Bonjour mon amis!
Well, so much for complaining about running in the heat last week. This morning it was 60 degrees when I went out for my daily run. It was a bit chilly and rainy, but quite a nice change from sweating bullets the last few mornings. After my energizing run, I decided to splurge and enjoy a little French pâtisserie – a chocolate chocolate chip muffin.
OK, so it wasn’t so little and not very French – but it was definitely a pastry. As a show of my strong willpower, I only ate half – ha!
Now, onto the post….
DISHING ON SOAP
As Americans head out for their typical July 4th vacation, many will come home with more than a scorching sunburn. Sadly, a great number of vacationers also will return with cliched travel trinkets like magnets and shot glasses, or worse, a t-shirt that says “I went all the way to Aruba and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”
Why not bring home a unique memento from your journey?
For nearly 10 years, during my vacation and work travels, I have been collecting individually wrapped bar soaps – most of which are the small hand soap variety. And these soaps aren’t just your run-of-the-mill soaps. They are the luxurious kind with wonderfully clean scents that are almost always wrapped in fancy smancy paper.
A recent article in the London Times notes that beauty products, like hand soaps and shower gels, make some of the best souvenirs. I absolutely agree with this notion! While on vacation or traveling for work, I always keep my eye out for new and interesting beauty mementos – particularly soaps, hand creams, other personal care items that are made in the local area. And because many of the foreign stores and boutiques cater to tourists, most beauty products can be obtained in small or travel sizes so you don’t have to buy huge vats of shampoo or body scrub.
RAISING THE SOAP BAR
My soap collection is full of bars from several countries around the world. A unique benefit about collecting hand soaps or other beauty souvenirs during my travels is that I actually get to use the soaps and be reminded of the city where I bought them. I have a beautifully packaged citrus soap from Barcelona and a gorgeous Penhaligon lavender soap from a boutique hotel in London. It’s like taking a little bit of England and Spain home with me!
I also have many luxury soaps obtained during my North American travels, including a lovely oatmeal bar from the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montréal and an aloe vera bar from the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver. But, one of my favorite soaps in my collection is L’Occitane’s shea butter soap with milk – it’s such a refreshingly mild scent. I picked up my first bar nearly 8 years ago while staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui. And, since that trip, I have been enamored with many of L’Occitane’s products, all of which are developed and produced in a little Provençal town in France called Manosque. Aside from shea butter, I also love the verbena soap with its delicious, although quite strong, citrus scent – reminds me of lemons hanging on a tree! I’ve been collecting and using these luxury soaps for so long that it’s hard to go back to normal soap. Hmmm…is there such as a thing as a soap snob?
THE GOOD SOAP
Although I try to use this treasure trove of soaps on a regular basis, I have so many that I’ve put them on display in my bathroom. I also use a select few bars as soap for guests – or as my father would say, I’m putting out the good soap. This extra special touch for guests has resulted in more than one question about the soap’s origin and where my guest could buy additional bars. Just don’t let me catch any stowaways in their suitcases – gotcha!
So, on your next vacation or trip, ditch your standard t-shirt or magnet souvenir. Bring home a luxurious bar of soap – a unique travel treasure that will have you enjoying your vacation for weeks to come!