Thursday, April 30, 2015


Remember this? Well I have been happily documenting my progress and I thought it would be fun to meet up and have book talk. See what we have been reading and swap recommendations. So here is what I have completed (*=poor, **=good, ***=great):

1. Storm Front by Jim Butcher **(Dresden Files series about a wizard PI in Chicago- funny!) 
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry ** (Have not seen the movie, should I?)
4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell ** (The ending was kinda "meh" for me, tainting the story a bit.)
6. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer *** (Really interesting book about a boy clone and nature vs nurture).
8. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare (Not rating yet because this is my current read. Is that cheating? Thank you Tricia for lending it to me!!)
9. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt ** (Disturbing, poignant, but again the ending ruined it. Too much philosophical pining for my liking.)
10. Elizabeth I by Margaret George ** (This beast took me about 4-5 weeks to read. It offered a view of her life in the last 20 or so years of her reign.)

12. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater ** (The third book from the Raven Cycle but left ho-hum, hoping the final book will make up for what this one lacked. I do recommend the series for YA fun. This has witches so it counts.)
13. Cinder by Marissa Meyer ** (Neat fairytale twist where Cinderella is a cyborg and aliens form the moon come to Earth to rule.)
15. Odes to Common Things by Pablo Neruda*** (Poetry, who'da thunk it. I loved it. In fact so much I am sharing an excerpt with you. Because it is my blog. And I can.)

"Ode to a Cluster of Violets"

Crisp cluster
plunged in shadow.
Drops of violet water 
and raw sunlight
floated up with your scent.
A fresh
subterranean beauty
climbed up from your buds,
thrilling my eyes and my life.

One at a time, flowers
that stretched forward
silvery stalks,
creeping closer to an obscure light
shoot by shoot in the shadows,
till they crowned
the mysterious mass
with an intense weight of perfume
and together
formed a single star
with a far-off scent and purple center.

Poignant cluster,
of nature,
you resemble
a wave, or a head of hair,
or the gaze
of a ruined water nymph
sunk in the depths. 
But up close,
in your fragrance's
blue brazenness,
you exhale the earth,
an earthly flower, an earthen
smell and your ultraviolet
is volcanoes' faraway fires.

Into your loveliness I sink
a weathered face,
a face that dust has often abused.
You deliver
something out of the soil.
It isn't simply perfume,
nor simply the perfect cry
of your entire color, no: it's
a word sprinkled with dew,
a flowering wetness with roots.

Fragile cluster of starry
tiny, mysterious
of marine phosphorescence,
nocturnal bouquet nestled in green leaves:
the truth is
there is no blue word to express you.

Better than any word
is the pulse of your scent.

17. Four Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman ** (It made me smarter about my marriage, the most important question it gave me was to ask Adam "What can I do to make you feel more loved?" We ask each other that from time to time and it has moved mountains.)
18. The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon *** (A story built around a mentally handicapped institute held white woman and her deaf African American lover who fight to keep their love and sweet baby child safe from the dreaded hospital they run from. Read this.)
19. Anne of Green Gabels by L.M. Montgomery** (Late to the party on this one I know, but there are tons I never read in school that others seem to have read. Cute heart warming story that made me smile and gaze on my own spunky girls with affection.)
21. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler** (The adolescent feminine power that developed kept me turning the pages on an otherwise so-so story. Opening line "Froggy Welsh the Fourth is trying to get up my shirt.")
22. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu*** (A beautifully written and illustrated story about an alternate telling of Pinocchio.)
25. The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arther Conan Doyle*** (I may be biased but as a huge Sherlock fan, I loved this story. Published in 1902, I think this fits as over 10 years old.)

Whew! What a post! So I have about ten more to go before I finish this challenge. Have you been reading much? What do you recommend? I need to fill more spots!!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Haus of Gloi: April Order

My Haus of Gloi order came lightening fast. I enjoy lightening fast. 

Butter Bombs in:

Lavender & Chamomile- This was supposed to be Lavender & White Amber, I was really looking forward to trying that since my friend Jean raved about it. But this one smells just as nice too. I emailed the company and Matt responded stating that it is the correct scent, just mislabeled. I must say though that my absolute favorite Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy scent is Lavender & Chamomile Sleepy Aromatherapy and this smells dead on like it. Just more concentrated. Gorgeous and sleepy time bath moments ahead.

Milk- Full fat milk frothing and warm right from the teats of a smiling bovine. A little of the Orange Blossom infiltrated this bomb and is giving it a hint of peppery sharpness.

Orange Blossom- Sharp, angular green notes of bitter orange leaves and peppery orange blossoms. I love.

Rain & Moss- Dew heavy grass blades, spider webs dotted with diamonds, green and grey shades of Spanish moss draped from old oaks. Green, pungent, ozone and aquatic.

Woodland Tea- Black tea leaves, exotic spices, the Grim in the bottom of a chipped cup. Smokey sage and billowing scarves writhe and twine in a shadowed tower. 

Troika Pumpkin Butter- Creamy coconut smoothed almonds with a white musk heart. This rich cream slides easily across the skin. A beautiful slight sheen the only visible trace of its passing. The butter satiates my skin's thirst and leaves it wonderfully perfumed. This is my new favorite body butter formula. Yep. I said it.

I look forward to many more orders with Haus of Gloi in the months ahead. I need to stock up on their butter bombs, sample their soap and lip balm and get more of this lush pumpkin butter. What lotions have you been using lately?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lush Life: French Kiss Bubble Bar

This is a repurchase for me. I got this last year and adored it. This bubble bar costs $ 8.95 and is worth every penny.

The mounds of sweetly scented lavender make me sigh every time. It sets a mood for languishing, reading, and uncoiling the tight binds of stress and busyness that wrap around my mind. If you enjoy a beautiful lavender scent, give this herbal cone of bliss a go. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Influenster: Bella Vox Box

Influenster is a program anyone can sign up to participate in, where they will send you products complimentary for an honest review. I was recently chosen to participate in the Bella Vox Box, which held quite a few awesome products. I happily got to testing and using and consuming and here are my thoughts.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs- Touted as leg makeup versus sunless tanner, it really does have the consistency of foundation. I tan using sunshine during the summer months (I wear sunscreen!! I swear! But I still get tan) but a tan can't hide varicose veins, scars or imperfections. This product does not completely hide imperfections either, but it does soften them. I see myself using this when I bare my legs in skirts or dresses if I want to forego pantyhose (which is ALWAYS my choice- forego pantyhose). I will say it runs pretty dark. I was sent light and having just returned from a beach vacation it still is darker than my normal skin tone and I am by no means a Pale Rider. It did have a slight staining effect but was easy to wash off. There was minimal transfer onto clothing. I would not wear this with white and then dance the salsa in Miami in August. But for brief air conditioned circumstances it might be just what you are looking for in leg touch up. It retails for around $13.99 and comes in 5 shades.

Not Your Mother's DeJa Vu 'Do Style Extender- A primer for the hair. Who knew. This product aims to be the base of your hair styling routine which results in longer hold, less frizz, and more softness and shine. Admittedly I wore this solo for a few days just to get the feel for it. I usually wear my hair curly and I really wanted to put the fizz claim to the test. After playing in the ocean and pool I applied liberally and let air dry. My curls were surprisingly soft and held together. The scent is pretty awesome to boot. A full size retails for $9 and I will absolutely be purchasing. 

EcoTools Complexion Collection Mattifying Finish Brush- As an oily faced gal and a makeup brush lover I was excited to see this in the Vox Box. I used this brush with my Make Up Forever HD finishing powder and it worked like a charm. The bristles are sturdy and soft, only a few dropped with vigorous fluffing. It is hard to tell in the photo but the shape is slightly flattened which is nice for application under the eyes and sides of the nose. This brush runs about $8.99 and I see more EcoTools brushes in my life.

Rimmel sent two products, both by Kate Moss.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss- This lipstick purports up to 8 hours of wear but I got about 2 hours. And it was 2 hours of non-fun times for me. The formula was drying and the application was flakey on my lips. It did not help that this particular shade looked horrendous with my coloring. Think pale peach death lips. If it was fire engine red I might have been able to get some mileage out of it with a balm underneath. This lipstick goes for $5.49.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara by Kate Moss- "The first mascara created by Kate Moss." The wand is a "broken heart shape" and this mascara plumps and lifts in one clean stroke. Sadly, this is one of those ultra fatty waxy brushes that my eyelids abhor. I seriously looked like a tween applying mascara for the first time after using this: black smudges on the lid, below the eye. After cleaning up, my lashes looked pretty good. More of a natural look but almost too natural. I went ahead and wore for the rest of the day and checked after several hours to see it traveled under my eye a bit. Not a repurchase for me. It retails for $6.99. Keep in mind: mascara is a strange beast in that Your Mileage May Vary. What I love, others my hate and vice versa.

Dove Fruit- I need a metric ton of this stuff. Dark chocolate covered blueberries, like manna from Heaven. The texture mimics chocolate covered raisins, with a satisfying chew. The blueberries contribute a twinge of tartness that makes the dark chocolate eye rolling delicious. A bag has two serving sizes, which I laughed at and consumed recklessly. They come in cranberry and cherry as well. I will be looking for these next time I am in Publix. Price varies from $1.88 to $2.69 which is pretty nice for such a decadent treat. 

That was my first Vox Box experience and it was pretty fun! I should have taken a before and after picture. After: tanner, great hair, matte skin, curvier with dry death lips (chocolate in the corners?) and mascara runs. Have you tried any these products? See anything you might like to try? 

*These products were provided complimentary for testing purposes.*

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Glitterati: Fall Custom Order

My name popped up on the Glitterati Fall Custom List recently and I couldn't have been more excited! I tried to show some restraint, but I am slightly regretting that now. I should have just gotten Bite Bags in the scent shot fragrances too. Glitterati can only be ordered from Janine's Glitterati Facebook group, so if you want to place an order, search Glitterati on Facebook and join. 

The Bite Bags cost $10.00 and have about 14 mini bundt shapes inside. You can blend as many fragrances together as your lil blending heart desires. If blending is not your thing, never fear. Glitterati also has an amazing House Blend List and single scents. This bag is full of Pink Rosemary Peppermint. A relaxing amalgam of herbal minty freshness. Potent and pleasant.

Vanilla Pink Peppermint (using vanilla mint) reminds me of pink sugar and dinner mints. Dinner mints made with extra peppermint extract. In love.

Pink Vanilla Bean Noel Beaver Tails and Hansel & Gretel's House.... see? Crazy blending takes over my brain sometimes. Rich, gooey, decadent bakery with a dash of cinnamon and hint of pink. It reminds me of a richer Amazing Bakery. 

This. I don't know how I am going to melt this. I loved it in my first order but I love it harder in this one, Pink Marshmallow Fireside. So good. Scent shots are around $1.75 and you can blend as you please.

Purple Rain is a mix of Black Raspberry Vanilla and Chardonnay I believe. Great scent, juicy and sweet.

La Vida Juicy Chardonnay mixes the sweet perfume by Juicy Couture with sweet grapey wine, like Reisling. I very much enjoy this combo. It works well!

Island Peach/Sangria White Peach I meant to buy two scent shots of as well but I see that I neglected to put (2) next to it on my order. >tears< Janine has a kick butt peach and this just screams peach punch. 

Free Samples:

Tickled Pink- I cannot find this blend on the scent list on her page but I smell a nice pink sugar bakery scent. Very yummy and this will be much enjoyed.

Raspberry Sangria- There is an alcohol note behind the sugared raspberries, like a classic Bartles & James wine cooler.

Cotton Candy- It may sound silly, but I am really happy to smell cotton candy on its own. I always suspected a strong berry note in cotton candy but now I know without a doubt there is one in there. I think this would smell great paired with Raspberry Sangria.

Have had a chance to try Glitterati yet? Janine usually has frequent Mystery Box sign ups as well as flash sale lots on her group page. Ordering custom though can be a tad trickier. I will be hoping I get on the next custom list that crops up towards the end of the year. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Handmade in Florida Soap

This generous sample of Handmade in Florida soap scented in Istanbul found its way to me as a gift from Jean. This company caught my eye on Facebook by sponsored posts that featured artistic soaps photographed with a keen eye. Apparently, Handmade in Florida is highly popular as their soaps sell out within minutes of stocking. 

Istanbul  is described as an uplifting blend of citrus with hints of fresh cucumber, jasmine, blackberry and sweet pineapple. 

The notes here function to highlight blackberry in a flattering light. Sunshine sweetened plump blackberries with a floral clean backdrop.  
It lathered and foamed in creamy mounds with not a hint of dryness post-rinse. It felt luxurious like a slab of hard silky butter. 

What have you been cleansing with as of late? I might have to throw some elbows to snag a full bar of Handmade in Florida soon. Hey, I need to support local right? Their next sale is May 16th at 4 pm EST.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fuss Ass McGee: March Order

Kelli and Shelby run a fun tongue-in-cheek wax tart company named Fuss Ass McGee. On their Facebook group page I saw some really beautiful rose shaped tarts scented in Rose Sandalwood and cartoon hearts popped in my eyes. From past orders, I knew I very much enjoyed McGee's herbal strewn sinus relief and lavender fragrances. Their TAT on this order was a lightening quick 3 days! Prices are very kind too. No fussing here.

Patchouli Bundle ($5.00):

Hippie Chick- Fresh lavender, patchouli, sandalwood and ylang ylang create peaceful beauty.

Patchouli Blend- Patchouli, sandalwood, and cedarwood showcase the woody, green and natural facets of patchouli.

Karma- Sweet orange, lavender and patchouli merge to replicate the calming Lush Karma solid perfume that I love to wear. Instantly uplifting.

Dragon's Blood- Orange, rose, patchouli and vanilla build a grounded bedding for carnation to feature as a centerpiece.

Patchouli Rain- Fresh rain, patchouli, lily of the valley, cyclamen, and sweet citrus meld and swirl into an enchanting sweet musk that I want to wear as a personal fragrance.

Kudos to an amazing patchouli line up. I want to order the clamshell bundle now.

Just Breathe Linus Bundle ($6.50): These unique shapes smell of peppermint, camphor, eucalyptus, menthol and rosemary for the ultimate sinus clearing experience. Two tiny hearts threw strong and clear in the bedroom. Excellent blend. Repurchase absolutely.

Medicine Balls in Rosemary Mint ($3.95)- Garden fresh rosemary with a light top note of green mint. The throw on these leveled at about medium-light in the bedroom. A little more oomph would have been nice. Still a great fragrance.

Rose Sandalwood shapes ($1.45 each)- A well executed vintage fragrance that feels like carriage rides and white gloves hiding a blushing coquette

Chill Pills ($5.00)- Scented in Nighty-Nighty (you can pick from 6 various lavender centric aromas) bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, pine and camphor mix in this blend. One tart threw medium-strong in my bedroom, creating a calming slumber inducing atmosphere. 

Free Samples:

Timeless Beauty- My beloved Claire Burke dupe or spiced roses and lavender. Bliss.

Rock Concert- A heady blend of patchouli, incense, sandalwood, and sweet dragon's blood. I love it.

Romeo & Juliet- This smells so familiar but I cannot pin it. The notes are: floral bouquet, patchouli, green tones, cotton candy, lemon drops, raspberries, musk and woods. I love this one too, it threw nicely for such a tiny tart.

If you are a lavender or minty fresh freak, I recommend you give Fuss Ass a go. And as a patch head, I am digging these new patchouli blends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Haus of Gloi: Butter Bomb

Butter Bomb in Carnation & Milk smells exactly like peppery carnations drenched in unsweetened cream. This tiny scoop of a butter bomb packed a surprising punch in the bath tub. The water diffused the full bodied flower petals and cream into the air and it lingered like a haze above the rippling reflection. The butter moisturized my skin thoroughly. I enjoyed this so much I went to Haus of Gloi and bought more. One in each scent except Strawberry (they are located under Spring if you are interested).

Haus of Gloi is a company I have been wanting to try for quite some time. Thanks to Jean, I was able to recently. Deb had me jonesing to try their Troika Pumpkin Butter (which I bought too) and quite a few other scents stand out among their line.

Two perfume oil samples were generously included in the gift as well:

Come Hither- Sweet vanilla and saffron entice the senses. Antique drawers filled with laced edged fabrics hiding a sweet sachet. 

Cozy Rose- Rose petals and incense smoke. Aphrodite and Eros.

I am excited I have one more butter bomb in Carnation & Milk to use. It is quite a unique and haunting aroma. Have you tried Haus of Gloi? What are your favorite products from them? 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Melting Basket 34

Wax I would buy again from the previous basket include: CFTKR Cedar Sage & Blackberry (it was beautiful with an almost sangria feel to it after a while), Sugared Strawberry Spruce, Primitive Wishes, Chocolate Orchid, and Celtic Moonspice (sister picked a ton of favs), TDC Vintage Vanilla, VDC Blanche and Baby Jane, Streetman Cotton Candied Spruce Berries.

Sugar & Spice- Pink Lavender Mint Peppermint
Sugar & Spice- Blonde Moment Peach Margarita
Sugar & Spice- Pomegranate Pink Watermelon
Vintage Chic Scents- Cheryl's Stormy Weather
Beezy- Pink Peppermint
Lasting Scent Candles- Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
Front Porch- Vanilla Noel
Better Homes & Gardens- Sugared Lavender Twist
Alamo Candelaria- Mama Cita
FussAss McGee- Rose Sandalwood
Rosegirls- Cherry Berry Punch Lemonade
Glitterati- Island Peach/Sangria White Peach
Glitterati- Cotton Candy
Glitterati- Raspberry Sangria
Haley's Heavenly Scents- Pink Coconut Noel
Haley's Heavenly Scents- Pink Fruit Loops
CFTKR- Serendipity Noel
CFTKR- Amazingly Grace
CFTKR- Spicy Kitchen
CFTKR- Mr. Bear in the Blackberry Patch
CFTKR- Raspberry Rainbow <3 gift
CFTKR- Jill's Strawberry Cream Jelly Roll <3 gift

If you would like an in-depth review of any of these, please comment and I will be happy to oblige.

A while back Bath & Body Works had a $3 handsoap sale so I sprung for a few that stood out to my nose. 

White Lily & Lime has a tart cleanness that smells wonderful on freshly washed hands. For some reason I do not enjoy my hands smelling like bakery or candy. I need fresh and clean or pretty at the very least. This fulfills all three.

Rio Samba Sunset boasts notes of white amber, orange flower and musk. I must say this has to be the most unique handsoap scent from BBW that I have encountered. For me this falls squarely in the pretty category. It reminds me faintly of Amber Romance from VS but with more citrus and brightness. 

Hawaiian Pink Hibiscus mixes plumeria and guavas in a sweet tropical twist. Just plain pretty. 

Have you found any Bath & Body Works scents recently that surprised you? I think maybe they are stepping up the fragrance game. What are you washing your hands with?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Warmed Wax: Rosegirls Muffin Club Blends

Sweet Lemon Confection/Orange Revival/Sage- This muffin had a medium to medium-strong throw and smelled really interesting. My nose mostly picked up sweet citrus. The sage was not overly green or herbaceous, in fact I want to say it lent the most sugar to the lemon and orange blend. I felt energized and peppy when I walked through the house inhaling this blend. Very nice!

Peppermint/Royal Sugar Cookie- This had a strong throw in my bedroom and medium in the living room. It reminded me of the Mrs. Claus Cookie blends out there. Rich crisp sugar cookies dotted with crushed peppermint candy disks. The cookie by and far being the strongest portion. I enjoyed it so much I sat right by it on my bed and read for hours.

Sweet Lemon Confection/Peppermint/Sugared Apple- Oh my! This one was fun and confusing. I kept thinking I was melting a fruity bakery scent. I would think "what am I melting again?!" The apples and lemon had such a deepness. Peppermint was low key for me.

I got a Rosegirls order in Thursday night! Woot! I ordered two bags and a muffin blend for my friend, Ashley, and a bag and five muffin blends for myself. It's crazy because I KNOW what I love from Rosegirls but I keep wanting to try new things, so I very rarely reorder the same thing. I wanted to order more house blends, like No Worries, but customs come up so rarely, I didn't want to miss a chance to blend. Did you get an order in? Was your heart doing Tae-Bo in your chest? All mad crazy Billy Blanks style? Crazy how fast my heart can pound while sitting still as a statue. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sugar & Spice Gourmet Soy Candles: Custom Order

If you crave instant gratification and desire to tinker with custom blending (combining a few scents to create a fragrance new and unique), Sugar & Spice can fill that need. They are also a great wax company to do split orders with since they sell their custom blended scent shots in packs of 3 ($5.25) or 4 ($7.00). My sister Darby and I did just that. She blended 3 scents and I blended three scents, we pick the 4 cup option and split them down the middle so we each got two shots of all the scents. We ordered Sunday night and they arrived Friday, 5 days later. Amazing TAT!

Blonde Moment/Peach Margarita- The ultimate frozen concoction to grace a beach blanket. Dripping sweet peaches, tart limes and fizzy sweet effervescence. A summer treat for sure.

Blackberry Coconut/Blackberry Marshmallow Fluff/Blackberry- Blackberry pie filling layered on top of a creamy foundation of vanilla pudding folded into Cool Whip. Delicious.

Apple Butter Caramel/Celtic Moonspice- Caramel drenched apple dumpling sprinkled with cinnamon. Gooey, sticky and indulgent.

Marshmallow Fireside/Marshmallow Noel- The puff of unmistakable sweet air from opening that ubiquitous bag of Jet Puffed, sitting by the fire pit, long sticks in hand. 

Rosemary Mint Aveda/Peppermint- The Disney cruise line tiled spa/sauna room. Nasal dilating, pore cleansing, eye fluttering coolness.

Pink/Lavender Mint/Peppermint- Sweet infant skin, soft and graced with powdery lavender oil. A baby so fresh and newly arrived a minty-ness hangs about her in a halo.

Free Samples!

Shanna does something fun that not many vendors do- Mystery tarts!

Mystery tart 1- fruity bakery all the way. With four layers of scent, that is about all I can nail down.

Mystery tart 2- This reminds me of all my crazy coconut/Waikiki blending I did with Sugar & Spice last year. 

Mystery tart 3- Another tropical delight. More sunscreen than fruity.

Boo Berry- Blueberry laced cereal.

Down in the Islands- I very much like this one! My favorite of the free samples and the only one I kept for myself. Carmen Miranda's fruit heavy headpiece tango dancing its way into my warmer.

I am excitedly plotting another Sugar & Spice split order for next month. Pink Rainbow Bridge and Pumpkins in the Fire Marshmallow Fireside are calling to me! Have you tried Sugar & Spice? How do you feel about making your own custom blends?