5 Unique Ways To Use and Reuse Flowers!

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

We get the flower hype, we love using floral essential oils to scent our soaps. Our Bella Rose Shampoo bar and Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo bar are just a few of our floral scented soaps! But what else can you do with flowers? A lot!  From jewelry to tasty treats, let’s celebrate the floral explosion of springtime with a purposeful harvest! 

  1. DIY Potpourri

Such a fun, simple way to keep those expired Mother’s Day bouquets going! According to Grower Direct, “Potpourri was created in the 12th century for the purpose of freshening rooms in castles for the people of that time. Spices or herbs were placed in huge cooking cauldrons after the meal tasks of the day had been completed.” Many people today continue to use potpourri as a natural way to keep their living spaces smelling fresh! I used to wonder why my Nana kept a bunch of dried up flowers in a bowl on the bathroom counter…now I know! Here’s a potpourri recipe specifically for repurposing old bouquets. You can always change the ingredients of a potpourri to match the season. Pinecones during Christmas or cloves and oranges for fall!

  1. Flower Beads

I feel like this is a great project for a rainy day! This craft is a beautiful way to memorialize a special day like a wedding or anniversary and if you make the beads entirely out of the flowers from the occasion you have a very sentimental keepsake that can last you a super long time. According to Beading Gem, “Real rose petal beads have been made for centuries. The Catholic Church sanctioned the use of rose petal beads in rosaries back in the 16th century. Indeed, the word rosary comes from the Latin rosarium or rose garden. The craft was practiced by convent sisters,Victorians and even by mission people in early California. It is easy to understand why the beads were so popular for they give out a lovely fragrance especially when worn or handled.” A recipe for making the beads in a more traditional fashion can be found here. However, if you’re looking for something a little less intricate you can always simplify the recipe by blending crushed up flowers in a pre-made clay!

photo from The View From Great Island
  1. Dandelion honey

Looking for a vegan honey recipe? Try dandelion honey. Yes, it is a bit of a process to make, but you’ll save the bees a lot of work and what a cool experience! The benefits of dandelion honey include it being a vegan substitute, an alternative for people who are allergic to honey, plus you can put the dandelions to good use! Did you know that dandelions are technically considered a weed? My mom would disagree, she would argue that that dandelion is just a very dedicated and persistent flower, but the dandelion was actually introduced to North America and is not native. “In the mid-1600s, European settlers brought the common dandelion (scientific name, Taraxacum officinale) to eastern America and cultivated it in their gardens for food and medicine. Since then it has spread across the continent as a weed.” You can actually incorporate dandelions into a lot of different food dishes, but to start here is a recipe for dandelion honey from The Spruce Eats.

  1. Ice Cube Decorations

Jazz up your brunch or picnic with edible, beautiful ice cubes! I will attach a detailed article from The View From Great Island so you can be sure that these ice cube treats turn out after only a couple practice tries…but there are a couple important details to note if you want your ice cubes to turn out right away! Try a silicone ice cube tray for best results. Make sure you are boiling distilled water for the clearest ice to see the flowers! And try using edible greens in your cubes to ensure anything consumed will be safe. Some flowers include roses, pansies, nasturtiums, marigolds, violets and geraniums. You could also add a little extra flavor by using mint leaves! 

  1. Edible Flower Shortbread Cookies

Just a simple, delicious cookie recipe sure to wow any guests with the pressed pressed topping of an edible flower! Recipe from Two Cups Flour can be found right here!

I think the cookie recipe is definitely on the top of my to-try list! What about you?

Much Love,

Nora


New Location Opening!

You’ve probably heard and seen some buzz about our new physical storefront in Apple Valley…but if you haven’t…here’s all the details!

Grand Opening

Everyone is welcome to come to our Grand Opening weekend! You can pop by on Friday May 20th or Saturday May 21st and we’ll be open both days from 10-5pm! Stock up on your favorite products without having to worry about shipping, discover exclusive products that are only sold in-store, and enter a giveaway for a chance to win a bundle of AVNS products! (If you are out of state keep an eye out for our online inclusive giveaway in June!)

“We are calling the retail space The AVNS Market, and it has grown out of a dream I’ve had for the last few years. A dream to have a retail area where we sell products that are good for us and the environment, products that are fun, sweet & unique, while also being able to support other small businesses. We hope the AVNS Market will offer a relaxing, joy filled shopping experience for all.”

-Marianne Buck

Location:

7570 West 147th Street

Suite 301

Apple Valley, MN 55124

Hours:

1st & 3rd Weekends Of The Month

Friday & Saturday 

10am – 5pm

(Not open Sundays, Holiday hours may vary)

Since purchasing the business in 2018, someday being able to open a physical storefront was always the hope for the future of AVNS. Three years of hard work from the Buck family and AVNS family as a whole has finally paid off as we prepare to open our doors to anyone who wants to visit! 

“When we saw the space in Apple Valley, MN as a possibility for the business I immediately saw the brick wall and knew it could be something special. After deciding to move ahead with signing the lease (a huge scary step of faith), we focused on getting the business up and running for on-line orders. Once everything was running smoothly, I started thinking and processing through what it would take to turn part of the space into a relaxing shopping experience. Once I found some inspiration the transformation took off. 

Now that the shop is ready to open its doors to the public, I’ve found myself doubting the decisions and the journey, but then remind myself that my future doesn’t rest in my hands, I have confidence that God has led us on this journey and He doesn’t make mistakes. Over the last week or so I’ve been blessed with many affirmations about our decision, and recently found out that research is now showing that many people are moving away from doing only on-line shopping as they want to get out and shop in person. They want to touch, feel, smell and be around others after having 2 years of not being able to. I am amazed that a decision that my husband and I made months ago, which we felt was stepping out into the unknown, is now proving to be the right path for us.” 

-Marianne Buck

We love what having an online store has to offer: the ability to cater to customers who live far away, the efficiency that online shopping allows, and we hope to continue growing our online store for all our far away friends! 

We’re excited that our physical store will give people the chance to come and connect with us and our products on a personal level…not sure if you’ll like the smell of a particular soap? Now you can just pop by and sniff it for yourself!

I haven’t had the chance to explore our new line of candles yet, so my visit gave me the chance to sniff around and I absolutely fell in love with the quaint clay pot that the Sun-Kissed Coconut All Natural Soy Candle came in…not to mention the amazing smell and the fact that the lid and pot can be turned into a flowerpot and seeds after the candle has been used up! I had to take one home for a Mother’s Day gift!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have already had the chance to pay the Apple Valley Natural Soap Market an in-person visit, and let me tell you…once you walk through the doors into this dreamy naturally scented haven of crafted goods you’ll want to stay all day! 

One of the most exciting things about the AVNS Market is all the cool products that are only available in-store. Jewelry that incorporates essential oils, eco-friendly dish ware, cotton goods like blankets, towels and robes, reusable beauty products.

Hope you stop by!

Much Love,

Nora


Mother’s Day Eco-Friendly Gift Guide 2022

Gift giving can be extremely difficult, especially when shopping for loved ones. Obviously, Mother’s Day shopping is no easy task. How do you find something that expresses your sentiment, but will also be useful and enjoyed by the mom or mother-figure in your life? The internet may seem like a helpful tool for finding gifts that are unique and creative, but it can also be exhausting to have to sort through the countless ideas and options that are thrown your way. 

That’s why I take the time to page through Etsy for these gift giving occasions…pulling some of the most fun, most practical gift ideas I can find and bringing them to our blog. The goal is to give you a small, but inspiring sample of exciting and meaningful Mother’s Day Gifts that are hopefully eco-friendly!

I usually rank my gift guides in order of how much I would personally want the gift, and I usually save the thing I would personally want most and find the absolute coolest for last…but let me say…this year I would put all of these gifts last if it were possible (okay, maybe I do have one stand out favorite…but it was a close call!)

Copper Earrings by CapturedIllusions

Description from creator

These are knock-out. They shine and you just cannot miss them. These earrings are made from hand hammered copper that has been domed. They are complimented by sterling silver wires. 7/8″x1-1/2″ includes wire.

These make the perfect additional “something something” to tuck into one of our giftboxes!

100% Organic Cotton Turkish Beach Towel by FESHKA

These made me think of my own mom, who loves nothing more than a huge beach towel to sprawl out in the sun on a hot day! These towels are versatile, durable and quick drying!

Description from creator

Feshka beach towels are made of 100% organic Turkish cotton, making our towels extremely soft and durable. Designed to be practical, lightweight, and fashionable, Feshka towels introduce versatile usage over the traditional towel.

You can use them as: Beach and Pool Towel, Picnic Blanket, Dog Blanket, Yoga Mat, TV Blanket, Camping Blanket, Shawl, Scarf, Wrap, Throw Blanket, Sarong, Travel Blanket. Table Cloth, Bath Towel, or Baby Blanket.

Our towels are prewashed to give you the best experience right out of the box. Use of 100% organic Turkish cotton, which consists of extra-long fibers, makes them extra smooth. Feshka towels become softer with every wash. They are made to last and perfect as a gift!

Feshka towels are thinner than terry towels, dry super fast and can also be used as bathroom towels. Quick drying means you can use them over and over again! No more smelly towels. It’s perfect for your next journey!

The unique weaving technique and the use of Turkish cotton allow our towels to repel sand even if they are wet! Enjoy your beach days with the comfort of Feshka Original Turkish Towels while leaving the sand at the beach!

We know being healthy isn’t just what you do with your body but what you put on it. Being GOTS and OEKO-TEX® certified means our products are 100% organic, safe for skin and the environment.

It’s time to say goodbye to your old bulky towels that take forever to dry and pack up. Made with the most premium Turkish cotton and hand-loomed in Turkey, Feshka towels will give you a brand-new experience of beach towels.

What Exactly Are Turkish Towels?

Turkey is one of the most renowned countries for superior fabric production from their exceptional cotton fields. Turkish towels–sometimes called Peshtemal-are made from premium Turkish Cotton that has extra-long fibers which results in stronger and smoother cotton threads. Because of this unique material, Turkish towels are known to become even softer, fluffier, and more absorbent with successive washings.

More information:

*Dimensions: 37″ x 67″ (94cm x 170cm)

*100% Turkish Organic Cotton

*Sand Resistant Design!

*Made and Loomed in Turkey

*After Care Instructions: Machine Wash Cold. Air Dry.

Your towels will ship from California with FREE SHIPPING!

Embrace the summer theme by pairing this towel with one of our outdoorsy, summery bars! Our Summer Skin Saver is out now and our Camping soap will be too! 

Mother’s Day Personalized Book by ISeeMeBooksUS

I had relatives that used to make me personalized books for Christmas when I was little where I was the main character and I always felt so cool and a little bit famous. I don’t think you have to be seven to feel that way! I think every mom is the hero of her story and it deserves to be in print!

Description from creator

Honor a loving super mom with a uniquely personalized book that’s perfect for Mother’s Day, a birthday, or any day of the year just because! Everyone knows moms have super-vision for finding things and super-strength for carrying copious amounts of stuff. Moms are called on to be builders, bakers, doctors, and duct-tapers. Moms can do anything! She brightens our days and wraps us in love. “My Super Mom” makes a sweet photo-personalized gift for moms who are clever, creative, multi-tasking champions! Written by Jennifer Fox and illustrated by Sarah Gramelspacher. Made in the USA. 20 pages; 8.5 x 8.5 inch. HARDCOVER OR SOFTCOVER OPTIONS AVAILABLE.

Even heroes need a spa day! Make sure mom knows this by pairing this fun read with a gift set of soaps, scrubs, and luxury oils! Then she can read in the tub!

Handwritten Recipe Cutting Board for Mother’s Day by Cuttingboarder

I believe that Mother’s Day also serves as a remembrance and celebration of mothers in general. The gift you’re giving may not be going to a mother, but perhaps someone who has lost a mother. My Nana was and is the foundation of my family and when I saw this gift idea I imagined giving one with her handwriting on it to my aunt and how much that would mean to her. 

Description from creator

Create a cherished family heirloom with this engraved, handwritten recipe cutting board! We will take your favorite recipe, from Grandma, Mom, or anyone, and laser engrave it into our high quality, hardwood cutting boards. The perfect gift to remember a loved one and their special recipe!

Keep in theme with cooking and kitchens by pairing this gift with our Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar!

Mother’s Day Chocolates by BrownSugarChocolate

These are so incredibly cool. Who doesn’t love edible artwork? I just can’t get over the fact that these are gorgeous and gluten free!

Description from creator

Brown Sugar Chocolate is a small artisan chocolate company. We make your chocolates to order. We craft each chocolate to have perfect flavor and beautiful artistry. These chocolates are a celebration in a box. Our ingredients are simple and all of our chocolates are free from gluten, eggs, nuts, and corn products.

Our flavors include…

Creme Brulee

Cinnamon Roll

Salted Chocolate Caramel

Double Espresso

Raspberry

Key Lime Pie

Strawberry

Classic Chocolate

Passion Fruit

Cookie Dough Monster

Lavender Honey

This is a 6 piece assorted box with a Mother’s Day theme in a super cute eco-friendly box.

Obviously pair with our Cocoa Butter Bar so you can wash your hands with chocolate after eating it!

Octopus glass straw by Luv4Erth

These are probably the cutest little creatures I have ever seen in my entire life. If you aren’t captivated by these goofy little straw buddies I don’t know what to say.

Description from creator

 All Straws are handmade by us in Murrieta, CA USA

🐙 This listing is for 1 custom, made to order glass drinking straw with a Octopus design

🐙 Custom colors – Select a primary color for the octopus and even add secondary colors in the Personalization (Octopus Straws are clear and the design is colored)

🐙 Straight or bent, your choice! Tell us in the Personalization

🐙 Dishwasher safe, eco-friendly, hypoallergenic

🐙 Free straw cleaning brush included!

🐙 Add a carrying pouch for $2.00

🐙 Since straws are handmade each straw is unique from the next

🐙 Our straws are durable with 10mm outer diameter and 2.2mm thick

Obviously this would go super cute with some kind of beverage themed gift…and we have soaps that smell like beverages! Pick From Pink Lemonade, Root Beer Float and more!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Natural Plant Based Recipes For Mindful Eating

These three recipes are recipes I actually use every week. The ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store, won’t break your grocery budget, and even allow you to do some meal prep so all you have to do for breakfast or lunch is grab and go.

What is mindful eating? That’s a great question. To answer, it might be just as helpful to look at what mindful eating isn’t…which is something I was doing on the daily before I started using these recipes. Most of the time I tend to eat whatever tastes the best, regardless of if it has protein or just empty carbs and regardless of whether it includes any servings of fruits or veggies. Sound familiar? 

Mindful eating doesn’t mean you miss out on all the flavors and deliciousness food has to offer, it just means you prepare delicious food while also making sure you’re taking advantage of all the nutrients that food has to offer. 

  1. Shaved Carrot Salad

Also known as the “Tik Tok Carrot Salad.” I’m obsessed with the version made by @samantha_lucy! According to a Healthline article, “Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.”

They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.

What’s more, their carotene antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.”

Ingredients:

4 medium sized carrots

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Juice of half a lime

2 tsp sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste 

(I like to add a dash of soy sauce or some yum yum sauce!)

Just use a vegetable peeler to peel your carrots into thin strips and mix all the ingredients together! I put this salad in a mason jar and bring it to work as a super easy and healthy lunch. 

If you’re looking for some protein I recommend using lime beans instead!

Did you know carrots can be applied topically to enrich your skin? Our Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Soap is wildly popular and is made with fresh carrot juice!

  1. Overnight Oats

There is so much you can do with this base recipe for vegan overnight oats by @healthygirlkitchen! Rolled oats are a great source of fiber and have lots of other nutrients that benefit by way of weight loss and dropping of cholesterol levels. Plant based milks are often low in calories and are a good source of protein. Nuts and hemp seeds are a great source of protein and berries are full of antioxidants!

Photo by Ovidiu Creanga on Pexels.com

Ingredients:

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup yogurt

½ cup almond milk 

1 tbsp maple syrup

Top with berries, hemp seeds, and nuts

I just throw all the ingredients into a mason jar, stir, and add my berries and nuts on top. I prep five jars at a time and I have breakfast ready to go for the next five mornings!

Variations: this recipe is awesome because it is so easy to customize! For example, I substituted honey for the maple syrup, hemp milk for almond milk, and I’ve also added a tablespoon of nutella or peanut butter for extra flavor! This week I tried adding a little coffee!

Did you know oatmeal is extremely soothing for skin too? Which is why we made a Oatmeal Lavender Body Bar soap bar!

Chia Seed Pudding

According to a Healthline article, “The antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds may promote heart health, support strong bones, and improve blood sugar management.” Cinnamon also has benefits such as antioxidants and the ability to lower blood sugar!

Ingredients:

3 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 cup plant milk

Mix and mix again after 5 mins let sit overnight or for 1 hour.

Hope this helps make meal prep just a little bit easier and a little bit healthier! It sure made the difference for me!

Much Love,

Nora


5 Natural Healthy Snacks For Your Dog!

Did you know that over 50% of American households have a feathered, finned or four-legged family member? That’s right! Our pets give us so much love every day, if only we had a day to recognize and appreciate them. Oh, wait…we do! National Pet Day was this Monday, but if you’re an animal lover like me every day is National Pet day and what better way to celebrate your pet than with a fun surprise for them? Did someone say TREATS?!

You can buy all kinds of treats for your pet at the pet store, but just like human treats, mass produced treats have tons of processed ingredients and sometimes even contain filler ingredients that don’t benefit your pet at all!

Treats made from natural ingredients not only taste fantastic, they’re also full of nutrients that benefit your pet from skin and coat health to a healthy digestive system! 

Today we’ve got five easy to make natural treats for your dog!

  1. Frozen Pumpkin Cubes

The perfect way to cool down on a hot day, all you have to do is spoon canned pumpkin into an ice cube tray and let them freeze solid. Pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals and is also an excellent source of fiber for dogs, especially if they’re having tummy trouble!

  1. Fruit Salad
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Yummy yummy yummy. Did you know dogs can eat fruit?! Even more so…lots of them enjoy it! Fruit provides a lot of the same benefits for dogs as it does humans. A couple slices of apple (make sure seeds are removed) for fiber, a couple slices of banana for potassium, and a few blueberries for antioxidants makes the perfect fruit cup! You can even upgrade it to a parfait by adding one to two spoonfuls of some plain greek yogurt…a fantastic source of calcium and probiotics. 

  1. Bone Broth Popsicle

A great snack for your senior pup, “The glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid in bone broth are nutrients that support joint health and integrity.” (First Vet). All you have to do is pour the bone broth into an ice cube tray and get creative with what you use as a stick! You could try a longer dog biscuit, a Greenie or other dental chew, or even a carrot stick (some dogs love carrots)!

  1. Good Breath Dog Treat

This treat targets stinky breath and uses natural ingredients! The full recipe is from Cook Eat Go and utilizes breath freshening agents such as mint and parsley!

  1. Healthy Homemade Dog Treats

These dog treats are packed with nutrients to support your furry pal on all levels! Olive oil contributes healthy fats (Olive oil also makes great soap, just check out our Castile soaps for the “hoo-mans!”), wheat germ for soft silky coat, and eggs for protein…just to name a few of the ingredients and their benefits. Full recipe can be found here on Wholefully!

Supplementing your dog’s diet is an extremely important part of pet care…but so is maintaining your dog’s physical hygiene. While natural treats are a great way to go, did you know that you have natural options when it comes to your dog’s bath time too?? Our Natural Pet Shampoo contains skin soothing, coat strengthening oils like coconut oil and olive oil as well as an essential oil blend that smells great and works to repel pests like fleas and ticks!

Much Love,

Nora


How to Remove Stains Naturally

This blog was inspired by our Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar, which has been known to work all kinds of miracles! This is a soap that can remove beet juice stains. This is a soap that can remove the strong smell of onion and garlic from your hands. This soap also makes a great dish washing soap for camping! Having methods for removing stains is extremely helpful. Here are some natural methods to remove different kinds of stains.

How to remove blood stains naturally

Little cuts and scrapes happen all the time! While our first priority is to find a band-aid, what will we do about the bloodstain on the couch cushion?! Hydrogen peroxide might be all you need! Method taken from The Maids, “How to Remove Blood Stains Naturally”

  • Immediately soak the clothing in cold water or run cold water over the stain until it fades.
  • Soak a microfiber cloth in 3% hydrogen peroxide and lightly scrub the stain.
  • Apply a pre-treatment of a few drops of liquid laundry detergent to the blood stain.
  • Wash the stained clothing in cold water with a natural bleaching agent like hydrogen peroxide, distilled white vinegar, or baking soda.
  • Let the clothing air dry and then see if the stain is gone. Don’t dry your clothing after the wash; the heat could set any remaining stain.
  • If the stain is gone, wash and dry your clothing like you usually would.
  • If you still see the blood stain, scrub it again with hydrogen peroxide and repeat the washing instructions above.

How to remove juice stains naturally

Drinks spill all of the time, and fruit juice stains are some of the most difficult to clean…especially grape juice! These stains can still be removed though!

Method taken from Stain Solutions

  1. Soak for 15 minutes in mixture of one quart lukewarm water, one-half teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon white vinegar. Rinse.
  2. Sponge with rubbing alcohol, using light motions from center to edge of stain.
  3. Soak for 30 minutes in one quart warm water with one tablespoon enzyme presoak products.
  4. If color stain remains, launder in chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric, or in oxygen bleach.

How to remove butter stains naturally

Greasy foods make for some messy times and messy means spills! Now worries, butter stains aren’t as hard to remove as you thought!

Method taken from The Maids

  • Blot or scrape away as much of the butter as you can from the surface you are trying to remove the stain from.
  • Pour baking soda onto the stain and gently rub it into the stain. Let the baking soda sit for 15 minutes to absorb the oils from the butter.
  • Scrape away the baking soda and repeat the step above until no more oil is being absorbed.
  • Pat the stained area dry with a clean white cloth and then vacuum up the remaining baking soda.

Helpful hints on removing stains from different kinds of fabrics

The porosity and structure of different fabrics can alter the way they stain and influence what you use to remove stains! Here are some interesting tidbits from Art of Manliness.

Cotton: can endure soaking, drying, and heat (though you want to avoid the latter for most stains — warm water is fine, but dry heat just sets the stain). It’s easy to bleach white cotton, but very hard on the fabric, so use chlorine bleaches as a last resort, and dilute them well. The best stain treatments for cotton are detergents and light acids (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.).

Wool: is much more heat-sensitive than cotton, and needs to be treated gently. You can soak it, but you have to lay it flat as it dries to prevent distortion. Use only wool-safe detergents and lukewarm (not hot) water — bleaches and acidic treatments will damage the wool permanently. Treat with water or a wool detergent as soon as possible, and then get the garment to the dry cleaner at the first opportunity.

Synthetics: vary depending on the material. Rayon and polyester can be washed and scrubbed more harshly than cotton, but will be destroyed by oxidizing bleaches like hydrogen peroxide. It’s usually best to clean them with a standard laundry detergent, or with dish soap for grease-heavy stains.

Silk: is exceedingly temperamental. You can treat stains on silk with water, but rather than letting the wet spot dry on its own, rinse the whole garment thoroughly — otherwise you’ll get water spotting, nearly as bad as the original stain. Glycerin stain remover is also effective and neutral.

Of course, if none of these methods work you can always just give our Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar a try!

Much love,

Nora


The Natural Benefits of Honey For Your Skin and Hair

Honey has a multitude of natural benefits for your skin and hair. It soothes, protects, cleans and helps the natural hydration process. There are tons of ways you can utilize honey in your skincare and haircare routine and we’ve made it simple for you to have options with honey in your skincare and haircare routines by including honey as an ingredient in some of our natural shampoos and natural soaps.

The Natural Benefits of Honey For Skin

Honey as a natural antibiotic makes it a great and gentle cleanser for your skin. The natural properties of honey are released when they come in contact with skin, which is when the antiseptic component is activated.

The acids in honey act as a natural exfoliant for your skin. They remove dead skin cells, which allows new skin to breathe. This natural exfoliation process makes skin tone appear more even. This occurs on the scalp too, which promotes hair growth.

Our Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar contains honey and is wildly popular with customers for its amazing smell and its success for leaving skin soft and clean!

“Made with freshly juiced, organic carrots instead of filtered water, this gorgeous, vitamin A packed bar will nourish your skin. Perfect for your face and all over too! Raw honey acts as a humectant, trapping moisture in your skin cells, and rich, emollient oils and butters will leave your skin soft and silky.”

The Natural Benefits of Honey for Hair

Honey is a humectant which means it draws or attracts moisture. This is a fantastic way to hydrate your hair and when coupled with a sealant that will lock in the moisture…you’ve got a great nourishing routine for your hair. 

Our Hemp and Honey Shampoo Bar is the perfect humectant and oil combo for your hair…especially curly hair! Formulated with loads of organic hemp seed oil, this shampoo bar deeply moisturizes both hair and scalp with a thick sudsy lather while the ingredients impart a multitude of fantastic benefits. The perfect bar for those who suffer from scalp issues, or have fine hair.

Hemp products are continually making headlines in the beauty community for their fantastic benefits for the body! Check out our whole Hemp collection here on sale now!

DIY Honey Hair Mask

This DIY hair mask is a popular but simple two -ingredient journey to shiny, radiant hair. I would always get compliments after I had used this hair mask!

Simply combine ½ cup honey and ¼ cup olive oil in the microwave for 10-15 seconds so it is warm, stir to blend and apply roots to tips. I like to wrap my hair in a showercap to hold in the heat and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then wash hair as usual making ure to rinse out the mixture completely so you aren’t left with greasy hair!

For more honey hair masks, check out this website!

What kind of honey is best for using on your hair and face?

Use raw honey or manuka honey and avoid refined honey if possible! 

Much Love,

Nora


5 Most Popular AVNS Natural Beauty Blogs of 2021!

Need some reading material?! These have been our top reads for 2021!

  1. Argan Oil Vs. Jojoba Oil For Hair and Skin

Learn what the difference is between argan oil and jojoba oil and see what happens when I style half my hair with one and half my hair with the other! 

“Jojoba Oil is gleaned from the Jojoba plant which can be found growing in southwestern states. An important thing to note is that, “although jojoba oil is often categorized as an “oil” because of its pale yellow, transparent, liquid appearance, it is actually a liquid wax ester” (NCBI). Before you go dismissing jojoba oil as some melted candle juice, just remember that wax ester is actually used to make the skin soft and that wax treatments are very popular at spas…so does that make jojoba oil like a secret, portable spa treatment?”

  1. Is a Hair Rinse Important?

Marianne goes over what makes up a hair rinse and why it is such a great step to add to your hair care routine!

“Whenever hair becomes wet, the scales raise or soften slightly. Damaged hair also has raised scales, or “roughed up” cuticles. When washing hair with hard water, a high mineral content made up of mostly calcium and magnesium combine with the soap and form deposits on your hair (under and around the scales) weighing it down. Your hair may feel sticky and dirty no matter how often you wash it. Which is why a rinse can be so beneficial”

  1. Apple Valley Natural Soap’s 5 Best Smelling Shampoo Bars

We put our shampoo bars to the test and these were voted the 5 best smelling natural shampoo bars! Make sure to check out our recently updated “Customer’s favorite natural body soap bars of 2022”

“Bella Rose Shampoo Bar! Who else guessed this bar would steal first place? I certainly did! The sweet scent of this bar is intoxicating and reminds me of spring. It’s loaded with rose hips, the fruit of a rose that is known for its amazing skin benefits and deep, rich pigment. This bar is perfect for a head of fiery curls and I would strongly, strongly support the recommendation to pair this soap with our Sweet Rosehips Body Polish!”

  1. 5 Things You Should Know Before Using A Natural Soap or Shampoo Bar

This blog is a great read for beginners and pros alike! It’s a simple read that will teach you everything you need to know about using our soap and shampoo products!

“Did you know letting your shampoo bar dry properly makes a huge difference? It seems like a minor issue, but when you’ve got a half melted soap bar welded to your tub or counter I guarantee you probably won’t be smiling or laughing. Letting your bar dry out between uses is so important to the lifespan and appearance of your bar! A soap mat is the easiest solution to this problem.”

  1. 3 Important Skincare Tips For Mature Skin

Over the hill or almost over it? There are lots of ways you can keep your skin in tip top shape. I interviewed my beauty guru grandma to see what some of the most important tips are for mature skincare.

“Author at Sixtyandme.com, “Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and recently launched “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” – a makeup and beauty YouTube channel specifically designed for women over 50.”

I spent the week emailing with this sophisticated skincare expert (and watching her informative Youtube videos) to learn as much as I could about how to best care for mature skin.”

Happy Reading!

Much Love,

Nora


Customer’s 5 Favorite Natural Soap Bars 2022

These natural body bars were ranked at the top of the list!

I would like to take a moment to genuinely thank all of the people who took the time to complete our survey. I truly enjoyed going through the responses and reading the feedback that people left on why they love our soaps. I love many of the same things about these soaps and it warms my heart to be able to hear from all of you and knowing you care enough to put the time in to help us create this list.

Wildflowers Coconut Bar

Not on our list of best smelling body bars for 2021, but I honestly don’t know why not…since it has definitely become a staple soap in my shower!

“I love the scent of the wildflowers and the coconut is so nice on my dry skin!”

– Satisfied Customer

Enjoy our hard, long-lasting, super sudsy, uber moisturizing organic coconut oil body bars made with 100% organic coconut oil and nothing else. If you’ve never tried one of these—well, you haven’t really lived. What is the Wildflowers Coconut Bar like? Softly sweet, floral, and feminine.

Ingredients: saponified organic coconut oil and essential oils of lavender, sweet orange, bitter orange, cedar leaf, cinnamon leaf, fragrance.

Lime Spa Salt Bar

This salt bar was voted 4th best smelling soap in 2021! And customers who love this bar would agree!

This mega salt bar, weighing 8-9 ounces, is made with European spa salt which is solar evaporated and harvested from the pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This salt is produced using the ancient method of solar evaporation in a region that is free of pollution and has high evaporation rates. Rich in trace minerals that help soothe pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and cell regeneration and hydrate tissue, European spa salt is one of the purest salts in the world.

European spa salt gently exfoliates and pulls out toxins and impurities from the skin. It actually feels like smooth marble and is extremely hard and long lasting. Clay removes bacteria, impurities, oil, and dead skin with its exceptional ability to absorb. This tightens pores and rejuvenates skin cells. Spirulina is a natural antimicrobial, it actually kills off candida, which can be an underlying cause of acne. It also contains 8 essential amino acids, and is high in protein, which is necessary for cell repair and growth. On top of that, spirulina contains a rare fatty acid known as gamma linolenic acid. That combined with being a rich source of antioxidants makes this a highly effective tool against free radicals. When free radicals are eliminated, this increases the skin’s metabolism, and helps your body produce new, healthy cells faster.

We also added organic shea nut butter to make a rich, creamy bar with a delightfully refreshing lime essential oil blend. There are many uses for our salt bars, and this one is great in bathrooms with lots of activity. As with our other salt bars, it lasts a VERY long time!

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European Spa salt, French green clay, organic spirulina, and essential oils of lime and organic may chang.

I haven’t tried this bar, but our salt bars are absolutely lovely and make for a amazing spa day product!

“Scent is like taking a vacation in the shower and the texture is absolutely luxurious”

– Satisfied Customer

Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

Is anyone surprised that this bar made the list? Voted 2nd best smelling soap, it’s kinda a no-brainer. Like everyone, I LOVE the scent of this bar, but also the wonders it works on my face!

If you want to spin around and keel over from happiness, this bar is your ticket to glory. Made with freshly juiced, organic carrots instead of filtered water, this gorgeous, vitamin A packed bar will nourish your skin. Perfect for your face and all over too! Raw honey acts as a humectant, trapping moisture in your skin cells, and rich, emollient oils and butters will leave your skin soft and silky. But one of the best things about this bar is the juicy carrot tangerine scent that makes you think you died and went to tangerine carrot honey heaven. 

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic sunflower, unrefined organic cocoa butter, mango seed butter, apricot kernel, and castor bean. organic carrot juice, organic raw honey, rosemary oil extract, grapefruit seed extract, and essential oils of lime, tangerine, litsea cubeba, orange, and basil.

“I have rosacea it’s AMAZINGLY gentle on my face, but still leaves it clean”

– Satisfied Customer

Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar

People love this bar for its amazing smell and long lasting quality!

Lavender and Rosemary, what’s not to love with this scent profile? Floral and herbaceous, like a walk through the garden.

A multipurpose, brimming with goodness, HUGE salt bar!

Also, have you ever wondered if you can use a salt bar for a shampoo?

Well, the answer is yes you can!

This salt bar, plus our Lavender Lemon Salt bar make a wonderful shampoo for those with itchy scalps who have tried everything under the sun (including a wide range of our products) to alleviate the itch. Even some of our team members who periodically get itchy scalps, find relief with these 2 salt bars. If you do choose to try a salt bar as a shampoo, try a sample or half bar first as this bar won’t be for everyone. If you have a lot of hair, you may find that it doesn’t lather as much as our regular shampoo bars. A suggestion for this to still get the anti itch benefits from the salt bar, but also get a rich lather, is to use the salt bar gently against the scalp and lather as much as possible, do not rinse but follow with a shampoo bar. Use the shampoo bar until you have a think lather and then rinse with water. Follow with an acidic rinse if needed.

Giant bars of long lasting beauty. If you haven’t tried a sink salt bar, you haven’t lived.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European spa salt, and essential oils of lavender and rosemary.

Black Licorice Hand Face and Body Soap

My favorite body bar!

Our Black Licorice Hand, Foot & Body Soap is a natural bar created for black licorice lovers only!

The release of this fantastic soap is our first nod to the change of seasons and cooler months. This amazing black licorice soap is for those who simply just LOVE the scent of black licorice. Brace yourself for an incredible licorice scent along with a satisfying exfoliation experience from the black walnut hull powder (which also gives it the dark coloring). Licorice root not only smells great, but has many health benefits. The herb is used directly on the skin to help with eczema, skin rashes, psoriasis, and itchy, dry skin. Black walnut is also regarded to be useful in the treatment of skin diseases and complaints such as eczema, ringworm, athlete’s foot etc. It’s long been used as a natural remedy for acne, canker sores, psoriasis and other fungal infections.

There’s nothing like it on the planet!

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic olive, organic sunflower, unrefined organic shea nut butter, castor bean, non-gmo licorice root, organic black walnut hull powder, rosemary oil extract, and star anise essential oil.

“I have dry skin and very dry hair (yes, I use this on my hair) and it leaves both soft and silky. Hands down the best cleanser I have ever used on my hair (even if it is too superfatted for most people).”

– Satisfied Customer

See what happened when I used this bar on my hair!

Popular 2nd Favorites!

Honey Carrot and Tangerine were both extremely popular again, but we also had some new soaps take the spotlight!

Lavender Lemon Salt Soap Bar

Lavender and lemon. A match made in heaven. I love this bar in the kitchen and the bathroom. And the living room and the family room and the bedroom and the…

Giant bars of long lasting beauty. If you haven’t tried a sink salt bar, you haven’t lived.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European spa salt, and essential oils of lavender and lemon.

“This bar has a nice, refreshing springtime scent which is amazing and wonderful to have especially during the long winter months in Minnesota. The scent in your kitchen and on your hands is calm and up-lifting.”

– Satisfied Customer

Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar

Voted best smelling body bar in 2021. People love this face soap for its scent!

You know you want to wash your face and body in organic, virgin cocoa butter and Madagascar vanilla beans. Here’s your chance. Sumptuous—and zero calories. This pure cocoa butter soap bar is unscented, but you can smell the faint scent of organic cocoa butter and vanilla. Naturally. Perfect for sensitive souls.

Warning: This pure cocoa butter soap bar is extremely moisturizing and may reduce your need for extra moisturizers, thereby saving you time and money as well as simplifying your life. And who would want that?

Ingredients: saponified oils of a madagascar vanilla bean infused organic extra virgin olive, organic cocoa butter, and organic coconut oil. No added scent.

Kitchen Salt And Spice Bar

“First, it smells wonderful. Second, it really does remove smells from garlic and onion from your hands. Third, and unexpected surprise: it took beet juice stain off my hands, and a spot of spilled tomato sauce from fabric. I can’t wait to keep testing this on mystery spots in the laundry!”

– Satisfied Customer

This bar is an excellent choice for cleaning odors from hands with its rich, spicy, fabulous scent. It’s my favorite bar for the kitchen, especially after chopping onions or working with garlic or peppers. It has two odor-killing ingredients: coffee and anise essential oil. Whether you are a gardener, a fisherman, or a mechanic, this is what you’ve been looking for.

Need exfoliation? Ground coffee beans and salt will do the trick to get off stubborn dirt. But you’ll also want to keep your hard working hands moisturized, softened, and protected, so we’ve packed this bar with loads of unrefined shea nut butter. European spa salt makes this bar antibacterial, rock hard, and long lasting. No more mushy soap by the kitchen sink. Really, there’s nothing not to love about this bar.

Ginormous 8-9 ounce bars.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, european spa salt, organic coffee, organic coffee grounds, and essential oils of anise, cinnamon leaf, cassia, organic may chang, lemon, organic eucalyptus, organic rosemary, ginger, and clove.

Chocolate Orange Body Bar

People love the orange and chocolate combination! It’s a reason to look forward to winter when this bar hits the shelves again!

Loads of organic cocoa butter (almost 50%!) give this bar its dreamy, creamy feel on the skin and its rich, chocolatey scent. Sweet orange essential oil adds that luscious twist of heaven. Don’t miss this special edition bar.

Some of the wonderful benefits from the ingredients in this tantalizing soap:

  • Cocoa Butter is readily absorbed by your skin for superb moisturizing, as well as a great antioxidant to protect the health and youthful appearance of skin.
  • Coconut oil which is a super-oil full of naturally present antioxidants, it is an excellent anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. 
  • Olive oil which is packed with anti-aging antioxidants and hydrating squalene, making it superb for hair, skin, and nails.
  • Sunflower oil helps the skin retain moisture and is very high in vitamin E, an antioxidant which helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic cocoa butter, organic sunflower, sweet almond, organic coconut, organic olive, and castor bean, rosemary oil extract, organic cocoa powder, sweet orange essential oil, and mica glitter.

I definitely have to give the Lime Spa Salt Bar and the Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar a try! Which bars do you need to try next?!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Natural Ingredients That Are Great For Your Skin!

We’ve got so many great things happening at Apple Valley Natural Soap. We’re right around the corner from launching our new physical storefront, our newly formatted website is up and running (hurry and celebrate our new look with 10% off products for a limited time!)! We’re even working on a new and improved newsletter design! GREAT RIGHT? Of course, our most important goal is to make our products as GREAT as possible. This week, I pulled three of our best smelling bars (voted on by our GREAT customers) and today I’m going to be diving into what makes these three products GREAT…besides just how amazing they smell. 

Bella Rose Shampoo Bar (Voted Best Smelling Shampoo Bar)

This is not just a customer favorite, but a personal favorite shampoo bar of mine. I also adore the matching rose hips sugar scrub we sell and I’m even guilty of custom ordering my organic jojoba oil to smell like the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar. This bar has a fantastic body of nourishing oils and some cleansing clay, but what makes this shampoo bar so unique is the addition of rose hips.

Rose hips are amazing for your skin and hair because they provide benefits on multiple levels.

Rose Hips Benefits For Skin:

  • Contain nourishing fatty acids.
  • Contain skin-protecting antioxidants.
  • Skin soothing properties that may help reduce inflammation.

Reviews for the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar

“I’ve never had a shampoo bar make my hair so clean, shiny and beautiful! Besides how amazing this product leaves my hair, it smells flowery and wonderful. My man smelled my hair and said it even has notes of chocolate lol!”

“Wonderful product. I have color treated hair and this shampoo bar cleanses and conditions beautifully. And it smells great. Highly recommend it.”

Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar (Voted Best Smelling Body Bar)

This may just be our most popular product, it certainly comes across as having celebrity status with it’s bright, confident scent profile and warm, cheerful color. But this bar is also known for the wonders it works!

Instead of filtered water, this facial bar was made with freshly juiced carrots! And I suspect this is what gives this bar it’s edge as a game changer for faces everywhere! 

Carrot Juice Benefits For Skin: 

  • Vitamin C and iron content helps to balance skin tone.
  • Hydrates skin.
  • Helps promote glowing skin tone.

Reviews For Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

“This bar is great for my face and body, the lather is wonderful and the scent is up-lifting. My skin feels soft and clean, never feels dried out. You won’t regret using this bar to cleanse your body, so treat yourself to something good for your skin.”

“This makes my skin soft and has diminished my lines in my skin due to the vitamin a rich carrot juice you should make a face cream with the same ingredients.”

Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar (Voted 2nd Best Shampoo Bar)

Huge with our lavender lovers, this bar not only has a rich, dreamy lavender scent, but has a surprising amount of benefits that come from both the lavender and buttermilk. The buttermilk is what sets this shampoo bar apart from our other lavender bars. 

Buttermilk benefits for skin:

  • Keeps skin young looking by reducing the appearance of age spots.
  • Lactic acid exfoliates skin, keeping it soft and bright.
  • Buttermilk is gentle on sensitive skin.

Reviews for Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar

“This is a great shampoo bar! I love the scent and it lathers really well. I’ve been using shampoo bars from a different company for years and I feel like this one is easier to use and it leaves my hair softer and silkier. Definitely recommend it!”

“I’ve used this on my scalp before. I got cancer, had chemo and was bald. Hair is back and so am I. Lavender is very soothing. I’m in heaven with the feel of my scalp and look of my hair! And the smell is lovely and stays in my hair. Hope it’s never discontinued!”

Leave a review and let us know why you love one of these bars!

Do you follow our newsletter? You can always sign up! It’s where we feature weekly soaps and advertise sales, deals, and giveaways! If you do receive our newsletter, keep an eye out for this year’s survey on our best smelling body bars…will our champions from last year hold their titles…or will a new victor be crowned?!

Much Love,

Nora