Saturday, April 23, 2011

Peep! It’s Bon Ami

By Tonie Silver

Like to clean?  Like to do it with non tox prod?  Tired of trying to be green, but getting crummy results (sorry!) from all natural cleaners?  Geez, I know, we try to do stuff al Laura Ingalls, and clean with vinegar and salt and baking soda, but it just doesn’t cut it.

Remember Bon Ami?  The cleanser with the little chickie that your mom and gran used to use?  Well they’ve revamped their range to include a liquid cleanser, dish soap, and spray cleaner, and they rock and roll!
Bon Ami now lightly scents their products with essential oils of tangerine, thyme, orange, and clove, which is a lovely addition to cleaning.  Cool retro-ish packaging that’s fun to look at.

The Dish Soap is so great that I’m switching from Ecover, which I’ve used faithfully for years.  Cleans grease, and rinses sparkly clean.  Leaves silverware sparkly with a mirror-like finish.  Kind to hands, and comes in a keen squeezy top bottle that looks great on my sink.  Highly recommended.

The Powdered Cleanser, which is based on the minerals feldspar and limestone, left my stainless steel kitchen sink shimmery and shiny like I’ve never seen it before.  Again, I highly recommend this product.
The Liquid Cleanser is good for showers, sinks, you name it.  Left my bathroom fixtures blindingly bright and shiny, and again, mirror-like.

The All-Purpose Cleaner works nicely on stovetops, counters, and anything else you need to spritz.  Eradicates grease, dust, dirt, fingerprints, etc., with a cheery smell to boot!

I am so impressed with Bon Ami’s revamped range, I’m telling all my friends.  I cannot overstate the quality and effectiveness of this range.  It’s really important to use all natural non toxic cleaners in your home, people, and Bon Ami makes cleaning rituals just that much more pleasant and enjoyable.  Run.

Friday, April 22, 2011


By Tonie Silver

Grown Organic Apothecary sent me their lip balm and facial oil, and I must say~ they both rock.  Us girls, we’re always on the lookout for the perfect lip balm, right?  Grown’s Lip Balm is right there, I’ll tell ya.  Like a cashmere sweater for your kisser, so soft and comforting.  And the texture, oy, the texture~ like a buttercream pashmina!  Contains watermelon seed oil, so it has a watermelon-y vanilla-y smell going on.  How did two dudes do this?  Aussie brothers Keston and Jeremy Muijs have their formulations down ladies, so look out!  And did I mention packaging?  You know how important packaging is to Tonie~ me like it to look pretty in my bathroom.  These are old school apothecary style, with the lip balm in little metal tubes that you pierce open with the cap, and etched glass dropper bottles for the oil.  Brill!  The Facial Serum is a luxe mix of borage, rosehip, and sea-buckthorn berry oils, scented with green, stemmy lavender.  Really envelopes skin in a veil of lasting moisture.  These products are so cool, try ‘em and see!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Again With The Lush

By Tonie Silver
In perusing Lush’s catalog, I found them to have a small cadre of natural offerings, so I decided to give ‘em a whirl.

Lush makes some really fun facial cleansers, presented in a doughy kind of a format.  Dark Angels is a conundrum; leaves a wicked black ring around the tub and is hard as h-e-double hockey sticks to get off, but methinks it’s worth it.  Use this at the basin instead of in the bath, and remove it with a washcloth, and you’ll be good to go.  This feels and smells so good.  Polishes skin with charcoal, glides around with avocado oil, and scented  with delicious rosewood essential oil.

Aqua Marina is pink with calamine and green with seaweed.  Actually really soothed my skin!  My face looked really calm and smooth, and it has a lurvely squidgy texture.  The Aqua Marina~ not my face!!!:)
Angels On Bare Skin is a good old good one.  Just as nice as it ever was when I tried it more than a decade ago, this paste of almonds and white clay, scented with rose and lavender lets you scrub to your heart’s content without irritating, ever.

Lush’s solid facial moisturizer, Full Of Grace Serum, is a lot lighter and user friendly than I expected.  Packed with butters and oils.  Nice chamomile scent.  Nicely soothing to the skin.

T Tree Toner Tab is effervescent fun and smells really nice, which surprised me for a tea tree product.  You pop the tablet into a pot of boiled water, and then steam your face over it.  Very beneficial for the skin.

Wiccy Magic Muscles is so much fun!  A solid massage bar with knobbly little adzuki beans that massage out tension and massage in the soporific essential oils of cinnamon and peppermint.  Yay!  Oddly warming and cooling at once~ methinks this would be great in the heat of Summer.

I’ll be on the lookout for more all natch stuff from Lush~ as far as fun in the tub goes, they’re tops!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dragon’s Rub

By Tonie Silver

Indigo Wild’s Dragon’s Blood Zum Rub is a really enjoyable product.  Comes in a big fattie generous tin, smells gorge with patchouli and lavender essential oils, and is a really light, easy to use formula.  Dragon’s Blood infused organic sunflower oil and grapeseed oil give it the light base, while unrefined beeswax and organic shea butter add moisturizing punch.

Go ‘head~ rub a dragon, it’s good for you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream ~ Perfume Event

A Midsummer Night's Dream ~ Perfume Event is an event of scent with:


13 perfumers

11 blogs

oodles of fun


Hosted by Amanda Feeley, new NBP extraordinaire, proprietress of Absinthe Dragonfly.

Participating Perfumers Include:

Charna Ethier ~ Providence Perfumes
Lisa Fong ~ Artemisia Perfumes
Yuko Fukami ~ Parfum Phyto
Shelley Waddington ~ Envoyage Perfumes
JoAnne Bassett ~ JoAnne Bassett Perfumes
Ambrosia Jones of Perfumes by Nature
Libby Patterson of Libby Patterson Organics
Ane Walsh ~ Artesã Perfumista
Justine Crane ~ The Scented Djinn
Lisa Abdul-Quddus ~ Blossoming Tree
Ayala Sender ~ Ayala Moriel Parfums
Ankica Milic ~ Be-Bellatrix
Amanda Feeley ~ Esscentual Alchemy

Participating Blogs Include:

Bloody Frida
Perfume Smellin’ Things
Feminine Things
All I am – a Redhead
Perfume Pharmer
Le Parfumeur Rebelle
Scent Hive
The Windesphere Witch

Perfumes will be released into the wild :P on and around June 21, midsummer. Magik and Fairies will abound…
And remember, it's all about the perfume!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sweet Salvation

by Tonie Silver

MJ’s Organic Salves are a joy.  Silky smooth texture, so they’re super easy to apply, and chocka bloc with lovely organic ingredients.  Made with healing intent by the lovely MJ, they are nicely vibrational and energetic.  Very happy and calming.

I tried the Lavender E, Arnica, and Calendula.  The Calendula Salve smells warm and honey sweet, and is very healing.  The Arnica Salve contains just the merest hint of clove essential oil, for warmth perhaps.  Good for aches and pains.  The Lavender E Salve smells nice and fresh, and is a great all purpose salve.  These salves are great multi taskers, so you only need one product for tons of uses~ hands, feet, face, lips, ouchies, hair styling, even just to smell good!

Very cool glass jars with adorable labels~ all important when you want to gaze on beauty.
These salves are so smooth and easy to use, that I’m well on my way to the seeing the bottom of the jars!
I interviewed MJ for LPR:

TS:  Hi MJ, & welcome to LPR!
 MJ: Thanks Tonie, I'm so happy you found me :)

TS:  You worked for over two decades to perfect the texture of your balms~ they're in an olive oil base, yet they're light and not greasy!  Talk to us a bit about that.
 MJ: Two things: First, I made many, many versions of the balms and would carry them around in numbered jars, rubbing them on anyone who would participate, and ask them for their opinion and notice how the products were absorbed into many skin types and age groups. I had a clipboard and would record my findings about each formulation.
The second point is that very high quality ingredients absorb much better into the skin. I have noticed that time and time again over the years. 

TS:  You use real vitamin e oil in your salves.  Educate our readers; what is the majority of vitamin e being used?  Synthetic?
MJ: I like to give full disclosure about my ingredients, and when a label doesn't specify I know it raises a red flag for me. Also, real vitamin E is more costly and if a company is using it, they are going to let you know that they are scrupulous about their ingredients.
 Dl-alpha tocopherol acetate is synthetic, D-alpha tocopherol is natural. 

Dl-alpha tocopherol is a byproduct of a petrochemical dependent manufacturing process and it may have an endocrine-disrupting effect, despite its molecular/chemical similarity to the natural isomer, D-alpha tocopherol.

Look on the label and see if its "D" or "Dl", if the label does not state which type is used, ask the company.

If a company is dedicated to natural ingredients they are probably using the more costly natural "D- alpha".  Conversely, if a product is not natural, and is using other chemical synthetic ingredients, they are most likely using the less costly "Dl".

TS:  Your logo is beautious~ did you design it yourself? 
 MJ: We have a fantastic graphic designer who really brought my ideas to life, and he captured how I feel about what I do. The hands symbolize "hand made", and it resembles a city skyline as I am an urban herbalist and the third generation of my family from Brooklyn, and also the giving and receiving aspect of what I do. It is vitally important to me to give and contribute to the world in an ethical, caring way and also to receive in return a good living that allows me to care for myself, my family, and support employees. Often when someone is a giver, especially women, we forget to take care of ourselves. I would love to dispel the idea of a virtuous woman as one who neglects herself! :) (lol).
The plant above the hands is not a particular plant but more of an iconic plant symbolizing healing plants of all kinds.

TS:  Any new products on the horizon?
MJ: Yes Tonie!  I have some lip balms, tinted and untinted, in the works that have been extremely popular with my test subjects and some new balms coming soon! 

TS:  In parting MJ, are there any thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? 
MJ: I'd like to thank people for their interest in my products!  MJ's Herbals exists because people have stood up and demanded more safe, natural, and environmentally 
healthy options in their lives and for our planet. You could say my company thrives and grows through the consciousness and awareness of the people. :)

TS:  Thanx MJ!  Keep on rockin'!  
MJ: Thank YOU for reaching out and for doing what you do Tonie!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Little Dab

A Little Dab
by Tonie Silver

Readers, I'm here with one of my favorite artisans, suppliers, &a people,Dabney Rose. Dabney makes some of the, if not the, best hydrosols on the planet. Let's sit down for a chat, shall we?

TS: Hi Dab! What's new?

DR: ;Hi Tonie! You are always such a fun visit. New? This past summer I got quite out of the box  got away from the plant world completely,  into the animal / mineral neighborhoods with honey & red clay. I also started distilling with crystals & stones in combination with flowers, which turned out to be an extraordinary experience! These particular hybrids are very vibrationally exceptional & I've gotten some wonderful feedback on them.

TS: Dab, everyone in the know knows your hydro's rock~ what's your secret? Care to spill?

DR: I think the main 'stance' that helps me be successful is to be open to that inner voice; this is after all a creative process &a very much alive process; it would be careless (arrogant?) to assume you knew the complete outcome, even if you had done this a 100 times before. But to also act on what that voice is whispering to you; it's an act of faith & not at all 'scientific'. This is not mere distillation we're doing here; it's Alchemy.

TS: I notice a tangible energy in your hydrosols~ are you whispering to your little plants & flowers, or what?:)

DR: Well, I do feel more on the same energy continuum with the green people than with any other species, including my own. My husband grumbles that I give the houseplants the best spots in the house. Before I am a distiller I am a gardener. Distilling is my excuse to garden. Perhaps somewhere along the way I ended up with more chlorophyll than hemoglobin?

As far as playing with them; I start by going up to their vibrational level, merging energies, so to speak & bringing them back down into the physical process. You know Tonie, I don't think I have ever actually thought that out before; that was an excellent question! Thank you!

TS: Where did you learn your craft?

DR: In the space of an afternoon, my dad set me up &showed me the scientific process of distillation (him being a chemist and all). Since then & for the last 23 years I have turned it around to an intuitive act & learned from the 'inside'. Living in the East as opposed to the West Coast, I felt isolated from the growing 'hydrosol movement' so I guess I developed my own 'truths'. I feel in the end, I've been just fine on my own path.

TS: Dabney, so many chicks have been so generous to me over the years, and I'm especially touched by your generosity & spirit~ you inspire me in my business~ your heart shines through. You like to pay it forward, huh?

DR: I am quite touched by this Tonie, but what it comes down to is pure selfishness! I get such a rush when I gift. I have had people do incredible gifting in my direction & as it seems to be the best feeling going; it seems that this is what we all should be doing!

TS: Favorite hydrosol?

DR: Raspberry. This is the first one 'the voice' gave me to do & it is so phenomenally awesome!

TS: Any advice for distillers?

DR: Don't hold back because you think you don't know what you are doing!! Get in the arena "in the moment" and the knowing will come. "Just Do It".

TS: Proudest moment as a distiller?

DR: A shop keeper from France, the fragrance capital of the world!- repeat ordering many liters of my stuff!

TS: Dabney, is this what you do for a living? If so, how did you do it? Just do it?

DR: It took a loooooong time for me to have the faith to commit. A big portion of that was feeling OK about what I'd have to charge; I'm not a wholesaler who harvests gallons, I'm an artist who harvests pints. My batches are intimate &saturated, & luckily there are people out there who want that. But, yes, this is my 9 to 5. (More like 24/7.)

TS: Dab, your hydrosols are a must have staple in my house; what are some natural beauty products you have to have at all times?

DR: Tonie, that is SO sweet! I have noticed that mass producing can ruin an otherwise nice list of ingredients so I make what I use one bottle at a time; what works best comes out of my kitchen cabinet! Red Palm Oil, Aloe Vera, &Rice Bran.With a LOT of hydrosols. And, yes, I am lucky &spoiled &I know it!

TS: Readers, wee little Dabney is a biker babe! Discuss Dab!

DR: Heh Heh. My energy likes to be in motion & when things bog down my husband will almost push me out the door for a ride & most of the time, when I get back, things will have shifted! It's also a most excellent way to get my head beyond thinking. I do a lot of "creative being" on two wheels. (I'm also heavy into pink, flowers & ribbons; no skulls)

TS: Please explain the benefits of hydrosols on the skin, & the different benefits that different hydro's offer.

DR: This could use up a lot of ink so I will try to keep it short. Short story is that all hydrosols improve the texture of the skin. I have found that, basically, most of the flowers soften while the fruits (including Lichen) are more action oriented by increasing cellular activity/circulation; they firm &tighten. Blends are the best of both worlds.

TS: Dabney, you are always such a sweet treat, and so pleasant to deal with business-wise. Any parting words?

DR: What make this path fun for me Tonie is sharing what I come up with with other fragrance connoisseurs. And you are Always enormous fun!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Buddha Nose

Buddha Nose
By Tonie Silver

My esteemed Editor told me to consider this when reviewing products: Would I buy it? The answer to the Buddha Nose range is a resounding "Yes!" Everything about this range, from start to finish, is so pleasing. Starting with the packaging~ Tiffany robin's egg blue tins that sport a beautiful tree~ but that's not all! The tins have a clever screw-top~ no hassling with tin lids~ yay!

Founder Amy Galper's inspiration was to get her clients to breathe~ genius! Buddha Nose balms are in a base of organic jojoba and beeswax, and have a wonderfully soft, almost springy texture. The Girl Balm is a star! Essential oils of clary sage, rose geranium, ginger root, and black pepper alleviate any and all pms. I was all set to enjoy the benefits of this gorgeously fragrant balm, when~ lo and behold~ no pms! I had been sniffing and applying the Girl Balm prior to the big event, and thus, was asymptomatic! Magic! Buy this.

The I Booster Salve is another stroke of genius. E/O's of ravensara, clove bud, patchouli, lemon, tea tree, and cinnamon join forces to produce a wonderfully spicy, peppery blend that blasts any nasties right outta Dodge! Delicious! Apply this to your neck, soles of your feet, and under your nosie whenever you feel a touch of the 'tiz coming on~ nips it right in the bud. Another must have item.

Bodhi Balm is a woody, resiny blend of cedarwood, ho wood, juniper berry, and frankincense. Very opening, grounding, and calming. I used the Bodhi Balm before my yoga, and it totally enhanced my enjoyment of the experience. Makes for deep breathing. I'll be using this daily~ so should you. Again~ highly recommended.

Amy doesn't advocate the use of her balms for skincare~ but I do! I've used these on my hands and face~ light enough for the face and absorbs totally~ and these are my new wig potion~ I put a dab in before the blowout, and the Jewfro is totally straight, shiny, and smells gorgeous.

All of the Buddha Nose products I used are lovely and come with a hearty endorsement from yours truly.I chatted with Amy a couple times on the phone~ she sounds like an oasis of calm in the middle of the city~ she's doing something right!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Persephenie ~ Formerly Blunda Aromatics

by Tonie Silver

At the behest of my esteemed, whip cracking Editor in Chief, I schlepped my happy butt an hour's drive away to Persephenie's. Justine said "you have to go- you'll really dig it." Does Justine know Tonie, or does Justine know Tonie? I got there just as they were opening, and was greeted warmly by owner Persephenie's assistant Maribel. I had to catch my breath and focus, because I immediately went into truffle rooting pig mode: I was supposed to be there to profile the place for LPR, not to shop for myself. Yeah right!

This place is straight up Hogwarts, I'll tell ya. I felt like I was in Snape's Potions class. Jars containing botanicals such as oakmoss, labdanum, frankincense, and ambergris line the walls. There are glass cases filled with incense and perfumes, and I was shown a really cool silver necklace that Persephenie made.

Maribel kindly showed me the back room atelier, whereby she announced to me "You smell amazing! What are you wearing?" (FYI: seven plus years old patchouli topped with petigrain) I was like a kid in a dime store having to keep my hands in my pockets; rows upon rows of shelves crammed chockablock with oils and absolutes A to Z. I wanted to smell each and every one, but of course out of respect, and due to the big ol' PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE OILS sign, I refrained. They even had tobacco flower~ dang! A worktable evidenced works in progress, and there was even a lit tank full of little fishies back there. The real piece de resistance was five or six big glass potion bottles under a glass case, each hand painted by Persephenie and containing her own perfumes. Dang! Couldn't I get just a teensy, tiny sniff? Nope!

A perfumer very near and dear to LPR occupied featured space at Persephenie's- Laurie Stern's Velvet & Sweetpea's. There are several other natural botanical ranges as well, but you know me, always on to the next smelly thing! Lemme at those essential oils!

There were bottles of five or six different eucalypti to sniff- oh joy!I snagged me some rockin' essentials: Persephenie's own Kore range, and the exceedingly lovely Floracopeia. I came home with a rose eucalyptus, a vetiver, a white ginger lily (!) blend, and some of the hard to find Japanese charcoal that I adore. Oh yay!

Another plus is that this shop is located just a stone's throw from Farmer's Market, so a good nosh is just a couple of blocks' walk away.

I'm reviewing Persephenie's range, so look for that- she even does an incense! I know, I know~ someone's gotta do it!:)

Persephenie, formerly Blunda Aromatics
304 South Edinburgh Ave.
Los Angeles, Calif.  90048