Saturday, March 27, 2010

Greatness on an Especially Epic Level

There are some things I just must have in life, one of them is lip balm. I am a lip balm nut job. Cannot help it...I get dry lips. Must be all the kissing I do. Hmmmmmm....Ya. Anyway while in search of the "perfect" lip balm I came across Especially Epic Soap Co. and saw she had lip balms. Eh, I'll stop by and take a look, the soaps are funky and fun to look at anyway.

To my surprise her main ingredient in her lip balm was pistachio butter, which I had never tried. So I ordered a few. Wow, what a huge difference. Unlike so many of the other ones I have tried these do NOT get waxy at all, always creamy and smooth and she has gone totally lip balm nutty like me! I think I saw 21 offerings last count. This new berry one has a tint of color in it and I LOVE IT. You know, for when ya want a little color, but not a's perfect. And who can turn down marshmallow flavored lip balm? I didn't. So I have tubes all over the house.

Click on any image in this post to visit Especially Epic Soap Co.

Our Miss Epic is an artist from Chicago but needed a new medium to play with and found the fountain of soap. I mean look at these suckers. I cannot even imagine the labor involved in putting all those layers together, much less the patience to do it.

She will also try to get you drunk while bathing with such delights as this Sangria Cocktail, Pina Colada, Mimosa Champagne, I mean you should get carded before bathing! It is obvious this artist takes her craft seriously and you will enjoy her hard work and efforts.
Oh, but we are not done there, something else I love to have in my life is "CUSTOM ORDER." Especially Epic for ME. Yes, it is all about me from here on out. She makes these lovely lotions in a tin that serve many many purposes including as a solid perfume. Then I stumbled on the "customize your lotion." I contacted her and asked "How many fragrances from your list can we mix, is there a limit?" "No limit." Muah Hah Hah Hah....sorry...mad scientist in me pops out from time to time.....time for sec....
So for $6 bucks how can I go wrong experimenting with her rather extensive list of fragrances. It is like a Chicago deep dish pizza with an endless list of toppings. How do you pick??? Oh hell, throw it all on! Let's cook! The more I did the better I got, and we both had fun.

They were all good, but I have my favorites. But the classics are Blue Basmati, Merlot Smoothie, LavenLime & Honey Cakes.
Sooooo much fun and sooooo good!

Then she has the nerve...the the audacity to do this...
Roll on fragrances, alcohol free and yup, a custom order she did not!
Yes....yesss.....I ordered one already! And it's wonderful and I want more. You can see my will power is overwhelming.
Anyway, I have gabbed on enough about this wonderful creator, so it is time to put her bit about herself on here. She has done a lot of research and cares about what goes into the environment and our skin...I give you Allison....

I'm Allison, the creator and CEO (lol) of Epically Epic Soap. I work from my home in Chicago, Illinois. I am also a painter and for the last 10 years I was the director of Havana Gallery, where I got to travel to Cuba every year to visit artists’ studio and bring their work to the States for exhibition.

I started Epically Epic Soap in the summer of 2008. I was a little burned out with the art world then and decided to try soap making. It started as a fun, low pressure creative outlet, and quickly became my favorite thing in the world to do. I love it! The great thing about soap making is that it's an art form for three senses -- sight, smell and touch. And I love that my creations are ephemeral -- you use them, enjoy them, and they're gone. (I think I have stuff-o-phobia...)

Over the past year-and-a-half my obsession with soap making has only gotten stronger. I have branched out into lotions, lip balms, perfumes, and body scrubs. Who knows what will come next?

Along the way I have done a lot of research on soap and other bath and body products. I discovered why my skin always used to feel dry by the end of the day: because many of the ingredients in store-bought soaps and lotions, such as mineral oil, alcohol, preservatives, and sodium lauryl sulfate, can be drying to the skin and even toxic to the environment.

And, many drugstore soaps (like Dove, etc.) contain tallow, sodium tallowate, and stearic acid. These ingredients are made from processed animal fat. Before I found this out and warned them, many of my friends who are vegan or vegetarian didn’t know that they were showering with a bar of animal fat everyday!

To learn more about the harmful preservatives, mineral oil, and animal-based ingredients in the soaps and lotions you find at the drugstore, please visit my blog and read these posts:

Other links:
Epically Epic Soap on Etsy:
Allison's paintings:
Havana Gallery:

A quickie but a solid gold find

I won't even give away any of the goodies, you have to go there yourself. But this comes from an artist I highly respect and have the esteemed honor and pleasure of owning several incredible pottery pieces from. Impeccable taste, grace, a eye for beauty and the knowledge for quality and craftsmanship. One Clay Bead put this group together and the offerings of artisans is astounding! Do visit and try not to drool and let your mouth hang open to's embarrassing.

Simply click on the logo above to be amazed.
You can visit One Clay Bead's shop here.
And of course the blog. You have to have a blog! I said...just a to good not to pass on that came across my desk this morning. It was not on the radar...but I just had to do it. Enjoy! I know I did!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

GimmeeNicole - Alice Tea Time Couture

Recently this past week I finally got to go see the new Alice in Wonderland movie (I am currently packing my bags to move) and and I got to see it in 3D. I can honestly say...don't bother to go see it unless you can see it in is just so awesome! Fun, Fun, Fun! I then had my husband take me out to dinner to a local pizza place (which is by no means your typical pizza joint) called Pizza by Elizabeth. No doubt, she and Alice are related. Below is a photo of the entrance of Pizza by Elizabeth and in warmer weather you can eat out in that area. Inside there is a baby grand piano with a nice gentleman playing away, statutes of Betty Boop and crystal lamps with brightly colored walls and beautifully gold gilded framed mirrors.
If Alice was to have pizza and or tea here in my home state, this would be the place. Of course if you plan on attending such an establishment you can go in jeans or you can find the proper vintage fantasy attire to attend by shopping with Nicole and let her help you find some wonderful garments from the 30's to the 90's as she is very dreamy, just like Alice...

And now a word or two or three or who is counting anyway from NICOLE...

Hallo! My name is NICOLE and I have a shoppe on etsy that highlights my supreme penchant for finding vintage clothing that is either horribly kitsch or else very verrrry pretty- HOW fun, right? I agree, but it has taken me a little while to come around.

Here is Nicole in Pure Alice, all ready for a tea or pizza party!

A slinnnnnnky red number is a must have in any respectable Alice wardrobe. The Queen of Hearts only wishes she could look this hot in vintage.

And of course no couture wardrobe is complete without the iconic little black dress. I think the Mad Hatter would go beyond mad working out Alice in this number. Meow! Where does that cat keep coming from???

Nicole is a firm believer and has converted me with a few stunning pieces I have acquired myself through here philosophy that inner wear should be used as outer wear! How mad of a hatter can you be? Apparently pretty mad, which is good, I think. It is fun, daring and loads of fun to play with. And, why not? She always has a great selection and an even better price!
Did I mention GORGEOUS?

More from NICOLE....

I have a pretty good background in teaching and in social work- last year I taught in Japan, Mexico, and Korea (weoo!), and before that I was a peace corps volunteer in Gambia, focusing mostly on small business development- but also on education, health, solar energy, and farming. and reading. and trying not to freak out from the heat and lack of junk food.

I always try to volunteer wherever I am- old folks homes, health care centers, animal shelters, homeless shelters, judging beauty pageants (oh yes, you read that right), and more recently, an animal rescue center in the amazon, and a wolf center in California... so doing something purely superficial- buying lots and lots of vintage wear, and then reselling it on etsy- was kind of eating at my soul.
Also eating at my soul was the fact that I was really enjoying the whole process. I've been running a one woman show and I LIKE it. (We do too!)

I spend hours and hours mending, taking photos, drawing up mini stories, talking with customers, riding to the post office, and the biggest deal of all- buying. I have recently found out that I am a SHOPPER. I never knew I had this quality, Cher, never. I have officially out-shopped everyone I know at this point and now search out vintage finds alone. it's like survival of the fittest when I step into a boutique. depending on how long the dress rack extends, how many other broads are there, and how far away from a meal I am, I quite literally elbow my way through like my life sort of depends on it.
okay, you can choose not to include that last part and I won't mind ONE BIT. I sound like such a shopping jerk. I am pretty nice, I promise.

Back to my justification. (Like you need justification to this number above....yosser!)
I've attributed a large part of feeling good to being able to express myself accurately, and no matter how superficial you are about to think this is, what you wear every day really is important. It can completely change how you feel about yourself, and that's that.

Art is extremely important, and I love people who really go out on a limb with what they put on their bodies and how they choose to show a part of their personality to strangers. I feel like a pretty proud mother when someone buys something so very kitsch that I wonder how they're going to get away with it...
There are a lot of pretty things in my shop, because I simply can't resist a beautiful well made piece of history, but I also sell quite a lot of train wreck things...both are the type of clothing I want to see more of out there.
I don't like to own a whole lot of things, so what I do own I really cherish, and that's something I would like to see a lot more of too. if you could only own five pieces-total-in your wardrobe, would each of them be incredible?

And recycling! QUITE POSSIBLY THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL. hello, I almost forgot it. besides being constructed ethically and soundly and looking AMAZING, vintage clothing is excellent for the environment, and how can I not feel good about that?

So as important as it is to work with wee ones and animals and the English hungry and people who have been born in a part of the world with little to no resources, here's to hoping that my current project, while categorically shallow, provides some kind of social and environmental impacts and makes its way toward being kind of important too.

Thank you very much for reading, and happy searching!

This is not your every day gal in a slip with a gorilla head...this girl has style, grace and had done some traveling around the world and seen some interesting variations on a theme. Alice after all is based on diversity and doing things differently than everyone else with exciting and pleasant surprises. So dig in and have fun! Clothing should be boring. Nicole can help you out and the more I watch her the better she gets!

We love you too Nicole!!!