Some Month End Reviews

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wow. June has been super busy. Nick had his graduation from preschool and we had a luau party at school to celebrate. I was super busy with my gift baskets for local customers with the end of the school year (the district finished here on the 24th). We had Ben's 3rd birthday party, his actual birthday spent with just the 4 of us, and now we are enjoying some company with my brother and niece from NC.

In my busy mode, I have neglected to review some of my recent etailer loot.

For the first time in a long time, I've had some major misses. For the most part, however, I have had some great finds! Here they are:

NEW REVIEWS

Bathed & Infused

First, I want to talk about my first Bathed and Infused purchase. I am very, very pleased with it. Curtis and Nicole are a husband and wife team who own this company in Colorado. Customer service is top notch, as are the products. They have a massive scent menu, as well as a very nice offering of products.

I ordered three Body Mists: St. Lucia, Gidget, and Peach Hyacinth. I also ordered an In Between Cream in Peach Hyacinth. Turnaround time during their busy sale was very quick. I ordered on a Monday or Tuesday and had my order in 7 days. That's impressive! Product presentation is also wonderful: clean lines, professional, and creative. My order arrived in a Chinese take-out style container with blue shred and an even bluer fortune cookie! Cute packaging. This would be very gift appropriate.

I really adore the St. Lucia and the Gidget mists! Gentle and wholesome ingredients are in the mists, and the scents are of medium intensity.

St. Lucia is described by B & I as "... one fresh coconut! Coconut milk gets a green update. Think of sipping coconut milk in a lush island forest." The description is very accurate. I love coconut and coconut blends, and the green notes in St. Lucia lend a different take on your standard foody or tropical coconut. This is a keeper.I would reorder this scent and highly recommend it to others!

Gidget is described as "The epitome of sweet innocence and summer love. A good-girl tropical blend of mango, coconut, and pineapple for an afternoon in the surf. It's the ultimate!"

Gidget is wonderful as well. It is a light fruity scent if that makes sense. It is not an in your face bowl of tropical fruit. It is subtle. I smell the pineapple note the most. This is a very fun daytime scent. When I sprayed it on, it made both boys smile and they asked if they could "smell like Capri Sun, too". I had to laugh because it smells nothing like that drink, but it's interesting to know how my little fellas like to describe how Mommy smells. If you like soft fruity notes without it being a Starburst/artificial fruit scent, then this is DEFINITELY right for you. I like it!

I also ordered the two items in Peach Hyacinth. Peach Hyacinth was what I wore in high school and college. I loved it. I wore it daily and to smell Victoria's Secret Peach Hyacinth brings me back to my younger days, the days of my first true love, college fun, carefree afternoons under a tree reading my Poli Sci books and jotting down ideas for my sociology papers.

If I could only wear one scent again for the rest of my life, it would be Peach Hyacinth. Alas, it has long since been discontinued and I have a new and unopened bottle I covet and sniff on occasion. I keep it in a cool, dark closet and won't use it. Kind of silly, I know.

I have blended my own PH interpretation and tried with literally 20+ different combinations of peach and hyacinth oils to get an identical scent. I have come close, but never exact.

I was hoping beyond hope that B& I would have a dead ringer. I will let them cure more, but the peach is a very different peach note. It is a
very pretty fragrance, but it's not like my beloved Victoria's Secret Peach Hyacinth. I have tried it on my skin as well and I get more hyacinth than peach...it is nice, though!

I am very glad to have finally ordered something from Bathed and Infused. I would highly recommend this company based on my own experience, especially products in
St. Lucia and Gidget. They also have several paraben-free items from which to choose. Overall, I am super impressed and would love to order again!

CLEANSE YOUR SOUL

Several days ago I also received my Cleanse Your Soul order. Once again, I am
very happy with my Creamy Oil order. I am enjoying my Tropical Iced Tea and Coral Sugar scents especially! I am going to be brief about this, because I recently did a review on the Creamy Oils...if you are looking for GREAT customer service, very affordable prices, a huge scent menu, and some great products (just ask Judy which are paraben free), you cannot beat Cleanse Your Soul. Judy is a real gem and I think everyone should go out and buy her Creamy Oils and try them at least once!

I wrote about Sue at MCS discontinuing her Whipped Sugar Scrub until fall. That is my favorite scrub ever! I ordered a 15 ounce Creamy Dreamy Scrub from Judy at CYS to use while my MSC scrub is on hiatus and adore the formula! It is the perfect blend of sugar to oil/butters for summer--not too oily and not too grainy. I scrub daily, so this is great. So now I have a summer time "holy grail" caliber scrub, too! I tried a blend of Lemon Buttercream Sables and a Yellow Marshmallow Cake cake scent. They smell heavenly together!


SOME ETSY "DUDS" FOR ME

I branched out and tried some new Etsy etailers during Etsy's YART event, with some success and also some less than stellar results...

I have never have been unhappy with an Etsy purchase until a couple of recent YART Sale orders. A scrub I ordered from a popular shop was really nice in terms of the actual product and scent. I liked the actual scrub, but was overcome with cigarette smoke in the mailing envelope and tissue paper. The label of the jar also smelled strongly of smoke, so I transferred it to another empty jar I had. It's too bad because the actual product smelled super yummy and it was nice overall. I just wouldn't reorder because of the cigarette smoke issue.

Another, a soap company from which I ordered two bars of palm oil free soaps, was also disappointing. I ordered 2 bars of soap advertised as "4.3 ounce" bars. They weighed in at just about 2 ounces and one bar had huge gashes covering it, rendering it inappropriate for giving to my friend as planned. That bar arrived in a ziploc kitchen bag and the other bar was wrapped in a tulle gift sack. The seller said she mis-weighed them and would change the listings. She was very friendly, that was not the issue, but I would not reorder for the aesthetic reasons.

These were the first Etsy orders I haven't been totally happy with. I did experience friendly customer service, however, from both of the owners above when I emailed my concerns, so that is great...I have always found EXCELLENT customer service on Etsy!


Here was my one winner of YART bath and body orders:

CRAZY TIMES CANDLE & BATH


I would like to tell you about a great salt bar from Crazy Times Candle & Bath! This Appleton, Wisconsin husband and wife team makes one great bar of salt scrub! It is a spa-type fragrance with green tea and ylang ylang. Very herbal... I love salt's purifiying and exfoliating abilities, and this bar is just wonderful. If you want a bar of salt soap to detox your skin, look no more! Crazy Times offers fast shipping and a high quality bar of salt scrub without palm oil.


SOME LESSONS LEARNED

I have re-read my blog about my numerous orders. I have inventoried my beauty stash (I have 3 times more bath and body items than makeup, which is incredible for someone with a rolling makeup trunk, LOL). I have said before: I have TOO MUCH STUFF. I DO NOT NEED MORE THINGS.

I could "shop" my own stash and not need to buy another bath and body item for a good couple of years, and that is a conservative estimate.

I took a step last night. I asked Tom to change my Paypal password--something he will sometimes do when he thinks I'm getting carried away anyhow...He is the financial guru, always with plans for various accounts, savings, retirement....he sees the long term and always plans for it.

I am the one who doesn't plan very far ahead. You know, I am blessed to have a very comfortable life. I am so lucky to stay home with the boys and always be there for them--for preschool events, walking Nick to school...I will not miss anything and I am thankful that we can lead a comfortable life and have me be here always for the kids. That being said, I realize that I do not need to buy things that I am not in need of. Does that make sense? I will not order anything new in terms of bath and body products, as I need nothing.

I told him that when I order supplies for kzm Facial Care Boutique, that I will do it in the evening and he'll log me in to pay. This way I will let my Paypal funds continue to accumulate and each month transfer half to my savings and the other half I plan to donate to the Lustgarten Foundation. Sounds like a much more SENSIBLE (the saving $ part, which DH is so good at) and CHARITABLE (I will be able to donate even more to an organization I value so much and will be able to help them even more).

Now I am eager to see how much money I will save and add to my charitable fund this July from my online spending diet! So whatever would have been spent on bath and body is going to be saved and donated!

Something else learned...I have a true "tried and true" now when it comes to my favorite products! To qualify as my "tried and true", they are companies from which I have ordered and been happy with Customer Service, Product Quality, and Ingredients Used in the Recommended Product. Once I find a shop I love, I order and order...here are some which fit the bill for me:

HANDMADE PALM-OIL FREE SOAPS: Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps on Etsy

ULTRA-MOISTURIZING SCRUB: Mad City Soap --aka Mad City Sue-- Whipped Sugar Scrub (cooler months)

SCRUBBY BUT NOT TOO OILY SCRUB: Cleanse Your Soul Creamy Dreamy Scrub (summer)

LIGHTWEIGHT BODY NOURISHMENT: Cleanse Your Soul Creamy Oil

HOME FRAGRANCE: Starring...! Fragrances Soy Tarts





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