Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

Before I begin my post, let me first plug in my friends at Grant Park's Urban Bistro. The Operating Partner is DeSol Horton. They are located at 753A Cherokee Ave. SE Atlanta, GA 30315. She has a myspace page with some more info. In the mood for some good food and you are in Atlanta, head over to Grant Park's Urban Bistro.

I took a break from studying on Saturday to go the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival in Atlanta. I have always missed the festival and took this opportunity to go check out the local "artistic" talent here in Georgia.

What enticed me more into going was because a soapmaker I know off of was going to be a vendor at the festival. Katherine Wiranowski, the soapmaker behind Sudstress was who I came to see. I have been ohhing and ahhing at her soap creations every since I open up my myspace account and added her as a friend. Katherine sent out a myspace bulletin to all her friends that she was going to be selling her wares at Grant Park. Well I jumped at the chance. I talked to her briefly because:
1- It was 90 degrees on Saturday, talk about hot.
2- I had three demanding children in tow. All with a short attention span.
3- I was trying to meet up with a group of people and they were hunting me down by cell phone. She told me that sales were slow, in part to people being out of town, construction along Interstate 85 & 75 and of course the gas prices. But I did not let any of that stop me from supporting this young lady. Being that I brought citrus soaps we discussed that it is difficult to get citrus essential oils to stick in cold process soap. I purchase two soaps from her: " Sunshine & Sugared Lemon". I would have brought them all if I could. But I had to use restraint. :)

Upon leaving the festival, I ran into another soapmaker. Heather Swanepoel is the founder & formulator behind Rinse Bath & Body Co. Had I decided to go straight home, I would have missed talking to this lovely lady. We discussed how the humidity in Georgia has affected our ability to make certain products. For instance, I explained to her that I make whipped shea body butter. Like other Indie bath & body companies, she cannot even make the product because the moment you it with your hands, it melts away. Shipping the same product is also disaster because it melts during shipping. I personally do not ship any whipped shea body butter until late October when it is much cooler. She agreed. Other things like her bath bombs are developed outside of Georgia because the humidity distorts the product. I did pick up a bar of her soap and my hubby picked up two. :) We picked up Almond & Honey (still needs curing), Nectar & Dead Sea Mud Bar which seems to be my hubby's favorite.

It's that soapmakers are all over the world, but it is also great to support my local Indies right here in Georgia.

I will be doing product reviews on these soaps in the coming weeks. In the meantime take a gander at their sites, add them to your "soap porn" and purchase some soap so you can be clean "Naturally":

Sudstress & Blog - Katherine Wiranowski
Rinse Bath & Body Co. & Rinse Blog - Heather Swanepoel

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Neosoul Essentials Products - Sample Review

What do you get when you have a former teacher, mother of 3 kids (under 6) who home schools and has her own business. You get my friend Christine "Cee Cee" Lowe Woolard Owner and Founder of NeoSoul Essentials Products.

I met (online) Cee Cee through social network group called BBWO (Black Business Women Online). From there we have joined similar groups and follow each other on twitter.
Cee Cee had put it out there that she was offering samples of her MegaMix Shea Butter through Twitter. I love to support all indie business, so I ordered Mango Sunrise. The sample came in a cute purple organza drawstring bag. I also received some other goodies. Cee Cee sent me a sample of her soap called Island Passion. I used the shea butter on my feet after my shower and the scent has permeated through the whole house. I use the soap to wash my hands and it is super sudsy.

Lest I not forget the more than gracious samples of mineral makeup that Cee Cee sent from my other friend Candace Owner I met her online through the same channels as Cee Cee. How interesting! I received samples of Sonic and Jucciy. I am still working with Candace on my makeup skills as I am an Au-naturale kind of gal. But nonetheless, I will be supporting this indies products as well.

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Me from Marr over at SmellyChicksOnline
I have never met Marr in person. I know her through the magic of the blogosphere. I consider you to be a friend. You are always encouraging towards all that I do. I love her blog because it is always informative. Her love for handmade soap shows in the soap "eye candy" she list on her blog. She also keeps all crafty entrepreneurs informed on what is current in technology or trends in our industry. She even contributed to my business by designing my company banners. Marr, thank you for your continual contribution to all us Indies.

The folks I award this prestigious honor to are:

Itiel of Smells Good Spa
Itiel is no ordinary woman. She is happily married to her hubby of 13 yrs, has 2 lovely daughters, whom she home schools. Oh did I forget to mention that she's been running her own business for 10 years. :) I met Itiel online through BBWO (Black Business Women Online). She is a very giving person. Currently her company has been named as an advocate for an organization called Moving Young Ladies Forward . They help young girls and teenage mothers reach their greatest potentials by changing they way the see themselves in society. Proceeds from the sales of her Sugar Whips products go toward MYLF and their efforts. She has been a encouraging voice in my corner for the small steps I have taken in moving my company forward. As well as a sound box on personal matters. Thank you Itiel for being a friend and I know you will see another prosperous 10 years for your business.

Cee of Neo Soul Essentials
Another extraordinary Diva I met on BBWO. Cee Cee was a teacher for many years and went another route with her craft. Due to severe eczema in her baby, Cee Cee decided to make her own home remedy to soothe if not help the problem. That product and many others are what make up Neo Soul Essentials. Cee Cee has always gave me new approaches to this entrepreneur aspect. Because of Cee Cee I signed with Squidoo, StumbleUpon and now I have a Facebook page. Basically, she has shown me that in order to be in business, you have to push the envelope and put yourself out there. Cee Cee, you may not have realized that you have done that for me, but you have. So for that I say Thank You.

There are many others in my Blogroll who also deserve this honor. So the post is dedicated to everyone I have encountered through blogging that has left an impression on me directly and indirectly.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Have A New Look !

Thanks to my girl, Marrianne Williams aka Marr @ SmellChicksOnline, she pimped out my blog & etsy store with a new company banner.

I bet those of you that know Marr, did not know she was this super talented. Marr is a wife, mom, graphic designer and addicted to soap porn. Those in the soap making industry know what that is :). She also keeps others current on topics that small business owners need to know. Thanks for that.

When you get a chance, stop by Marr's blog
Marr, I cannot tell you Thank You enough for giving Shea Bath a great visual face lift. :)

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Etsy Products

We have added the Whipped Shea Body Butter in the 8oz and 16oz sizes. The 8oz is $12.50 and the 16oz is $20.00. We have three of each available right now. So why not treat yourself to skin to something special today.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

RIP - Bernie Mac & Issac Hayes

This has been a sad weekend for me. We have lost two great entertainers. One being Bernie Mac(50) on Saturday morning. The other being Issac Hayes (65) on Sunday afternoon.

I saw Bernie Mac live at the Kings of Comedy tour in North Carolina. Out of all the comedians that performed and I love them all, Bernie Mac was the only one that had me on the floor of the Guildford Arena wanting to pass out from laughing so hard. You never know what a person has achieved until a time like this happens. Looking back at his life, he accomplished so very much and was blessed with a talent that took him beyond where he ever expected. I am saddened by this loss because it is as if he was a friend of mine.

The best memory I have of Isaac Hayes, is this classic all white album (yes I said album) that my Daddy still owns till this day. For those of you that are as old as me or older :), it is the one where it opens up like a poster. On the album cover he is dressed in a white robe and hood. If I remember correctly there are three album in that jacket and each and every song listed is better than the other. The famous 15 minute Shaft song continues to ring in mind each and every time I think of him. He will be dearly missed as well.

I truly believe that Isaac Hayes & Bernie Mac are laughing and dancing with my Grandpa in Heaven.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pink Grapefruit Soap by Naiad Soap Arts

All the soap I have made is curing right now, so I went on a soap shopping spree last Saturday. I decided to make my first purchase from one of the "favorite sellers" I have listed on Erin at Naiad Soap Arts is having a sale through the month of August so I decided to treat myself o some Pink Grapefruit Soap.

First let me say I got my package in record time. From the West Coast to the East Coast in two days. When I opened the package I was in awe of the way she package the soaps. The soap came in a simple cheesecloth sac with a drawstring to close it. (Sorry no pictures available) The soap label and ingredients were displayed nicely on the outside of he sack. I couldn't help smelling the soap through the sack and taking it in.

I used the soap today during my son's bath. I must say there was an abundance of bubbles and he was very soft after the bath was through. I can't wait to use it myself. :)

She has some awesome soaps and her creativity is off the meter. I am hooked and will definitely be making some more indulgent purchases soon.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

First Etsy Store Item - Whipped Shea Body Butter

I have been holding back and procrastinating on putting this item in my Etsy Store for a number of reason. Speaking with my girl, Itiel over at Smell Good Spa we both agreed it was fear. We will leave that for another blog post.

So without further delay, I introduce to you my first official item in my Etsy Store My Best - Selling Whipped Shea Body Butter

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

It is made with 100% Unrefined Shea Butter from Ghana, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Avocado Oil & Apricot Oil. Currently I am selling this unscented in sizes 4, 8 & 16 ounces. I have 1 of the 4oz jars in the store. I will be adding 2 each of the 8 & 16 jars this week.

Many of my friends and family use this product and it is the only moisturizer I use on my skin.

To all my soaping friends, let me know what you think. I know the picture is grainy, I need a new camera.

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Castile Milk Soap

Recipe I thought up for the Castile Milk soap was:

Olive Oil 64%
Coconut Oil 20%
Shea Butter 16%

I had a high percent of Shea for moisture due to my hubby's concern about the Lemon Mint soap being too drying. Additives added to the soap was oatmeal. I made this via the Hot Process method. Once I mixed the lye/milk with the oils, got a trace, I put my crock pot on low temp for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, I noticed that the mixture did not do anything. It looked as if the milk had curdled. I proceeded to mix the mixture with a stick blender while it was cooking. Within 5 minutes, I started to get the "applesauce" texture I needed for this process to work. I forgot that with milk soaps, it needs to be super hot for it to gel. It gelled, I took it out of the crock pot and added the oatmeal.

I figure if I left the mixture on low rather than high temp, that thing would not have gelled in the crock pot until Friday. I will probably take the soap out of the mold on Saturday. It is a castile soap so I anticipate it being soft even if it would be ready to use.

Unfortunately I am unable to post a picture of my creation. My 5 yr old HP camera has gone off to be with the Lord. ;)

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