Monday, January 21, 2019

Sea Witch Botanicals: Soaps

Sea Witch Botanicals drifted through the threshold of my home via two separate friends at two different times within a few months of each other last year. One friend Jay sent me some incense and an unscented Hufflepuff bar soap and my other friend Julia gifted me three scented soaps. Everything I have tried has been exquisite. Sea Witch Botanicals utilizes only plant based, all-natural ingredients, their business practices meet high social and environmental standards and 1% of their revenue is donated to environmental conscious charities. Sea Witch products are organic, fair trade sourced and green as possible. 

Each bar soap came wrapped in a hand stamped brown paper bag with a kraft paper label decorated with beautiful artwork. The tops of the soaps were dusted with mica or charcoal and hand stamped with a nautilus in the corresponding color. I enjoy the rustic and organic styling of these soaps. 

The Owls Are Not What They Seem ($12 for a 5 ounce bar) is packed with fir essential oils. I appreciate the Twin Peaks reference and the scent. The fir smells of the forest, bright and crisp with subtle undertones of earth and bark and needle. The aroma is rejuvenating, like bathing outdoors in a mountain stream under a pearl moon surrounded by protective evergreens. This soap lathers bountifully and exfoliates lightly. The texture reminds me of fine volcanic ash or river silt. It feels amazing on the skin. This is my new favorite bar of soap in my shower (and I have about a half dozen soap slivers in there right now that I love).

Hermitage brims with sparkling citrus and orange oils and is grounded with a breath of natural patchouli herb. The citrus really lifts this scent and makes it an invigorating yet comforting blend. This soap is soft with clays and feels like I am lathering with a fat dew covered mushroom cap. Silken. Bubbling. Blissful.

Quoth the Raven is generously scented with orange, clove and cinnamon oils and packed with activated charcoal. I love how deep and rich this one smells. It makes my whole shower bloom with the dreadfully cheerful scent of a spiced pomander. It's perfect. So is the Poe inspiration. You know how I feel about my Poe. This bar soap has a similar velvety smoothness as Hermitage. Plush and cushiony with abundant lather. This one is more intensely scented than Hermitage though if you are comparing the two. 

These soaps are a joy to bathe with. They rinse clean, leave my skin feeling its best and they give me peace of mind knowing they are Earth friendly. The price is worth the quality.

I am already eyeing up the candles and more incense. This won't be my last Sea Witch Botanicals post. 

Do you have any environmentally friendly small business makers you love? What are you bathing with?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

MoonaLisa: Winter Bath & Body

Many moons have passed since my last MoonaLisa order. Two things aligned to spark this haul: I was out of bath goodies and the Sihaya and Company box with the 4 in 1 from MoonaLisa rekindled my appreciation. For a second I had thought MoonaLisa was going to close up shop but it turned out she shifted the business model to where she makes the perfumes and Paul makes the bath and body. Once the Winter collection was released I headed on over to restock my bath cupboard. 

Of course the 4 in 1 Fine Bubble Wash had to come home to me. In a few scents. 

Winter Solstice- Winter 2018 version. Tune into quiet winter mysteries with a blend of different sacred resins, such as frankincense and myrrh, nutmeg and labdanum absolute. $11.95 for 8 ounces.
These 4 in 1 washes really shine as a bubble bath for me. I have washed my body with them with success but I prefer bar soaps to liquid soaps, so bubble baths they remain. They can also be used for shampoo and fabric wash. Winter Solstice smells amazing. The resins really shine and offer refined comfort. 

Sugared Forest- Sugared spruce, frosted berries and fir trees.
Sugared Forest smells deliciously like chewy almond marzipan and sugar crystal coated fir needles. The fruits don't really emerge for me but I quite like it just how it is. It makes for a beautiful winter scent and not exclusively a Christmas scent. 

Cinnamon Forest- Piping hot mulled cinnamon drink with vanilla beans and cedarwood. 
Candied Red Hots made dusky with tonka and dark woods. I really love how the sweet spice is tempered with the velvety vanilla shadows and cedarwood. It is a divine scent I will use up quickly. 

Kris Kringle Winter Salt Soak- Blend of various woodland accords, Yuletide spices, vetiver and Douglas fir essential oil. $10.95 for 12 ounces.
This Winter Salt Soak lent a calming experience to my bathing ritual. The salt soak wafted up with a billowy fragrance and the citric acid offered a gentle foam and imparted a milky water.  It left my skin soft and silken. The scent evokes Christmas trees and gingerbread snaps and a touch of earthiness from the mud coated boots from friends and family hastily left by the front door. 

Shire- Rich soil, earthy bark, dried grasses, stones and pinecones. $10.95
I adore not only the scent of these salts but the label art too (and of course the subject matter). This must be what Bilbo's garden was redolent of that fateful morning he smoked his pipe when Gandalf came upon him asking about an adventure. A base of sweet soil and dewy plantlings, cool minerals and a breath of pine all swirl around a Shire breeze that lifts those smoke rings high up in the clouds. Brilliant.

This wee Krampus guy in a small foil pouch must be something good but I am so enamored of the wrapping I am hesitant to open it. I am guessing it is either a chunk of soap or a bar lotion. I guess I will find out eventually. 

I am thrilled with these bath goodies. They will get used fairly quickly as I take a bubble bath about 4.5 times a week. 

Did you order from the latest Moona update? What are you using in your bath tub or shower?

Monday, January 14, 2019

New Moon Beginnings: Sacred Smudge Candles

I had a hankering for some tealights after I used all mine up. I tend to light them around the bath tub, my nightstand and on my bookshelf. Etsy called out to be explored and I ended up at New Moon Beginnings. Spying all those crystals and botanicals embedded into all natural candles sold it for me. A six pack of tea lights ran around $11 and was $14.92 total after shipping. 

I chose the scent Sacred Smudge which merges cedar, sage and lavender essential oils.

These burned beautifully. No tunneling and strong wicks. The gemstones and juniper sprigs were generously sprinkled within. The candle threw velvety herbal sage and smoky lavender within a wooden backdrop in a medium-strong throw.

I love these tealights and will be back for more. I love the scent list, the careful packaging and eye to detail. I will be trying larger candles with confidence too. 

Do you like extra touches in your candles? Are you into all natural candles?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Wild Plants and a Tail-less Squirrel

I made a goal of learning how to identify several wild plants that grow in Florida. These green cuties look like three leaf clovers to me so that is what I always thought they were called. It turns out they are properly named Yellow Wood Sorrel. 

This fluffy fella is cudweed, purple cudweed more specifically I think. I could be wrong. That is the trouble with trying to research these on my own.

These pretty tiny blue stalks of flowers are a creeping ground cover called River Sage. 

Pocket os these wee pink succulent looking plants grow all over the yard. I discovered they like to be called Pink Purslane. 

The next step in my identifications is to see if any are edible or have other uses. I have several herb books I am excited to read.

We have a tail-less squirrel who enjoys eating the bird seed that gets dropped on the ground in the back yard. I never realized until I saw him how much squirrels look like they hop around like bunnies. The lack of his tail really emphasizes that. I feel like we should name him. Any suggestions?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

FuturePrimitive: Three in One Whipped Soap and Conditioning Hair Rinse

It was time to stock up on my tried and true shampoo and conditioner combo from FuturePrimitive. Tiggy really is a super star. She can blend up a delicious scent, put it in a high quality product and send it out in style. My thin, curly, dry locks love shampooing with Tiggy's Three in One Whipped Cream Soap and they love moisturizing with her Hair Rinse. The Rinses are about 9 ounces for the ballpark of $11 and the Whipped Soaps are about 3 ounces for around $9.50. The prices vary as they need to be converted from pounds to dollars. I listed the current US dollar amount here. 

I have tried several scents from FuturePrimitive and these two are some of my very favorite:

Shadow Show- Notes: Blackened pomegranate juice, plum compote, spiked with pink pepper, clove and cinnamon, and the rising smoke of frankincense tears, patchouli leaf, sticky amber resin, tree moss and caramelized sugar. 
Shadow Show is intense and brilliant. It is a dark sweetly spiced patchouli where a dark vein of deep purple and burgundy fruits add a touch of sweetness and mouthwatering texture. I freaking love this scent and it is currently in my show and in rotation right now. It is perfect for fall and winter. The whipped soap cleans the hair and washes out beautifully without leaving a residue. The hair rinse conditions without adding weight. The make a great duo for my hair type.

The Gloaming- Notes: The twilight time between sunset and darkness, a cold north wind, the onset of snow, distant campfire and marshmallow. 
I am familiar with The Gloaming from Tiggy's wax tarts and it was love at first sniff. The Gloaming is predominantly realistic marshmallow with vanilla undertones wrapped with a thin sweet tendril of fireside and cool ozonic frost. It is a multidimensional aroma and will be gorgeous as a hair scent. 

I highly recommend FuturePrimitive bath goods. They feel like an indulgence and never disappoint me. What are you washing your hair with currently?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Popping In

Oh boy. Here goes. Things are a touch hairy. It is that time of year.... reports cards! I am burning the wick at both ends currently trying to get grades in, type up paragraphs of comments on the students and documenting their test results, attendance and all that paperwork. I am about half way done. 

And to top it off I haven't packed yet for our cruise which sets sail on Saturday. Oh lawd. 

I will try my best to set up some posts for while I am gone but I am not quite sure how I will be able to manage that. 

Strange things I have done lately:
- Cut my own hair (hey, I didn't say they were good ideas.... just strange).
- Picked a weed and ate it from my yard randomly (later found it was Yellow Wood Sorrel- learning my plants).
- Accidentally applied a solid perfume as a lip balm (that was a bad idea). 

How are you doing?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sixteen92: Poe Collection and Circle Exclusive

Belonging to the Sixteen92 Circle has been very enjoyable. Normally I am not one to sample scents often. I like to buy full bottles based on scent notes and in general that has been pretty successful for me. The drawback to that is that I don't take many risks and I tend to avoid particular notes or genres. Being a part of The Circle means that I get to sniff and wear every perfume in a debuted collection and often I am pleasantly surprised. A perk to being in The Circle is also the Circle exclusive scent which was generously gifted during the Poe winter collection. I love that I just finished reading many short stories and poems by Edgar this past year. It makes these perfumes even more special. 

Ultima Thule- Notes: Burning black woods, warm resins, cashmere musk, chestnut, clove bud, black pepper, toasted vanilla. 
In the bottle vanilla floods the senses in a current of lush creaminess with pepper and smoked spice sliding underneath the rippling vanilla as dark shadows. The hefty vanilla base acts as the foundation for piling smoking resins and incense and spice on top. On the skin this ignites like marshmallow on the tip of a nobby stick held to the flame. Briefly I think I am wearing Arcana's Holy Terror mixed with Krampus Cones on the wrist. But as it wallows into the wrist that suggestion shifts ever so slightly as the cashmere musk and buttery chestnuts waft in to give a gourmand warmth and sweetness. I adore the clove bud in this. It is russet and sugared. As the heart gives away to the base, incense pours back in and smudges the scent into churchy resins and smoke. It is a lovely scent that will get worn until it runs dry.

Ligeia- Notes: Ash, gardenia, opium haze, aldehydes, white iris, honeycomb, ambergris and cold skin.
Drenched on the skin the honey drips in viscous strands from familiar pale lips, infused with the last breath of cool papery iris petals. This is ephemeral like the wraith of a long-lost love come to life under the gossamer veil of the moon for a brief moment. Chalky ash gathers in drifts in a mausoleum bereft of warmth, shrouded in stone. As it lays itself to rest the perfume takes on a warmer skin musk that is feathered with light leathery tones. It might be the ambergris which always smells strangely human and warm to me. Perhaps because it comes from a fellow mammal. I love the transformation this one takes from cold and aloof to a tactile embrace of amber musk. It is a beauty.

Spirits of the Dead- Notes: Lapsang souchong, guaiac wood, saffron, black birch, Italian bergamot, styrax, vanilla pod.
This one starts off illicit and foreboding immediately. The pines-on-fire image that lapsang souchong rustles in my mind merges with leathery styrax and darkens into a sooty shadow. If seances could be bottled it would take on this aroma. Tragic and ashen, coal black and mystical. This smells like shadows. Resurrection stones. The veil ripping. As it drifts further into its journey the vanilla and bergamot somehow entwine to create a suggestion of sweet tobacco, sun warm and rich. The seance ends on a calm vanilla waft. I adore this leathery smoky wooden experience. Full bottle worthy.

Ulalume- Notes: Moonflower, toasted almond, tonka bean, sweet fennel, narcissus and mourning veils.
A lush aroma of heady flowers with peppery hearts help mask a sweet cyanide of honey coated almonds, some sugar and poison. Where Mercy Lewis is more wooden with powdery musk as if experienced through gauze, Ulalume blooms with tension and clarity, viewed under an electric moon. The open faces of the moonflower and narcissus outlast the sugared almond sweetness and weave into a freshly tatted linen and lace shroud. Cottony. Billowy. Serene.

The Fall of the House of Usher- Notes: Pine and fir needle, frozen hemlock, amyris, sweet myrrh, shadowed stone, precious woods.
Claire does work magic with her ability to craft notes that truly do invoke cool and chilly sensations without making the skin tingle. On the wrist ice encased evergreen needles cluster in bunches within a desolate landscape. Their frozen shards fall away as the dilapidated manor comes into view. Funeral flowers, lilies and bulbs, struggle to emerge from tangles of brambles and clods of soil that bracket the house. A trembling hand reaches for the rusted door handle and cracks it open. Surprisingly the soft and beautiful aroma of incense and dusty musk creeps from the cracked open entry. This home is melancholy but still inhabited. For now. 

The Raven- Notes: Tea leaf, plum wine, silver mirror, library dust, dried tobacco and black feather.
The Raven starts dulcet and sweet with fruity tobacco but then quickly develops a steely spine. The tea prickles and the mirror shatters within the heart of this scent. This is the raven as he turns from innocuous to malevolent. This is the beak in the bosom. The sharpness eases as the scent settles into the skin and the tobacco dries into brittleness. The raven flies from the bust, disturbing the dust bunnies and sending motes into the air. Dried tobacco, desiccated wood and a drop of ink. 

I love the Poe Collection. It is brilliantly fleshed out and the scents evoke their muses wonderfully. Spirits of the Dead needs to come home with me. Do any of these resonate with you?