Friday, April 22, 2011

earth day 2011 feature: celebrating with mōksa organics

I am so honored to be celebrating Earth Day with a feature on mōksa organics.  The first thing you need to know about mōksa organics is they are so much more than soap!  Allow me to delight your senses and inform your mind.

I have to admit it's really kind of hard to find a starting point.  Founder Melanie Martin has created such a rich melange of goodness with mōksa that one wonders whether a feature about the brand should begin with the products or the philosophy and non-profits they hold dear to the heart.  Melanie exudes so much passion and energy about her company one can actually feel it warming the heart and soul through everything she seems to touch.

Melanie and Haskell, her husband, Owners/Founders of mōksa organics, sum it up this way:
"We make soap. But not just any soap. Because regular soap is plain ol' boring. We've created a clean revolution."

There's no bulk packaging, wasted materials or lists of ingredients a mile long or that contribute to environmental hazards here.  Their products contain ingredients you recognize as pure, simple, natural.  They are certified organic. They also use fair-trade whenever possible.  Melanie is quick to point out that their products never include palm oils.  Why? Commercial harvesting of palms for their oil is the leading cause of ecosystem's loss of habitat and deforestation.  mōksa organics' ingredients are chosen with the least amount of environmental impact.  Their packaging is tree free.  They use post consumer waste, recycled materials and no virgin plastics.

mōksa organics has received federally recognized certification as a carbon neutral company.  All of their offsets are used locally to purchase trees for Alachua Conservation Fund.  mōksa's mission is to be an active part of solutions for a sustainable future.  Let me reiterate, when they say they intend to play an "active" part, they mean it.  When I first contacted Melanie she was dashing off to a local Sierra Club meeting (she's a board member), where they were busily planning for a campaign launch about Bottled Water awareness.

Melanie at the lake behind her house
 Melanie couldn't have been more gracious about supplying me with information (and product) to showcase mōksa for Earth Day, a month/day she shares is her favorite.  As I've gotten to learn more about her, I can't think of anyone or any brand better to feature on Earth Day than Melanie and mōksa organics.  They are the epitome of Earth Day celebration.  And as you might expect, giving back is a huge part of what they do through mōksa. More on that in a little bit.

"Our products allow us to do what we love and it allows us to work with progressive people and groups that help minimize our (society's) impact on nature and our eco-system.  Our mission focuses on habitat preservation and conservation...soap helps us accomplish that.  That's why we call it soapy love."

Allow me to introduce you to some of mōksa's gorgeous products.  Let me set the scene for these by telling you when I opened the package of soaps, my office filled with the delicious scents of essential oils, as if it had been transformed into my own little mini spa.  The chemical reaction between us (soaps and me) had ignited.  It was destiny ... I was falling in love ... quickly.

Bohemian Forest
A blend of wintergreen and woodsy aromas for that Bohemian experience. Check out this ingredient list (and note the shortness): Organic oils of olive, coconut, soybean, castor, hemp, babassu, shea butter; blend of pure essentail oils; organic rosemary extract.

It's named after the beautiful Bohemian Forest, which has a beautiful, diverse eco-system (all mōksa soaps are named after a cool spot on the planet).  The environmental advocacy group that it's dedicated to:  Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment  (ATREE).  Based in India, ATREE does much in the field of research, outreach and conservation. Melanie says, "They are one of those hard working organizations that few people know about and they fly under the radar.  They have a huge emphasis on EDUCATION.  They need support."

Abbey Road
A blend of sweet orange, clove, vanilla and English tea blends will transport you without moving from your shower to the green fields and quaint villages of Britian. Abbey Road body bar is the perfect remedy for fighting off the blue meanies or just getting the grit of the man off your back!  No environmental significance, other than "peace and love" that is associated with the musicians that frequent Abbey Road Studios.

It's dedicated to Aaranyak, another small organization Melanie says flies under the radar and is in need of support for its wonderful contributions. Aaranyak's mission is to foster conservation of biodiversity in Northeast India through research, environmental education, capacity building and advocacy for legal and policy reform to usher a new era of ecological security.

Lavender Avignon
One small whiff of the perfectly balanced blend of lavender and vanilla and you're headed straight to France.  Sometimes you've just got to keep it pure and simple. Take a break from your daily routine, slow down, and enjoy the simplest of organic pleasures.

Named after the lavender fields in Avignon, France, this soap is dedicated to The Sierra Club: Suwannee-St. Johns Group. This is an organization very close to Melanie's heart.  Hear her passion as she elaborates here:
 "I'd like to try and explain. The Sierra Club has a very well known national name. What people don't know is that communities around the country have LOCAL chapters within the Sierra Club. This is HUGE! We (mōksa) believe in local first and foremost. Local is the base where change happens. These local chapters around the 50 states are comprised of Board Members that lobby, attend state meetings at capital headquarters, and are an environmental voice for their community with regards to city and county laws, development, preservation of state parks, etc. I proudly serve on the Executive Committee here in Florida. Our group covers 15 counties and our members have done so much to protect and preserve Florida's local and state environmental gems."
The theme Melanie most wants to convey is that Sierra Club functions as a whole because of all the hard work of thousands of local groups around the country. Local Sierra Club chapters need support. Hence, the dedication and proceed/profit dedication to the organization she hold near and dear to her heart through sales of Lavender Avignon.

But Are They Any Good?
All this looks and sounds great, right, but what of the products themselves ... are they lovely to use?
I'm not sure I can fully express in a blog post just how incredibly gorgeous these products are.  These are substantial, big bars of soap, not slivers of product.  They are 6.5 oz in weight and much more in essence.  The bars provide a rich, luxuriously creamy lather.  They all smell divine.  You know how generally you'll smell a few bars of soap on display somewhere and be able to come up with a favorite from the line?  Yeah, you can't do that with these - they're all amazing. The blends of the essential oils in each bar are spot on ... not too much of one or the other to overpower the senses.  It may sound cliche', but using these bars truly does lend the experience of washing in nature. 

I mentioned to Melanie that my face never felt cleaner than after using her soap (I tried Abbey Road first).  I had a healthy glow to my skin I haven't seen since I was in my 20's - shocking!  I hesitate to even call the bars soap as that conjures up thoughts of something drying to skin.  There is nothing in mōksa soap bars that are drying to skin.  I'm telling you, I can't wait to jump out of bed in the morning to wash my face.  When a bar of soap can do that for a mood (especially for a mood of one who is in NO way a morning person), that's saying something.

L-R: hand before body butter, mōksa organics Lavender Bergamot Body Butter, hand with body butter

Don't think mōksa's soaps are their only product worth salivating over.  I had the good fortume to also try their body butter in Lavender Bergamot. Omgosh!! The consistency is a firm yet somehow whipped texture of deliciousness.  Ya know, lab produced, synthetic, amalgamations of chemically infused products just cannot give you these same results: simple, pure, healthy.

Well, clearly you see I am completely enamored with mōksa organics and its founder, Melanie. But really, who wouldn't be?  Honest, pure, back-to-nature (literally) goodness handcrafted from a place of integrity and heart.  It's just a winning combination all around.

mōksa soaps retail for $6.50 a bar and body butters for $14 a jar.  You may also seek out their body oils, bath salts, t-shirts and totes (they are "revolutionary" he he!).  Please do yourself a favor and check out mōksa organics online; your skin and conscience will thank you!  Products by mōksa organics are also available online at, and other boutique retailers.  Enjoy! xo

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

REVIEW: Annmarie Organic & Natural Skin Care

When the first ingredient listed on a product label is love, you know you're in for some goodness. Annmarie Organic Skin Care doesn't disappoint. Using blends of natural oils and extracts to preserve her products, founder Annmarie Gianni stands firm on not using alcohol or chemicals in her line of pure, organic skincare. As a consumer, I appreciate that. A lot!

Frustrated with not being able to find products, even natural ones, without chemicals and harsh ingredients, Annmarie decided the only way she'd get them was to make them herself. She called upon the teachings of ancient cultures, herbalists and shamans to create products from what the earth provides us. Believing her products have innate healing energies that bring awareness and allow those who use her products to truly radiate their own natural beauty, she incorporates natural practices, ancient methodology and aromatherapy in her skincare line. In this, Annmarie Skin Care is designed to not only soothe your physical body, but also help shape your inner beauty by invigorating the soul. One need only gaze upon Gianni herself to see this inner beauty radiating outwardly. Her skin is gorgeous!

I had the opportunity to try a few of her products. True to the claim, these products are as soothing to the senses as they are the skin, and as such are a pleasure to use.

L-R: Aloe Cleanser, Ayurvedic Scrub, Neroli Toning Mist and Honey Coconut Mask
 Aloe-Herb Cleanser
This is a creamy, milky liquid in texture and appearance and smells delightfully of orange blossom. The blend of oil and extracts contains essential fatty acids, similar to those produced by the skin; it is rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, which help prevent and repair free radical damage. This is a very gentle cleanser (could be used with a Clarisonic for sure), and leaves skin refreshed, soft and moisturized. Key ingredients include organic aloe vera infused with lavender, calendula, hyssop, lemon balm, neem leaf, olive leaf, organic ruby grapefruit, lemon oil, green mandarin oil and extracts. I would think even the most sensitive of skins could use this without issue as it truly is just that gentle.

Ayurvedic Facial Scrub
This one took a little getting used to for me. It's very herbal and earthy in smell, which I generally enjoy, but this is a bit like using dirt on your face - yes, that earthy. The positive here is that it is loaded with fantastic ingredients: Moroccan Rhassoul Clay, fenugreek seeds, organic lavender, rosemary, lemon balm leaves, horsetail herb and more. It's a dry, powdery mixture that is mixed with either a bit of water or the Aloe-Herb Cleanser to concoct a paste, which is then gently massaged onto facial skin, neck, etc. The blend is designed to nourish and re-mineralize skin.

Neroli Toning Mist
This is a delightful toner that smells as lovely as it is effective. There are just two ingredients that make up this mist: love and pure organic neroli distillate (from orange blossoms). The mist is soothing, refreshing, and assists skin to return to balance.

Coconut Honey Mask
This is my star of the line. I looove this product. When you open the jar, is appears solid or like cold oil/wax would look. However, it is smoothe like a fine butter and blends to perfection onto the skin. It smells sweetly of coconut and honey, not too sweet, it's subtle. the product is so natural it's good enough to eat! The live enzymes nourish inside and out. It moisturizes skin like no other. I was truly impressed with the hydration and softness of my skin after the very first use. Honey is high in vitamin C, B vitamins and amino acids. It's also wonderful for dry elbows, knees and cracked heels and may be massaged in a left to soften without removing. It's a triumph in fabulous-ness!

I encourage you to learn more about Annmarie and her lovely line of organic skincare at her websiteAnnmarie Organic Skin Care is available online at Renegade Health at through specialty retailers.  Most of her products retail for under $30 with the serums, oils and skincare sets available for a bit more.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spa Week: This Is the Week to Get Pampered!

So you want in on Spa Week.  Of course you do, you work hard, take care of family, are the one everyone goes to for everything ... you deserve a luxurious treatment without breaking the bank. You've heard about the idea of Spa Week. You believe it's probably something you could take advantage of ... if ONLY you had more information. 

Allow me to introduce you to this fabulous concept and all the scoop you'll need to schedule a much deserved treatment all your own in your area.

Capella Spa, Colorado

Spa Week, created in 2004, is the original, largest and most successful Spa Marketing Event in the history of the spa industry. Nearly 1000 spas across North America concluded their participation in the Fall 2010 Event, and bowing to popular demand, the Spring 2011 Event, presented by the Carefree Brand, will further expand into even more cities. Taking place from April 11th – 17th, the 14th edition of Spa Week will provide consumers across the United States and Canada with the most luxurious and wellness-focused spa treatments available for only $50 each. Day spas, medical spas, resort spas, yoga and Pilates studios, and fitness/weight-loss centers among other beauty and wellness facilities will offer 2-3 of their most exclusive services, originally costing anywhere from $100 all the way up to $500, for a discounted price of $50.

Facial at Twin Palm, Phuket

For seven years now, the signature $50 price point has afforded consumers nationwide the ability to try different treatment types at different spas, putting an end to the old myth that the spa lifestyle can only be afforded by the rich and famous. With millions still keeping a close eye on their wallets and their healthcare options, the bi-annual Spa Week Events have exposed consumers everywhere to the benefits of including spa services into their health regimen. In fact, Spa Week has proven to be so successful that well over one million affordable spa treatments have been booked and enjoyed since its inception. From stress-busting massages and holistic, immune-boosting treatments like Reiki and Acupuncture to the trendiest and glamorous of services like Botox and Eyelash Extensions, spa-goers can always find an array of services on the Spa Week menu suited to their needs. And best of all, the newly re-designed SpaWeek Gift Cards are accepted during the Spa Week Events, as well as all year long, and never expire.

In order to take advantage of Spa Week, consumers should register on for exclusive information on participating spas and their $50 treatments. Spas will book up just hours after launches on March 14th, so it is recommended that consumers book their appointments immediately.

As always, Spa Week’s goal is to open up the spa industry to the masses by making spa treatments accessible and affordable to all. Aligned with their commitment to reaching the next generation of spa-goers and infusing much-needed new blood into the industry, Spa Week maintains the most popular and active spa page on Facebook, a well-read off-beat spa blog, a Mobile App for iPhone & Android, and introduced the world to an edgy spa video that stirred up some controversy in this otherwise relatively quiet industry. You can even take a quick view of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's).

Never too soon to schedule as these offers book quickly.  Go ahead and do the body good (and the mental state, and the emotional state, and yes, even the soul), and schedule a self-designed spa experience for yourself now. I give you permission! xo

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Time for Another Giveaway: Dr. Dennis Gross Hydra-Pure Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Let's celebrate this beautiful spring day with another giveaway.  This one comes from world-renowned dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross.  There's a huge wait list to get in as a patient, so here's your opportunity to experience his brilliance without the wait. And .... this particular product comes from his Hydra Pure line.  I'm a huge fan of Hydra Pure ... very effective.  The Intense Moisture Cream with its chelating properties is absolutely fantastic.  But I digress, you want to know about the product up for giveaway, right? Right!

Here's Hydra Pure Vitamin C Brightening Serum, a cruelty-free, vegan, and paraben-free intensive anti-aging nighttime treatment. The serum helps to fights sun damage, increase skin luminosity, and build collagen for a noticeably firmer and more youthful appearance. This potent serum includes an 18% Vitamin C complex to combat free radicals, and Dr. Gross' proprietary Chelating Complex (a blend of detoxifying compounds that protect skin from harmful elements) to neutralize harmful elements left behind by tap water and perspiration. Let me tell you, the chelating is powerful and is a huge benefit of this product.

Who Is It For? Anyone seeking a powerful serum that fights aging and brightens skin. Those concerned with skin dullness, texture, dark spots, and sun damage will experience visible improvement and brightening with this innovative treatment.

Why Is It Different? Contains three forms of Vitamin C--SAP, Vitamin C Ester, and Vitamin C--to protect against sun damage and increase the serum's absorptive power. This effective Vitamin C complex builds collagen, reduces wrinkles, fades dark spots, and restores skin's youthful appearance and radiance.

How Do I Use It? In the PM, smooth serum over clean, dry skin on face, neck, and décolleté. Follow with moisturizer if needed.
Sound fabulous?  It is!  Here's how you can win:
1) Follow DGSkincare and For the Love of Beauty (aka ftlob) on Twitter;
2) Like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare and For the Love of Beauty (Roxy Howe) on Facebook;
3) Finally, leave a comment below letting me know why you'd like to try Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare's Hydra Pure Vitamin C Brightening Serum and include your email so I may contact the winner for shipping address.

You may also view and enter directly as a Twitter follower under the tag #dgskincarelove
post: "Enter @dgskincare HydraPure Vitamin C Serum Giveaway @ftlob Follow both and RT to enter!  #dgskincarelove"

Retail value of this prize is approximately $95. Open to residents of the USA only this giveaway. Winner will be chosen at random. One prize will be awarded to one winner.  Good luck! xo

Learn more about Dr. Dennis Gross and his gorgeous products by visiting his online web page.  More info may be gleaned from dgskincare on facebook and through retailers who carry his line.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Treat Yourself with a Free Full-Sized Item from Bliss

Have you treated yourself to anything from bliss spa lately? No?

Well even if you have treated yourself lately, you'll want to mozy on over to bliss online today as they've got a sweet gift for you.  Mother's Day is coming up .... can't think of a mom I know who wouldn't appreciate a little bliss in their lives.

Purchase any two bliss bath + body products, get the third free of equal or lesser value.

Valid 4/7/11 and 4/8/11

Monday, April 4, 2011

WINNERS: Pureology Hydrate Giveaway

Thank you to all those who entered the Pureology Hydrate Shampoo & Conditioner Giveaway via the site here and on Twitter.  Please continue to view as there is another great giveaway opportunity coming before the end of the week.

Congratulations to our winners



anna d.



Winners were chosen at random.  Please check your emails, ladies, and send me your shipping information so I can send out your Pureology goodies.  You are going to loooove this line. xo
Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin