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Ilsa Fragrances- A Perfume that Encourages Limitless Possibilities
Slather Botanicals – Plant Based Product for Happy Skin
Drop the Label Movement Tackles Body Shaming with Encouraging Tees

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

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


Drop the Label Movement Tackles Body Shaming with Encouraging Tees

Drop the Label Movement, Phoenix based clothing, indie clothing brand

Who you are is more important than the size you wear.” – Drop the Label Movement

Throughout history, women have been put through the wringer. Society has constantly dictated how women should dress, act, eat, think, and be told what the ideal body standards should look like. It is now 2018, and quite frankly, things haven’t changed much. Women are battling eating disorders. Dieting and the so-called “diet culture” run rampant. Fatphobia. Body shaming. Fashion and women’s magazines that are constantly throwing the wrong messages at the adults and children who read them. I could go on…

Phoenix-based indie company, Drop the Label Movement, has decided to help put an end to this nonsense. I had first heard of the brand through Instagram. I then personally met co-founder Angela during the Phoenix Arts Festival last year, and had a chance to check out her line of tees, buttons, pins, and stickers. Some of the merchandise bear quirky messages, such as: ‘I Love You Elote,’ ‘Self-Love Cactus,’ and ‘Anti-Diet Donut,’ and ‘I Love Myself a Latte’; while the tees boast encouraging messages like, ‘Worthy,’ ‘Resilient,’ ‘My Size? Strong,’ ‘Slay Mode’… and so on.

Angela grew up in a family full of strong and powerful women. There were times when she’d notice that they would often say negative things to themselves in the mirror, which, at that time, she thought was normal. It was only normal until she went to college, when she watched her peers’ interaction with the mirror. That’s what began her journey of being more compassionate to herself.

Now, years later, she’s seeing all the pressures of society. Angela explains, “If I feel pressure to meet certain standards, then I can’t even imagine what it’s like for someone in a larger body, or disabled, or someone who’s black. It must be that much more intense. I wanted to do something to help with that. Drop the Label Movement is a small gesture and a little tangible, or at least as a reminder to show yourself compassion, essentially.”

Angela and her mother, Leslie, launched the brand in August 2016. “We took off all the traditional size labels and replaced them with positive affirmations in the form of an ‘I am’ statement. We have two different labeling systems. One is called the ‘OG,’ or ‘original gangster,’ and other one is om-inspired, in reference to yoga. We have just those two scales of sizing with various affirmations that are not related to physical appearance. That was really important to us. We don’t want it to be about any kind of physical. We didn’t want to say ‘I am beautiful’ or ‘I am pretty,’ we wanted internal things. Things that are more important and can do more for the world.”

On the fun designs of the brand… “I enjoy the process of creating. I wanted to put fun designs on the shirts and then also ones that are a little more serious. I came up with ‘Self Love Cactus’ because I’m from Arizona, and so is my mom. So I wondered if there was a cartoon cactus hugging itself with its’ arms, and I haven’t seen one out there… So decided I gotta make it. It just fits with our brand. Then I did ‘Anti-Diet Donut’ because I thought it was appropriate. Who better to be the mascot of no diets than a donut!? Then one of our most popular, ‘I Love Myself Elote’ which is a play on ‘I love myself a lot’ with Mexican street corn.”

Angela leaves us with this, “People can take whatever they want from it {the brand}. I don’t want to tell people that they HAVE to love themselves. That’s a personal and hard journey. I hope they take it as that it’s more of that we’re encouraging compassion…Just to be gentle with yourself in a world that tells you otherwise.”

Be sure to also check out Drop the Label Movement’s ETSY!

Worthy Tee

Drop the Label Movement tee

I Love You Elote tee

Slay Mode tee

My Body, My Standards tee

Resilient tee

Self-Love Cactus Sticker and Button

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