Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's a Beeeuuutiful day in the Boikshuhs!

So, a bunch of years ago I went on a really cool bike trip -it was the summer of 1984. My sister had convinced my parents to beg, borrow and steal enough money for an exchange trip to Japan. Luckily, some of the money they begged for came in US dollars and the exchange rate was in our favour in those days so there was a little left over to send me on a trip. Did I want to go on some sit still kinda trip? Uh, no. Not me. Cycling was the passion of the day for me, and I had read about bike tours in Europe and places like Vermont and so that is what I chose. We found a student trip for me through this cool company: the Student Hostelling Program I don't believe I had ever been to Vermont before but it seemed like a neat place to go and there was enough money in the kitty for me to go on a 14 day bike tour.
We signed me up for the trip and soon the the welcome package arrived with the ugliest orange panniers you have ever seen. I was told to ride for a certain amount of time/ distance per week in the time leading up to the trip with 20+lbs of weight in the panniers and to climb lots of hills. I filled my panniers with Richard Scary books, encyclopedias and soup cans and rode Dundas hills for weeks until we left for New England.
If you have ever been to Vermont I don't have to tell you how amazingly beautiful the place is. If you haven't..... then look.....

I woke up every morning for two weeks to views like this!

For my hardcore cyclist readers the riding would have seemed quite pathetic. We only rode 20 miles or so a day but for a group of 16-18 year old kids many who had never seen a real hill before in their lives 20 miles of riding with full packs in the Vermont Green Mountains was plenty. The range of quality in the bicycles was pretty vast too... don't even get me started on Amy's piece of Schwinn... ;) So, needless to say it was a tough 2 weeks. Get up at 6am, split shower time with someone because showers cost 50 cents for 10 minutes, cook breakfast, clean up, pack-up the tents, pack the gear onto the bikes, ride all morning, hang out somewhere quiet for lunch, ride a little more, maybe stop at a swimming hole or museum, ride more, stop for a snack, or some REAL, Original Made in Vermont not by Unilever Ben & Jerry's, ride more, unpack, set up tents... hang out, eat, whine because your legs are destroyed, go to bed... repeat.

Anyway, so I bet you're sitting there reading my pretty little story wondering "What the heck is the soap and curly hair girl going on about now?"
Well as many of my readers know, I went to college in Vermont (Canadians, that means University) . If you read back a few months you will see the story of how I started my business in part due to a store in the town where that school is.

Buuut! Did you know how I ended up at that college? I don't think I've told this part of the story on the blog before... maybe I have.... well... you've read this far.... ;)
So, anyway. Back to my story. Through the whole trip we had 3 things that we talked about all the time. 1) The Middlebury Gap, the longest climb on the trip. 9 miles up, 5 miles down..... a Monster ride toward the end of our 2 weeks 2) The Falls of Lana, a swimming hole that we were supposed to find early in the trip but never did. Everything else on the trip that got us lost, couldn't be found etc. was referred to as "The Falls of Lana" 3) The Mountains. The mountain range we were riding up and down was the Appalachian Mountains which includes the Berkshires of Massachusetts (where the trip started) Green Mountains of Vermont, The White Mountains of New Hampshire (where the trip ended) and every morning one of our trip leaders loved to yell "It's a Beeeeuuuutiful day in the Boikshuhs!" despite the fact that we spent only one day in the Berkshires.

In the middle of the trip we ended up in the town of Middlebury for a lunch break on our way to somewhere. We sat beneath some trees on a lawn of what I found out was the campus of Middlebury College. Two years later I matriculated at Middlebury, and as you have likely read earlier in this blog I learned more about soap, natural fragrance and other fun things that are the bulk of my career now than I did in school.

For years after I left Midd I've returned to town to visit friends and favourite stores and have always returned with amazing memories of those friends, the gorgeous State of Vermont, and a few dollars worth of soap and custom perfumes (I usually spent the bulk of my budget just taking time off work and getting from Toronto to Vermont)

One of those trips I came home with a simple bar of soap from a company called Vermont Soap. I have always kept a few products from small companies in New England in the shop so after trying this awesome bar I called them and brought it in. I think that was in 2004?
It's been a bestselling product line ever since! Chemical free, made with tons of natural and organic ingredients, made by an special company that uses simple tried and true methods for making natural soap products. We make our own line of soap now, but the Vermont Soap is a mainstay in my bathroom, and it should be in yours!
 We've decided to put the whole line on sale this week, just for a little springtime fun!
The house needs little spring cleaning I bet!

The bar soap is the top seller, but the Liquid Sunshine Organic Cleaning Spray is a family favourite. Click on the link for a fun story about how we use it in my house. The Organic Pet Shampoo is a bestseller now but in the first year we carried it we thought it was a dud. Our rule in the store is we bring something in a few times and when the requests roll in for more then it becomes a permanent product. The Pet Shampoo lasts SO long due to the teeny tiny amount you have to use that it took our clients a year to go through the bottle... even on big dogs!
Don't miss the Liquid Sunshine Organic Cleaning Liquid it's the full strength big brother of the Cleaning Spray which can be used to clean everything from

The Vermont Soap Bars are the ultimate favourite. They come in a large collection of scents. Vermont Soap uses only natural, essential oils to scent their soaps. Every bar is moisturising to some degree, each with a light scent, or unscented. Fine for face, body, kids, dogs etc. The shampoo bar is a perfect addition to any camping trip, a simple way to be a sulfate free, chemical free, lake friendly, un-stinky camper. I wish we had these on our bike trip!

These are the varieties we usually carry.
  • Aloe Baby Soap - unscented, simple
  • Butter Bar-suuper moisturising
  • Citrus Sunrise- light and tangy
  • Honey Soap- warm, sweet and a little spicy
  • Tea Tree-for the tea tree lovers
  • Woodspice-deep, spicy, manly
  • Lavender Flowers-like a field in Provence
  • Lemongrass-Lemongrassy!
  • Oatmeal Lavender-Provence at breakfast time
  • Unscented Cocoa Butter-a little chocolatey
  • Peppermint Magic-wake up soap!
  • Patchouli Hemp-ask me one day about patchouli, hippies and Vermont...
  • Rosemary Herb-Culinary, green and lovely
  • Shampoo Bar-the Grand Poobah of the Shampoo Bahs. You should try it!

There is a ton more to the story of my bike tour to Vermont, but I won't bore you with it today.
Pop into the store, pick up some VT soap while it's on sale and if I have time, I'll tell you more!
 This sale will end on April 30 so get your butt in gear..... see..what I did there?
The post, is about bikes... gears... get it?

I hope we see you soon!