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Ilsa Fragrances- A Perfume that Encourages Limitless Possibilities
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Hotel Valencia Riverwalk – San Antonio
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Slather Botanicals – Plant Based Product for Happy Skin

Ilsa Fragrances- A Perfume that Encourages Limitless Possibilities

The main reason why I started this blog was that I wanted to give a voice to small brands. I love hearing the maker’s story, especially if there’s a specific do-good purpose behind their product. I first heard about Ilsa Fragrances through an Instagram group that I belong to. As time progressed, I got to know the perfume brand through the posts, and I found that they not only promoted the product, but did so in a heartfelt and encouraging manner.

Ilsa Fragrances founder- Ilsa Manning, was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. She is a self-proclaimed Francophile, as she studied French in high school and minored in it in college. After graduation, she landed a job as a nanny in a suburb outside of Paris. “While I enjoyed fragrance and used my time in Paris to indulge in scent, it was just another product in my toiletry bag. Years later, when I was living in England, I got a job at the largest fragrance manufacturer in the world. One of the main reasons I got the role was because I was American and I had the French background, and the role consisted of working with the company’s French and American locations. Really, I had no experience other than those two things! But it was in this role, and at this company, that I learned about the perfumery world, and that is when I fell in love with fragrance and the impact of scent on our lives,” Manning explained.

On starting her company…” I was inspired to take action and create Ilsa Fragrances after the birth of my first daughter. I had had a winding career up until that point and I never felt I was getting anywhere (progressing professionally or monetarily). I also never really believed in myself or my capabilities, and I never saw or believed in my own self-worth, self-love, self-belief – I lacked all of these things. With the birth of my daughter, I realized I wanted to be the best person I could be for her, and I most definitely wanted her to grow up believing in herself, believing she has incredible worth, and believing that she can do and be anything she dreams. Her birth actually showed me that I have done incredible things in my life and things that I thought were failures had always been successes and had been integral to my life journey. To getting to here. To have the strength and belief in myself, and to pass that on to my daughters and to other women – through Ilsa Fragrances. That is why the first collection is the Infinite Collection – because your dreams, potential, and capabilities are infinite! I established the company in 2015 and launched No 1, the first fragrance in the Infinite Collection, in September 2016.”

Infinite No 1 is an oriental fragrance, which consists of spice, amber, and musk notes. Those notes are some of Ilsa’s favorite scents. She goes on to explain, “I wanted women to feel beautiful when they sprayed it on, that they had a boost of confidence empowering them to tackle their day!”

“Everything with Ilsa Fragrances is about empowering women. Empowering women to feel good, confident, and beautiful (the fragrance); to believe in themselves (quotes and other empowering posts on social media and our blog), and to follow their dreams (Facebook Live- Coffee & Conversations- where I interview women and they share how they achieved their dream/goal so that others can be inspired to do the same/learn from them). Also equally as important, we donate 5% of the net proceeds from sales to Girls on the Run, a non-profit organization that aims to create ‘a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential, and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.’ We are, integrally, #perfumewithapurpose!”

Stay tuned folks, she is currently in development on the second fragrance!

Ilsa Fragrances, Infinite No 1

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk – San Antonio

In the heart of downtown San Antonio (or SA, as I like to call it), and conveniently located on one of the city’s most prized attractions- the Riverwalk; sits the Hotel Valencia. The 213-room boutique hotel actually got quite the renovation during the early part of 2017. Architect and designer Lauren Rottet chose to pay homage to San Antonio rich Spanish Colonial heritage, which dates back to when the missions were built, which was around the 1700s. Rottet also infused Modern Mediterranean influence into the building, as a nod to the Tuscan-style architecture to the hotel’s namesake- Valencia, Spain. The hotel offers numerous cozy lounges, a business center, a large event space, a beautiful open-air courtyard, in-room spa services, and a fitness center. Guests also have the option of dining at the only Argentinian-inspired restaurant in the city- Dorrego’s, or cafe/bar- Naranja.

The Mr and I stayed in one of their deluxe balcony king rooms with a lovely terrace that faces the Riverwalk. The Spanish Colonial theme can also be seen throughout the room, with the curved iron headboard that serves as the focal point. I feel that the dark plantation shutters hint at the city’s southern roots, but also offer a nice contrast that leads out onto the quaint terrace. A good night’s rest was had on their custom designed Valencia bed. The Mr is actually still raving about how well he slept on it. You can actually shop the bedding and more on the Shop Valencia portion of the website. We didn’t have the chance to check out Dorrego’s during this trip, but we did have the complimentary European-style continental FIT breakfast. It was located in the main lobby, and featured a variety of pastries, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, and a coffee/tea bar. You can also get fresh squeezed orange juice from the DIY OJ machine at Naranja’s. That OJ was literally the best we’ve ever tasted (as of this posting)! I also enjoyed checking out the rustic features, elegant ironwork, exquisitely handcrafted tilework, and the textiles that also gave the impression of Texas’ western culture.

I recommend signing up to be a Valencia VIP, as you’ll be asked several questions regarding what your preferences are in regards to welcome amenities, room type preference, etc.

Scroll down for a virtual tour of the hotel!

NOTE: I was given a complimentary night’s stay in exchange for my honest review. 

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, San Antonio, hotel

Slather Botanicals – Plant Based Product for Happy Skin

Natural body scrubs by Slather Botanicals

Slather Botanicals is also another reason why I absolutely LOVE going natural, in terms of skin care. I originally discovered the brand on Instagram, but then actually tried the plant-based product while I was vending at a handmade market a couple years ago. As I was sampling the moisturizing location and toner on my face, I immediately noticed a difference in how my skin felt. It was literally like butter; so smooth and soft. It was a game-changer, and I’ve used Slather as a part of my skincare regimen ever since. I actually look forward to shower time, when I can slather on the CLEANSE facial cleanser and Mint Ice Scrub. I also use the moisturizer, and it keeps my face soft for several days.

Chelsea Cavender is the brains behind this wonderful brand. The chemist by trade has always had an interest in science and plants, thus leading her to pursue a degree in Plant Biology. After college, she worked for a large skin care company, where she learned a lot about different ingredients and product formulations that went from a concept to a reality.

Her aha moment came while she was making mainly tanning lotions. It really wasn’t something she was into, let alone, wear herself. So she decided to break away and go into business for herself, with a focus on natural, plant-based skincare products that she would wear and would want to share with the world. Thus, Slather Botanicals was born. All the products are 85%-95%+ organic content and 100% non-GMO. She makes everything in small batches, with meaningful packaging, as the blue bottles represent the concept that water is the world’s most treasured resource. $1 from every retail item sold goes to Lifewater, which helps provide clean water to families across the world.

When asked about her favorite products from the line…”REFRESH toning mist – a relaxing treat for your skin that is full of plant extracts to soothe, nourish, and prevent blemishes. You can use it as a face/body mist and refresher throughout the day after bathing, exercise, etc. I love it on over sunned (or sunburned) skin—put in the fridge for an extra cooling treat in the Summer. BRIGHTEN antioxidant eye cream – so light and silky, soaks right into the skin to calm tired eyes and give the eye area a little extra TLC. You can also use after reading or being on the computer a lot to stimulate micro-circulation and relieve fatigue in the eye area. BALANCE clay facial mask – beneficial for all skin types, even really sensitive or acne-prone skin. Gentle, but effective…helps exfoliate, detoxify, and smooth. I really love the earthy smell of Holy Basil, Sandalwood, and just a hint of Lavender.”

Helpful skin care tips that she recommends… “Wash your face every day, and follow with a moisturizer to nourish the skin and provide a protective layer against the elements. We are all so busy that it is easy to forget or not feel like cleansing your face, but it is so important to remove impurities and environmental pollutants and recharge the skin so it can be its glowing best. Also, exfoliating! Using an exfoliant scrub or mask at least once a week does wonders…feels awesome, sloughs off dry and dull skin, deposits vitamins and minerals, and stimulates cell turnover and growth for healthy and happy skin.”

Slather Botanicals is available online, or at The Care Cottage at Babymoon Inn, as well as A Market Off Mill. Chelsea also posts local events and pop-ups that she’ll be attending on the website.

“Our skin care products are for everyone! All products are vegan, gluten-free, sensitive skin friendly, and pregnancy and nursing safe. If you are allergic/sensitive or simply don’t like certain ingredients, or would like custom products tailored to your specific skin type and goals, we love doing custom formulations. We can work together to create products you love using and have great skin results.”

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare

Slather Botanicals, AZ based, natural skincare

 

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