Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sihaya & Company: Ember & Mallow Candle

Sihaya and Company candles have been burning throughout my house for the past couple months. Ember & Mallow is currently on rotation in the sun room and might just be my favorite Sihaya candle to date.  

Ember & MallowNotes: Vanilla marshmallows over a smoky autumn bonfire. $12

A beautifully rendered smoky toasted marshmallow scent with amber highlights and woodsmoke shadows. As much as I love Bath and Body Works Marshmallow Fireside, Ember & Mallow beats it hands down. I not only want this wafting about the home but also all over my skin. Which is why I picked this scent up in the body lotion and body scrub Sihaya did in collaboration with Paintbox Soap Works. This candle throws strong and burns evenly over time. Trimming wicks is a must or the flame will be towering. 

Christina is raising her candle prices by $1 beginning today I believe. Though I paid $12 I think it will now be $13 but in my opinion it is well worth it. I will be back for this one again and again. 

If you could only buy your candles from one place for the rest of your life... where would it be from?

Monday, October 14, 2019

A Fall Weekend in New England

The girls, my sister and I very much enjoyed our autumnal weekend in Massachusetts. We landed in Boston, spending a few hours warming up with some hot apple cider, hot cocoa and lattes then walking around the Boston Public Garden.

It was a little cumbersome with our luggage in tow so we opted to go ahead and book it to Salem and our hotel room.

We stayed at the Salem Inn, which was the home of Captain Nathaniel West and built in 1834. We booked the West room about a year in advance (the best places to stay book very quickly for October dates). We had to stay at least three nights and pay in full but it was easily the best decision we made. It was close to everything, boasted beautiful accommodations and even a delicious breakfast each morning downstairs in the kitchen and dining rooms. In fact, we could even see The Witch House (photo above) from our room. 

Packing just the right perfumes to scent my first autumn in New England was important to me. I stuffed my quart sized ziplock bag for the plane ride with: Whisper Sisters Mabon, Moonalisa Broom Brittle, Sixteen92 Baba Yaga, Lycanthrope, The Bell Witch and Spirits of the Dead, Solstice Scents Library and Gibbon's Boarding School, House of Orpheus Raven and Tobacco Murder and BPAL Hair Gloss in Boo. I found myself layering scents and brewing up a new fragrant potion each day. 

The Witch House is a bit of a misnomer as it really was the home of one of the judges who sat on the Court of Oyer and Terminer during the witch trials of 1692. But it is one of the last standing homes of that time period and looks amazing. You can go in for a public tour but we mostly just gazed at it morning, noon and night as our travels carried us by or we looked out the window.

I expected Salem to be packed more than it was. We are early risers so we hit the town at around 9am each day and it was quiet. Crowds started milling about mid-morning and noon until about 7pm or so then it became quiet once more. The weather was a perfect chilly 50 to 60 in the day time.

We walked Salem for three whole days and still found cool alleys and streets to discover. It is easily a place to go again and again and still embark upon something new. I loved how the whole town got into the Halloween spirit.

There was lots of shopping of course. I picked up a candle from Witch City Wicks, some crystals from the street market called Bizarre Bazaar, and loads of books and candy.

I think one of our favorite places was Ye Olde Pepper Companie, the first commercial candy maker in the United States. 

Scarlette is looking at a time capsule that was buried under the Hawthorne Hotel 200 years ago full of the Pepper Companie's most famous candy, the Gibralters. 

Across the street from the candy store was the House of Seven Gables, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

The home and grounds are stunning and well worth the full tour experience.

This was the home Nathaniel himself was born in. I had not read the book so I picked up a copy in the museum gift shop.

We also did a tour of the Salem Witch Museum, heard ghost stories in Salem's Pioneer Village and participated in two Edgar Allan Poe plays given by Theater In The Open. We ate tons of clam chowder (Savanna and I both agree that Rockafella's was the best) and picked up so many colorful leaves and acorns you would think we were squirrels.

We also visited the cemetery and memorials for the 19 victims of the trials where Scarlette left coins as a token to each.

We spent the last day before our night flight in Boston where we walked some of the Freedom Trail, visiting Paul Revere's house and the site of the Boston Massacre, bought arm fulls of vintage books and ate some gelato in Little Italy. 

I have a feeling the girls and I will be back one day. Boston and Salem were beautiful places swollen with the past waiting to be remembered. 

What places would you like to go in autumn? 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Ebb & Flow: September 2019

The highs and lows of the month... a day late.

Solstice Scents Hidden Lodge

Perfume Oil:
Arcana Wildcraft Anodyne at night
Nocturne Alchemy Bastet's Ice Cream: Halloween Spice Cake Santalum Creme

B. Perry Studios PSL Sassy

B. Perry Studios Celestite

Body Oil:
Kings Road Apothecary Deep Woods 

Hair Gloss:
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Pumpkin Patchouli

Nail Polish:
Rescue Beauty Lounge Concrete Jungle

Sihaya & Company Sleepy Hollow (smoky leather and smoldering pumpkin)

Rosegirls Winter Mermaid in the bedroom (peppermint, shaving cream, coconut)

Ruffles All Dressed potato chips

Starbucks Fall blend coffee at home and water

Still slogging through The Witches by Stacy Schiff, ready to move on.


To Don Williams records.

When the time comes in the next month or so for me to truly decide if I want to continue Montessori training.

Boston and Salem this weekend. No doubt. Fall Leaves. Lanterns in the Village hot cocoa and ghost story time. Used bookstores in Cambridge. Chilly weather. Clam chowder. 

Molblly queen mattress from Amazon for the guest bedroom. Surprised how inexpensive a good mattress is now.

The sunflower seeds I tried to plant in the backyard that the squirrels immediately dug up and ate. Turds. 

Some family issues that kind of all came to a boiling state at once this past weekend. Thankfully they were able to be resolved with open communication and open hearts. I had some friendship struggles and other things here and there but seasons come and go and I find as I get older those things are easier for me to handle.

Seeing and spending time with my sisters. Getting home situated more. Splurging on plants. Landscaping more. Having my dad over for his birthday. Exploring our new town. Watching baby quail hatch in the classroom.

How was your September? Is fall treating you well so far? How about me being so scattered that I simply forgot to post my Ebb and Flow until my sister called me out? Thank you, Lindsey. I don't want to miss some reflective time.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Fall Friday: Ten Digit Creations Fall Haul

The kick in the pants I got that initiated this order was melting that Ten Digit Creations mini loaf a couple melting baskets ago. I know Amber had been tinkering with a new website and ordering process so I popped over just to see what all was shaking out. Turns out I found quite a few goodies on offer. She currently has $3.50 flat rate shipping and a nice selection of RTS and custom offerings. I went the RTS route.

Mulled Cider & Chestnuts/Orange Clove/Indian Sandalwood ($2.70) is a deeply spiced orange pomander scent with rustic wood elements and old world charm. Amber knows how to blend and this one has me excited to melt it.

Apple Pecan Sage/Gingerbread/Wood Spice ($3.40) features a nice cozy mixture of cinnamon, woods and a hint of apples. I shared quite a few from this order but the two of these I picked up I selfishly kept for myself. I am a sucker for apple cinnamon scents and this one is very lovely and unique. This is apples with cinnamon being canned in a wooden barn that has stood for many generations while a whiff of hay and late afternoon sunlight filter through the planks that make up the walls. 

Caramel Apple/Marshmallows by the Fire/Sandalwood Marshmallow ($3.40) is a brilliant merging of Macintosh apples, shining red cheerful on their wooden sticks awaiting a thick coating of viscous caramel. The fireside aroma is a tantalizing addition to the scent, and you know I am a fanatic of marshmallow fireside types of scents. The merging of the two is magic. I bought three of these leaves and kept two. 

Egyptian Amber/Sandalwood Rose/Vanilla Lace ($3.40) is a beauty. I wasn't sure how I would like the rose but I am very happy I threw it in my cart. Sandalwood and rose are a pair made in heaven, plush and refined with a softness that is added by the vanilla. A wonderful bedroom scent.

Palo Santo/Bourbon Tobacco/Wood Spice ($3.40) is my died-and-gone-to-heaven aroma. Holy smokes. Where has this been all my life??? Amber always stocks the best tobacco oils. This one is elevated from smooth, sweet tobacco wonder to smooth, woodsy, sweet tobacco incensed spectacular. Seriously. It is divine. 

Winter Candied Apples/Vanilla Birch/Campfire ($3.40) is a unique melding of sweet and tangy cotton candy apples and smoky woods. Garnet hued candy apples and tangy cider tasted alongside scarves holding woodsmoke and sweaters full of the outdoors.

The chunk was 2 ounces and the leaves are 2.5 ounces. I like to cut them both in half to get two melts out of them. Amber likes to make sure her customers are happy with their wax and packaging. She noticed that her wax was making the baggies soft so she is now double bagging them along a similar vein as Carol at Candles From The Keeping Room. She tucks them into a thinner plastic pouch and then that pouch goes into a ziptop bag. I love how easy it is to use and I think it will help cut own on the soft bag syndrome. 

What fall notes do you like to melt right now? Woods? Leaves? Apples? Spice?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Handmade in Florida: Summer Pre-Order

I have been sitting on this Handmade in Florida order for an embarrassingly long time. Between typing up student progress reports I decided to give my brain a break by engaging in some aromatherapy and blogging. I placed this order mostly to stock up on soap for my husband but of course some wax and other goodies tagged along. Zahida generously added some extras as a housewarming gift as well, since I moved to her neck of the woods. 

These adorable Mickey heads always make me smile. I love how smooth they are, the layers and the small details Zahida adds. I don't think Zahida sells these as a shape so no price will be listed. She usually sells her wax as larger shapes, scent shots or clamshells.

Lagoon- Notes: A blend of smooth peppermint, dead sea salt, delicate florals and warm tonka beans.
Lagoon is a lovely take on a fresh but delicate aquatic. The mint is watery but the tonka adds a hint of vanilla to the musky florals.

Life's A Beach- Notes: Light florals, fresh notes of bergamot, lemon, green tea and mint.
A luxurious scent that begins with strapping bergamot and a nod to iris. It smells like an upscale beach hotel. I very much like it.

South Beach Smoothie- Notes: Fresh mangoes and creamy vanilla ice-cream, garnished with sweet raspberries and a sprig of mint.
Oh wow. This one is very very yummy. The creamy mango paired with juicy raspberry are making my mouth water. As much as I am dying to melt this I know it has to go to my friend Sandra who truly appreciates a scent like this. <3

Peaches and Cream- Notes: A blend of juicy peaches, berries, vanilla and freshly whipped cream.
There is a cobbler quality to the peaches. A bready aspect to the lush stone fruit and heapings of vanilla cream. There is also something almost green peeping out from the decadent Southern dessert.

Berry Chantilly Cake- Notes: Fluffy vanilla cake loaded with layers of sweet berries and freshly whipped cream.
Divine. Angle food cake, spongy and light, is formed into a trifle with macerated strawberries and raspberries, pillowed with sugared cream. The berry reminds me of Rosegirls' Strawberry Jam single note. Really thick and chewy.

This cream puff of a tart is scented in Lavender Ice-cream and it is scrumtrulescent. If you have ever experienced Solstice Scent's Lavender Vanilla blend and enjoyed it, then this is for you. It is a sweet and rich lavender with syrupy herbal tones that compliment the lush vanilla really well. I look forward to melting this in my bedroom.

These larger paisley and heart shaped tarts are about 3 ounces and cost $5.50 each. I usually get 2 or 3 melts from one of these. 

Nag Champa- Notes: A blend of sandalwood, patchouli, oudh, lavender, vanilla and the champa flower. 
I love Nag Champa incense, perfume and blends. This one is lovely. Smooth and velvety with that classic sandalwood and floral incense aroma. 

Easter Oudh is a forever favorite. It throws strong and smells incredibly beautiful. Dark woods with a touch of smoke, full of resins and a touch perfumed. 

Oudh Rose is gorgeous too. Similar dark, dusky woods and resins are made more mysterious by an unfurling of burgundy rose petals. I love the tranquil quality of the dried rose petals. They are ghostly and almost smoky like a rose petal incense.

Mystic blends amber, florals, citrus, sandalwood and lavender into a spellbinding aroma. There is a heady rich quality to this that reminds me of something dense and honeyed. I quite enjoy the lavender in this blend. The fact that it is lavender essential oil stands out. A true lavender, not a fragrance oil rendition.

I love Zahida's clamless break away bars. They are 3 ounces of waxy goodness for $4.50.

Lemon-Lime Float- Notes: Key lime ice-cream and lemon-lime soda.
Electric citrus puckers the lips and twangs the jaw. The extra tart Key limes pack a punch for such a tiny fruit. And they feature prominently in this tart. I love the subtle creamy vanilla background that keeps these limes and lemons from running off with the blend. 

Gulf of Mexico- Notes: Pineapple and passionfruit blended with sweet peaches and bright citrus.
This fruity tropical blend has something a little extra in there. I am thinking it is the passionfruit adding a twitch of foliage and floral that keep this from being a tropical fruit salad. Zahida has a magical way of creating blends that are extraordinary and sophisticated. The oranges and peaches compliment each other effortlessly while the pineapple adds sunny sweetness. A beautiful scent for a beautiful place.

Southern Girl- Notes: Cucumber, citrus, light florals and freshly cut grass.
A mature version of Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon. The blending of the grass is what sets it apart. Genius. A water dappled, verdant aroma. 

Drum Circle- Notes: Bergamot, orange, lemon, geranium, rose, patchouli, vetiver and tonka beans.
I knew this would steal the show. Grassy vetiver and the green ivy tones of geranium twine wildly with the earthy hues of patchouli. I cannot wait to melt this one. 

Sensual Suede- Notes: An exotic blend of warm woods, amber, jasmine and musk.
I loved Sensual Suede from previous melting. It is a smooth cashmere woods type of scent that is silken and liquid with golden warmth.

Yacht Club- Notes: Lemon, rosemary, sandalwood, patchouli, musk and vetiver.
Zahida's vetiver is intense and wonderful. The thick grassy and haylike tones are refined with the addition of musk and citrus laced herbs. This yacht club is all about casual elegance. 

This is my husband's all-time favorite bar soap. Since we exclusively use bar soap, I always try to keep him in stock.

Three bars of Moroccan Mint Tea to the rescue!! I should have started tracking each bar I have purchased for him. I think over the years it has to be close to approaching at least a dozen. Only once or twice since we discovered this particular soap has he had to go without it. The mint is refreshing, but not arctic. There is enough essence of black tea to push it into a deeper and more complex fragrance.

When I am in need of spirit lifting or soothing I admit that I make a grab for this shower staple from time to time myself.

But my all-time favorite bar soap is Zahida's Spa Time which brims with minty cool patchouli and various other essential oils and clays. It simply feels and smells like relaxation to me. Zahida's soaps have a beautiful texture and lather like bubble making machines. They feel amazing on the skin and rinse away leaving behind nothing but suppleness and bliss.

Serenity is a close second with its lavender, mint and eucalyptus oils. I always get a lovely lavender and spearmint vibe from this one. I enjoy melting it in wax form too. But the soap is a wonderful nighttime treat.

All three of these soaps are $10 each due to their essential oil components. Zahida does craft other soaps without as many essential oils for $8.00 each. But I love these the best. <3

Coconut Smoothie Whipped Sugar Scrub takes me right to all my childhood beach memories. It is a lush tropical coconut aroma that brings to mind coconut heavy Hawaiian Tropic. I simply adore it. A 4.5 ounce tub is $8 and made from scratch, not a scrub base. I enjoy the texture and feel of these scrubs and will tuck one into my order whenever I can. I particularly like this one and the Lavender Creme Brulee.

Sorry I have been so quiet and this took me so long. I am trying really hard to acclimate to my new duties. I am dropping some balls and some plates and all the metaphors and idioms regarding tasks. I am thankful to have an amazing co-lead and assistant teacher. I am thankful to be building rapport with my new kiddos. I just need to get a handle on all the rest. 

But for today I am just going to breathe deep and teach my students how to edit their five paragraph informational essays on a historical figure of their choice for their final drafts.

Did you like writing as a kid? Do you like it now? Do you write for fun?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Plant Love

I grew up helping my mom water all her patio plants and working with turf grass from about 13 to 23. I took many botanical classes in university but mostly cold season and warm season vegetables and crop production courses. As an ag teacher I helped coach my students in a nursery and landscape contests, learning quite a bit myself. Plants have always held a special place in my heart. But now I am holding special places for them in my home. 

The prolific bloom of nurseries, online plant shops and plant-related YouTube videos has grown my own indoor plant passion. I still have a lot to learn (many of my plants enjoy the humidity of my patio more than my home, which makes sense why mom always put hers out there). 

But some are content to live inside. I even have started a propagation station.

I have collected plants from Walmart, yard sales, nurseries open to the public and even boutique plant shops. It has been fun hunting down the smaller Mom-and-Pop nurseries.

Sometimes it sucks to live in a sub-tropical climate. No fall leaves. No snow. Now definitive shift of seasons.

But I will concede that it makes gardening and plant tending fun.

Abundant grow year round.

Do you do house plants? Gardening? What are you loving? I am finding I murder ivy at a pretty consistent rate.