Friday, July 31, 2015

Frederic Malle: En Passant

I picked this perfume up from eBay with a gift certificate. Frederic Malle has been on my radar for years but I just could never find a reason to bite the bullet. Until I got a handy dandy eBay gift certificate for $25. Which this 5 ml just happened to cost. 

En Passant includes notes of white lilac, orange leaves, cucumber, and wheat. 
Lilac normally sends my hackles up but this lilac, though obviously so, is very soft and clear. It whispers, not shouts. The wheat surprises with delight. Walking along a scenic French country town where carts of motley flowers are parked next door to the local boulangerie. Woven baskets showcase arrangements of baguettes on the sidewalk. A produce stand with fresh fruits and vegetables in petite baskets, shining like gems, not much farther down. All these scents coalesce into this bottle. Captured in time. Taking me where I long to go.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Candles From The Keeping Room: July Order on Etsy

Carol recently decided it was time to fix some of the website issues that have plagued CFTKR since her popularity has exploded to mammoth proportions in the last couple of years. In the interim she has moved over to Etsy where heavy hitting traffic seems to be more readily handled. She opened up shop at Etsy July 8th and I was refreshing like a certified mad woman that morning. I picked up so much great smelly stuff it is hardly fathomable. I was pleasantly surprised how long the store stayed stocked. She had about 1,200 bags of tarts listed and it stayed stocked for several hours. 

Lime Leaf & Lily- Lauren has posted this one on Instagram before and it caught my eye. I am so glad I picked it up because it is one awesome lime scent. Larger than life lime with a sprinkle of salt and soft quiet white lowers. 

Weekend in Maui- All the exotic notes combine to create a sweet fruity floral that is smooth and silky. Not jarring at all. It reminds me a touch of Bath & Body Works old Plumeria scent. Tropical and musky. 

Fresh Picked Strawberry- Repurchase.

Jill's Strawberry Cream Jelly Roll- Lynda gave me a sample of this and I fell in love. It is full of delicious strawberry preserves and vanilla cream with fluffy white cake. A million times better when melted with a great throw. 

Strawberry Marshmallow- I still have my candle in this scent waiting in my closet. Will I ever be able to burn it? I don't know. But now I have these yummy tarts to tide me over with their Fresh Picked Strawberry and thick gooey marshmallow teasings. 

Sweet Strawberry Taffy- My new favorite strawberry scent. After melting my sample I knew I needed a bag of this. Or three. Or a dozen. I honestly do not get the weird taffy note most Salt Water Taffy tarts I have sampled contain. It smells more like the most delicious strawberry cotton candy created. 

Blackberry & Bay (Jo Malone type)- This is my favorite Jo Malone perfume and the minute I saw this pop up on Carol's remake list I knew I would do whatever I could to get a bag. This is not going to be a scent for everyone. It is very green and herbal with the bay and brambles. The blackberries are not the star of the show but they are there as a tangy sweetness that keeps the whole blend from veering into the astringent territory. I have a feeling it will throw like an Olympic discus athlete. 

Oakmoss & Sandalwood- An elegant mixture that wafts out of the bag like blonde woods. This will make a beautiful home fragrance. 

Blackberry Musk- The blackberries are ripe and sweet and make a gorgeous pairing with the white musk. 

Spiced Cranberry- Lynda told me to get this and I am so glad I did. Burgundy cranberries popping with juice in the pot, generous helpings of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. A steaming pot of potpourri drifting in comforting tendrils around a holiday home, twinkling with cheerful lights. 

Autumn Morn- This lone bag of leaves has been sitting in the fall section with Autumn Lodge for the past several openings. I always went and peeked but never got around to getting it. Then last time I picked up Autumn Lodge instead of this one by accident. I became determined to get Autumn Morn. And sure enough, it popped up on Etsy. And became mine. The cinnamon, nutmeg and clove are sharp and festive but the kicker is the mound of orange and yellow and brown crispy leaves and moist fall earth that can be detected. Like a hayride with hot apple cider. A brisk autumn walk with a mug of chai tea. Spices and earth. Unique and evocative. 

Warm Welcome- I am torn on this one. It is a cherry centric scent that I thought would be more spiced craft store but it isn't. There is some spice but the cherry is heavy with almond leanings and I just can't do cherry almond. 

Apple Dumpling- Super strong cinnamon and yummy baked apples create an apple cinnamon combo that knocks me flat. So yummy. Not for spice haters. Definitely for spice lovers. Red hot and in your face cinnamon. Big Red style. 

Autumn Harvest- I love this lightly spiced pumpkin and apple combo. It is sweet and cozy and full of cheer. 

Free Samples- Top Row L to R:
Queen's Berry Fluff (very nice berries and cream), Tea and Cake (same oil as RG Tea and Cake, almond and lemon present), Pink Ombre Cak , Berry Bundt Cake, Wildberry Crisp

Bottom Row L to R:
Fuji Apple (really sweet), Strawberry Melon (nice! a honeydew lean), Pomegranate and Sweet Melon, Berry Vanilla Fluff Cake (really like this one on cold).

Blissful Blackberry (grapey), Cup of Tea (AMAZINGNESS- I want more), American Cream (smells light and waxy on cold but will probably bloom), Cotton Candy Frosted Cake (double yum, gonna be a hot one!), Caramel Pumpkin Swirl.

I am really happy with my huge, ginormous, ridiculously lush order. I rarely go this big but I only placed two wax orders in July so I did this one mega huge. The other was The Country Scent Shack because I needed to try that fireplace scent. Did you get in on the Etsy opening? Have you seen the new list of remakes for the next opening? So many wonderful fall scents coming out! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Guest Post: Lauren Reviews HHS "Toasted Strawberry Noel"

Lauren is my dear friend and blogger over at LoloLovesScents. She wrote this review for me as a favor while I am away. Please head over to her movie review blog HERE or her wax review blog HERE. They are both really great and some of my favorites!

Do you like marshmallow scents? How about toasted marshmallow scents? If you haven't tried Haley's Heavenly Scents, more importantly this particular scent from her, you are truly missing out and need to get on it!

Haley's Heavenly Scents' Toasted Strawberry Noel
Cold Rating8/10
Lit Rating: 8/10
Throw Rating: 8.5/10
Overall Rating8.5/10; like a freshly baked pop tart, minus the crust, plus marshmallow. A more candy-like strawberry as opposed to a fresh strawberry scent. Dripping with sweetness, almost makes your teeth hurt. Fruity enough for summer, well-rounded enough for fall. Threw like an absolute champ, lasted 14 hours in the bedroom warmer. Chock full of oils, and it shows in the performance! One of my favorite vendors. Some of the best sales in the business. Cheaper prices than some vendors. Always available to order, tons of scents to choose. Neat(ish) website. A hefty variety of wax shapes to choose from, in case you don't like boring ol' scent shots like me. Uniform throw with most of her marshmallow blends. Homemade marshmallows. Easy to make? Easier to buy. Summertime sadness curbed with this amazing blend!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Guest Post: Jacqui's Wax Stash

This is a guest post from Jacqui, the writer of The Scholarly Nail's Wax Blog, which I used religiously to cut my wax teeth on. Jacqui is a sweet friend and I am thankful she took the time to write for me while I am away. Enjoy!

Hello waxy world! A lot of you probably don't know me, so allow me to introduce myself. I'm Jacqui, and I used to be a wax blogger. It's been well over a year since I've done a proper blog post and even then, my posts were pretty infrequent. So although I haven't been an involved member of the wax community for quite some time, I will always have a vigorous love for fragrance and scents. A discussion with a friend the other day left us with the conclusion: "how can you not be into stuff that smells good?"

When Julie asked if I would like to do a guest post for her, I jumped at the chance. Julie is a bright light in the wax community, always kind, helpful and encouraging in a place where things can be unfriendly and sometimes downright intimidating for newcomers. I am grateful to call her a friend and happy to help her out while she is having a fabulous summer full of travels! Bon voyage J!


I went back and forth about what I wanted to do for this post, but I ultimately decided on showing you all my wax stash and how I organize it. This was always a post I wanted to do for my blog but never got around to it. And let's be honest, who doesn't love seeing other people's stashes?

If you've caught up with me recently, you'll know that I downsized my wax stash considerably. I used to have a whole coat closet filled with 24 different drawers filled with wax, each one overstuffed and barely able to close. Now, it's much more manageable and enjoyable to find something to melt. Don't get me wrong, it's still a pretty big stash. I don't know anyone in real life who would have a candle or tart stash anywhere close to this. But it's the perfect size for me!

My life is a bit flip turned upside down at this moment in time. We are about a month out from completion of our home remodel, and we are living in our basement while they finish up. Though the end is in sight (FINALLY!), we have most of our belongings packed up in storage and I don't have my DSLR with me right now. However, I have some barely adequate, dark and shadowy cell phone pictures taken in my basement for you all today! Hooray!

At this point in time, I have 12 bins for my wax. They are not very deep (I can fit about 4 tart cups stacked in them) but are decently long. I bought them specifically for the small linen closet I will be storing them once we are back moved into the rest of our house. But for now, they are down here with us in the basement, living in a corner.

I store my wax by scent, and I always have. I feel like my wax lasts longer this way, as if I'm preserving the integrity of the scents or something. It's probably all in my head, but it works for me. Also, whenever I feel like melting something, I never think to myself "Oh, I want to melt some Rosegirls or Ten Digit." I always think "I want my house to smell like oranges today." It just makes things much easier when I'm reaching for something to melt.

I went about 6 months from winter to spring not purchasing wax, but once spring had finally arrived I felt the urge to purchase some new scents and started bulking up my stash again. I have some bins that are pretty full, like my bakery bins. It's funny though, I barely reach for bakery these days. I'm hoping that once fall rolls around, I'll make a dent in my bakery bins. For now, I'm loving fruity scents and especially citrus. I was never much of an orange scent type of girl but now I can't get enough. Some bins, like my fresh/floral and "other fruity" bins are pretty bare. 

I would say that right now, the vendors that I purchase from most frequently Rosegirls, Ten Digit Creations and Lake Providence Lodge. LPL and TDC have a great TAT and great quality wax, while Rosegirls provides me with favorite scents that I can't get anywhere else. I've also purchased from Ava's Country Cupboard, Tiffany Candles and Front Porch lately, and am enjoying those vendors right now as well. I also placed an order from Dessa's. I was not in love with a lot of the scents I got but still have a few left to try again. I also purchased from VCS this spring to catch a couple favorite scents, but I can't see myself ordering much more from her because it's very difficult for me to catch her openings. I am definitely at a point where I am sticking to tried and true, easy to order favorites.

I've also been very into local vendors lately. There is a store about an hour and half away from me called The Candle Lab. It is an amazing concept where you can go and mix your own candles and tarts.  We just were down there last weekend with friends, and I came back with a bunch of giant clamshells! Another local vendor I have been enjoying lately is called The Pauper's Kottage, who I discovered on a trip to Amish Country a few years ago. We've also been enjoying going to lots of local flea and vendor markets this summer and have found some amazing wax vendors there as well. I swear I always seek out wax everywhere I go. In the past year, I've found amazing wax in Hawaii, New Orleans, Colorado and even in Mexico! Moral of the story - there is a whole world out there outside of online wax vendors. I have found some really GOOD stuff. Do some research about candle and wax makers in your area, you may be surprised what you find!

Basically any other online vendor wax that you see in these bins was purchased last year or earlier. I am a firm believer that wax can last a long time if it's stored properly and get great results from wax that is often a year or two old.

So now I will give you a peek inside each of my wax bins, highlighting a few favorite scents in each one and some thoughts about those scents. Enjoy!

Citrus - Faves:
Candle Lab Grapefruit/Ginger Ale/Hops (just finished up my last clamshell of this, had to make it again, so unbelievably strong, yes that's the hops used in beer), Sugar and Spice Lemon Curd (love this scent from every vendor but happen to have from S&S right now, best lemon ever with the perfect mix of sweet and tart), Beezy Satsuma (some satsuma scents are bitter, Beezy's is perfectly sweet and smells exactly like The Body Shop version), and LPL Glazed Orange Cake (technically a bakery scent but I put it in this bin because it's such a wonderful orange scent with a hint of creamy spice).

Other Fruit - Faves:
Tiffany Candle Exotic (dupe of The Body Shop version, hoarding my second pack of it because I don't know of anyone else who has it), Rosegirls Black Cherry (cherry is an obsession right now, can't get enough, so strong so have to use a small amount), Rosegirls Watermelon Slush (best watermelon ever, no floral notes like some melon scents can have), Front Porch Pineapple Birthday Cake (FP and VCS have the only vendor pineapple oil I like, so good blended with birthday cake)

Drinks - Faves:
Rosegirls Twister (most realistic tea scent I've ever smelled, had to get the mini melts for the blend), Ten Digit Creations Ginger Ale (amazing, almost spicy ginger ale scent with a hint of fizz, much prefer to the LPL version that most people associate with ginger ale scents), Sniff My Tarts Strawberry Daiquiri (not a vendor I see myself ordering from again but this scent is fantastic), Blue Hawaiian from any vendor (my ultimate summer scent, to me it smells like pineapple, coconut and cherry, must always have on hand)

Bakery - Faves:
Rosegirls Cuppa Cake (didn't realize how awesome a scent was until I melted it alone, must always have in my stash), Tiffany Candles Fluffy Marshmallow/Baker's Dozen (the Baker's Dozen scent reminds me a lot of RG Monster Cookie with a bit more of a sweeter cookie note to it, my current favorite bakery blend), Rainbow Melts Birthday Confetti Cake (another vendor I probably will not order from again due to not being able to catch an order in almost a year, most unique cake scent ever, almost a grape-y note to it), Ava's Country Cupboard Ice Cream Cake (strong almond note to it, I'm a sucker for anything nutty these days)

Fall Fruit and Spice - Faves:
Tiffany Candles Winter Dreams (best ever, smells like a sweet spiced apple scent to me, if you've never tried this you must), RG Scoopable Wax Pear (made by RG Jenny's mom, scoopables are not really my thing but I loved this one), Ava's Lingonberry Wreath (hoarding this last pack from last fall, smells exactly like The Body Shop's Cranberry to me, this is the only sweet cranberry type scent I like), Makes Scents Candles Cinnamon Orange Swirl (best cinnamon orange scent ever, I don't see myself ordering from this vendor again due to very long TAT so I need to find a replacement), Orange Clove from any vendor (always a staple in my stash), Ava's Cinnamon Broom (amazing non-bakery cinnamon scent, perfect for any time of year), Leaves from any vendor (BBW dupe, did not like until last year and now I can't imagine fall without this scent)

Fall and Winter Bakery - Faves:
Scentsationals Baked with Love (not usually one to stock up on scents but this one I would never want to be without for fall, perfect spicy pumpkin bakery blend), Rainbow Melts Santa's Breakfast (delicious eggnog and french toast blend which is one of my favorite blends for fall and winter, hoping to find a replacement if I can't get a RM order in this year), Lasting Scent Candles Pumpkin Marshmallow Grahams (a fave for a long time, will be sad to melt my last one although I kind of figured the end was near for LSC), Tiffany Candles Green Apple with Salted Caramel (best caramel apple scent ever, don't like most green apple scents but Tiffany's is true and not candy-like, VCS also has a fantastic green apple), Vintage Chic Scents Big Brown Bag (another fantastic blender for eggnog is caramel, I believe this one also has a bit of gingerbread thrown in too), Cider Lane from any vendor (another great caramel apple type blend, with a hint of spice)

Berries - Faves:
Candles from the Keeping Room Fresh Picked Strawberry (haven't been able to order from CFTKR since last year, not really keen on hard to order vendors anymore but Carol is an amazing lady, best strawberry ever, same as VCS Bluebird Cafe which is also hard to get), Rosegirls Strawberry Jam (probably my second favorite strawberry, mixes well with pretty much anything), Pauper's Kottage Raspberry Jam (same scent as RG Raspberry Sauce but much faster to arrive at my door than RG), Wildberry Mousse from any vendor (blends well with lots of scents, my favorite is WM + cotton candy frosting, so sweet and decadent)

Candy and Sweet Treats - Faves:
Rosegirls Swizzle Sticks (another scent that I realized how truly awesome it was when I smelled it on its own), Rosegirls Taste the Rainbow (down to my last chunk, wondering if I should order the MM's for it now), Cotton Candy Frosting from any vendor (strongest, most true cotton candy scent out there), Rosegirls Salt Water Taffy (a new fave, has an almost slightly perfumey note to it when melted that makes it different from normal candy type scents), Vintage Chic Scents Rockford Peaches (never quite knew what category to put this scent in but it has cotton candy so it ends up here, the peach and Pink Chiffon notes combine to make the ultimate girly fruity scent)

Fruity Bakery - Faves:
Lasting Scent Candles Lemon Ginger Snaps (another LSC scent that I will be sad to see go but I prepared and have enough to last a reasonable amount of time), Rosegirls Florida Key Lime Pie/Swizzle Sticks (perfect pairing, the swizzle sticks helps bring out the crust note in the key lime pie scent), Vintage Chic Scents The Philadelphia Story (I love creative pistachio blends, with the strawberry it almost smells like cherry chapstick), Front Porch Blueberry Stack of Pancakes (smells just like it sounds with a hint of maple syrup, one of hubby's faves), Candles from the Keeping Room Wildberry Mousse Pizzelle and Strawberry Pizzelle (the pizzelle note adds a delicate bakery note that isn't overpowering, the Candle Lab is getting a pizzelle scent this fall and I cannot wait to blend with it)

Fresh and Floral - Faves:
The Candle Lab Grapefruit and Lavender (The Candle Lab has my favorite lavender ever, very herbal and authentic and have not yet found a vendor lavender that comes close), Tiffany Candles Raspberry Violet (violet is probably my favorite floral scent ever, raspberry helps sweeten it up), Rosegirls Sugared Jasmine (a surprise favorite, smells amazing blended with coconut), Ten Digit Creations Rainforest Sugarcane (my ultimate fresh scent, not too perfume-y or green), Rosegirls Ginger (very true ginger scent with the slightest perfume undertone, divine blended)

Spicy Bakery and Caramel - Faves:
Rosegirls Strueselkuchen (no explanation needed), Ten Digit Creations Honey Gingerbread (kind of similar to RG Streuselkuchen with a bit of a syrupy sweetness), Celtic Moonspice from any vendor (ultimate spicy bakery scent, lingers for hours or even days after melting), Beezy Amish Quilt (great spicy scent with the slightest bakery undertone)

Mint and Woods - Faves:
Rosegirls Peppermint Coconut Mallow (one of the first RG scents I ever melted, can't really smell the coconut but it just adds to the overall sweetness), The Bathing Garden Frost Everlasting (a minty cookie smell with the mint being pretty subtle, RG did a special holiday blend called Kaleyn's Christmas Cookie that I believe had this same oil in it, need to find this again and get more), Front Porch Cinnamon Bayberry (can't go a holiday season without melting this, this is what Christmas smells like to me), Ten Digit Creations Island Teakwood (can't get enough teakwood scents lately, this one has a slight sweetness to it) and Rosegirls Christmas Past (nice strong Christmas tree scent that blends well with cranberry, cinnamon marshmallow and vanilla bean noel)


Whew! I hope you all enjoyed this journey into my wax collection. I'd love to hear how you all store your wax also!

Thanks so much Julie for allowing me to guest post!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Guest Post: Jean Reviews Epically Epic Sugar Scrub

This is a guest post written by my friend and blogger Jean from In Lieu of a Coffee Habit. Jean is one of my soapy friends who keeps me in the loop and we have great fun swapping sudsy boxes back and forth. Thank you Jean for contributing while I am away!

Epically Epic Sugar Scrub

I recently received my first order from Epically Epic, a bath and body shop with colorful wares that has been on my "someday" list since I became a soap fanatic five years ago.  Around that time I sent the owner, Allison, a question about one of her soaps and at the end of my note I jokingly mentioned (somewhat) if she was ever looking for an assistant to let me know, as she is based in Sante Fe, NM, and I love the rocky red desert landscape.  She responded that her dream was to find a house in the mountains to rent with room for a gigantic soap lab and that maybe she would need help when that day came.  I didn't end up ordering at that time but was charmed enough to figure I would be back. 

This year I went back to my someday list, since I missed the feeling of exploration of the early days.  I ordered a scrub in Jasmine and Smokey Vanilla.  TAT was one day, much faster than the minimum estimate listed.

Containing jasmine absolute, in the jar the scent is straight jasmine to me.  I used a small amount on my hands as a test.  Since this scrub contains liquid soap I assumed it would work like a typical cleansing scrub but after rinsing the emollient oils remained on my skin.  I imagine this can also be used like an in-shower moisturizer.

After toweling off, the jasmine lingered, and a week later I can still detect the scent on my towel, where I notice the base notes of the scent more.  The best way I can describe this is as a light woodsy musk, which may be the smokiness.  It has an alluring evening vibe to it.

What do you think about scrubs?  Are there well-known vendors that you have been eyeing from afar but haven't tried because of the size of your collection?

p.s.  This month I am looking forward to attending a soap camp taught by Kenna Cote, a guru in the soapmaking community.  If I'm ever in New Mexico again, maybe I will submit my résumé to Allison.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Guest Post: Craft Time with Lindsey!

This is a guest post by Lindsey from A Little Bit of Lindsey blog. Thank you sister for contributing while I am away! Check out her blog! It is really cute and uplifting. 

I'm Julie's youngest sister, Lindsey, and I'm excited to be writing a guest post for The Redolent Mermaid! Both of my older sisters are extremely talented when it comes to art and creativity. You should see some of the things those two have whipped up over the years! While I don't quite have the skills they possess (thanks, mom) I still find immense joy in channeling my creativity.  

I was on Pinterest the other day and spotted this painting. I really like the abstract look! Simplicity is my thing. I decided I wanted to try to recreate this as a birthday gift for my boyfriend, Casey. He's a sucker for all things coastal!

Luckily I already have more paint than I know what to do with and Hobby Lobby's canvases are dirt cheap (literally, $5 for a two pack). Once I had everything laid out I popped on Pandora and dove right in!

I started with the darkest middle layer first. I figured blending with lighter colors on top of that would be a little easier. I didn't follow any steps, I just looked at the Pinterest picture and then did what I thought they did. I wanted this to be relaxing which is achieved much more easily when you free yourself from guidelines.

I added the other layers of teal, light brown and white. I couldn't decide if painting white on a white canvas would do much but it seemed to help blend it a little more.

There she is! The finished product. Like I said, I may not be the most talented girl in the family but I thoroughly enjoy being crafty. I don't let my abilities hinder my excitement for creativity! It took me not even half an hour to paint and I had a great time. I'm thinking of adding a quote Casey likes to it, maybe in gold. Or maybe I'll just leave well enough alone. We shall see!

You can't post on The Redolent Mermaid without a little waxy action! This is my favorite warmer given to me by Julie <3 melting pink sugared lavender, I think. Don't hold me to that. Nonetheless, it smells like heaven! 

Until next time,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Guest Post: Deb Reviews Lasting Scent Candles "Captivated"

This review and post is written by Deb from It's Always Something as a generous favor for me while I am on vacation. Not only is she my dear friend but her blog is one of my favorites and I hope you do go and check it out!

Captivated- Creamy citrus meringue, toasted coconut, tangerine, pecans and marshmallows.
This was such an interesting scent.  I had not looked up the scent description before writing this post, so while this was melting I kept trying to figure out just what it was I was smelling.  I kept thinking of melon, and candy.  In the end I guess it reminds me of an extra rich orange creamsicle type scent.  It's sweet, and creamy, and juicy.  I did not notice any specific coconut or pecan notes, but they are probably what's giving it the tiny bit of warmth that it has.  Every once in a while I thought I was getting a slight bakery note.  This was a very nice, and entertaining scent.
I melted this 1.3 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent.  It traveled well throughout the house but was not overly strong or inyerface.  If I were to ever order from Lasting Scent Candles, I would probably try to get this again.
I would like to thank Julie for sharing this wax with me and allowing me to guest-post while she's away.
Thanks, Julie! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Influenster: Sunshine VoxBox

This box from Influenster was given free of charge in exchange for honest reviews of the products included. The following are my personal thoughts after trying the products.

The Sunshine VoxBox arrive around the 20th of July and came with a bunch of new to me items. 

Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer- What a novel idea! I have used a few cans of spray-on sunscreen when I catch them on clearance, but honestly, I find that spray products just don't last as long as the creamy pump-it-yourself options. An honestly, one 6.5 ounce can of this spray is $6.49, while the same exact product (Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe lotion) in the 20.3 ounce pump bottle is $5.84. So you pay four times as much per ounce for spray factor. 

The product itself sprays a thin and even coat of watery lotion that rubs in without a greasy residue. Although it is slightly tacky to the touch until it dries. My hair kept getting stuck to my upper arms for a bit. The scent is a pleasant aquatic aloe that fades after a few minutes. It did provide moisture to the skin but probably wouldn't work during dry winter months. I could see this being a great product for people wanting a convenient and light moisturizer. 

Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Leave-In Smoothing Creme- I think most curly haired gals in the 90's used Infusium 23 Leave-In Conditioner at some point. That cool water squirting out of that funny tiny spout all over your head and dripping everywhere. I loved it. And my hair, as you have heard many many times, is very dry. The first time I used this I used WAY too much (about a half dollar coin size) but it still worked great! My hair felt much softer and had less fly aways. I have since used less and it works just fine. A 4 ounce bottle is $6.99 and I would absolutely purchase this.

SinfulColors Nail Polish- SinfulColors has quite a few awesome shades in their very affordable line-up ($1.99 each). The shade I was given is Sheer Genius. And it is indeed sheer. The color is an irridescent pinky lilac with tiny blue, pink and purple glass flecks. I could see this working as a great pink for a French mani or as a layering polish. It does look beautiful on its own at three coats but still leaves visible nail line. 

The pointer finger has three coats. The middle is layered over OPI Steady As She Rose. The ring finger is layered over Cult Nails Devious Nature, and the pinky is layered over Pure Ice Black. 

Dickinson't Original Witch Hazel Refeshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths- These extra large quilted cloths are really great. I used them quite a few times to remove my makeup and just refresh my face on makeupless days. The witch hazel feels invigorating on the skin and leaves behind no residue or tightness and does not sting the eyes. The scent. It smells like apple wood smoked Tucks pads. Yes I am quite familiar with Tucks pads after pushing two humans out of my body, one with an epidural and one without. As strange as the scent is, I do not mind it at all. But then again, I enjoy strange scents. I could see smokey witch hazel being a deal breaker for some folks though. Twenty-five cloths are in a pack and run $6.99. I took my coupons to Walmart (CVS, Target and Publix) but could not find them. I will try Walgreens at some point but I usually never go to Walgreens. But I will for these.

Blue Diamond  Sriracha Almonds- Yum! These fellas are not spicy at all in case you are wondering. Just a little zippy with chili and lime flavors. A 1.5 ounce bag is about $1.59. I would totally buy these again but if you want spicy try their wasabi almonds. The salt and vinegar ones are dynamic too. The flavor of these reminds me of tamer Hot and Spicy Cheez-Its. I would buy these for a quick semi-healthy snack for sure. (240 calories in one 1.5 oz package.)

Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate- I had a run around trying to get my hands on these. I shopped Publix, Walmart, CVS and finally tracked them down on sale at Target for $3.89. I chose the flavor Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt. The girls and I love them. The dark chocolate is not bitter at all and the seeds contribute a nice crunch. The sea salt is evident but not overbearing. I would buy these again and try other flavors as well. 

This Influenster Shinshine VoxBox was great fun to open and explore. Do you spy any favorites or products your would like to try? Sign up for Influenster if you haven't yet! Free is fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Guest Post: Travels with Ashley

Ashley is one of my best friends and currently lives in Japan. She has a fun travel blog called the Bohemian Sassenach, which I hope you stop by and discover. She kindly wrote this blog post for me while I am, in fact, over in Japan visiting her. 

Hi everyone! I’m Ashley from The Bohemian Sassenach! I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Julie today! I mulled over what topics I could possible blog about, even considered a random geek out post, but finally decided on something I love: Travel!!
I know, I know… tons of people write about travel. I swear I see a new ‘top 10’ list every day! However, I find that a lot of those read like facts collected from Google. So I decided to give you my top 3 reasons why I love to travel & why I hope you’ll jump if opportunity knocks.

#1 – The Experience!
I’m not talking about the hours of airport lines, long flights, and jet lag. I’m talking about stepping outside your comfort zone & diving headfirst into the local environment. Some of my best memories come from wandering around, getting lost, and experiencing life first hand. When we were living in Turkey, we had the chance to get a hands on look at some of the most amazing pieces of history! We spent time climbing around in the ruins of castles, some dating back to the Byzantine Empire! We also visited old amphitheaters, basilica ruins, church caves, and ruins of an early Christian church! Unlike the United States, there are no “hands off!” or “don’t touch!” signs. You can climb castle walls and explore to your hearts content!

#2 – The Food!
This is a no brainer for me, as I am adventurous in my palate. I absolutely advise eating like the locals when given the opportunity! Bonus points if you end up having to order based on photos! This does have the occasional risk… I’ve eaten some weird gelatinous cold seafood soup, fried octopus balls with fermented fish flakes, and a mystery meat that I’m pretty sure was rat… or horse… or dog. However, even with the questionable items, I find myself craving more amazing food experiences. I’ve even found myself falling in love with some of the odd items I come across… such as cheese on sushi! I know, I know… it sounds horrible! I even questioned the sanity of the Japanese culture when I saw this on the local sushi-go-round menu! This turned out to be one of those “tastes better than it sounds” things. So when you find yourself facing a new and unusual food, I hope you’ll give it a try!

#3 – The Friendships!
It is amazing, to me, the beautiful friendships that can be formed as you travel the world. Whether it’s making friends through common interests or a local who wants to teach you about their culture & practice their English. I’ve even found that my personal views of certain people & ideals have broadened as I experience life through their eyes. Along the way, I’ve even been blessed with some lifelong friends who have and continue to enrich my daily life.

So there are my top 3 reasons why I think everyone should travel. Whether it’s international or even just a state or two away, the possibilities are endless! I, personally, have beignets in a New Orleans café on my bucket list! Where have you traveled? What’s on your travel bucket list?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Scent Trunk: Niche Fragrance Subscription

This product was sent free of charge in exchange for a potential review. All opinions are my own. Please see my Disclosure page tab under the header for further information if needed.

Scent Trunk (not an affiliate link) came to my attention when Gil did an interview with William Yin the CEO. Scent Trunk is a niche perfume subscription service. Potential subscribers start with a survey that helps Scent Trunk to select fragrances that are more aligned with their individual subscribers' preferences. There is a masculine and feminine division. The price is $18.00 per month, including shipping. Their website allows you to purchase full bottles of the fragrances featured. Scent Trunk also sends out Scent School informative emails detailing subjects such as: perfume application, scent notes, concentrations, and more. These emails are geared more towards fragrance newbies but are fun for all fragrance lovers to read. My box arrived a day before I returned home from North Carolina. I couldn't wait to sniff and see. 

The box came with a black velveteen drawstring pouch that held the samples, information cards and paper strips on which to spray your scents, if so inclined.

Sunshine Woman by Amouage Notes include: Almond, davana, jasmine, vanilla, cade, and papyrus. 
Sunshine opens with a sweet vanilla musk and candied jasmine that settles into butternut pipe tobacco. Shades of sepia and sweet comfort. It is a beautiful and sensual perfume. A full 3.4 ounce bottle runs $450.00.

Red Cattleya by Olympic Orchids Notes include: Citruses, peach, apricot, melon, lilac, and vanilla. 
Juicy spiced peaches and apricots, orange as sunset. A fully bloomed gardenia cuts the honeyed sweetness like a blade. This is no teen celebrity fruity floral. This is a syrupy Southern belle aroma drenched in homemade preserves and bunches of ivory gardenias dotted with sprigs of soft lavender lilac. A full one ounce bottle is $65.00.  

Day by Sarabecca Notes include: Lily, jasmine, and tuberose. 
Bright sunshine yellow lemons ease into a green lemongrass aroma. Almost clean like detergent. As the perfume settles it takes on the white floral scent of a vintage bottle of Coppertone. A fresh clean beach house on the coast. This perfume is made using all natural ingredients. A 1.7 ounce bottle is $58.00 on the Scent Trunk website. I have read it can be found at TJ Maxx and such stores on occasion though for much cheaper. 

Scent Trunk has recently made improvements such as: atomizers instead of dabbers, more high end niche brands, and larger amounts of juice. The survey was easy to perform but my fragrance predilections are so broad that I found it hard to rank the notes in order of preference. Also, I know I adore spiced woods and orientals but I would like to try more aquatics and fruity florals for my husband's sake, so which do I skew the survey towards? Either way, the box was on the whole a really great experience. I did end up with an aquatic, a fruity floral and a nice tobacco scent. The perfumes were curated nicely, the packaging pleasant, and the quality superior. If I had to choose one to purchase it would be Red Cattleya. I would love to have Sunshine but the cost is prohibitive. For now I will relish the sample. Every. Last. Drop. 

Have you tried Scent Trunk? Can one have too many perfume subscriptions? Nah. 

If you decide to sign up for a Scent Trunk subscription and would like to use my referral link click HERE, otherwise the link above is is not a referral link and can be used.

Enjoy 40% off of your first subscription to Scent Trunk by using the code MERMAID40.