Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Week's Products in Review - 12/13-20

This past week was a weird one.  I have been sick as a dog, so I have not been burning any candles or incense as I try to get my sinuses back into working order.  Also, the hubby has been making me take ALL of my new items and put them under the tree, so I haven't had a chance to use any of the awesome looking things that have been arriving.  He has taken to beating me to the mail and wrapping the boxes as they arrive fromt he post office, so I can't even see what is inside. 

So, the only new bath stuff I have used this week was another bar of really cool soap.  Now, I admit, I was somewhat biased against this soap going in.  It was cut with that corrugation edge which, for some reason, in my mind has always turned me off of the soap. It also came unwrapped in any plastic or wax paper, so the soap was just exposed in my LBB, which is somethign I typically don't like.  Having mentioned my neuroses and the negative of this soap, I have to say, I LOVE this soap!  The soap in question is by Inseine Creations and is the Brown Sugar and Fig scent.  It is such a nice scent and the soap is such a smoothing and lovely soap.  It leaves my skin so soft and comfortable feeling, and though there is a hint of scent left, it is not overpowering or strong, which is a good thing, since I am a perfume lover, and do not necessarily want to wear my soap's scent all day.

So that's it for my light week.  I will not be posting my reviews next week, so plan on a HUGE review for the new year!

Have a great end of the year, all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obscure Allergies Suck

SO, I'm allergic to artificial sweeteners.  Pretty much all of them....well, except for high fructose corn syrup, but I figure that's just a matter of time. I at least used to be able to chew gum and wear lip balm, but now I can't. The gum makes my whole mouth tingle and other things....err....let's just say it makes other things unhappy.  Lip Balm made with artificial sweeteners makes my lips tingle and swell, and the tip of my tongue go numb.  Great for that "full lips" look. Not so much fun for that whole "staying healthy" thing.

Leaving alone my "artificial sweeteners are evil and the leading factors in the nation's exponential rises in obesity and type 2 diabetes" rants, WHY must artificial sweeteners be so prevalent and accepted?  All I want is some lip balm that I can wear that smells good. I am sick and tired of scouring ingredients lists on items that don't necessarily require ingredients.  If there were NUTS in lip balm, you can be sure they would be mentioning it and the fda would be requiring it, but apparently artificial sweeteners aren't anything to worry about, and even if you DO lick your lips, who cares if allergens are in the lip balm??

I hate this. No lip balm in my stocking this year. I can't find ingredients even on chapstick. ALL of the etsy sellers I have contacted have informed me that nearly all of their lip balms contain liquid artificial sweeteners, sorry. Even the VEGAN sellers and sellers of "ALL NATURAL" items!! Apparently, the artificial sweeteners are right int the flavor oils, so oh well. sure ARTIFICIAL sweeteners are ok in all natural items. Great.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free Stuff

With the holidays around the corner, my mailman and UPS guy have been very busy.  Every day a package or two arrives at my house. Many of these packages are from independent sellers who are sending me their handmade items that I have purchased.

As I have been opening the packages, I have been noticing something about myself.  This is something I have shared before, but in light of these packages, I feel that it is something that bears repeating:


Not naming names, but let me give you a few examples:

I LOVE handmade soap.  I bought a bunch of soaps froma bunch of both "I loved their sample" sellers and people I found on my own on Etsy. Since this was gifts for myself or my families, I went a little wild and picked myself up a biundle of items.

Three packages came yesterday.

Package #1 was from a well known and respected seller who I had heard about through being talked up on blogs and facebook. Their items came well packaged. there was a gift set for me and a separate bar of soap for my sister. A gift bag was sent for the components of the gift pack to be put into.  That was it. No thank you note. No special packaging for the extra bar of soap. No receipt. Nothing. Yes, it was profesionally packaged, and everything looked and smelled wonderful, but my thinking was "OK, great. Here's the stuff I ordered." and that's it.

Package number two was from someone who I had purchased from that I had just seen their soap on Etsy, and it looked "cool".  I had just purchased a few bars of cool sounding soap from them for myself.  When the box came and I opened it, the soaps were each beautifully packaged in a gift wrap type of packaging with the packaging info on the outside of the package. There was a nice little heartfelt thank you note in a pretty card with the receipt tucked into it. Again, everything was professionally packaged and put togehter, but wth the addition of the nice littl e note, my thinking became, "Oh, here's the stuff I ordered, and what a nice note.  It's so nice to get things like that. What a nice seller."

Package number three was a purchase from someone who I had gotten one of their samples before and loved, so I was buying full sized for myself.  I made a purchase of a bar of soap and some lotion.  In the box was my well packaged items, a little thank you note, and a few additional little samples of items  the seller thought I "might like". My thinking here was "Oh, awesome! Free stuff!  I got the stuff I wanted and some extras!!  is awesome!"

Now, everything I got was well packaged and what I had hoped for.  All the soaps smell great and were well packaged. But, I'll tell you: I am most excited about the one that had the free sample, and least excited about the one with no extras. The one who sent the note and prettily wrapped their items, I am very pleased with and will definitely think about specially when buying gifts for others.

People who cut a little into their profits to send me a little bit of something extra (everything else being equal), I tend to go back to more frequently for repeat purchases. I admit it.  I am very subject to free stuff bribery. I actually have a tea seller, two candle sellers, and a candy seller who I check FIRST when I need/want something potentially sold by them SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I know I will get a little something extra when I buy from them.

Not adding in little extras will not detract me from buying from you, but adding a little extra will definitely put you higher in my mind for future purchases.  I know there are certain typed of things where a little something extra is not realistic. In those cases pretty packaging and a heartfelt thank you note are biggies.

Just letting you know, from a buyer's perspective. YES it makes a difference.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Shopping

Today I went out with the Hubby to pick up the last of our Christmas gifts for the family.  We made purchases in three stores and stopped off in a fourth, and that was it.  He kept asking me where else we needed to go and what else we needed to pick up, but I actually was done and done EARLY with the holiday shopping.  How did I pull that off this year?  By buying almost exclusively handmade.

Since I knew I was going to be buying mostly handmade this year, and I knew a lot of items were going to have to ship, I couldn't do any last minute shopping. No procrastinating.  So, I sat down early and tried to figure out what to get everyone on my list.

I will admit that it is helpful to have a handmade-friendly family.  My sisters sent me links to their etsy favorites lists. Hubby likes handmade soaps and we are both art lovers.  The kids have been wearing my handmade clothing since birth, so to them it is a treat to get something someone ELSE made, etc.  I did end up getting a few members non-handmade items and having them shipped, but I think my love of handmade at least helped ease the asking for something off of a site like etsy.  100% of my gifts to myself are handmade.  All of it is stuff I am excited about.  Money is really tight here, so the few things I could get, I made sure I got stuff I really wanted. 

I had  big wish lists, and a few additional items I asked for. One of my big wishlists: my etsy favorites list. Yes, it got me teased mercilessly (ok, I don't expect anyone to get it for me, but yes, I was serious when I said I would LOVE a mug of the month subscription!  I love mugs.  STOP LAUGHING AT ME!)

As an added bonus, by buying handmade, not only was I treaating myself to a wonderful handmade item, I was helping out a handmade seller to get some funds for their own holiday shopping.  It's like a double gift giving with every purchase! Sweet!

What did I buy, you ask?  Well, you'll just have to wait until after Chrsitmas to find out.  I will tell you a number of sellers from my reviews were featured in my shopping....

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Week's Reviews 11/29-12/6

I am changing up the review process here.  I think I will mention just the things that I finished up using this week, and I am going to start mentioning my non-consumables that I bought, received and/or used this week on a one-shot review basis....Some of these items, I have had for a while, so in the beginning, it's going to depend on my actually remembering who made some of them. Fortunately, much of my stuff was bought on etsy, so I can go back and check my purchase history.  Gotta love that feature on Etsy. :)

As far as Shampoo and conditioner are concerned, I am still working my way through the sampler I purchased from heaven and Earth Essentials.  I am now on their "Juliet" scent.  I like it.  I feel bad reviewing scents, so I am going to stop. I really jsut feel like it is too much of a taste thing. A scent that I love, you may hate, and vice versa.  Unless I have a comment about a scent being too light or heavy, I'll just stick with the product itself.

The soap I just finished using was Heathen's Hearth "Pink Sugar Type".  It was a sample I got out of the Little Black Boxes.  I have to say, I was very pleased with this soap. It lathered nicely, and left my skin feeling soft and clean.  It did have the typical problem tht I have with almost all of my handmade soaps, in that it got all gooky at the end, but I am thinking this is due to the amount of oils and other things that make hese soaps so creamy, so I just put the little pices that are left and gooky on a crocheted scrubby, and use the scrubby as a loofah until the soap is gone. I really liked this soap, and now this seller is on my list of sellers to buy some soap from. They have some REALLY COOL looking soaps for sale now, too. Very Celtic.  Maybe I can justify a Christmas pressie for the hubby??  Hmmm....

With this month being so rough, it has very much been a candles and tea time here.  I had a sinus infection for most of the month of November that went into strep and I am still fighting the after effects of, so no incense has been burned here for a while.

My tea has been being drunk out of a mug I have that is one of my favorites.  It was made by Jeff Guerrero.  I haven't seen this style offered by him for a little while now, but I really love this mug. I have a very similar shaped mug to this one in a smaller size made by him, too, that I will use when I do not want my huge cup of tea in the morning (if I don't have the time to get through 16+oz at a pop).

As far as candles ar concerned, I have to give a great shout out to both Whiff and Sniff Candles and Redneck Candles.  I have been joint burning a few jelly jar candles from Redneck Candles and some wickless candles from Whiff and Sniff to get the scents I want for Christmas. I'm sure I could have EITHER seller make me a custom blend, but I'm lazy and want them RIGHT NOW. :) 

Right now, I have a "berries and Branches" candle going by Redneck Candles, and a "going Amish" wickless going from Whiff and Sniff.  Both companies' candles burn nice and clean and give off a good amount of scent for a good amount of time.  Of the Redneck candles, this is the second one I have burned (The first was "halo" scent, which I also liked a lot). They last a LONG time.  Way longer than the 4-6 hours they say when you buy them.  I also love the jellt jar. No need to find a candle holder to catch the wax.  The Whiff and sniff shooter is the perfect size for my wickless candle burner.  This is IMPORTANT!  I have had a few tarts that have been too big for some of my burners over the years, and they made a real mess.

With the recent death of yet another digital watch, I am wearing the awesome watch I got from Radcow all the time now.  I had gotten away from earing it, because I teend to forget to take my watch off before getting into the shower, and I didn't want to ruin it, but I am not unhappy about wearing it allt he time, until I can go buy another cheap watch to not worry abotu destroying in the shower. It is a gorgeous leather cuff watch that I get all kinds of compliments on, it fits perfectly, and I love it.

I think that's about it for now.  I am making a bundle of purchases for the holidays, so there should be a bunch of reviews coming soon!

What Happened to November!?!

I'll tell you what happened. It stank.  Well, after a VERY tough November around here, I have decided to try to have a more positive outlook, and I am back with my weekly product reviews and attempts at upbeat postings.  This is a stretch for me, since I tend to be a pessimist (I know, WHAT!?!), but seeing as I am so passionate about handmade items, it shouldn't be too tough for me to be genuinely positive about them.

So break out the aromatherapy candles, Angela!  Time for some more reviews!