Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I've Moved!

This is a bittersweet announcement. I'm excited, nervous and just a little wistful all at the same time. This is my very last post here on my Blogger bloggity-blog.

I've moved to a new website, and taken this little blog with it. The new site is gorgeous and fresh and clean. Something I've been working on for a long time, but as with any new technology stuff, nervous about the first beginnings as there are bound to be glitches or hiccups along the way. Nothing that can't be tweaked, tho. And it's going to be so much easier to both customers and me too to use going forward. Gotta keep it fresh and up-to-date!

With the new site, however is a new space for the blog to live. This one will remain here for as long as I'm still working the soap biz. Nothing is going away, and there is an awful lot here to still explore.

But if you're looking to see what's cooking - all the new blog posts will over here. Just CLICK THE LINK and head on over.

And if you want to start at the very beginning of my new journey, I've written a little something about  why I made the change, with a little backdrop about my blogging history. It's Not My First Rodeo!

Please join me at the new hangout! I so appreciate all of you who are following along for the ride.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Skin Deep: Tea Tree Oil

 Tea Tree oil is kind of a big thing in your all-natural health and beauty cabinet. You might have heard the name but not know much about it. I am a big fan of Tea Tree Oil and use it in my Tea Tree & Blue Clay soap. So I'm here to give you the inside scoop. And it has nothing to do with tea - the kind you drink.

Oil from the tea tree (botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia) is a miracle worker ingredient for skin because it has amazing topical properties -- it is antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral all at the same time.

The tree grows wild in Australia, but is now cultivated extensively to be a wellness and beauty product ingredient. Camellia Sinensis is the plant harvested for drinking tea, and it can sometimes be called the tea plant, tea shrub or even tea tree, but they have nothing in common and no connection at all - well except for the word "tea" in their name, duh. 

Tea tree oil should never be consumed internally, it's toxic! But it's perfectly safe to apply directly to skin, even in its pure form. It is used in soaps, liquid soaps, and many other skin preparations such as blemish treatments, skin masks, even owie and boo-boo preparations.

It has a clean, herbal scent, which some might find a bit strong or medicinal smelling in its straight form. As a fragrance, it blends well with lots of other essential oils. I particularly like it with lavender and mint, which is the combo I've created for my tea tree soap bar.

Acne Remedy

With its potent antibacterial and anti fungal properties, tea tree oil is an effective natural remedy for acne, breakouts, inflammation and redness. It works by unclogging pores and killing bacterial which are responsible for zits. And it helps prevent the formation of new blackheads or whiteheads too, when used regularly. It hydrates and soothes skin at the same time, calming irritation and reducing redness. 

Regular use of tea tree oil soap can help clear up acne, helping to create naturally glowing smooth skin. If you're interested in boosting its effects and speed up the healing of blemishes, you can dab a small amount of the essential oil directly onto your spots (clean skin only), using a cotton swab or Q-tip. To prevent future outbreaks, you can apply directly onto your clean face on a regular basis, but keep in mind that it is quite a strong disinfectant and might cause irritation if you have sensitive skin.  It's best known as a spot treatment, so start there. And if you feel a tingling sensation, it's a good idea to blend the tea tree oil with water, another carrier oil (like jojoba or almond) or with a bit of lavender essential oil. The lavender oil has similar properties, yet is much milder, and can help with redness and sensitivity too. Bottom line, fighting skin problems with tea tree oil is still proven much less irritating than the drugstore benzoyl peroxide acne treatments.

Body Odor

Tea tree oil can help beat body odor. Our Tea Tree & Blue Clay soap is the closest thing we have to a "deodorant" soap - which are antibacterial, but not antiperspirant. Tea tree oil is both antibacterial and antimicrobial, and bathing regularly with this soap will help diminish the bacterial that lead to body odor.


Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that helps heal cuts and scrapes, and is also effective against more serious infections. Daily bathing or showering with tea tree oil body products and shampoo has even been proven an effective method of decolonizing a person carrying MRSA, and at the same time, being much less harsh on patient's skin than chemical-based antibacterial agents.

Applying tea tree oil, or a tea tree oil based remedy on minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions, scratches, etc. can be a great way to stay all natural and plant-based, get effective proven results, and not worry about chemical irritation and side effects. 

Have you tried the Tea Tree oil soap? or any other tea tree product? What did you think? We'd love to hear your experiences with tea tree oil!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One of my favorite stories . .

comes from a customer who sent me an email years ago. I keep these things to re-read when I need a boost. But I think they make great testimonials too, and I've been added a few little shorter ones to my monthly email missives.

This one is a bit longer, but it's so good I wanted to share it. Just found it yesterday when I was doing a little clearing out of the computer files.  Here goes:

I so enjoy your products!  I don't know how many years I've been using them, but it's been quite a while. I want to tell you a couple of little stories.
Not the actual customer! Just a gorgeous woman.
A while back, I gave a co-worker a bar of your soap for her birthday.  She came in the next week, so excited!  She said she had given up using bar soap years ago because she found it so drying but when she took her shower that morning, she had taken off the wrapper of your soap, and used it.  She couldn't believe how it made her skin feel! She said when she got out of the shower, she dug the wrapper out of the garbage, read it and found it had olive oil.  She was so delighted that I made a copy of your flyer and brought it to her.
Story number two: I get a massage every two weeks.  I started about 11-12 years ago as the practice-dummy for my dear friend who was attending massage school.  It felt so good, that I've kept it up! She always comments on what nice skin I have and I work hard to accept that compliment because as I get older (almost 64 years old now), I'm getting age spots and little dry bumps, etc. About six weeks ago, she commented that my skin was so dry and asked if I had changed soap?  I thought for a moment and said that I had changed soaps in the shower -- that I was using a free sample of the new Dove Moisturizing bar that I had received in the mail.
She said, "Well, go back to what you were using, because it was better for your skin." Then, I remembered what my co-worker had said (I have to admit that I have never really looked at the ingredients of your soap) about the olive oil.  I went home, and tossed the Dove and put a new "Breakfast Soap" in the shower. I also mailed her a bar from the stash I keep on hand, along with a copy of your flyer.  She's going to order some for her daughter, who has dry skin.
Yesterday, I went for my massage and she immediately commented that my skin was back to "normal"!! - N.R.

So grateful to have happy customers!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Are you a "Pinner"? Me too!

Raise your hand if you sometimes get lost "pinning" on Pinterest. Maybe for hours without even realizing it. Anybody? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

I can't say I'm addicted to Pinterest. Because I've gone days without going over there. I think. At least when I didn't have internet. :) But I have to admit I love it. Oooooh, all those pretty pictures. I rationalize it by the fact that I'm a visual person. And I need all those mood boards and pretty pins to inspire my creativity. And to help me visualize my ideas and plans and goals and stuff. Or just what to have for dinner.

I've been playing around on Pinterest for a long time. And honestly, I didn't really think I needed (or wanted) to share this little toy with the world. All the business blogs, social media experts and success gurus keep blah-blah'ing about how to maximize your content and increase followers etc through your Pinterest boards. Which made me want to run and hide even more.  This was my own little secret playground! But then, of course the other side of the coin. Why not?! The more the merrier, and all that.

I chased this around and around in my head for probably a year now. I created a new account for the business, started to make boards for a few hours and then quickly cancelled it. Then I spent time trying to plan out how to rearrange my own personal board to be a bit more "professional" and "business-like," ultimately ditching that project too. I just wasn't clear on what to do. Or why I was doing it.

But I just couldn't let go of the idea that sharing it with a wider group of people was a good thing. I'm still not entirely clear what my plan is for merging the business aspects with my personal boards. That is still evolving a bit and I trust I will figure it out in small steps, like everything else I've done.

What I finally resolved is that 1) I can. not. stand. people who make those ridiculous Pinterest accounts with like 8 boards of 12 pins each that mean nothing and are obviously doing it just for show. Nobody likes a faker. And we can spot the dupes and the self-promoters a mile away. 2) I wasn't going to be like that. 3) I just couldn't possibly spend the time to try to create and manage two accounts, one personal and the other business. Especially since so much of what I liked to pin was actually inspiration for my life and business and the whole thing just seemed to be completely and charmingly intertwined. Bottom line: I am just putting the whole enchilada out there. Whoever likes it, welcome. And if it's not your thing, no biggie. I get it. Just scroll on to the next newest viral vid and we're still pals.

This is what I will say: I am formally inviting you all to my Pinterest home for an open house. Since I've been pinning just for me all this time, I will warn you that there are a hella lotta food boards. Lots of home deco. The usual wanderlust, travel, babies, health and wellness, a little fashion. Just a small smattering of beauty - no fingernails, make-up or hair do's. I have obsessions for pretty soap, holidays and the seasons.

Oh, and just to be the tiniest bit professional, I've created a hybrid name for the time-being, just so I don't confuse my current followers. And I've spent a morning adding some of my own products and better blog posts, so that anybody who drops by will now know what the heck I'm doing for a living. That's about it. Enjoy!

Welcome to my Pinterest Boards.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gift Cards Are FREE

Did you know that you can send a sweet little card with your gift order, adding your own personal message to the lovely recipient  - for FREE, zip, nada?!

Photo shoot day for the new products. Gift cards with your personal notes being shipped to your special lovies are always FREE! All you need to do is type the note in the message box and we'll send it along. Lovely assortment of blank cards. All hand made by local artists.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Soaping with Salt

One of my new spring seasonal soaps is the Sea Salt soap. Which probably sounds weird if you haven't ever heard of salt soaps before. If you have heard of them, or even tried them, then you'll want to just head over and grab a bar of this heavenly scented lovely version, because mmmmmm, it's swoonie.

So the rest of you, you're thinking, what?! Why put salt into my soap? Isn't that crunchy? and what's with all the food in my shower?

Have you ever had a little tropical vacation and spent some time bobbing in the ocean waves? Surfing and sunning all day, and then when you get back to the casa and showered off, realized that your skin felt silky smooth and actually pretty great looking? That's not the mai tai's  talking. It's a real thing. The salt content in sea water is a pretty nice thing. Just by getting wet, it dissolves off dry and dead cells, leaving your skin a little smoother and fresher.

If you've only been in the pool, you know that the chlorine totally dries you out. You can't slather enough lotion on yourself while your skin cracks like the desert and your hair turns green. But splashing in the real waves? It's actually hydrating instead of drying. Our human bodies are made of up something crazy like 60% water and salt is the only mineral we digest, even absorbing it through our skin while we're floating away our stress.

Salt water has the added benefit of cleansing and rinsing off debris, bacteria, foreign toxins and the like, curing acne, cuts and wounds (even if a big one stings a little). No matter what you've got, sea salt water is going to heal your irritations. 

So how do we get this fabulousness at home? Well, if you're a soaker, then the Dead Sea Bath Salts are a great way to surf for beauty in your bath tub. If you're like most people, you've only got the shower. THAT'S why we stuff the salt into your soap. A bit of sudsing with a salt bar gives you all the spa-like benefits of an ocean dip or a long soak in the mineral bath salts, just in the time it takes to belt out your favorite song in the shower.

February is as good a time as any to get salting yourself. Dry, pasty white, winter skin could use a little healthy glow right about now. Am I right? 

And this one soap bar smells as good as it feels. Essential oils of lavender, rosemary, mint and thyme give it that irresistible luxury spa fragrance you can’t stop sniffing.

Just a couple more notes about this one, since it will be just a tad different from the other bars you're used to: 1) it is definitely smooth and not crunchy or scrubby feeling. The salt already dissolved in the soap recipe, and any residue will also dissolve immediately when it hits the water. 2) The suds will be salty tasting, in case you happen to lick some, or your kids start swearing like sailors. 3) It might not be my first choice for a leg-shaving soap, especially if you're prone to nicking your ankles. 4) It's still got great lather and lasts just as long, but sometimes the last little sliver will crumble apart as it gets down to the last salt crystals. 

If you've had one of my previous salt bars and have comments, suggestions, tips, feel free to leave a comment. And if there is anything else I didn't cover, or you've got more questions, also drop it in the comment box below. I'd love to hear what you think of the salt soap craze!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Soap Mitts are back in stock!

The scrubby soapy mitts are back in stock and ready for sudsing. They've been on back order for awhile, but finally arrived. Get 'em while they're hot! These are really great washcloths that fit your hand like a mitten with a wonderful texture that exfoliates too. And only $4 each!!