Monday, October 31, 2022

Ebb & Flow October

The highs and the lows of the month.


 Perfume:

MoonaLisa Alexandria and Solstice Scents Vanilla Pipe Tobacco

Perfume Oil:

Arcana Wildcraft Cake Lust and MoonaLisa Strega

Lotion:

Cosmic Cleanse Magnesium Body Creme Unscented (I put lavender and peppermint oils in it)

Skincare:

Blood Moon Botanica Moon Dew and Luminous Glow facial oil combined morning and night. Britton is having a shop update November 11th-12th.

Lip Balm:

Evergreen by Firebird

Candle:

Bath and Body Works Marshmallow Fireside

Wax:

Candles From the Keeping Room Potpourri Spice

Incense:

Moss Garden by Shoyeido (smells like vanilla ice cream to my students)

Work Bag:

Tote #2 by Siren Co. (still absolutely obsessing over it)

Bra:

Whiskey Dog Wares bralette, freaking comfy as all get out.

Eating:

Boar's Head Sweet Chili Garlic hummus

Drinking:

Dram sparkling water with or without CBD

Listening:

Twenty One Pilots Scaled and Icy album

Watching:

Breaking Bad for the first time through, new episodes of British Baking Show and Unsolved Mysteries

Reading:

Completed reading challenge and pretty much reading school work right now. Everything Maria Montessori.

Awaiting:

The holidays, small celebrations, Thanksgiving dinner, fires in the fireplace, winter gardening, bonfires, that sort of thing.

Dreading:

Making my eye doctor appointment for the 1,000th time. Kept getting pushed back due to unexpected meetings at work, the hurricane, and now... not sure when I will get to it. And I need glasses for the first time I think. Blurry vision life.

Hit:

Old lady time.... Plackers Grind No More Night Guard. I crack my teeth and fillings from night time teeth grinding if I don't wear a mouth guard. These aren't awkward in my mouth and don't hurt me. And are cheap.

Miss:

Tieks ballet flats. I fell for the hype and bought some but they are not comfortable and I regret it.

Low:

Feeling stretched. I added a leadership position at work to my plate but then other things happened and now I need take my training sooner than I anticipated. So I am taking my ESOL class, Montessori classes, and juggling the daily job and the extra position all at once. I know it will pass. My ESOL class will be done by Christmas. My Montessori training is 18 months. My leadership position is a 3 year tenure. I can do this. The girls promised to help me cook. Adam will give me grace. I just need to get the hang of it and be ok giving up my relaxing time. My reading. My gardening. Just for a bit. Just a little. 

High:

I got to see my sister and my brother-in-law and my niece over the summer and I am still riding that high. Adam, the girls and I talk about it all the time. Thankful we were able to make it happen. I am also happy that I have been able to see some birds, the foxes, and an owl in our backyard.

How have you been doing? And hits or misses? What are you wearing? Smelling? Watching on TV? How is your life going?

Saturday, October 29, 2022

2022 Reading Challenge Completed


This was a year for reading once again. The minute the covers met each other for the last time, my hands found a new set of covers to part and explore. Little could I know that this was the surge before the drought. The next 18 months will be filled with text books and required readings. I will still find time to read for pleasure and I would love to make another challenge with my friend Jay, but I doubt I will make this much progress. But who knows! Maybe short stories will count.
 I keep my reviews short and the rating system is as follows: 
*- Meh, you could skip it.
**- Not bad, you might enjoy it.
***- Loved it! I recommend you give it a whirl.

 1. Join the Resistance- whether subverting Nazis in WWII-era France, opposing a current oppressive state or ideology, or fighting the patriarchy in a dystopian future, be a rebel with a cause.

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde is written by a French novelist from Guatemala who explores slavery and colonialism. She gives Tituba a voice here and does a phenomenal job of it. **


2. The lost art of handwriting- choose a book with the title written as script.

Changeling by Philippa Gregory has been on my shelf for ages. I finally got around to reading this story about a young couple who investigate evil in the name of the Pope in Italy in 1453. There is magic, secret cults, and constant adventure, but the characters felt flat and I was never truly engaged. I had the second and third books but didn't feel the need to read them. *

3. Daughters- explore the complex sibling relationships so often a theme in literature.


Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews has been on my TBR list quite some time. I finally tracked it down at a used book store and the horror did not disappoint. Talk about complex sibling and daughter relationships. Yikes. ***


4. Atomic Elements- book with an element from the periodic table in the title (carbon, oxygen, gold, silver, neon...)

Banners of Gold by Pamela Kaufman is actually a second book in a series, but it was easy to read as a stand alone. Set during the Crusades and the time of King Richard, it had the potential to be enchanting, but was rather silly. The verbiage got on my nerves and the heroine was namby-pamby. *



5. Mist, haze, or fog-like cover.

Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianna Wiggins was a comet to the heart. A love story that melds science, illumination and human nature into a finely crafted tale that spans generations. If you only read one book from this list, let it be this one. I would give it four stars. Heck. I will. ****

6. Reuse, recycle, regift- a thrifted book.

The Twilight Wife by A. J. Banner is a thriller about a woman who has a diving accident and how the resulting amnesia is throwing a pall of suspicion over her marriage. I just didn't really care what happened. Never bought in. *

7. Back to the future- bridge time and distance with a dual timeline narrative.


The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack is a tale of mysticism and relics, where a tarot deck spans the past and the present and is mysteriously important. It was a decent story for a fun quick read, but nothing ground breaking. **


8. Neurodiversity- seek to gain a better understanding of mental health and the diverse abilities of those who process the world differently, in fiction or non-fiction.

Me Talk Pretty Someday by David Sedaris. I usually enjoy David's tongue-in-cheek memoirs, but this one was not one of my favorites. David is a gay middle aged guy with OCD and a jaded past who shares snippets of his childhood through his adulthood. He often makes me laugh out loud, however I barely smirked with this one. *


9. Protagonist over 50.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig definitely counts as a protagonist over 50, the lead character looks 41 but is centuries old. And he isn't even a vampire. It is a crafty and clever story. It took me on an enjoyable journey. Worth checking out for sure. ***



10. Summon your familiar- read from an animal character's perspective or from its close human companion.

The Gorgon and Other Beastly Tales by Tanith Lee is a compilation of several short fantastical stories. Many involve tales from the beasts' point of view. I fell down a Tanith Lee rabbit hole and don't regret it for one minute. I love her Bradbury-esque feminine take on the surreal. ***

11. Book maze-get lost in a twisty plot that keeps you on edge.


In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware is a twisty plot for sure. Another one of those popular thrillers that keep you guessing and read like a sprint. This one revolves around a lonely outcast and her unexpected invitation to a bachelorette party in the woods. ***




12. Heartsqueezer.


Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison didn't simply squeeze my heart, but mashed it to a pulp. This tale may be extremely triggering to some, so beware. It was worth the gritty read for me though. ***




13. Inner child- pick up a children's or youth book.

The Book of Three by Llyod Alexander is a children's fantasy book about a boy who was supposed to be the caretaker of a prophesy telling pig, who somehow got loose. It was charming and I could see myself reading the rest of the tales on day. **



14. Memoir or Biography- dive into someone else's journey.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Yes, this really was my very first time reading it. It broke my heart and refreshed my soul all at once. It reminded me of the inner thoughts and feelings of my own girls and myself. It crushed me that this vibrant soul endured so much. I will probably re-read it again in the future. ***



15. Opening sentence hook that reels you in.

Verity by Colleen Hoover was literally everywhere I turned. I figured there had to be something to it. Another popular thriller with a spin. It started strong but then petered out for me. I could see things coming and didn't really buy into it. It wasn't terrible, but it was a case of over hype for me. **



16. Green. Because it is an amazing color.

Backwoods Witchcraft by Jake Richards was a fun and enlightening read. I love the Appalachian tales of folklore and magic and this fed into that a bit. I liked the merging of Christianity with the paganism, the gardening songs and the down-home perspective. **



17. Read your bliss- any topic or genre that makes you happy. 


My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix was a Barnes & Noble pick by my oldest. She saw that rocking 80's cover and fell head over heels for it. The tale ended up being pretty awesome. It was a spooky story about a possessed teen and how her best friend deals with the fall out. ***


18. We might not get out of here alive- Survival fiction or non, fantasy or reality.

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup was a tale of survival that was harrowing yet hopeful all the same. It is the true story of a free black man who was drugged and kidnapped and sold into slavery and his quest to regain his freedom and his family. ***

19. Book of secrets- whether the international intrigue of a spy novel abounds, or dark family secrets are waiting to be unlocked; there's destined to be subterfuge afoot.

The Likeness by Tana French is from a series that follows several different detectives who all work or have worked together. They easily read as stand alone novels. This one follows a female detective who has to work undercover and live with a group of suspects but gets sucked too far into her role of deception. Quite thrilling. **

20. Gothic horror- I'm not saying it's haunted, but there's something going on in with house...


Devil's Day by Andrew Michael Hurley is British gothic horror in a folktale setting. Andrew does a phenomenal job of creating a slow burning spooky mind game. Is there foul play? Are the characters unstable? Are there other forces at work? I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of his books so far and highly recommend them for his melancholy English settings and maze-like relationships. ***


21. Missing link- a book that you want to read to finish up or continue a series.

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker is the sequel to a much beloved story, The Golem and the Jinni. It carries on the tale of two seemingly mismatched lovers and how they navigate a world of humans and misunderstandings. ***

22. Hearth & Home- nesting, homesteading, tending.

Old Wives' Lore for Gardeners by Maureen and Bridget Boland was a fun and fast read. It is a teeny tiny book about burying things in the night, planting by the moon, and all sorts of silly yet timeless things. ***



23. Memento Mori- death, grief, mourning.

From The Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury is a collection of short stories that has been sewed neatly into a novel that follows a supernatural family and how they navigate death and life along with their adopted human child. ***

24. Booktok, Booktube, or Bookstagram-discover what real readers recommend, and find out if that book is worthy of all the hype.


Year of the Witch by Temperence Alden came from a podcast I listen to. I quiet enjoy following along with Invoking Witchcraft with J. Allen Cross and Britton Boyd, and they often do guest interviews and one was Temperence. I picked up her book and it was a quick read about some basics regarding the Wheel of the Year. I did find it sparse and very introductory, probably fitting for some but I didn't really glean much from it. *


25. #Ownvoices- books about characters from underrepresented/marginalized groups in which the author shares the same identity. 


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is the story of a black marriage in middle class America and how culture, norms, and expectations weave their influences over it. It is written by a black author and provides an eye opening perspective. **


26. The moon as muse- inspired by the moon; depicting moonlight, the night sky, or heavenly bodies on the cover. 


Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman. There are a few authors that I will forever pick up if I see their names upon a book spine: Bradbury, Atwood, Poe, and Hoffman. I love Alice's magical and lyrical take on life. This is the story set in Florida about a recently divorced mom and her teenage son adapting to this foreign, sometimes savage peninsula swollen with alligators, mosquitoes, and a moon that can induce madness.***


27. Never have I ever...-read a book about ___. Fill-in the blank with a new topic or genre.


Gudrun by Alma Johanna Koeing was a random book I picked up in St. Augustine at a tiny used book store. It is an ancient tale based off of a German epic (I believe?) and follows along a royal family for a few generations and how their choices in love and battle unfold upon one another. ***


28. Honoring ancestors- reading deeper about native lands or personal lineage.

Song of the Harp: Old Welsh Folktales by Linda Barrett Osborne intrigued me as I didn't really know much about Welsh folktales and I am about a quarter Welsh. These were translated tales and I found them charming, strange, and unique, of a bit rushed feeling. **

29. Dark Academia- An academic aesthetic that can be found in many genres, including contemporary fic, historical, mystery, fantasy, or horror. Book Riot categorizes DA as this: "The definition of it can be broad, but it requires some kind of an academic setting and a dark undertone or overtone to its story."

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo seemed to be everywhere on the internet. I actually googled "dark academia" for this prompt and this book was always the first choice. It had great marketing, what can I say? It follows the tale of hidden occult clubs in underground Yale and how an unlikely outsider is sent to infiltrate them. It made for an interesting read and I will definitely read the second book when it comes out. ***

30. Forged in friendship. A story about companionship.


The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson fits this bill perfectly. It follows a young concubine and her gay male best friend who has the gift of making any map he draws come to life. They have to escape their kingdom once his lifestyle comes to light and they aim for the shelter of an island born of myths. ***



I had fun reading this year! I also had a great time adding to my book collection and giving some away as I read them. Books are my favorite souvenirs and I certainly picked a few up. So far I have read 58 books and I hope to squeeze in a couple more before the year tuns over into a new one. 

Of these books, I must say it again, please do yourself a solid and read Evidence of Things Unseen if you enjoy a meaty well written novel. How has your year been going in the realm of reading? Any authors you have fallen in love with? Any books I should pick up?

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Ebb & Flow: July 2022

 The highs and lows of the month.


Perfume:
Solstice Scents Headmaster (craving fall already)

Perfume Oil:
Arcana Wildcraft Oberon (best pine ever)

Scrub:
The Bathing Garden Magician's Bonfire

Shampoo/Conditioner:
Future Primitive shampoo bar and conditioning hair rinse (in the scent Dusty Dogwood)

Soap:
Future Primitive Lagoon (sample sliver- very nice)

Lotion:
Cosmic Cleanse Magnesium Body Creme (unscented)

Candle:
Acorn Moon Mercantile solstice candle

Wax:
Candles From the Keeping Room blend of Lemon Noel and Serendipity Marshmallow Delight

Incense:
Exploring The Mother's Fragrances line of nag champas from India

Reading:
All the things. I cannot stop. I think it is my way of burying my head in the sand? Coping? Mental health maintenance? Ray Bradbury and Tanith Lee short stories have been devoured, poetry, novels and memoirs. I am only a few books away from finishing the reading challenge on here and my GoodReads number. 

Listening:
Twenty One Pilots Scaled and Icy album (the vinyl is really cool on this one- crystal clear)

Watching:
Whatever spooky movies Savanna chooses, also Archive 81 on Netflix (hated the ending though). And Stranger Things of course. Scarlette actually went back and re-watched them all so I stuck around for that.

Drinking:
Three Spirit Drinks- Nightcap

Eating:
chocolate

Doing:
Lighting incense and placing it on the edge of the pool while I swim, relax, and read.

Awaiting:
The start of a new school year. I go back to work very soon. 

Dreading:
Not a dread but a nervousness about the future. A pressure of, ok, well yes. It is dread. A pressure of dread on the back of my neck and around my heart about teaching. All these laws. Shootings. The kids' futures. Their unrest. My inability to reach even my own sometimes. Feeling like a failure. Not knowing how things will mesh with new co-workers. Pressure. Pressure for sure. A weight. I was actually told over the phone last year, by a parent "I thought you were one of the better ones..." and it sucked. Real hard. But I promised myself I would take it one day at a time. And I need to make that my mantra. 

Hit:
I think I have mentioned it before, but after a vicious twig ant (I always called them oak ants) attack while pulling weeds (invasive air potato vine) I used my Life Flower Bug Bite Elixir and found immediate relief. I swear this stuff really is magic. 

Miss:
I miss my Walkman cassette player. 

Low:
Everything the Supreme Court altered and destroyed. Monarchs. My girls' future. Attitudes towards teachers. So much. So much heaviness. It is hard to breathe sometimes.

High:
Seeing my niece. Seeing my sister Lindsey and her husband Dustin. Seeing England. Scotland. Belgium. Seeing poppies. Cathedrals. Castles. Having the summer to spend with my girls and husband. Getting in a ton of books and even some friend time.

How was your July? Are you craving fall or are you content to laze under the sun a bit more?

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Felin Lune Apothecary: Natural Deodorant Paste

 


I have a holy grail all natural deodorant from Wild Roots Body Care but sadly it has not been restocked in quite some time. That put me back in the market for one I could more easily replace. I was scrolling through some indie groups online and saw a haul post from Felin Lune Apothecary that included a deodorant paste. I quickly picked up a 2 ounce jar for $14 in the scent Garden Hippie (Ylang ylang, patchouli, orange, lavender, sandalwood, and jasmine essential oils). This paste is aluminum and baking soda free. It is soft, creamy yet firm, and putty-like. It spreads easily and melts beautifully into the skin. I have been using it for over a month now and I find that it neutralizes odor very well. It doesn't irritate my skin, it doesn't pill up, and it lasts all day. 


It is my new holy grail. There are smaller one ounce travel tins for $8 that I plan on buying to try other scents too. I am looking forward to sampling other products as well. Have you tried anything from Felin Lune? 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Stone Roses Handmade Rosaries

 


Kirsten, at Stone Roses Handmade, is a maker I discovered through following Britton (Archaic Honey/Blood Moon Botanica). In fact my first rosary bracelet came from a collaboration they did together, where Britton created a Holy Mother anointing oil for a crone memento mori bracelet that was sold as a set. 

Kirsten creates rosaries, chaplets, and bracelets to honor a wide range of deities and saints. She utilizes stainless steel wire for durability, which I appreciate as I tend to be klutzy and these have held up beautifully. 

Over time I have picked up three bracelets:
Crone Memento Mori- Black obsidian beads. Used to meditate on our mortality as a way of staying present to the moment.

Mary Magdalene- Red agate. Teachings about the balance between esoteric and exoteric spiritual practices, sexuality, and devotion.

Saint Joan of Arc- Garnets. Visionary, warrior, martyr, badass.

The bracelets were $40 each, but until Sunday everything is 20% off in her Etsy store, and are currently $32. Kirsten does customs as well.


Do you have any connections with a particular saint or deity? Are you drawn to any? How do you honor them?

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Siren Co.: Waxed Canvas Bags and Goods

 


As of late I have been buying my underwear from WhiskyDogWares, by golly she makes the best buttery soft undies ever. Anyway, I noticed she shared her sister's business (what a creative family!) and I immediately fell in love with her wares as well. Her company is called Siren and specializes in waxed canvas bags and accessories. 

I picked up the Legion 3-way satchel in olive for $95. It can worn cross-body, around the waist or through a belt. The construction is impeccable. I have worn this as my go-to bag for over a year now and it has endured with grace and durability. 


I attached a lucky Mercury coin for my travels. I enjoy the two small side pockets. One houses an amethyst worry stone and the other is where my For Strange Women Baba Yaga lip balm tin dwells.


I love the indigo ticking lining, but you can choose your own lining color among several.


It snaps closed in the front and the back has an outer zip pocket. I tend to keep my money and cards in the back zipper.


The inside houses hand sanitizer, balms, cards, notepad, pens, my phone, perfume roll-on and more. It holds just what I need while I zip about.

For work I need a bit more room. The past two years I have been using one of those free Vans bags they give you if you buy a pair of shoes in the store. It finally ripped apart and I was on the hunt. It did not take me long to remember where I should get my new work bag: Siren. 


I tend to carry a laptop, charger, legal sized clipboard, composition notebooks, pens, lunch, papers, folders, wet wipes, masks, markers, water bottle and a whole universe of whatnots in my work bag as a teacher. I knew I needed something large, with lots of pockets, and versatility. My choice... Tote #2 for $160. It comes in six color combinations and I chose tan on olive. I liked tan on tan as well but my oldest voted on this one between the two.


It boasts two front snap pockets, two side pockets, one large back pocket and one inside pocket that is perfect for a water bottle.


It is deep and wide and features two styles of handles, long for over the shoulder, and short for hand carrying.


I enjoy how great these pieces look and function. The waxed canvas really holds up well.


Both of these pieces are currently available. And luck you, the Tote #2 is on sale for $20 off, making it $140. It is going to be one of those bags you have forever. Support a small business. I know she would appreciate it! Links for WhiskeyDogWares and Siren are in the first paragraph embedded in their respective names (as always in case you didn't know- my hyperlinks don't show up visibly). 

I am eyeing up that duffle next. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Arcana Wildcraft: Moonstone & Black Tourmaline

 These perfumes were sent as a gift.


Julia at Arcana Wildcraft created some scents for Troxel's at Rockaway Beach in Oregon that revolve around minerals and gemstones. Celestite is one that I have had in the past when she paired with Brooke Perry at B. Studio with some amazing scrubs to go with previous gemstone perfumes. In order to obtain these scents, contact Troxel's via Facebook.


Black Tourmaline- Notes: Used for protecting and grounding oneself in the midst of negativity, black tourmaline is a stone of confidence and power. Cafe au lait with black spruce, toasted hazelnuts, sugared amber resin, fir balsam absolute, and a drop of blackberry nectar.

Camping among primitive evergreens with a plaid tin thermos steaming with black chicory coffee cupped between chilled hands, this is the vision that emerges from the amber bottle when uncapped. Black Tourmaline is robust and intense. On the wrists, the evergreens ignite into a camphorous blaze that quickly merges with the warm and limpid black coffee. The soft touch of hazelnut, cream and sugar lend a gentleness to the brew that balances out the fizz of the firs. This is a lovely scent that would be perfect for those who love the coffee and woods aroma of Leaves Falling Like Rain, but would enjoy a twist of evergreens in place of the ginger and herbs. It truly feels like protection and comfort. 


Moonstone- Notes: In ancient times moonstone was believed to contain the shining rays of the moon itself. Wear it for luck, love, and a more beautiful life. Tuberose petals are infused in a cold pitcher of sweet milk with creamy coconut and white sandalwood.

From the bottle a milky white flower pours forth a froth of cream perfumed with coconut milk. It is a tropical moon, sweet, full and overflowing with abundance. It is the Milky Way of richness, a galaxy of starry blossoms floating in the pearlescent nebula of space. On the skin the heady tuberose, coconut, and milk all swirl and mingle in harmony, each a subtle reflection of the other. Blue flashes of airy sandalwood gleam through the pale lush fragrance. This will wear beautifully in the Florida heat, blooming in its fragrant largesse. I love the parallel that the Florida state stone is the moonstone as well. This perfume does it justice.

Now that summer is here I am looking forward to doing some deep cleaning, organizing, resting, swimming, and all the things that fill up my love tank. I know the two months will zoom past, but ain't that just the way.