Company Profile: Alchemic Muse

As I travel down a long winding path, my nostrils fill with the heady jasmine and honeysuckle scented, damp, autumn air.  I skip along through the rolling mist as my game of tag ensues with the colorfully glowing sprites who light my way.  Under the cloudless night sky dotted with stars and anchored by a brilliant full moon, a sultry dragon flaps its wing as it flies overhead - first darkening the sky with its heavy presence, then quickly filling it with hot orange, yellows and reds with its breath of fire.  Our impromptu game of tag is joined by garden nymphs and playful fairies.  As I follow the gravel trail around the final bend, I see the gypsy's opulent trailer which is surrounded by a luminous glow from an unidentifiable source.  At first I am hesitant... The trailer is so beautiful, but ominous. I tiptoe closer and the door opens, fragrant air engulfs me, laden with ripe juicy fruits, warm spices and mystical aromas.  Her shadow proceeds her majestic presence and then she appears in the doorway.  Stretching out her manicured and adorned hand to me - with a wink and oh so welcoming smile, she guides me into her chamber where a glorious array of bath treats await...

This is how I feel every time I make a purchase from Alchemic Muse. I am unsure if this is the imagery Karen, the owner, wants to evoke, or if I just made it up in my mind, but her branding and labels always remind me of the gypsy fortune teller trailers of folklore - fully of mystery and mystical treasures.

Alchemic Muse opened up its doors on Etsy in 2008 and in the approximately seven years since then, can proudly boast (but never does) having over 17,000 sales.  Fans can now visit either the Etsy store or on Alchemic Muse's website to indulge themselves in the seasonally varying scented potions, lotions and concoctions offered.  From natural ingredients and coloring agents, Alchemic Muse creates cold process soap, body oils, body creams, cream soaps and perfumes in unique and intoxicating fragrance combinations.  Reading the artfully penned fragrance descriptions is an adventure all of its own.

 I have numerous favorites from this company including the body whips, cold process soaps and body gloss. My skin tends to be irritated by high levels of propylene glycol.  It can be used as an humectant (an agent that helps draw moisture into your skin and retain it) as well as an ingredient in preservatives.  As a preservative ingredient, the level of propylene glycol in a product is minimal and those I tend to be able to tolerate.  However, if used as a humectant, the levels of it in a product will actually cause me irritation.  This rules out a lot of commercial products and thus my extensive use of handmade body products.
photo credit: Alchemic Muse
One handmade product that tends to have high levels of propylene glycol are whipped soaps. Many, but not all handmade products makers tend to use a commercially prepared base for these, which in most cases use propylene glycol as a humectant. This being the case, I always shy away from them. Alchemic Muse changed that for me.

As you may be aware from following my blog and social media, I am a fragrance junkie.  Alchemic Muse only makes cold process soap for their general catalog of items - scents that are offered all year long.  Any of the seasonal scents only come in the cream soaps.  Absolutely loving the Peach Bellini scent, Karen forced compelled me to try their cream soap so that I could have a cleanser and a moisturizer in this fragrance.   Alchemic Muse's cream soap formula is gentle and cleansing and most importantly, non-irritating to my skin.  It does not lather like bar soap, but it is definitely a great alternative, especially when a bar is not available in a specific scent.

For my scent junkie jones, I love their Peach Bellini & Beguile (valentine's day collection),  Pomona (spring collection), Carnival, Mystique, Razzouli & Tropicana (general collection).
Reasonably priced (a 4.5 to 5.5 oz cold process bar is $6.50, 6 oz body whips are $10), high quality items with exotic fragrance offerings make Alchemic Muse an absolute must try for any fan of handmade bath and body products!

Have you tried Alchemic Muse?  What items do you love or are thinking about trying?  Have a recent product haul from them?  Post them on Facebook and tag me, 4 the love of bubbles and I'll share it with the world.  On Instagram, tag me and/or use the hastag #bubblelove and I'll share it as well! 

Peace, Love & Dragonfly wing breezes, LoveBuds!

More Alchemic Muse?  Find them here:

Musings: My Soap Dish

In her group for soap enthusiasts, a friend asked us to share a picture of our soap dish.  Initially, I was hesitant because this friend, loves to see a list when you post your soap haul, of all the scents in the picture.  I looked at my soap dish for a couple of days.  This list was going to take awhile...

A few things about me:
  1. I LOVE variety! (I say that a lot...but only because its true).  I cannot open a bar of soap and use it until it is done.  I use a different bar of soap each day, never repeating the use of the same bar on consecutive days.  I can honestly say that I may easily go a month or more before using a bar for the second time, unless I am doing a review of a new soap.  Then I use it 2 to 3 time consecutively to truly get a feel for it before writing a review,
  2. Because of this love of variety, I handle my soap a little differently than some.  I store all of my wrapped bars in three drawer storage containers (yes, plural).  When I open a new bar, I usually (unless it is really small) cut it in half.  I store one half in a glassine wax bag in the storage container and the other, after using, goes on my soap rack in the bathroom.  

This is my soap dish
Looking at this, it was hard to conceive a way to label each one of these beauties currently in my shower rotation.  However, after working at it for a couple of day, I came up with this:
 So here it is, my soap junkiness in all of its splendor.  This does not include uncut bars of which I have over 30 other varieties that are not even represented on this rack. I've heard some people say that their soap looses its scent rather quickly.  Storing my bars the way I do, 99% of my soap keep their scent for 2 years or more.  The Pear Tarlet soap on this rack hasn't been produced for over two years from Cream & Coco and is smells just as amazing as it did when I received it.  Sigh... this is probably the last bar on the planet of that great smelling soap.  Vic, if you're reading this - you really should make a batch of this.  I can wait until you return from maternity leave, lol!

What does your soap stash look like?  How do you store your soap?

Review: Lychee Red Tea Fragrance Oil



Brambleberry is an amazing supplier of ingredients, additives, tools and tips for every level of bath & body product maker.  I have used their products for almost 10 years and have always been impressed with their level of professionalism and the quality of the items I've received.  I also adore Ann-Marie, the "Soap Queen".  She has an amazing blog where she details all manner of bath treat making tutorials.

My only issue with ordering from Brambleberry is that they are located on the west coast of the US and I am on the east coast.  Because fragrance oils in particular can be volatile, shipping is done via FedEx or UPS.  Coming across the country, this means higher prices and longer transit times.

However, the variety of fragrance oils available there that I can't find anywhere else, leads me to place an order once or twice a year while I sit on my hands and wait for my goodies to arrive.

This year I decided to place an order because I've now found an amazing soapmaker who will create custom mini loaves of soap for me from whatever fragrance oil I send her.  Kia over at Petals Bath Boutique really raised my product junkie level to 1000 by offering this service.

 I ordered a couple of my old favorites ~ Energy and Ginger Lime.  Since with one more bottle, there wouldn't be an increase in my shipping costs, I looked around the site and found Lychee Red Tea.  From the website, the scent description is as follows:

"Lychee is a popular fruit enjoyed extensively in Vietnam, China and Thailand. It is gaining in popularity in the US in food and we love it in this blend because of its intriguing exotic fruity sweet note. It has a subtle nuance of dew fruit and a unique finish that makes your mouth pucker and water at the same time. Mixed with Red Tea (also known as Rooibos), this blend finishes with the white florals of geranium and lily."

I was intrigued and decided to give it a try and I am so glad that I did!  Lychee Red Tea is such a complex and balanced fragrance, its has a sweet, tart fruity scent that is grounded with the rooibos tea along with a slight floral accord.  It seems as if each element keeps the others from going too far.  It's not too fruity, not too earthy, not too floral and yet it does not remain neutral.  I can not overstate the awesomeness of this scent.  I sent it to Kia to create my soap (read more about this product maker and my huge haul including this custom soap).

I've had this soap for awhile now, but have been unable to use it because of other soaps I've been reviewing.  However, I recently used this in the shower and I fell in love all over again!  It was such a refreshing, sophisticated fragrance!
The wheels began to turn in my head - I wanted to share this fragrance with family and friend and decided to purchase more of the Lychee Red Tea fragrance oil so that I could use it to make gift items - bath bombs, body butter, fragrance mists, etc.  When I returned to the website, that is when I made a horrifying discovery...BRAMBLEBERRY INTENDS TO DISCONTINUE THIS FRAGRANCE ONCE THEIR CURRENT SUPPLY RUNS OUT. 

My heart is heavy, I want to start a petition for Brambleberry to keep this fragrance FOREVER.  Now, I know that some hard decisions have to be made when it comes to what a company offers, but this one hurt me to my heart.  Please, for the love of all that us soap addicts have, rethink this decision!

Have you tried this fragrance oil?  If so, let me know how you feel about it and if you love it, please comment on the brambleberry page for this item and beg them to keep it.

If you haven't, it will be a life changing experience.

Peace, Love & Pixie Sticks!


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Review: Artisan Soap Box

Handmade Soap Delivered to your door each month

* This review is not sponsored by Artisan Soap Box.  I received no compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are strictly my own.

Artisan Soap Box seems to be a relatively new addition to the trending subscription box service arena.  Very specifically, they offer monthly boxes of handmade soap to their subscribers.  Monthly boxes typically include 3 to 5 bars of soap (a combination of "regular" and "guest" sized bars) and on occasion another bath & body item like bath fizzes or bath salts.  

Artisan Soap Box claims on their website that the soap included in the box is made from all natural ingredients and is produced proudly in the USA.  Monthly boxes cost $14.99 plus $4.99 shipping and handling, with recurring deductions from your credit/debit card.  Available also are pre-paid 6 month and 12 month subscriptions that discount the monthly box price a bit, but includes the $4.99 per month shipping and handling fee.  Each box is said to contain about $30 worth of products.

The box I received was made of very sturdy cardboard which negated the need for additional shipping packaging.  Inside the soap was presented beautifully wrapped in plain white tissue, consistent with the brand.

Inside the white tissue, were kraft colored, crinkled shreds to cushion the soap and provide an overall very simple, yet thoughtful presentation.

 Included in the April Box were 2 full sized bars (3.6 oz) and
3 guest sized bars (1 oz).  Also in the box was a postcard describing each of the included scents with the retail value of each bar.

The bars smelled amazing.  The scents selected for this box seemed to all marry well give the box an intoxicating aroma when you first open it.

My personal pleasure of this box ended here, however.  In my opinion, there were several things lacking from this box.

No where in the box, on the soap or on the website were the ingredients for these soaps listed, nor is there any information regarding who made the soap.  I am not an ingredient snob, but I like to at least be aware of what is going into the products I use, especially if it claims to be all natural.  I'm sure for others with certain allergies or lifestyle restrictions such as vegans, they would like to have a list of ingredients.

Also, the bars are on the smaller side for handmade soap.  Most regular sized bars I have experienced were around 4 to 5 ounces and guest sized bars are in the 1.5 to 2.5 oz range.  The size would not be of particular concern for me if it weren't for the advertised retail value of the bars.  Listed on the card with the scent descriptions, the full sized bars have a retail value of $9.00 each and guest sized bars retail for $4.00 each.  There aren't too many soaps with a weight of less than 6 ounces that I have encountered for as much as $9.  $4.00 for one ounce of soap to me, is just a bit too costly.  Now, some soaps may contain some expensive ingredients and with that I would expect to pay higher prices, but without any knowledge of the ingredients, I would not pay this much for a bar of soap this small.

I do think this is a great idea, but it could be better executed.  Because they are seemingly a new endeavor, it is very likely that things will improve with time.  I will not be purchasing another box just yet, but will keep my eye on this company.  It would be awesome if they could feature different soapmakers each month in their box.

If you would like to give this subscription a try for yourself, Use promo code soap20 for 20% off your first box.  They are also giving away a free box to 5 lucky winners.  You can enter HERE.

What are your feelings on Artisan Soap Box?

Peace, Love & Unicorn bubblegum!


Company Profile & Review: Soapy Water
Your Body's Clean Slate

In the beginning, there was disbelief.  Shannan happened upon an Ebay listing for natural HOMEMADE soap and she laughed.  Shannan was sure that soap could not be made at home, normal everyday people should not be handling Sodium Hydroxide (lye). Though she laughed, she was intrigued.  Shannan decided to get more information.  Through the assistance of that ebay lister, research, classes and lots of trial and error, Shannan began to make soap...and Lil Soapy was born.

Lil Soapy has been making soap for about 15 years and her business has undergone several name changes - "What's that smell?" & "Smell it like it is" are just a couple.  Now, she has settled with Soapy Water.  She makes a line of cold process soaps and body butters that are made with natural ingredients and smell awesome.
My quote from Lil Soapy
With her business, Lil Soapy promotes her idea of fresh starts, new beginnings and clean slates. This theme is evident in her soap packaging - each shipment contains an motivational quote relating to starting anew.  She also contributes to a charity in her area that provides business attire for youth, who in her words~

"... took a wrong turn in life. That’s ok. We all make mistakes. Through this program they are working on getting back on the right path. The teens in this program are going to job interviews, hearings, graduations etc. They are in need of professional attire. Not only to look their best but to raise their confidence level."

I applaud Lil Soapy for using her business assist these teens.  For a small boutique business owner, the resources can be slim and supporting some causes may not fit well with customers.  However having the courage to support a cause you believe in publicly and through your business is a courageous and awesome act.  By no means is Soapy Water the only business I have come across that incorporates its social consciousness into its business model, but any business I come across that does so, I feel should be applauded.


What about the soap, you say?  To be short and sweet, I love it.  For a more detailed breakdown...

Soapy Water uses a consistent base formula for its soap.  It is full of those good ingredients, shea butter, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil - things that make a good old fashioned firm bar of soap that lathers well, rinses clean and doesn't strip the moisture from your skin.  It is beautifully colored, but with no frills.  

I will say that my interest can be piqued by an exotic oil or butter in my soap bar and I find those that contain a little clay or silk tend to have a much "slippery" feel to them.  However, good handmade soap is still good handmade soap and those added extras won't make a crappy soap recipe much better.  Soapy water soap bars are great the way they are.

Lil Soapy's bars are a nice size at around 4.5 ounces each and at $7.00 each, they are a decent value.

I received Citrus Burst and Sanctuary fragrances.  Citrus Burst is a lively citrusy, bubbly fragrance similar to "Energy" from Brambleberry.  After bathing with it, I used a body butter I made with "Energy" fragrance and it complimented the fragrance of the soap rather nicely.  I chose the Sanctuary scent because I wanted something outside the "fruity" realm - which I really love, but I love other earthy scents as well.  However, upon receipt, I found it to have a deeper amber smell that I expected, which is not quite for me.  My son, however, quickly usurped the bar.

Overall, this is a company I highly recommend. Have you tried Soapy Water Soap?  If so, let me know about your experience.

More Soapy Water?  Find them here:

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These profiles are compiled based on my personal experiences and research; and unless otherwise noted, do not express the views, opinions or positions of the owners, employees or representatives of this company.  I do my best to thoroughly research all information prior to publishing, however, any of the information contained in this profile may have changed.  All logos and product pictures posted, unless otherwise noted, are my legal property or I have obtained proper authorization for posting.  For further information on this company, its products and services, please contact them directly.