Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Photos For The New Cubano - Now Curing

Cubano, First cut, just exposed to air. Looks all caramel-like. It's too bad it doesn't get to stay like that, but it gets darker the longer it's exposed to the air.

This is a picture of the regular sized bar and the jumbo which is the one I cut samples from or chop up for my own shower.

Cubano - I am enjoying the strange maze/granite-like designs going on in there.

I improved the scent: now with thick rich French cocoa absolute, Brazilian pressed coffee oil, instead of the fragrance oils and I have added a few drops of patchouli oil to add a bit of depth. Can't smell the patchouli essential oil, but the depth its created is there.

I am happy with it.

Curing. Will be ready for sale: My BIRTHDAY: July 11th!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jenora Soaps - First Summer Guest Blogger

Why Make Soap?

As Jo is inviting… I thought I would give this a try – a guest blog post.


I am relatively new to this as I began soaping suddenly and passionately in October 2009. I began for several reasons - the dream of getting out of the day job I do not love and getting into something that makes people feel awesome, wanting to use my steadily growing collection of Aloe Vera plants, using my creativity, a love for the all natural, a love of bath products… From the very first soap I made – a one-oil Castille soap that I waited so impatiently for to cure…. I was thoroughly addicted not only to the process but to naturally create handmade soaps themselves. I ADORE washing my hands now… and showering? Oh how I love showering…

I am also new to blogging and love the supportive and creative environment I have found among the soap-making bloggers. I guess as we start out, we all have our own reasons for making soap and I would be sooooo interested to hear people’s stories of how and why they started… from allergic reactions to commercial soaps to the next step in aromatherapy to spending too much money on bath products to… whatever! I would love to hear about it.

My start was very eclectic. I had one attempt at artificial colour and it was okay but I didn’t love it. I also had one attempt at fragrance (wonderful baby scent) but again didn’t love it and all of my experimenting over these past months has helped me develop my “soap identity” but at the same time, not judge other soap-makers choices. I have realized I love all natural soaps most of all and using as many local ingredients as possible. Also, although I began using palm oil, I have decided I would rather not use it and after a lot of experimenting, I have created some great recipes without palm oil and all of my latest soaps are without. As I live in such a wonderful part of the world, along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, the area is full of fresh & healing ingredients. I have narrowed it down to the point where I am now creating a Mediterranean line with natural and local ingredients.

I certainly do not expect other soapers out there to have a similar soap identity or philosophy to mine… that would be boring. I love scrolling through other sites and seeing the wonderful soaps people create with artificial colour and hear about the awesome scents that people create with fragrance…

I am still working the day job I don’t love. Making soap is a hobby and a future dream…. I give soapy gifts and I sell from time to time at local fairs and markets and make about enough to cover my materials….. but for now I am in a SUPER CREATIVE phase where I am fine-tuning recipes and creating new ones and coming up with names and packaging and the business plan. Sometimes I can’t sleep with so many creative ideas running through my head… and I love it.

So… Tell us about why you make soap? Or how did you start? Or describe your “soap-identity”? Or how did you learn? All your stories and photos fascinate me.

Some tips I can share from my own experiences?

- I love soaping at 37ยบ, both oils & liquids

- Fresh goat milk is wonderful, even better than store bought

- The best way to get an Essential Oil citrus lemony scent to stick is to add Litsea Cubeba/ May Chang

- Alkanet Root baffles me… you can get the most AMAZING purples and blues but I can’t figure it out yet… it always surprises me

- Not all goat milk soaps turn tan… it appears that the more Almond Oil, the whiter.

- I have a great 3-soap mould for experimental batches, this way I do not lose a lot of ingredients if a batch doesn’t turn out.

I share some photos of recent soaps I have made.

Happy soaping,

Xo Jen

Cinnamon Oats Scrub soap

Aloe Clay

Mediterranean Lavender

Lemon Poppy seed soap

Thank you so much Jen for being our first guest blogger in our summer guest blog series and for sharing your story. It is always a breath of fresh air to hear other stories, especially when I get all stuck in my corner of the world.

Your soaps are beautiful!

Please leave comments for Jen, if you want to answer any of her questions or leave other comments. :D


Friday, June 25, 2010

The Winners

We have three winners for the EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone Overnight Bag Give Away!!


The winners are Eve, Cassandra and Robin. Congratulations!! I will email you this evening so that I can get your addresses and get these EcoTools bags off to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

I'm sure we'll have more someday.

Guest Bloggers

I am working on getting some interesting people to guest blog here to change it up so I don't bore you to tears all summer. I have very few soaps that I've received as of late and I don't want to just pimp my own stuff as that would just get more boring than watching string blow in the wind.

I could attempt discussing my personal life, and that's fine with me, but I did a whole lot of that last year and I wonder how many people became scared to come back since then.

I have asked four people and I haven't heard back about when they might do a guest blog post, but if anyone is interested in sharing something here, I certainly am open to hearing about it. I think it would be great to expose the rest of us with an experience you had or a technique you learned either from someone else or through your own experiences, etc. I am open to photographs, collages, videos or any other way you feel would be the best way to describe your presentation.

This would be a wonderful way to connect to our soap community and share what you've learned and would give us the opportunity to learn something new from you! Please dig deep. We need you. Write to me at jo at productbody dot com xoxoxoxo

Monday, June 21, 2010

Porn Porn Porn (Soapy)

It's that time for SOAP PORN again, people! Monday and back at work. Wake up and smell the soapy goodness, open your eyes and check out some of the gorgeous pieces of artwork. A lot of these soap makers are new to me, so I have experienced a little extra love today. I love finding new soapers, don't you?

Simple Traditions makes a Vegan Soap Sampler

Beacon Creations lovely Milk and Sweet Nectar

Sudstress makes the most beautiful Cutie Pie Soaps, doesn't she?


This has been a Soap Porn Production

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My First Etsy Treasury - Bits Of Sanity

I made my first Etsy treasury, which was incredibly time consuming. I had no time to do it and yet I was consumed. I was unbelievably determined to complete it and every item, every image had to be something that moved me. I couldn't settle on an image that "kind of" worked. It needed to click for me.

For those of you who don't know what a treasury is on Etsy, allow me to explain. I was able to create a template where I could choose "X" number of items/images that had a common theme in a mosaic and title it. Obviously these items all link back to their respective sales page. I titled my treasury "Bits Of Sanity" and chose each item that either brought me happiness, made me feel good physically or brought me peace somehow. Moments of brief sanity in my chaotic insane life that is my brain. So I share with you. I don't know if there is some goodness that comes out of leaving comments on the treasury. does anyone know?

Anyway... it brought me peace. I hope it brings a touch of it to you. :) Here it is. Click on it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone Overnight Bag - Another Give Away!

I don't wear a lot of make-up, but when I do, I insist on a good quality brushes to put it on. I have been using ecoTools for well over a year and I love them. The brush handles are made of bamboo and the brushes are made of taklon, a type of synthetic filament that is dyed and baked to make it soft. It also is absorbent so makeup adheres to the brush resulting in smoothly blended even finish. They also are great with powder (when dry).

This set includes a finishing brush, a blush brush, an angled eye shadow brush, a lash and brow groomer and the brush case, and I've been using mine for months and months. LOVE IT.

Apparently it is a limited edition, but it came out in December of 2009, and I don't know when they are discontinuing it. What makes the Alicia Silverstone different is the hemp bag. And that is what ecoTools will be giving away. No brushes included in the bag, but a case to fill your brushes and makeup and other fantastic goodies into for your summer getaway or night out.

This is the EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone Overnight Bag
We have three to give-away!

ecoTOOLS™ by Alicia Silverstone Overnight Bag (SRP $19.99): This large bag is sturdy and durable and features easy-to-grip handles that make it ideal for travel. The two interior compartments are removable and versatile to help keep contents clean and tidy.

With ecoTOOLS™ by Alicia Silverstone, it’s never been easier to be green and gorgeous. The collection, which features some of Alicia’s favorite flowers, offers sleek design, natural materials and fabulous functionality.

Available at Walgreens and Target stores, the line includes a complete set of five cosmetic bags, ranging from a brush bag with a brush set to an overnight bag. The perfect addition to holiday travel or a stylish stocking stuffer, each bag is produced with a natural hemp material and uses a recycled PET lining. Renowned for its environmentally-friendly cosmetic brushes, bath accessories, and new bath & body care collection, ecoTOOLS™ enters unchartered territory with an eco-conscious set of cosmetic bags.

In order to participate in this giveaway, we ask that do the following:

- Tweet about this EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone giveaway (leave a comment with your email address telling me so)

- Become a fan of EcoTools on Facebook (leave a comment with your email address telling me so)

June 23rd at midnight ET the giveaway will be closed. I will announce the three winners on June 24th. I will pick 3 winners randomly as I always do.

Good luck!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Peek Into My Summer So Far

click to enlarge

Here's a piece of a day at the beach with my son. Thoughtful moment after swimming fiercely in the ocean with his sister and friends.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Swirly Wurly Porn

Found from all over: 1000 markets, ArtFire, Etsy.... Australia.

Swirls from around the world.


medieval mist by cellar door soap co.

vanilla swirl by Simply Tempted
(that looks like I need to bite it!)

green tea and cucumber swirl - Ping Soap

acid trip by Grumpy Girl & Bath Co.
(I've posted this one before...genius swirl technique!)

Gorgeous, thank you soapers!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Morbid The Merrier - Part One

Ms. Luna

Lysa Luna is the genius behind The Morbid The Merrier brand. She sent me an array of soaps and elixirs in the mail and every single one of them was amazingly fantastic! This isn't even just about soap, either. This woman is a master of lip balms and perfume oils, let me tell you!

First, I received 3 soaps: Peepshow, Menagerie and Natali, a lip balm, Harlot in circus peanuts, which I wrote about in this post raving about lip balms and some perfume oils.

I'm really kind of sad for you because the soaps that I first received from Lysa were from a while ago and I am going to rave about them (a lot) and you can't have any because she has no more of them, but she has others. You'll just have to beg her to make more Natali and Menagerie because she just has to. They are that good.

Lysa has an amazing way with scents.

I have something to admit. :( Peepshow is completely gone. I never had a chance to even try it and I have to apologize to Lysa and to the rest of you for this one. My daughter doesn't disappear with my things from packages that arrive that I need to review but she recently turned thirteen and somehow she's become a little holier than though. She was there when I opened the beautifully wrapped package and she oooooed and ahhhhhed when Peepshow was opened, she sniffed it and ran with it and said she needed a shower. I figured I'd get it back, but life got busy and then when I thought of it, she had used that sucker all up. My apologies to everyone. That will not happen again.

She has been warned.

Natali - Sweet, ripe orange marbled with creamy vanilla and a hint of sandalwood, cloaked in rich black chocolate.

Natali completely vanished quickly because I used it every morning until it was gone. My showers were extra long because that soap was a definite slice of chocolate heaven. The orange was less in the foreground and was more in the background than expected, but there was NO disappointment here. When I was in the shower, I swear I wanted to run my teeth down the soap and create teeth shavings right down the middle, but I knew better. I knew it wouldn't taste good, but my inner cave woman instincts really wanted it. Bad. The gold topping helped me keep myself in check. Although it reminded me of being a Queen or some sort of royalty and then sadly lured me back to thinking I could eat it again because as a Queen, fine chocolate is given as a gift often, yes?

Ok, ok.

menagerie - chocolate espresso and vanilla nut soap.
Oh yeah, yummo! I have this soap but haven't used it yet because I am enjoying it too much sniffing it daily at my desk. ;)

She also sent three perfume oils: Drosta, Fortuna and Natali.

drosta - dark pomegranate tea perfume oil
"Sugary, spiced black tea, infused with mint and lemon, on a base of musky polished wood."

Smelled delicious and complex, but perhaps a bit sophisticated for me... maybe it was the musk. maybe I'm not grown up enough. ;)

- "lime, lemongrass, coconut, a bit of sugar, and hints of floral."

I am a total coconut lemongrass freak! Of course, it's much more complex than that. I love this... Completely different from anything else she makes.

Natali chocolate orange perfume oil
"Sweet, ripe orange marbled with creamy vanilla and a hint of sandalwood,
cloaked in rich black chocolate."

Can you say, "I want to smell like a sophisticated real chocolate dessert please??"

Not only is everything well made, but everything is labeled with a great design and everything smells so damn good. Miss Lysa also packages everything as if each and every item is a present. This is a terrible picture, but you get the idea.....

This is from the second package Lysa sent me....I have not tried these items yet. so there will be another review... sooooooon. In this package:

Natali Moisturizing Bath Salts, Harlot lip balm in Sweet Cream, Funnel Cake, and Jasmine Tea, Voix De Ville Perfume Oil, Perfume Samples Galore, and Bailey Tobacco Wine and Berries soap.

So, do I like The Morbid The Merrier products?

Oh MY GOD yes yes yes, you betcha!

Find her and see what she's up to:

http://themorbidthemerrier.blogspot.com/ and buy her stuff!

xo Jo

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dr. Perricone Give Away Winner!

On May 24th, I hosted a give away for Dr. Perricone's Advanced Face Firming Activator and....

(by the way, retails on their site for $120 for 2 oz!)

This morning, I went to random.org which is where I go every time I pull a number for a give away because I don't want to pick one randomly. I like computer generated randomly chosen numbers because that way, there is no bias or mistakes on my part at all.

The results are (DRUM ROLL):

Teresa wins!!!!
Yay! I believe she just had a birthday, so this might make her feel better. ;)

Thanks to everyone for participating. I'm sure we will have more of these soon.

We'll get back to our normal soap programming shortly.