Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts and Ideas

Women. Listen to me. There are three TOP Valentine’s Day worthy AVNS products that I would highly recommend. If you asked me, “Nora, what product would you recommend for Valentine’s Day so I smell amazing and irresistible?” These are the products I would tell you you need to instantly get. Like right now. Order them now. The Bella Rose Shampoo Bar, The Sweet Rose Hips Body Sugar Scrub, and The Custom Scented Jojoba Oil scented like the Bella Rose. Using the Sweet Rose Hips Scrub in the shower feels like a luxury scented steam sauna and I can’t wait to get out of the shower and dry off so I can put the jojoba oil on my arms and legs right away! It smells that good!

Okay, now that I’ve directed you towards the products that will make you smell like a whole bouquet of sweet roses we can figure out what to get that special someone in your life, because if you’re like me time is ticking away and pretty soon your gonna get stuck buying a last-minute box of chocolates. Obviously our products make fantastic gifts for any occasion and a gift pairing that demonstrates creativity shows that you’ve put thought into your gift! I’ve been scanning Etsy for some unique Valentine’s day inspo and came across some ideas that are really sweet. I’ll be linking each product, but feel free to use these to spark your own ideas as well!

  1. Personalized Custom CD Mixtape Customizable Playlist
    • This is my go-to for a first valentine’s day gift. Is it totally cheesy? Yes. embrace the cliche. Picking out songs that mean something to you and the other person or remind you of them and your relationship is so much fun to do and share! You can create a musical map of your relationship. The song that played during your first kiss, the song that played that one time you got lost driving through the city at night, the song you always sing the wrong words to and it makes the other person laugh. The one you love is such a huge part of your life, and so is music!
    • This customized CD is a must for those who don’t have the skills or resources to burn their own CD (pointing enthusiastically at myself here). I love how you can even customize the name of the CD! I have personally used this seller and I loved how it turned out!
  2. Messages In a Jar
    • I love how this sweet, simple gift is so intimate and personal. You can write 50 different reasons why you love your special someone and they’ll have 50 days to read why that is! The glass container and cork lid just has such a classy, versatile look that could be kept on a bedside table, bathroom counter, or even a side table.
  3. Vitamin Me
    • Similar concept to the messages in a jar, this adorable vitamin container is full of vitamin capsules…but don’t swallow! You can put a little love letter in every capsule! This presentation is so fun and playful, perfect for a newer or younger couple gift. 
    • If you’re having trouble thinking of what to say…maybe that’s a sign the relationship is doomed. I’M JUST KIDDING! Sometimes I have trouble putting all my love into the right words too. This seller has you covered though and includes a QR code you can scan for a free pdf with tons of different ways to say, “I love you!”
  4. Valentine’s Day Macarons
    • If your darling has a sweet tooth this is the perfect gift! Definitely check out some of our vanilla products to go with these little cookies! Hint: looking for more of a hands on activity? Try baking your own macarons together!
    • “Valentine’s Day macarons! A perfect and delicious treat for anyone you love ❤ Every order is baked fresh. The macarons come with an assortment of designs, as shown on the listing pictures- painted cupid, white drizzle with valentine’s day-themed sprinkles, and plain pink. Last day to order for guaranteed arrival by Valentine’s Day is February 4th. You may choose any of our seven most popular flavors: (Vanilla, Chocolate, Rose, Cookies n’ Creme, Fruity Pebbles, Coconut, and Lemon). The filling will consist of buttercream or ganache, depending on the flavor you choose. These treats are gluten-free with the exception of our Cookies n’ Creme flavor.”
  5. Hand Stamped Penny Key Chain
    • I think this idea is so unique and special, especially since the backdrop is a penny! I would love this as a necklace option, too! This is the only idea I included that I haven’t personally tried some variation of so it’s kind of next on my list!
    • “This is a hand stamped “lucky to have found you” penny keychain. A heart can be stamped around the penny year. We can customize one side to your liking — Up to 4 lines, 9 characters max per line lowercase, 6 characters max per line if all uppercase.”

If you were struggling to come up with something hopefully I’ve given you some ideas or at least a place to start! If in doubt…a bottle of champagne, a box of chocolate and some roses (or the bella rose collection) never disappointed me! 

Much Love,


Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Guide!

I love using gift guides for finding unique Christmas gifts, and eco-friendly products make some of the best Christmas gifts for family and friends because they utilize so much creativity! I’ve pulled 6 super cool gift ideas into an eco-friendly gift guide and paired each of them with an Apple Valley Natural Soap Product to create the perfect gift set for a loved one (or an enemy, let’s set aside the rivalry and spread the holiday cheer…am I right?)

Beez Kneez Honey

Photo credit: Beez Kneez

About The Company:


Beez Kneez offers a bountiful selection of different kinds of honey, and who doesn’t love putting honey on baked goods or in their tea? If you know someone who thinks bees truly are the bees knees, then this company offers an immersive experience a step above a jar of honey! You can take a beekeeping workshop and learn how to extract honey! Such a unique gift experience would go perfectly with our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar, a bar that smells as sweet as honey.

I love this little excerpt written by the owner, I think it speaks so much about the passion that goes into this company and the careful love and upkeep of the bees that produce such amazing honey:

“I will never forget my first date with honey bees. It was in August of 2009 at my aunt and uncle’s bee ranch.  My uncle took me out to check some of his apiaries.  The minute he cracked that first hive, the sweet smell of nectar, wax and smoke filled my nostrils, millions of little fuzzy bodies were flying above my head, thousands of workers moving strong among the frames and I had my first taste of real, raw basswood honey.  It is cliche to say, but I fell in love. I could not get enough.  The way they communicate by dancing, how the hive functions as a superorganism, the fact that all the workers are female, that they collaborate extremely well to do incredible things, that they help flowers reproduce and make honey…what is not to love? The more I learned the more I wanted. I was love sick for honey bees.”

-Kristy Lynn Allen

SmartGlassKP Sea Glass Necklace

These beautiful jewelry pieces made by SmartGlassKP are made from recycled glass bottles reminiscent of sea glass! The perfect gift for someone who loves the ocean and beachside strolls. Bring the ocean to your shores by pairing it with one of our Salt Bars! These long lasting bars contain high quality salt which cleans and refreshes your skin! 

“Very beautiful necklace and ring. Such simple and elegant designs. Love themI would highly recommend!”

You Plant We Plant Tree Pouch by Forest Nation

A big part of the holiday season is sending out cards to loved ones! This fun alternative by Forest Nation makes a great case for a good cause! Send someone you love a chance to support ecosystem restoration and a tree of their very own to nurture! As it grows it will be a reminder of your love for them, how fun is that?! In keeping with the theme, try our popular Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar. Hey! Did you know that when you check out AVNS products online you can add a donation that will reduce your carbon footprint? We’ve partnered with a cool system called Eco-cart in order to do this!

Bamboo socks by Thriving Earth

An eco-friendly twist on giving and getting socks for Christmas! Thriving Earth’s Bamboo Socks are known for being soft and breathable and for each pair of socks sold by this company a pair of socks is given to someone in need! Pair this with our Bamboo Shampoo Bar, which is high in hair strengthening Silica!

“I bought these as a birthday present and they were very popular and much admired. The quality is excellent and the design is lovely. The colours are rich and the socks are really well made. I am hoping to buy more as Christmas gifts! Thank you very much.”

Recycled Glass Tumblers by GoGiftid

This is such a cool gift to give to a special man in your life. This company GoGiftid up-cycles glass bottles into funky, fun glasses and bowls. Of course, we have to recommend giving this gift with a bar of our Root Beer Float Shampoo and Body Bar

Sun Print Kit by Elemental Leaf

Looking for something crafty to do that doesn’t create unnecessary waste?

This sun print kit made by Elemental Leaf makes a great gift for an artsy teen or young adult. How does it work? It’s a light sensitive paper that takes on the shapes of shadows in blue and white! It’s kind of hard to explain, so check out this tutorial!

Pair with our sunniest smelling bar of soap, our Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar!

Hope you find some inspo for this holiday season!

Much Love,


Do Your Christmas Shopping In One Day

Say it with me. Holidays can be hectic. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

With all the planning and all the prepping you probably feel like your head is minutes from exploding (cue festive silver tinsel bursting out of my ears) which is why I’ve been focusing my blogs for the past several weeks less on the science of beauty and healthcare and more on little ways to make this busy season just an itty bitty less stressful. I promise we’ll get back to the DIY Beer Hair Rinses, The Benefit of Tea Soaks, and all the other fun ideas I can’t wait to explore.

But not this week. This week I want you to take a moment to relax, enjoy some amazing soap, and get your Christmas shopping done with time to spare. Which is why I’m about to leak my Super Top Secret Christmas List for Friends and Family 2020. I hope you’ve got a pencil and paper.

Easy Christmas Shopping: does it exist?

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

It’s the night before all the big festivities, you should be home baking cookies, reading your favorite Christmas stories, and decorating the tree, but you’re not. Instead you’re racing through your local mall, getting sucked into overpriced boutique stores and paying waaaaaay too much for a set of wooden serving utensils your sister-in-law probably already has. Does your brother actually want his own popcorn popper set with 20 gourmet seasonings? Probably not…but oh well. Next year you’ll plan ahead…right?

This scenario is what many would identify as Last Minute Christmas Shopping, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has experienced it. 

But this year I put my foot down. No Last Minute Christmas Shopping for me…and guess what…all my gifts are already wrapped and under the tree…and I’m about to tell you how.


If you are reading this blog and think you might be related and or receiving a gift from me, you probably want to go read a different blog instead…unless you hate surprises in which case…I warned you.

Do Your Christmas Shopping in One Day

Without leaving the comfort of your bed. This year I handpicked a beautiful bar of Apple Valley Natural Soap for almost every friend and family member of mine. Apple Valley Natural Soap made this process incredibly easy because

  1. AVNS has a huge selection of not only soaps, but other high end beauty products as well making it easy to find not just something but the perfect something for everyone.
  2. Has an awesome deal that gets you a free bar of soap with every seven bars purchased (limited edition or already discounted bars do not apply).
  3. Has a Rewards Program that earns you points towards more free products.
  4. Allows you to support a small business while not sacrificing variety or quality.
  5. Ships quickly or makes free pick-up a breeze.

Find The Perfect Gift For Everyone

We’ve already established that our Christmas Soaps make the perfect hostess gifts, but what about all the other amazing people in your life?

Of course, I understand that one bar of soap might not cut it for that extra special someone in your life…but four might…or how about an entire box of skin care and hair care products, customized and pre-packaged in a beautiful Christmas box? You could even let the soap be the stocking stuffer that inspired the gift waiting under the tree!

One note: I listed as many relationships as I could think of for this blog, but there are tons of very important, unique relationships I probably didn’t cover as well. I understand this and I honor those relationships, which is why I want you to look at this list as an inspiration rather than something set in concrete. If you’re facing the holiday season without a mom, think about mother-figures instead. Have a biological dad and a step-dad but don’t differentiate? Awesome, me too! Christmas is the time to celebrate family of all kinds. The first Christmas started with the unlikeliest, most unique of families. A mother gave birth to the son of God and the entire world changed forever, a truly beautiful reason to celebrate.

The Perfect Gift For Your Mom

She’s sacrificed so much for you, so give something back this year.

It’s why I’m parting with one of the Black Licorice Hand Foot and Body Bars I stocked up on back in October. My mom loves black licorice as much as I do and I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she receives her own full sized bar. I went the extra mile for her and paired the bar with a bottle of Organic Jojoba customized to smell just like the Black Licorice bar!

The Perfect Gift For Your Dad(s)

He’s supported you, so show him how excited you are to support him.


Get him something that means something to you

One of my dads grows an awesome beard during hunting season, and this year I was so excited about our new Natural Beard Shampoo Bar that I actually gave him his gift early!

p.s. He loves it!

I got my other dad the Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar because it is one of my favorite bars (and a TOP FIVE FAVORITE) and I want to share it with him!

The Perfect Gift For Your Brother

Find something he’ll love regardless of whether he enjoys getting his hands dirty or prefers keeping them clean.

My brother is an avid outdoorsman, so I got him the Wild North Shampoo Bar… a bar that will bring the subtle scents of the outdoors…in. Sometimes brothers can also be a bit forgetful, so I’m pairing his soap with a mat so his bar doesn’t accidentally glom to the rim of the tub.

The Perfect Gift For Your Sister

For all the times she was sweet to you…or maybe to make up for the times you weren’t so sweet with her.

I don’t have a sister, but if I did I would make sure she had a bar of our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar or Chamomile and Orange Blossom Shampoo Bar. These bars are perfect for pairing with a sweet treat like Baking Betty’s Cookies! They make tons of unique and delicious cookies, are located in the Mall of America, and have a very similar, God-centered mission to AVNS!

The Perfect Gift For Your Aunt

Why do you look up to your aunt? Her Style? Authenticity? Work Ethic? Get her a bar that tells her what you appreciate most about her!

I have three aunts.

A Trendy Pumpkin Spice Bar for my trendy aunt.

An Unscented Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Facial Bar for my down-to-earth aunt with sensitive skin (runs in the family)

The Sweet Rosehips Body Polish for my aunt so she can let those sweet, exfoliating sugar crystals do all the hard work for her!

The Perfect Gift For Your Uncle

This one is tricky. How do you pick a gift for a man with refined tastes who probably already has everything he needs? An equally refined bar of soap.

I got the Cowboy Shampoo Bar with my uncle in mind and as soon as I smelled it I knew I made the perfect choice. My uncle has a knack for coordination and a practicality that makes him an amazing chef and fantastic interior designer so I got him a bar with a unique and masculine scent profile I know he’ll appreciate. 

The Perfect Gift For Your Niece

I don’t have a niece yet, but I imagine she looks up to you just like I look up to my aunts and uncle, so get her something that makes her feel like she’s following in your footsteps!

I have a little cousin who is more of a little sister to me and she already tried a lot of AVNS products during my summer photoshoot blog…so I’m making her another gift instead, but pairing it with my all time favorite: Vanilla Latte Lip Balm.

The Perfect Gift For Your Nephew

I don’t have a nephew, but getting something you know he’ll use is always a safe bet.

Our Lotion Bar packs as a solid and is perfect for the nephew who loves to travel.


If he’s an athlete, our Extra Strength Balm is a hemp oil product that can be used by serious athletes to help relieve muscle aches and pains.

The Perfect Gift For Your In-Laws

Show them how much you care

Yes, it may mean letting go of another Black Licorice Hand Foot and Body Bar, but you know they’ll love it and that makes it so worth it.

The Perfect Gift For Your Grandfather

Give them something practical that shows them their hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. 

All of my grandfathers are shining examples of what it means to be a hard worker. My grandpas are always on the move. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, doing handiwork around the house, or plowing snow, they show their love through practical acts of service. So I got them bars they could get on board with: the multipurpose Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo and Shaving Bar and our Rugged Shaving Soap, a shaving soap to protect against the elements when my Papa is out and about!

The Perfect Gift For Your Grandmother

Spoil her as much as she’s spoiled you. 

Both of my grandmothers exude tranquility and gentleness, so I looked for bars that would fit their vibes. One grandma is a beauty guru and I can’t wait for her to try her Antioxidant Beauty Facial Bar, full of pampering ingredients. My other grandma enjoys the soothing scent of lavender, so I got her the Oatmeal Lavender Body Bar made with oats to calm and soothe her skin.

The Perfect Gift Spouse/Partner

Nothing says I love you like a gift that shows them how well you know them.

Sigh, there goes another Black Licorice Hand Foot and Body Bar. I made the mistake of letting my boyfriend wash his hands with my coveted bar and ever since he’s been hinting about getting one of his own for Christmas.

The Perfect Gift For Your Co-workers

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Give them something unique to mix it up this year.

Don’t get me wrong, you can never go wrong with leaving a box of adorable cupcakes in the office with a little note saying “help yourself and happy holidays!” But how would you like to stand out this holiday season? I did. So I bought the Shampoo Bar Sampler Pack and put each sample in a plastic reindeer baggy with a little label and I am so excited for my coworkers to try them!

I hope your Christmas shopping just got a little easier!

Much Love,


Three Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas for 2020 that were Inspired by Natural Soap

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m a fantastic gift giver.

I Love Gift Giving for a Number of Reasons

Of course, I enjoy counting all the money I saved in the process because I’m thriving on thrifty, but the best part of gift giving is finding the perfect gift for the perfect person. It’s realizing that taking the time to put together a quality gift for someone you love is more than an obligation. It’s an act of art, love, and acknowledgment. 

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

This being said, I’ve always been stumped when it comes to Father’s Day.

Dads, husbands, brothers, sons, son-in-laws, uncles, nephews, grandpas, great-grandpas and all the men who have made a difference in your life deserve a day of recognition, but is there ever a way to truly show the tremendous amount of appreciation you have for them?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In the time I’ve been with AVNS I’ve come to believe that we have a bar for every occasion. 

Finding the Perfect Father’s Day Gift

So this Father’s Day I turned to some amazing bars for inspiration and came up with three, simple, special Father’s Day gifts that won’t break the bank, but are sure to make the father-figures in your life feel irreplaceable.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Now, I personally love giving and receiving multipart/themed gifts because I think they show the time and creativity that went into the process. These bars make for great gifts just on their own, but can also be paired with the three inclusive and customizable Father’s Day experiences they inspired for a personal touch. 

*All of these ideas can be accomplished with social distancing in mind

1) Cook a 5-Star Meal with the Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo, and Shaving Bar

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

Turn your kitchen into your own personal 5-star restaurant with the help of our Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo, and Shaving Bar. Every great chef needs clean hands before they get to chopping. This multipurpose shampoo bar’s woodsy scent will make him feel like he just spent the afternoon trekking through the forest, making it the perfect scent-appetizer. As a bonus, organic olive oil will leave his skin super moisturized. Make it a romantic evening, or get the whole family involved for a night of culinary creativity. This is the perfect indoor Father’s Day gift for a relaxing night in the comfort of your own home. 

A Soap Inspired Father’s Day Menu

Photo by Harry Dona on Pexels.com

Let our soap be the opening and closing act for a fantastically themed meal. I was inspired by this shampoo bar’s orange and rosemary essential oil blend and came up with a complementing menu. Try this Orange Rosemary Chicken grilled to juicy perfection and complemented with a show-stealing citrus side salad.

Vegan? So is a Lot of Our Soap!

Instead of meat, try this Creamy Mushroom Risotto. The depth of flavor is out of this world!

2) Un-cramp with a Customized Camping Trip with the Limited Edition Camping Bar

Photo by Cliford Mervil on Pexels.com

He’s itching to get out of the house, but if swarms of bugs and “doing your business in the woods” are the only images that come to mind when you think about camping I can see why you’d be hesitant to venture into the deep woods.

The thing is, camping doesn’t have to be all about roughing it. With the right planning and the right soap, camping can be more fun than you’d think! Not only is our Camping Bar biodegradable, it’s also packed with pest-repelling essential oils. This bar can be used as shampoo when used with soft water (lake or river water) and can be used as a body bar with hard water.

You can camp anywhere, allowing you to tailor your Father’s Day trip to perfection.

Glamping (Glamour Camping)

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Celebrate the fantastic father of your children with a childless romantic getaway into the deep woods. Pitch a tent under the stars or have someone else do it for you.

Bamping (Backyard Camping)

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Get the kids involved with a fun night in the backyard! Have a father themed sing-along and get the grill going for a cookout…the ideas are endless. 

3) Horseback Ride with the Cowboy Bar

Photo by willsantt on Pexels.com

Feel the thrill of the Old West with a trail ride. Never ridden a horse? No problem! Many trail riding companies will tell you everything you need to know and will help you find a horse matched to your riding abilities.

Nothing feeds his sense of adventure more than sitting astride a mighty steed as you spend a day on the trail. He’ll feel like a true cowboy when he dismounts with newly stiff legs and covered in some authentic cowboy dirt. 

Don’t like the sound of cowboy dirt? No worries! 

A scrub with our Cowboy Bar will keep him clean and smelling like a fresh man with the smokey scent of vetiver and spicy black pepper.

Making Father’s Day Special

Whatever you plan to do, make this Father’s Day count by letting Dad know you care. You’d be surprised just how much a handmade card and a bar of natural soap can brighten his day.

Much Love,