Thank you, Etsy!

My I Love Lychee solid lotion was featured last weekend in Etsy's blog The Storque. Thanks to everyone who ordered! I'm working day and night to make everything in time for Christmas.

Vacation Mode

I will be out of town this week for my husband's an art exhibition at Hotel Tides in Asbury Park, NJ. I haven't been there yet, but they say Asbury Park is epically beautiful. If you happen to be in town, stop by the show. I'll have a little table of soap, lotion, and lip balm for sale, too.

My next soap shipping date will be October 29, 2009. All orders placed AFTER October 19 will be shipped on or soon after the 29th. Thanks for your patience!

All atwitter about lip balms

My first four lip balm flavors are finally here! I spent months experimenting, testing and tasting to find the perfect lip balm formula that feels great on your lips and really lasts. This lip balm has creamy pistachio butter, castor oil for shine, vitamin E, honey, and moisturizing sweet almond and raspberry seed oils, and NO preservatives or other weird mysterious ingredients.

More flavors COMING SOON: Fuji Apple, Honey Vanilla, Chai Tea, Cherry Blossom, and Coconut Lemongrass. For more info, please visit my website.

The frost is coming...

This is a picture of my garden in its heyday this August. This was my first year of gardening and I got very attached to my "plant children." I planted basil, lemon basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, cilantro, cayenne peppers and ten kinds of tomatoes. I'll probably cry like a little girl when I have to say goodbye to my precious garden. Chicago will go into deep-freeze mode any day now, and we won't see any vegetation for at least 6 months.

One thing that's cheering me up slightly is my friend Karen's great idea for saving herbs over the winter: Pesto ice cubes! Basically you puree your basil leaves, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil, pour the mixture into ice cube trays, and freeze. Put all your frozen cubes into zip lock bags and save them to use all winter in soups, pasta sauces, and whatev!

I found a good site that describes the process in more detail. I'm going to try making rosemary-cayenne-lemon basil cubes, too.

Other herbs like lavender and sage can be dried. They'll be going into a new line of exfoliating herbal soaps this winter :)

A New Autumny Lotion

PUMPKIN PIE Many-Purpose Solid Lotion

Cinnamon and clove, with notes of coffee and vanilla. The comforting aroma of fall spices makes a delectable lotion scent. Yes!

100% VEGAN INGREDIENTS Pistachio Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Raspberry Seed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Candelilla Wax, Fragrance, Cinnamon, Vitamin E, Mineral Colorant.

I'm up on a soapbox about lotion ingredients!

Take a moment to read the ingredients in drugstore lotions made by large cosmetic companies. We should all think twice before giving them any more of our money!

Most mass-produced lotions contain several chemical preservatives and use mineral oil as their main moisturizing ingredient. Mineral oil comes cheap because is a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. Remember, everything you put on your skin is eventually absorbed into your body.

Anything that is a petroleum by-product should be avoided when using on your skin. Mineral oil gives a feeling of temporary softness. However, it draws moisture FROM your skin instead of putting it into your skin. Therefore, you keep having to reapply it to make your skin feel soft. It is a only temporary feeling of softness.

Using lotions made with natural oils is simple, affordable, and healthier for your whole body. They work better to moisturize your skin because they work as a humectant, pulling moisture from the air into your skin.

I found a great explanation here:
Mineral Oil and Why you Should Avoid it

Give my all-natural Many-Purpose Solid Lotions a try. Your skin will look and feel much better, and they're only $6.

Pumpkin π

With autumn around the corner, I couldn't stop obsessing about making a Pumpkin Pie Soap. I'm so happy with how these turned out. The color, scent, and texture are exactly like an epic slice of pumpkin pie.

I made these soaps with real cinnamon, cloves, and coffee to exfoliate lightly, and honey, shea butter and olive oil for a smooth, heavenly lather. Yessss!

INGREDIENTS Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Purified Water, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan Oleate (emulsifier), Soybean Protein (conditioner), Honey, Fragrance, Cinnamon, Cloves, Organic Coffee, Color.

Soap Noob

Meet my newest soap, Espresso, Clove & Orange

The combination of real espresso, ground cloves, and orange peel really works to scrub away cooking odors like onion and garlic after you've been working in the kitchen. It smells so nice and autumny, I'd recommend it for the shower or bath, too.

This soap started out as a custom order for a kitchen hand soap. I liked how it turned out so much that I decided to make it a "regular."

100% VEGAN INGREDIENTS Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan Oleate (emulsifier), Soybean Protein (conditioner), Espresso, Cloves, Cinnamon, Tangerine Essential Oil, Orange Peel.

Gold Coast Craft Show!!

Beginning at SUPERIOR & STATE 735 N. State St.
Gold Coast Area Chicago, IL

Sunday, July 26 (9:00am-5:00pm)
My SOAP table will be on Wabash Avenue between Superior and Chicago.

Sellin' soap & lotion at Havana Gallery

I'll have a table with soap and lotions for sale this weekend during Havana Gallery's 10th ANNIVERSARY party. I have worked at Havana Gallery since 1999.
Show hours:
Saturday, July 18, 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday, July 19, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

The same weekend as the Sheffield Garden Walk Festival.


Thank you to everyone who contacted me about a free lotion sample. I'm going to send them all out on Monday, July 13 in one epic trip to the post office. When your sample arrives, please send me a note and let me know what you think!

Free Lotion Samples! **Friday, July 10 is the last day of the giveaway**

For the next couple of weeks, I will be giving out free samples of my new Many-Purpose Solid Lotions!!

Just send me a message with your name and mailing address, and I'll send you a cute 1/4 oz. recyclable tin of lotion in the scent of your choice. Click the "E-Mail Me!" button on the right to contact me --------->

These lotions have worked wonders on my skin and I want everyone to be able to try them. You can use them for...

♥ Hand cream
♥ Body Lotion
♥ Solid Perfume
♥ Cuticle Butter
♥ Massage Oil
♥ Foot Salve

Each tin will be labeled with its complete list of 100% Vegan Ingredients.

Choose from the following scents, or suggest your favorite scent....

Ginger ~ A fizzy fragrance that both men and women will enjoy.
Midnight ~ Sensually scented with jasmine, lavender, sandalwood, and chamomile.
Lovely Tulip ~ The crisp, delicate fragrance of tulips, a light floral scent that's not overpowering.
Mint ~ A blend of peppermint and spearmint essential oils.
Lavender ~ It's the perfect, classic lavender we all know and love.
Havana ~ A great patchouli, sandalwood, and tobacco leaf fragrance for men and women.
Mr. Stripey ~ A manly herbal combo of Tea Tree, Cedar, Lavender and Tangerine essential oils.
Lilac ~ Smells just like an actual bouquet of lilacs.
Nag Champa ~ As epically exotic and mysterious as the famous incense from India.
Grapefruit Gardenia ~ Feminine gardenia complimented by refreshing grapefruit EO.
Margarita ~ This fresh, lime and citrus blend has been a craft show favorite.
Mimosa ~ A sunny scent of orange, lemon verbena and tangerine.
I Love Lychee ~ The Asian lychee fruit's delicate, dewy fragrance is my favorite fruit scent ever.
Hyacinth ~ Makes a wonderfully distinctive floral perfume -- not something you find every day.
Chocolate ~ So authentic, you will get that same endorphin rush you get from eating chocolate.

This giveaway will keep going through Friday, July 10, '09.

Eek! Look what's in mass-produced soap!

I was shocked when I saw this analysis of the ingredients of the Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar, which is marketed as one of the gentlest soaps you can get at your average store. It contains two ingredients derived from ANIMAL FAT and several chemicals and preservatives.

Here is a breakdown of the ingredients used in the aforementioned Dove soap. Source: "A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients" by Ruth Winter.

Sodium Lauryl Isethionate, synonymous with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. According to DCI it is used as a detergent, wetting agent, and emulsifier. It may dry the skin out because of it's degreasing properties. Depending on where you look, this detergent is either listed as a mild or potent skin irritant. I never use SLS in my soap.
Stearic Acid Used as a hardener in soap. Stearic acid is prepared by treating animal fat with water at a high pressure and temperature, leading to the hydrolysis of triglycerides.
Sodium Tallowate Used for cleansing, Sodium tallowate is a substance extracted from the fatty deposits of animals, especially from suet (the fat of cattle and sheep). In my soaps I use vegetarian alternatives to tallow (such as olive oil) that work as well or better.
Sodium Palmitate Used for cleansing and creating lather. Sodium Palmitate is a salt of Palmitic Acid made my mixing Palmitic Acid with Lye. This ingredient cleanses your skin, but may dry it out.
Lauric Acid Occurs naturally in some vegetable oils like palm oil. It can be irritating to super-sensitive individuals at high concentrations. This ingredient cleanses your skin.
Sodium Isethionate Saponification agent (this is what turns the oils into soap). Synonyms include Sodium Hydroxide or Lye. Occurs naturally in wood ash. ALL soap requires an oxidizer such as Sodium Isethionate.
Water Typically used in soap as a solvent for dissolving the oxidizer.
Sodium Stearate The Stearate salts are generally used for their lubricating properties. They also help to keep emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components. Made by reacting sodium with stearic acid to create the salt, sodium stearate. This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a synthetic surfactant derived from coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine.
Sodium Cocoate This is a gentle surfactant. Sodium cocoate is produced by hydrolysis of the ester linkages in coconut oil with sodium hydroxide (same as Sodium Isethionate).
Sodium Palm Kernelate This is a gentle surfactant. How It's Made: Sodium Palm Kernelate is formed by combining Palm Kernel oil with an oxidizer (such as Sodium Hydroxide).
Sodium Chloride Used as a thickening agent. Sodium Chloride is the same as ordinary table salt.
Tetrasodium EDTA Used as a preservative and chelating agent. About This Ingredient: No known toxicity to the skin. Synthesized in a lab.
Tetrasodium Etidronate Used as a preservative and chelating agent. A synonym for Tetrasodium EDTA.
Maltol Used as a flavor enhancing agent. It might be used as a fragrance, although Dove claims this bar to be unscented.
Titanium Dioxide Used as a whitening agent, titanium dioxide is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium. About Titanium Dioxide is thought to have no negative side effects when used externally.

The ingredients in handmade soap are better for your skin, and better for the environment! Por ejemplo, here's the list of ingredients in an Epically Epic Mimosa Soap:

100% VEGAN INGREDIENTS Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Purified Water, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer derived from berries), Sorbitan Oleate (emulsifier), Soybean Protein (conditioner), Essential Oils, Fragrance, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Oatmeal, Color.

I'm Making Lotion Bars Now

After months of fun experimentation, I have finally come up with solid lotions to compliment my favorite soap scents. These lovely lotions are a little bit softer than a balm and a little more solid than a body butter. I'm calling them Many-Purpose Solid Lotions.

I’ve found so many uses for them. Here are a few suggestions:

Hand Cream – Keeps your hands feeling supple even if you’re a frequent hand-washer (like me).
Body Lotion – Slather it on! Works especially well right after a shower to hold in moisture all day.
Solid Perfume – Solid lotion melts at skin temperature to blend its fragrance with your natural scent. It is more subtle than alcohol-based perfumes, and actually smells a little different on each individual.
Cuticle Butter – Vitamin E is known to strengthen nails!
Massage Oil – Use a dab of solid lotion as a massage oil. It absorbs quickly (but not too quickly) so you won’t be left feeling oily.
Foot Salve – Solid lotion’s strong moisturizing ingredients are great for those rough patches like heels and elbows.

Say goodbye forever to those drugstore lotions and their mysterious chemacular ingredients! I love solid lotions because, since there is no water added, they don’t require any chemical preservatives. They also come in cute portable tins that are 100% reusable and recyclable. No plastic bottles!

Epically Epic's solid lotions are made with natural plant oils which are easily absorbed and are nourishing to your skin:

PISTACHIO BUTTER I love Pistachio butter for its low comedogenicity (meaning it won’t clog pores). I have noticed an improvement in my skin since using this butter – no more itchy dryness at the end of the day. I call it my “miracle butter."
SUNFLOWER OIL Sunflower oil has large amounts of essential fatty acids and a high amount of Vitamin E.
CANDELLILA WAX This vegan alternative to Beeswax is obtained from the coating of the wax slipper plant (Euphorhia Cerifera).
VITAMIN E Vitamin E helps slow the oxidizing process in solid lotions and is a wonderful anti-oxidant.

So far, I have I Love Lychee, Nag Champa, Lavender-Jasmine, Margarita, Hyacinth, and Grapefruit-Gardenia scents. And coming as soon as humanly possible: Lovely Tulip, Unscented, Patchouli-Tangerine...........

Craft Show Best Sellers

I did three craft shows this week, and these five soaps stood out as the best-sellers. Not what I was expecting!


Nearly everyone who stopped to browse my soap table liked this one. It was the clear favorite of the week!

This soap was inspired by my mom's beautiful red and yellow tulips that would sprout every spring after a long Chicago winter. Scented with the crisp, delicate fragrance of tulips, a light floral scent that's not overpowering.


Many commented that this was the prettiest one :)

Celebrate the glorious arrival of summer with our new Sangria soap! It's effervescent scent of apple, tangerine, lemon, lime and Merlot is inspired by the delicious Spanish cocktail we all know well. This olive oil soap really lathers beautifully.


"What's a lychee???"

It is difficult to describe the scent of the South Asian lychee fruit, but once you try it you will never forget it's delicately sweet, slightly perfumed fragrance. It's my favorite fruit scent ever! This soap bar exfoliates with natural cranberry seeds and moisturizes your skin with olive oil and shea butter.


Hyacinth with Aloe's scent and color combo are perfect for spring.

This soap smells just like a fresh April hyacinth. It makes me so happy to see the blue, pink, and white hyacinths pop up every spring around my neighborhood -- and they smell soooooo beautiful! I made this soap with moisturizing shea butter and soothing aloe vera.


The Margs kept selling out by the end of the day!

I love how this one turned out! This olive oil soap is scented with a blend of natural lime and citrus essential oils and dusted with exfoliating sea salt. You'll feel like you're in Akumal sipping margaritas by the sea.

Arboretum Craft Show - Reprise!

Here's my setup at the Morton Arboretum Craft Show.

We had a rainy day for our craft show last week, so the Morton Arboretum has been kind enough to schedule a second craft show this Sunday at the Visitors' Center.

Sunday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Daffodil Glade is in bloom!
(...that sounds like a good name for a soap...)

My Upcoming Craft Shows

Sunday, April 19

"The Green Boutique" At the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois.

10 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Visitor Center. 4100 Illinois Rte 53, Lisle

Attend this eco-friendly marketplace featuring environmentally-friendly home décor, cosmetics, and luxury apparel. The Ginkgo Restaurant will offer an enhanced menu featuring organic and vegetarian dishes.

I'm thrilled about this, as I have innumerable warm childhood memories of hiking in the Morton Arboretum. Chicagoans, this is a great excuse to get out and enjoy Spring!

I'll be selling my soaps at the Visitor's Center from 10 am -5 pm. Soap bars are $4 each or 3 for $10. Click here for more info.

GCCNS Spring Boutique 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
9:00 am – 8:00 pm

Glenview Community Church Nursery School
1000 Elm St., Glenview, IL 60025

20% of proceeds will be donated to the nursery school :)

Custom Soaps!

Choose between Shea Butter or Olive Oil soap, pick your favorite scent, and ask for any color you can imagine, or no color at all.

New - personalized labels! Just let me know your name or the name of the person or event your custom soap is for.

<-- Click the image to see my insanely long list of available scents.


ArtFire is a relatively new online selling venue for handmade items and fine art. Artists can setup a small studio (10 items) for free or pay a small monthly fee for an unlimited studio. There are no fees to list or sell, so artists can charge less and save money.

I love their new Rapid Cart feature (see below) that lets you buy without complexly creating a sign-in name.

I'm hoping that ArtFire takes off in a big way. Read an interview with one of the site's founders here.
ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

Epically Epic Best Sellers

Mrs. Zebra Soap

You will love the classy look of Mrs. Zebra, our black and white soap. Guys and girls will both enjoy it's exotic woodsy scent of Sandalwood, Virginian Cedar, and Lime pure essential oils. Delightfully stripey!

INGREDIENTS Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Purified Water, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan Oleate (emulsifier), Soybean Protein (conditioner), Essential Oils, Fragrance, Color.

Citrus Slice

My Citrus Slice Soap bursts with the refreshing citrus-floral fragrance of sweet orange, grapefruit, lime and lemongrass essential oils. I add
some fresh orange peel
zest and oatmeal to really scrub.
I like to cut them in half and use the slices for a fun hand soap in the kitchen or bath.

INGREDIENTS Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Purified Water, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan Oleate (emulsifier), Soybean Protein (conditioner), Titanium Dioxide, Essential Oils, Fragrance, Orange Pee
l, Oatmeal.

Havana Soap

This ocean blue soap was inspired by a Havana perfumery. A great patchouli scent for men and women. I stir in sea salt, P
atchouli and Sandalwood essential oils and a touch of Tobacco Leaf fragrance. It's like a little slice of the Caribbean Sea.

INGREDIENTS Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan Oleate (emulsifier), Soybean Protein (conditioner), Essential Oils, Jojoba, Sea Salt, Color.

3 Handmade Soaps for $10

Get 3 Epic soap bars for one great price! Enter my shop here:
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