Saturday, June 15, 2019

Arcana Wildcraft: Classics

More Arcana Wildcraft! Wheeeee!!! These are some of Julia's Classics that can be purchased at any time and are not really seasonal so much as part of her general catalog of signature perfumes. The Arcana Classics run $26 each.

Swashbuckler- Notes: Proof that you can be the scourge of the high seas and still breeze into port smelling divine. Concocted from West Indies bay rum, scurvy-preventing limes and a dark blend of spices. 

Ernest Hemingway in a bottle. Masculine, swarthy, disreputable and brash but undeniably engaging. Bay leaf and spice swirl in the eddies and currents of tannic rum and salt water. This is the scent of shaded grottos in the keys, places where a drink can be had to escape the heat under a cobbled together bar made from palmettos and bamboo.  This is the scent wafted when passing an older gentleman in a straw hat and white linen shirt with the devil in his eye. It is dead sexy and I love it. On the skin anise and clove seep into those tannic and sepia toned aromas first, backed by the brittle wood and herb appeal of the bay leaf, though traditionally Bay Rum is not made from the familiar kitchen bay leaf.  Spices and rum from the Caribbean marinating in wooden barrels. The heart dries up some of the stronger aspects of the clove and anise to reveal black pepper, dried sage and hay-like vetiver suggestions. A more virile bounty, but still one I quite enjoy wearing. This is the portion that reminds me of my stepfather applying his Dominica Bay Rum aftershave. Bay Rum with its spicy woody scent of clove, pepper and lime oils infused into a dark rum with cinnamon. Arrrrrg. It is so good. I am so happy I picked up Swashbuckler. Bay Rum really is a huge scent memory for me but also is an ideal fragrance for Florida with its heat and humidity. The Bay Rum and sub-tropical climate jive well together.

Last Hours of Empires- Notes: A rich blend of precious oils, evocative or regret and resplendence, featuring highest quality Omani frankincense, true Indian sandalwood, delicate top notes of bergamot and tangerine and the smallest wisp of black patchouli. 

Rich golden bergamot and luminous tears of frankincense rest on a velvet pillow, weaving a fragrant tapestry of sacred aromatics from long ago. Painted on the skin the bergamot and tangerine glow beautifully against the nuggets of frankincense resin. The illumination is burnished and blended out by powdery citrus notes.The sandalwood even possesses the suggestion of orange wood. This is a Moroccan palace courtyard glinting with blue and white tile, forested with rare citrus trees with brass censers hanging like gilded fruits from the boughs. I don't know if it is just me that the bergamot and orange tones shine brightest on but I love it, as I don't have many orange centric scents in my collection. 

Tess- Notes: Rustic violets, fresh cream, vanilla bean, amber and soft, milky musk. 

In the vial Tess is a violet creme delight that has just the merest bite of baked goods in the belly of the scent. Dabbed onto the wrists the candied violets are dried and pressed into the centers of shortbread cookies, perfect for an afternoon tea. The milky musk and vanilla bean with cream possess a definite buttery crunch to them that lends the impression of a toothsome cookie but without all the sugar. Shortbread at its best. As the scent lingers the bready aspects of the cookie abate and the milky musk gains a touch of amber highlights with the violet's ghost still present. I tender scent for nurturing souls.

Herne- Notes: Horned trickster, lord of the forest, god of the wild hunt. Cassia cinnamon, Atlas cedarwood, fir needle oil and a whiff of Herne's holy oak tree. *All natural.*

I love Herne. That cassia cinnamon is a huge draw for me. I adore spicy cinnamon perfumes but I feel like most lean towards the pumpkin spice side of life, which don't get me wrong- I do love, however I do sometimes crave cinnamon scents that aren't just about fall or food. This is a great one. I will warn you that the cassia cinnamon is a touch tingly so if that type of things bothers you, it is something to consider (I like the tingles). Taking a whiff from the bottle is a tactile experience. The cassia warms the nose down into the back of the tongue and into the core of the body. It is dark and rich yet green and alive. I imagine it would like like gouging the bark of the evergreen Chinese cassia tree and its green pith oozing out its rich spiced sap. There is a natural sweetness to it, a sticky molasses hue to it. On the skin a touch of dank leaf litter and decay from felled evergreen firs and spruces mirrors the fecund sweetness from the bottle sniff and the cinnamon shines darkly within too. Even though it is primarily an evergreen and fiery cinnamon scent on my skin it does not read as holiday or Christmas to my nose but speaks rather of a mysterious and primitive melody of ancient woods and feral sprites that collect their offerings of fragrant spice with glee.

I was at work this past week doing pre-planning with the upper elementary team at my new job. I am really excited. I will be learning a lot this year. 

I am also really excited to be sharing some new perfumes from Julia from her collaboration with Brooke from B. Perry Studios. So stay tuned for those. I will also be drawing the winners from the Arcana/B. Perry giveaway from the end of May. Thank you for your patience, friends.

How are you doing? How is your June? Crazy it is half over already.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Best Laid Plans and all that...

After seeing light at the end of the tunnel... it has grown dim again. Naively I assumed after getting the offers worked out and closing dates set that those dates would be kept and off we would gallop into our new future in Orlando. Here we are over a week past our May 31st closing date still living in our home with everything packed and no where to go. No closing date set. Paying fees every day we are over our other closing date for the Orlando home in order to keep the interest rate, paying for electricity over there and me, starting work in Orlando on Monday morning and working all week planning the next school year. I have some choice feelings for this entity called the VA. 

However, a lesson in being humble. In patience. In giving gratitude when I least wish to. In realizing I cannot control some things. A lesson on how to manage stress and anxiety while under pressure has taken place. I have not "learned" it fully yet. But I am trying. I am opening myself up to feeling these things and trying to cope in the best ways that I can. Prayers. Tears. Escape. Conversations. Seclusion. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream.

I am finding ways to be thankful regardless. 

But I am sporting some nice new shiny grays. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Witches' Lace

This Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scent was sold at Dark Delicacies for $26. 

Witches' Lace- Notes: Moss-green sugar spun lace dusted with mandrake root and sweet aged patchouli, dusty cedar and crushed toadstools with a cauldron splash of nightshade accord, tobacco flower, green cognac and woodsmoke... plus a pinch of ethically- harvested, naturally sourced vegan eye of newt and toe of frog. 

In the bottle this brew smells of dusty roots and aromatic wormwood. There is a dark murky musk that lingers in shades of brown and dark green in the background that is alluring. On the skin an earthen mushroom sends its powdery spores into the air like a hazy musk to drift in and out of the trunks of trees in the woods. On my skin the fragrance has a vellum and parchment aroma to it, like leather bound books, paper and adhesive with a fine coating of dust. A witch's old cottage with roots and herbs hanging from the rafters, wormwood tinctures sending their green perfume into the air and grimoires bound in age by a stone lined fireplace. The drydown is soft and powdered, subtle with its drab olive cedar and patchouli tones. 

Though this scent is sold out at Dark Delicacies, I have seen it pop up in the BPAL sales groups on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Blood Moon Botanica: Perfumes and Oil

Britton, the original founder and former perfumer behind House of Gloi, continues to release some amazing and thoughtful self care items at Blood Moon Botanica. She has settled on doing announced openings periodically instead of keeping her store open 24/7. She is trying to work out her shipping and restocking while out in the wilds of her new home.

Lavender Amber- Notes: Rare high altitude Kashmir lavender, organic local Buena Vista lavender and a base of amber accord. $18

This was created to be a calming and grounding scent to be worn as a personal fragrance or as a deodorant oil. On the skin the lavender shines. It is full-bodied and smooth, not too herbal, not too medicinal but a balance of both with a natural mellow sweetness highlighted by the amber. The lavender possesses an almost lemony bergamot brightness on the top and a camphorous evergreen tone in the heart. The base is a melding of woody lavender stems and dark labdanum. Resinous and dusky. It is a beautiful fragrance and will be worn often. I love using this as a deodorant but also as a bedtime scent or a grounding aromatherapy fragrance. If you have an affinity towards lavender, please treat yourself to this.

Summer Dreams Conceived in Winter Days- Notes: A 100% botanical blending of peach accord, lemon juice essence, calendula extract, magnolia blossom, sweet Bulgarian lavender, soft notes of sweet hay and a solid base of creamy Himalayan cedarwood. $25

I had not, up to this point, found a peach scent that I loved. Many I disliked, some I tolerated and none I loved. Until now. This is not a heavy peach or a cloying peach or a tin of syrupy canned peaches. The peach in Summer Dreams is living and embodies that one shimmering drop of nectar that spills from the lip as a juicy bite is taken. Clear. Honeyed. Light. Sunny thin slices of lemon lend a subtle tartness to the peach while the florals suggest the blossom from which the peach emerged, delicate and vulnerable. The heart reveals the meadow of lavender and apricot hued calendula. The peachy aroma is a theme that carries out through the life of the scent. In the drydown it takes on a little of the dry grassy tone of the hay. A beautiful perfume to wear this time of year. 

Saint Johns Wort Oil uses a base of sunflower oil and is infused with the yellow flowers of Saint Johns Wort. This 2 ounce bottle was $15 and can be used for aches, wounds and burns. During the past couple weeks I was dealing with what I think was a case of stress induced hives. My arms and back were killing me, itchy and welty. I went to the doctor of course, but she thought I had an allergic reaction to a bug bite and prescribed steroids and antibiotics. I don't think I was bit but I took the meds anyway. Meanwhile, my arms still bothered me. I used this oil and it helped sooth the pain and itching morning and night. I love this stuff.

My order was delayed in the shuffle of Britton moving. When I noticed it had been about a month and I hadn't received a shipping notice I messaged her. She is very sweet and easy to work with. She shipped it right away and included this flower essence too. 

This sample of English Daisy Flower Essence fuses bellis Perennis  with well water and alcohol to ease transitions and overwhelming situations. A couple drops under the tongue is recommended. I believe I should be partaking of this right about now at this point in my life. 

Britton announced that her next opening and release of product will be on June 9th. She is currently on a social media hiatus so not sure how often she will be posting what is slated to be sold but I did share her restock countdown on my IG stories. 

Have you tried any of Britton's wares from her new company? What are some of your favorites?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Summer 2019 Bucket List

Hey guys! Thank you for being patient with me while I try to transition into summer break from teaching. The end of a school year makes me feel like I have aged 3 years some times. I have two out of the three Wylde Ivy giveaways ready, still waiting on one person to give me their info- if they don't soon I will re-draw. The Nocturne Alchemy winners will be drawn tonight after we get back from the springs. Then the Arcana and B. Perry Studios will be drawn last. I am still brewing up a few more giveaways but trying to get them aligned. 

Meanwhile, it is time for me to release the work of the school year and daydream about what I would love summer to look like with my girls.

Here are some things I would like to do with my daughters and Adam, if he can come along- work permitting, this summer:

- Visit Wekiva Springs
- Dinner and a movie at Universal Studios/City Walk
- Plot out a garden
- Visit a new state park to hike
- Ice cream at a new parlor
- Read a book outside
- Beach trip on the east coast (Daytona? Cocoa? St. Augustine?)
- Buy a plant at Florida Cactus Farm in Apopka
- Catch a play or movie at the Garden Theater in Winter Garden
- Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Make ice cream or sorbet at home
- Build a fairy house near an oak
- Plant wildflowers
- Paint for fun
- Sew something

It might sound crazy, but two months goes by so very fast. The summer to a teacher is a mere blink. Making a list of things I'd like to do with the girls gives me some intention for how I want to use our time. Otherwise, it is here then gone. And this summer will go fast as lightening.

Do you have any plans for summer? Any ideas of what the girls and I should paint or sew? Any good ice cream or sorbet recipes?

Friday, May 31, 2019

Ebb & Flow: May 2019

The highs and lows of the month.

Hermes Eau De Merveilles

Perfume Oil:
Whisper Sisters Mabon

Body Oil:
Blood Moon Botanica St. Johns Wort Oil

Handmade in Florida Moroccan Mint Tea

B. Perry Studios Strawberry Soak

Eye Drops:
Rohto Cooling eye drops

Warner's without underwire... what took me so long to leave Victoria's Secret?! This is bliss.

Black Mirror, The Society and Monty Python's Flying Circus

Night Birds by Thomas Maltman is one I just started a couple days ago after finally finishing Deliverance Dane. I can't seem to stop reading historical fiction books. I hear this one is good and it is about an occurrence I know nothing about, the Dakota Conflict/The Great Sioux War of 1862.

My feelings.*

Club soda with lime.

Actually moving into our new home.

That the home we are trying to sell gets pushed back more... VA loans are so difficult to deal with.

Loving the Obscurus wax tarts. They throw very well and smell fabulous.

Bilibency shoes. I saw some cute flats on a Facebook ad and purchased them only to be left with shoes way too big for me and no way to exchange or even return them. Lesson learned. Only buy from companies I know and trust.

Home buying. Pretty much any bump in the road that could happen, has. Being told our closing on our old home is being pushed back. Then stressing that the home we want to buy is being pushed back. Will they back out? Do we have to start all over? Stress. Stress. Stress. *Just gimme the damn donut.

Despite the stresses of the home buying/selling, I have remained sober (no alcohol almost 8 years come August 1st) despite sometimes thinking about numbing some of this chaos, and I even managed to have some fun with Savanna by checking off items on our "we're leaving Lakeland" bucketlist. Highs came from my students toasting me goodbye and telling me sweet things, writing me sweet things and giving me hugs and high fives. I will miss those kids so much. Highs came from Adam and I wading through some of the most difficult moments our marriage has faced, coming out on the other side with stronger ties and even some laughter. 

How has your May been? Was it crazy too? Are you ready for summer?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Five Years of Blogging: Plus Another Giveaway!

Five years! In the grand scheme of things five years is not really that long. But for some reason in the blogging world it can feel like it. Not that this statistic is verified but after poking around the internet I found that the average blog is dead after 100 days. Which jives with other loose figures like 60-80% of blogs die almost as soon as the they are created. So I celebrating five years. <3

Some trends I noticed about my blog and blogging in general: if I don't post every day my views and readership decline, which goes hand-in-hand with the fact that I had the most views at around year three since I was blogging pretty steady and had gained traction. I think it is pretty obvious, but for those who might not realize... I don't get any actual cash from blogging. I don't run adds or use affiliate links where I actually earn a cash flow. Other than building relationships (which is my favorite thing about blogging) the material perks have been free product and discounts and sometimes trying things before they are released to the general public. Another benefit to blogging has been some freelance writing gigs and some paid photography opportunities from companies. Honestly, the biggest benefit is the creative outlet blogging gives me. 

Some stats:
- All time views 702,578
- Most viewed post: Tutorial on Paper Piecing with over 7,000 views
- Most viewed month: May 2017 with 24,608 views
- Most viewed country: US with 409,418 views
- Browser: 36% of viewers use Chrome, followed by Safari at 21%
- Most frequent point of entry is Google and the term "redolent mermaid"

Some feelings:
- I have enjoyed most the comments that allow for a conversation to form and where I get to know someone better.
- My favorite posts are bucket lists, reading challenges and summer plans.
- I hate proof-reading and editing and sadly, it shows. 
- The perfume reviews take me the longest to write, at about 5-6 hours for one post and end up making me feel like they have the most heart and passion in them.
- Perfume reviews are the most challenging. 
- I hate including prices on jewelry and pottery posts because I feel like they are little works of art and hearing someone potentially bitch about the cost would set me on edge. So I don't list prices on those.
- I love seeing how my girls have grown and how my tastes have changed over the years.

I do have some things I would like to carry on documenting and writing about as the blog goes on. Some future ideas:
- Perfume collection
- Wax collection update
- Home decor as it evolves in the new place
- Gardening

Even though I plan on picking up the pace this summer a little as far as posting, it will go back down once school starts. Adjusting to a new school is challenging enough but I will also be adding my own schooling back into the equation. I will be starting my Montessori certification courses in September. 

Thank you for reading and commenting and being a huge part of this blog. I want to host one more giveaway. There will be two winners: one will be a perfume of your choice from Julia at Arcana Wildcraft and the second will be a soap and scrub of your choice from Brooke at B. Perry Studios. To enter please comment below with either your choice of Aracana Wildcraft or B. Perry Studios along with how you found my blog. Winners will be randomly drawn in about a week.

Thank you!