Friday, February 5, 2010

Etsy Finds And a Giveaway!

Earlier last month I began going through my etsy favorites to clear some of them out.  I noticed that there were a lot of natural products that I hadn't tried simply because I told myself it was something silly to spend money on, not knowing how it would do with my skin.  It got me thinking and I e-mailed several of these sellers.  I asked them if they would be willing to send me samples to review.  I told them about this blog, and that I had readers who had e-mailed me and left comments at different times I had talked about skin or hair issues.  And it was amazing.  Several of these sellers were so receptive, even talking about their own journey into natural products.  And so I gathered up the samples and have been trying them out and having G try them out.  There were some that worked so well, and others that didn't work for me and my needs, but I could see how they would work for others.  
SerenitySoapWorks was the first store I contacted.  I received a quick response and within a couple of days had a sample of her unscented Solid Lotion Bar.  The lotion bars were products I was interested in first because of the beeswax component.  And I was not disappointed.  This smelled great, and worked like a charm to soften my skin.  The small sample didn't last long since both G and I used it often!
Photo from YourTimeBodyTreats
YourTimeBodyTreats was one I had saved for forever.  I had been interested in sugar scrubs that weren't chemically laden, and I contacted her about the Honey Almond Sugar Polish.  She sent me a sample that lasted me through a few showers, and I can honestly say it was one of my absolute favorites!  It scrubbed into my skin, but wasn't rough, and the oils in it helped to quench my skin's thirst.  She also sent me a sample in a tiny tin of the Shea Body Butter that she makes, and I loved the smell of it.  Warm, simple, something I could throw in my purse and rub in while I was out.  And last, but definitely not least she sent me a sample of her Chocolate Swirls Vegan Soap.  Absolutely the best smelling thing ever.  I kept muttering to myself "Must not eat the soap, must not eat the soap."  It really does smell so chocolate-y!  For me, soap is soap, but I wanted to try one without any chemicals, and this one fit the bill and smelled out of this world.  My only advice for those who get this is that it can get kind of slimy (as soaps made from oils are want to do) so I recommend a good dish, maybe with some drainage to keep it from sitting in water.  ( I apologize for no photo, it wasn't until after I had already used the products that I realized the photo I had taken was really blurry, all of the products looked just as they do in her shop!)
MystiqueProducts I had contacted about their lotion bar.  By the time we got it all discussed I had already received a couple other lotion bar samples from different shops, so I asked about her shampoo bars as well.  For the lotion bar I received a sample of the Calendula Scented Lotion Bar.  The smell was definitely different, in fact I started giggling because I told G that I thought it made me smell like herbed focaccia bread!  He agreed, and we decided that that bar would be the type you would want to keep in your kitchen.  The shampoo bars I received samples of were the Japanese Camellia and the Bouncing Beer.  These were the two products that just didn't really work for me.  They both smelled good, but I found it difficult to use them.  I know I received small samples, but as G pointed out, you would eventually get down to a small amount even if you had the big bar.  I would lather it up in my hands to use, as well as trying to follow the instructions to rub all over my head, but it just was tough.  I gave each 3 days to see how I liked them.  I normally don't wash my hair that often, but I had to with these, I thought my hair felt dirty (I have read somewhere that this can happen with more natural products as your hair tries to balance itself out).  They also made my hair squeaky clean when I was rinsing them out, I mean, noticeably squeaky, and with my dry hair issues, I just felt like it wasn't working right.  I still have some of each left and plan on giving them another go once we've installed the water softening system, but right now they didn't work for me.  
DeesBeeBoutique was my absolute favorite of the bunch!  I got to try 3 different lotion bar samples, so it allowed me to kind of see how strong her scented ones are.  (for complete disclosure when requesting samples I always asked for unscented, Dee was kind enough to send me 3 different ones to try)  Dee has started raising honeybees, and she even has a blog:  I received the Unscented which I keep in my bedside table (actually just ran out of this morning!), the Lavender Vanilla which I still have so much left (these things last for forever it seems!) and the White Tea Ginger.  I was a little wary of the white tea ginger, since that isn't a scent I would normally bother with at all, but I loved it!  Her fragrances are very light, and through it all you can smell the sweet smell of beeswax.  
FinnsAndFlowers was a shop I had saved for several reasons.  Mainly because I love the wooden and felted toys they have to offer, and I had saved them during the time I was looking into gifts for my niece. But one big thing caused me to e-mail them:  their beeswax polish.  I have talked previously about wanting to do more research into beeswax products, and this was one of them.  They sent me one of the 2 oz. jars and oh my goodness did I ever fall in love with this!  It smells amazing!  Beeswax makes me think of summer with a gentle breeze blowing through wildflowers, so it was a nice vision to pop into my head.  It also worked beautifully.  Easy to rub in, I actually used it on some antique furniture.  The desk photos from the light review showcase it perfectly.  It made my desk look beautiful, and didn't leave any gross residue.  I plan on ordering from them again anytime my jar gets even close to empty.  
This photo that I had posted on my home blog of the china cabinet?  Oh, yeah, it was taken after treating the front of it with the beeswax polish!  Gorgeous, right?

Overall I was pretty pleased with everything!  I had wanted to try a goat's milk soap, but the shop I contacted never got back to me, and now their shop is empty.  So if you know of anyone who makes soaps with goat's milk, please let me know!  YourTimeBodyTreats has offered my readers a 20% discount on her sugar scrub for a limited time, just mention the discount when checking out and it will be refunded through PayPal! 

Now on to my first giveaway!  

*EDIT*  Giveaway bar is actually going to be from SerenitySoapWorks, as she generously has offered a lotion bar for this giveaway.  There will be a few surprises from me in there, and I am super excited for the possibilities!  

Four Chances To Win:  
  1. Leave a comment.  You must do this one, and please leave an e-mail address (or have a blog link) so I can get a hold of you if you win!
  2. Become a follower, simple enough.
  3. Blog about this and let me know you did!  I want to get the word out about natural products, so this is a big one.
  4. Twitter about this and let me know so I can check it out!
Rules:  Only one entry per person for each of the categories.  Giveaway ends Wednesday February 10th, Midnight e.s.t.  Winner will be chosen by random (I am still trying to figure out the little widgets), and announced on Thursday February 11th. 

Since it's a giveaway of my own volition I am choosing to have this open to everyone, international readers as well!  

*And I wanted to state that this review was my idea, the sellers did not pay me for the reviews, and I was free to give negative ones if the products warranted it. Thanks!*


  1. Thanks for this post! I really enjoyed hearing about natural products for your face/body. I have always been a bit to wary about trying new facial products (especially ones from the internet that I can't feel/smell/touch beforehand) - as what if they affect my skin badly and then I am left with a huge tub of whatever I had bought???

    But I was encouraged to hear that most of the products were compatible with your skin....perhaps I should have a go.....I really like the idea of putting natural products on my skin. I think that's pretty important. I'm heading over to etsy now - thanks for organising the % off for us! (I didn't know what that was until you started blogging about it recently! Now I am a fan!)


    PS - I think you know my email address.....I don't have to include it, do I?

  2. Thanks so much for doing this! I have been really interested in natural products but always so hesitant to spend the money on something when I am not sure it's good. It's so nice to see someone's actual opinions on the products first!

    I have an email under my "blogger profile" even though I don't have a blog. But since I am never sure exactly how that works and if people can get to it my email is just in case. :)

  3. You are on my Google Reader if that counts as a follower. If not feel free to delete this comment with my apologies!

  4. Hi again, I'd love to enter for your giveaway - those lotion bars sound lovely. I hope that you get lots of entrants - you are doing such a good job!

  5. I'll have to look into the beeswax polish, I use the Method brand stuff right now.

    I have found that I love natural products. I love the stuff from mountain rose herbs, it's fantastic. I have super sensitive skin and their rose facial oil is one of the few things I can use on my face without issues.

    We have a pretty good array of natural products available at our local farmer's market, which is always nice so you can chat with the people you buy from.

    I have found that shampoo is the hardest thing to find a natural product that rivals a toxic one. I really really really LOVE John Masters Organics Zinc & Sage shampoo, but it's so expensive. Good thing I only wash my hair 2x a week :)


    The lotion bars sound very interesting! We have started focusing on natural items and would love to try them!

    You are doing a great job with this blog Kalee!

  7. I love a good contest! And those products all sound lovely.

  8. I love products like these. Thanks for the reviews. And for the chance to win!

  9. Hey lovely lady! Here is my comment for ya! Thanks for the heads up on facebook by the way. I'm so glad you did this little segment! So helpful.

    I'm also already a follower. I will try to get a tweet and a post up about it today. I will let you know when I do! =) And we aren't planning on leaving until next year. Blah. Probably next winter. But one more year in the midwest isn't too horribly bad.

  10. oh, this is great! i've been wanting to try some of these! thanks for doing this.

  11. What a great give away! I would love to try all of these products (even the ones you aren't giving away). Since moving to Chicago my skin has been SO dry and I just can't keep up with it!

    I am going to the store tomorrow to buy some coconut oil to hydrate my hair. I'll be posting on my blog about it!

    And I'm already a follower!



  12. Oh an a little tweet for you!

  13. I completely forgot to tweet or blog until your reminder! Didn't get the blog in but I tweeted! :) Stay warm with all that snow!

  14. I'm a follower, and would love to try this!

    saralang [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. Oh shucks! I am a little behind and catching up! Just missed it! :)