Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Natural Pet Care

Hey Y'all!

I hope you find yourselves having a fabulous day. It is a gorgeous 75 degrees in my neck of the woods.

A couple years ago, I created an insect repellent for horses and Natural Buzz Off Horse Spray was born.
Natural Buzz Off Horse Spray is a natural blend of ingredients to safely provide insect repellent for your horse. Includes moisturizing oils, vitamin E and essentials oils whose properties repel horse flies, gnats, mosquitoes and other flying pests.

INCI Ingredients: Spring water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, cymbopogon nardus, melaleuca alternifolia leaf oil, polysorbate 20, cymbopogon schoenanthus oil, litsea cubeba, eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, rosmarinus officinalis, lavandula angustifolia, sulfated ricinus communis, mentha piperita, grapefruit seed extract & tocopherol (vitamin e).

Our neighbor, Clint, was asked to put our new creation to the test. Clint is a farrier and a Team Roper. He uses his horses for work and pleasure.

Clint used Natural Buzz Off Horse Spray for 30 days. The results he came back with were phenomenal. Upon applying for the first time, Clint noticed an immediate reaction the flies were having to the blend. During Team Roping practice and events, his horse gets very hot and sweaty. What impressed Clint the most is the fact the spray continued to work, even while the horse was sweating.

Clint was nice enough to supply us with a testimonial, which reads:

"I have been using the spray for almost a year and have found it to be the best around for controlling flies and other flying insects. I use my horses for pleasure as well as in roping. What really surprised me was the effectiveness of the spray after I worked my horses. I figured that the spray would lose its kick after working the horses in 90 degree temperatures for hours at a time. I have really been impressed by the product, especially since it is "All Natural". I am now and will forever be a customer!" Clint Durst Farms - Saluda, SC

Thanks Clint for the awesome feedback you provided. Since we are having such great success with our horse spray, we will be venturing in to other pet markets.

Every year while on vacation, we have a friend, Cyndi, take care of our home and animals. Before leaving for vacation this year, I was asked to create a dog spray and shampoo that could be used to repel ticks and fleas. The feedback I received from our dear friend was so fantastic that Cactus & Ivy will be offering a spray and shampoo for dogs. I am in the process of creating a name and finalizing the ingredients. Creating a product line for cats will take a little more time since cats do not have the ability to metabolize essential oils. Stay tuned for more information.

That's all for now. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Survivor - The Indie Business Owner

Hey Y’all!

It’s another brisk morning in South Carolina and I couldn’t be happier! The rush of cool air has my creative juices flowing with new product ideas and I am looking forward to sharing them all with you.

Today I am writing about my favorite show...Survivor, and what it actually means in comparison to the "Indie" business owner. The tag line of the show is Outwit, Outlast, Outplay. In today’s struggling economy, that is exactly what small business owners are doing. With the fall of 4 major players in the banking industry, I am reminded why I started Cactus & Ivy so many years ago.

Survivor is defined as:
  • one who lives through affliction;
  • one who outlives another;
  • an animal that survives in spite of adversity
Survivor completely describes what the “Indie” business owner is all about. We survive sourcing ingredients, packaging options, shipping, equipment, etc, in smaller volumes because we don’t meet the minimum requirements that are afforded by big business. And yet we survive.

Every “indie” owner has started out the same, whether in a small work area or even our homes. We strive to build a business that will produce products that offer something different than the “one size fits all” concept that big business is putting on retail shelves. With the threat of the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 discussion draft, we are really in for the fight of our lives. If you haven’t already done so, please click here to read and sign the petition. Your support is greatly appreciated by so many, myself included!

I applaud you for supporting your “Indie” business owner, whoever they may be. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and never forget how far we’ve come. Cactus & Ivy will work hard to earn your business and even harder to maintain it. That is a promise!

You know what I’ll be doing at 8pm tonight. That’s right……watching Survivor!

Thanks for stopping by y’all and have a great day!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Natural Body - Why I do what I do!

Hey Y'all!

Well Fall is definitely here in my neck of the woods and it's absolutely marvelous! I've been waiting on the "dog days" of Summer to disappear and the cool, autumn breezes to blow in. I am loving it! Now to today's topic.

Natural Body - Why I do what I do
As a suffer of Fibromyalgia, I needed to create a product that my husband could use to massage the frequent knots that appear around and under my collarbone and shoulder blades.

Fibromyalgia is defined as 'a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points — places on your body where slight pressure causes pain'. You can read more about this condition by clicking here.

When I create a product, I research the benefits each ingredient will bring to the final product. Especially in massage oils, I look for base oils that produce a good slip without feeling greasy and will penetrate the skin easily. When choosing essential oils, I look for properties of calming, relaxing, rejuvenating, balancing, grounding and the overall feeling of peace. My favorite massage oil at the moment is Mint Jasmine Body Bath & Massage Elixir.
Our elixirs are blended with Babassu Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba Oil for their benefits necessary for healthy skin, such as antioxidants, vitamins E and C, and oleic acid. The floral aroma of jasmine blended with the uplifting aroma of spearmint make this a completely intoxicating and relaxing blend.

Although Cactus & Ivy has the 'Guinea Chicks' to test our products, I leave the testing of massage oils to me. It's a tough job but someone has to do it! Hey....it also gives me an excuse to get another massage or two or three!

Have a fabulous day y'all!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Fall Line - Indian Summer Is Here

Hey Y'all!

They're here....they're here!! I am talking about the much awaited Cactus & Ivy Indian Summer Fall line and the first day of FALL!! Woo-hoo!

Indian Summer Fall line that consists of:
- Pumpkin & Shea Body Souffle'
- Walnut Body Glaze
- Spiced Sugar Body Polish

Indian summer is a name given to a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn, not long before winter. This line consists of ingredients chosen for their moisturizing, emollient and regenerating properties. Rounding the line are sweet and spicy essential oils that promotes tranquility, relieve stress and anxiety and gives the sense of warmth, which is sure to remind you of Fall. Indian Summer is sure to be an excellent treat for your skin.

Ahhh....and the much anticipated arrival of Fall. The summer was brutal here in the South and we have all been waiting for 70-80 degree days and cool nights. Thank you Mother Nature for letting Fall grace us with its presence!

I hope you all have a fantastic day. Don't forget to use promo code IS2008 at checkout for your 20% discount on the Indian Summer line!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey, I'm an Indie

Hey Y'all!

First things first.
The Indie Business Owner is on the verge of extinction if a particular draft is turned into law. I am talking about the FDA Globalization Act of 2008. Donna Maria Coles Johson, CEO of Indie Beauty Network has been working feverously to make our voices heard. Just yesterday, WUSA9 in Washington, DC aired a story about a fellow Indie Business Owner, Jamila White, CEO of J.Blossom. Read the story here and then, ask yourself this question. "Do I want the government to take away my fundamental right to choose"?

Please help the survival of the Indie Busieness Owner and your right to choose your personal care products. Go to Indie Business Blog. Read the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 petition, watch the video, read what other consumers are saying and sign the petition. The life expectancy of the Indie Business Owner depends on it.

Ok...now to "hey".

I was listening to the morning news and there was a report on how people use the word "hey".

According to www.dictionary.com the word "hey" is defined as:

1. Used as an exclamation to call attention or to express pleasure, surprise, bewilderment, etc.
2. Southern U.S. Informal. hello: used as a greeting.

"Traditionally, hey was just an exclamation. Sometimes it expressed delight, sometimes a warning. Nowadays we find it used for emphasis as well, especially in the expression but hey. It is also a greeting. It is a short, colloquial version of How are you? and thus close kin to the informal salutation hi, which it seems to be replacing in many situations. Until recently, this greeting had a distinctly Southern flavor. The national survey conducted in the 1960s by the Dictionary of American Regional English found hey as a greeting restricted chiefly to Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. The friendly hey has since spread throughout the United States."

I have Southern roots and have used "hey" all my life. My mother was born and raised in South Carolina and she is responsible for my Southern Accent. To me, it reflects my whimsical, friendly, laid back attitude, which in turn, overflows into my everyday life of running a business. My company, Cactus & Ivy, is small, yet determined. There are many ingredients that shape who I am and being a small business owner is one of them. To create a product that produces feedback of joy, excitement and exhilaration, all while benefiting the skin, is what I'm after. I want to earn your business and will do everything to keep it! Hey, I may not be big business, but my business is big to me!

Knowing the person that manufactures your skin care products is rare in this day. Unless of course, you are a customer of an Indie Business Owner in the Cosmetic Industry. We have been around for decades and are creating products better than the "big box" manufacturers. We will go out of our way to provide the best customer service, unique and original products and descriptions of our ingredients, so you can make an informed decision on what you are putting on your skin. What makes us different, you ask? Our business is our baby! We care about sourcing the best ingredients at the fairest price. We care about contributing to our community and giving back. We absolutely, without a doubt, appreciate and care about our customers!

I thank you all for your unwaivering support and greatly appreciate you as a consumer. Have a fabulous weekend!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Startup Nation Home Based 100 Competition

Hey Y'all!

Vote for Cactus & Ivy in Startup Nation Home Based 100 Competition. Your vote is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your support and have a fabulous day!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Indian Summer - New Fall Line From Cactus & Ivy

Woo-Hoo Y'all!

I just couldn't wait. The suspense of the build up was killing me and I just had to break down and tell y'all about the new Fall line from Cactus & Ivy. It's called Indian Summer and I am so stoked to tell you about it.

Indian Summer is a name given to a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn, not long before winter. 18th Century writer, John Bradbury wrote, "The air is perfectly quiescent and all is stillness, as if Nature, after her exertions during the Summer, were now at rest".

This line consists of ingredients chosen for their moisturizing, emollient and regenerating properties. Rounding the line out are sweet and spicy essential oils that promote tranquility, relieve stress and anxiety and give the sense of warmth, which is sure to remind you of Fall. Indian Summer is sure to be an excellent treat for your skin. This line is not to be used if you are pregnant.

Spiced Sugar Body Polish
Begin your skin regiment with our creation of turbinado, shea butter, apricot kernel, walnut and pumpkin oils to refurbish and exfoliate your skin. Rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins, your skin will love you for exfoliating and moisturizing, with the aroma of sweet spices.

Pumpkin & Shea Body Soufflé
Shea Butter, pumpkin and walnut oils whipped to perfection to produce a rich and creamy emollient for your skin. Shea Butter contains an abundance of healing ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins and a unique fatty acid profile, and is a superior active moisturizer and enables your skin to absorb moisture from the air. As a result, your skin becomes softer and stays moisturized longer. Just a little soufflé will do ya!

Walnut Body Glaze
Your skin will love you for this body glaze! High in vitamin e, rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, helps to regenerate, tone and moisturize damaged or dry skin. Along with the intoxicating blend of sweet and spicy essential oils, it is sure to bring the Fall season to mind.

I hope you liked the sneak peak into what's new at Cactus & Ivy. The line will be available for purchase on Monday, September 22, 2008. Use discount code IS2008 at checkout to receive a 20% discount.

That's all for now. Y'all have a fabulous day and I'll catch ya on the flipside! Oh, and a little tip to make you go "hmmmmm". If you have a cat and it wants to take a shower, let it!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reed Diffusers - A Safe Alternative To Candles

Hey Y’all!

First and foremost, my heart and prayers go out to all who have been affected by Hurricane Ike. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through and will continue to pray for the help needed to get back to some sense of normalcy.

Cactus & Ivy is doing our part to spread the word that your help is needed. Please click here to be taken to the American Red Cross website to make your donation today. On the American Red Cross website, you will find a variety of ways to donate. Please take a moment to see how you can help!

Today I am focusing on a Cactus & Ivy favorite. It seems that more and more people are turning to Reed Diffusers to scent their home and/or office. Reed Diffusers offer a safe alternative to candles and the scent lasts up to 3 months. The scent travels up the reeds and the intoxicating aroma fills the air.

According to an article in GCI Magazine, October, 2007, "
Decorating a home includes more than the placement of furniture and art. Consumers today are using scent to decorate, adding an individual touch that represents their personality and tastes. Companies are branding scent to create an emotional connection with the brand, evoking a mood or memory."

Our Reed Diffusers are a huge hit! This is the only product that we will scent with a fragrance oil. We are adding replacement scents to our site this week, for those that need a refill! Also, we are sourcing a variety of decorative bottles for the upcoming holiday season.

On a different note, I am psyched about (3) three new products we are adding for the Fall. Later this week, I will announce what they are. Stay tuned!!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a fabulous week!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering September 11, 2001

This is a day of remembrance. A day of honoring the men and women who lost their lives 7 years ago today. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the loved ones whose lives were lost on this tragic day.

In honor and remembrance of United Flight 175, American Flight 11, World Trade Center, Pentagon, American Flight 77 and United Flight 93.

This American will never forget. May they rest in peace.

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Social Networking & Unrefined Shea Butter

Hey Y’all!

I hope this Tuesday morning brings great adventures and introductions to fabulous people! You are probably asking yourself what the title "Social Networking & Shea Butter" have to do with one another. On that note, I would like to discuss a little about Twitter and today's ingredient, Shea Butter.

Since joining this social network a few weeks back, I have been introduced to a wealth of fabulous people. I’ve met Soapmaker’s, Bath & Body Product Manufacturers, Small Biz & Packaging Guru’s, Graphic Artists, Bloggers galore, Kid Clothing Manufacturers, CEO’s of all walks of life and so many more. Variety is the spice of life!

My experience on Twitter has made me a better person for having connected with such a variety of creative people. Joining Twitter has also put a personal side to the business world for me. We are all human and just because you own a company, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun too. Life is short so make the best of it! And, I have picked up a few more "Guinea Chicks" to lend a hand with product feedback. To all my tweets……You Rock!

Now to toda
y’s ingredient. Shea Butter - INCI: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit

Our Unrefined, Fair Trade Shea Butter comes from seeds of wild shea trees scattered throughout the fields and forests of the wooded savanna in central and northern Togo. Unrefined Shea Butter contains an abundance of healing ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins and a unique fatty acid profile, and is a superior active moisturizer. It enables your skin to absorb moisture from the air, and as a result, it becomes softer and stays moisturized for longer. In addition, Unrefined Shea Butter has natural sunscreen properties and anti-inflammatory agents. Unlike petroleum based moisturizers, shea butter actually restores the skins natural elasticity. Regular users of pure, unrefined shea butter notice softer, smoother, healthier skin. Shea butter has also been shown to help with skin conditions and ailments such as extreme dryness, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, skin allergies, fungal infections, blemishes, wrinkles, stretch marks, scar
s, scrapes, and more.You can find Unrefined Shea Butter in Cocoa Mint Scrub, Lip Service Lip Balm, Groovy Hemp Lip Balm & Butter Me Up Body Balm.

All for now my faithful readers. I must put the finishing touches on new products for Fall! Woo-hoo! I can't wait to introduce you to what's new in the Cactus & Ivy product line. Stay tuned and have a spectacular day!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cranberry Seed Oil

Hey Y'all!

I hope this post finds everyone having a fabulous d
ay. Cactus & Ivy utilizes oils that are high in Omega 3, Vitamin A, C, D, E & F, Oleic Acid, Palmitoleic Acid and Linoleic Acid to revitalize and restore the skins normal balance. One such oil is Cranberry Seed Oil (INCI: Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil).

Cranberry Seed Oil is highly moisturizing and easily penetrates the skin. It is the only carrier oil available with a one to one ratio of Omega 6 (linoleic) to Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic) fatty acids. It also contributes to the lipid barrier protection of the skin and helps with moisture retention. It is rich in tocopherols (vitamin E), Vitamin A, tocotrienols, phospholipids and phytosterols. Cranberry seed oil can aid in the relief of itchy, scaly, irritated skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. You can find this wonderful ingredient in our Cran Citrus Polish.

Each day, I will introduce a specialty ingredient and tell you where you can find it in our product line. Also, I will be announcing our *New Fall Product Line in the coming weeks. I am putting the finishing touches on ingredient choices and I promise it will be delish!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a fantastic week! I have a favorite quote from the movie "Renaissance Man", that starred Danny Devito and was filmed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

"The choices you make dictate the life you lead." Wow! That says it all!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cruelty Free and Vegan

Hey Y'all!

I hope this day is treating everyone well and you are getting back into the swing of things after a relaxing Labor Day holiday!

Today I'd like to say a little about what is means to be "cruelty free and vegan". From its inception, Cactus & Ivy made the conscious choice to never test our spa and body products on animals, nor would we purchase raw materials from companies that don't adhere to the same policy.

Cactus & Ivy signed the The Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals, for which I recommit annually. Providing a list of my suppliers and getting written confirmation, also obtained once a year, that the supplier has not been involved with animal testing for specific ingredients.

The Caring Consumer program, which Cactus & Ivy is also a signer, seeks to gather information on the animal-testing policies of cosmetics and household-product companies, the Statements of Assurance from companies that meet their cruelty-free criteria, and share this information with the public.

In addition, we went vegan with our product line this year. We replaced beeswax with candelilla and carnauba waxes, and stopped using honey. I am very proud of the Cactus & Ivy product line and will continue to seek out new and beneficial raw ingredients to continue producing "cruelty-free and vegan" natural products. We are always on the lookout for locations where Cactus & Ivy would be a great fit. If you know somewhere you'd like to see Cactus & Ivy products, please don't hesitate to give us a call or send an email.

You may reach Cactus & Ivy by email info@cactusandivy.com or call us at 864.445.9494. Feedback is greatly appreciated - good bad or indifferent. We'd love to hear from you. Don't forget, we are running a 20% off promotion to say thank you. Please use promo code TY2008 at checkout.

I'd like to leave you with this quote..... "I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I'm not."

Thanks for stopping by y'all and have a fabulous day!

Lisa M. Rodgers
Cactus & Ivy