweet butter and vanilla cream.'  I didn't really smell this too much in the store because I'd already smelled the candle version of this scent and loved it, but sniffing this soap now as I write this . . .I'm disappointed.  It doesn't really smell like the candle version at all.  It's waaaaay sweeter, with almost a tangy note to it.  I would never guess pumpkin if the label wasn't telling me that's what it was.  Everyone says B&BW has no hassle exchanges, so I might just have to do that.

The little baby 'preview' size candles are the real reason I went.  They are sale right now, 3 for $5.00, and I wanted almost all of them.  That bit of self control came in handy here too.  There are several pumpkin scents in the Fall line, and this is the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin.  Unlike the hand soap, this one smells fabulous!  It's a warm scent, spicy but with that pumpkin yumminess.  It's everything you think of in a cozy fall scent.

Described as 'creamy caramel and gingered pumpkin blended perfectly with vanilla, golden amber and soothing warm cream,'  I can't quite decide if I like this more than the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin.  This one is sweeter, creamier, and I think has more caramel than pumpkin . . . which would explain why I'm crazy about it.

Described as 'a frothy blend of creamy pumpkin, sweet vanilla cream and rich pralines is topped with a spiced caramel swirl,' you do get the caramel again but maybe a bit more of the pumpkin and cream in this one.  Another great scent but it doesn't strike me as particularly fall-ish.

Described as 'golden apple, brown sugar and creamy caramel are blended with Anjou pear, nutmeg and vanilla cream,' it kind of changes each time you smell it.  You're not overwhelmed by apple, which is good but sometimes it seems there isn't enough.  Smell it again and, oh ok, yeah, there's the apple.  Sometimes when I smell it I think it's too sweet but not distinctly caramel, but sniff it again and oh, nope, that's not too sweet at all.  The caramel element is definitely NOT as strong as in the other candles I mentioned already, which is kind of funny cuz you'd think this one would want to be big on caramel.  In the end, it's a yummy sweet creamy scent with hints of apple in the background.

I don't think this is new.  I seem to remember my B&BW guru talking about this one in older videos.  No clue why it was in the display with all the pumpkin-y stuff, but then again, they are coming out with a bakery line or something like that so maybe the pumpkin things were part of that.  Hehe, what do I know?  Anyway, considering I went there hell bent on fall stuff, this is probably my favorite of the candles I got.  LOL  Described as 'semi-sweet chocolate, dark cocoa and sweet peppermint enhanced with a touch of vanilla cream and white chocolate,'  this is so freakin' good!!  You can absolutely smell the sweet mint and the creamy chocolate.  It smells like Cedar Crest Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream tastes.  Yeah, it's THAT good.  Of course, hubby and the boys don't like mint so I have to burn this when they are gone or in bed.  Oh well, small price to pay for such yumminess!

All of those candles are the little baby size, only 1.6oz.  I won't burn them as candles though.  Instead, I'll take them out of their little containers and melt them as tarts.  The scent is much stronger that way.

And finally, I got a 3oz bottle of lotion in Wicked Spiced Pumpkin scent.  It's a spooky black bottle with a sparkly orange label, super cute for Halloween.  Described as 'blend of white pumpkin, fresh ginger and whipped vanilla musk,' I *LOVE* this scent!  You do get the pumpkin, but you get the musk in there too, enough to make it more of a body product scent and not a candle scent.  It's spicy but slightly sweet and, I don't know, this was the only one in their fun little Halloween lotions that really spoke to me.

And then of course, the overly perky but not too pushy B&BW girl talked about the new line coming September 7, said there are four new scents coming or something like that.  She put the little flier thingie in my bag and said I should be sure to come back then because there were so many promotions and fun things planned.  Ok, PerkyCheckOutGirl!  I'm all about the foodie scents!  

OH!  Almost forgot!  I had noticed there was a scent called Spiced Cranberry or Cranberry Spice or something (not Cranberry Woods) in large candle form but when I asked PerkyCheckOutGirl she said they didn't have it in the small candles and she wasn't sure why that was.  She said the Leaves scent was probably the closest one to that cranberry one, but I decided not to get it, even though I did like that scent too.  (She might have said the Autumn scent was the closest, but I'm pretty sure she said Leaves.)

Oh yeah, the sale was 3 for $5.00 and maybe you noticed I only have five candles here.  My mom had picked out a small aromatherapy candle in Eucalyptus Spearmint scent and took it home with her before I could get a picture.  It looks like this . . . 

Friday, August 12, 2011

(Import Post) Apr. 4, 2011 - Beacon Creations

(This is an imported older post from my soap blog.)

Beacon Creations
 I ordered from this company at the beginning of March but I was sick when I received my things, couldn't smell a dang thing, and didn't want to use or write about them until I was feeling better.  Then I just got lazy.  But here it is....finally.

I have watched Kia's videos on YouTube, that's how I found her shop.  There is something relaxing about her videos, her voice, her manner.  Her soaps gorgeous!  And not in an over the top way.  They still hold their look and feel of natural, handcrafted.  I love that.  Her packaging is simple but still cute with the curly ribbons, again keeping that handcrafted feel.  But her labels....oh my.  Her labels are as gorgeous as the soap itself!  I *WISH* I could do something like hers with my own.  Beautiful, yet subtle and in that way they are elegant.

I ordered several bars of soap and perfume oil, and was sent a few samples as well.
The samples...
Twilight Skies is the bluish gray one on the left.  It's described as 'Fluffy and sugary COTTON CANDY clouds in the evening sky with notes of Vanilla and just a hint Cherry.'  I think this one has been discontinued.  It smells very nice though, like candy.  I did use this sample a couple times and really liked it. 

Ransoms Treasure is the green/black one in the middle and is described as 'A pirates plundering of Key Lime rounded with notes of Coconut Milk, Gin, Black Tea, Cardamom & other exotic spices.'  It's a hard scent to describe.  The first thing I think of is Wrigley's Wintergreen gum but when I go back to get another whiff I don't get any mint at all.  It's a subtle scent (as they all are) but it's nice.  I have not used this one yet.

Cider Barrel is maybe her best known soap.  People on YouTube absolutely rave about this one.  'A delicious plethora of juicy Apples simmered to perfection with spicy notes of Cinnamon, Cloves, Brown Sugar and the tiniest dallop of buttery Caramel.'   And yeah, I see why people are crazy about it.  I *love* this scent.  I hope she's still making this one this Fall because I will definitely be getting some.  It just screams Fall when you smell it.  You don't get a distinct apple or cinnamon.  They are there, yes, but the other sweet notes balance it out.  I think I like this better than my own Spiced Cranberry, which has been my absolute favorite Fall scent.  Mmmmmmm!  I have not used this one yet either.  I just want to keep sniffing it.

I ordered a roll on perfume oil in Butt Naked scent.  Described as 'A cult classic turned commercial with fresh green apples perfectly harmonized with refreshing melons and juicy pears,'  this is scent I was not familiar with and would not have been my first choice but it was all she had at the time I ordered.  It is very much inyerface fruity sweet, a bit too much for me but still nice.  It's summery and kid-like.  I'm not familiar with perfume oils so maybe they are all like this...but once you put some on your skin the oil takes a while to soak in, or dry, or whatever it's doing.  I'm so used to cheap body mists (I am *not* girlie girl, lol) that dry immediately.  Having said that though, I would indeed order more of this in a different scent.

(And that's the cute little thank you card she included.)

One thing about Kia's soaps is that they are not all the same recipe.  Of the five bars I ordered, none have the same formula.  Whether there are really noticeable differences or not, I couldn't tell you.  I just use them and decide if I like them.  I don't do comparison tests.  I have tried three of the bars so far and liked them all, so I'm quite sure I'll like the other two as well.  The scents are not strong, as mentioned earlier, but they are all very nice.  The fact that they don't overpower the room and linger on my skin is fine because I like scented body butters and have been getting into perfumey things more lately.  The bar is a good size, generous but not so big that you can't hang onto it. They lather easily, which is something I demand if I'm going to like a handcrafted soap.  I've been spoiled by too many years of commercial body wash insta-lather.  But yep, these give an easy, creamy, long lasting lather.

#9 Memory Ln. - 'A Bakery Lovers Delight ~ Chocolate Buttercream Sherbet Scone drizzled in rich Vanilla Bean & Caramel Syrups.'  Chocolate is what I mainly get from this scent, with a hint of something... maybe the caramel?  Nice, I like it.

Blowing Bubbles - 'A fruity berry combination of strawberry, blackberry and wild huckleberries touched with a hint of pineapple and soft rose on a sweet caramel bottom.'  I really REALLY like this one.  The first scent I notice is the strawberry but there is that mix of other sweet things that make it oh so lovely.  The colors/swirls....awesome.  

Cluricaun - 'An amazing full bodied and smooth fragrance blend with Creamy Oatmeal, Orange Peel, Butterscotch, Farm-fresh Milk, Nutty Almond and Rich Vanilla.'   This bar is the whole reason I finally decided to order.  I had watched her video about this one and was drooling.  Funny then, that this is probably my least favorite of the bunch.  It's still an awesome soap, don't get me wrong!  I do pick up hints of orange in the background of this scent but to me it's mainly a sort of...I don't know....bready smell.  And I love the smell of bread.  But I thought this would be sweeter or creamier.

The next two I have not used yet.
Milk & Sweet Nectar - 'A delicious blending of juicy Peach and Mango Nectars combined with warm Honey, Milk, Brown Sugar and Spices'   This one is a nice scent, hard to describe though.  Just hints of fruit, blended with warm subtle spiciness.  Yeah, that doesn't tell you much, I know....LOL  I would not consider this fruity.  I'd almost put in the Fall-warm-and-cozy group.

Oatmeal, Milk & Honey - 'Straight from Grandma's kitchen comes this absolutely delicious fragrance of warm Oatmeal & creamy Milk drizzled with sweet golden Honey and topped with a generous sprinkiling of Brown Sugar.'   Ah yes, good ol' OMH soap.  If you have this in your shop, odds are I will be ordering it.  This scent is what got me hooked on handcrafted soaps to begin with so it's my sentimental favorite.   I don't know how to describe the scent.  Everyone says "Oh I smell the oatmeal of course but blah blah blah...." but I don't smell any one thing.  I just get a delicious sweet, warm, comforting scent that I love love love.

Beacon Creations also has bath bombs and bubble bars, lip balms, and whipped body butters.  I am itching to place another order.  Frustratingly though, I have to use up some of the ginormous amounts of bath goodies I've accumulated first.  Even though I'm not a bath taker (showers for me, in and out, git 'er done) Kia's bubble bars are so pretty that I think I might have to order one next time.  I'd like to try the body butter too but I'm getting kinda picky about those now....I absolutely love the light, fluffy, whipped cream type.  From what I can see in her Etsy pics, hers look more regular lotiony.

So yeah, I highly recommend Beacon Creations if you're looking for some awesome handcrafted soap.  This is probably my favorite bath and body shop right now.  Go check it!!  =)

Beacon Creations on...... ETSY.
Beacon Creations on....... YOUTUBE.

(Import Post) Apr. 18, 2011 - Lola & Olivia . . . Bath, Body, and Home Fragrance

(This is an imported older post from my soap blog.)

Lola & Olivia . . . Bath, Body, and Home Fragrance
This is another shop I found on YouTube.  Markeeta had subscribed to my channel and as I always do, I went to her channel to have a look around and found a link to her brand new Etsy shop, so I checked that out too.  Since it was a new shop she was having special goodies for the first ten customers.  I soooo did not need anymore soap or bath and body products but what the heck, a new shop looking for some business and a variety of bonus goodies that would let me try several of her products.
I ordered two bars of soap.  All the other things you see in the picture above are the bonus goodies.  I have tried several of the products so far, and will go through them individually below.  The bars of soap are good sized, generous but still fit in your hand so you're not fumbling in the shower.  They came in clear cello bags with labels on them, and wrapped together in a large brown ribbon, but I'm not sure if this is going to be her final packaging design.  The one that I've used so far took a bit of work to get some lather going but once it was there it was plentiful and very nice.  I noticed the little sachet bag is a match to the ribbon around the soaps...wonder if she made the bag herself??  Very cute.  There was a pretty little gift tin that I'll explain later, and a nice thank you card that even matches that tin.  It was so much fun to go through this package when I got it!

The bar that I have used is this one, called Candy Rain.  Described as 'a blend of vanilla, orange, pineapple and cherry. Very sweet and candy-like,'  it is a purplish color with some green and beige (and maybe blue?) swirls at the top, and some very pretty colored glitter sprinkled on.  When I smell it my first thought is 'Mmmm, candy!' but when I really stop and try to figure it out I think it's mainly the cherry and vanilla that I smell and I love that.  A very nice bar that I would highly recommend.

This is the other bar I ordered, French Vanilla Chai.  Described as 'made with chai tea and scented with vanilla and cassisa essential oil,' I was so excited when I saw this in her shop.  It is a smaller but thicker bar than the other, deep tan with cream colored swirls throughout.  I could never describe this scent.  It's not at all what I thought it would be but then again, I guess I'm not all that familiar with the scent of chai  I don't know what cassissa is, so maybe that's what I'm smelling.  I'm not getting vanilla at all.  It's not a bad scent though.  I'll have to pop this one in the shower and give it a try.

When I first opened the box I was greeted with a strong but nice scent that I knew could not be my soaps.  It was this cute little sachet bag!  I don't know what scent it is.  I saw in a YouTube video that someone else had gotten one too and in the comments Markeeta wrote that it was Orchid Rain.  (I think??)  I compared the scent of the bag with one of the other samples I have in that scent and they don't smell the same, so I'm really not sure if mine is also Orchid Rain or not.  Not that it smells so nice, whatever it is.  It's sort of way more perfumey than I would normally like but it's a NICE perfumey.  (I seem to be softening towards floral scents lately too so who knows what's going on.  lol)  I'm not sure what I'll do with this, maybe put it in my car.  Ooooh, should hang it in my son's room (either son!) because it smells like nasty boy room.  Don't you think all teenage boys rooms should smell perfumey?!  hehe

Two mini bath bombs came in this cute tin.  I don't see bath bombs in her shop yet so I can't link to it or get a description but a supplier site's description of the Orchid Rain scent is 'unique combination of fresh orchids, peony, water lily, watercress, aloe vera, and bamboo.'   It is very nice.  Now that I just shoved these in my face to smell them again, I think maybe it is the same as the sachet.  Very nice!  Sort of a sweet floral perfume.  If this is a dupe of some actual perfume, someone let me know because I need to get some!  Anyway, I have not used these yet because I'm not much of a bath lounger.  I'll get to them eventually.  She was also giving out mini solid-lotions but I got the bath bombs.

One the left is a Vanilla Creme Oatmeal lotion sample.  The scent is described as 'A warm blend of apple, pear, mellon, vanilla, musk, white chocolate, and raw sugar cane. Although this smells sweet and feminine, it is actually subtle and boyfriend approved lol!!'  I'm all about foodie scents!  While this definitely has fruity tones, I don't pick out any one in particular.  It's softened and leans slightly towards a warm scent because of the vanilla and hints of white chocolate.  A very nice scent that I think would be great in soap.  While this lotion is not quite the fluffy type that I prefer, it is thick enough and I really liked it.  My sample is gone already.

On the right is a sample of Vanilla Mint lip balm.  The scent is very minty, with a hint of sweetness from the vanilla.  I love it.  I had a blast using this at first because all of my lip balms are in stick form.  I was using this all the time because it was fun, but I've now come to realize that I'm not a fan of the balms you have to rub your finger in.  The balm itself was fine....very light, not waxy feeling at all.

And she included a ton of samples, good sized samples too!  I have not used any of these so I'll just quickly note the names and scents of each, left to right, top row first.
Mandarin Tangerine - I don't see this in her shop, but it' orangey citrus scent, but not harsh and zesty.  It's quite nice.

Kaolin Clay Shaving Soap - unscented.

Mint Green Tea - made with real green tea, there is no added fragrance but it still does have a natural scent to it.

Bamboo - green bar, described as 'crisp and clean scent with notes of fresh lime and mint, middle notes of french lavender and a base of white musk.'  I like this scent.

Come Clean - 'A crisp blend of peony, marine and fresh air.'  Reminds me of dryer sheets...hehe.

Vanilla Mint - 'delightful blend of rich sweet vanilla with lavender, rosemary, peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus and white camphor essential oils and coconut milk'  To me, this doesn't smell anything like the lip balm Vanilla Mint.  Maybe they're not the same, or maybe the product affects the scent, not sure.  The balm was a much sweeter version.

Charcoal Soap - There is no scent description but she mentions vanilla in the listing.

ChocFullO'Mint - This is my favorite of the samples.  It smells wonderful, like a Peppermint Patty, and it looks so cool with the green and white swirls in the dark brown bar.

Oatmeal Soap - The note on my sample says it's scented but there is no scent description in the shop.  It is not my beloved Oatmeal, Milk & Honey scent.  It almost seems like a natural honey and oatmeal scent.

And that is my order from Lola & Olivia - Bath, Body, and Home Fragrance.  I don't see any home fragrance items in her shop yet but the shop is new, and maybe she's just not ready to bring those in yet.  A sample tart was listed in her First 10 Customers gifts but I did not get one.  Bummer.  You know how I am about tarts!

Anyway, a nice new shop worth checking out!

Lola & Olivia on . . . ETSY.
Lola & Olivia on . . . YOUTUBE.

(Import Post) Apr. 21, 2011 - Alchemic Muse

(This is an imported older post from my soap blog.)

Alchemic Muse

This is one of the shops I've had my eye on for a long long time.  I really couldn't tell you why exactly, just one of those things that catches your attention and grabs you.  There is a look, a feel, about their stuff.  I don't know if I'd call it a medieval thing, not sure what style it falls into.  Reminds me slightly of Haus of Gloi.  I also couldn't tell you why I waited so long to order.  *thinks . . . shrugs*

I ordered one bar, the Blackstrap bar.  Described as 'Submit to the sultry and inviting aroma of this enticing creation. Caramelized brown sugar, sweet blackstrap molasses and creamy coconut milk dripping over ripe Moroccan figs floating on a base of vanilla beans and soft white musk.'  It's even made with real molasses, which I've heard about but never tried doing myself.  I found that interesting.  The scent is a sweet musk, a hint of vanilla but mostly just a blend of warm sweetness and mixed with the musk.  It's unisex to me, easy for a man to use without fear of being too girly but still sweet enough for the girlies to enjoy too.

It's a decent size bar, thick and chunky but still fits in your hand easily.  The lather is great . . . easy to work up, bubbly, and long lasting.  The scent is not overpowering.  A very nice bar of soap that makes me want to try more of their stuff.

One thing that surprised me though was that there was nothing else in the package.  Nothing.  If you've read my previous post about samples this is going to be funny but I really was shocked and slightly disappointed that there wasn't at least one small sample of something, anything in the package.  I guess I've just gotten so used to it.  But there was also no receipt or invoice or note of any kind.  And there was no communication on Etsy either.  I placed my order, I got my order, end of story.  I'm so used to all the friendly chatter and trivial bits that it was just a bit shocking to not have any of that with this one.

It does come across as a bit 'cold' but the shipping was fast and the soap is fine so I guess that's all that really matters in the end.  And yes, I probably would order from this company again.

I have no idea if they have a YouTube channel, blog, personal website or anything but you can visit Alchemic Muse on Etsy . . . HERE.

(Import Post) May 16, 2011 - Valhalla Soaps

(This is an imported older post from my soap blog.)

Valhalla Soaps
This shop first caught my eye in my earliest days on Etsy, but it is through YouTube that I've really become a fan of Donna and her company.  Just the name alone . . . Valhalla . . . immediately drew me in because it is Norse mythology and with hubby's Scandinavian ancestry that stuff always interests me.  (Ok, and the great movie Erik the Viking, from which I remember them talking about Valhalla.  lol)  Donna herself is quite fascinating to me.  I was told "that woman knows her chemistry! she has studied and been certified in so many things its"  Even her intro on her YouTube channel is so interesting, 'Merry Meet, I'm a Green/Hedge/Alchemist Witch . . . '   Roll all that up and add handcrafted soap to it and I'm there!

Valhalla Soaps has a large variety of bath and body products such as bar soaps, whipped soaps, scrubs, salts, lotions, perfumes.  They also have candles and tarts, room sprays, and even some homeopathic items.  There was a small problem when I ordered because the bar I wanted had just sold out on a differnt site.  Donna contacted me right away and I chose another bar.  There was quite a delay in shipping after that and I'm not sure why but I quickly got over that when I received the package and found all sorts of goodies in there.  (I see now on the Etsy shop announcement they have a turn around time of 5-9 days.  Aha, I had not seen that because I ordered from the main site,) The one bar I ordered came in a paper cigar band that looks soooo cool.  I love that aged, stained look.  The fact that it wasn't in shrink wrap or a cello bag with ribbon made me feel a little better about my own very plain packaging.  The samples and extra goodies did come in fun bags of various design.

I ordered the Gwendolyn's Light bar.  Described as 'White floral top notes of honeysuckle and jasmine enfolding sweet notes of coconut and cinnamon on a warm bed of musk and vanilla,'  this is a dupe of Lush's Alkmaar scent.  I've never smelled the Lush version.  Actually I didn't even notice this was a dupe when I ordered, didn't see that tidbit until just now when I copied the description from the site.  Anyway, it's a big bar, almost too big to hang onto in the shower but that little dollop of white makes an excellent gripper stopper thinger that keeps your fingers from slipping all over.  I'm  The scent is almost too perfumey and floral for me.  This is not knocking the soap, I'm just not a floral fan.  I was hoping there would be more coconut, cinnamon, vanilla.  I do get the musk, but the rest is floral to me.  It's still nice, just not the type I would normally go for.  The soap itself is divine.  Excellent, luxurious, long lasting lather and it makes you feel oh so nice.  And it just LOOKS so cool.

This was a freebie bar called Hedge Witch.  I don't see it on the website but there is a perfume oil in this scent, described as 'The cedarwood guardians beckon her into the coolness of it sunlight dappled grove. Violets nod in reverent respect as she passes by, leaving the faintest hint of orange in her wake. She gathers wild clary sage in her basket, its soothing scent inviting her to sit and rest a while upon the musky, earthy forest floor. '  It has sort of that same floral perfume hint about it but in a slightly more earthy way.  It says 'sample' on the tag but heck, this is about as big as my full size bars that I sell!  The VSC stamp is really neat looking.  I have not used this one yet.

I was loaded up with various other goodies.  Yay!!  There is a big chunk of Apples & Oak glycerin soap, described as 'a fresh rustic blend of apples with a woodsy oak background; a clean green top note; with soft lavender hints and mild floral middle notes; and a soft musky, woody base note.'  Now this one I like!  There is a distinct apple scent, but that woodsy and soft musky background keep it from being straight up fruity.  I also got a Sugar Scrub Gem in Almond, Milk & Honey scent, and a small bit of Candy Girl scented soap . . . but I don't see either on her site.  And then there were cards and goodies from other companies too!  These are friends or other shops that Donna works with, just sorta spreading the love, and I like that idea.  From Red Raven's Cauldron I got an incense cone in Moon scent, and a really cool glass pendant piece (lower picture).  I'm not sure what I'll do with that piece but I really do like it.  I even checked out the Red Raven's Cauldron shop and messaged the owner to ask about the items.  An interesting shop.  There were some cards from other businesses, a thank you coupon code for Valhalla, and a note from Donna suggesting we do a swap.  That was very nice, especially since so few other soapers have expressed any interest in my soaps.  When I read that I went from being very excited to very 'I'm not worthy!'  I just can't get over that insecurity.  But yeah, I've contacted her and said I'm willing to do a trade.  We'll work out some details and I will definitely be posting about Valhalla again afterwards.

So I'm glad I finally ordered from Valhalla Soaps.  Like so many others I'd been anxious to try, I'm not sure why I waited so long.  When I order again I will try some of her lotions because I'm told she is one of those few that make hers from scratch instead of pre-made bases.  I strongly suggest you check out her website, and her YouTube channel.  I've learned things about plants and mythology and other interesting tidbits from watching her videos.  

Valhalla Soaps can be found on both Artfire and Etsy but Donna would like to swing business over to the main website.  There are items on that site that you won't find in the other shops.  Go check it out!

Valhalla Soaps on . . . WEBSITE.
Valhalla Soaps on . . . YOUTUBE.
Valhalla Soaps on . . . FACEBOOK.

(Import Post) May 16, 2011 - FuturePrimitive Soap

(This is an imported older post from my soap blog.)

FuturePrimitive Soap

Yes, another shop I found through YouTube, hehe.  This is a UK shop and that's a big part of why I love watching Tiggy's videos.  I love the accent, the terms.  Love looking at her cozy little house in the background because there is just something about small English spaces . . . makes me think of hobbit houses, and other silly things that only my mind would relate.  I love Tiggy's manner, like she's always on the go, very to the point and when she cuts her soap it's chop chop chop, done.  I like that.  Some videos have the cutting as a long drawn out process, delicate like they're handling fine china.

FuturePrimitive is one of those shops I find slightly intimidating, much like Haus of Gloi.  FuturePrim uses essential oils, custom blends in scents that aren't the usual simple and popular.  The names are creative and not at all a help in trying to figure out what the scent is.  And I love that.  Ok wait, I'm all for simple and popular but FuturePrimitive's (and Haus of Gloi's) stuff makes you feel like you're in an exclusive, high end shop. Hehe!  FuturePrim also has bubble bars, scrubs, creams, and perfume oils.

Since it was coming all the way from the UK I went ahead and ordered a few bars to make it all worth it.  There was a delay in shipping because some of the things I wanted had just been made and needed to cure a bit first.  Tiggy was clear about this and I was ok with it, since I knew about it going into it.  When the package finally got here I was so excited to open it.  I'd seen the way the bars are wrapped in other videos and, you'll think I'm weird but I was really anxious to see the paper they come in.  I don't know what you'd call this paper but it's so cool.  At first you want to call it wax paper but it's not really, at least not like the wax paper I know.  It's sort of thick and sturdy, whitish but slightly see-through.  And the coolest thing is that it has the FuturePrimitive logo, name, and website printed all over it.  Very cool!  I need to find a place in the US that I can get this

Anyway, the bars and the samples came wrapped in that cool paper.  The bars each had cardstock cigar band around the outside, with plenty of information on them.  Each one is differnt, to reflect the soap within.  Even the business card is cool.  You can see it to the left in front in the picture above.  It's a tiny card, not at all like the usual business cards you're probably all used to.  Another bit of uniqueness that I love about this shop.

As I said, this is one of those intimidating shops because you don't really know what the scents are like even if you're reading the description.  I had watched a few haul videos that gave me a bit of idea about some of them but really, when I was trying to order for myself, it kinda came down to 'Oh I don't know! I'll just try this!'

I knew I had to have the 7 Sins bar because it seems to be everyone's favorite, and because it had a lot of foodie things in the description.  LOL  '7 sins...of naughtiness. Banana cake infused with Ginger, topped with Vanilla Frosting and drizzled with melted Dark Chocolate, Toasted Almonds and finished with a scattering of Hot Buttered Popcorn.'  This one uses fragrance oils instead of essential oils.  It looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?!  This baby smells amazing, like a sort of spicy chocolatey gooey bakery treat.  I do not get banana at all.  To me it's like a deep dark unsweetened chocolate with something else rolling around, maybe the ginger.  Another interesting thing about this bar is that it contains a piece (the white stick imbed that you see in the picture) of her best selling bar, White Witch.  I have not used this bar yet because it had to cure more.  I'm thinking this will be the next one in my shower though!

I ordered the Rook & Raven bar because it has orange and vanilla in the description and I know what those smell like . . . LOL . . . and it seems to be a popular bar.  Described as 'A dark, deeply mystifying blend of Sweet Sicilian Orange with a drydown of aged Patchouli, Sandalwood & Blackened Vanilla.'  The colors and swirls of this are meant to resemble the look of raven feathers, you know when the sun hits and you see the colors sort of like oil on water.  It looks really neat, and the bar in general has a cool primitive look.  Although it was the orange and vanilla that made me pick this, you don't get a distinct hint of either one.  You mainly get the patchoulit and sandalwood but the orange and vanilla soften it, sweeten it a bit.  I really like this scent, even though the 'hippy' scents had me leery.  I have not used this one yet either.

Temple Ball is another that seemed to pop up a lot in the haul videos I watched.  Described as 'The rind of the Petitgrain fruit enhanced with Sweet Sicilian Orange sits inside a warm, nuzzly, sticky benzoin resin tempered with Nutmeg husk.'  I have no idea what Petitgrain fruit is, and no clue what benzoin is, but hey there is orange and nutmeg and I'm ok with those!  I thought there would be a ball imbed on top (as you can see in the picture on the FuturePrim website) but mine didn't have it.  I suspected there might be a ball inside the bar . . . that dark spot on the lower right . . . and as I've used this bar, wore it down, I've come across two such 'balls.'  Small things for small minds, they say, but this excited me.  LOL!  I absolutely can not think of how to describe this scent.  It must be that mysterious petitgrain and benzoin.  It's like an earthy, grainy scent.  There is a twinge of something that might be the orange.  It's unique, unisex, clean.  Wow, I really don't know how to describe it in a way to get the point across.  This is the only one of my order that I have used (it's almost gone now, actually) and it's fabulous.  It lathers easily and abundantly, and that lather lasts the whole shower.  The scent is strong but not overpowering.  When I get out of the shower I don't really smell it on my skin but later I'll detect hints of it, so I think it's neat that it's there on a sort of subconscious level, hehe.

The samples I received are 7 Sins bubble bar, Pirates soap, and Herbaceous soap.  As you know, I'm not a bath lounger but Tiggy's bubble bars look so dang great that I'm always wanting to order some, and now I have a sample to try.  I've heard talk about the Pirates soap but can't find it on her site.  I found an old 'sold' listing on Etsy that has a description of  'Gusts of Oceanic winds billowing across High Seas. Dark Cedarwood, Sandalwood & rare Musk smuggled amongst Marram grass fresh from the dunes.
An ozonic scent amplified with a grassy freshness and a lingering antiqued wood the heart of an old tall ship.' 
This is a cool looking piece, and I really like this scent.  You definitely pick up the musk but whatever that main scent is, I like it!  I just saw a video from Kia/Beacon Creations saying that she is going to try making this scent because Tiggy gets migraines from it, or something like that.  That's very cool, because I like this scent and I love Beacon Creations so I know I can still get this in the future.  And my third sample had me really excited.  It's the famous Herbaceous, 'A blend for the weary gardener. Uplifting essential oils of herbaceous Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender & Marjoram with a splash of lemon-scented Litsea cubeba. A summer herb garden in full flight.'  It's not that I was dying for this scent (although it is very nice, now that I've smelled it) but look at that soap . . . it's a freakin' piece of art!  The dark bottom is the dirt, the dark round spots are pebbles, the green is grass, and the rest is 'sky.'  You can't see it in my picture but there are red bits on top to resemble petals or flower bits or something.  The picture on her site shows it better.

I think I will be ordering from FuturePrimitive again now that I'm somewhat familiar with the scents.  I also want to try her creams because I'm told she is one of only a few who actually make theirs from scratch instead of a pre-made base.  And dangit, those bubble bars are just calling to me!

I highly suggest you check out Tiggy's shop.  Don't let the fact that she's in the UK scare you off.  The shipping is not any more outrageous than you've probably paid for things right here in the US.  And these are all handmade, high end soaps and products.  If nothing else, check out her videos and you'll be hooked.

Although FuturePrimitive does have an Etsy shop, Tiggy would like to shift her business to her main website.

FuturePrimitive Soap on . . . WEBSITE.
FuturePrimitive Soap on . . . YOUTUBE.
FuturePrimitive Soap on . . . FACEBOOK.

(Import Post) May 15, 2011 - Kaya Journey

(This is an imported older post from my soap blog.)

Kaya Journey

Another shop I found through YouTube, I had just recently started watching Nardia's videos when she opened her Etsy shop.  I'm willing to support new shops and fellow soap makers, but her videos and her personality are so uplifting, happy, positive.  It's such a nice change to watch something like that when there is so much negative all around.  So yeah, I had no problem deciding to order from that newly opened shop.

I love the packaging!  The bar I ordered as well as the samples that were included are wrapped in cello that is printed with subtle designs.  The samples have 'thank you' printed on the wrap.  Very cute, and I wonder where people get all their fancy packaging materials!  There is a ribbon on each item, and either a sticker label or a card with handwritten ingredients.  Very nice.  Everything has a very clean look and feel.

The one bar I ordered was Morning Burst.  Described as 'scents of grapefruit, lemon, lime, jasmine, cucumber, pineapple and blackberry,' it really is an awesome morning pick-me-upper.  With white swirls in a yellowy orange base, and glitter on top, the scent is a really nice bright and sweet blend.  I always think there is orange in the mix but looking at the description, I see that isn't so.  Ooops.  The scent is not overpowering.  In fact, sniffing the bar right now as I work on this post I can barely smell anything.  But trust me, the scent comes alive in the shower.  And the lather is fabulous.

The samples I received include a very cute little elephant soap called Papa Mango.  I wonder if that is supposed to be Papaya?  I don't see it in her shop.  It's really cute!  It almost looks like there might be little bits of scrubbies in there....?  I haven't opened this so I can't really tell you about the scent.  There is also a sample of Line Dry, 'light notes of jasmine, lilac, powder and musk.'   And a really nice looking sample of Brown Sugar & Fig, which I'm guessing is the Bath & Body Works dupe.

That's my little haul from Kaya Journey.  Beautiful soaps, cute packaging, fast shipping, and a soap maker who will put a smile on your face.  Go check out her new shop!

Kaya Journey on . . . ETSY.
Kaya Journey on . . . YOUTUBE.
Kaya Journey on . . . FACEBOOK.