Luscious bars of soap by Olive and Oud (formerly Urban Eden).

Is it laziness that I don’t take the time to put a body wash on my shower scrunchie anymore? These days it feels like an unnecessary step, especially when I have a deliciously smelling, beautifully lathering bar of soap at the ready. Not to mention there’s no waste of plastic tubes or bottles with bar soap whose packaging is easily recycled.

Handmade soaps from etsy are a great place to start if you’re interested in boosting your bar soap inventory, but after some etsy soap searching you’re sure to feel overwhelmed. So let me introduce you to my favorite soap of the moment, Tranquility by Urban Eden. All of Urban Eden’s soaps smell wonderful and have an exceptional lather and I bet you’d be hard pressed to find one you don’t like. But there’s something about Tranquility with its soothing sandalwood, vanilla, and cardamom blend that creates one sublime showering experience. Lemon, ginger and vetiver give this soap a touch of sparkle, but Tranquility stays true to its overall sandalwood impression.

You might have noticed that Tranquility’s ingredients read like notes from a perfumer’s website which is the case for all Urban Eden soaps. For example, here’s Urban Eden’s description of Vetiver Lime:

“…the refreshing tang of Mexican lime contrasts with the sweet earthiness of vetiver and patchouli. Allspice and black pepper add intrigue; French tangerine slightly sweetens the lime; lavender acts as a bridge between the vetiver and citrus. Lime is the predominant note, but instead of a summery lime, it’s like lime wearing a fall coat.”

Such a lovely and utterly accurate olfactory sketch of this yummy soap! Shahrazad is another soap whose following list of notes would be worthy of a luxury perfume: tangerine, blood orange, bergamot, tuberose, ylang ylang, amber, frankincense, myrrh, cardamom, clove, black pepper, coriander and nutmeg. There’s a lot going on in Shahrazad, but the end result is a rich, spicy citrus scent that is subtly floral.

In addition to the gorgeous essences, there’s olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil and organic palm oil in these 100% natural bars which make them hydrating and long lasting. At $5 per bar ($6.50 for the costly tuberose in Shahrazad) they make for inexpensive gifts or a guilt-free treat for yourself.

Urban Eden is available at etsy.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Urban Eden. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


Natural Summer Scents by Wing and a Prayer

Light, citrusy florals are ideal for the summer’s heat. The brisk citrus essences are as refreshing as a cool breeze under a shady tree and the floral notes evoke strolls through gorgeous garden blossoms. Wing and a Prayer, a perfumery in Northern California, has perfected this genre of fragrance and makes it 100% natural and affordable. The above photo is of their sampler trio; three 1/8oz perfumes of your choosing for $10. I’m sure many of you know how expensive natural perfumes are, so this is a terrific deal.

Wing and a Prayer’s creator is Jane Cate and her daughter, Sarah, helps run the business side of their perfumery. Jane was kind enough to send me many samples of her fragrances, and while they are all very lovely, two really stand out as particularly exceptional.

Bella, named after Jane’s grandmother Isabel, is an excellent interpretation of a citrusy floral. Bergamot and lemongrass fulfill the citrus aspect, and meld into a delicate verbena scent that is akin to L’Occitane’s Verbena Perfume Extract which I adore, but is now discontinued. I rarely use my little L’Occitane Verbena bottle as I don’t want to use it up, but now that I have discovered Bella, I don’t need to horde it anymore. Verbena is rather sharp so I want to clarify that while Bella smells of verbena, it is much rounder as it’s softened by delicate florals and a whisper of neroli. A dusty rose is the most apparent floral note to my nose, but it resides in the background giving body and smoothness to the citrus fruits.

I have been wearing Bella a lot this summer.  Early summer days in the Northwest can be a little cool which suits Bella fine, but she really blossoms in the full warmth of the sun. Flowers, my other favorite Wing and a Prayer fragrance is just as beautiful on a warm day. Gardenia predominates within Flowers, but like a playful surfer-girl rather than a sultry bombshell. Linden blossom persuades gardenia in this direction with its light, beeswax note. Additionally, linden blossom leans a bit green and citrusy which also heightens the flirtatious nature of Flowers. There’s something a little musky at the base of Flowers, like the sweet vegetal musk of ambrette seeds. Flowers is similar to Ajne’s Printemps, so if that’s out of your wallet’s comfort zone, Wing and a Prayer provides a more affordable option.

Bella and Flowers are available at Wing and a Prayer’s etsy shop, $35 for 1.7oz.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Samples from Wing and a Prayer were provided for this review. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


Roxana Illuminated Perfume: Lyra


My sister’s birthday was a few days ago, and she’s particularly enjoyable to shop for because she loves fragrance as much as I do. After considering the many new natural scents I have come to love over the past several months, I settled on Illuminated Perfume’s Lyra for her gift. Ultimately it was an easy decision because like my sister, Lyra is beautiful, interesting and loved by many.

I have a tiny pot of Lyra, created by Roxana Villa, that I purchased from It came in the Botanical Solid Mini Set, and is housed in the cutest little pink pot with a wax seal on the lid. Knowing that dipping my finger in this tiny pot gives me much pleasure, I am hoping that the full size in a metal compact, presented in a crocheted pouch will be even more special for my sister. The crocheted pouches are made by Ms. Villa’s mother who sells her crafty creations with her granddaughter (Ms. Villa’s daughter) and you can read more about their family’s story here.


Lyra in the solid form is very lovely to apply. It’s smooth and warms easily on the skin. Lyra is described as an ambery floral on the Illuminated Perfume etsy site. I agree with that, but the vanilla aspect of the amber lends a sweetness that softens the scent and polishes any harsh edges that amber will oftentimes possess. A sense of honeyed woods puts forth its own nectar as well, and sparked a wonderful memory in me that I’m certain my sister will remember.

We were both in the Girl Scouts as children and spent some time, not a lot, but some time on camping trips outside Phoenix with our respective troops. My troop leaders loved to have us bright-eyed Girl Scouts smell the pine trees which they named the “Ice Cream Cone Trees” since their bark smelled just like vanilla ice cream. Lyra takes me back to inhaling the vanilla scented bark as a young girl, and the wonderment at how a tree in the woods could smell so sweet. Jasmine and ylang ylang augment the smooth sweetness of this memory and depending on the day, the florals move from tropical lushness to a subtler background foundation. Either way, the evolving blend flows flawlessly on the skin and creates comfort and delight.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume is a gorgeous and bewitching line of 100% all-natural and botanical perfumes to discover. Whether you explore her website, blog or etsy site you will find Ms. Villa’s work inspirational. Please also take a look at the current April 15, 2009 edition of  Sniffapalooza Magazine for my review of her Vespertina perfume. There, you will also find an informative and engaging interview with Roxana Villa in the Natural Perfumers Page.

posted by ~Trish

Lyra is available at Etsy for $65 for the solid perfume compact.

Lyra image ©Greg Spalenka, see more at and at