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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It Wouldn’t Be Easter Without . . .

Marshmallow Peeps! – Though I’m not all that fond of consuming them myself, the perky little chicks are a lovely addition to Easter, presented in their packages, or separated and nested in Easter grass.

Made by Just Born Inc. in Bethlehem, PA, they’re simply the cutest Easter treat around. I prefer them in traditional yellow, though the little chicks now come in a rainbow of colors, and there are bunnies available too! I guess rainbow colored confections are preferable to the live peeps and rabbits that were dyed to delight children of the nineteen fifties and sixties.

I do like the crunch when biting into the sugar encrusted confections, followed by the squish of the gooey marshmallow, but one a season is usually enough for me, as I’m not a big marshmallow fan. I understand some come in flavors these days too, at least I saw a package that said two of the peeps had a surprise flavor. They’re great for those on some special diets too! Check the label for details.

Though they’re not my favorite treat to eat at Easter, the beady eyed little birds make me smile each spring when they appear on the shelves of local stores, nestled next to the Cadbury Eggs, which of course, were laid by the Easter Bunny, as we all know from the TV commercials. There’s another story . . .

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Don’t know how long this deal is available, but if you really love them, can’t beat it. I imagine some are available most times at Amazon, and the confections are made for other holidays today too!

Robot Vacuum Cleaners – A Survey to Assay the Merits


via Daily Prompt: Assay

Assay: to determine quality or content . . .  originally applied to metals but:

Today, with thoughts of perhaps purchasing one, I wish to assay the merits of robot vacuums.

I am asking readers to share any experiences with the little round robots that roam through one’s residence, running into walls but reportedly saving their owners time and energy as they scoop up pet hair and crumbs.

When I first heard about the Roomba some years ago, it sounded like a miracle- freedom from sweeping/vacuuming without hiring a maid, I marveled. Great idea!

Soon I realized that if I got one, I would need a new home with wide open spaces and little furniture clutter. My hodgepodge of small antique tables and pet cages would surely pose insurmountable obstacles. I would spend even more time and energy retrieving the little creature from underneath beds, or between table legs than I would have if I had done the sweeping myself.

Now I hear that difficulty has been dealt with by designers of the new “smart” models. I hear they make a map of one’s home and even return to their home base to recharge themselves. I know I would still need to move any model from one part of my house to another, (unless they’ve been taught to climb stairs!)  but maybe they’re on their way to being suitable for most homes.

I’m not into replacing people with machines where jobs are concerned, preferring the human touch and keeping people employed, but I can’t afford a maid anyway, so I hope anyone who’s had experience with these appliances will share their thoughts! Thinking of trying one?

Here’s a link to Amazon’s appliance page:

robotic vacuum cleaners

Here are a couple models I found for consideration:

robot vacuum cleaners

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