Sunday, October 31, 2010

We have a winner!

We used random.org to pick the winner of our very first blog giveaway and it is...

drumroll...




Megan of Mommy Minded, who said:


Congrats to Megan!  She's being emailed imminently and will have 48 hours in which to respond and claim her prize, the "For Your Face" gift pack!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cart Revamp

Before I get to the cart, I just want to remind everyone that this is the last week to enter our blog giveaway!  Don't miss your shot at our "For Your Face" gift pack!


OK, on to the cart... I needed more storage in my craft room/office, and wanted something inexpensive.  I knew Bed Bath & Beyond had these plastic carts, a dorm room staple, and that they were just $15, so I picked on up.  When I first saw them, they had black, white, or hot pink, but by the time I got around to buying one, they only had a couple of black ones left.

Thing is, I didn't really want a black plastic cart in the room.  I've got my sewing table, a wood-grain desk, and a wooden bookshelf that's been painted red.  Black plastic doesn't go.  Plus, it's utilitarian but ugly.

So I also bought some stone-textured spray paint in a tan/mauve color.  I knew I already had red acrylic paint in with my craft supplies.


First, I removed the drawers and sprayed the cart structure.  It came out really cool, and I let it dry in the garage.  Then I got my red acrylic paint out.  I didn't want a bright, cadmium red and I didn't want the drawers to be easy to scratch.  We do have three cats, after all.  Plus, dragging the drawers back and forth in the cabinet would scrape the paint off the sides.



The drawers are kind of a smoky plastic.  So I decided to pain the inside of the drawers to get a nice, deep red that wouldn't rub against the cabinet.


Each drawer took two coats of acrylic to get it a nice cover.


And then they went back into the cart, making a nice deep red drawer, and the cart went into its spot!



If you're wondering, by the way, that back photo is a shot of me and Eric on our way to a formal dinner dance.  The front photo is from my sister and brother-in-law's wedding.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Scrubs May Be Good for Your Skin... But What Are They Doing to Your World?

Good question, and one we all should be asking.  This is why we are adamant that we should all be informed consumers.  Read your labels.  Know your ingredients.  Do a little digging.

Hillary Rosner, a freelance journalist and Knight Science Journalism Fellow with a degree in Environmental Studies did a little digging back in 2008, when she wrote this article for Slate, an online daily news magazine.  Never heard of Slate?  That's OK, until recently, neither had I.  When a friend pointed me in the direction of that article, I took a look around, and it turns out that Slate is not exactly a fly-by-night operation.  It's not some wacky extremist group with faulty research and questionable results.  Oh, no.  It's a multi-award-winning publication that's existed since 1996 and is owned by The Washington Post Company.

In doing her digging, Ms. Rosner found that many big-brand companies are using polyethylene as an exfoliating ingredient in their cleansers.

So what's polyethylene?  It's plastic.  Tiny plastic microbeads that make nifty exfoliants... which then wash down the drain and into the oceans.

Plastic, as we know, does not biodegrade.  And these beads are so tiny that it's incredibly easy for them to end up in the stomachs of marine life, as Ms. Rosner says, "from otters to octopi."  It actually occupies the same size range as sand grains and plankton, so it's available for ingestion to invertebrates, which are near the bottom of the marine food chain.  In addition, polyethylene transports phenanthrene, a dangerous ocean pollutant.

Nice, huh?

And the amount of microplastic in the oceans has been increasing.  Increasing.

The answer?

Natural exfoliants, of course!  Sugar, salt, ground almonds, ground beans, seeds, and buds... the sorts of things we use in our Reef Botanicals sugar and salt scrubs, soaps, and facial scrubs.

We are committed to doing our best for the environment where we can.  That's why we don't wrap our soaps in plastic or cellophane; they are shipped nearly naked, with just enough paper to tell you what they are and list the ingredients for you, tied on with environmentally-friendly hemp twine.


That's why the only plastic we use is what's absolutely necessary, like for our salt and sugar scrubs, which contain liquid.  And that's one of the many reasons we adhere to our commitment to use all-natural ingredients in our products.  Never will plastic be an ingredient in our stuff, no matter how inexpensive or convenient it is.

Friday, October 22, 2010

We're being featured!

There's an awesome article up at The Curious Pug (yes, the same place from whence I won that terrific pop tart phone case), all about Reef Botanicals, me, and Eric! Check it out!


And we're all the more flattered at the article, considering the fact that we're her first non-Etsy feature!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That Lucky Streak of Mine

It continues.  This time, I won the most adorable iPod case... only I don't have an iPod, so I wanted it as a case for my Droid Incredible.


It's a blueberry pop tart!  So cute, and very well made with pretty stitching around the edges and blue felt lining.  The sugar is in the form of tiny beads sewn on.  And my phone fits perfectly!

With it, I won that cute cupcake pin, which will be perfect when I'm face painting.

Oh, and in the back of the case, a handy pocket.


From whence did I win these adorable items?  From The Curious Pug.  Check it out!

Do you want to be a winner too?  Then enter our blog giveaway and win this awesome For Your Face prize pack!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our Day

Today, we spent the day at the Autumn Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Show at the Minerals Resort & Spa in Vernon, NJ.  We'd done this show in April when it was their first attempt a a craft fair, and had a decent day with a lot of interest.  It was a very small fair but with good vendors.

This time, a vendor organizer company had taken over and the fair grew from one room (the gym of the spa) to three rooms (the lobby, gym, and small back convention room).  Still a small fair, but nice.  Unfortunately, it also grew by three more vendors of handmade soap.  Total:  4.  That's unusual, especially for a fair of this size, and initially they were placing three of us all in adjoining booths!  Well, two of us obviously moved, and we lucked out and were placed in the lobby, directly to the right of the entrance doors to the spa.  That meant we had a differently-shaped space (the original was 10'x10') and needed to reorganize.  We actually really liked the way we were able to use the area.


That whole length there was Reef Botanicals!  We had two 6' tables end to end, and then a 4' camping table on the end forming an L.  Our banner is there at that far end because that's where the entrance to the spa was.

We got traffic from every direction and were very happy with the setup and location.  In fact, the spa is having another event on December 12, just before the holidays, and we plan to participate in that one too.

Although the patrons were somewhat inundated with soapers, they seemed really excited by our product line, and we did well.  Our most popular sellers of the day were the Hair Dew shampoo and the Home for the Holidays bath salt, though also especially popular were the lip balms, facial scrub, candles, and Smooth Operator shaving & bath soap.  People took a lot of cards too, and we're hopeful that the event gained us some regular customers!

If you're in the area, look for us at the event in December, where we'll also be offering gift baskets for the holidays.  Don't be fooled by the fact that it's a resort; the place is really friendly and non-members are as welcome as members.  In fact, the staff there were treating even us more like guests than anything!

In the meantime, everything is still available at our website, as well as on our HAFshop, and of course our giveaway is still underway until October 31!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reef Botanicals on the Road

Mostly Rte. 80, I think.

We're participating tomorrow in the Autumn Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Show at the Minerals Resort & Spa in Vernon, NJ!


If it's like the last one we did at this spa, it promises to have some good crafters with nice wares.  We received a good response last time we were there in the Spring, so we're excited to go now that our product line has grown.

We have high hopes, so wish us luck!

Feel free to come meet us if you're in the area, where you can see, touch, and smell our stuff in person - including our new bath salts & facial scrubs.

In the meantime, don't forget our blog giveaway, which is still in progress up until my favorite holiday, Halloween!  Go here to get details and enter.  After all, free is a cool way to try something new, right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our First Blog Giveaway!

This contest is closed.

We're feeling like a giveaway to celebrate the release of our new product:

Almond Pastry Facial Scrub

It smells great, is easy to use, and makes skin glow!

What you get out of this is a For Your Face Gift Pack, containing one full size shaker container of this awesome new scrub, one bar of our Purity soap, and one bar of our Oatmeal Honey soap, all great for your face!




You have SIX chances to win!  For each entry, leave a separate comment on this post to let us know, one comment per entry task completed.

Rules:
1.  This giveaway is open to everyone in the U.S. and Canada.
2.  There will be one winner chosen.
3.  The winner will be notified by email, and will have 48 hours in which to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen.

**Please make sure you provide a valid email address when entering this giveaway.**

Mandatory Entry:
Please become a follower of this blog, then visit Reef Botanicals and leave a comment on this post telling us what you would love to have from the shop.

Additional Entries:

1.  "Like" Reef Botanicals on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know with your Facebook name.
2.  Follow Reef Botanicals on Twitter and tweet this contest.  You can do this once a day for additional entries.  Just leave a comment for each daily tweet and leave a link to your tweet.  Use this tweet:
Win a "For Your Face" Gift Pack from reefbotanicals.com @ReefBotanicals #giveaway at http://dld.bz/zAUW!!
3.  Post about this contest on your Facebook wall and post the link here in a comment.
4.  Add our badge (from the left sidebar) to your blog or website and leave the link in a comment.
5.  Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to your post here in a comment.

GIVEAWAY ENDS ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31, AT 5 P.M. EST.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Favorite Yet

Oatmeal.

Yum, right?  Well at least I like it.  I eat it fairly frequently.

Here's what this site has to say about oatmeal:

Used topically, oatmeal is effective for relieving dryness and inflammation, including insect stings, rashes, and eczema.  It contains polysaccharides and lubricating fats, which prevent dullness and dryness.  It is also filled with natural pore cleansers.

Almonds.

Also yum.  Big yum.  Heck, you can even have almonds in your oatmeal.

Here's what this site has to say about almonds:

Used topically, almonds are said to be nourishing and healthy for both baby and adult skin.  It's very gentle and believed to have good anti-oxidant properties.  Ground almonds also have an exfoliating nature.

Honey.

Do I even need to say what I think of honey?  And doesn't it sound great with almonds and oatmeal?!

Here's what this site says about honey:

Honey is a natural humectant, helping to keep the skin hydrated and fresh.  It traps in moisture, leaving skin soft and supple, and hair glossy and healthy.  It is also antibacterial and a good source of antioxidants.

Bentonite Clay.

Okay, so bentonite clay isn't yummy.  At least, I don't think it is.  I don't plan to try eating it.

And here's what this site says about bentonite clay:

Bentonite clay has long been known for its therapeutic abilities.  Due to its high absorbency and its ability to pull oils and toxins from the skin, it is one of the best clays for making poultices and an excellent ingredient for skin care and spa treatments.

So why am I bringing all of this up?  Can you guess?  If you're a fan of our Facebook fan page, [okay, fine, if you "like" Reef Botanicals on Facebook, just call me old fashioned, I like "fan page"] you may have seen me post a status update quite a while back regarding a new ingredient I was very glad to find and obtain, for a new product I was trying to develop.

See, I've been dying for a facial scrub.

We've got three great body scrubs.  When Life Hands You Lemons is  based in white sugar and olive oil, and it's great.  Cafe Mocha is based in brown sugar and grapeseed oil, also great.  And Heaven Scent is our salt scrub, primarily epsom and Dead Sea salts, with olive oil.

While there are light oils that work well on the face, like almond, emu, and jojoba oils, I really wanted to keep the facial scrub pretty much oil-free... so no liquid to it.  The only oil in this scrub is the healthy and beneficial bit contained in the almonds that I ground myself.  So I did a bunch of research, and several trials, wanting specific ingredients... mostly honey.  But I didn't want anything wet involved so it wouldn't get yucky when stored.  Water, you see, would lead to a fuzzy (ick!) facial scrub, not a yummy one.  Hmmm.... what to do?  What to do?

What I did was a little search.  And I found... wait for it... honey powder.  That's right, food grade, sweet as can be, honey powder.  It's just dehydrated, powdered honey.  That's the sole ingredient.

Aha!  Did you picture the light bulb over my head there?  Here, I'll help:


So... on to my bright idea.

Many, many years ago, I had a commercial product that's no longer available.  It came in a small shaker container, and had a single ingredient:  finely ground beans.  Dry, finely ground beans.  What the instructions said to do was shake about a teaspoon of ground beans onto the palm of my hand, drip water into it and mush it around until it became a paste, rub it all over my face, and then wash it off.

Well... here I was, with almonds that I myself finely ground, oatmeal that I myself finely ground, some awesome bentonite clay at my disposal... and now powdered honey.  Sounds like a facial scrub to me!


We found shaker containers, similar to the one I used to have from that commercial bath and beauty company (only bigger), and voila!  We now have available for you our first facial scrub!  You use it the same way I do, the same way I used those ground beans oh so many years ago.  It doesn't get furry when stored.


And it's awesome.  May I present our brand new Almond Pastry Facial Scrub.


Oh, and by the way, here's a photo of the bath salts, so you know what we've been talking about so much:


And... another reminder.  When we reach 500 fans on our Facebook page, someone wins!

Update:  In addition to buying this great facial scrub, you can win it as part of our "For Your Face" prize pack in our first blog giveaway!

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