Recently in Baths Category

Grace+Lush=BFF Forever (again)

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A long while back, I explained why I was ditching Lush. In a nutshell, I thought they'd gotten too expensive. There were other reasons--I had a bad customer service experience, I thought they were greenwashing, and so on.

And so I proceeded to try just about every other option for Lush-style bath goodies that I could find, including a long stint of making my own.

Folks? I'm back to Lush. Nobody does it like Lush does it. And recently, I had an absolutely gold-star customer service experience from the company, as well.

Backing up...earlier in this pregnancy, I took a lot of baths. This was mostly for pain relief, and also for relaxation (I also find baths to help with nausea, though I have no idea why). I didn't get a lot of the early pregnancy smell-aversion that some people get, so I still enjoyed my baths highly scented. During this period, I used up all of my stockpiled Lush (which was stockpiled from the after-Christmas BOGO last year, so I guess Lush and I were never COMPLETELY broken up...). Then, around Easter time, I heard Lush had some great seasonal stuff available, and I made an order.

I ordered the Carrot Top reusable bubble bar, a Donkey Oaty bath bomb, a Hippy Chick bath bomb, a small bottle of the limited retro Slammer shower gel, an old-favorite In the Nude bath melt, a bar of retro Honey Waffle soap, and the Immaculate Eggception. My order came to $61.45 with shipping. Is that expensive? Yes. However, Lush has begun to introduce products that are multiple-use, and that helps drive down the per-use cost. For example, the Carrot Top bubble bar is good for about four baths, and the amazing Immaculate Eggception is good for at least 5.

When my order arrived, the box was crushed and most of the products were broken. The Donkey Oaty and Hippy Chick bombs were in pieces, the Slammer bottle was broken and it was leaking, and the Immaculate Eggception was cracked open. Disappointed, I took to Twitter:

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I wasn't really expecting a response from Lush--mainly, I was whining. So I was surprised when, less than an hour later, I received a DM from Lush, apologizing and asking for the order number and my email address. Then, shortly after that, I got a very nice email from a Lush representative named Brandi, who verified my address and asked me to detail the damage to my order. When I sent her the list, she replied that she would be sending out replacements for all of those items the following day!

And she did. She did better, actually, replacing the two bath bombs and the Egg with the exact same items, and replacing the 3.3 oz shower gel with the much larger 16.9 oz bottle! She did this even though I told her, with the exception of the shower gel in the broken bottle, that my busted up items were usable!

That is the kind of customer service I believe companies should be giving. It's the kind that keeps me coming back, especially when the products under consideration are optional luxury items, like what Lush sells.

And the products themselves, now that I've had the chance to sample most of them? Fabulous. The Egg, in particular, impresses me. Yes, the $13 price tag for it was high, but I've gotten three baths out of one so far, and I still have half of the shell left (it's basically a large, hollow bath bomb with another bomb inside it). I am also really stoked to see the reusable bubble bars, as I have trouble making Lush's regular bubble bars work correctly (they have to be crumbled under running water and mine tend to get all gunked up and not make as many bubbles as I know they should be).

Since I'm so late in writing this (how long ago was Easter again?), several of the seasonal/holiday products I mentioned aren't available anymore. Sorry about that! However, Lush has a new crop of seasonal/holiday products available for Mother's Day, and I like the looks of them! Were I to be going on another Lush spree again so soon (and I'm not, I swear...), here's what I'd be considering:

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Madame Butterfly Bubble Bar, $8.95

Like Carrot Top, this is a reusable bubble bar that you swish through your bath water to make bubbles, and it should be good for several baths. There are several of these available now, but this one is rose petal and lemon oil scented, which is right up my particular alley. It's limited edition--available only until Mother's Day!

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Happy Mother's Day Wrapped Gift, $56.95

This is the Mother's Day motherlode--it's a reusable tin (and it's a cute one, too!) full of Lush products, including all three of the Mother's Day reusable bubble bars (The Mum, the Mum Tulip, and the Madame Butterfly) , a slice of Miranda soap, a Butterball bath bomb (one of my favorites!), a Tiny Hands moisturizing bar, a small Ocean Salt cleanser, and a small Dream Cream lotion. What a haul, right? I love Lush's packaged gifts--they do a wonderful job with presentation and they're almost always full of really interesting products.

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Uluru Bath Bomb, $5.95

Not specifically for Mother's day, or even a new product, the Uluru is a retro bath bomb that Lush has reintroduced, and I'd love to try. It's scented with desert rosewood oil, lemon myrtle, and sandalwood, which sounds like a really nice combination, and I love the orange and pink color.

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Canadian Maple Soap, $7.95

I'm generally a fan of Lush's bar soap, especially my beloved Honey I Washed the Kids, and I am thinking this Canadian Maple soap, available only online in the retro section, might be similarly awesome. It is made with maple syrup, which, like honey, is a moisturizer, and I'd bet it smells wonderful.

And, of course, were I to be shopping at Lush, I'd pick up another bottle (or, perhaps, a case) of It's Raining Men shower gel, because I love it so very, very much.

So, I'm back to recommending Lush. Highly, as a matter of fact. Yes, the prices are still high, but the products are markedly better than any others I've tried, so I've come to see it as paying for quality. And yes, it's a bit greenwashed, but who isn't, these days? Their customer service has me sold, and I'll continue to support them.

2 Comments

I'm laughing a bit to myself, as I found your site because I want to make my own bath melts. I have just recently found Lush, and have fallen hard, but the prices are definitely high end. It does smell wonderful. I will be trying your bath melt recipe when I can spare the $$ for the supplies ( I kind of went a bit crazy in a Lush store, and on their website recently). Thanks for sharing your recipe, and your experience with the company.

That Mother's day gift set looks awesome!

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Drugstore product love

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It has been mentioned to me before that the majority of the products I mention on my blog--makeup, bath stuff, etc--are higher end things that can't be found in your average drugstore. That's a fair critique, as I have developed an expensive preference for the hoity toity when it comes to those things. However, there are still a whole mess of regular drugstore products that I love, so I thought it might be fun to feature some of those today.

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Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care Dandruff Shampoo with Eucalyptus, typically about $6

My hair can be kind of a pain. It's long, thick, and tends towards frizzy. To complicate matters, I have a very dry scalp and get dandruff and horrible itchies. I've tried a lot of shampoos, all the way up through expensive brands, and Head & Shoulders works best. This particular formulation, meant for itchy scalps, with tingly eucalyptus, is my current favorite.

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Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera Formula Toner, typically about $8

I first tried Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel after seeing it on Allie's blog, and I was an instant convert. All the great, gentle toning of witch hazel with a much better smell! I recently learned that Thayers has cucumber, lavender, and lemon versions as well.

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Degree Women Ultra Clear Body Responsive Antiperspirant & Deodorant with TriClear, typically about $5

I don't know if there are fancy options for deodorant, but my guess is yes. I've never explored them, because I have been a dedicated Degree girl for years. For me to love it, a deodorant must: a) work; b) not smell gross; c) not leave white marks all over my clothes. This one hits all three, so I stopped looking. I buy it in bulk when it's on sale or when they have it at Big Lots.

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Bio-Oil Scar Treatment, typically about $12

Bio-Oil is a new addition to my list, but I think it will always be in my bathroom from here on out. I've been using it on my breasts and belly to help prevent stretchmarks (yeah, I know the science on that is sketchy), but I'd use it as a regular moisturizer, too. It smells divine, goes on easily and sinks in nicely. Plus, a little bit goes a very long way.

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Alba Botanica Moisturizing Cream Shave in Mango Vanilla, typically around $7

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a shaving cream available at Trader Joe's. Then I moved to Austin and didn't have a Trader Joe's, and I was very sad. Then I found this Alba cream shave and was happy again, as it was a very close duplicate. Now I'm back in the land of Trader Joe's and still tend to use this Alba stuff. The end.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, typically about $5

I am not loyal to Cetaphil--I go through all kinds of facial skin cleansers, some upscale, some not--but when my skin has a certified freak out, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is the product I always come back to. It's just about liking washing your face with plain water, I think, and sometimes that's what's needed.

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Eco Tools 5 Piece Bamboo Brush Set, typically about $11

I have some expensive makeup brushes, and I just plain like my Eco Tools brushes better. In fact, every brush I use on a regular basis is from Eco Tools, and none of them cost more than a few bucks apiece.

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eos Smooth Lip Balm Sphere in Sweet Mint, typically about $3.50

Like many dry-skinned people, I live and die by lip balm. I probably have 25 varieties. But the one I reach for by my beside is this eos sphere. I don't know if it's the formula or the shape, but it just seems like the easiest option for putting on at night, with no mirror and no glasses.

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Blum Naturals Daily Cleansing & Makeup Remover Towelettes for Normal Skin, typically about $7

I love, love, love these Blum Naturals towelettes. Even when I plan to get into the shower and wash my face, I like to remove makeup before I do, and these are perfect for that. They are both super gentle and super effective, and they smell really nice. I've tried a few of the other varieties, as well (the exfoliating ones and the dry skin ones, I think), and they're just as good.

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Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness Smoothing Conditioner, typically about $4

I find admitting to this one a bit embarrassing--maybe because of those horrible commercials? Anyway, I recently tried Herbal Essenses None of Your Frizziness conditioner, and I've been really pleased. The smell is a bit strong while you're putting it on, but it doesn't linger too badly, and the product does seem to help with my frizz issues. I use a boatload of conditioner, too, so I like using something cheaper.

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Rosebud Perfume Co. Smith's Rosebud Salve, typically around $6

This last one is a bit of cult product, and it can be kind of hard to find, but I think it's worth scooping up if you do happen to see it. Technically, it's a more-than-a-century-old USA-made and packaged lip balm, and it is great for that, but you can also put it on chapped skin, minor burns, use it as cuticle cream, etc. It's classically rose scented (which means that someone is going to say it smells like an old lady--I'm OK with that) and has the greatest tin ever.

OK, now tell me what great drugstore product you use! I am thinking of some sort of best-of-the-drugstore contest or giveaway in the future, so I want to start a list!

9 Comments

I'm a drug store product girl, for the most part. My favourites are Dove brand shower products - I use their shampoo, conditioner, hair gel and body wash.

I also adore Burts Bees lip balm. It's the only one that doesn't leave my lips feeling gooey or make me break out along the lip line.

I love Spectro Moisturizer for Blemish-prone skin. It's the only one both DD and I can use without hives. http://www.spectroskincare.com/facial_moisturizers_blemish.aspx

Also, TRESemmé shampoo for the kids and Marc Anthony Strictly Curls hair products for me :)

Straight talk: how long does it take you to go through a tube of deodorant? I recently tossed one that had expired more than a year earlier even though I wasn't even remotely close to finished with it. And I don't buy, like, jumbo sizes, and I do use deodorant every day!

The trader joes shave cream is the same as Alba. I swear. Packaging even matches.

Sephora carries the rosebud salve. Its always near the registers. I got one for my mil for christmas and she had red raw hands from doing dishes and instantly she said she noticed a difference.

yea, I was going to say, that Alba shaving lotion looks really similar to the Trader Joes stuff (which I also love).

Lately, since we are so far away from TJs right now, I have been using this: http://evolutionofsmooth.com/products/shave-cream/ because they have it at Target and Target is slightly easier to get to than TJs. It's not bad! I still prefer TJ's though.

I'm going to have to try that conditioner - I don't like Head and Shoulders conditioner but my hair needs something.

As you'd probably suspect, I'm much more of a drugstore girl than a high-end girl. I also like the Cetaphil and None of Your Frizzness (though I do love Aveda hair products best). My latest find is Revlon Lip Butters lipstick - because they don't smell or taste like anything. I didn't wear lipstick for years because I could not stand the horrible taste and smell, then I finally conceded to Burts Bees colored lip balms because they were peppermint, but the lip butters are perfectly neutral. For me, Berry Smoothie color is just pink enough without being a Barbie pink.

You probably read a lot about shampoos on people's blogs. Anyone mention a good shampoo for people allergic to sodium laurelate (or whatever it's called)? The natural ones are too wimpy for my thick hair!

nivea colored lip balm--great color!

textures & tones hair color for red hair coloring--it's marketed to black women but i have used it for YEARS and it's the best. It has no ammonia and it is pretty gentle though it strips color better than "white people" hair color. If you live in a white hood, they may not have this at your drugstore. I also use a variety of "black" pomades.

cvs grapefruit facewash--almost all facewashes have whatever is in oxy, and i am way allergic to that.

salon selectives curly hair shampoo--better than any i have tried.

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Lush winners!

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Lush contest winners! Since there were 37 entries, I'm going to give THREE prizes.

The second and third prize winners, of Lush items of my choice, are:

As a blogger, a post about how you keep up with your blogging could be great. I often can't find the time, and when I can, I can't think of what to post about.

Posted by ella | February 6, 2011 6:14 PM

I love reading your Big Lots posts and TJ Maxx/Marshalls. I'd like to see more stores where you can buy "unexpected" gifty things. You always have great gift ideas that I haven't thought about!

Posted by Sarah | February 3, 2011 7:43 PM

And the grand prize French Christmas Star box winner is:

Well, I already voted for you and facebooked that everyone should vote for you, I didn't know you can vote more than once? I just found that out. I will be voting for you daily from this point out. :)

Posted by Sunny | February 3, 2011 10:12 PM

Congratulations, winners! I'll be in touch for your snail mail addresses!


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Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and entering my OWOH giveaway. I hope you enjoy the rest of the event!

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Grace+Lush 4EVA (with a giveaway!)

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lush christmas star.jpgI am not, typically, the on-again off-again type. When my relationships end, they're pretty much over. However, there are exceptions. A few years back, I broke up with Lush. For a while, I stuck with that decision. Then, slowly, Lush and I started to have brief, torrid flings--when I was in a place with a local store, I'd sneak in and buy some Honey I Washed the Kids soap. I discovered Turkish Delight, and slowly Lush began to worm its way back into my heart. I stayed strong, though, when it came to the treacherous slope of online orders.

Then, just after Christmas, Lush made me an offer I couldn't refuse. First two for one on all Christmas items and wrapped gifts, then 50% off all Christmas items. I made an order. OK, I made two, one from each sale.

And we're back on. My heart belongs, at least in part, to Lush.

Lush is keeping me super happy so far. Case in point is my most recent order. One of the items I'd ordered, for 50% off, the Christmas Star gift box, turned out to be out of stock with English inserts. Rather than just removing it from my order (and thus removing my chance to get it at half off), Lush replaced it with the same item with French inserts. Cool, thought I! Same products, in French! To make up for the "inconvenience" (which was really no inconvenience at all), they also included a second box!

Well, what happens when I get doubles of something cool? You get it, of course! This contest is for one Christmas Star box, complete with French labeling! The box contains six bath bombs: 2 Winter Bath, 1 Cinders, 1 So White, 1 Li'l LUSH Pud, and 1 Mrs. Whippy. I haven't tried any of these bombs before (which is actually why I bough the box in the first place), but I've loved other samples of Lush's bombs, so I'm sure they're good stuff.

Because I am feeling spirited, I'll up the ante with a second place prize for this contest as well. Second place will receive a small sampling of other Lush goodies I've gathered from my recent ordering spree, wrapped and packed by me. Probably not as cute and professional as Lush's wrapped goodies, but still fun!

So how do you enter? Three ways!

1. Leave me a comment and tell me something you'd like to see me blog about. I'm always gathering post ideas.

2. Tweet or post on your Facebook about this contest, or about me and my blog and how I'm pretty. Leave me another comment linking me to where you did it.

3. Go over to my page at Explore Modeling and vote for me to be a cover girl for I AM Modern magazine. Leave me a comment telling me you did it.

This contest is open for one week. I'll pick the winner next Friday, February 11. Good luck!

37 Comments

I'd love to see more blog posts about food - not necessarily what you are cooking, but I'm curious to see how you are doing with your resolution to cook more now that you have your new job, and how you handle meal planning and grocery shopping.

I already voted for you in the modeling contest, so I obviously think you're pretty, duh.

I love reading your Big Lots posts and TJ Maxx/Marshalls. I'd like to see more stores where you can buy "unexpected" gifty things. You always have great gift ideas that I haven't thought about!

voted for you, bb!
I'd also love to see a post about caring for multiple pets when both owners work -- when dh and I did it (pre-kids) we had some very unhappy kitties!

I would love more recommendations for your favorite blogs! I've loved reading your recent entries about this. :-)

I would like you to blog about how you allocate your time! It seems like you're someone who has a lot of "systems" (tracking what you've read and watched, for example) and I wonder how you keep track of all of them, what sort of records you keep on a daily basis, and just generally what your days look like.

Also, I voted for you! :)

DUDE!! I killed that sale. I had a list, cross referenced in a number of ways, ready to hit the online sale as soon as it was on. I got a reasonable amount of stuff, and then went back and placed a second order of additional stuff I couldn't resist at 50% off.

Your blog is one of like 4 that I read regularly. I like that it's a good mix of topics. I'm not good with one note blogs. I enjoy your shopping posts most. :)

My pretty, I Facebooked your contest. :) You're in trouble now.

PS This gift is one of the few things that I had on my list that sold out before I could get my order in. The website actually went down due to overload of orders the first day of the sale. Amazing.

I would love to see more fashion stuff and makeup recommendations. Maybe some awesome low end versions of high end cosmetics? That would be awesome!

Voted for you. Love the main pic. So cute!

I've never used a bath bomb. I get the LUSH catalog and can never justify spending $6 on a bath!!! LOL

I'd love to see more blogging about books/feminism/women's issues. Something to sink my teeth into and make me think.

I've voted every day since I saw the Facebook link...off to do it for today!

Of course you're pretty there's no doubt about it. I have voted for you 3x already! I would love to see you blog more about how to use accessories with outfits, maybe some cool hair accessories. Also more plus sized clothes, thrifting or not, the best for certain body types ect.

I'd like to see more (can't get enough, actually) about your thrifting. I'd also like to see some instructions about the home industry you have (had?) with beauty products. Do you ever do product or company comparisons? I'd love those, too. :)

Well, I already voted for you and facebooked that everyone should vote for you, I didn't know you can vote more than once? I just found that out. I will be voting for you daily from this point out. :)

Grace you sound like the prettiest chick in the frikken world ESPECIALLY cause you like LUSH.
Here's the link.
http://twitter.com/caitykinzzz

And I'd like to see you blog about individual LUSH products and how to use them and ur faves.

And you KNOW I voted for you to be a covergirl.!

I love Lush, I have loved Lush for a really long time, and I especially love them now that more of the bath bombs come in the smaller size!

I also want to tell you that your Big Lots posts have gotten me to go in to my local (well, it is a little bit of a drive, but not too bad) Big Lots for the first time today, I just got some baking dishes and some cardboard cat scratchers (for 3 dollars!) but I usually stick with what I know. Still can't convince myself to go into a thrift shop, but I am getting there!

I voted for you, and tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/AlbertaJes

I'd like to see more posts about books, making outfits, makeup, magazines.

Just voted for you. Cute picture!!

I recently reconciled with Lush, too. It seems that we had a better relationship when they were long distance and foreign (and it meant a trip to Vancouver, BC to get some), but slowly but surely, they've lured me back....

I voted! And you are gorgeous! Where did you get that suit?

I voted for you!

I'd be interested in a post about accessorizing. I stink at it.

I voted for you!

I'd love to see more tips for business and biz casual for the bigger woman since I'll be needing some eventually. I also love your recent posts exploring different worthy causes. Its really nice to have someone I share many ideals with do the research for me when I'm so swamped myself ;)
Also, I voted for you! I was #13 a few days back.

I think you're lovely and I would enjoy seeing more posts about work wardrobes (I like your current 30/30 one but it doesn't have to be a challenge of any sort).

i want music recommendations!

As a blogger, a post about how you keep up with your blogging could be great. I often can't find the time, and when I can, I can't think of what to post about.

Voted for you!

I voted for you! I was vote #75. You have a great smile girl, I hope you get picked! :)

I tweeted about your giveaway:http://twitter.com/lipscandycigs/status/34666192425721857

I'd love to see more posts on your fav products, and I'd love more food type of posts. Food and makeup are my favs, so I love seeing posts are either ;)

I've only ever tried one Lush thing before, and I wanna try more!

I wanna hear about your pre-work routine. :)

Even though I am sure I am not eligible to win, I voted for you and your super cuteness.

I recently found out that there is a Lush in Zurich but I haven't been in. What makes Lush so great?

I would like to see some makeup recommendations. I am overwhelmed by all the products out there.

I already voted for your lovely picture. Bella was like "Who is that?!?" And I said "That's Grace, maybe we can meet her one day!" She says Grace is suuuuch a pretty name :)

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Bring on the honey love

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Here's something you may not know about me: I love honey. The stuff itself is pretty good, but honey scented products of all kinds are really the way to my heart. Something about that sweet, fresh scent makes me think it's spring and all is happy. So, since it's something like 12 degrees here today, I thought maybe I'd share some honey love with you all. Some of my favorite honey things:

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Lush Honey I Washed the Kids soap, $7.95/3.5oz

My love for honey bath products began with this soap from Lush. A friend recommended it to me, and I was in love at first whiff. Lush describes the scent as honey infused with bergamot and sweet orange, and it's simply the perfect honey scent--sweet, not cloying, and so warm and sunny and smooth. I also love the layer of beeswax on each bar. Honey I Washed the Kids is my all-time, hands-down favorite soap.

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L'Occitane Honey and Lemon Lip Gloss, $12/.8oz

Honey lip gloss is great in theory--smells great, tastes great, moisturizes well--but sometimes it can be sticky and cloying. This L'Occitaine gloss is the exact opposite--the mix of light honey and citrus makes it smell and taste great, without being a Lip Smacker, and it doesn't go on goopy at all. It's spendy, but it's worth it.

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Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion, $10/8.6oz

I avoid most Burt's Bees products, as many of them contain lanolin, to which I am allergic. This fantastically (though strongly) scented lotion, however, gets its moisturizing properties from sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and beeswax--no lanolin needed! It's a very light formulation--almost runny--so it's not hearty enough to stand up to my winter dry skin, but it's great in the summer. It is also really affordable, usually $10 or less for a bottle. The bummer? The buzz is that this stuff is being discontinued. I need to stockpile a few bottles if that's really the case.

Violette Market Vintage Beekeeper perfume, $15
In my searches, I've found two really great honey perfumes. The first is Violette Market's Vintage Beekeeper. The scent is described as "Honey absolute, golden resins, clove bud, cinnamon bark, creamed vanilla accord, and weathered wooden hive." It's perfect. The clove and cinnamon undertones keep it from being too sweet, and the vanilla is very subtle. I can't smell the wooden hive in specifically, but there is definitely a note that keeps the whole scent grounded. I've been using it for more than a year and I adore it.

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The Poison Apple Apothecary Queen Bee perfume oil, $13/5ml

Poison Apple Apothecary's Queen Bee is my other favorite honey perfume. It's a less complex scent, more straight-up honey, and it layers better with other scents. I'm not sure I like it quite so much as the Vintage Beekeeper, but I do wear it often.

Haunt Batik Skin Glossing Oil, $12/4oz

Sometimes, I just don't feel like messing with lotion. On those days, I turn to body oils, and my favorite is Haunt's Skin Glossing Oil in Batik. Batik is described as "smoky beeswax & resin darkened honey," and that's exactly what it smells like. The smell a bit smoky and a bit stronger than I'd usually choose, but I like it a lot on occasion, especially before bed.A little goes a long way, so the 4 oz bottle for $12 is actually a pretty good value, too.

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http://www.lushusa.com/shop/products/bath-shower/shower-gels/its-raining-men

I'd be remiss in ending this post without telling you about the new honey product that has me thinking about my honey love in the first place. I went to Lush the other day and immediately fell in love with the limited edition It's Raining Men shower gel. The gel is formulated with actual honey, for cleansing and moisturizing, then the scent is supplemented with the same yummy formulation as the Honey I Washed the Kids soap. This stuff is fantastic, and I'm very tempted to buy a case before they discontinue it after Valentine's Day.

Do you have any honey-scented favorites? Tell me in the comments--I'm always interested in trying something new!

1 Comments

I like honey scents as well (I'll have to check out the soap) but I love Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Chestnut Blossom Honey. On my warm skin it works.

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Lush BOG2

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I'm not trying to enable anybody or anything, and you all know about my mixed feelings about Lush, but I gotta tell you:

Christmas items are buy one, get two free.

You're welcome. Or, perhaps, I'm sorry.

2 Comments

Hm...I can't figure out how to get the discount. Any thoughts? Is there a code or anything?

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Review: Flutterby Beauty

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flutterby logo.jpgThe LBB has done it again! In June's box, one of the most exciting items was a little bag of several samples from Flutterby Beauty, a new bath product shop on the scene. Intrigued by the sample items (and the 20% off coupon code), I made a small order from the website.

After some deliberation, I ordered: two 6.5 oz jars of Whipped Body Polish (one in Comfort, "a soothing blend of calming lavender with a hint of creamy milk and a drop of honey;" one in Clementine Lavender, "a relaxing and balancing fragrance of French lavender and sweet clementine supported by bergamot and Italian lemon"); two 2 oz bottles of Silky Body Oil (one in Head Over Heels, "fragrance opens with sweet vanilla, leads to a delicate floral center, and ends with a base of blackberry musk (compare to Philosophy Falling In Love);" one in Marrakesh, "an aromatic blend of spices including ginger, cinnamon, and clove balanced with a bit of zesty orange and warmed by a hint of vanilla"); and two 2 oz bottles of Moisture Mist (one in Honey Bee, "sweet honey drizzled over sticky toffee balanced with a squeeze of juicy orange and light florals (compare to Lush Honey I Washed The Kids);" one in Nectarine Blossom, "just-ripening nectarines with a hint of the delicate blossoms and a touch of honey (compare to Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey)"). After my discount code, my order came to about $35 with shipping.

It shipped lightening fast (two days, maybe?) and arrived quickly. It was well-packaged, with each set of two items in its own bag, tied with a purple ribbon. There was also a purple organza bag with three sample items--a body polish, a lotion, and a perfume. Flutterby's packaging is minimalist--just a simple label--but the bottles and tubs aren't flimsy and everything held up just fine.

Since the order arrived, I've had the chance to try at least one of each item. The body polish has a great texture, didn't seperate during shipping, and washes off without leaving an oil residue. I don't love the Comfort scent--the lavender overwhelms everything else in it--but there are lots of others to choose from. It's definitely worth buying again.

The other two products are even better. The Silky Body Oil is much like Haunt's Skin Glossing Oil (only $1.50 a 4 oz bottle cheaper), and it's an amazing moisturizing after-shower alternative when it's too hot for thick lotion (like now). I've tried both scents, but I love the Marrakesh--it's just spicy enough without being overpowering, and both the citrus and the vanilla are both clear in it. It's one of those smells, like Villainess' Jai Mahal, that just makes me feel cozy. Wonderful.

The Moisture Mist is also a winner. It's nice and cooling and lightly scented--perfect to carry around during the summer to replace heavy perfume oil. And the best part? Honey Bee is a dead ringer for Lush's Honey I Washed the Kids, which is one of my all-time favorite scents. I'm not a big fan of the Nectarine Blossom, but, again, there are lots of other scents to choose from. It's also fairly inexpensive, with a 4 oz bottle costing only $8.95.

Even more so than the first company to which the LBB introduced me, Heaven & Earth Essentials, I am taken with Flutterby. I'll definitely be ordering from them again. And, if you want to do the same, they are having a grand opening sale right now--the coupon code OPENING gets you 15% off your order and $5 flat rate shipping on all domestic orders. Go!

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June LBB review

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The LBB is on a roll. June's offering did not disappoint! As usual, this post will contain a rundown of what my box contained, but I'm also going to attempt to figure out the value of the items therein. All the values listed are taken from the merchant's website. If what was in the box is not offered on the site, the value is estimated based on what is offered.

In the box:


  • A Freesia Hand Poured Soy Melt from Walking Leaf Co., $5.95

  • Two printed package tags and a 15% code from Shalom's Cottage Home, $.75

  • A pink teardrop adjustable size ring from AlluRing, $6.

  • A green ribbon clippie barette and a free shipping code from 3 Little Monkeys, $2

  • A small bag of dog treats from Pawsh Dog Bakery, $1

  • A sample sized bar of Pure Lemon soap from Strawberry Hedgehog (also featured last month), $1

  • A sample sized jar of unrefined shea butter from Nature's Shea Butter, $2.25

  • A Patriotic Parfait sample sized wax melt from Whiff and Sniff Candles, $1

  • An Autism Awareness ribbon pin and a 15% off coupon code from Jodi's Craft Emporium (also featured in April), $5

  • Two wooden and paper magnets from QueenVanna Creations, $1.75

  • A beaded ponytail wrap and a 20% off code from Pony Pretties, $5

  • Two small envelopes and two matchbook notebooks from Crye's Creations (also featured in March, April, and May), $.70

  • A large size pink cotton crocheted scrubbie from Mom With a Hook, $1.75

  • A Sultry Summer perfume sample and a lollly from Lemon Lollipop (also featured in May), $1

  • A chili pepper shaped catnip toy from Colorado Catnip Toys (also featured in March), $3.95

  • A super cute "If You Love Something, Set it Free" screen printed postcard from 3 Lambs Graphics, $3

  • A screen printed thank you card and an offer for four free monogrammed cards from Just Wright Boutique, $4.95

  • A Winter Nights soy scent tart and a sample sized bag of Pomegranate bath fizzies, along with a magnet, from The Serene Dream Shop, $.75

  • A sample of Wakey Wakey Whipped Body Polish, a sample of Strawberry Fields Hydrating Lotion, a sample of Afternoon Delight Silky Body Oil, and a sample of Classic Vanilla Moisture Mist, along with a 20% off code, from Flutterby Beauty, $6

Grand total: $51.80.

Yeah, I think it's definitely worth the money.

I am particularly excited about the Flutterby Beauty stuff--it's a new shop, and the information on their website leads me to believe they are right up my alley!

1 Comments

Thank you SO much for the link and I'm glad you liked my sample! I LOVE The Little Black Boxes, it's always fun to participate in them!

Happy week!
Brigitte

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I'm sorry if you all are sick of this subject, but I have to tell you:

My complimentary May Little Black Box arrived today, and I am NOT disappointed. On its strength, LBB has pulled slightly ahead of Divalicious in the battle for my sample-box favorite.

The best things (all of which are small giftable except the last one):


  • A pair of antiqued copper dragonfly earrings and a 15% off coupon (in a cute embellished box) from Rose's Eclectic Garden.

  • A 2 oz bottle of pomegranate car freshener spray and a 15% off coupon code (nicely packaged in a linen bag) from Bath and Body Bliss.

  • A really cute recycled glass bottle bud vase from Kitty Hawke.

  • A sample (Possette) of Dark Sweet Crude perfume from Possets.

Other good things:

Duplicates/things I loved less:

This box did what it was supposed to do. Not only did it give me some great treats, but it introduced me to at least three companies I now want to check out (Strawberry Hedgehog, Melissa's Handcrafted Soap, and Intentions). Win!

Kimberlee, you are an excellent business woman. Sending me this free box did indeed get me back on board with LBB. See you next month!!

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Sweet Delight Divalicious Sample Box Review

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Sweet Delight Divalicious Sample Box contentsDid somebody say everything's better from Canada? In this case, they may be right. What you see here is the contents of May's Sweet Delight Divalicious Sample Box--the equivalent, more or less, of the Little Black Box here in the U.S.

The Divalicious box costs $25 Canadian ($21.59 U.S. ATM), shipping included. This seems like an almost unreasonably good price to me, especially since the box I received indicates that the sender paid $11.15 to ship it to me. The LBB is $20 US shipping included, so not a big price difference. One area in which they do differ is that the LBB is a monthly venture, while the Divalicious box is only every other month.

So, how do they compare? You can see my reviews of the past three LBBs here, here, and here. Compare it to:

The contents of the May Sweet Delight Divalicious Box:


  • A gorgeous pair of earrings (somewhat like these) from Risky Beads. Very giftable, though honestly I think I'm going to have to keep them. Also, a free shipping code.

  • A black and white beaded necklace, also giftable, from Roxy's Rox.

  • From The Soap Farm, a package of five small guest soaps and a tube of sport lip balm.

  • A cute iron-on wool felt patch of a bird from East Coast Kitsch.

  • From my much-loved Heaven & Earth Essentials, a sample of White Chocolate Latte Whipped Sugar Scrub, sample of Ailes D'Ange perfume oil, and $5 off coupon code/

  • From Reviyve, a sample of lemon essential oil shower gel, a sample of mineral skin care detox cleansing gel, a sample of brown sugar scrub/mineral mask combo, and a 10% off coupon code.

  • From Handmade Natural Beauty, a tube of strawberry lip balm, a sample cranberry almond lotion bar, and a 10% off coupon code.

  • A full sized bar of milk chocolate soap from Good Enough to Eat Soap. Again, likely giftable.

  • Two lavender soy tea lights and a 20% off coupon code from Kimdles Homemade Soy Candles.

  • A sample bottle of Natural Belly Oil from Natural Creation.

  • From Crystal Lights, two Fuzzy Navel scented tea lights and two Clean Cotton scented tea lights.

  • A Fresh Cut Grass soap sample from Natural Madison.

  • From Agua Cate & Co., four skin care samples: facial exfoliating cream, hydrating facial cream, rejuvenating eye treatment, and soothing facial lotion.

Not a bad haul for $20ish, right? I am particularly jazzed about the really nice earrings, the skin care samples from Agua Cate & Co., and the lavender soy tea lights. All of the packaging was really nice, and there was no worthless extra stuff in the box to piss me off, which was nice.

I am still very excited to receive my complimentary May LBB and see what it has in store for me, but as of right now, Divalicious is the front-runner in this contest. I'm definitely getting on their sale list for July!

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April Little Black Box

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April LBBI am sad to say that April's Little Black Box will likely be my last for awhile.

It's not that the contents are bad--in fact, I think it's the most substantial of the three LBBs I have received. But, there are a lot of duplicates, and given that, for me, the whole point is introduction to new products, that is disappointing.

This month's new offerings were:


  • From SBS Teas, a sample of chai tea soap, an almond biscotti tea sachet, a 15% off coupon, and a small Dove chocolate

  • From Pegg Macko Designs, a very cool collage-style thank you card

  • A hairpin decorated with a cloth rosebud and a 10% discount coupon from Kitty Hawke

  • A crocheted face scrubber and a 15% off coupon from Jodi's Craft Emporium (there were two of these from other companies in February's box)

  • A blackberry apple soap sample from The Soap Seduction

  • A lemongrass wax burner melt from Silver City Scentsations

  • A pair of green fused glass earrings and a free shipping coupon from Penny Glass Girl

Duplicates from previous months were:

See my issue?

To answer a question I've had before, I'd say you could get 3-4 small gifts from this sample package. Three of the four pairs of earrings would work as a gift (and the fourth pair, the ones from On Beyond Zebra, would likely work for a child's gift). The Ceylon Tea sugar scrub and Heaven and Earth Essentials products are also big enough samples to give as gifts without feeling cheap.

All in all, though, I'm disappointed. These are small, sample products. If the LBB doesn't introduce me to fabulous new companies, it's not really worth my time or money. So, I think I'll give it a few months before I order again and see if there are new participants on board.

Addendum: After giving it a bit of thought, I emailed this review of the April LBB, as well as my thoughts on the March and February boxes, to the LBB owner, Kimberlee. Kimberlee said that she was sorry I was disappointed and that I may have received a leftover March box by mistake for April, explaining all the duplication. She then asked for my address so that she could send me the May box free of charge. That is excellent customer service, and I couldn't be happier. So, stay tuned--turns out that I will be telling you all about May's offering!

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The power of smell

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Since I wrote this post about my addiction to fancy bath stuff and perfume, I have had it in my head to write something about the smells I prefer and why. Obviously, since I make my own essential oil scented products, as well as spending an embarrassing amount of time picking out the smells I want from other people's stuff, I have preferences. There are a set of smells I love and a set of smells I can't stand, and some of it is probably just random taste, but a lot of it does have to do with the feelings that those smells invoke in me. I don't know if I really believe in aromatherapy or not, but it seems undeniable to me that smells do have bearing on your feelings. Bad or overpowering smells are distracting and irritating, while subtle and pleasant smells are calming. Smells can make you nostalgic, obviously, but also tense and troubled. Smells can help you to relax or energize you. But not all smells work the same way for all people, so please don't think of this as instruction or advice. This is just what works for me.

Smells I Love
Lavender: For me, lavender is probably the most overall useful and pleasant scenting agent. I use it everything from bath stuff to cleaning supplies, combine it with nearly everything, and it is almost never wrong. My laundry soap is lavender lemongrass, with a lavender dryer sachet; there is a lavender and sweet orange spray near my cat boxes; and if I am making bath products for myself, they are more likely to contain lavender than any other single smell. Lavender makes me feel calm and relaxed, and it also gives me the sensation of being clean and fresh (which is why I love it so much for laundry and cleaning).

My favorite lavender products: There are a ton to choose from, but the first two that come to mind are Aveda's Balancing Infusion for Sensitive Skin (which contains lavender, patchouli, geranium, and rose oils) and EO's Lavender and Sweet Orange Room Spray, which I believe is found at Whole Foods.

Orange: Like lavender, I find orange to be a versatile and almost univerally pleasant smell. It has to be a natural orange smell, though--the kind that smells like an actual orange, not like orange candy. Many people find citrus smells invigorating and energizing, but I don't particularly (probably in large part due to the blends I choose). For me, orange, like lavender, invokes feelings of calm and cleanliness.

My favorite orange products: My own orange and clove bath stuff has to be up there, but I like other people's orange products as well. One I've been enjoying lately is the Orange Sherbet Bubble Bath Dough from Red Leaf. It's a nice warm orange scent with a little bit of vanilla in it that smells very natural and I find both cheerful and soothing.

Fig: Though it is slightly more esoteric than the first two scents I mentioned, I'm nuts about fig scented products. I love fig because it's a natural, fruity smell that has some earthiness to it and isn't too sweet. For me, it's a very grounding, centered smell. In particular, I love bath products with a fig element.

My favorite fig products: The product that introduced me to my love of fig was Lush's Figs & Leaves soap, which is made with actual figs as well as orange and ylang ylang and is my hands-down favorite thing from Lush. More recently, I have been crazy about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Carnal scent, which pairs fig with mandarin.

Rose: It took me a long time to warm up to rose, mostly because there is so much badly done rose stuff out there. Nicely scented rose products should smell like an actual rose, not your grandmother's underwear drawer. There is a weird underlying power or talculm scent in some rose stuff that I just cannot get behind. Real rose, though, is a pure, beautiful scent, and not just a floral but also an earthy, almost spicy note. I like to wear it because it makes me feel not only feminine, but somehow more mature and confident.

My favorite rose products: Once again, BPAL does an amazing job with rose. Their The Rose perfume is probably the perfect pure rose scent. I love the blends with rose even more, though, particularly Catherine, which is rose, rosemary, and orange blossom; and Mata Hari, which is a five rose blend with jasmine, vanilla, fig, tonka bean, mahogany, and coffee.

Clove: The more I experiment with scents, the more I realize that I strongly prefer "warm" scents to "cool" ones. I like spicy, rich scents. And nothing adds spicy and rich to a combination faster than clove. I mix clove with nearly as many things as I do lavender (though I do not mix them together!). I love orange and clove, rose and clove, vanilla and clove...I could go on. The smell of clove makes me feel warm and safe and at home.

My favorite clove products: Once again, I am awfully fond of my own clove blends, but nothing I've made can hold a candle to Villainess' Embargo. Embargo is a complicated scent, "Indonesian Patchouli spiked with imported spices - cloves, sandalwood, and cedarwood, and a drop of perfume - Tunisian jasmine, tuberose, lily of the valley, grape and Tahitian vanilla," but mostly, to me, it smells like a warm library. BPAL's Madrid is another great clove scent, mixing clove with red wine and mimosa.

So tell me, what smells do you love? Why? How do they make you feel? Do they invoke specific memories, or just general feelings? How important do you think they are in your life?

4 Comments

What laundry soap is lavender and lemongrass?

I love lavender, lemongrass, licorice, cinnamon, ginger, cedar, grapefruit. Spicy or citrusy is good

I HATE all musk, patchouli sort of stuff. And I hate vanilla with a passion. As well as iris, which is the main baby powder component. It's IN EVERYTHING and I have always always hated it. It's all orris root.

When I got allergy tested, it turned out I am really allergic to that stuff! So now it makes sense. I once borrowed Simon's deodorant and he uses something with it in there and I got hives. Blech.

Lavender is so disgusting to me. It is not a preference thing. It is something genetic and innate. My sis and I both had the gag reflex go off when we smelled lavender. I know 99.9% of the population loves it. I wish I did.

Smells I love: jasmine. The real deal. Either flowers or the oil that costs about $25/ml. Mmmmmmm.

Black pepper makes me weak in the knees. LOVE.

A nice light licorice smell. Like fennel.

Ylang ylang. It has a nice feminine mystery to it.

I really love peppermint, eucalyptus and pine. I think because it smells fresh. Doesn't matter whether it's for the bath or shower or to make the room smell nice.
I agree with the fig, a while back we bought Oyin funk butter and it had a fig smell I really loved. Never realized it could smell so good! I should check out the Lush you mention too.
Lavender can be really nice, but a lot of times I think it smells kind of chemical. Rose and orange are nice when I smell a bottle but I wouldn't buy it. Actually washing myself with it would be too much.
For laundry, we definitely prefer no smell to the detergent.

Christine

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Soap in review: Hill Country Haiku

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Chiara.jpgA lot of bath product junkies won't lower themselves to bar soap. They prefer shower gel or cream or butter, complete with a loofah or pouf or sea sponge. When it comes to the actual getting clean part of showering, though, I'm a purist. Bar soap and a washcloth for me, thanks. But I do like nice bar soap. And (big surprise) I'm kind of a collector of it. I can't go to an art fair or farmer's market or street festival without coming home with a few bars from whomever is selling there. In these parts, that means a lot of Austin Natural Soap and South Austin People, both of which I like (in particular, I'm a fan of Austin Natural Soap's 78704 and S.o.A.P.'s Christmas Love soap. Since those are the vendors I am used to seeing, though, I'm always excited to see new soaps around.

Yesterday, at a spring festival thing where our rescue had a booth, I hit the soap jackpot. A vendor I had never seen before and knew nothing about who was selling loads of big beautiful bars. I came home with six.

Hill Country Haiku is a one-woman shea butter soap making enterprise located out in Spicewood, Texas. The woman behind it, Margie Lemons, was running her own booth yesterday, so I got to speak to her briefly. Sounds like her soap making started out as a hobby and has grown from there, and she's clearly (and rightfully) very proud to say that every bar is 100% her work--she designs the soaps, makes them, molds them, cuts them, labels them, sells them, ships them, the works.

And they are beautiful. Each bar is oversized, perfectly trimmed, and nicely and minimally labeled (less waste!). Margie does use dyes, so her bars are a rainbow of colors and patterns. She has tons of scents available, too--it took me forever to narrow my list down to just six. (For the curious, I came home with Honey Bee Mine, Chiara and Blackberry and Sage from the Tried & True collection, as well as Hemingway, Peekaboo Pink, and His Own, which all seem to be limited scents). Each bar is $5.95, which is a good price considering they are at least 5 oz each.

But really, the look and scent of the dry bar is hardly the test for soap, is it? How was my shower?

Fantastic. I started with the Hemingway, which is an orange and brown swirled bar scented with kumquat and chocolate, and it's divine. Rich lather, very moisturizing, lovely and not too strong scent. Felt good in the shower, felt good when I got out. I think the bar is going to last a long while, too--the soap is nice and hard and doesn't fall apart when water touches it.

Lately, I've moved away from my usual local soaps and tried a few fancier varieties from online (mainly Villainess). The price of this soap is similar or slightly higher than what I usually pay at farmer's markets and fairs, but the quality is higher too. The bars are more evenly trimmed, harder, last longer. From what I can tell so far, the quality of the Hill Country Haiku soap is more similar to that of Villainess (or Lush) than the other local small batch soaps I've tried. Margie's soap isn't just as good as any I've gotten from a booth before, it's better.

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When deprivation begets addiction

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As a pre-teen and teenager living at home, I had the usual number of parental rules to rebel again. Retrospectively, they mostly make sense--I understand now why my mom wanted to know where I was going and with whom, and why she wouldn't let 14 year-old me go on a co-ed camping trip with my new 18 year-old boyfriend, and even, to some degree, why she balked at letting me out of the house in some of the outfits I picked out. One rule I absolutely hated then, though, and still sort of feel for my teenage self on, is the no smelly stuff rule.

Perfume was not allowed in my house. Neither were highly scented lotions or soaps, or candles or incense. The reason for this ban was my mom's sensitivity (she calls it an allergy, but I'm not sure it actually is in the clinical sense) to scents--both artificial and natural (fresh flowers weren't allowed in the house either). And she knew if you tried to get around it--I would try to apply perfume at school and she'd smell it on me seven hours later (the fact my perfume of choice was Malibu Musk probably didn't help). The embargo was total.

As soon as I left for college, I became a Bath & Body Works junkie. I may have worn the same pants every day for 90% of my freshman year, but I smelled like Cucumber Melon (in retrospect, not a huge step up from the Malibu Musk). I bought whole collections. I had a dresser drawer stockpile. I spent hours in that store. I was a bonafide stinky stuff junkie.

As I got more comfortable in my late-teen/early-20s alternative skin, I moved on from Bath & Body Works. I started wearing essential oils, and burning them. I colored my hair pink with that Jason's Pomegranate shampoo that that smelled like candy (I don't think you can get that stuff anymore, can you?). There was, possibly, patchouli involved.

At the beginning of my post-college "professional" career I found my happy medium in The Body Shop. I could smell good, use relatively earth-friendly products, and still shop at the mall! Since it had been a few years since living under my mom's no-scent reign of terror, I didn't take my smell quite so seriously anymore, but I never stopped using fun scented lotions and potions.

Then, a few years back, an online friend introduced me to Lush. And I was back in Bath & Body Works land, spending countless hours and dollars on bath bombs and melts, excessive soap, and fancy shampoo. I read Lush message boards. I planned purchases in advance. I re-built my stockpile.

Since then, you sort of know what has happened. I got disillusioned with Lush's extortionist prices and branched out to lots of smaller indie companies. Then I started making my own stuff, and then I started Crushworthy. My obsession with the scented and frou-frou plateaued into something manageable. A hobby and sometimes business, but not an obsession.

Now, though, I'm in the throes of Obsession: Round 3. Once again, it is courtesy of the amazing women I meet online. I've been introduced to the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and their insanely named and charmingly goth perfume oils. First, it was just a few samples to try. Then a couple of message board posts to see if I could buy a few more samples for cheap. Now there's a spreadsheet, a storage plan, decanting, files on how different scent notes work on my skin. There are other, similar companies I plan to try or have already started trying (Villainess, Possets, Happy Housewife, Archana). There is a growing stockpile. What was intended as a trial run to see if I could identify one or two scents I'd like to wear on a daily basis has become an obsession to try everything, smell everything, possess everything.

(In case you are curious, my favorite BPAL scents so far are Mata Hari (rose, jasmine, vanilla, fig, tonka bean, mahogany, and coffee bean), Catherine (orange blossom, rosemary, and rose), Glasgow (wild blackberry and heather), and Lady Macbeth (Bordeaux wine, red currant, thyme and wild berries)--sensing any patterns?)

Why? Well, I blame my mom. Childhood deprivation has led to adulthood obsession. I buy and wear countless highly scented and expensive body products because I can, now. I'm making up for lost time.

6 Comments

I don't think you can get that stuff. i looked! Because I wanted a shampoo that would continue dyeing my hair regularly. While Jason has a red shampoo I think it no longer dyes hair, just keeps your dye in. Which is sad.

Re: BPAL I am too cheap to buy anything from them but I really want all the Alice themed ones, and all the tea scents.

Glad someone comes out of this in a good way (well, one that smells nice) - my tendency to untidyness comes from the same source!

I've got alllllllmost all the Mad Tea Party scents, in imp form at least. Hop hop!

Sorry for the enabling. It had to be done, though.

That's right; blame mom...


*tightens belt on trenchcoat lined with perfume samples; sneaks back into the shrubbery*

I feel mom's pain. I have the sensitivity too, and while it seems fussy and uptight, it is a real thing, and we can't help it. A strong scent is like getting punched in the face - it HURTS. I can hug someone who has cologne on and have a headache for hours. I know we seem like asses, running away from smells, but it really makes us sick. Walking by a perfume counter at a department store ensures I will be in pain for the rest of the day.

The interesting thing, though, is that natural oils don't bother me. I can walk into an aromatherapy shop that only has natural oils and be delighted by the scents. And I LOVE beautiful smells. I have spent $20 on 1 ml of really fine jasmine oil. Aveda products are like heaven. They smell so good and don't hurt me.

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March Little Black Box

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March Black BoxAs I mentioned I was going to last month, I got March's Little Black Box. And I'm much more impressed with it than I was with February's offering.

It includes:

Like I said, much better than last time. I can't wait to try some of this stuff. And I'm likely intrigued enough to get April's box if I have the cash when it comes out. So stay tuned!

7 Comments

Was just thinking, do you search online to see if anyone else posts the contents before you order? The box is a neat idea!

Is anything you get the sort of thing that could be used as small gifts?

I was thinking that for the cost, if you could get 3-4 small gifts for friends it could be worth it.

I bought one of these this month and was so let down. I love the idea, but the execution left me cold. The earrings and jewelry stuff was so crappy I wouldn't even give it away. I'll probably end up tossing it out.

I love bath products, but was underimpressed with the smell and quality of the items in the bag. I have high hopes for the soap, which I haven't tried yet.

And, Mugsy wouldn't touch the dog treats. Pixel helped him out though.

Neither of my candles came with a wick.

Bah. I'm grumpy about this bag idea. It could be great.

I bought it on your sort-of recommendation and am pleased with March's offering. I will be gifting the cat/dog items to a friend and probably some earrings, too.

I was having an incredibly shitty day yesterday, so when it arrived I was especially pleased for the bright spot in the day.

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Waxing poetic about discount stores

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I love a good bargain. This if, of couse, one of the reasons why I thrift shop (though at this point it's not the most important one). Coupons thrill me. I love clearance racks.

And I love, love, love Ross. More recently, my Ross love has expanded to include Marshall's, as well. I still don't quite get T.J. Maxx.

Anyway, I've been cleaning up at Ross and Marshall's lately, so I thought I'd share with you a few of the discoveries I've made therein.

abba shampoo.jpgAbba Pure Basic Shampoo and Conditioner
I bought an 8 oz bottle each of Abba Pure Basic Shampoo and Conditioner at Marshall's a while back for I think $6.99 each. The drugstore.com price on it is $14/bottle for the shampoo and $15 for the conditioner. And I LOVE this stuff. It leaves my hair soft and clean and it smells herbal and nice. Once I'd used it enough to know I loved it, I was delighed to see the same stuff in big liter bottles at Ross for $12.99 (they are regularly about $30). So I've stocked up. Which is good, since apparently Abba is discontinuing this formula.

Seven7 Jeans
My quest for perfect jeans is nearly endless, but I've lately found a pair that is pretty damn close. They are the Seven7 brand dark wash flare jeans. Retail on them is about $60, mine were $19.99 at Marshall's.

EO French Lavender products
The French Lavender line from EO is one of my favorite commercially available body products. I love the subtle scent, and the quality is very good. I've recently bought a anti-stress room spray for $3.99 at Marshall's (regular price $8 or so) and one of these cute "Spa Box" sets for $4.99 at Ross (regular price $19.99). I used the massage candle to figure out how to make my own, and have very much enjoyed the shower gel and bath salts as well.

Ann Taylor lotion
My most exciting recent bath and body care was Ann Taylor body lotions for $3.99 each at Marshall's. It looks as if these have also been discontinued, at least in the two scents I got--Peach Honey Sheer Musk and Orange Nectar Honeysuckle--but when they were being sold I believe they were about $16 each.

simple sneakers.jpgSimple Carousel Plaid Slip-on
One of my favorite things about Ross is that they sometimes carry shoes in my size. They carried these plaid Simple slip-ons in my size, and I love them for that. The shoes are from Simple's Eco line, made with recycled bottles and tired and organic cotton, and they are super cute. My Ross version were $12.99. Amazon has them for $49.99.

Now if I could just find a bag I like...

1 Comments

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Little Black Box

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Have you ever heard of The Little Black Box? Basically, it's an independent company that gathers up samples from lots of indie businesses and puts them together in monthly "black boxes." The boxes are geared and teen girls and women and contain lots of beauty/bath type samples, jewelry, etc. They are different every month, depending on which indie businesses decide to contribute, and not all of the boxes are the same every month, depending on how many of each thing there are, though all of the boxes do have the same general value/number of items. There are a limited number of boxes for sale each month. The boxes cost $23 including priority mail shipping.

I heard about the program a year or so ago and desperately wanted to order one, but didn't have any extra cash at the time and forgot all about it. Then, recently, someone on a message board reminded me about them and I looked them back up. Since there were still February boxes left, I ordered one, and it arrived yesterday.

Little Black Box BagThe Little Black Box is actually a little black bag, pictured at left. I don't know why that disappointed me, but it did. However, packaging doesn't really matter all that much--I was more interested in what was inside!

LBB contentsThe following was included in my February Little Black Box:


  1. From Artists Helping Animals: a sticker, a promotional magnet, and a small plastic owl magnet

  2. From No Duplicates: two (screenprinted, I think?) Christmas gift tags

  3. From babai alainn: a small knitted beanie (doll sized)

  4. From Vegan Etsy: a BOGO coupon for dog treat recipes

  5. From Kreations by Kathie: four small heart-shaped cinammon scented mini scent tarts and a 15% off coupon

  6. From Gems by Jerri: a pair of beaded earrings and a 15% off coupon

  7. From fluffnflowers: four emerald okra seeds

  8. From The Crocheted Baby: a crocheted mini face scrubber (like this) and a BOGO coupon

  9. From a shop whose name I could not read: a small beaded string--maybe intended to be a keychain?

  10. From Bloomhill Baby: a small embroidered guardian angel and a 15% off coupon

  11. From girls just wanna have fun: a crocheted face scrubbie and a 15% off coupon

  12. From Photobeads: a large colorful bead and a small promotional calendar

  13. From Augavino: a photo card and a 20% off coupon

  14. From Hippy Dippy Designs: a pair of beaded earrings

  15. From McGuinness Photography: a photo card and a 15% off coupon

  16. From Cottonwood Herbals: a 4 oz bar of "Clothesline Fresh" scented soap

  17. From Soap that Makes Scents: a lavender scented soap petal

  18. From Cheri's Organics: a small bar of green tea jasmine soap

  19. From Skin Candy: a 20% off coupon, 2 oz rice krispie treats lotion, lavender vanilla shower gel sample, coconut pear body butter sample, and watermelon taffy whipped cream soap sample

  20. From Simply Sentimental: a 10% off coupon

  21. From Lincoln Christie: a glass tile necklace

  22. A PETA sticker featuring a pig barking like a dog

  23. A Little Black Box button

All in all, I was neither blown away nor disappointed. There was nothing in the box I would have chosen for myself, but most of it seems pretty usable and reasonable to pay for. I found the companies that contributed coupons but no merchandise irritating--I shouldn't have to pay for your coupons. I thought the Skin Candy company was generous, as was Lincoln Christie. I would have liked more bath stuff and less jewelry, but I understand that's the luck of the draw. And I still love the concept.

So, I think I will try March's box and see what it holds. The website says it will be on sale March 27. And in the meantime, I'm considering contributing to the boxes once I get Crushworthy back up and running. Little tins of sugar scrub would be perfect, I think...

1 Comments

Very interesting...I also love the concept but think that the all the companies should contribute a sample of their product.

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Over my head

| 2 Comments

As I implied in that last post, and probably have previously, I ended up a bit over my head with this bath product making business. The problem, as is often my problem, is that I didn't think things through completely before I started. Mostly, this was because I didn't really expect to sell anything. So, even though I didn't sell that much, I ended up overwhelmed. I was short on supplies, so ended up paying a premium for those; I didn't manage my time well, so orders went out late; and I didn't think about packaging and shipping very thoroughly before starting. All of this has added up to a stressful learning experience that ended up costing well more than I earned for the Christmas season.

Why past tense? Because as of today my shop is closed until after the new year. If I am going to do this, I need to do it correctly, with some forethought. So I'm giving myself the next few weeks to put that necessary thought into it, with the plan of opening back up in January with a supply of products ready to be sold, a plan for packing and shipping, better photographs, and a generally more professional outlook.

But where to begin? I think I need a business plan. I can't figure out why it is that I am perfectly capable of thinking and writing one of those out for someone else, but for myself, I just fly by the seat of my pants.

For now, these are the things on which I think I need to focus:

  1. Making the enterprise profit. If I am not making money of it, there is no reason to sell. It's fine if it isn't something that can be profitable, but if it's not, I need to stop trying to make it so and go back to a gifting and swapping only policy.
  2. Focusing on a few things with which I am comfortable, rather than trying to make everything anyone suggests. Part of what what threw me through the loop this time was trying to add new products all the time. I need to perfect a few things and then add others slowly. For example, I know I can make bath melts easily and successfully, but I am far less confident about bath bombs.
  3. Identifying attractive and environmentally sustainable packaging. This is my biggest challenge right now--how to package. I hate everything I've tried so far--it's either wasteful, ugly, expensive, unwieldy to ship, or all of the above.
  4. Being a professional. I am really irritated at my lack of professionalism so far. Mostly, this has to do with packaging and shipping times, but also with the lackluster photographs on the products on the site and the way nothing is completely uniform. I'm not really sure where to start with fixing this, though.

That seems like a lot to think about right there, without even getting into the longer list of issues I have. I'm sure I'll be thinking and writing about this some more in the next few weeks. In the meantime, your advice and comments are very, very appreciated.

2 Comments

I had to think about this for a bit, but I can only come up with two things:
- succesful companies always have one specific item that's their core, which can be the bath melts for you. If you make that the focus it might make choosing what else can be in your shop easier.
- choosing a specific style (color, font) to have a signature look in your shop works really well.

Oh, and when I buy stuff at Lush I always get the bath bombs and melts in a simple paper bag. Perhaps that would work for you as well.
Hope this helps!

Christine

Hey Grace,

If you can use them, I can send you a couple dozen bubble-wrap envelopes in various sizes. They were in my house when I bought it and over the last two years I've used maybe three?

Let me know via Facebook and we'll work something out.

-Robin/Kate

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Making things

| 0 Comments

For those who have been interested in my Making Things Mondays, you should really check out this round-up at One Pretty Thing. There are all sorts of links to recipes and tutorials to make your own bath stuff, most of them much better done than mine. Enjoy!

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NaBloPoMo #17: Making Things Monday

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Today on Making Things Monday, we're making oatmeal bath bombs. These are great because they are both fun (fizzy!) and good for your skin. The ones that are shown here are mini-bombs, which are good for kids, who may have less bath water, or for adults, who can use however many they want to customize their baths. The same recipe can be used for larger bombs, however.

ingredients

Your lineup of ingredients may be getting familiar by now. You'll need oatmeal, baking soda, citric acid, almond oil, essential oil(s), and a spray bottle full of water.

utensils

Unlike most of my recipes, this one does call for a bit of specialized equipment in the form of a food processor. You'll also need a bowl, a stirring spoon, and measuring cups.

oatmeal in

Measure a cup of oatmeal into the food processor.

oatmeal in processor

Process the oatmeal. You're going to want to give it several minutes--the idea here is to get it as fine as possible. The more fine it is, the less grit you end up with in the bath when you use the bombs.

baking soda in

While the oatmeal is processing, measure a cup of baking soda into your bowl.

citric acid in

Then measure in a bit less than a cup (maybe 3/4 cup) of citric acid.

powdered oatmeal in

Add the processed oatmeal.

dry ingredients

Mix up all the dry ingredients. Make sure to work out an citric acid or baking soda lumps.

oil in

Add 1/4 cup of almond oil.

lavender in

After you mix in the almond oil, add your essential oil or oils. In this case, I am making simple, kid-friendly lavender bombs.

all ingredients

Once everything has been added, the mixture will look something like this.

spraying water

Spray on and mix in just enough water to make the mixture stick together when you apply pressure. You want to use as little water as possible. Using too much water will initiate the chemical reaction that makes these fizz, and they will fizz right out of your molds. Depending on the humidity in your house and how much EO you use, you may not need any water at all.

filling molds

Pack the mixture into your molds. You want it as tightly packed as possible.

full molds

Your filled molds will look something like this. Let them set up for about 24 hours (until they are completed hard), then pop them out of the molds. Use 1-2/bath for kids and 3-4/bath for adults.

Now, the math:

Organic oatmeal is about $1.29/lb. A pound is about 5 cups, so these bombs us about $0.26 worth.

My Costco bag of baking soda was about $5 for 12 lbs. A cup is about .4 lbs, so $0.17 worth.

The best price I've found on citric acid is $2.25/lb at Snowdrift Farms. A cup is about .5 lbs, so our 3/4 cup is about $0.84 worth.

Best price for sweet almond oil is $4.75/lb from Majestic Mountain Sage. Our 1/4 cup is about 2 oz, which is $0.60 worth.

Finally, the best price I've found for lavender essential oil is $4.90/oz at Majestic Mountain Sage. This recipe uses about .2 oz, so $0.98 worth.

All told, that's $2.85 to make 30 .3 oz mini-bombs, or 9 oz of bombs. $0.32/oz. Not bad! I don't believe Lush has an oatmeal bomb with which to compare this, but if they did, I'm pretty sure it would cost more than that!

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NaBloPoMo #12: Not What I'm Reading Wednesday

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I'm still reading the same book I was last week, so let's make bubble bars instead, shall we?

Making Things Monday redux!

bubble bar ingredients

You're going to need baking soda, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (NOT sodium laureth sulfate, that's different, and I will get to that in a minute), vegetable derived liquid glycerin, cream of tartar, and essential oils. You're also going to need a bowl, spoon, and measure devices.

bubble bar mixture

In your bowl, mix up equal parts baking soda and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate. The baking soda is what makes it fizz, as well as being good for irritated skin and keeping things together in the bars. The sodium lauryl sulfoacetate is a foaming agent. However, unlike the evil sodium laureth sulfate, it is plant derived (from palm and coconut oil) rather than synthetic. It's also a "large molecule," rather than "small molecule" ingredient, which means it shouldn't irritate your skin (you can read a bit more about it here). Start with maybe one cup of each. Then add a couple of tablespoons of cream of tartar. The cream of tartar is there to help the bubbles keep their shape. Then add a couple of tablespoons of glycerin. The glycerin is to soften your skin and clean you, as well as assist in the bubbling. What you'll likely end up with it something that looks a bit like the bowl above--sticky, but not quite wet enough to stick together. Add the essential oils at this point. I find, for whatever reason, that I need to add a bit higher EO concentration to these bars than I do to melts or scrubs.

spritzing with water

Once your ingredients are mixed, spritz them with water just until they're wet enough to stick together. You want to use as little water as possible. If you use enough glycerin and EOs, you may not need the water at all.

molding bubble bars

Then pack it into your molds. I use silicon shaped cupcake molds (or I use one of them--this is the only one I have and I really need some different ones). You want to pack it in as tightly as possible. Don't be afraid to use your fingers.

bubble bars in mold

Once everything is packed in, it will look like this! Let them set up for about 24 hrs in a dry place.

bubble bars

Viola! Bubble bars! Crumble them up under fast-moving warm bath water and luxuriate!

Now, the math:

Baking soda is cheap. I buy big bags at Costco, which are, I believe, about $5 for 12 lbs. A cup is about .4 lbs. That makes the per cup cost about $0.17.

Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate costs $6.75/lb at Majestic Mountain Sage. A cup is about 1/4 of the container, or 4 oz, so I'd say $1.69 worth.

Cream of tarter is $9.69/lb from Frontier. The two-three tablespoons in this recipe add up to only about 1.5 oz, so that's $0.91 worth.

Majestic Mountain Sage sells liquid vegetable derived glycerin for $4/lb. Again, three tablespoons is only about 1.5 oz, so this recipe only calls for about $0.38 worth.

As always, the EOs are the expensive part. How much they cost varies widely based on how much you use and what types. A favorite bubble bar of mine from Lush is the Amandopondo Bubble Bar. It is scented with lemon, orange, and rose, so lets us that as a comparison. Orange EO, as we know from Monday, is cheap. This recipe would use maybe .2 oz, and it's $2.79 for 2 oz at best price, so that's $0.28 worth. Lemon is pretty cheap too--best price is found at Snowdrift Farms, and it's $4.49/oz. If this uses .2 oz (which is a generous estimate), that's $0.90 worth. Rose, however, is not cheap. The best price I've found for 5% rose in jojoba oil is $5.99 for .5 oz, at Frontier. If this recipe uses .2 oz, then, it's $2.40 worth.

Add that all up and this batch of bubble bars costs approximately $6.73 in a lemon-orange-rose combo. That's for 6 bars weighing slightly under 3 oz each--we'll say 16 oz total.

In comparison, the bar I linked to at Lush is $6.65 for one 3.5 oz bar. My per oz cost is $0.42, Lush's per oz cost is $1.90. To top that, the third ingredient in Lush's bar? Sodium laureth sulfate.

I win again!


3 Comments

I am learning so much, Grace. Can you maybe share one day some of the resources you learned all this fabulous bath stuff from?

I'd really like to make soaps. Got any secrets or resources for all natural?

You are wise to be afraid of lye. The stuff can do you mighty big harm. A friend of mine who does make bar soap uses a full on respirator. It's very noxious stuff.

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NaBloPoMo #10: Making Things Monday

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Today we turn away from food and back to where my true heart lies--bath products. In specific, we're going to take a look at how to make sugar scrub. Sugar scrub is one of those things that is SO easy to make that once you see how it's done, you'll feel silly ever buying it again. You don't even need fancy ingredients--you can make it all with household stuff (and I'll note those substitutions). This is definitely the place to start if you want to make your own bath stuff. And it would be a good project for kids, too, I think--fairly inexpensive and no melting required!

ingredients

These are the ingredients used in my sugar scrubs: organic brown sugar, organic white sugar, organic honey, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, and essential oils. For the sake of this example, we'll be making my personal favorite scent combo, orange clove.

hardware

This is the necessary hardware. This recipe is by volume, not weight, so no scaled needed. You will need measuring cups, a bowl, a spoon to mix it with, and, in my case at least, a pipette for EOs (since one of the bottles I'm using doesn't have a dropper top). I have a separate set of measuring cups and spoons and mixing spoons that I use for bath stuff only, but it isn't necessary in a recipe like this--everything is food safe.

white sugar in

Add a cup of white sugar to the bowl. In my area, organic white sugar is about $0.99/lb regular price. A cup of sugar is approximately 1/2 lb, so this is about $0.50 worth of sugar.

brown sugar in

Next, add the same amount of brown sugar. This too is about $0.99/lb for organic here. There are about 2.5 cups of brown sugar to a pound, so this is about $0.40 worth. The sugars make up the exfoliating capacity of the scrub. I use a combo of both types because they have a different grit level and I think they work best together. Some people may prefer just one or the other, though, and that's fine, the recipe will work the same way.

honey in

Then add 1/4 cup of honey. The honey is for it's antiseptic and skin-clearing properties. Organic honey has a really wide range of prices, but my local stuff is usually about $4 for 12 oz. 1/4 cup is approximately 2 oz, so this is $0.67 in honey.

apricot oil in

Next, add 1/4 cup of apricot kernel oil. With the almond oil, this will make up the moisturizing element of the scrub. My current best price for apricot kernel oil is $5.70 for 16 oz (from Majestic Mountain Sage). A cup of oil is about 8 oz, so 1/4 cup is about 2 oz. This recipe, then, calls for about $0.71 worth of apricot oil.

almond oil in

Finally, add 1/2 cup of sweet almond oil. If you don't want to spend the money for these special oils, all 3/4 cup of oil can be substituted for an oil you already have. It won't work quite as well, but it will work. It has to be an oil that is liquid at room temperature, though, so coconut oil is out. Personally, I wouldn't want to use corn or canola or vegetable oil either. Light olive oil, though, would probably work fine, as would sunflower oil (which is what they use in a lot of commercial scrubs to keep costs down).

Majestic Mountain Sage also has the best priced almond oil I've found, $4.75 for 16 oz. Since 1/2 cup is about 4 oz, this is $1.19 worth of almond oil.

ingredients mixed up

Now that everything (besides the scents) is in the bowl, mix it up. It should end up looking like this. If it looks too wet, add a bit more sugar. If it looks too dry, add a bit more oil. In general, though, a proportion of 2 pts sugar to 1 pt honey and oil seems to work about right.

adding orange oil

Finally, add your scents. I'm using a disposable pipette here to add orange essential oil. The best price on this stuff I've found is from Snowdrift Farms, who sell it for $2.79 for 2 oz. I'm using maybe .1 oz here, so it's only about $0.14 worth. (No, relative cheapness is not the reason I love orange oil so much, but it sure doesn't hurt!)

adding clove oil

Since it has a dropper top, I add the clove bud oil straight from the bottle. The best price I've found on this oil is also from Snowdrift Farms, and it's $4.95 for 1 oz. Again, this is about .1 oz, so $0.50 worth.

If you don't want to shell out for essential oils, you have a couple of options. You can leave your scrub "unscented," in which case it's mostly going to smell like whatever oil you use, or you can use something else to scent it with (maybe vanilla extract?).

jarring

Once you have mixed in your oils, your scrub is complete and ready to be jarred. I like to put mine in thrifted or recycled class jars with lids. You want it to be in something fairly airtight so it doesn't dry out. If it is in a decent container, it should keep fine for several months.

finished product

Voila! The finished product!

The total cost for this scrub (not counting the jar, since I'll assume that's recycled from something else) is $4.11, for about 16 oz. My favorite commercial scrub, the sugar cane body scrub from Alba Botanicals, runs about $8.79 for 10 oz. And it's not even a most-expensive brand! So my scrub, made with all-natural ingredients, is about $0.26/oz, and theirs is $0.88/oz. Pretty clear which one I'm going to choose! (It is worth noting, however, that making this scrub with more expensive essential oils would raise the price considerably--these are among the cheapest EOs you can get.)

As always, if you just don't feel like making this yourself, please stop by Crushworthy. I'd be happy to make it for you!

8 Comments

OK, do you just massage this into your face and it exfoliates it? I'm a little beauty-product-retarded so bare with me. Looks divine though!

I would love to make this. Well at first I wanted to eat it until you added the not so tasty sounded items. I had one of these once with cinnamon and it was heavenly. It was so expensive that I used just a dash so that I could make it last extra long. I'm going to have to make myself some of this.

Grace, thank you so much for this post. It's a brilliant idea and your step by step instruction is so detailed and wonderful. I am a first time visitor and I can't wait to read more!!!

Oh, this looks excellent. The last time I had anything like this for myself was three years ago or more. I really should make some. Thanks for posting!

Oh, cutting out the lotion step is nice!

Also looking forward to next monday.

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The Winner!

| 1 Comment

I'll get to my Making Things Monday post shortly, but in the meantime, I have a winner for my Bloggies Giveaway Carnival Contest! I ended up with a fantastic 135 entries to win an Introduction to Crushworthy Grag Bag, and the winner is Becky, who likes ylang ylang! I'll be emailing you shortly!

For everyone who didn't win, if you'd still like to try out something from Crushworthy, please do! For the rest of the month of November, mention this blog post in your order on Etsy and I'll take 20% off. Deal?

1 Comments

I'm super-excited to win! Thank you Grace, for offering this wonderful giveaway. :)

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Bloggy Giveaways Carnival!

| 136 Comments

THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!


bloggy giveaways button

My Lord! Did you all know about the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival? All over the net, bloggers are giving things away! Hundreds of us! It's not only a great way to enter contests for tons of cool stuff, it's also a great way to find new blogs. So, of course, I'm in.

Here's what I am giving away: an Introduction to Crushworthy Grab Bag, from my Etsy store, Crushworthy. The handmade fabric bag will include a sampling of my handmade all-natural bath products. Could be any combination of bath melts, bath bombs, bubble bath bars, oil perfume, oatmeal bath, sugar scrub...you name it!

To enter, just leave me a comment on this post, telling me what scent(s) you'd like if you were to be the winner. I'll used Random Number Generation to pick a winner sometime next week, and the winner will be posted both here and at the Carnival's home site. Please be sure to leave a way for me to get in touch with you in your comment--if you win, you want to make sure I can let you know!

And then, when you're done here, go over and check out some other blogs and enter their contests! That's where I'm headed!

I am sorry I need to do this, but I do have to limit this contest to US-only shipping addresses.

136 Comments

grapefruit is my fav bath scent! pick me please- i need some pampering!

Eucalyptus has always been one of my favorite scents!!! I also love peppermint and lavender too!

Vanilla would be my choice!
Thanks,
ELizabeth
zizziecards@gmail.com

Anything with Lavender.

Oh I would love cedarwood or sandalwood. Sounds wonderful!

The scent of Lime! I love that! Thanks for the giveaway!

Lavender is my fav scent, but the sweet orange sound good too!

Ooh, so hard to choose! I would go with Sweet Orange.

Grapefruit and ginger! Sound weird, but if you've ever used that handsoap (it might be avalon organics? I'm not sure) you know, its smells like heaven.

I like florals like rose and lavender!

quitecontrary1977@hotmail.com

ohhhh, anything Lavender!

I would love to try the oatmeal bath for my husband & daughter with sensitive skin. Thanks, everything looks great!

Sweet Orange! That sounds absolutely perfect...

I would love to try Cinnamon, Sweet Orange, and Vanilla.

over here, over here

pick me, pick me, LOL!!


i would love to win your grab bag!

Cinnamon sounds wonderful -- especially at this time of year. :)

I was just thinking how much I would like to get a sugar scrub for my boyfriend. Since it is for him, I'd want something subtle and masculine: tea tree or spruce maybe?

Cool! I'd pick Jasmine and Vanilla! Thanks for the super giveaway!
katiellloyd at yahoo(dot)com

I have no idea how to even begin to choose with those divine smells...but I would have to say either lime or sweet orange.

Peppermint would be fabulous with the holidays coming up! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Patchouli, rosemary, vetiver - your products look great.
wrongshoes at gmail dot com

tangerine!!

Lavender sounds wonderful! Or the sweet organge.

Your giveaway is great! Thank you!

Cinnamon! YUM!

ylang ylang, anise, cinnamon, fennell...I love them all!

Scents I would love to have: Cinnamon, Jasmine, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Rose, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, and Vanilla. I wouldn't object to any of the other scents either. Thanks for the opportunity.

this looks fun...hmmm..cinnamon and clove bud sound great!!

Great giveaway! I love bath products and you have such a nice selection of scents! I'd really like to try rose, vanilla, or grapefruit.

I like spicy, not floral! Sounds fab!

So many lovely scents, it's hard to choose! But I think I'm going to have to go with sandalwood and patchouli, because I am a hippy at heart. Cheers!

Peppermint
I just love the smell of peppermint....it's so relaxing!
hushmouth{at}verizon{dot}net

I love grapefruit! Or the satsuma scent at The Body Shoppe. Yum.

oOoOoOoOo
Lavender
Sandalwood
Orange

Oh, was I supposed to just pick one?

I love lavender! Wonderful prize!

I like the citrus scents ... grapefruit, sweet orange, and tangerine. Thanks for the chance to win.

Ginger, for sure. I do also like coconut.

lydia.bower @ gmail.com

Mint Chocolate chip!

How generous of you! I love cinnamon or peppermint...so either would really make me happy! Thank you so much for the chance!

I would love the lime scent.

What a nice assortment! I would probably prefer grapefruit, sweet orange or sandalwood! So many great scents, I couldn't narrow it down. thanks!

Hard to choose. I have been loving Rose a lot lately. Thanks for the giveaway~

I would love the bay.

I would pick lavender for sure!

I would choose peppermint! Thanks for the chance!
give_me_a_latte at yahoo

Vanilla and Lime would be my favorite scents!

Oooh Patchouli!

I love Vanilla, Lavendar and Peppermint! Those are my favorite scents.

Thank you for an awesome giveaway!!!!

I would like orange or lavender- do you have almond?

sweet orange and peppermint

I'd like vanilla or cucumber melon.

lavender, and vanilla sounds amazing. I would love a chance to win. Thanks for the giveaway!


hottmomma_03@yahoodotcom

Jasmine for me, please!

Something sweet, or citrus - suprise me!

I love Ylang Ylang. that is hands down my favorite scent ever! thanks so much!

great giveaway!

Oh my goodness! You have Ylang Ylang.I love that scent and it's rather hard to find.
One of my other favorites scents are Coconut; will you be having that?

I really love the Lavender, Jasmine, Chamomile, and Patchouli scents. They each have a calming effect- and that's just perfect for me!

orchestratenoise0726[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sweet Orange

Thank you for the great giveaway!

kerin0874 (at) yahoo (dot) com

I would love some lavender scented or peppermint scented lotions and bath stuff!

I love vanilla!

vanilla or maybe cinnamon

Thanks for the giveaway! >^..^

I love Patchouli! Thanks for the chance to win your great giveaway!

I love Vanilla and Cinnamon or anything is fine. Thanks for the great giveaway.

I adore the smell of Eucalyptus, that would be my choice

I would pick lavender vanilla. It is such a relaxing scent!

Pumpkin and apple & cinnamon.

I would love to try the Clove Bud scent if I win - thank you for this giveaway! :)

I may be boring, but I like the basics, Vanilla, lavender, and cinnamon.

So many choices, I love vanilla, cinnamon, pachouli, ylang ylang. so many

thanks for sharing

ceashark at aol dot com

I'm good with mostly whatever (although I am currently favoring cedarwood, grapefruit, and sandalwood). Also, what does Vetiver smell like? Really, any of the above. Except for Eucalyptus.

peppermint

Hard to choose - I think peppermint would be wonderfully refreshing!

Take care,
El

I think I would choose the vanilla or the sweet orange.

Some of my favorite scents are Patchouli, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang.

I would love either vanilla or grapefruit...it depends on what kind of mood I am in!
Count me in!
twinzmama23(@)yahoo(.)com

Sweet orange for me. I like fruity scents.

i think i'd like cinnamon, clove bud, and sweet orange.

there's nothing like relaxing in a hot bath after a hard day. i would love to win! i love sweet or citrus scents.

I'd definately pick the sweet orange or the lime scents!! Great stuff in your shop!! Come check out my giveaways!!

Ginger, Grapefruit, Lime...The list could go on! Yummy!

i would love the grapefruit!
daisy_collections(at)yahoo(dot)com

ginger or vanilla. hard to choose!!

oooh, cinnamon!

I live in the bathtub so anything with Jasmine or
Lavender would be awesome. Thanks for sharing. Stacy

I love pampering products! My favorite scents would be cinnamon,Tangerine,and Peppermint. Thanks for a chance to win. monk5@charter.net

Lavender Lavender , anything with lavender!

I think tangerine would be great!

the_other_alice_(at)yahoo.com

I love lavender, lime and rose! Thank you for the giveaway!

Hmm, so hard to choose but I think I would go with Jasmine. Thanks for the giveaway.

I would love Lavender if I win.

Vanilla sounds fantastic. Thanks for the contest!

Peppermint sounds GREAT!

Sweet Orange would be my choice. Thanks for the giveaway. semtaylor(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lavender, Jasmine and Ginger for me!

Thank you!

My choices would be clove bud, sweet orange, and lavender.

Thanks for the giveaway!

I would love the Ylang Ylang scent. How fantastic! Thank you for this giveaway; I hope I win :)
eyeslikesugar (at) gmail (dot) com

vanilla is always good

My favorite bath scent is Lavender Vanilla. It's great for relaxing in the evening!

mmmm oatmeal bath an djsmin! Awesome giveaway! Thank you for the chance to win!

I love lavender..thanks!

lavender, thanks!
vanillacreme at gmail dot com

Sweet orange sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway.
Heather
poncey76 at hotmail dot com

Sweet Orange

Vanilla - definitely vanilla!

jubys1mom(at)yahoo(dot)com

Vanilla and peppermint both sound great, thanks!

May favorite scents are lavender and patchouli

Lavender and Vanilla are my favorite scents. The Grab Bag sounds great!

I think if I was to win...I would like a surprise...the scents all sound great...so I would like a surprise you pick...thank you for being so generous...cvdmvega@yahoo.com

I'd like eucalyptus and peppermint because they're soothing and relaxing. That's just what I need for the holidays!

Howdy, neighbor! (Well, fellow Texan, anyway!) I added your Etsy shop to my faves so I can find it again, and if I were to win this giveaway, I'd love a eucalyptus/peppermint combo. Thanks for the giveaway, and stop by and check mine out!

I love Jasmine, and also Bay.

Oooh, wonderful! I like peppermint and vanilla! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

I would definitely love vanilla! Lovely giveaway - thanks so much!

Tangerine and pblack pepper would be my choices. Your stuff looks divine!Thanks for a great giveaway!
jjdragonfly [at] gmail [dot] com

What a great store! I would use any of the stuff except for maybe the oil.
These are the scents I like:
cinnamon
grapefruit(!)
jasmine
tangerine
vanilla

Sweet Orange sound nice

lavender or cinnamon would be wonderful!!

I love all bath products, I like pampering myself!
I like the scents:
Ginger
Lime
Sweet Orange
Tangerine
Tea Tree
Vanilla

Thanks for the giveaway!

If I won I'd want the Sweet Orange scent

Well, my favorite scents are peppermint (reminds me of Christmas) and chamomile (reminds me f my grandmother). Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

Anything that has the hint of coconut. I love the way it smells.

Thanks so much for the great giveaway!

I'm glad you have vanilla on the list. It's my favorite scent!

I'd love to try the Sweet Orange

I would love the Jasmine scent. Thanks for the giveaway!

Vanilla.

I love the smell of lavendar...hope to win.

Thanks for a giveaway, this is so much fun, isn't it?

I love anything fruity/fresh smelling - grapefruit, sweet orange, tangerine...those all fit the bill! :)

I would love Lavender! Wonderful giveaway and good luck with your store

Lime, Please!!

Thanks for having the giveaway!

Anise would be my choice.
solta(at)hotmail.com

Tangerine, vanilla, rose, jasmine, Peppermint, Grapefruit
and Lavender

I like these:
tangerine
vanilla
sweet orange

Thanks!

What a great giveaway! Rose is my favorite scent.
lisalmg (at) ktis (dot) net

'Orange you nice?!!

I love the sweet orange scent because it's so personal to me, from the mock orange blossoms in my parents' yard, to the orange groves of sunny Florida (college days), to now, orange juice and orange flavored crepes for family brunch...

I'd love peppermint or lime.Those scents always seem to give me energy .Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great giveaway !

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How To Make Bath Melts

| 6 Comments

When I started trying to make my own bath products, I got a lot of instruction from the web. I read a few tutorials and a lot of recipes, then struck out on my own. Yesterday as I as preparing to make a batch of melts for a swap, it occurred to me that I ought to give some of that knowledge back and give a tutorial of my own. Due to my current emphasis on finances, I'm going to try to include prices here as well, so you can see how much these little suckers cost to make rather than buy.

How To Make Bath Melts

First, get your ingredients together. What you see here is an 8 oz jar of Nature's Flavors organic cocoa butter ($6.56, or $0.82/oz), a 16 oz bottle of Mountain Rose Herbs sweet almond oil ($6.50 or $0.41/oz), a five lb bucket of Majestic Mountain Sage coconut oil ($12.75 or $0.16/oz), 0.5 oz bottle of Aura Cacia sandalwood blended with jojoba essential oil ($10.69), and a 0.5 oz bottle of Wild Oats jasmine in jojoba essential oil, which was purchased on clearance for $6, but is generally more like $13.99 for 0.5 oz.

ingredients

Next, get your hardware together. I used a thrifted Pyrex measuring cup, a postal scale I bought off Ebay (our kitchen scale is broken), a plastic chopstick for stirring, and a flexible rubber ice cube tray (also thrifted) for a mold. This particular mold holds 14 0.4 oz melts. Flexible rubbber molds like this one are my strong preference for making melts, as I have a hard time getting them out of harder molds without making a mess.

tools

Once everything is together, start measuring out ingredients. Be sure to zero out the scale with the measuring up on it, then, to fill this size mold (5.6 oz total), add 3.5 oz of cocoa butter ($2.87 worth). You want your cocoa butter broken into smallish pieces if at all possible, and that's usually how it comes out of the container for me.

cocoa butter in

Next, measure in 1.5 oz of coconut oil ($0.24 worth).

coconut oil in

Then, add about .6 oz of almond oil ($0.25 worth). Pour carefully--you can't take it back out if you add too much, and since almond oil is liquid at room temperature, adding too much will cause your melts not to harden.

almond oil in

Once your three oils are in, stir them up and then start your melting apparatus. I use a double-boiler method, as shown here, with a shallow pan of water heated slowly.

melting apparatus

The coconut oil will melt almost immediately, the cocoa butter will take longer. As it melts, stir frequently.

partially melted

As soon as the mixture is all melted, take it off the heat. The object is to heat it as little as possible while still getting everything fully melted. Do not be alarmed if it smells like chocolate and/or coconut--those are the butters natural scents and will be masked by the essential oils you add. If those scents bother you, you can buy deodorized cocoa butter, but it is much more expensive.

melted

Once your melting is complete, you are ready to add your scents. In this amount of base liquid, I add about 60-80 drops of scent, depending on which scents I am using. The scents will smell stronger when added to the warm oil than they do in the finished product, so this is really a trial-and-error process. For the sake of this example, lets say I used .05 oz (about a tenth of the bottle) of sandalwood ($1.07 worth) and .05 oz of jasmine ($1.40 worth).

adding eo

Once you have mixed in your scents, pour the mixture carefully into your molds. You want to fill them all the way up without going over the edges. It's a slow process.

in the mold

Once the molds are full, they need to go somewhere to harden. Since it's still pretty warm in my house, I harden them in the fridge--they get harder faster that way, and it's a lot easier to deal with these as solids than as liquids.

molded

After they harden for an hour or two, you should be able to pop them out of the mold easily and wrap or package them. My preferred wrapping methods are individually in foil and then together in a decorative fabric bag, or all together in a plastic bag and then that in a decorative bag, depending on how many melts we're talking about.

By my calculation, the total cost for this project (not including hardware, just ingredients) is $5.83, or $0.42 per .4 oz melt ($1.04 per oz). For the sake of comparison, my favorite bath melt from Lush, the Dreamtime, is $5.65/oz, and it contains artificial perfume as well as essential oils.

The upshot, of course, is that if you are a bath product junkie like me, it's greener and more frugal to make your own. If you don't want to make your own, though, come on over to Crushworthy--I am hoping to get new stock up this week, and I'll be happy to sell you some.

6 Comments

Oooo that looks so great! Thanks, Grace! You're just so crafty. When I grow up I wanna be as crafty as you, seriously!

That is so cool. I'd like to try that sometime. I'm disappointed that Lush uses artificial perfume.

Let me know if you ever ship to Canada.

Do you have a picture of the finish product? I would love to see it :)

Awesome recipe, thanks for sharing. I made a batch today but used shea butter instead of coco butter as I have not been able to purchase coco butter. I also put mine in the microwave for a few seconds, rather than melting on the stove. Used peppermint eo. can hardly wait to use them.
Cheers!
Cody Wellard

I made layered truffles that looked gorgeous when they came out of the freezer. The next morning they melted down to a pool of oil. Any idea why this happened? Can you tell me what fractionated coconut oil is? Is that what I was supposed to use?
Thanks for your help!

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Cocoa butter PSA

| 0 Comments

Comparison shopping for cocoa butter or
Cocoa butter price comparison
(for those Googling)

So shopping online for cocoa butter is probably not something you find yourself doing often, unless you are like me (or are me) and make a lot of gooey bath products that require large quantities of it. That being said, even if you are me, comparison shopping for the bet cocoa butter bargain is not something you want to ever have to devote an hour or more to again. Wouldn't it have been nice, you say to yourself, if someone on The Internets had handily provided this information so I would not have had to seek it out?

And so I give you the best price options I've found. Please note that I am not vouching for any of these companies, just telling you much it costs. Prices often go down if you order more, but for the purposes of comparison, I am sticking with a one-pound purchase.

If organic cocoa butter is your thing, the best price I've found is $11.44/lb at Nature's Flavors. Shipping and handling on this is $8.03 via FedEx Ground (which is, incidentally, why you want to buy more than a pound at once). Mountain Rose Herbs has organic cocoa butter for $12/lb, which is a pretty negligible difference, but their shipping price (via "UPS/Fed Ex Gound") is $8.77 for that order.

If you need your cocoa butter to be organic AND deodorized, the best price I can find is $14.99/lb at Skincare Naturals. It's a Canadian Company, though, so the shipping is going to set you back $11-$12 for that, depending on what part of the US you live in. Glory Bee Foods has organic deodorized cocoa butter for $19.70/lb, which is quite a bit more, but shipping is also significantly less, running from $6.50-$9.25 depending on how far you live from their Oregon headquarters.

If you don't care about organic, this stuff gets a lot cheaper (imagine!). The cheapest I found was $4.00/lb at Paw Made Soap Company in Michigan. That's a sale price, but it's only down from $4.40/lb, so it's still the cheapest when not on sale. Priority mail shipping is $7.20, but when I tried to to a mock check-out, it changed my shipping to $1, so I'm really not sure.

Finally, if non-organic but deodorized is your deal, I think your best bet is $7.00/lb at Soapies Supplies. Delivery via FedEx Ground is $4.84. Another good possibility is Glory Bee Foods (mentioned above), who sell the non-organic deodorized for $7.75/lb and ship as cheaply as possible.

There. Probably more than you wanted to know, but hopefully helpful to someone at some point. If you did Google this up and it was useful, leave me a comment and let me know?

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I'm in business!

| 0 Comments

I sold my first bunch of bath melts today, and I am just on Cloud 9 about it. True, the person who is buying them is a friend, so it's still all in the family, but I'm still excited. The first step of my plan for world domination and the overthrow of Lush is complete!

In case you missed it before, my Etsy shop, Crushworthy, is here. It's under construction, more things will be added in the future, but you can definitely buy what is there now. Please tell anybody bath-obsessed that you know--my stuff is cheaper than most, more natural than most, and fully customizable!

Also, my tie-dying friend Frog has opened an Etsy shop, Dye Tyke, and you should check it out as all. She does beautiful work, and her baby/toddler stuff is so so great. What's cuter than a baby in tie-dye? My favorite piece she has up now is this orange romper.

Here's to women turning their creativity into small business, and supporting one another while doing it!

Oh, one more shout out: my friend The Princess is blogging at a site you should all check out, Crafting a Green World. It's a wonderful read and a good resource, and I'll be adding it to be feed reader right now. You should too.

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Addendum to bath products galore post

| 1 Comment

I missed one, and in the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to add it.

I ordered a $25 Mystery Sampler from Lollibomb Beauty in the hopes of getting some hip looking products to pass on to my nieces. Shipping was an additional $7.50. I requested a "most popular scents" sampler, since I wasn't sure what said nieces would enjoy.

The box came today, and my first thought was, "wow...it's...small."

The box contains the following:
1 .5 oz body frosting in "On the Lamb" ("Notes of white freesia, violet, peach, rose, jasmine and pear blended with orange blossom, frangipani blossom, and heliotrope flowers for one unique, sensual fragrance that's unforgettable!")
1 3ml lip balm in "Melon Margarita"
1 1 oz travel lotion in "Fuzzy Navel"
1 4 oz sugar scrub in "Mint Chocolate Chip"
3 .3 oz fragrance rollers, in "Almond Biscotti," "New Age Girl," (no idea what that means) and "Yuzu"

To make my first impression worse, something oily spilled a little bit in the box, I think, as everything seems slightly greasy and the labels are peeling off things. And it all smells really really strong. Note to self: vegan does not mean natural.

So...yeah, I'm not thrilled with the quality or the quantity here. Yeah, it mostly seems usable for its intended purpose, but compared to all the other great indie stuff I've found, I'm not at all wowed.

1 Comments

I really appreciate your reviews! I too have been searching for a LUSH alternative. Have you tried Bella Bomb yet? Thanks & Happy New Year!

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Bath products galore!

| 2 Comments

I know I said I was going to shut up, but since typing has the benefit of not hurting my throat the way talking does, y'all are one of only communication outlets until this plague leaves me.

Besides, I want to share my scores.

I mentioned before that I scored a few great things at Black Friday sales. Well, I've done some shopping since then. I'm planning to give a few folks non-Lush bath goodies for Christmas, so I ordered from several online shops, all of whom seem to have very high quality products, are independent, generally woman-owned businesses, and don't piss me off. I haven't tried the stuff out myself yet, as I'm not 100% sure what I am gifting and what I am keeping, but it looks and smells divine.

cottage garden.jpgFrom Cottage Garden Therapies I ordered nine bars of soap. A Black Friday sale got me free shipping, so my total cost was $35. I ordered a package of six goat's milk and honey holidays soaps and a package of 3 regular milk and honey soaps. The scents I chose were cranberry, Santa's Whiskers, pumpkin spice, cinnamon cider, frankincense & myrrh, outrageous orange, eucalyptus mint, milk and honey, and lavender mint. These 4 oz. soaps are individually packaged in labeled cardboard boxes with a wax seal, so they'll be perfect for small gifts and stockings. They are handmade in Louisiana with all natural ingredients.

sassy orderFrom another new-to-me shop, Sassy Scrubs and Such, I spent $17, including shipping, and got a ton of stuff. I got six two-ounce sample size scrubs, in my choice of scents (2 rose, 2 lavender, 2 brown sugar fig) and six dozen bath fizzes (gingerbread, brown sugar fig, black raspberry vanilla, rose, lavender, cinnamon orange. The nice folks also sent me a free lip balm. I feel good about supporting Sassy, too--it's an Etsy shop run by a SAHM to three boys.

rainforest orderFinally, I made yet another order from my new go-to place, Rainforest Soap Shack. With the thought of getting things not just for myself, but for others, I ordered a "Christmas Sampler Pack" which contains a 2 oz sugar whip in Icy Kiss ("Peppermint Candy Canes, Eucalyptus and Black Cherry"), a 2 oz body whip in Mrs. Claus's Kitchen ("Fresh Baked Gingerbread and Maple Sugar", and a 2 oz bath butter in Deck the Halls ("A spicy combination of Cranberries and Cloves"); a regular sampler back, which contains 3 2 oz body frostings, in Lavender Dreams, Chai Tea, and Girls Night Out ("A rich bouquet of fruits and flowers on an intense base of musk & creamy vanilla notes."), and three bath bombs (Girls Night Out, Things That Make You Go Hmm ("This fragrance begins with top notes of just the right amount of sweet raspberries, followed with middle notes of buttery marshmallow cream filling; perfectly rounded out with bitter sweet chocolate.")..., and Lavender Dreams). A free Christmas-themed rubber duckie, a .5 oz sugar whip sample in Monkey Farts ("A unique blend of bananas and fresh grapefruit, with strawberries, kiwi, bubble gum and a touch of vanilla."), some mini candy canes, and a teeny vial of Mango Tango perfume were included for free. My total including shipping was $27.09.

Honestly. How much do you wish you were on my list?

2 Comments

Dare I ask what "Santa's Whiskers" smells like? I'm thinking brandy and cigarettes, but maybe that's just where I grew up?

Haha. A reasonable guess. Actually, though, it's mint and bayberry.

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In which I am really, really pissed at Lush

| 1 Comment

So I've told you before about my love-hate relationship with Lush. But really, I gotta say, I'm just about over them now.

What happened is this: Mark's brother and his partner generously sent me a box of stuff from Lush for Christmas. Unfortunately, they picked all skincare products, which are wasted on me, the girl who does not wash her face. So, I called Lush to see if I could exchange the products, all of which are still encased in their plastic wrapping. And the fairly short person with whom I spoke told me I could probably return them to a store. When I told her I did not have a local store, she told me that the person who ordered the items could return them, because they needed "proof" that they were purchased. When I said I had the packing slip, she said that wasn't good enough and I couldn't return them. Keep in mind, please, that I wasn't trying to return these items for cash--I just wanted to exchange them for bath stuff.

OK. So I went over to the Lush website, where there is a forum where I'd previously seen people swapping Lush products. After foraging through threads and FAQs to try to find out how to swap, I finally posted a question re: swapping. And was told swapping isn't allowed there anymore.

So. I have over $50 worth of fancy face wash and moisturizer, which I will not use, which Lush will not exchange formally or informally. I emailed them to complain, but so far all I've received is a stock "we received your message, here is our FAQ" reply.

These products cost way too much for this level of customer service to be acceptable. If I hadn't been done with Lush before, I would be now.

1 Comments

That's lame. I have a local store in case they WILL let you swap em...

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Handmade product review round-up

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I few things that aren't gifts, so I can talk about them freely.

claire de lune cloth pantylinersClaire de Lune cloth pantyliners. These were 3 for $10.50, plus $1.50 S&H, and they're fabulous. They are very lightweight, which works great for me, but are still long enough to provide reasonable panty coverage. And the fabrics are cute, too! They seem very well-made and I expect they'll be long-lasting.

modest maiden cloth padModest Maiden cloth pads. These were more expensive: I paid $5.50 each for two pads and got free shipping. I don't like them as well, either--they fabric is cute and they're well made, but they are thicker and shorter and so far I've leaked around them. They are also staining in a pretty displeasing way.

Barb's Homemade Soap. During their Black Friday Sale, I got four slices of shea butter soap (peppermint, Autumn Sunshine, fig, and orange) and three bath bombs (Golden Honey, Sweet Dreams, and Refresh) for $19 including shipping. So far, I've only tried the Autumn Sunshine soap and the Sweet Dreams bath bomb, but I'm pleased. The fragrances are very nice and the bath bomb left my skin very soft. The soap lathers well, but is disappearing very very fast.

Bauble Bath. This was my biggest Black Friday score. I ordered two Bauble Samplers (each made up of seven assorted one-bath size mini bath bombs), a package of peppermint snowmen bath melts, and a package of honey bath melts, and paid a total of $21.95. A full-size gingerbread bath bomb was included in my order free of charge. And this is good stuff--smells great, makes your skin feel wonderful. The mini bath bomb sampler is a good deal in general, too--I think it's only $7 full regular price.

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More love for The Rainforest Soap Shack

| 1 Comment

Just in case anybody was holding their breath wondering, yes, I still have huge huge love for The Rainforest Soap Shack now that I have two orders with them under my belt. In fact, at this point I think I can safely say they are my go-to place for bath indulgences.

I won't bore you with a lot of detail, but I did make a couple of major discoveries with this order. The first is body frosting. All the moisturizing fabulousness of body butter, but with less of the greasiness. I got mine in Apple Orchard scent, which is actually a little bit strong for my taste (it was a free sample included in my order), but I will definitely order it again in a scent more pleasing to my nose. The second is sugar whip--absolutely fantastic in the shower. Mine is Strawberry Fields scent, and yeah, it smells just like a Strawberry Shortcake doll. Just exactly the pick me up I need at 7am. Finally, the fantabulous proprietess included a sample-sized bath blaster in this order scented with "Girl's Night Out," and it is a scent I'll definitely be ordering again.

As before, prices were reasonable, as was shipping (especially since the shop is located in Canada). Shipping took awhile, but it was worth the wait. If you're like me and looking for a better, cheaper, nicer alternative to gone-corporate Lush, this is place.

1 Comments

I agree that Handmade Soap and Handmade Bath and Body Products are the best! Lush's presentation is very appealing, however they charge $9 for like 4 ounces, I think that's just crazy!

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Update on Lush replacements

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I've been meaning to write about this all-important subject in some sort of coherent way, and my brain isn't up to talking about anything more substantial today, so here goes. A few thoughts on the Lush-replacements I have sampled so far:

bubbles%20bath%20bombs.jpgBubbles
My order: 12 bath bombs, 5 bubble bars, one packet Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey bubbling milk bath

Total: $85.58 plus $12.95 shipping

Freebies received: one bath bomb (one free with every 12 you buy), one free bubble bar (leftover holiday bar thrown in free with order)

Recommended products: Home Sweet Home bath bomb, Queen Bee bubble bar

Not recommended: Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey bubbling milk bath

What I'll try next time: Charlotte's Web bath bomb, Sex on the Beach bath bomb, Mint Julep bath bomb...I'll probably just order bath bombs next time, there are SO many to try

Overall: The products were uniformly high quality, with the bath bombs being more satisfactory in general than the bubble bars (they're also cheaper, at $3.99 v. $4.95). Some of the scents were a bit off to me (the Wild Honey in particular), but some were very very nice (particularly the spicy and lovely Home Sweet Home). And the selection at Bubbles is HUGE, so I could easily try all new scents next time I order. The only real disappointment was the milk bath, which was way overpriced at $12.95 when it was really only enough for two baths (the small black bathtub it came in was really excellent, though).

Bonus: Bubbles offers a "Bath Bomb of the Month" club! For $22.95 per month, you/the lucky person to whom you gift a membership to this club get 4 six-ounce bombs delivered. While this is a fantastic idea, it doesn't work out when you do the math--at a cost of $3.99 each, four bath bombs are only worth $15.96, which means you are paying $6.99 for shipping on each order, which is pretty steep. Makes more sense to buy the bombs in bulk (buy 12 get 1 free!) and send them every month yourself.

fantasybath.jpg
Fantasy Bath

My order: 11 bath bombs

Total: $44.40, free shipping with all orders over $40

Freebies received: None

Recommended products: Cherry Blossom bath bomb, Enchantment bath bomb

Not recommended: Little Things bath bomb

What I'll try next time: Cider Besider bath bomb, It's My Birthday Bath bomb, Boom Boom bath bomb

Overall: Fantasy Bath offers a truly different product than anyone else, at least as far as I know. Their bath bombs are a fizzy-bubbly-bath oil hybrid, and they are HUGE, good for at least two baths, which makes them very reasonably priced at $3.95-$4.25. Though I found their scents a little bit hit-or-miss (I really didn't like Little Things, or Currently Unavailable), the good ones were very good, and with reasonable prices and free shipping, I don't have to love everything.

Bonus: Fantasy Bath's immediate bonus is the free shipping, but they also sell their bath bombs by the 3 lb. bag of powder, rather than just the individual bomb, at a discount, which is great if there is a particular scent you can't get enough of.

bluewool.jpgBlue Wool Organics
My order: 1 jumbo bath bomb, 2 regular sized bath bombs, 12 pack "bath fizzies"

Total cost: $14.48 plus $11.25 shipping

Freebies: I got two giant sized bath bombs instead of the two regular sized ones I ordered, with a note from the proprietress saying she was out of the smaller ones so she'd included the large ones instead

Recommended products: cherry lemonade bath bombs

Not recommended: bath fizzies

What I'll try next time: I probably won't order again, but if I did, I'd try the body butter

Overall: The products from Blue Wool Organics are different than the other companies--they are organic and all-natural, so they aren't dyed and the scents aren't as strong. This is nice, but the wrapping is also minimal (wax paper), so several of the bombs arrived smashed, which was a bummer. Also, the shipping was extraordinarily expensive for what I got. Blue Wool Organics definitely strikes me as more of a hobby business than a real business, and the stock is always changing, so you can't guarantee you can get something you like again (for example, there are no Big Calm bath bombs available now). For those reasons, I probably won't order again.

Rainforest Soap Shack
I discussed this establishment in my last post. It's fantastic, my favorite so far, and I've already placed a second order.

bubble%20tart.jpg
Downtown Bath and Soap

My order: 2 bath ballistics, 2 bubble tarts

Total cost: $11.70 plus $6 shipping

Freebies received: several extra bubble tarts--there was a big shipping problem with this order (a postal service problem, not a problem with the company), and it was kindly
"made up to me" by including a bunch of free products

Recommended products: The "Detoxify" ballstic was nice, but left a lot of salt in the water

Not recommended: Nothing so far

What I'll try next time: If I make another order, I'll probably sample the bath melts and cupcake fizzy melts

Overall: Though it took forever for the shipping to work out and these products to actually arrive, they were quite nice when they did, and I was pleased to get so many freebies included. The bath tarts aren't quite as bubble producing as I'd like--it definitely take a whole one and not a half to have a good bath--but they're otherwise nice, and the bombs are as well (but again, use a whole one). Shipping was a little bit steep but not terrible. I think the biggest issue with my order from this shop was actually the things I picked to try, so I may order some different stuff (again, the stock is not constant) and try again.

Bonus: Downtown Bath and Soap sells something called a "Soap Kebab Sampler" for $5.50. It includes small pieces of six varieties of their soap (you don't get to specify which ones) so you can try them. I think that's very cute and a good idea.

Ranking of places tried so far:
1. Rainforest Soap Shack
2. Fantasy Bath
3. Bubbles
4. Downtown Bath and Soap
5. Blue Wool Organics

Coming up:
Reviews of Bella Bomb and Bauble Bath!

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Rainforest Soap Shack

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body%20whip.gifI guess I kind of fell down on the job with the bath product reviews. I have been using them at a frantic rate, sometimes two baths a day, but I haven't been telling you all about it. But this should tell you all you need to know:

The other day, I made a second order from one of the Lush-alternative sources for bath indulgence I tried. Before even sampling all the stores on my list, I made another order from one. That, my friends, is burgeoning addiction.

The lucky and fabulous store? The Rainforest Soap Shack (can also be found on Etsy). My first order from the RSS was their great six bath blasters for $13.00 deal. I picked six different scents, liked all of them, and ordered six different ones from their extensive list this time. The real seller, though, was the amazing body whip that was sent to me as a freebie with my last order--I ordered a full-size one this time, as well as a sugar scrub.

One of the really great things about the Rainforest Soap Shack is the ability to customize. You can pick the color and scent of your products, and the 1/2 dozen bath blasters deal is mix and match, so you can get six different scents. For my order this time, I chose to have the body whip in my favorite bath blaster scent from my last order (Grandma's Kitchen, a spicy, vanilla-y scent that smells just like something tasty baking).

For 1/2 dozen 4 oz. bath blasters (each the perfect size for one bath), a 4 oz. jar of body whip, and a 6 oz. sugar scrub, with shipping, my total was a very reasonable $37.30. As a bonus, the shop's fantastic proprietess emailed me today to let me know my order was appreciated and my stuff was on its way! Great products AND fantastic service! I'll try to get out of the tub for long enough to let you know how the products are when they arrive, but no promises!

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I found your site on a random search and wanted to let you know I am north of Austin. I looooove the bluehanger(north) and wonder if I have run into you. I shopped the Springdale location until they opened the north store.

Come up and say hi if you see me there! I'd love to meet you!

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More bath product reviews

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I'm so behind! I have been finding time to take baths, but I guess I haven't been finding time to write about them.

figsandleaves.jpgFirst, I have to give props to a Lush product, even though I hate them now. I recently tried Lush's Figs & Leaves soap for the first time (it was from an old order and I didn't realize I still had it until I found it while looking for something else). It is excellent. It smells great and it's really, really moisturizing. I found the bits of fresh fig sticking to the outside of it kind of nasty, but they peeled right off. It's a little bit exfoliating, but not too much. I just love it. Too bad my $7.25 bar has lasted like five showers.

On to happier subjects, I've tried products from a couple more of Lush's competitors. Given that I was so excited about the independent nature of some of the places I'd found online, I decided to dig even farther down into indie businesses and see if I could find some good stuff coming out of somebody's kitchen or something. So I hit Etsy and started browsing around, eventually making orders from three shops (note that this was before the whole not shopping thing). Two of those orders have arrived and been tested, and here's what I think:

Blue Wool Organics

Run by a young woman in my home town of Portland, this shop makes body butters, bath bombs, hand salves and (oddly) candy. The products are made without dyes and using only organic materials, and everything is vegan unless stated otherwise. I placed an order for one of the 12 oz giant bath bombs ($4.95), with a "be calm" dead sea salt, lavender, and peppermint blend; two regular 6 oz bath bomb ($4.50) in the cherry lemonade scent, and a Valentine's Day special 12-back of tiny fruit-scented "bath fizzies" ($4.95). As the stock is ever-changing, none of these products are in the store right now.

My order came quickly and was mercifully low on excess shipping paper and junk that would just have to be thrown away. The enclosed note told me that the proprietess was out of the smaller cherry bath bombs I'd ordered, so she enclosed two of the giant size instead (score for me!). Unfortunately, the bare-bones wax paper packaging didn't do much to protect the product, and the two cherry lemonade bath bombs were pretty much smashed. No problem, I poured them into a jar and used them anyway.

The products are nice, with no additives or non-organic shit in them. They make for nice soft water, and the scents are soothing and not artificial. The cherry lemonade scent is particularly pleasant. However, the all-natural scents fade very fast, and I felt like I needed to use a greater amount of the Blue Wool Organics bath bombs than I did of other similar products (for example, the 12 oz bombs are only good for two baths, when I would have expected three). Also, shipping costs were very hefty, with my $14.48 worth of products costing $11.25 to ship. I probably won't order again.

Rainforest Soap Shack

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My order from the Ontario-based Rainforest Soap Shack took a bit longer than the Blue Wool Organics order to arrive, but it was very worth the wait. This shop offers a great deal, a half dozen of what they call bath blasters (4 oz one-bath bath bombs) for $15.00 (they also sell individually for $2.99 each). They can even be all different scents, and there's a long list to choose from. The blasters are fizzy and moisturizing, made of dead sea and epsom salts, sweet almond oil, and shea butter. I doubt the colors or all of the scents are natural, but the one I tried last night, Grandma's Kitchen, was a perfect mix of vanilla and spices that made me feel like I was bathing in a pie.

As a bonus with my order, which came well wrapped and labeled, I got small samples of this Pretty in Pink soap and great-smelling body whip, as well as a cute rubber ducky. Shipping on the $15 order was $8, making the whole parcel very cost-effective for this kind of thing. I'll quite likely be ordering again.

The third shop from which I ordered, Downtown Bath and Soap, hasn't sent my order yet. Or rather they have, but they for some reason got it back. Damn postal service. Anyway, they emailed me about it and were very apologetic, and said they'll include some freebies and mail it again. I can't wait!

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More on Fantasy Bath

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I've tried two more of Fantasy Bath's bath bombs, and I can now recommend them without reservation. The first one I tried, Tupelo Honey, is still a bit strong in the scent department, but nice (I think I'd prefer it without the addition of rose and carnation scents to the honey and ginger combo, but it's still good). The second, Enchantment, is amazing. It's a large, round bath bomb (8 oz--huge), and it turns the water a lovely dark pink-purple. The scent is very complicated--"violets and hyacinths mingle with melissa, neroli, bergamont, orange flower, tuberose, magnolia, and lotus flower. The base of sandalwood and amber balance," but not overdone. It has lots of staying power, but doesn't make you sneeze or feel overwhelmed. I LOVED it.

One caveat is that you have to treat these bombs like bubble bars and crumble them under a running tap, or you won't get any bubbles, they will just behave like slightly foamy regular bath bombs. I forgot that this time. It was still quite nice, but next time I'll remember and get lovely bubbles as well.

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More competition for Lush

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Last night I had the opportunity to try my first Fantasy Bath product. They shipped very quickly, and each of the bath bombs came wrapped up in its own small box, complete with a color label. Perfect for gifting. They also have free shipping with all orders over $40, which is fantastic.

The bomb I chose for my first trial was the purple heart-shaped "Little Things" bath bomb. From the website:

All of us have those special little things that never fail to lift our spirits. A dog's smile. A good book. A warm sunny spot. Remember to take time for the little things every day. Scatter some bird seed on the ground, breathe deeply, and remember to smile.

Perfect after a hard day.

Well, not exactly. First, let me say that the way the bombs work is fantastic. They are somewhere between Lush's bubble bars and their bath bombs. They smell and fizz and soften the water, but they also create soft foamy bubbles. It's great. I only used 1/2 of the bath bomb and it was plenty of bubbles, moisture, and scent.

Yeah...scent. The smell just does not work at all. It's very strong and very perfume-like. The website categorizes the scent as "violets and hyacinth are cooled with subtle notes of citrus and the base is a threefold hit of syntheic musk, sandalwood and sweet sweet amber." I should have known that would be too much all together, and it most certainly is.

That being said, given the overall quality of the product, I am excited to try another one, with a scent more up my ally. I'm generally not much of a flower or musk girl, so it's not that surprising that I didn't care much for "Little Things." I'll report back.

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I think describing it as a "threefold hit" is troubling right off the bat. Unless I've passed out and need to be brought to, I don't particularly want to be hit with any scent.

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Lush, I am so over you

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I tried a couple more Bubbles bath products this weekend, and I'm officially converted. Lush is but a distant memory.

Home_Sweet_Home.jpgThis is the Home Sweet Home bath bomb. So far, it's my favorite Bubbles product. It has an amazing smell, like freshed baked goods, not just sweet but also spicy and warm. It's not too strong, and it makes the bath water pink. The only thing I don't like is the odd button-shaped thing on it, which the website tells me is meant to be a soap "pie." It doesn't dissolve in the bath water, it just kind of floats around and gets slimy. A small price to pay for a great bath, though. I used the whole 6 oz bomb, but I'm sure you could get two baths out of it if you could figure out how to break it in half. That's too much thought for me when I just need a nice bath.

The other new product I tried was the Candy Cane bubble bath bar, which isn't listed on the website (I suspect because it is seasonal), but came as a free gift in my order. This one was not as hard as the last one, so I was able to break it and just use 1/2 in my bath. Half worked fine, but whole is definitely better, as far as creating a stronger scent and a ridiculous amount of bubbles. The bubbles were nice and fluffy and skin-softening, and the scent was very mild peppermint. It was nice.

I should be getting my order from the next Lush replacement candidate, Fantasy Bath, should be arriving in the next few days. Stay tuned...

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Breaking up with Lush, continued

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Queen%20Bee.jpgLast night, I tried another product from Bubbles, the Queen Bee Bubble Bar ($4.95). It was a very, very pleasant bathing experience. The scent is a light mix of honey, apricot, and vanilla--not too strong or too sweet, just right. I see now that the site suggests using one bar for 2-3 baths, but I didn't realize that, so I used the whole thing. It created a huge amount of long-lasting and soft bubbles. The flowers and little bee that are embedded in the bar are made of sugar, so they dissolve right away and don't leave anything weird in the tub.

One caveat is that this bar was much harder than Lush's bubble bars, and was difficult to crumble up at the beginning. I had to soften it under the running water for a while before I could crumble it. This might be a problem if you want to break a piece off and use the bar for several baths. I will explore that later, as I have another Bubble bubble bar to try at home.

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In which I break up with Lush

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For the last year or so, I have been semi-obsessed with Lush bath products. I've been a bath person for quite some time anyway, and the products Lush makes, especially the bath bombs and bath oil melts, are divine. I've spent a good chunk of money in the last year keeping myself stocked with these products, and spent a good many hours enjoying them.

But, all good things must end.

Recently, Lush raised their already exhorbant prices. For me, this moved them from the realm of expensive-but-probably-worth-it luxury item to just plain ridiculous. And it motivated me to try and find a substitute to fill my smelly and soft bath needs.

So far, I have come up with several candidates, each of which I plan to sample. The first is Bubbles. Bubbles has a huge selection of bath bombs, as well as salts, tub teas, bubble bars, etc. Their prices are much lower than Lush (for example, their bath bombs, which are about the same size as those at Lush, are all $3.99, while Lush's are $4.50-$5.70). They are also a woman-owned independent business. They focus on using natural ingredients, though not to the extent Lush does (for example, I believe they use artificial dyes in their products).

I ordered several bath bombs and bubble bars from Bubbles last week, and my shipment arrived yesterday. The packaging was lovely, and it included several free samples and a 10% off coupon for my next order. The shipping was much, much faster than Lush. The products themselves look and smell very nice. I used the first one, a Wild Honey Bath Bomb. The scent was nice, but not perfect--a little bit more artificial than I would have liked. The color it turned the water was kind of an odd yellowish that didn't look particularly appealing. However, it was very moisturizing and fizzy and the scent lasted for quite a long time. All in all, it seemed like a very quality product, though I will have to try a few more to be sure.

I will also be trying some bath bombs from Fantasy Bath. Fantasy Bath is also an independent, woman-owned business, based in Georgia. It is eco-friendly and does not use animal materials or testing. They are also committed to purchasing raw materials that have not been tested on animals and are from countries with fair-trade practices. And they have a "please spay and neuter your pets!" tagline at the bottom of their website.

Most of the bath bombs at Fantasy bath are $3.95 each. However, the site says that they are a different kind of bath bomb, which also creates bubbles, and that they are soft and can be broken into several pieces to use. The bombs are between 6.5 and 9 oz each (compared to 6.3 oz for Lush's biggest bath bomb). They do not contain any "extras" the way the ones at Lush (and Bubbles) do--no glitter, sprinkles, etc.--but it is totally dependent on the consumer whether that is a positive or a negative attribute. As I just paced my order, I don't yet know about shipping and handling or packaging, or how the products are in the bath, but I will update when I find out.

A third retailer I would like to try, but have not yet ordered from, is Bella Bomb. Bella Bomb focused on supplying large numbers of its products to stores, but they also sell to private consumers. Once again, Bella Bomb is an independent, woman-owned business, this time out of South Carolina.

Bella's bombs are shea butter based and contain natural ingredients, though they do seem to contain artificial color and perhaps some artificial scent. There are a bunch of varieties, and they sell for $3.00 each (unless you are buying 100 or more, in which case they are $1.50 each). The size of the bombs is not listed on the site. There are also several other things I'd like to try sold by Bella's Bombs, including honey foaming bath gel and tub cakes, which seem to be akin to Lush's bath oil bars.

A final place I may try is Bauble Bath. Bauble Bath is an independent business in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, which endears it to my heart. The website does not specify if it is a family or woman-owned business, but my guess would be yes. They also ship free samples with each order, which is a definite boom.

Their selection looks great--not as extensive as some of the other sites, but several things that sound like they are worth trying. Their bath bombs, called Bath Baubles, are priced between $3.75 and $4.20. Their size is not disclosed, and they are made of natural ingredients, as far as I can tell. Bauble Bath also offers tins of bubble bath for $6.11 and bath melts similar to Lush's for $5.95. They have lipgloss, lotion, foot and hand cream, and body scrubs for sale as well.

As we can see, then, there are many non-Lush fish in the sea. I'm not even going to miss it.

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I don't know if they do bath bombs, but a great local bath shoppe (I call cute shops 'shoppes' in my head)is bubbles - they'll mix up any scent you'd like. They're apparantly online too at: http://www.bubbles-arcata.com/

HI- I too am a Lush lover. However, I was tired of overpaying for their items as well. I now create my own products, since I started my own business. Lush does use a lot of artificial colors in their products as well. lots of FD&C dyes. Their "Parfume" is code for fragrance oil, which is also artificial. They also use a lot of preservatives. All of their products are made in Canada and you will notice that the bath companies who reside in Canada use many similar ingredients. If you truly want natural...you need to stick with essential oils and no colors. Even oxides and pigments are not completely natural...they have to be mined. However, part of the lure of the Lush line is the bright colors and the fab fragrances. So you have to weigh the odds. Just my two cents...Heidi Outrebeautybistro.etsy.com

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