Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Arcana Wildcraft: Unmentionables Collection

These perfumes were sent by Julia as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Julia continues to make magic at Arcana Wildcraft. This Valentine's she released an Unmentionables collection and a Love Potion collection. The Unmentionables consist of five perfumes for $28 each and all play on various aspects of delicate lingerie items. The tatted lace artwork on the bottles is lovely and pulls the theme together wonderfully.

Silk Knickers- Notes: Juicy bergamot and plump apricot halves give way to a heart of Italian crema pasticcera, warm caramel luscious vanilla bean and soft charmeuse accord.
Silk Knickers pours out a decadent gourmand dessert once the black cap unscrews. Peachy sweet apricots shine with sugar and syrup and float on a current of vanilla cream. My mouth waters just sniffing from the bottle. Drenched on the flesh the apricots swell with nectar while the bergamot offers a sliver of tartness akin to the furred apricot skin that jolts the tongue before giving way to the sweetness within. The vivacity of the wild apricots soon folds underneath a silken thick vanilla custard. The actual eggy-ness of the custard can be detected in its texture. As Silk Knickers dries down the vanilla becomes less gourmet and more like cashmere. A beautiful perfume with a delicate finish.

Bullet Bra- Notes: A take-no-prisoners blend of bespoke leather, red lipstick accord, queenly tuberose, iris root and a single drop of black musk.
From the vial wafts an inky and sultry aroma that is reminiscent of a pin-up's small leather clutch and the vintage mysteries contained within: mirrored lipstick case, pressed powder compact, a tiny glass roll-on perfume for d├ęcolletage touchups and the rattle of ivory calling cards from hopeful but doomed gentlemen. The leather licks and crackles with intimate heat. Once applied to the skin the tuberose blooms with tropical intensity, pearlized and nectar laden with nuances of green pliant banana leaves and a whisper of camphor. Scarlet lipstick melts within the heat of the tuberose blossoms and perfumes the flesh with that familiar accord of waxy powdery vintage cosmetics that glide from heavy gilded tubes. The lush blooms, lipstick perfume and leather all mesh effortlessly within the embrace of pillowy iris. It is like these notes were meant to be woven together, much like opening up that vintage clutch and inhaling the perfume that comes from within... a melding of all the accoutrements of the vixen into one dark bouquet of passion. It ends on one last crimson kiss.

Crinoline- Notes: Warm, spicy, sexy cardamom supported by a ruffled silk accord, citron peel, Key lime, sweet neroli, Bourbon vanilla, nutmeg, gutta-percha, cinnamon and clove.
A green and tart, peppery melange of citrus fruits tumble from the amber bottle. Dribbled on the wrists a green peppery note pricks at the nose, vegetal and a touch piquant. The sharpness reminds me of wearing crinolines when I was younger and attended beauty pageants. These pricking and poking notes are brief, they awaken the senses before sliding into a sweeter lemon, lime and orange tang. There is a creaminess rounding out the citrus oils that leads nicely into the soft warmth of the nutmeg that never strays too far from the orange wood. Crinoline possesses a powerhouse beginning bursting with flavor and fireworks then drifts and floats downward into citrusy sweetness then further down into warmth and silky vanilla woods. A kinetic and crackling scent full of movement and layers, very much like its namesake.

Peignoir- Notes: The languid scent of an idle lady's boudoir at midday. The leafy, jammy greenness of geranium absolute from Egypt twines around dewy red roses, Indonesian ylang ylang, golden vetiver and a trail of masculine musk.
From the bottle the grassy earthen dankness of vetiver with the merest hint of ylang ylang's fruitiness greets the senses. Draped on the skin the ylang ylang's nectar marries beautifully with the sharpness of geranium's green tone. This is a gorgeous scent. The smooth narcotic and creamy ylang ylang balances the lemony brightness of the rosy geranium. This scent will herald in the warmer spring weather I have been bathing in the last few days. This is pretty much the perfect February scent. As it settles into the skin the humid and earthy vetiver slinks in beneath the polished musk that drifts about with the last haze of geranium. 

Merrywidow- Notes: Jasmine grandiflorum absolute is rumored to cause paroxysms of joy with a single sniff. Here it is stung with tartly fermented strawberry juice, the finest frankincense from Oman, rich sandalwood and hints of cassia and patchouli.
Jasmine and strawberries glide under my nose when I sniff from Merrywidow's bottle. I find it fitting that a corset that is both beautiful yet sternly functional would be scented with the playful notes of strawberries paired with the austerity of jasmine. Once dabbed onto the wrists that jasmine simply sings. I don't find this jasmine to be particularly overripe or fecal, but more golden and heady, even slightly camphorous like tuberose can be. The bounty of cascading petals is stitched brilliantly with that fermented strawberry note. There is a fizzy effervescence to the strawberries and a slightly boozy, daiquiri quality to it that lifts the jasmine and highlights its sometimes surreal natural beauty. I want to keep sniffing my wrists and soaking it all in. Eventually the bubbly fruity-floral does mellow into the golden resin teardrops of frankincense and wooden patchouli, which are stunning as well. I love that the hint of that spiked jasmine lingers all the way down though. Lovely.

I love these flirty beauties. It is a beautiful collection of high end florals tempered with delectable gourmands, dark edgy scents and vivacious shape shifters. There is a perfume for everyone in this one. Bullet Bra, Peignoir and Merrywidow are the ones that will get used up the fastest on me. I will be wearing Peignoir and Merrywidow often over the next few months as the days get warmer and warmer. 

Which of these Unmentionables would you like to wear? Did you splurge on any Valentine's releases?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Laurel and Lime Snail Mail Society

Katie Kelly from Laurel & Lime is a talented and kind silversmith that I have featured a few times here on my blog. She used to live not too far from me in Clearwater but recently relocated to Portland, Oregon. She kicked around an idea on Instagram that involved sending out small kindnesses via snail mail and getting back to tangible relationships in this virtual age. She followed up by created the Snail Mail Society. It is a monthly mailing of anything that strikes Katie's fancy. She will package it up with care and surprise you along the way.

I quickly hopped on the inaugural one-year option at a very low price point. She sent out a questionnaire and I happily filled it out. She mentioned sending out things like tea, treats, smellies and once every third month a handmade jewelry item made by her. There is currently a 6 month option for $84 or a 12 month option for $144. 

Upon opening the first month's gift I was merrily greeted with homemade confetti and a sweet hand written note. I was utterly shocked to see that the very first item was already jewelry! I love these molten silver studs. They are about the size of a regular Oxford shirt button, bigger than I usually wear and that makes them very special in my collection. I really love them. 

I am beyond thrilled to have a special little something come in the mail over the next year as I go through a transition of my own. Being the nerd I am I have a box ready for Katie too. I figure if we are going to be part of a society, she might welcome some goodies as well. 

If you like a sweet surprise, $12/month isn't half bad at all for something to brighten a day. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Nocturne Alchemy: Eternal Ankh Colors

I am going to be a tease today. But I will tease in the hopes that some of these return one day. I have seen them pop up on the NAVA Marketplace from time to time. These beautiful perfumes from Nocturne Alchemy are all variations on a theme with the theme being Eternal Ankh, a classic from the house. Eternal Ankh is often described as a sandy vanilla amber. My only experience with it was Eternal Ankh Anniversary which I disliked at first but then began to crave. I quickly used it all within a few months. So I never even got around to reviewing it. However, I have about half a dozen of its cousins here to talk about today.

Eternal Ankh Yellow- Notes: White amber absolute, Egyptian vanilla husk, vanilla fleck, organic Egyptian neroli absolute, organic Moroccan neroli essential oil, Italian Red Mandarin oil, bergamot, orange blossom and Crystalline absolute.

This version of sandy vanilla amber is brightened by citrus zest and bergamot greenery. It has a youthful sparkle and has often been compared to Clinique's Happy. Once a dear friend told me that I couldn't shake the similarity. However, Yellow is a lovely summer scent and perfect for hot and humid Florida. It is a sweet resinous vanilla and bergamot treat.

Eternal Ankh Orange- Notes: White amber absolute, Egyptian vanilla husk, vanilla fleck, black patchouli absolute, black vetiver absolute, nag champa accord, Plumeria rubra, Magnolia champaka and gold sandalwood.

This is one of my favorite earthier versions of the Eternal Ankh colors. It is a vanilla patchouli vision. The patchouli and vanilla are augmented by thick nag champa smoke and a handful of plumeria flowers. Orange glows with meditative goodness, like a yoga retreat on the beach. It ends on the most incredible patchouli, wooden and dark, dry and rich.

Eternal Ankh Purple- Notes: White amber absolute, Egyptian vanilla husk, vanilla fleck, Sambac jasmine, Egyptian jasmine absolute, Indian Jasmine Grandiflorum, Egyptian musk, Bastet's Amber absolute, Crystalline absolute and organic pink peppercorn.

Purple highlights the simple beauty of a clear and sweet jasmine. This classic white flower shows her innocent side in this iteration. No skanky or indolic tones here. Just the crisp, sweet play of tiny satin petals. The jasmine and sun dappled vanilla make a lovely pairing. Purple dries down into a silken amber.

Eternal Ankh Blue- Notes: White amber absolute, black patchouli, Kulfi accord, pistachio, sandalwood, Egyptian vanilla fleck, Egyptian vanilla absolute, amber resin, Bastet's black amber, saffron, blue sugar and a touch of Egyptian musk and cardamom.

This version is my favorite. Hands down. The cardamom and pistachio, patchouli and spice, all combine to remind me of a much more delicious and exclusive version of Blue Sugar (the masculine version of the Pink Sugar perfume). I had accidentally dropped a 2 ml sample of this that a friend gifted me. It shattered and I mopped it up with my pajama tank top. It smelled so good I simply kept wearing it to bed for a few days in a row. This is a beautiful scent. I kick myself all the time that I let a backup get away when it released again. A slightly gourmand vanilla patchouli with lush spice and real warmth.

Eternal Ankh Pink- Notes: White amber absolute, Egyptian vanilla husk, vanilla fleck, African white vanilla absolute, amber resin, Bastet's amber, pink sugar and a touch of Crimson.

Pink is the closest to Eternal Ankh Anniversary on my skin. Not the same by any means, but the closest as far as smelling like a candied vanilla amber that is heavy with sandy resin. The added pink sugar and Crimson musk lend a slinkiness to the perfume which makes it a wonderful confidence booster. I had a sample of this and gifted it away but then realized I missed it. Once it debuted I grabbed a bottle and I am happy I did.

Eternal Ankh Cobalt- Notes: White amber absolute, Egyptian vanilla husk, vanilla fleck, almond sweet, pistachio accord, French vanilla, a touch of black tea, amber sweet, blue sugar and organic Bourbon vanilla bean. 

Cobalt is the most cherry-almond sweet perfume I own. Generally I am not a fan of cherry or almond scents in my perfumes, but this one I made an exception for since it was so lovely sounding. Make no mistake, it does begin life very much cherry-almond centric. But then it morphs seamlessly into a sweet black tea and I love it. Cobalt is Eternal Ankh with a darker side, infused with devilish sweets and fortune telling teas. It does steep down into that familiar amber vanilla base but it retains its individuality. 

I am really excited about these Eternal Anhk colors. I do have Green now and Pearl. I am not sure when I will get around to talking about then since I went ahead and packed them. Of all these colors. EA Blue and EA Orange are my very favorite (figures!! GO GATORS!). Honestly, I love them just for their bottle colors alone, but it makes it all that much more magical when the insides have treasure within too. 

I picked up three perfumes when Nocturne Alchemy reopened this month. I will probably review two of them within the next week or so since they are newer scents and I am not sure how long they will be around. 

How was your week? Which color do you think you might enjoy the most?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

OneEleven Pottery

Another pottery post so soon?! Yes. Because I have been sitting on a few new pottery additions for a little while now. Come meet my chubby cauldron footed coffee mug from OneEleven Pottery

Rachel is the potter behind this magic. This is one of her iconic designs called the Wet Moon Cauldron. She names her glazes after gemstones and this particular combination of colors is called Runic Moonstone. 

I love the variety of shades, the ribbing on the sides that catches some of the glaze drizzle and the tripod of feet under the belly. The crescent moon has a lovely sandy finish and the thumb shelf is very comfortable.

Can you tell I am in love? I had a merry photoshoot in the woods behind the house. I even wallowed in the leaf litter and kicked up some roaches. It was.... real. 

So today is Savanna's 12th birthday and she is home with the flu. I feel so bad for her. She is on her third day of a fever and is truly miserable. I picked her a stuffed dragon up (she adores dragons) and some fuzzy socks since she had chills and caramel M&Ms (her favorite) on the way home from work yesterday to try and cheer her up. But really, turning 12 on a school day, she just wants to be at school with her friends. And she just wants to be healthy. I had to go back to work but Adam has been home with her the past two days. If she gets better we'll take her to have fun this weekend. 

How are you doing? Have you had the flu bug this season? Do you have photo shoots with your coffee mugs? No? Just me? 

Happy Valentine's Day <3

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Melting Basket 136

Wax tarts from the last basket that I would love to melt again: Bohemienne Life Medieval and Third Eye, CFTKR Woodland Festival (surprisingly tender and fresh, like wild woodland flowers and curls of bark) and Dessa's Country Store. 

CFTKR- Winter Wonderland
CFTKR- Peppermint Cream
SMT- Marshmallow Fireside/Fireside/Camp Fire Marshmallows/Vanilla Sandalwood
SMT- Pink Noel/Marshmallow Noel and Candy/Marshmallow Fireside
Handmade in Florida- Cinnamon Donuts
Handmade in Florida- Moroccan Mint Tea
Dessa's- Sugar Plum Fairy
Dessa's- Grandpa's Pipe/Cinnamon Pine Cones
The Bathing Garden- Widow's Walk
Beezy- Marshmallow Fireside
Lasting Scent Candles- Vanilla Ice Cream Cone

My sense of smell still has not returned so I am not sure when I will begin melting these bad boys or when I will have some perfume/candle reviews going again but it shouldn't be too much longer I hope. 

I wanted to show off my newest flower babies. The cosmos, zinnias and sunflowers are all budding and beginning to bloom. 

I hope I can get enough wildflowers to entice some bees and butterflies to pay a visit.

Some yummy things have come into the house recently that I hope to blog about once my nose gets to work again: Sea Witch Botanicals candle and incense, Sawdust and Ember's Fern Canyon candle and my very small Nocturne Alchemy Valentine's order. I also have a mug from Dirtworks Ceramics I need to show you and a mug from OneEleven Pottery. 

But for now I am tending to my garden. I water it when I get home and weed here and there as bird seed millet sprouts up. I hope where ever we land next has room for a wildflower garden. What is your favorite flower?

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Grumpy Dwarf Pottery

My sister Heather and I share similar passions like music, outdoors, bugs and adventure seeking, but we rarely share the same tastes for style and such. She does not understand my love for perfume or candles or jewelry but she does understand my appreciation for ceramics. We were tagging each other on our favorite pottery makers' IG pages not too long ago and she tagged me on Grumpy Dwarf Pottery's page. I was immediately enamored. 

I love the mushrooms and slugs, the name of the shop and the starkness of the pieces. I picked up this tiny pot that I currently use for a tealight holder. 

For my birthday my sister Heather had ordered this wee lidded pot (it is smaller than a tealight). 

Here is my bowl with a lit candle inside. The ivory hued bisque is thin enough that the light dances merrily through the ceramic. 

I am hoping to collect a few more pieces for planting. I love the tiny wee pots to pieces. 

Have you discovered new artists through IG? Anyone I should check out?

I just wanted to leave a note apologizing. I finally got around to commenting back. I am laid up in bed sick as a dog but the plus is that I have time to tackle some things on the blog. Thank you for being so patient and supportive. <3

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Preparing to Shift

I think it finally hit me just how impactful 2019 is going to be on my family and me. I told my boss and co-workers that I would not be returning next school year. We did not fill out an intent to return form for the girls' school. Adam had the house pressure washed and repainted. I am trolling the Help Wanted ads and trying to update my resume. Rubbermaids stack up 3 and 4 deep like so many time capsules of the last 15 years of our lives. 

The ball is rolling. Only a couple more months before we list the house. Very soon we will sit in those awkward square chairs with the scratchy fabric and defiant wooden armrest to be told how much money our souls are worth.

The shift is here!

Work is busy. The girls are busy. Adam is busy. All while in the midst of the preparing.

I am keeping sane by:
- Reading way too much (escapism, yes).
- Planning trips (summer family vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountain and fall trip to Salem to "talk" bodies and boundaries with the girls).
- Planting an insane amount of wildflower seeds in the garden plot. 
- Feeding the birds and squirrels to bursting.
-Watering said wildflower plot.
- Taking extra long bubble baths.
- Weeding the wildflower plot. 

Any moving tips? New move advice? Moving with a budding teen advice? Did you move as a middle schooler? Did you survive? Did your parents survive? What helped the transition?