Coming soon to a trade show near you?

Well, at least there’s one and it’s new to me.  It’s a start, though!  With a growing foundation partnering with regional brick and mortar retail locations to sell my product, I wanted to reach to the fringe of my network.  Although I’ve worked in the outdoor and wellness retail world and attended trade shows on behalf of other businesses, I am honored to represent my own brand at one finally!  It is my intention to stay within the athletic and outdoor adventure world, Philadelphia is far enough mileage-wise that I expect to see some new faces.  As a new exhibitor showcasing a unique – and relevant – style of product outside their typical bikes and bike parts lineup, they interviewed me on their website, to introduce my business to their attendees.  Those were some good questions!


Hughes Muse

Are the Outdoors endangered because we are not inclusive enough?

For 2018, Apothecary Muse seeks to sponsor Ambassadors who identify as and empower underrepresented classes (race, gender, economic class, ability and more), in the outdoors.  For many years working in the outdoor industry, I’ve experienced some and observed more exclusion and the opportunity loss is real. Just like in nature, we need the bees to pollinate the flowers for our food and the food for the soil to grow trees to provide oxygen and oxygen for us to breathe. Just like our ecosystem, we need diversity in our everyday lives to survive.  I am of the opinion that the outdoors and its qualities also have a delicate balance needing representation, and it is a good practice to include exposure and education with it to the general public if we expect it to stick around for future generations. If we continue only marketing to the status quo, we will continue to have limited results.  It is through diversity that we can become a stronger and sustainable force, lift up each other and the importance of outdoors, open space access and environmental concerns.  I’d like to make a difference with the only thing I have of value, my business.  It may be a small drop in the bucket, but it’s a start.


sustainable triple bottom line people planet profit

I understand not all may agree with my broad effort to include minorities with this sponsorship, but I hope it is understood that I seek to ADD to the equation by creating this opportunity and not take away from it.  I am sacrificing potential profit by emphasizing diversity with this opportunity, which would simply not exist if diverse representation weren’t needed.  I understand also, that my experiences will vary from others’ lived experiences and do not seek to speak on another person’s behalf.  I will however, listen and do what I can to ensure an unspoken stakeholder has a place at the table of outdoor advocacy. Folks who do not identify as minorities may also apply and will be considered based on external factors such as their involvement with actions and programs that support diversity and inclusion.


Interested?  Find out more about the Apothecary Muse Ambassador Program and Apply here.

March Adventure Challenge


What are we doing? 

Using people power, we are working together to share outdoor experiences with others, improve photography skills, enhance environmental awareness and grow our community along the way.

Kinds of images

Use the DAILY THEMES below for inspiration when you are outside and share on Instagram. Your images can be anything outdoors, sports, nature or travel related, taken at ANY point by YOU in March 2018.  Try to tell a story with your image, not just words. Bonus: avoid post-editing, cropping or filtering

Are there rules?

Nah, how about suggestions instead? Have fun! There are no prizes other than enjoying the fresh air, making new friends and learning some new skills. One request: please do not use branding or sales information for the sake of hashtag integrity. Don’t forget! Use hashtag #marchadventurechallenge for your INSTAGRAM posts. Follow @apothecarymuse for tips, ideas and to see what other folks are posting.

Download INSTAGRAM here: follow @apothecarymuse

You can click here or the image below for a printable calendar which you can take with you on your adventures or post on your wall.  It includes lunar cycles and some important dates for quick reference.  You can click here for just the list or the second image below:

Download MarchAdventureChallenge_Calendar2018

Download MarchAdventureChallenge_LIST_2018

#MarchAdventureChallenge – 2018


1 Horizon

2 Miniature or Micro Landscape

3 Lifecycle: Plant, Trees, and/or Fungi

4 Reference scale (temp. installation)

5 Diversity in Outdoors (people)

6 Distant Landscape or Lookout

7 Favorite Tool for Outdoors

8 Climate Extremes

9 Natural Frame

10 Action Shot (still or Boomerang)

11 Sunrise (Daylight Savings)

12 Parts of a plant (arrange a collage)

13 Secret or Hidden location

14 Color

15 Wild edible (unharvested)

16 Water or reflection

17 Wildlife

18 Sunshine

19 Stewardship

20 Something new learned today (Spring Begins)

21 Goals

22 First time

23 Favorite Sport or Activity

24 Your “3rd Place” (outside work and home)

25 Bringing the inside, outside (books, knitting, etc.)

26 Old, abandoned  or historical

27 Shadows

28 Picnic

29 Next generation

30 Weather

31 Dusk/Sunset Silhouette


Hidden Puzzle?

If you’ve recently purchased a bar of my soap, you might be wondering what that red code is on the bottom right of the front panel on the label. Previously, it included only the style number which I figured might be useful one day. I opted not to include the date stamp on previous batches, because not a lot of people are familiar with the curing process and the benefit that time has on a bar of soap. I wanted to leave that to the soapers and retailers who stock their shelves with my soap.

BUT one day when I was making homebrew beer, I happened upon the methodology for batch coding Guinness beer and thought it was brilliant. So, I made a formula to reconcile specific batches with formulations, without giving away the date too easily. BUT, if you’ve come this far, you’ll already know that the date is not always an indicator of “Best By” or that freshest is best. Often, several months of curing can lend itself to making a bar of soap harder and quicker to lather, ultimately helping the bather to use less and soap last longer. HOWEVER, much of the herbal benefits and essential oils will fade over time, so one can’t wait too long. I think the sweet spot for most of my formulations is 1-6 months. Of course, you don’t need to know this for any specific reason unless years from now you find a bar of soap stashed in your sock drawer and knowing the date might help you know who gave it to you and you can have warm, fuzzy feels.

Here’s how to decode that label:

Logic: All letters and numbers are swapped for their counterpart. First letter of month, last two of the year. Since there are more numbers to any given month than the alphabet, the exceptions include A=1 to 5, and Z=30 to 31.
Order: Day Month Year
Date: 16-May-17
Code: L17M
THEN: Add the exact product number to it.
Thus, a Super Simple Soap (#001) bar made on May 16th, 2017 will have a batch code of L17M001

Have fun learning more about the journey of your bar of soap!

NEWS: Design Mania WINNER

The bar of soap submitted by Apothecary Muse owner, Eryn Hughes, WON the 2017 Design Mania soap challenge by Making Soap Magazine!! From Eryn, “I am seriously humbled by this announcement, as I expect number the votes for all the designs were close. The skill and creativity from the designers and contestants truly made this a unique experience. I’m told this is an honor bestowed on behalf of the industry, perhaps because of the magazine’s reach? Of the designs presented for us to embark on, I chose this one for its natural ingredients (including colorants and essential oil), outdoor scenery and slab/tray mold layout. The citrus oil, activated charcoal and Shea butter make this an excellent deodorizing and polishing bar of soap for after a serious adventure in hot climate. “

#designmania #makingsoapmag#soapmaking #coldprocess #handmade #adventureskincare

If you aren’t already, feel free to follow me on social media Apothecary Muse

FAQ: Balm or Salve?

Craft shows and farmers markets are often full of people exposed to natural, handmade skincare for the first time. People often ask for “Chapstick” instead of lip balm, not realizing that is a specific brand name, like Kleenex instead of tissue. Since I only sell what I make, myself, I don’t resell other brands of product.  I try not to come across as if I correcting them, because they may have an association with their choice of words differently than I do and instead I seek to open up the discussion about my process. After all, talking in person with the maker of a product can be quite informative.woodsy warrior salve in tin

The jury is definitely still out on all the similarities and differences between balm and salve – because they overlap in so many ways. My exposure to both is through the world of retail and herbalism, but I took a quick tour in the internet and saw nothing consistent in the examples. Yet, I’d like to suggest there ARE some commonalities not already mentioned. Of course, these are my observation and not indicative of an attempt to rewrite anyone else’s definition. There might still be items in the world that do not fit this definition but are labeled as such. For the most part, they seem consistent in this regard, though:unscented lip balm vegan paperboard tube texture

In a nutshell, it seems that most people would agree that balms sit on top of the skin while salves absorb into skin. Salves generally seem to be softer than balms, and are applied with the fingertip.  Yet, they are firmer than an ointment or lotion, which share similar functions and ingredients albeit different ratios. Any of the above may have herbal infusion or essential oils, while salves specifically seem to utilize more herbs and balms use more aroma, not necessarily essential oils and sometime even flavor – a different kind of extract. Both salves and balms may be functional; however, salves primarily exist to support healing, while balms seem to exist to prevent damage. Balms, being more firm, tend to be formulated in stick form and have a “slip” factor to glide the product from an applicator tube instead of fingertips, versatile for travel and everyday use. Conversely, Salves tend to hang out in first aid kits or medicine cabinets until they are needed and have a variety of consistency. I know mine vary greatly depending upon the season.

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