Thursday, March 25, 2010

What the....

Hello my wonderful readers!! 

You may have noticed that I haven't been around for a while.  Well, I had a no reviews week, then the kids were on spring break and we went to Las Vegas.  Since I went away, I didn't use any new items, so instead I will tell you about my handmade travel toiletries.

When I travel, I have a bunch of handmade samples that I travel with that I know I love.  Too often, I have broken out or had issues with hotel toiletries, so I let the husband use them and I bring my own.

The first thing I travel with is shine on shampoo and daily conditioner from Heaven and Earth Essentials. (scent this trip: citrus splash)  If I am traveling for a week, I also bring the damage remedy conditioner.  I like for them all to be the same scent, and HAEE has a BUNCH of different scents. As another bonus, the shampoo is a paste, so you don't need to fit it into the little quart ziploc bag the airlines are in love with.

I have gone a number of ways with soap.  I usually just grab a small sample of a soap that I know I love.  the little samples are the best, because they last about a week (the small slivers are great for a weekend), so you don't have to worry about bringing home the soap. This trip, it was a small soap sample from Metropolis Soap Company, whose soap I really love. Even the Dh has been brought over to the "dark side" by their Black Horror Soap.

For lotion, I prefer lotion that is in a pot.  though it can get under my nails, I have had a lot less issues with bag explosion with pot lotions.  This trip, it was Main Element Love's Rise and shine body and hand lotion. The scent worked really well with my shampoo and conditioner, and the little lotion pot fit well in my travel purse.

Perfume is always in the form of a little sample or two (depending on trip plans).  I have HUNDREDS of samples, from designer to handmade.  This trip, I took along two samples, one was August Sultry Sumer by Lemon Lollipop for day wear (Actually, I think the official scent is through their other company "four seasons fragrance," but the sample was from Lemon Lollipop), and the other was Dark Rapture by the Scent Diva (now known as the Soap Box) for evening wear. On a random aside, Dark Rapture perfume was the first thing I ever bought from an etsy seller after getting a sample in a sampler box.

My cosmetics are commercial, because I like the way I can get almost everything into a small compact.  Toothpaste is Aquafresh, and my sunblock is also commercial and a special one for super sensitive skin. Toss in a few Shout Wipes and my prescription meds, and that pretty much makes up my travel toiletries.

This trip was also a little bit special in the packing, because I knew we were staying in our timeshare. There is a HUGE soaking tub in the main bathroom, so I brought a few bath bombs from Sheba's Secrets. I let my daughter take a "fizzy bath" for the first time last month, and she is HOOKED! Both she and I had a few "fizzy baths" that week.

Also, again because we knew we would be in the timeshare, I brounght a silicone trivet, a little matchbook and a travel candle by Mrs Tattooed Geek. (Black Orchid).  These candles are great for getting the "hotel" smell out, and the "home" smell into your room.  The candle is in a tin, so there are no worries about wax spillage, and they last a LONG time.  Like I said, I brought ONE candle for the entire week.

So, sorry there are no reviews to write right now, but they will be back after next week! Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Feature!

You may have noticed, but I have put links to the four samplers I have ordered on the bottom right side of this blog.  No more hunting for good samplers.  If I find more good sampler sellers, I will be sure to include them.

This week is going to be light on reviews, as I am finishing using some BIG samples, and between the hubby getting a job offer and me going on interviews, we didn't really get a chance to use many new things this week.  I've also been noticing that I have extra samples from sellers that I have already reviewed.  Though it is really hard for me, since I already KNOW that they are great, I have been trying to passs them over for new samples I have never used. My drawers are getting full, and I have had a few bad experiences lately, so I think I am going to allow myself to re-use some of these sellers' samples every once in a while. I also may start featuring a single seller every once in a while, especially if I have had a universally good experience with them.

I'll keep checking etsy and ebay and looking for new people to tell you about too!

I think I will also keep up with the pattern free sewing tutorials.  I am in the process of rearranging my sewing room (again), to get everythig to fit, but I will try to make time to get s few things made and a few tutorials written up.  let me know if there's anything you would really like to see.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This Week's Reviews 3/2/10

Woo!  I had a bit of a panic this morning!  Turns out my husband, trying to be neat and tidy, threw out all of my assorted wrappers and business cards from this week's samples.  Fortunately, I found and rescued them, and, after a bit of the world's most stupid sounding argument....

("you threw away my wrappers!" "Of course I did! They're empty and cluttering up the counter!" "I need them for my blog, dangit!" "Then why were they in a pile in the bathoom?" "who cares where they were?  I needed them! Stop throwing out my important stuff!" "How am I supposed to know that empty wrappers sitting in a pile on the counter in the bathroom are important?"......etc)

...and a quick trip to Michael's for an "important blog wrappers" basket (and some candlemaking supplies...but that's a different story for another blog), I got everything together and recorded in my special "good samples" book, and ready for this week's blog.  Don't you feel special now that you have had your own glimpse into my private, everyday life? Yeah, didn't think so.

This week's reviews are a bit different.  Along with this week being my "the Samplers are coming!" week, which always leads to lots of trying out of stuff, I also bought a bunch of new wickless candles from sellers on eBay this week. Of course, I had to try out one of EVERYTHING, so I have a LOT of candle sellers to review.  Way more than usual.  I am also going to review a new tea supplier whose tea I finally tried out this week.  Add to that, my normal weekly soap review and a lotion review, and we are talking a lot of sellers to review this week!!

So, let's get to it!

This week's soap was "Think Pink" by A Slice of Delight. This soap is an awesome looking and smelling layered soap of glycerine and oil based soaps.  It really looks like a piece of candy or jewelry! The colors are very vibrant and rich. I love it.

Now, I am one of those people whose skin always gets a little tight and dry from using glycerine soap, but it seems a lot less due to the layering of this soap with the oil based soap added into the layers. I also love how HUGE the sample I got in my Sampler from Sampler Village is. It's got to be about a 2oz sample! I feel like I am using a full sized bar of soap, not just a little sample!  Very cool. 

All of A Slice of Delight's soaps are so artistic and fun to look at, even though they are currently out of stock of the "Think Pink", I'm sure you'll find a soap to love. Also from now through Friday, 3/5/10 at midnight, if you mention "Marbled Nails" in your checkout, you will get a $.50 refund off of one regularly priced bar of soap!  A Slice of Delight's prices are already great, but, heck, anything helps, right! Thank you so much to A Slice of Delight for that generous offer!!

Last month in my samplers from Sampler Village, and again this week in my Little Black Box, I got some AWESOME looking samples from a company called Farm Hussy.  Well, their complete irreverence cracked me up, so I hd to try some of their samples.  I ended up trying their "Udderly Tickled Hand and Body Lotion" in "Love is a Heart Fertilizer" scent.  The husband has also been using their "cock-a-doodle-Don't Lip Balm" and he loves it.  Farm Hussy has all kinds of products and scents on their site, which is just adorable and makes me chuckle.

The Udderly Tickled lotion goes on smooth and is just scented enough to smell nice, but not so much that you end up being the only thing people can smell in an elevator. It leave skin feeling refreshed and moisturized, but not oily, which is VERY important to me.  I have naturally very oily skin, so I am not one of those people whose skin eventually absorbs the oils from most lotions, I just glisten and repel water until my next shower.

The reason the husband is using the Lip Balm is because it contains artificial sweeteners.  He loves it and has already asked me to buy him more after this tube runs out. I told him I will, but I am getting it made ithout the sweeteners in it. Farm Hussy was VERY quick, polite, and professional about replying to my inquiries regarding whether or not their flavor oils contained artificial sweeteners. As they add their own sweetener, Farm Hussy CAN make many of their lip balms without sweeteners, which is awesome and good to know.

This week, I have been fighting some sort of upper resp infection. In fact, I was sick for the entire month of February with something or another. Hmm...Well, at least it led to my drinking even more tea than usual.  THis is a good thing, since I went a little crazy over the holidays, and bought more tea that anyone could reasonably drink in a my defense, a lot of it came free with the teapots....uh.....teaPOT! teaPOT!  Ok, teapots.  I bought myself 2 teapots for Christmas (one handmade and one BIG one from Pfalzgraff), my mother bought me a great glass teapot for blooming teas, my sister got me a special single serving brewing tea mug, and my son got me a froggie teapot.  I have a lot of teapots now.

One of the sellers whose tea I finally got around to trying the week is Bhak Tea. MAN, did I miss out by not trying them sooner!!  Their teas are fabulous.  I am especially hooked on their Vanilla Sunset Rooibos tea.  VERY yum.  I got myself one of their EXTREMELY reasonably priced tea samplers which came with a very cute bamboo tea strainer.  Working with them was very easy, and they really went out of their way to send me good quality tea on time for the holiday.

Like I mentioned earlier, this has been the week of candles. I got a bunch of new candles, both wickless and traditional to try out this week, and I went a little crazy on eBay after I found some sellers that were on eBay along with Etsy.  I am going to touch on all of them, so get ready.

The first seller is Delightful Scents. I had heard of Delightful scents before, but for some reason I had never bought from them or tried them out.  Then I got a little tart sample in my sampler from Sampler Village.  Well, let me tell you, this little tiny tart perfumed my ENTIRE house!  I was super impressed. The tarts I got from Delightful scents were of top excellent quality, and held their scent for a long time.  Delightful scents also carries traditional candles, incense, perfumes, tart burners and so much more.  They are really worth checking out, and are on my list of people to buy from as soon as my husband OKs any candles coming into my house again.....

Another wickless candle sample I got from Sampler Village was from Primitive Kountry.  Their "melties" are a good large size, and the scent lasted through three tea lights' worth of burn time.  Again, they have a lot of other products on their website.

The first seller I bought wickless candles from on eBay is RoseGirls Candles.  They have these lovely Chunk Tarts.  They are just hunks of highly scented wax that you can put on your tart burner. RoseGirls Candles has their own website where their prces are already really good and reasonable. Their tarts burn clean and put off an awesome sent.  HOWEVER, I admit, I found them on eBay. The price I paid on eBay was slightly better than their website, and I had to buy a whole flat rate box of tarts, but they are wonderful, and I am glad that I did.

Another seller who has plenty of products off of eBay, but who I found there, again, is Pamela's Palm Tarts and More. Pamela has some really nice tarts, and ships super fast.  She has hundreds of scents to choose from, and you can choose how many tarts you buy.  Although I put in a link to her Etsy shop, most of Pamela's selling right now seems to be on eBay (user name: "spfield01").  Her tarts are of good quality and are an excellent price. She also has glycerine soaps and tart burners in her store.

Amazingly, I also managed to buy some tarts from Pamela's SISTER, Pat.  Pat's eBay ID is "youareold", and I can't help but think that she is the younger of the sisters.  Pat also has some great, good quality wickless candles and tart burners in her eBay shop, and she ships just as fast as her sister.  I was seriously shocked at how quickly I got my huge orders in the mail from those two women..  The two sisters are in completely different parts of the country, but their commitment to quality and customer service is is their packaging. :)  Both women were really easy and fun to work with, and I recommend their products.

In all, it has been a great week for samples and purchases.  I hope you guys go check out these sellers, as I like all of their products, and I want them to be successful, if for no other reason thn the selfish one of wanting them to be there when I want to buy from them.  One of my favorite bath and body sellers and a company that I reviewed early on in my reviews, Capella's Garden has closed its doors for good, and I am bummed.  Yes, there are other great sellers I can buy from, and will, but it is always sad when a seller decides that they are done.  So, BUY from these sellers if you can, and keep them in business.  It will do us all a favor. You'll get some great products, they'll be able to make money and stay in business, and I will have sellers I know I can count on to buy from again.  WIN-WIN-WIN.

ETA: I got an email from Pamela and she informs me that she and Pat are IDENTICAL TWINS, and Pamela is 3 minutes older. Extra cool, as I have a weakness for twins, and especially identical twins, having married one, myself. :) Even cooler that they are both doing such similar things with the tarts.