Sunday, November 2, 2008

Brown Sugar and Fig is back!

Naiad's Brown Sugar and Fig soap is back in stock! Let the cheering commence!

Not only is the soap beautiful and gorgeous, not only does it smell absolutely divine, but it was amazingly helpful last month during a time when I thought I was going to die from ladytimes. I can't guarantee that it'll work so well for everyone else, obviously, because aromatherapy is pretty personal, but I plan to keep this in my house as long as she's making it.

I was also so sold on it that I ordered the Brown Sugar and Fig sugar cubes and the Moroccan Fig Bar last time I put an order in with Naiad, on the grounds that perhaps it's the fig that had such a great effect on me, and maybe I can get more of it. ^_^ I'll let you know how that works out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anniversary soaps!

Grant and I have a pretty awesome system for getting each other gifts. We make lists. ^_^ Or at least... I make lists! This year I gave him a list of a bunch of different soaps I was interested in, and he ended up putting together a gift box full of lovely fall-scented stuff.

It's an even more thoughtful gift than you'd think, actually! Grant and I are from the Midwest -- Indiana, to be specific -- where the seasons really turn. There's a definite spring, summer, fall, and winter. Fall was always my favorite season. My birthday is in fall (late September). My wedding was in the fall (October 21st), with the leaves changing color and looking absolutely gorgeous. Fall in Indiana is fantastic; the weather is beautiful, the scenery is as gorgeous as you can get in Indiana (Brown County is unbelievable), and it starts my own personal holiday season -- what could be better?

Well, when we moved to Seattle, we discovered that we get two seasons: the most amazing summer ever (okay, it's a little cold for Grant, but I love it), and what passes for our winter: six months of cloudy, overcast mist. It's not an awful kind of winter -- it beats snow -- but there's no definitive "fall" season. The leaves don't even always change colors or come off the trees; it just doesn't get cold enough here to shock the trees into hibernation. (Or whatever it is that causes leaves to change colors and fall off.) I mean, it's almost November, and the tree outside my bedroom window is lush, green, and leafy.

So a whole gift basket of autumn-themed soaps makes me really happy, and reminds me of fall without making me have to rake leaves. :) I'm quite pleased! Here's what I wound up with:

This is Atomic Cherry Amaretto Shaving Soap from Bunny Butt Apothecary. (Okay, okay, it's not a fall scent, but it was in the basket because both Grant and I love amaretto scents.) I may not like shaving my legs, but I sure hate it less now that I've discovered handmade shaving soaps! This one smells just divine and gave my razor a perfectly clean slide. \o/ Definitely recommended, and I'd buy shaving soap from Bunny Butt again in a hot minute.

This one is Hard Cider Soap by Balsam. It smells wonderful -- the shop description is "Cinnamon spice meets autumn apples. Just the soap for a hot bath on a cool, fall evening!" And it's definitely a spicy, apple-y scent that reminds me of a nice hot cider. The soap feels great, too, nice and smooth and clean. I used this one this morning, and paired it with JoJoElle's "Fall Love" Ultra Luxe Lotion. (And there's a whole post coming about JoJoElle. SO MUCH LOVE.)

These are the items I haven't yet tried out -- all of which I'm totally excited by --

Also by Balsam:

Pumpkin Spice Soap

And these are from Magic Hands Workshop:

Honeyed Peach soap (darn it, can't find a link)

Honey Oatmeal soap

Two kinds of Body Butter -- Honey Oatmeal (again, can't find a link) and Caspian Dancer!

And somehow he lucked into a sample of Magic Hands' Sugared Pumpkin Sea Salt bar, which I didn't even realize existed. But I'm thrilled -- Magic Hands makes awesome salt bars!

Happy anniversary, sweetie! :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A rundown: Soaps By Naiad I Have Loved

I've mentioned before that Naiad Soap Arts is my favorite soap shop on Etsy (possibly my favorite soap shop anywhere; it'd be tough to pick between Naiad and Villainess). But I haven't really talked about Soaps By Naiad I Have Loved. So let me run you through a list of them...

There's the Banana Brulee Soap, for starters. This was my first soap order from Naiad, and it smelled AMAZING. Like the best kind of banana cake, wrapped up in a smooth soapy package. This was the first time I'd ever sniffed my soap while washing my hands, and the tendency to get soap bubbles on my nose continues to this day.

This one is the Chocolate Coffee Scrubby bar, which got compliments from Grant on how good it smelled when I started using it. (He liked the banana soap, too!) It was a terrific scrubby soap, but I don't see it in her shop these days -- it may have been replaced by her Coffee Bean Soap, which isn't as scrubby but may be better for sensitive areas.

After I'd tried those, I lucked into a set of the Chocolate Mint Soap Bars:

which look like nothing so much as gigantic Andes mints, and which are so soft and smooth and smell so awesome that I immediately realized I should never, ever be without them. I have a stash of five bars in my house right now, but I'm pretty sure I'll be using these for as long as she cares to make them. :)

When I made my first order from Naiad, I got a free sample of Blood Orange Soap:

Somewhere in my past I had some kind of soap that was blood orange scented, because when I smell this, I think "Soap!" This may seem like a silly thing to think -- it IS soap! -- but with the banana and the chocolate and the mint, I've always thought "cake!" or "coffee!" or "candy!", not "soap!" All I can think of is that it's like Palmolive -- it smells just like cilantro, therefore when I taste cilantro, I think "Soap!" -- and somewhere in my past, I had a blood orange scented soap that shaped my thoughts on soap forever.

Leaving that aside, it's a very nice soap, as are all of them. ^_^

Another one of the soaps I've tried and loved is a Spiced Plum Loofah soap -- in the grab bag post, it's center-left. It looks a great deal like the Wintermint Basil Loofah Soap, only imagine it purple instead of green:

I had my doubts about this; all the loofas I've seen on store shelves have been very crunchy and scratchy, and the one time I stayed in a hotel where they gave me one, they also gave me a liquid soap that didn't lather very well on it.

But WOW! The loofah soap is AWESOME. It softens up just enough when I'm using it that it isn't too scratchy, but it provides a really nice-feeling scrub. I'm enjoying the Spiced Plum scent a lot, too. Unfortunately, I can't find any instances on the Etsy shop where this soap has been offered for sale! However, I definitely would try more loofah soaps thanks to this one. :)

The last soap I've got to share is the French Macaron Soap:

The one I tried was the top one, the blue/cream one, which was almond scented. And it smelled Exactly Like An Almond Cookie. It was awesome. :) (I will say, though, that the "cream filling" was not as solid a soap as the "cookie" parts; once it was down to just the filling, it got a little messy.)

And while this isn't a soap, I want to include it anyway, because it is SO GOOD:

It's the Strawberry Lime Lip Balm, which feels wonderful and smells even better. As someone who stashes lip balm in every room of the house, the car, and all the bags I leave the house with, I consider lip balm an essential -- to find one that's this good and works this well is a particular treat. You get about twice as much lip balm as comes in a standard stick-style lip balm, which is even more made of win. Despite the fact that it'd take me a while to get through this one, I went ahead and ordered four more of her lip balms, because OMG SO GOOD -- and hey, variety is the spice of life, or lip balm, whichever.

What with the grab bag I've shown off already, I'll have plenty more Naiad reviews in the future. For now, lemme leave you with the link one more time -- -- and say that her stuff ships super-amazing-fast and is always, always worth it. Big fan here!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Naiad's Grab Bag!

Okay, guys, run-don't-walk to Naiad Soap Arts on Etsy, because Erin has a deal going on right now that is Not To Be Missed. It's a soapy grab bag -- 2 lbs of soap for $10 -- and you will honestly not believe what you get in this thing. ^_^ I got eleven different kinds of soap:

all of which I am ridiculously excited about trying!

Naiad is my favorite soap shop on Etsy by a long shot. I'm so excited to get to try so many different kinds of soap! (It's all I can do not to convo her with "So, um, how many of these do you have left? And can I get, like, all of them?" But I really ought to leave some soap for other people! :D)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seattle Rainwater Soap Company

Seattle Rainwater Soap Company is a local-to-me soap business with a variety of neat-smelling, scrubby soaps. The soaps also feature "real Seattle rainwater", which, unlike someplace like New York, is the kind of thing you might actually want in your soap. ^_^

So far I've tried the following varieties of soap:

Orchard Fruit: Apple/Peach - A bestseller. Not too sweet, with poppyseed for scrub. It was definitely fruity, and it was the soap I could smell the "Seattle rainwater" best in -- it really did smell like an orchard on a rainy day. The poppyseed scrub was a little much for me, though.

Almond Latte: With cocoa butter for creaminess and coffee grounds to exfoliate and remove odors. This one smelled really good out of the packaging, but ended up having an almost... bread-like smell to it in the long run. The coffee grounds were definitely scrubby! It was nice, but not the kind of almond I'm looking for. (I have recently found the almond I'm looking for, and will tell you all about it in an upcoming post.)

Ginger Zest With Lime: Bright and citrusy, with hints of orange, lime, and ginger ale. By far my favorite of the soaps I've tried from them. This is very much a CITRUS!!! soap, with lots of yummy, spicy ginger, too. I'd use it again in a heartbeat. The scrubbiness in this one seems to come from the citrus zest. It isn't a harsh soap in the least, though; it's very nice to the skin.

Like anyone looking for a bargain, I was excited to see that they offer a discounted "odds & ends" bag full of imperfectly-shaped soaps. I may have to give that a try at some point. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

A small collection of appropriate soaps

Victorian Wedding Cake Soaps
by soapychica

Glycerin Wedding Cake
by DaisyCakeSoap

Wedding Cake Scented Cupcake Soap
by DoctorSweetTooth

Congratulations to Sweetly Scented Lemmings' own Telesilla and her wife Darkrose on the happy day of their marriage! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Update: Country Heart Gifts Soaps

A while back, I mentioned a sale on closeout soap samples that Country Heart Gifts was doing on Etsy. I've had a chance to test out some of those soaps now -- the only problem is that, since all these scents are being discontinued, it seems less than useful to go into detail on specific scents. So instead, a more general review!

First off, soap-as-soap. It's quite pleasant soap to use, very silky, very clean. A very nice sort of soap to have around, and the samples are terrific for hand soap, just the right size.

As for the scents, well! I grew up in the Midwest; I know from country. :) My favorite scent families out of the samples have been the peach scents (a more sweet peach scent than fresh-fruit peach scent), the strawberry scents (ditto), and the vanilla scents (a nice strong vanilla extract sort of scent). These all seem like the kinds of things I'd find in one of the independent country-home-stores back in Indiana, the kinds of places I could find sheep, bins of nickel candy, and the occasional bar of handmade soap that smells like cherry almond or strawberries & cream.

So if that sort of thing is up your alley, this store comes highly recommended! You can still find terrific bargains in her sale section, so have a look. :)