Monday, May 18, 2020

Vapid Wax: Scent Shots

Here are some scent shots I ordered for $2 a pop at Vapid Wax a while back. I do see that she is currently having a spring sale for 30% all her RTS. There seems to be a good amount available. 

Luna is a soft and familiar blend of sandalwood, amber, berries, jasmine and freesia. It either reminds me of the Scentsy Luna fragrance or the Bath & Body Works Moonlight Path. Either way it is a lovely smooth scent with cushiony pale woods, sweet vanilla amber and sweet fruits and florals.

Vanilla Frost is an indulgent vanilla scent full of marshmallow sweetness and a nod to vanilla bean noel with its hint of sugar cookie. This though is really an ultimate vanilla. And I love it for that.

Clear Headed is a bracing eucalyptus, mint and camphor blend. It smells just like Vicks Vapo Rub. Which is exactly what I wanted. It is nice to have a mix like this on hand for those sickie days.

La La Lavenderland is a classic pairing of sweet lavender and lush vanilla. Vapid Wax has some of the best vanilla I have laid nose on in a while. This one melted strong in my bedroom.

I went for some staples: vanilla, lavender, mint. But I was also in the mood for some unique summery scents.

Tonic and Orange Blossoms fit that bill. It is sweet and creamy, a summery blend of a vanilla orange iced treat with a hint of bubbly effervescence. Definitely not an orange blossom but still a nice scent to lift the spirits.

Hunter is a gorgeous scent that entwines oud wood, sandalwood and amber. It is described as a sexy man scent, and it does give a hint of the vibe but it does have some amazing woodsy tones that keeps it from smelling of just cologne. 

Suntan is a wonderful Coppertone dupe. That burst of jasmine is dreamy. Utterly dreamy.

I think I must have been pining for fall as well.

Warm Apple Pie makes my mouth water simply sniffing it. Warm sliced apples, sautéed with sugar and dusted with fine cinnamon. Perfection really.

Autumn Harvest is a refined take on the classic cornucopia of apples, oranges and spice. A touch of vanilla and musk is buried within those notes and it rounds it all out into a velvety texture. I will probably melt this before fall.

Let's Summon Demons took me aback! It smells like a soft smoky blend of leaves and serendipity. The creamy coconut cherry treat is given a dark side with woods, leaves and woodsmoke. I love it. Absolutely love it. 

Cardigan was the only dud in the group. I think something was wrong with the wax though. It was all lumpy and creased and very faintly scented. All the others were vibrant on cold sniff and strong when melted. This was supposed to be a cardamom and rose scent.

Ouija Board is an earthy woodsy blend that has watery notes from herbs and and a misty ozonic tang to it. Like inhaling during a deep fog in the woods with a dash of clean. 

I am very happy with my Vapid Wax order and I will be back. Some of these will be upgraded to the clamshell size. :-)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Melting Basket 151 and some Flowers

Hello friends, how have you been these past couple weeks? I have melted up a full basket that I didn't feature a week or so ago, but I felt the urge to share this one since it is newly filled.

Bohemienne Life Go Tell The Bees
Glitterati Peppermint Pralines
Glitterati Cucumber Melon Apple Mango Tango
Handmade in Florida Yacht Club
The Bathing Garden Starlight Soda Pop
The Bathing Garden Summer Melon and Mint
Beezy Salty Dog and Lime
Beezy Lavender Sugar Cookie
Beezy Harvest Gathering
CFTKR Merlin's Forest
CFTKR Rosy Strawberry
CFTKR Strawberry Martini
CFTKR Country Home
CFTKR Tropical Cocktail
CFTKR Pumpkin Chamomile

These are some hot and dry summery days down here in Florida. I keep waiting for those summer afternoon thunderstorms to begin. My plants are thirsty. 

We have a few small magnolia trees growing on the side of the house and their big blowsy flowers are scenting the air nicely. There are much larger and older magnolias in the neighborhood and they carry their perfume far for us to enjoy on our evening walks. 

I am trying to grow some zinnias around the yard here and there willy nilly. I found the ones I scatter as seed stay teeny tiny like these here, but if I plant the seed in pots and tend to them more they get bigger. I have been transplanting those around the yard now too. But seed scattering is so much fun I will probably still indulge in that.

It has been nice waking up and greeting the morning glories of the day. 

I finally saw my very first hummingbird two days ago. I was sitting on the front step and garden gazing when he stopped by to sample the firecracker bush and the Mexican fire bush. I put out a hummingbird feeder yesterday. I hope he finds it.

The front yard is almost completed, I think I need a few stepping stones for some areas and perhaps a handful of shade plants for under the oak tree. I will be moving on to getting the sides of the yard done next. The backyard will be last. Baby steps. 

How are you doing? Are you melting? Burning? I have a good old Bath and Body Works Twisted Peppermint in the bedroom. I forgot how good it can be when it is done right.

Friday, May 1, 2020

2020 Reading Challenge: Spring Check In

Reading has been my self-medication of choice this year. At this point I don't even care if I am actively using it as a form of escapism. I must admit I have been on some rather interesting adventures in my book journeys. Here are the books I have read so far along with a quick blurb of my thoughts along with my rating:
*= meh       **= good/decent        ***= go read it

1. Quickie- 200 pages or less.
Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles by Taisa Kitaiskaia is a pocket-sized Dear Abby but written by a much darker, mysterious, yet wizened soul. Baba Yaga's pithy advice is wrapped in layers of moss and slippery wordsmithing but holds the bare mouse bones of truth. My daughters and I enjoyed reading them out loud and guessing what she meant by her advice. I already pre-ordered her next volume. ***

2. On the briny- a saltwater reading experience.
House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin Craig was an autographed book I picked up on a whim while browsing the OwlCrate webstore. I also picked up a Hagrid umbrella and count that the better of the two purchases. While I liked the atmospheric elements of this salt water encrusted island kingdom, the characters lacked depth. I liked it as a light fluffy semi-thriller where the maids are all empty headed lasses. **

3. Ready set read- Finish a series, or start a new one.
Fifth Wave/Infinite Sea/Last Star by Rick Yancey was a book series my youngest started reading. She encouraged me to read it too so I did, then we watched the movie. The book is a dystopian alien doomsday thriller where in the end you are not sure if you are truly the alien or not. Who do you trust? A decent YA series. I liked it enough to finish it. **

4. Memory lane- a book you missed out on from childhood.

5. Name dropper- get proper with a titular character [named after the book's subject].
Circe by Madeline Miller was just as amazing as I had heard it was. A moving myth about the origins of Circe and how she often showed more humanity than her turning-men-into-pigs rap gives her credit for. I fell in love with her. I think you will too. ***

6. Magical realism

7. Make it the year of the lycan-read a wolfish book.

8. Eye candy cover

9. A tear jerker- I'm not crying, you're crying!

10. Get lost in time- book set in the future or past, or both.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders had comic question marks floating above my head for the first few pages but then when I caught on I had realized I sped through 1/3 of the book in one sitting! A comical, blithe, heart rending tale about some ghosts who keep President Lincoln's newly departed son company overnight and the turmoil and tenderness that ensues. ***

11. A book you'd turn to when feeling blue.

12.  Cover Text Intertwined With Images: big 2019 novel trend.
The Binding by Bridget Collins was an unexpected breath-taker. I had a feeling I would enjoy the narrative of a young man who is taken from the farm and called to the often maligned task of binding books, which carries a connotation of witchcraft. But the twists and turns that evolve had me gasping and flipping pages backward and trying to unwind the tangled threads of love and loss. I will be reading this one again. ***

13. Stay Golden with gilded pages or shimmering cover accents.

14. Do you have a nightlight? Read something spooky if you do.

15. Borrowed book- library, lil’ free library, or friend, don't forget to return it!
Sphere by Michael Crichton was one I borrowed from my daughter. We love reading Crichton. This one was decent. An alien (?) craft is discovered at the bottom of the sea and a team of experts is called in by the government to explore. What is tangible morphs into the intellectually abstract. The movie was a painful hoot to watch after too. Some great actors in it! **

16. Seek the throne-heraldry or castle on the cover.
The Half-Drowned King/Sea Queen/Golden Wolf by Linnea Hartsuyker was a bracing Viking trilogy that spanned all the chilly seas and isles along Scandinavia and beyond. It follows the young Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild as they fight for their lands, lives and loves. Enemies often become allies and brothers of the heart can be found to be traitorous. A thrilling saga. ***

17. New-to-you author
The Vine Witch by Luanne Smith is was fast and enchanting read about a legacy of witches who tend to vineyards, one in particular is cursed and comes back to find the world changed. This reads as a quick morsel without too much thinking needed but fun nonetheless. **

18. A centenarian book, one that is 100 years or older. 

19. Our pets are the best of us. Read a story with a dear dog or cherished cat companion.

20. Colorless- a stark cover with only black/white/gray.

21. Forest Bathing- trees on the cover, in the title or as subject matter.\
American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation by Eric Rutkow has easily been the most intellectual and fascinating book I have read so far this year. It was an eye opening if not heart shriveling accounting of how America evolved through the lens of her trees and forests. From the liberty tree in Boston to President Washington's gardens, from the Washington D.C. cherry trees to the Dutch Elm Disease and founding of our national park system, this chronicles the impact we have had on our environment and highlights just how much we depend on our trees. ***

22. Generation Z- A teen or young adult author.

23. Book based on a real event- true story based fiction, or non-fiction. 
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut was a deceptively fast read. Not having had the high school discussions of symbolism or themes, I must say I pulled from this book the horror that men and women have to pocket in their hearts when they are faced with war. How it can warp the soul and mind. It makes me think of all the soldiers with PTSD and how terrifying it must be to try to transition from something as horrendous as death abound to the mundane and benign. This satire on the bombing of Dresden during WWII was interesting to read. ***

24. Reading rebel- a controversial book, or featuring a literary rebel.

25. Illuminated Illustrations: a book with photographs or art within.

26. 20/20 Vision. A book that helped you to see something clearer. 

27. Gold Star. You get one just for reading a book. Your choice.
Skink- No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen is a kid's book about an old geezer who happens to be a former governor of Florida who slinks around the Everglades or shoreline or pinelands looking for jerks to set to rights. Wayward kids usually get pulled into his shenanigans. A student of mine pushed this book on me and I couldn't let him down. It turned out to be a rather funny and entertaining read. It was good enough for me to keep reading this kid's recommendations. **

28. The White Whale- book on your tbr forever, a weighty book, or one you couldn't bring yourself to read before [or that you think will be the end of you].

29. Home is where the heart is. A house on the cover. 
Little Green by Tish Cohen is the first one star of the year. I figured it would come. A horrid telling of an insipid marriage that is falling apart. The wife is self-centered, the husband a martyr, their handicapped daughter is caught in the crosshairs until she is kidnapped. Reading this book at times made my tummy hurt. If I hated the characters any more I would have to up the stars just because the author created something so viscerally repugnant that she deserved it, but she didn't so I won't. *

30. Old Fashioned: A book with a table of contents.
Candlenight by Phil Rickman is a spooky mid-90's mysterious thriller set in a small hamlet in Wales where the magic of Druids may still be alive and... well?? The town rebukes the efforts of Englishmen to settle and it follows the trials of Giles and his wife Claire who recently inherited a home there. I loved the story telling and scene building and language. It was a bit drawn out but I forgive its long windedness and I find I still think about it every now and again. ***

I think I have gotten off to a great start!! Not many of the books have sucked and I have read quite a bit. I foresee this trend continuing given our present circumstances and the fast approach of summer, my halcyon reading days. Are you reading? Do you recommend anything?

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Ebb & Flow: April 2020

The highs and lows of the month.

Wylde Ivy Like Sugar and Flowers

Perfume Oil:
Whisper Sisters Frankincense Dark Cedar

Body Oil:
Wildroots Winter Ritual Body Oil

Sleep Spray:
Old Ways Healing St. John's Wort Magnesium Spray

Room Spray:
Poesie Perfumes Queen of Air and Darkness

Skin Care:
Forest & Fjord Moon Serum and Sea Silk Face Cream (reviews to come soon)

Future Primitive Magpie

The Bathing Garden Starlight and Soda Pop

Sihaya & Company Amber Woods

The Bathing Garden Magician's Bonfire

Koi Coloring Brush Pens

A dwarf version of Madagascar Periwinkle that I found at Home Depot when we had to pick up an air filter. It is the cutest teeny tiny thing ever. Flowers the size of dimes. Reminds me of the tiny alpine plants I see on my British garden shows.

Spicy Trail Mix from Walmart

Iced lemongrass tea

Old Jimmy Buffet albums when painting and cooking, relaxing Celtic music when blogging or drawing.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

My computer screen the vast majority of my day when working, other than that not much besides the butterflies in the flower garden. 

Rain. Bookstores. Coffee shops. Seeing friends. Seeing sisters. Seeing family. Summer break. 

The thought of loved ones getting ill, especially my parents. 

My Tudor Planner for doing daily doodles.

Trying to build a lattice trellis on the side of the house. Not very home improvement inclined I suppose. Fell back on a stick-in-the-ground trellis. Hoping it will work.

Knowing that there is so much heartbreak going on in the world right now.

The stillness and family time this season has brought. And a new mattress. That is a high for sure.

How has your April been? One you will never forget, I imagine. Any good news? Any sadness you want to share the burden of bearing? How are you doing? 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wildroots: Body Care

This is not the first time I have featured Wildroots Body Care on here (I raved about Megan's deodorant last time). I placed another order to stock back up on my official Holy Grail natural deodorant. I picked up one each of her two formulas. But I also grabbed some body oils I saw she had in stock. I have really become a huge fan of using body oil in place of traditional lotions. I still have some lotions here and there I will use up but body oils are my jam. 

I chose Lavender + Rosemary ($22) and it smells so serene. Peep those lavender sprigs in there. The lavender and rosemary essential oils float in a base of organic apricot and almond oils along with meadowfoam seed oil and vitamin e. The halcyon aroma of lavender greets the senses. Nuances of sweet pine and pillowy green herbs mingle with the plump purple lavender buds. The rosemary is light and gauzy, almost translucent. It feels wonderful on the skin, leaving it soft and perfumed. A bedtime treat to be sure.

The hand sanitizer was a generous freebie to those who placed an order while she had stock. It is a pray gel formula that nourishes and imparts softness. The scent is rosemary, thyme and sweet orange, so very uplifting and sunny. Great formula. 

This last body oil had to come home to me. 

Winter Ritual Body Oil (on sale $18) sports juniper, rosewood and citrus oils in a base of sunflower, apricot, sesame, avocado seed and grapeseed oils along with vitamin e and additional essential oils of lavender, fir, vetiver and cinnamon essential oils. This blend promotes circulation and nourishment. The juniper, woods and soft grapefruit shines through the most in this blend though the lavender  and cinnamon can be subtly detected. I love the scent and feel of this blend. It is comforting and natural.

I am so very pleased ordering from Wildroots. I look forward to being a customer for a long time. I do want to try some of her salves soon. 

Do you like body oils or are you more of a lotion or body cream type of person? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sihaya & Company: Spring Box

This box was sent free in exchange for photographs, all opinions are my own.

Christina at Sihaya & Company continues to roll out one of my very favorite curated indie maker seasonal boxes. I love how she not only includes bath and body but all tasty treats, home fragrance and more with a very cohesive feel. This spring her box was called: The Mystic's Dream.

Christina crafts some of my favorite candles. I love to burn them on my nightstand and on my desk. They throw nicely and look lovely with her shimmering glitter overspray. 

The Mystic's Dream- Notes: A blend for those seeking adventure and wonder behind the veil of slumber. Spicy cardamom, Bulgarian rose, soft cedar, warm vanilla, and a touch of pistachio under a swirl of smoke. 9 oz $13

A lovely gourmand rose. A dusting of cardamom and vanilla tinted pistachio graces the rounded fullness of dark roses. It smells like browsing a quaint French bakery where vases of homegrown roses mingle with the meltingly tasty scents emanating from the display cases.  I look forward to burning this one right after I finish up Amber Woods from Sihaya & Co. that is on my nightstand.

Sihaya & Co. moisturizing lip color in Oneroi- A sheer wash of lavender tinted mauve with delicate purple sparkles and lavender caramel flavor. $6.50
A very flattering shade of plummy dark pink on my lips. The shimmer adds a touch of sheen and the flavor is very mild. I love the cushiony slip of the lip color. It feels light and easy on the lips as well as moisturizing. I enjoy wearing these for an easy pop of color. 

Leccare Lollipops on Etsy in Honey Cardamom, Peppered Plum and Blood Orange Ginger. $4.05 for three.
I love tiny gourmet lollipops. I sampled the Honey Cardamom and it was divine. The cardamom was peppery and bright and paired with the sweet mellow honey it made for a tastebud tingling treat. I look forward to the plum on next. 

Deconstructing Eden perfume in Dream- Notes: Tonka bean butter, Bulgarian lavender, lavender maillette, chamomile, and helichrysum. 9ml for $15.50
I have been meaning to sample Deconstructing Eden for a while now but the samples I picked up ages ago ended up languishing too long and then I misplaced them somewhere. I love that is a lavender based perfume. The lavender is floaty and supple, smells just like the lavender growing in my garden. It is braced with buttery shortbread cookies. I know that is not in the notes but that is what comes to my nose. The delicate feathery chamomile petals come into the background reminding me of sleepy tea. This is a wonderful scent to wear for calming and for sheer joy to those lavender lovers like myself.

Nui Cobalt Pathworking Bath Potion- Notes: Angelica, frankincense, copal, calendula, and a gentle touch of jasmine in a homespun infusion of mugwort. 20g is about $5 (4 oz is $22)
I don't have a bath in which to pour this beautiful bath potion but I did rub some on my skin kind of like an exfoliant and it was heavenly. The frankincense and jasmine are a match made in heaven. The oils in this potion left my skin soft and lightly scented. If I could buy this in a large amount and bathe in it I would be one happy camper.  

Paintbox Soapworks soap in The Distant Stars and the Violet Flame- Notes: Purple incense, crystalline violet, amber, and sweet blackberry. $7
I used to poo poo glycerine soaps but between Paintbox Soapworks and Moonalisa, I amend my ways. Paintbox Soapworks' luxury glycerin soaps are just that, a luxury. They bubble and froth in copious clouds of suds and they smell amazing. Plus the ease of cleaning and rinsing is pretty sweet too. I admit I do fall into a semi-state of mesmerism when I gaze into the mica swirls that look like galaxies of stardust inside these bars of soap. I put this bar in my shower along with my Future Primitive soaps so add a fruity balance to the mints. This bar smells of dark, sweet blackberries and a sigh of violet incense. It is truly a lovely fragrance. The berries come forward most prominently for sure. 

Luvmilk sugar scrub in Dream Walker- Notes: Sun ripened apricot, creamy coconut milk, oak, cedar, moss and a squeeze of citron. (Not sure of cost as their website is down.)
I enjoy the consistency of the Luvmilk scrub. It is like a slurry of sugary scrubbiness. The scent in the jar smells of bready coconut and I am not a huge fan of it, but once I slather it on in the shower it does bloom into a peaches and cream. I think the milk component and the apricots combine to initially make a strange melange of yeasty scent but then it does mellow and the apricots plump up into their fuzzy, peachy, juicy form. The creaminess smooths out into something more yummy. I don't ever really get the oak, moss and cedar though.
 I noticed when trying to locate the cost on these that the Luvmilk owner is going through a rough patch with a loss of a loved one and some massive COVID-19 shipping delays on supplies. My condolences, my thoughts are with you. 

I love this box! It is dreamy and lush. So much magic to behold! This box ran $60 shipped and the product value exceeds that amount given an estimate on the scrub. Christina's next box will come out in May and you should treat yourself to it. <3

Monday, April 27, 2020

Around the Yard

I mainly want to post this so I can have a good idea of the "before" of our yard and landscaping. I have planted a ton of plants but they are all so small and sparsely located that it really hasn't made a big impact yet, at least in the backyward. 

I have ample planting dreams that arise from watching many, many British and Irish gardening shows.

This sunny area near the house will be for raised bed gardening. I am going to try and repurpose our two box springs into raised beds. 

Orange County Extension gives away two free trees once every other month and I scooped up two slash pines and they are doing well. 

We hope to put a chicken coop near that Norfolk Island Pine by the shed in the background. 

My dream is to do big meandering beds around these large oak trees: camellias, azaleas, pretty much any shade loving plant.

These old rotting piles of logs will hopefully be a nursery to some edible mushrooms in the future.

The previous owners built an open tree house that I use as a hammocked reading spot. I am trying to grow jasmine and wisteria and passion flower up the beams. 

I have a lot of work to do in some of the beds but they are coming along. I love the two cacti that were here when we moved it. Hopefully they will stick around.

I tore out a whole row of scraggly looking loropetalum and put in canna lilies. I might add some more butterfly attracting flowers there too. It's a work in progress.

Our lawn grass is not really there. It is more of a mixture of about 20 "weeds". But I don't really consider them weeds at all. We are trying to get away from the urban monoculture of lawns and allow a diverse population of plants to grow, hopefully more native than not. As long as it is mostly green I am happy. 

I've had fun trimming the lemongrass and making tea. I also have rue, thyme, oregano, tulsi basil and rosemary in that pot. I hope to grow a wide variety of herbs and medicinal plants in the future. 

The butterflies and bees love this porter weed. It might be one of my favorite things I have planted so far. Its antenna like wavy stalks of tiny purple flowers looks neat. 

I have my rosemary by the door to greet friends and patches of lavender too. Is there any plant you consider a "must" for a garden or home to have?