Thinning the Line: What Products Will Not Be Staying in 2017

It’s a new year and the time to take a second look at our product offerings to see what would best serve our customers and our business vision.

We have studied market trends, listened to our customers, and have decided to retire some of our products. We know we can provide much better service if we focus on fewer offerings.

We wanted to let you know that after February 14, 2017, the following products will no longer be available:

1. Confidence Face & Body Butter

2. Fresh Facial Toner

3. Room Aromatherapy Sprays (not Rest Easy)

4. Gift sets

We are thinking about possibly eliminating our scrubs, as well, but would love to hear your feedback, first.

While we are eliminating many products, we are also adding new products to our line to see how much you, our customers, love them. We will be testing out our market with Mixable Fizzing Bath Powder and Deodorant. 

Our goal is truly to  limit our line, and while we’ve been in business for a year and a half, we’re still understanding how best to serve our market. 
We would love to hear your feedback!​ 

Making Cold Process Soap Cupcakes

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I have always found things that are dressed up as other things extremely adorable. Whether it’s babies dressed as animals, or animals dressed as other animals, or soap dressed up as dessert food, there’s something appealing about the ability to morph our concept of reality into something surreal. For me, this has been soap cupcakes!

Making soap has incredible challenges, but trying to make soap look like cupcakes comes with an even greater challenge…especially because I consider myself piping-disabled. “Piping” is the jovial term given to the extraordinarily difficult task of forming the the whirls and swirls with batter that you find on cupcakes. The main difference between cupcakes and soap = if I get soap batter on me, I can burn my skin off. This challenge, added to the quick-dry factor, makes the need to work simultaneously quickly and meticulously extra complicated.

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The preparation.
*First piece of advice. If you have NEVER made cold process soap, you MUST go to Soapqueen.com and watch ALL of the videos. This is an advanced recipe for advanced soap-makers.

To prep, here are the materials you’ll need:

The ingredients, most of which can be purchased at Bulk Apothecary!:

Steps:

  1. Set up your work space so that is clear of any debris and you have access to all of your tools. Make sure all of your utensils and bowls have been disinfected with a 5% bleach to water solution. Put on all of your safety equipment, including long sleeves, long pants, and closed shoes.
  2. Measure 5.7 ounces of sodium hydroxide into a mason jar and then add to 16 ounces of distilled water. Make sure this is done in a plastic jug. Stir thoroughly in a ventilated space. Let cool.
  3. Mix .2 ounces of water with titanium dioxide in a mason jar.
  4. Mix .2 ounces of sunflower oil to with purple mica powder in another mason jar.
  5. Measure out lavender fragrance in last mason jar.
  6. Set up piping bag with Wilson D2 piping attachment.
  7. Add all remaining oils to one bowl and heat in a double boiler. Once all oils have been completely melted, set aside to cool.
  8. Once oils and lye water have been cooled to approximately 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit, slowly mix lye water into oils.
  9. Hand blend batter until you have a light trace, then add fragrance while continuing to pulse hand blender until you reach medium trace.
  10. Separate about 4 cups of batter into Pyrex and add titanum dioxide solution. Whisk until color becomes white.
  11. Slowly pour the white batter into the silicone mold, filling almost to the top of each mold. Set aside. (If you have any extra batter, just add it to the main bowl. If not enough, add more and repeat the step.)
  12. Mix purple mica solution with a whisk into the remaining batter. Use hand blender to mix until you have a very thick trace. If color is not purple enough, make more purple/sunflower oil solution.Set aside to cool for about 3-5 minutes.
  13. Once purple batter has become thick like pudding, start adding to piping bag. Don’t overfill!
  14. Pipe in the center of each cupcake until you have about an inch of height for your “flower”. Repeat for all 12.
  15. Add more batter to piping bag, and pipe around the “flower” to create a foundation layer.
  16. Add more batter, and pipe quickly around the “flower,” on top of your foundation, until you come to a natural center for all cupcakes.
  17. Add glitter, and you’re done!

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Why I Won’t Give Up My Day Job

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Whenever the discussion of Bath, Body, Candle Moments comes up, I’m often asked: “I bet you can’t wait until you can quit your day job, right?” The question comes from a good place – a place of honor and respect for the business I’ve grown, a place of admiration for the products I’ve formulated, a place where we all live the “American Dream” to run our own business. While I love everything about owning my own business, and of course, I dream to own a brick-and-mortar store one day, I have an incredibly hard time envisioning my life outside of the classroom.

There are days when my alarm goes off at 5am and all I want to do is kick it. Usually, it’s on Monday…or Tuesday…or Wednesday. I have a count-down to the next vacation. I curse myself when it’s Sunday night and everyone is watching The Walking Dead and I’m revising lessons, or grading homework, or sending notes home. There are days when I have walked out of school in tears. There are days when I feel like every classroom decision I have made was wrong.

But every day, I walk out feeling honored. I feel honored that I have been entrusted with beautiful, young, inquiring high-school minds eager to understand their world. I feel honored that I have been able to share my love, joy, and insight into literature with students. I feel honored that someone believed so much in my words that he/she wrote them down.

Every day I walk out feeling humbled. I am humbled that a student felt compelled to stop and tell me that today was a great class. I am humbled when I have a room full of brilliant minds who have laughed at my jokes. I am humbled when an alum comes back from college to tell me that my class made a difference; that I have made a difference in his/her life.

Every day I am rejuvenated in my love of literature. I have true, deep, philosophical questions about life, the universe, and the meaning of it all with students who are far more insightful than they are given credit for. I am rejuvenated by brilliant colleagues who are so deeply knowledgeable of their content that I am always learning from them. I am rejuvenated by the metaphorical light bulb that shines through the eyes of a student who suddenly understands the reason for it all.

I teach. I learn. I serve. I serve a greater purpose. I serve a higher authority. I serve the next generation.

love creating art through soap, candles, and skin care. I honor the appreciation of a person who spends money on my art. I am humbled by the praise that someone believes my work is beautiful enough to be a gift.

But I am always a teacher, first.

I teach not because I “couldn’t do anything else,” but because I know how hard I will always work to earn the honor, love, and respect of my students. I teach because I adore the relationships I build with my students. I teach because I know what a difference a good teacher can make. I teach for the love of the game.

I could not give up my day job even if I never walked into a school again. Teaching is in my heart, my soul. I will not live forever and what a waste it would have been to learn so many things and not share it. I will always feel the urge, the need, the hunger to pass on the skills to question the world around us.

I will not give up my day job because I have made it my responsibility, my duty, my promise to leave this world a little better than I found it.

kristen-fusaro-pizzopresident-2

Give Your Home a Fresh Start: Part Two, Small Changes that Matter

Give Your Home a Fresh Start: Part Two, Small Changes that Matter

In the first of this two-part series for Giving Your Home a Fresh Start, we discussed the power of de-cluttering your home. Once all the steps in part one have been completed, the goal is to change whatever is happening in your home atmosphere that makes you feel disconnected to moments of zen and relaxation.

I’m sure we would all love a huge budget to do some major interior design work, but this is unrealistic for many of us. The good news is that even if we feel bored with our current decor, we don’t need to spring for thousands of dollars; the key is to make small changes in our environment which create a large impact.

  • Get new window blinds. So this one can be a little costly, depending on the type of blinds, but what a difference it makes! Quality blinds will offer you the ability to both let in sunlight and block it out, simultaneously bringing in brightness and creating privacy to make you feel safe. This was one of the first changes I made when I bought my first home. When I bought the house, I swore I would never fight with another window string again – such a small thing, one we often dismiss, but one of complete frustration for me. I would often just leave the shades in whatever state they were in to avoid the ever-incorrigible-window string. The purchase of the cordless window blind changed the entire feel of every room.
  • Invest in a piece of art. The right piece of art in a room can completely change your perception of it, so this task is not to be taken lightly, though it is one small task. You should envision what you love before you seek the piece and avoid impulse-buys. I like to look at it almost like getting a tattoo (ok, clearly, not as permanent, but if you’re spending a few hundred dollars on a piece, you want to love it for years to come) – think about it for a few months, imagine what it will do, and keep looking. Don’t settle.  For me, it was this beautiful brass tree that now sits in my dining room. I always knew I wanted a 3D tree of life on the wall, but I couldn’t find what I wanted… I actually received it as a gift several months after moving in, but it was precisely what I had imagined.
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Tree of Life Wall Decor
  • Add candles to empty spaces.  If you have a lot of empty space on shelves, bathroom counter-tops, end-tables, or mantelpieces, a few quality candles can create the feeling of coziness and comfort. Depending on the fragrances you choose, you could recreate moments of relaxation, joy, or even holidays. No matter the time of year, I always have a Trimming the Tree and Beach Bumming candle ready-to-burn in my home; I just love the sense that I can bring Christmas or the beach into my house whenever I want.
  • Get a diffuser for your room of respite. Diffusers are beautiful and inexpensive way to make any room into a moment you’re hoping for. With so many aromatherapy blends available on the market, a few drops of a blend in a diffuser can create a moment of peace, serenity, uplifting, energy, or whatever you need. My personal favorite is the GreenAir Serene Living Blue Glass Floor Standing Essential Oil Diffuser and Mister for Aromatherapy (pictured below). Everyone who comes into my house falls absolutely in love with it, and truly, for $39.99, it has made all the difference.
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Get this diffuser on Amazon!
  • Get throw-pillows and couch blankets. Especially to make your living room or den feel cozy, some new throw-pillows can both create a sense of comfort, but also add style and warmth. The key to choosing the right throw-pillow is to off-set the color of your couch; you want opposing colors of the same temperature. (Check out this article by DecorLove on how to choose the right color scheme.) Couch blankets are terrific for both practicality and aesthetics. Again, the right color can add a lovely pop and make you feel at home, but the blanket should also be cuddly, so when you want to just lounge around you have something to snuggle into.
  • Buy yourself that small appliance! There is always one small appliance you’ve been pining over, maybe it’s a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer or a Keurig Coffee Pot – whatever it is, spend the money to bring that joy into your life. Most likely, that appliance is going to make some aspect of your life easier, and to give you those moments, the money is worth the investment to bring big changes into our happiness.
  • Make a photo-tree of your loved ones. In the digital age, we rarely get photos printed anymore, but there is something classic and warm about a printed photo hanging on the wall or on a bookshelf. The photo tree allows you to add many photos, so you can show off your friends, families, and pets all in one place – better yet, it’s a great way to cherish and capture those moments of joy. It makes a space more personal, changing the atmosphere from house to home.
  • Add some plants. Plants not only serve to freshen up a space, but they actually make your air cleaner. I love potted bamboo plantsEdit – 1. they’re virtually impossible to kill, 2. they are mysticized with bringing good fortune, 3. they are small enough to fit in any space. A beautiful potted plant creates the sense of energy and life, awakening the atmosphere of a home.

I would love to hear your tips on small changes to make for a fresh, happier home!

kristen-fusaro-pizzopresident-2

 

Give Your Home a Fresh Start: Part One, Clearing Up the Clutter

Give Your Home a Fresh Start: Part One, Clearing Up the Clutter

Home is the place we look to for safety and sanctity. When we look to our home, we want it to be a place of respite and relaxation, but sometimes, we can become bored or frustrated with the physical space of our home. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to turn your home into a zen palace.

Clear Out for Clarity: Clutter and disorganization is more than just an irritating aspect of home life; according to Psychology Today, it’s actually a main cause of stress.  We can begin to feel hopeless when clutter feels overwhelming, rendering us unable to complete daily tasks. Personally, I feel myself drop into swarms of depression when my home becomes extraordinarily messy.  Whether you’re at that point, or want to avoid getting to that point, there are a few steps you can take right now to give your home a fresh start.

First step – throw on some good tunes and light a calming candle to associate good feelings with decluttering.

  • Pick one room at a time. If you’re trying to do too many things at once, the clutter and mess can feel overwhelming. Pick just one room, and I suggest the room that is the easiest, and work on that one. I suggest the room with the least mess because you will finish it quickly, beginning a sense of momentum and accomplishment. Before you tackle the messiest rooms, at least this one is finished.
  • Put everything where it belongs. Before you can begin cleaning, just start with straightening-up. Put whatever is lying around out of place into its proper spot. Avoid just shoving things out of sight, and instead find an actual place for it to call home. You’ll be surprised how much easier everything else is when this task is completed.
  • Throw things away! It may be tempting to keep all sorts of remnants, but to gain a sense of home clarity, you need to gain space, and you gain space by getting rid of stuff. If you’re not using something, get rid of it. You don’t have to throw it in the trash, but you could donate to charity, sell it online, have a yard sale, or even give it away – just get it out of your space. The Vietnam Veterans of America will come and pick-up used clothes and household goods, so you can feel good about clearing out, and even get a charity tax write-off.
  • Turn papers into digital files. We’re often tempted to keep important papers or receipts, and of course, there are some physical papers you need to keep – for these, buy a filing cabinet and store it in the office, the attic, or a closet. For every other paper, scan it and store it digitally. Much faster than a digital scanner is using your phone to take photos and storing it in the cloud, such as Dropbox. Dropbox is a free online secure file storing site that is accessible through mobile – all of your files in one searchable spot.
  • When you go for the clean, go for the deep clean. This time around, after you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, give every nook and cranny a super-deep clean. Vacuum, dust, bleach, move furniture around to get under, the whole nine-yards. When you give this round a super-deep clean, everything will feel fresh and new, plus, it makes maintenance so much easier. Remember, one room at a time.
  • Create storage space. As you use things, just put them away to avoid re-creating the clutter nightmare. Take note of areas where you can create organized storage, such as in closets or drawers. Invest in some shelving and some quality plastic bins. Be smart about storage – for example, plastic bins can often be stored underneath other things for items that are only used on occasion, such as decorations, gift wrapping, etc.
  • Make a maintenance schedule. Finally, set aside time either once per day or once per week to concentrate on keeping things tidy to avoid the task returning to an overwhelming state. Designate certain tasks as a must-do-right-now, such as dishes; make this a rule in your household. Delegate tasks to different members of the house to take the burden off of one person and to create a sense of responsibility for house-wellness within everyone.

What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for giving your home a fresh start?

kristen-fusaro-pizzopresident-2

A Fun List for Why Soap is Always the Greatest Gift

A Fun List for Why Soap is Always the Greatest Gift

I’m the world’s worst gift-giver. It’s not that I’m thoughtless, believe me, I pine over choosing the perfect gift for every occasion. I don’t even wait until the last minute, and yet, I find myself on Amazon, filling out the gift card section. (But seriously, who doesn’t love an Amazon gift card?)

This year, I decided to start super early so I could buy exactly the right thing for everyone. My nephew, who is only five, has become obsessed with Greek mythology ever since I started telling him the stories. Every time he would visit: “Aunt Krissy! Tell me the story ’bout Medusa – she’s not the bad guy, right?” I thought I nailed it this year. I got him the D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths,  the Percy Jackson movies, and a whole bunch of Hercules stuff. He opened it all up and said: “Where’s the soap and bath bombs?”

My jaw hit the floor.

My five-year-old nephew wanted soap and bath bombs.

“You wanted soap and bath bombs?”
“YEAH! I like throwing them in the bath tub and the special Beachy Butt soap!” –Ever since he learned “bum” was another way to say butt, he thinks it’s hilarious to call our Beach Bumming soap the “Beachy Butt” soap.

I thought about what he said, and it dawned on me why artisan soap is seriously always an awesome gift to give:

  • It always fits. You never have to worry about insulting someone by the size of the soap you buy.
  • It’s always needed. Soap will never go to waste because there will come a day when you run out and need more. It’s like toilet paper.
  • It’s the gift that keeps on giving, but not long enough to be annoying. Unlike a sweater, which you may get sick of, or technology, which will be outdated in 3 months, soap lasts around just long enough before you’re bored of it.
  • It smells nice, and even if you don’t like the smell of the soap, someone in your house will.
  • It’s super easy to wrap or ship. No worries about long lines at the post office; you can throw those guys right into the mailbox.
  • It doesn’t go bad. Much like a good wine and a good woman, soap just gets better with age.
  • Soap is personal enough that you can pick certain ones to appeal to certain people, but not so personal that you will have awkward moments.
  • Soap is always in style. No worries about trends or fads, soap is classic and transcends time.
  • Artisan soap is colorful and unique; you will hardly ever find two pieces that are exactly alike.
  • It works for any age group or gender. From young to old, man or woman, soap is used by everyone (well, we hope).
  • It applies to every holiday and celebration. No matter the time of year, soap applies!

So, for whatever reason you’re giving a gift, consider a gift bag filled with beautiful soap; it is sure to please!

Keep Mature Skin Glowing

Keep Mature Skin Glowing

Mature Skin has special requirements to maintain the look of glowing vitality. As we age, we produce less collagen and elastin, two proteins which are responsible for giving skin the “plump” look, and the ability to “snap-back” (like elastic).  Our skin also appears to become more transparent as we age, revealing spots and a sallow look; this is a result of the epidermis (top layer of skin) actually thinning. Environmental factors also create aging skin, with the number one factor being sun damage.

So, between the environment and Father Time, what is the number one skincare item to save our sallow, sagging skin?

I’m going to break the rules here and tell you what even the best skincare can’t do: It cannot turn back the clock. Yes, yes, seems obvious, right? Yet, we spend thousands of dollars a year trying to do exactly that.

There is good news. While we can’t change our past, we can change our future by first changing our present. (<–This golden nugget applies to all factors of life.)

I Feel 30, How Do I Look 30?

  • Start using sunscreen NOW. With a thinning epidermis, mature skin is far more susceptible to even further sun damage. Even minutes of a high-UV index can start to take its toll and damage skin. Our favorite recommendation for sunscreen is Neutrogena 45 Broad-Spectrum.
  • Drink plenty of water. This is classic advice and just makes for overall greater health, anyway. But drinking more water helps skin to appear rejuvenated and plump.
  • Exfoliate. Exfoliation helps to wash away dead skin cells for the more youthful cells to appear. The brushing affect also helps drive blood to the skins surface, making it appear rosy and young, and aiding in circulation. For the best exfoliation in town, you must try Face the Day.
  • Wash with a gentle cleanser. Mature skin doesn’t have the same elasticity it used to, so the harsh rubbing and pulling of a regular face wash may be counter-intuitive. Ideally, wash your face with a natural soap made with essential oils, or a cleanser free of surfactants, detergents, and sulfates.
  • Use oils to remove make-up. Washing your face further to try and remove your make-up can be irritating for mature skin, and many make-up removers contain alcohol which is incredibly drying for all skin types. It’s best to use oil-based products that are gentle and soothing, such as the Rest Easy Spray.
  • Use serums with oils rich in anti-oxidants. To help revitalize the appearance of mature skin, oils rich in anti-oxidants, such as argan oil and rosehip seed oil, can aid in the protection against free radical damage. Another excellent oil is jojoba, which is actually a wax ester, and most closely resembles natural human sebum, giving the skin extra nourishment. Our luxury facial serum, Evanescence, includes all of these oils for this exact reason. It promotes beauty and youthful appearance in all skin types.
  • Use satin pillowcases. How you sleep can actually affect how your skin appears. Pillowcases made of rougher materials, such as cotton (less than 500 thread), can pull on the skin while you sleep, and since mature skin doesn’t have the same elasticity, it will not rebound as it once did. Satin or high-end luxury cotton pillowcases are less likely to pull (plus, they feel like you’re sleeping in a five-star hotel).

As always, the key to vibrant skin at any age starts with balanced nutrition, exercise, and reduced stress. A simple daily walk in nature can both increase your cardiovascular health and boost your happiness, which always makes everyone look beautiful.