A Search for Superior Soap Leads to Florence Italy

An Ivory girl since first grade when I marveled at the boats we carved from the big square white bars that floated, I was disheartened by the apparent formula change a few years ago, when the formerly firm soap morphed into a bar that turned into a soft mess after only a few moments in the water.

I began to search for a soap that would last like Ivory used to. One that hadn’t been cheapened like most products today seem to be. I tried Lifebuoy and Lux from the Vermont Country Store, as well as all the other tried and true brands, used for years by the American population. None seemed worthy of becoming my new favorite soap.

Finally one day The Vermont Country Store came through. Pictured upon the pages was a new soap, in surpising scents of lettuce, poppy, and cucumber. The labels looked like works of art. I sent for the new soap and am so thankful I did.

That soap was Nesti Dante Dei Colli Fiorentini Red Poppy Soap 250g by Nesti Dante, crafted in Florence, Italy, and I still use it today.

The Italians can’t be beat when it comes to food, wine, and soap. Overall, the Italian lifestyle has much to recommend it. Simplicity and quality are key in most everything they make, including soap.

When I received the bars I was delighted with the artistry of the packaging. I still save the labels and have one of the poppy print designs framed and placed above my bathtub.

The scent is so soft and lovely, it makes one feel as though strolling through a garden on a soft summer day. The sensation when bathing is the same. Skin feels silky in the tub and maintains a sheen upon towel drying.

The inspirational message, “Saponified and packaged with love and care by Nesti Dante” is molded into the bar. Those who discover this soap can truly “feel the love”.

Soap is formed by a process called saponification. That’s a chemical reaction between a fat, such as tallow, and an alkali, such as lye. After a neutral base soap is saponified, it is grated into fine particles and passed between a pair of closely spaced rollers, a process called milling, until it turns into a paste.

Triple milled soap goes through this process three times. The resulting density creates a bar that lasts a long time.

Yes, this special soap is a bit more pricey than supermarket soaps, but it’s quality, not price that provides the best value.  This soap will last long after most supermarket bars have washed away.

Nesti Dante Dei Colli Fiorentini Red Poppy Soap 250g by Nesti Dante, is a luxury soap that saves money. Try it for yourself and see. A variety of innovative scents are available. In winter I prefer poppy, in summer, cooling cucumber or lettuce.

Alas, for whatever reason, the Vermont Country Store stopped selling this lovely soap. Today I obtain it from The Italian Art Shoppe.


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Olympic Spirit Personified – Skater Scott Hamilton

a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/conjure/”>Conjure
via Daily Prompt: Conjure

Scott Hamilton estimates he fell down 41,600 times in his career, according to an article in Parade Magazine, Sunday, Feb 4, 2018. That’s how many times he got up too, he said.

Thoughts of this historic skater-entertainer-commentator can easily conjure up memories of earlier Olympic performances observed with my mother who was a great fan of Scott.

I had heard about Scott’s ongoing, courageous battle with cancer and his enduring positive attitude throughout treatments. But what I didn’t know until reading this recent article is that he was not a natural skater as a child. Suffering from a mysterious illness that stunted his growth, he spent much time in hospitals and doctor’s offices. His condition didn’t improve until he took up skating at age 9 according to the Parade article.

Scott wasn’t a good skater, but was driven to practice long hours. He learned through endless failure until finally succeeding as he reached his twenties. He believes his early failure prepared him to be resilient under difficult circumstances later in life.

I am greatly inspired by Scott’s story- an amazing demonstration of what the human spirit can accomplish if one is totally focused upon a goal.

Not many of us can maintain that type of dedication consistently, in perfecting a skill, or surviving a serious illness, but hearing Scott’s story makes me determined to strive harder to accomplish my fitness and career goals.

Read Scott’s book, released February 6, 2018, Finish First: Winning Changes Everything: To learn more, click the link below:

Finish First: Winning Changes Everything

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Spending Too Much Time Online? There’s an App for That!

via Daily Prompt: Creature

We as humans are creatures of habit. Habits can become obsessions. For some reason new technology seems to fascinate us.

Understandably when radio went “in the air” to quote Mike Trevisano, longtime Cleveland talk show host, it was great to be able to hear from the outside world in the comfort of one’s home. Then came TV. But we were limited to being on the receiving end of those media outlets. Computers and smartphones offer interactive opportunities people can’t seem to resist.

Maybe we need IA Internet Addicts Anonymous, to save those who can’t seem to take their eyes off their screens even to get some shut-eye. I was appalled to learn recently (see my recent post, Changing Times Changing Teens) – that many young people, and some not so young, I suppose, frequently wake up at night, checking facebook and other sites to see if they missed something!

Ironically, or perhaps not, the solution to screen addiction may be coming from the companies that contributed to it’s cause.

I’m learning a lot from Arianna Huffington’s latest book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder – I am so excited that this successful business lady and commentator is spreading the word that the 24/7 connections to technology so common today take a terrible toll on our health and peace of mind.

I was surprised, however, to see an appendix listing of apps to help techno-addicts control their “social-media anxiety disorder” and other online addictions and distractions. Most of these apps assist in selecting times to restrict receiving social media posts, or hide distracting icons while one is working on writing projects . . .

Here’s a list to check out, but I really hope you’ll get a copy of Thrive for yourself. Ms. Huffington shares so much insight into ways we can improve our well-being.


Nanny – from the Chrome Web Store

Controlled Multi-Tab Browsing – from the Chrome Web Store

Siesta Text and BRB – for Android from Google Play, BRB for I-Phone from the App Store

Self Control – selfcontrolapp.com

Freedom – macfreedom.com

Time Out – the App Store

Concentrate – getconcentrating.com

Digital Detox App – Google Play

Isolator – macupdate.com

Higby – Wolff Olins

I’ve recently been thinking the number of apps is overwhelming, but apps to limit online addictions so people have time to talk face to face or simply relax and enjoy other creature comforts (like taking a long hot bubble bath instead of a hurried shower  or indulging in a stroll on a warm spring day and seeing the scenery instead of pictures on a smartphone) are a positive thing for those without the willpower to put down their phones or turn off computers for part of each day.

Thrive Global, Arianna’s new company seems devoted to assisting in stress reduction and creating wellness by offering education on pertinent topics.

Here’s a link for the book and a wish for a life of well-being, wisdom and wonder as the cover promises:

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

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Carving the Life You Want to Live

via Daily Prompt: Carve

The term carve brings to mind creation. To get what we want it’s essential to focus on creation rather than procrastination. If life is art, our sculpture won’t just form itself. We must carve the features we want out of the clay of our talents and interests.

We may think we’ve drawn a bad hand in life, but it’s important that we stay in the game. We may be able to creatively play that hand and come out on top after all. If not, there’s always the opportunity of the next draw.

Intention is important too. We need to be open to options but also focused upon our goals, and our goals need to be realistic, but ambitious.

On this winter day, let’s give some thought to our life and how we want it to look rather than just wishing and hoping, complaining,  and draining our energy through negativity.

Not many of us non-skiers want a winter storm but if it snows, let us make snowmen. Carving out the white stuff can bring out the kid in all of us, inspiring us to make a fresh start.

Ways to Endure Winter 10 Tips from The Penny Mason Post

We’re officially in the grip of the cold season here in the northern hemisphere so some survival tips are in order. Some of us thrive in the season of snow and ice – more of us it seems simply endure the days until spring. If you fall into the latter category, here are some ideas for staying balanced and upbeat until better weather arrives.


  1. Bury Yourself in a Book –whether it’s a mystery, a self-improvement narrative, or biography, page turning can be a rewarding way to spend a wintry day. A good read provides a great escape, or inspiration to stay positive during a challenging time. Just now I’m caught up in X Marks the Scot by Kaitlyn Dunnett, a super story featuring a treasure map found by amateur sleuth Liss MacCrimmon.


  1. Take a nap – I know it may not be possible on workdays, but on days off, we need to give ourselves a break. I find I grow tired more quickly in winter, and need to pamper myself a bit to resist those winter cold and flu bugs. I even feel I get more done on my day off if I allow myself a refreshing midday nap under cover of a comfy quilt.


  1. Take a walk – Yes, naps are important but remember it’s all about balance. Exercise and fresh air are essential for healthy living in each season. And there’s the mental boost -Even if your home is cozy, staying cooped up too long staring at the same four walls can cause cabin fever. As long as you don proper gear and take care or skip the trip if walks are icy, winter strolls can be very rewarding.


  1. Take time for Tea – Hot drinks, particularly, herbal teas serve as comforting, wellness boosting, pick me ups on frosty days. Combine with a light snack to spark waning energy levels.


  1. Meditate – You don’t need a guru or detailed lessons to learn to zone out. Much information is available if you want to get more formal, but for most of us, the hot drink break described above can serve as a mini meditation moment too. Focus on the steamy warmth, the subtle flavor and aroma, close your eyes, let your mind wander where it will, or visualize a favorite setting.


  1. Create Something Special – Purchase a craft project, paint a picture, write a story, embroider a pillowcase, crochet an afghan, bake and decorate a cake or a make a loaf of homemade bread, . . . plan for whatever pursuit helps you relax, yet inspires and motivates you. Don’t rush or pressure yourself to do too much, but consistently pursue your passion to maintain a sense of purpose.


  1. Phone a friend – Give someone a call who hasn’t heard from you in a while. Maybe someone who sent you a Christmas card but whom you haven’t seen for some time would like to talk to you. “Me time” is important, but we need to stay connected too in seasons when we’re not as social as in summer.


  1. Give yourself a beauty treatment at home – Take a bubble bath, apply a facial mask, paint your nails. Pamper yourself a bit, to stay healthy and attractive and avoid the winter blahs. If you can’t afford a spa stay, some great products are offered at retail stores these days, to help you look and feel special.


  1. Select a Sport – indoor or outdoor – participate, or be a spectator. If you’re in proper physical shape, cross country or downhill skiing can provide an appreciation for snowy days. Or one can follow a favorite basketball or hockey team. I’ll likely just enjoy occasional winter hikes, and keep up my tai chi routine to stay somewhat fit this winter, but I love to watch others take to the slopes at the local ski area. Whether or not we participate in a sport ourselves, keeping up an ongoing interest in something others do helps our mental state.


  1. Post a Countdown Calendar – One of my co-workers keeps a laminated poster on her office door displaying the number of days until spring and the number of days until daylight savings time begins. The digits are written with a dry erase marker, and changed each morning. At a former job, I kept a calendar counting the days until baseball season. Simply another way to stay motivated.


Have a Wonderful Winter – please let us know your favorite ways to make winter days better by offering your comments at the end of this article.