Friday, June 22, 2018

Melting Basket 122

It has been since April since I have posted a melting basket. What is that all about? I have been melting but mostly for testing and reviewing here on the blog. Plus just kinda grabbing anything I might be craving on the fly. I finally decided I wanted to make a more summery and fruity basket to choose from so here we are! I am not even going to attempt looking back to see what the last basket included so think of this as a reset. 

Handmade in Florida- Sweet Blood Orange
Handmade in Florida- Blackberry Cream Puffs
Handmade in Florida- Eastern Oudh
Lasting Scent Candles- Berry Panna Cotta
Lasting Scent Candles- Summer Tide Wedding
Lasting Scent Candles- Grapefruit Watermelon
Candles From The Keeping Room- Strawberry Margarita
Candles From The Keeping Room- Marshmallow Fireside
Candles From The Keeping Room- Twenty-Nine High Street
Candles From The Keeping Room- Waikiki Beach Coconut
Candles From The Keeping Room- Sweet and Sassy
Candles From The Keeping Room- Snowkissed Sugar
Candles From The Keeping Room- Teakwood and Coconut
Candles From The Keeping Room- Deviant
Candles From The Keeping Room- Sorrel and Lemon Jo Malone
Candles From The Keeping Room- Mandarin Tiki
Sniff My Tarts- Lord of Misrule/Pink Sugar/Sugared Violets/Vanilla Smoothie <3 gift
Rosegirls- Mango Sorbet Mini Melters <3 gift

If you would like any of these reviewed in depth, just let me know. 

Summer.  Here she is. Some summer wish list items and bucket list items have been checked off. We visited a new National Park, Acadia. We have visited the beach and some springs. Lots os lake walking, roller skating and reading have taken place. 

I have some summer chores to still complete. Some quilts to finish. Some curtains to hem. A mushroom pillow to make. The girls are addicted to Fortnight, so monitoring that and making sure they do some math every weekday has been a priority. 

Some things I would like to get to before the summer is over: cinnamon rolls, tubing down Ichetucknee springs, a summer concert and maybe some movies. 

We are gearing up to spend a week in Savannah, Georgia. Do you have anything you like to do in that city or the surrounding area? 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Travel: Maine- Bangor and Bar Harbor

Maine has been a place I have dreamed of going for some time now. It is funny because, before my sister Lindsey ever met her now husband, we talked about visiting Maine together one day. It turned out she would give us a very good reason to visit Maine. She met Dustin, who is an airman at MacDill Air Force Base, who is a Mainer. They got engaged and voila! Trip to Maine to watch them get married. <3

We flew into Bangor on Friday and stayed until Monday. The first place we hit up was Stephen King's house. There are people living there and the gate was open. A Mercedes sat in the driveway and a green Chevy truck pulled in as we were lurking about. A Stephen King tour van that pulled up while we were there too. It seemed to be a hopping place. 

The home is on a quiet tree shaded street with beautiful homes all about. The wrought iron fence work was whimsical and creepy cool.

The weather was spectacular. Highs in the 70's and lows in the 40's. Vibrant blue skies, breezes and not a stitch of humidity. Perfect break from the 90's swampy Florida summer. Though everyone's noses were dry and sore. We are used to our moisture I suppose. 

We walked around downtown Bangor and grabbed some lunch at Bagel Central (highly recommend) before headed to the Lucerne Inn in Dedham.

The Lucerne Inn was where the wedding was held so we went ahead and booked our rooms there. Nicely appointed rooms in a 200 year old inn with a pool, propane fireplaces in the rooms and the view shown above from right outside our window. Our particular room was $150/night. 

I found a trail behind the inn that led down into a birchwood copse. I very much enjoyed hiking down there on my own.

This is the inn from my mom's room which was across the way.

Saturday morning we woke up early to drive down to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Forest, about 45 minutes from the Inn. There are dozens and dozens of trails that meander all over the park and island but we only had time for one trail. We chose the hike up Flying Mountain. We initially were going to try and watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain (the first place to see the sun rise in this hemisphere and the highest mountain in the area) but sunrise was at 4:45 am and we are not that great at early rising.

The views from the top of the trail were breathtaking.

We stopped off for some sea glass searching before heading into Bar Harbor for the whale watching tour.

The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co took us on a 5 1/2 hour expedition into Canadian waters to search for puffins and whales. The tickets were about $63 per adult and less for the girls. Normally a tour is 4 hours but they have the right to extend it, so don't make plans for afterwards. Also, seasickness is real. I brought some anti-medics and they came in handy for sure, but poor Scarlette felt like crap towards the end.

We came upon a research station and were able to radio in the scientists there to ask questions about the birds.

These birds! The puffins! So cute. 

These are the scientists who were talking with us.

We moved further out and were able to see a pod of seven Fin whales. They are endangered.

It was a very cool experience and it brought tears to my eyes. Savanna wanted to see Humpback whales but no dice. They did end up seeing them the next day on the tour but I am not going to tell her that. This was worth it to do once in a lifetime.

Sunday morning dawned brilliant on the day of the wedding. 

Lindsey and Dustin had a moving ceremony outdoors and she even let me take their pictures in that birchwood forest I found.

Later that day we headed back to Bangor to walk around some more and take in the last little bits of Maine before heading home.

My favorite store was The Rock & Art Shop. The girls and I picked up our treasures there: wooden color pencils, gemstones and crystals, stationary and bugs. 

One of my best treasures though.

Downtown Bangor is picturesque. From interesting angles of buildings to Ginko trees and crocheted benches, the city has it own beat.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that I got to travel with my mom and also got to spend time with Dean, my former step-dad who has been in my life since I was five. The girls enjoyed spending time with him too.

Favorite things about Maine:
- Wildflowers on the roadside
- Fox Family chips and Humpty Dumpty All Dressed chips
- Stone lined rivers and creeks
- Chocolate whoopie pies
- Birch trees and evergreens
- Cedar Wax Wing birds
- Nice people
- Ravens
- Rolling hills and low slung mountains
- Cool morning breezes
- Lobster rolls and chowder
- Maple candy
- Wild skunks
- Bounding deer
- Sea glass chips and tightly curled snail shells
- Birdsong
- Ice cold sea water

I would love to go back to Maine and spend more time in Bar Harbor and exploring Acadia National Park. 

Have you been to Maine? Would you want to? If you have, what is your favorite part?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Obscurus: Spring 2018 Perfume Collection

These perfumes were sent to me in exchange for photographs by Femme Fatale Cosmetics, all opinions are my own.

Good morning! Today I want to share with you the Spring 2018 perfume collection from Obscurus. These perfume oils come in sleek tiny boxes with the scent labeled on the end. The perfumes are in jade green glass rollerball vials with black caps and contain 5ml worth of perfume oil for $16.38 each. There is also a sampler option in 1ml vials if you just want to give them a brief exploration. I am impressed with how these are presented and how tidy they are, how well they travel. Only one had a slight leak and it wasn't that bad at all as far as liquid lost. 

This collection of five fragrances is inspired by Babinda Boulders in northern Queensland, Australia. This particular place is known as The Devil's Pool and mystery, death and legend swirls about the turbulent waters. Femme Fatale links this article for further reading. 

Road Trip to the Devil's Pool- Notes: Fig, moss, amber, leather and peach.

Rolled onto the wrist, the hazy hot scent of petrichor fills the nose. A summer thunderstorm striking the sun baked stones of the road and sending up a steamy incense of tarmac and dust. Bare thighs stick to the truck's cracked and worn leather benchseat. The wind snatches at tendrils of hair through the silver of window where the muggy air rushes in and out. Rain, heat waves on paved roads and leather. 

Idyllic- Notes: Fresh green tea leaves, citrus, red currants, a soft hint of floral and a teak base.
A handful of wild gooseberries stain tender lips and curious tongues with their rosy tart juice, gathered when roaming the idyllic woods near the rushing waters. Sweet waters and the gentle herbs swaying within them balance the tart berries and lure like so many crooking fingers. Come. Come walk in the crystal clear coolness. As the scent warms and dries on the skin, the teakwood and florals heat the scent and it turns from its fruit and herb cool green tea vibe to summery woods and ripe fruits along meandering trails. 

Crystal Waters- Notes: Damp, rich soil and moss, a hint of floral and fresh raspberries and fruit.
A hidden lagoon, crystalline aqua and rich with minerals, ripples with the life given by a spring boil that jettisons limestone chilled water to the surface. Hanging damp mosses and black soils of the forest floor give way to the sandy ring that embraces the lagoon. Dainty purple flowers cascade down their stems to touch their faces upon the undulating pool. Their subtle sweetness joining the moss and earth to perfume the air. This the scent of sweet garden soil in March. Of freshly sprung mosses on a shaded mountainside. Fruits in their soft ripe fullness. Flowers in their all their unfurled finery. This is nature at her most beautiful.

Lovelorn Spirit- Notes: Cool, clear notes, earth and foliage and crisp, sweet apples.
The misty apparition  beckons with watery grace. Sadness and yearning eddy around her like a burbling stream. She smells of the sacred oak leaves sacrificed like tears from the trees bent over her and the tannins within. Almost amber in their sepia tones. As the scent dried down, aquatic musk swirls about her, as she wavers into the final wisps of her being. 

Babinda- Notes: Cherry wood, chypre, tobacco, earthy tones and a hint of spicy caramel. 
Russet filters of sunshine shimmer on the stone boulders of Babinda. Red ores and minerals stain the tops of the rocks and match the aroma of mild cherry tobacco. Earth borne, sweet and warm. Clay tones emerge as the cherry wood and tobacco mellow. The sweetness of the day winds down and leaves its mark on the newly bronzed skin and its mark on the heart, wrapped in mystery.

These perfumes are very well blended. Even though I have never been to Australia these fragrances transport me there. They illustrate places and images and feelings that are evocative of this legend and I enjoyed immersing myself in it. Most of these wore close to the skin if dabbed on lightly but had a nice subtle strength. A greater sillage could be had if it was rolled all over with abandon as I like to do. I enjoyed them all but Lovelorn Spirit stayed with me in a way really touched me. I was beautiful and ethereal and not my scent genre usually, but I fell hard for it. My favorite aquatic to date.

Which of these sounds like something you would like to wear? Do you like perfumes built around locations? What location would you make a collection around? I think one with Savannah, Georgia as its muse could be interesting.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Obscurus: Bath, Body and Wax Tarts from Femme Fatale

These products were sent free of charge from Femme Fatale in exchange for photographs, all opinions my own. 

Femme Fatale Cosmetics is an Australian based company that sells indie products from bath and body to nail polishes, makeup to perfumes and even wax tarts. If you are looking for a new way to explore some really talented makers Femme Fatale is a wonderful outlet to do just that. Sophie, the owner of Femme Fatale recently debuted her own in-house brand of bath, body, perfume and home fragrance via a line called Obscurus. The Obscurus line is vegan, cruelty free and handmade. It has a dark edgy styling that features the arcane and mysterious. Today I have a sampling of various products to show you. Prices are in AUD, but I will put the US price in parenthesis after the product. I want to start with the wax tarts since I was totally surprised to see these in the box I was sent. The wax is soy and comes in the clamshell format.

Superstition- Notes: Citrus, agave and lavender with woody warmth, musk and amber. ($7.37)
This scent conveys what many oceanside fragrances attempt to capture but in a more realistic and refined manner. The citrus smells of lightly aged bergamot and paired with the lavender it paints landscapes of sunsets in Tuscany or glowing coastlines off the coast of France. I think it may be the agave that lends the salt encrusted atmosphere. It is a beautifully rendered aroma. Once melted, it performs a mercurial transformation, a bit of the sweetness in the citrus comes out and plays dreamily with the lavender. The amber and musk pulls through more the whole scent becomes elevated. One cube threw medium-strong in the bathroom and two cubes threw medium in the larger kitchen and living area. We had gone grocery shopping about an hour after I put this scent in the warmers. We came back and I started cubing a cantaloup I purchased and kept catching streamers of this magnificent perfume as the A/C would kick on and off. I finally realized it wasn't me (or rather my own perfume I should day), but Superstition. I want to smell like Superstition. It has a very elegant high class style.

Astral- Notes: White florals with hidden rose crystals and musk. 
An antique hand tatted bridal veil of tiny white and palest pink roses cascades back through generations of women, each with a fluttering heart of nerves stitched next to hope, youthful eyes luminous with ancient knowledge. The effluvia of gossamer roses floating like a trail of love's musk behind them. This is a gauzy pale rose that was utterly lovely to melt in the bedroom. Two cubes gave a medium-strong throw. The rose was not cloying, too peppery or overbearing, but wonderfully blended and softly sweet. Somehow it calmed me as I would float in and out of the bedroom as I was going about my evening routine. I discovered that this wax needs some nurture time while melting. Be patient and it will bloom and unfurl. 

Out of Body Experience- Notes: Freshly baked cinnamon buns drizzled with lemon and vanilla icing and a dash of orange zest. 
Sniffing this wax tart does indeed provide my senses with an out of body experience. Experiences of the past, Christmas mornings where cinnamon and clove pricked citrus fruits in a wooden bowl grace the same table as piping hot cinnamon rolls ready to make eager fingers and lips sticky with their sweetness. The vividness of the oranges and lemons and spice really liven up the comforting bakery aspects. This is not your typical Hot Orange Danish scent. I am saving this one to kick off fall. 

These lidded tubs are about 3 ounces and hold bath bombs called Tub Transmutation. They contain moisturizing almond oil and bloom in lovely shades of color. 

Agoraphobia- Notes: Sweet citrus bubbles and ginger ale, fizzing ripe red grapes, tart blood plums and lily. ($6.14)
My mouth waters when I open the lid and inhale this effervescent fruity libation. The ginger ale is unmistakable and forms the foundation of the brew. Sliced lemons and sweet sparkling grape juice join the ginger ale to create something I want to imbibe, but even better, I get to bathe in it. I am tucking this one away for an evening bath when I need an extra little pep, but I did use the next one...

Red Moon- Notes: Warm buttermilk doughnuts rolled in sticky sugar and oozing strawberry and raspberry jam. 
This is definitely an aroma I could get down on more in a wax tart format than bath and body care, but it is still well done. Tart and tangy raspberries merge with crispy fried donuts. In the tub this bath bomb fizzed and whirled with verve, turning the waters a candied watermelon pink tint. The fruits rose up out of the water and bakery notes dappled the steam. It was a fun bath and I will be looking to pick up some of these bath bombs in other scents that would be more my bathing ritual style. It was an excellent bath bomb and I like the way these are packaged. They make for easier storage than the spheres. 

Purge Potion is a thick consistency sugar scrub made from Australian cane sugar, grapeseed oil, avocado oil and shea butter. 

Tunguska- Notes: Forest greens with lime and winter berries, floral heart blended with ozone, green apple and musk. A crisp breeze and wilderness. ($10.65)
Tunguska takes the subtle perfume of evergreen and spruce from faraway woodland tundras and entwines it with ozone pulled in from the northern pole of the Earth's atmosphere. There is a stony chill wetness in the woods, but also an ethereal sweetness. Aquatic apples and airy limes. I love this scent. It is an illuminating scent, an olfactive representation of the teals, lime greens and pulsing indigo hues of an aurora borealis skimming over the snowy evergreen needles, reflecting and refracting like magic. 

I love the styling of this brand. The lids have stickers that reflect the scent within. Tunguska revolves around the phenomenon of the largest meteoritic impact that happened in recorded history. The shooting star is quite lovely but also hints at that event. I love it. 

The consistency of the sugar scrub reminds me of a lighter, more yielding version of The Bathing Garden's sugar scrubs. I can get a nice scoopful with my finger tips and massage it into my skin easily. Its medium sized particulate exfoliates wonderfully and the oils and butters aren't too heavy but add the right amount of moisturizing. It left my skin smooth and soft. I would happily buy this product and do plan on it.

Rota Fortunae- Notes: Jasmine, lily of the valley and rosewood blends with oriental spices and sweet citrus, mellowed with musks and vanilla. The capricious nature of fate. 
Though some say she may be fickle, she smells undeniably opulent. She is shrouded in a velutinous cloak of inviting jasmine woods. This is not tropical, heady jasmine but the ghost of jasmine long ago dried, a token from a former lover that lived a past life tucked behind the curl of an ear. Musky rosewood and the lily of the valley enhance that gossamer jasmine silhouette. Capricious Rota Fortunae is always welcome on skin and in my life. This would be amazing as a bath treat or bedroom fragrance. 

Check out this art! An arcane wheel of fate. Love. 

It is hard for me to capture the lovely subtle mica shimmer in this scrub but it is very nice. Not gaudy or over the top at all. Just right. 

I am impressed with the Obscurus line from Sophie of Femme Fatale. I can tell she put a lot of thought into her scents, ingredients and brand. I have not looked into the shipping yet, but the pricing of the products is more than fair with the exception of the wax tarts, those are a touch high when looking at market prices, but in my opinion not too high for me as I would pay extra for these types of boutique scents that blow me away. The packaging is top notch. The stories behind the scents add mystery and that extra level of detail I admire. 

Tomorrow I am going to feature Obscurus' Spring 2018 perfume oil line. Come by and check it out. 

Have you ordered from Femme Fatale? What lines do they carry that you love and I need to try?