Wednesday, July 29, 2015

(Review) Ice Blue: What's Cooler Than Being Cool?

I thought I'd gotten out safe.  This summer has been nothing short of delightful...warm, but not too hot.  Nothing a cracked window and an iced tea couldn't cure.  Without air conditioning in my apartment, I found I could snuggle into my covers like it was the dead of winter and fall asleep with a body temperature like baby bear's porridge...juuuuuuuuuust right.  I bathed in the sunshine, often taking my work lunches outside with my book and without a care.  Somehow I knew it was all too good to be true.  And it was.

Just a few days ago I woke in what I thought was a greenhouse jungle, but in actuality was my apartment.  Everything was sticky and warm, the air so thick I could barely breathe.  My old fashioned wooden doors were swollen and required a rightly timed body slam to shut them, and my poor fan did little to cool me down.  For once I was thankful Bossman cranks the AC to arctic temperatures.  I would go into work in my black and white uniform and bask in the cold like a penguin with a Lush apron on.  But after my shift ends, when I'd go home for the day back to the environment where my hair would swell three times its size in water weight, how would I stay cool?

When I heard Ice Blue was being discontinued, the first thing that popped into my mind was "my roommate's gonna be piiiiiiiissed!"  I for one was indifferent, as the last time I tried it I wasn't too impressed.  While she ran out and bought a hefty chunk of the blue stuff, I was contemplating whether I should repurchase or not.  But being that I have a love for all things minty and bright, neon colors, I eventually relented and bought a nicely sized chunk to try out before it was gone for good. 

Ice Blue is a sturdy soap.  So much so that Bossman actually broke a knife cutting into a full sized round of it (no one was harmed in the process besides the knife!).  With a sea salt rind and an intense, pepperminty scent, Ice Blue is perfect for warm summer days where you feel like you're boiling alive in your skin.  It's essentially a solid version of the dearly departed Freeze shower gel, which got me through summer a few years ago (one of the hottest I've ever experienced I might add).  Ice Blue is also not its full name.  Ice Blue's full name is (as told to me, and pardon the french) "Ice Blue F*ck You," and was aptly named after a business relationship went sour.  Ironic how such a beautifully fragranced and eye catching soap was conceived out of bad blood.

I feel like with Lush soaps, they need a use or two to "get going."  And by get going, I mean until they form a good lather.  Usually it takes me 1-2 tries, but with this one it took me quite a bit to work up a sizable lather.  It was a bit frustrating at first but I eventually got the hang of it, and soon my body was cool and tingly with puffy mint suds.  The soap rinsed clean and left my skin smelling musky, minty, and fresh.  I emerged anew from my shower and back into the humidity ridden hellhole from whence I came.  This time though, I felt fresh and clean! 

I'm so glad I gave Ice Blue a second chance, as the first time I used it a few years back, it didn't sit well with me.  I found the scent stuck surprisingly well to my skin and left me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  The lather was decent, but still rinsed clean.  I'm a bit sad to see this one go, even though it's nothing I'd go batty over.  Mint has always been a comforting scent to me...something about the freshness and cleanliness of it is just so refreshing.  I'd often pick up a hunk of this soap when I was feeling tired or my allergies were flaring, give it a good huff, and be on my way.  Dirty, while a great smelling soap, just doesn't have the same effect.

But if I get too nostalgic, I could always slice a bit off of the $40 chunk my roommate bought, right?  She totally won't notice ;) 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

(Review) The Godmother: Bibbity Bobbity Suds

I've often talked about how the bar soaps at Lush were my "gateway drug" into the store.  I honestly have no idea how it happened either, as I was never an avid bar soap user to begin with!  The only memories I've had of bar soap are when my mother once shoved a bar of Dove in my mouth for using a few colorful choice words when I didn't want to come inside after a long day of playing.  It literally and figuratively left a bad taste in mouth after that.  But passing by my hometown's newly crafted Lush store and seeing all the colorful and sweet smelling bricks of soap...I'll admit my curiosity was piqued.  I didn't buy anything that day, but a few days later my mom came home with a few sample slivers of soap (specifically Northern Lights and Alkmaar, two favorites to this day) and after using it once in the shower, I knew it was all downhill from the moment the suds touched my skin.

I've also talked about how prior to working at Lush, some scents from the store just didn't gel with me, but I grew to like them later on.  Godmother happened to be one of those scents.  I'm not a fan of many sugary sweet scents, but I feel like there was something different with Godmother.  Scented with Lush's renowned Snow Fairy fragrance, Godmother has a sweet, but slightly tart scent about it.  Many of my customers describe it as smelling like Swedish Fish; a candy I detest, but I could see the similarities between the scents.  I think the tartness of Godmother is what makes me like it.  If it was just super sweet I don't think I would've gravitated towards it at all.  So one night I picked up a chunk, eager to try it out!

Many people find their luxury in long, bubbly baths with a glass of wine on the side, or a mani/pedi session at their favorite nail salon.  While I have many things I consider luxurious, sudsing up with a big bar of soap is definitely one of them.  It allows me to take my time in the shower, and to me it feels slightly rustic in that respect as well.  I was delighted to see that Godmother made a bunch of pink, sudsy bubbles when I lathered it all over my body.  I just thought it was cool to see pink bubbles all over my body (you could say I was...tickled pink...sorry I'll go now).  One thing I hate is having to lather and work at a bar of soap to get a good lather, but Godmother thankfully didn't have this problem.  I found the scent stuck to my skin quite well and cleaned quite well too, even though it was slightly drying (most glycerin based soaps can have that effect, but it was nothing so severe that a good coat of body lotion couldn't fix!).  I think the only downside to Godmother is that for a glycerin based soap, it melts quite quickly.  I don't think my bar of soap lasted more than 2 months before it dissolved altogether, so that surprised me since Lush has some pretty sturdy soaps.

Despite the quick melting time, I did enjoy The Godmother.  The sweet scent changed a bit in the shower, where the tartness was lost and I was left with just sweetness, but it wasn't drastic enough for me to dislike it.  I can see why this is being discontinued, as a vast majority prefer their Snow Fairy scents in bottled forms rather than a solid bar of soap, but I found this was a decent product to have around.  I didn't love it enough to buy bricks of it, but I did enjoy it!

*Questions for the People* What discontinued products will YOU be missing the most?  Let me know in the comments!!

**The Godmother is certified Vegan

Friday, July 17, 2015

(Review) Space Girl: Stardate - The Year of the Tiger

"I want it to look like I'm bathing in a GALAXY!"

Oh readers...if I had a dollar for every time I heard a teenage girl come into my store and say that, I could probably buy every single Lush product; discontinued, current, and new thrice over and store them all in my mansion with my pool boy and private gaming theater.  That was the very beginning of the "galaxy bomb" craze that happened right after the madness of Christmas.  I actually remember the first time someone asked me for a galaxy bomb.  A young teen girl, bright eyed and bushy tailed, came up to myself and my coworkers and meekly asked if we had "the galaxy bomb."  My coworkers and I looked at each other and asked her what she meant.  She then vividly described a tweet she saw where a bath bomb was described as a galaxy and the picture was one of the most beautiful things she saw!  Before we could link her to Twilight (the actual "galaxy bomb"), she grabbed a Space Girl, gave it a deep inhale, and skipped her way to the counter while my coworkers and I all stood confused, dumbfounded, and a sense of dread that our post-Christmas chill was about to be interrupted by a tweet gone a-twitter.

From that moment on our tiny shop was flooded with an influx of high school and college aged girls, all clamoring for the beautiful bath bomb that looked like a field of stars.  It turns out (and we all found this out at a staff meeting a few months later) that the "galaxy bomb" tweet was retweeted around 10 million times and that the Kitchen compounders were working 24 hour shifts because of the seemingly overnight demand of bath bombs.  At one point we only had Blackberry and Pink bath bombs in stock, and customers went frantic thinking we were going out of business.  But even though the galaxy bomb was actually Twilight, many mistook it for Space Girl, and ever since, it's been a high demand bath bomb that's hard to keep in stock.

Space Girl is a bath bomb that never really gripped me in the beginning.  I will admit the black currant scent was intoxicating, and smelled like a juicy, fruity hard candy I could pop in my mouth and suck on all day.  Grapefruit, almond oil, and bergamot also make up this scent.  Shaped like Saturn with a splash of burgundy and glitter on the side, I could see why many young girls were being drawn to this particular bath bomb.  So when I heard it was being discontinued, I decided to pick one up and see what all the fuss was about.

I'll also admit that while the scent and presentation didn't initially draw me to Space Girl, the pictures I saw on social media did.  Many pictures of big bathtubs with a maroon center with a red wine splash in the middle graced both my Tumblr and Instagram feeds.  Maybe this bath bomb would surprise me and be fantastic!  So on one unseasonably cold July night, I plopped this guy into the tub and...was sorely underwhelmed.  Unlike the gas giant she's modeled after, Space Girl sank right to the bottom of my tub and halfheartedly fizzed, a trail of bubbles breaking the surface the only sign that she was even in the tub to begin with.  I brought her up to try and pop her on the surface, but she sank like a stone once again (note: is it weird that I'm referring to a bath bomb as "she?").  My bath slowly turned an earthy maroon-dusty plum color and the sweet scent was mouthwatering.  

A little disappointed that the fizzing time was so fast, I plunked into my tub where the black currant scent washed over me like a cleansing steam.  It felt very sweet and cozy, and I could only imagine what using this bath bomb would feel like in winter as opposed to summer.  It was still light though, and didn't bog me down like heavier scented bath bombs like Fizzbanger.  It smelled like sweet summer berries and looked like shimmery wine.

Overall, Space Girl was kind of a meh bath bomb for me.  While it was one of the more fragrant bath bombs I've used, the presentation left a lot to be desired.  Nonetheless, I was still quite surprised that this was being discontinued.  If you had told me Space Girl was leaving six months ago I wouldn't have batted an eye, but since the "galaxy bomb" craze, this has grown quite a lot in popularity.  I've heard rumors of black currant becoming more difficult to source, and while I can't confirm that (haven't heard anything from Bossman or any other Lush employee about that) it's entirely possible.  I know many will be sad to see this go, but rest assured that when a product is discontinued, a new product is usually waiting in the wings, ready to take its place.  I guess you'll just have to stay tuned to find out what new things are in store!

**Space Girl is certified Vegan

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

(Review) Love Soap: #gayisOK

(Been a little quiet around here, hasn't it kiddos?  Sorry about that...writers block is a foul mistress.  Lucky for me, I've found inspiration in our current campaign at Lush!)

If there's one thing I know about humanity (being a human myself and not some lizard creature you see in backwater conspiracy theory videos), it's that love in any form plays a powerful part.  Love is one of the main emotions that defines humanity.  Love for a parent, love for your spouse, love for that one guy in your science class who doesn't even know you exist but dear god his hair is perfect...oh yes...humanity is all about the love (politicians excluded as they're our reptilian overlords).  So imagine my surprise when the #gayisOK campaign came around, and upon researching the material given to us for the product and talking points, I discovered the horrifying fact that love in some countries is illegal.  Not only love, but just being yourself is illegal.  In 76 countries, same sex love is illegal, and in 10 of those countries it is punishable by death.

I can actually pinpoint the first time I found out what being gay was.  It was a simpler time...pre 9/11 America where brown lipstick was the trend and boy bands roamed the earth.  I was a wee scrawny ten year old munching my lunch in my dance studio's lobby when he came through the door.  The tall, handsome sixteen year old little me had been innocently crushing on.  He had gorgeous brown hair, a chin stud, and could pirouette right into a girl's heart.  Maybe one day he would ask to hold my hand, I would think (that's like second base to fifth graders).  I must have been beet red because my childhood friend (we'll call her K) sat next to me and snapped me out of my dreamlike fantasy. 

"You can't have a crush on him Robyn!" she said loudly after he went into his class.

"Huh?  Why not?" I asked, ever the meek one.

"Because he's GAY!" K exclaimed.

I remember sitting there giving her an odd look.  I asked her what she meant by gay.  Like, happy?  Well that's okay by me, I like happy people!  Obviously that's not what she meant.  Being the older one by a year, K explained to me in all of her eleven year old wisdom that it meant a guy liked guys instead of liking girls.

"Isn't that WEIRD?!" she asked, her nose wrinkling at the thought.

And I sat there with my Snickers bar and thought for a minute.  "No," I answered.  "I don't think it's weird at all." 

Fast forward to high school, where hair is frizzy, braces and pimples are had, and every move you make is so awkward you nearly cringe yourself into a black hole.  Two of my best and most dearest friends had come out as gay/bi men respectively, and it was during those few years in high school that I had to watch as they endured the toughest years of their young lives.  It was then I learned that not everyone has the same mindset I did when it came to matters of the heart.  I was fortunate to go to a high school that was not only big in student body, but largely accepting.  No one really cared who was gay and who wasn't, and anyone who dared attack my friends or any other person identifying as LGBTQ+ was put in their place. 

Reality struck me hard one day when walking with one of these friends to the bus.  We were chatting about teenage things and all that (most likely how awful this new "scene" trend was and how Myspace will live forever) when we both heard the squealing of tires on pavement.  We both turned and saw an object hurtling towards us from a car window, hitting my friend in the shoulder and splattering us both with some kind of unknown content.  "F*G!" they shouted, speeding off across the parking lot and laughing.  It turned out, the idiots in that car threw a cup of urine at my friend, which we both realized rather quickly from the smell.  I don't think I'll ever forget the look on his face.  It wasn't anger.  It wasn't sadness.  It was nothing.  I never thought someone could convey nothingness in a single look, but he did it, and it tore me up inside.  Because here I saw this amazing, caring, and creative friend who loved to sing, draw, and braid my hair, and he was demonized for daring to love a little differently.  And it was in that moment I realized that there was nothing as a friend that I could do to help him.  I could always be there as a friend, to listen, to let him cry on my shoulder, to hear him scream and yell and throw things, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to take that hatred and bigotry other people would throw at him away.  That realization was one of the hardest pills I've ever had to swallow in my entire life.

I won't lie, the #gayisOK campaign made me nervous.  Mainly because it was the first majorly political campaign and controversial topic that my store has taken place in since opening last year.  And while I grew up in a fairly liberal town with fairly socially liberal parents, the town I live in currently isn't that open minded.  But upon the start of this campaign, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many people in this red colored state of mine were quite open to the idea, mainly the younger generation.  It warmed my heart to see them snagging the big "selfie" bar of soap and snapping away on their phones, and it made me even happier to see older generations coming in and praising our campaign for daring to have a say in the matter.

Love Soap is scented with Lush's Love Perfume, a beautifully spicy candy apple cinnamon scent that will lift you up when you're feeling down.  The top is imprinted with a glittery hashtag, the perfect accessory to ANY Instagram photo, and best of all, all proceeds go to an organization entitled All Out, a grassroots charity fighting for LGBT rights worldwide.  Love Soap is scented with my all time favorite fragrance, and finding this out only made me want to buy more of it!  When using it, I was surprised that the glitter didn't wash off as easily as I thought it would, leaving me with fabulously glittery palms (which I don't mind...glitter is awesome!).  The scent, which is the same as my favorite bath bomb Fizzbanger, lingered quite strongly on my skin and perfumed my apartment quite nicely!  My skin was also quite soft after using it, not dry and tight like a lot of bar soaps leave my skin.  Overall a fantastic bar of soap that helps an even more fantastic cause!

While I suppose this wasn't too much of a review for a Lush product, I just felt that I needed to write all of this just to put it out there, and to tell my story from a bystander point of view.  I will never know the struggle or the oppression and discrimination felt by the LGBT community, and I won't pretend to.  But I've witnessed a lot of it from my beloved friends.  And from what I've witnessed, I feel I've felt maybe a shred of what they've ever had thrown their way.  But with the SCOTUS ruling here in the U.S, I feel as though the tides are turning.  With the positive feedback from my shop, the legalization of marriage equality in my country and many others, it restores my faith in humanity and shows that people can change and do some good.  There will always be bigots and there will always be homophobes, but out of all of that bad, there is good.  In those quiet moments where we feel we're losing our sanity, that is the light to hold onto. 

So to my LGBT followers, customers, family and friends, I just wanted to say you are loved.  You are SO loved you have no idea.  The fact that you have been given this beautiful gift to love whom you choose just shows how big of a heart you have, how good you are and how beautiful you are as a person.  I can't take away the hatred.  I can't take away the bigotry.  But I can and will always be here, and in my heart, you will always be loved, you will always be accepted.  You are beautiful, you are human, and it is ok to be you!

Everybody say LOVE!

Thanks for reading! <3 br="">