Shop Etsy Sunday: Formulary 55

Formulary 55 is a Seattle based bath and body shop that makes high quality soaps, candles, lotions, and other pampering products in small batches by hand. Owner/maker/curator Cordelia J. Smith is the one behind it all at Formulary 55 and she has been doing it since 1993. From starting out selling at local farmers markets and just over twenty years under her belt, Smith recently expanded her business, moved into a store front location, and has been outsourcing her products to be sold in other shops such as Anthropologie, which is one of my favorites.

Smith creates products for men and women, along with a selection of vegan-friendly products. Here are some of my favorites!

Peppermint Rosemary Vegan Shea Butter Lip Balm

Everything from the quality of the products themselves right down to the package designs are done well - very well. I would love to give all of these items a try, especially the foot soak which is something I normally don't ever have or use. To my surprise I also discovered the option to purchase a monthly subscription for those indecisive buyers out there. With this deal recipients will get one product a month for a full year for just $72. It's called the Spa Gift Subscription and includes soaps, balms, foot soaks, and more. The contact form to reach me is down and to the right on the blog if anyone needs my address - kidding! But really, how sweet would it be to get a Formulary 55 delivered to your doorstep every month?

Check out Formulary 55 on Etsy and like them on Facebook, just don't forget to like us too!

It's Cherry Blossom Season!

April showers bring May flowers, or so they say, but the Japanese Cherry Blossom, a flowering tree, is set to hit peak and be at full bloom this week in Washington D.C. 

Japanese Cherry Blossoms first made their way to the United States in 1906 when Department of Agriculture official Dr. David Fairchild imported just under one hundred trees to Maryland to be planted. With successful growth, the next year Fairchild suggested that these flowering trees be planted along avenues in the Washington D.C. area. Fast forward over the course of twenty-eight years, multiple shipments of trees totaling just over five thousand of which two thousand trees were infested and eventually burned, seven years of planting them along the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park areas of D.C., and it becomes 1935 - the first year of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

Despite previous conflicts between Japan and the United States (re: WWII), the Japanese Cherry Blossom has been exchanged back and forth between the two countries, and over time has become a symbol of friendship. 

The history of the Japanese Cherry Blossom in Japan goes far back. In the 700s a tradition in Japan was to picnic under these blossoming trees. This ritual called "hanami" was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but over time became a practice shared by commoners as well. Japanese artist Katshushika Hokusai, also known as Ando Hiroshige, whose most famous work in the United States is arguably The Great Wave off Kanagawa from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fiji (1852 series), often depicted cherry blossoms in his work. These two works of art shown below are from Thirty-Six View of Mount Fiji (1858 series) and depict the Japanese Cherry Blossom (The Sumida Embankment in the Eastern Capital, top, Mount Kano in Kazusa Province, bottom).

The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is currently happening in Washington D.C., and there are reports that the trees are beginning to bloom. The National Park Service declared the peak bloom will be between April 11 and 13 this year. Typically, the peak bloom could last to as long as up to two weeks, weather permitting. However, if you are not in the D.C. area, there are cherry blossoms in many other parts of the United States, including New Jersey, NYC, San Diego, Georgia, and more.

You can read more about the Cherry Blossom Festival happening now on the official website, and if you are nearby visit mother nature and all of its beauty (here is a great map for a guide to all of the trees in the area). For those like myself who are farther away than just a days trip to D.C. you can experience it here with these gorgeous photos taken by various Flickr members from years past. Click-through to view more photos by these users.

photo by William Luo

photo by William Luo

photo by Maynard and Glinda

photo by Maynard and Glinda

photo by Binh Nguyen

photo by Binh Nguyen

photo by GWNPS

photo by GWNPS

Shop Etsy Sunday: Katie Daisy

Today's Shop Etsy Sunday feature is the shop of a successful artist (she designed the cover for this!) who uses watercolors and acrylic paints to create fun and idyllic prints with a pop of color. Whether she paints cute animals, uplifting phrases and quotes, or a beautiful pattern, she does it with a sense of style. Katie Daisy is the hand behind these works of art that can be found in her Etsy shop that she calls The Wheatfield

I would love the mason jar print to hang in my kitchen or bathroom, though it would really work perfect anywhere, and how cute is that pig?!

BONUS: Katie is offering 15% off all items in the shop until Monday with the code "GRATEFULFORYOU" that you can enter at checkout. How awesome is that?! No better reason to shop Etsy this Sunday.

Friday Finds #10

Double digits! Two and a half months of Friday Finds are locked down on blue poppy blog as of today, and now we're at #10. It's pretty exciting, as are these awesome finds from this week!

If I didn't have an sensibility I would have already adopted every cat in the world. Instead, I have a tiny apartment and just one kitty whom I love dearly, but I can at least add some more with the CATS print by Amy Borrell.

A newly created blog was brought to my attention this week called cookbooks & poetry. Beautiful food photography and killer recipes to go along with it. So far there are just a handful of entries but I am excited to see what's in store.

I LOVE this outfit - simply, casual, comfortable. A color block cardigan with colored skinnies and chucks.

Antique lovers need to see this Antiques Journal show guide. There may be an event near you this year! Maybe you'll get lucky like this person and find a gold mine.

Les Aimes de Place Blanche is a photo book by Christer Strömholm. The photographs touch on the subculture of transsexuals in the Place Blanche area of France in the 1950s. See sample images inside of the book on The Satorialist... they are stunning.

VEGAN ALERT: Upton's Naturals has ground seitan that tastes just like taco meat. It is amazing - they also sell chorizo style, italian sausage style, and sliced bacon style seitan (next on my list to try). If you're a vegan whose looking for a good meat substitute look no further.

The stunning landscape paintings by Renato Muccillo have me in awe this morning as the work week comes to an end. See more and read up on Muccillo at the lines and colors blog. I'll just imagine I'm there inside those works of art this Friday morning.