Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ebb & Flow: April

The highs and lows of the month.

Solstice Scents Rose Mallow Cream

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

The Bathing Garden Kracken Berry scrub with real vanilla beans <3

Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 3 in "The Ingenue" eyeshadows

Loki's Wolves by Armstrong and Marr, loaned to me by Deb. A fun read.

Avalon- A Celtic Legend by Enaid

Oh My Yog Vanilla Bean yogurt

X-Files, on to Season 4.... boy does it start to amp up the gross game.

Mother's Day weekend, headed to Anna Maria Island with Scarlette, my sisters and mom for a weekend of sunshine bliss, good food, great company and the shore. Savanna is choosing to stay home with dad so she can go to a sleepover party. Tear. She's growing up.

Nothing at the moment, but my current bane is the post office and my neighbor who swiped half of my CFTKR tarts. Ok, not half... But enough to feel rage.

My shorter hair and highlights.

Aftelier Matcha Chai tea with cream

Paul & Joe Sunkissed lipstick

Only met one of five goals I set for the month.

Canoeing down the Little Manatee River with my husband and girls and actually seeing a manatee only inches away from us. 

How was your April? Highs? Lows? Try anything great or sucky?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Aftelier: Body Oil & Hair Elixirs

Aftelier Body Oil & Hair Elixirs are incredible. I have been using Mandy's Ancient Resins Hair and Body Oil & Hair Elixir for a few years now and it just gets better with age. After falling head over heels for Ancient Resins, I decided to sample a few of her other scents offered. 

Patchouli Spice highlights aged wood, smooth powdery dark patchouli and soft antique spices that emit the origin of their sources rather than the end product: earth, plant and wood. The light weight oil glides on effortlessly and sinks into the skin like a lover's touch, deep and nourishing. There is an indulgence here. A velvety fragrance trail of plushness that gets imparted from warm hands to body, translated into self adulation, a luxurious pampering, a personal inventory of sensation. Patchouli Spice offers the perfect meditative vehicle for just that experience.

Chocolate Saffron is all about the high end gourmand. Dutch cocoa powder holding nuances of coffee, woods, and vanilla pods paired with yellow and orange floral saffron create a stunning beauty of a fragrance. The melding of the spice and chocolate brings forth herbal greenery, amber warmth, and a touch of peony sweetness. An exotic and mysterious aroma with the same great nourishing power on the flesh.

Pear, Fir and Coffee was the first to pop into my cart. Gaia, from The Non-Blonde piqued my curiosity for this scent years ago. Frolicking in a coffee sack at Whole Foods? Yes, please. The sweet pear floats up first and exists in the space of air that never really touches skin and fades quickly, the closer my nose comes through the layers of atmosphere surrounding my body to press against the source, the stronger the coffee becomes. The dark roasted beans pair with primitive wood firs that smell more of bark than needle. More roots than resin. There is a softness here in the fragrance. It is not jarring with caffeine and evergreen. Same delicious airy formula.

These three scents come in a 100ml bottle with a pump dispenser for $50 each. The Ancient Resins comes in a 50ml bottle for $40 due to the higher priced components used to create it. I highly recommend Ancient Resins if you love woody incense. Of the three I sampled here I am eyeing up a bottle of the Chocolate Saffron and Pear, Fir and Coffee. Oh heck, the Patchouli Spice too. Who am I kidding? The longevity of these scents is a few hours before fading slowly. I do pair them with complimentary perfumes but they are amazing to wear on their own too. Have you tried body and hair oils? Which of these scents speaks to you? Aftelier has a great sampling program. You really have nothing to lose.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Bathing Garden: Circus, In Bloom. Marie Antoinette... again.

My better-late-than-never Circus Collection order I was mentioning last week from The Bathing Garden. Here she is. Like I had said, I originally did not order from it when it was released but after diving into In Bloom and Marie Antoinette, I did some Circus scouring and came up with quite a few that I wanted. I see that this collection is still up, and I think it may stay there until the end of April if you see anything here you might be interested in getting.

I ended up picking up another Brown Sugar Cream Rose Bouquet and Lemon Curd & Rose Milk. As usual, each clamshell is $3.75. Actual shipping is charged and many free samples are included.

Victorian Midway- Spiced apple funnel cake, pumpkin frosting, and cinnamon brown sugar. Deb. This one is calling your name. This scent only comes in this little under 2 ounce bundt shape ($2). But it is gorgeous and smells sooooo wickedly good. I should get another one. Spicy cinnamon and fall filled apples and pumpkins liberally applied with sugar. A teeny tiny suggestion of bakery but nothing overpowering. 

Starlight Soda Pop- Citrus soda pop with vanilla and light woods. Fizzy vanilla woods? Ummmm yes. Don't ask me how it works but it does. Sprite and ginger ale meets light vanilla musk and blonde woods. Should have been a two bar order. Unique and uplifting.

Fried Candy Donut- Berry donuts and cotton candy. Wildberry mousse jelly donuts. I get heavy wildberry mousse. Not much on the cotton candy on cold sniff. Not a favorite of mine but if you love fruity bakery this is made just for you.

Poppet's Coaster Ride- Strawberry peach jam, lemon curd and raspberry cake bites. The lemon and raspberry are the strongest with strawberries and peaches pulling up more quietly. This reminds me a little bit of the Cheshire Cat one Shannon does for Alice in Wonderland. A juicy and tart summer scent. 

Tunnel of Love- Red velvet raspberry cheesecake with rose glace pudding. You know what. I like Shannon's raspberry and I think I like her cheesecake too. I have shied away from cheese anything in wax due to gross sour experiences but I think it was just the wrong ones. This one is creamy and sweet with no tangy note. The rose glace smells like Rose Jam and it is just a small dollop to add beauty and sweetness. Excited about this one. It reminds me of her Painting The Roses Red but more creamy and mellow.

And another shot because the glitter is hypnotizing.

The Fortune Teller- Cola drenched funnel cake with butterscotch cream soda. I mean, how could I not be curious about this one. And look how lovely?! I cannot wrap my head or nose around this one, mystical indeed. The bottom layer smells like ginger and lemon spiked Coca-Cola and cinnamon butter cream while the top is butterbeer. I can't even say if I like it.... if I hate it. I have to melt it for sure. I can't right now because I let my Bathing Garden sit for a while usually. But when I melt this one I will report back.

The Contortionist- Green tea and ginger with cherry blossom cream. Love. Sophisticated, thoroughly Japanese and beautiful. Sweet cream filled cherry blossoms and clean refreshing green tea. 

Magician's Bonfire- Bonfire, lavender and chamomile. Sweet and calming lavender with a touch of sweet chamomile and the merest hint of woodsmoke from the bonfire. No acrid or sour fire tones. Excellently blended. I love it.

Ringmaster's Paramour- Sugar, rock candy, berries, and effervescent bubbles. This one is all about the soda pop, Sierra Mist really. I don't get more than that at the moment. But isn't she gorgeous? 

My extra Lemon Curd & Rose Milk and Brown Sugar Cream Rose Bouquet.

Easter Basket- Vanilla orange cake and sugar crystals. This one and the next are from her In Bloom Collection. Dreamsicle with cotton candy on top. Sweet, mellow and yummy.

Blackberry Jam & Lemon Curd- Shannon's lemon curd knocks my nose out. So strong, sweet and tart. I love it. Paired with her candy sweet blackberry jam it is perfect. I am shocked I left this one out with my first order. It takes me back to her Etsy days.

Watermelon Strawberry Cake- White cake, strawberry, cotton candy, pink watermelon. This is part of the Marie Antoinette Collection. Deb mentioned this one and I could not get it out of my mind so I swooped in on it. The watermelon and cake stick out the most with a tiny tart hit of strawberry. There is a faint plastic undertone to this one but I think it will leave once melted. I think it is coming from the cake. 

Free Samples: 
Chocolate Fonce Framboise- Chocolate covered raspberries. A little tartness. Decent but not my cuppa.

Gardenia Coconut Cream- Yes, please. See previous order post for details on this one and the following: Pirate Punch, Mermaid Tears, Pink Sand, and Take Me To The Sea.

Free clamshell in Bah, Humbug. LOVE. I get sweet evergreen boughs. Maybe a smattering of embers and mint. So good. I may even melt this in my bedroom in a few weeks even though it is obviously from the winter restock. 

Ok fellas. I am going to place my Take Me To The Sea order at the end of the month and then I will be slowing my roll on the wax game a bit. I have a CFTKR order and a Sniff My Tarts custom loaf order and my Rosegirls chunks pending, but after that I must melt. I know you wax heads understand. You've seen my hauls. I am ready to melt and enjoy for a bit. Plus I do have something up my sleeve but that will be shared in May. Are you melting? Enjoying? Hauling? 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Influenster: SK-II

Influenster sent me these products free for reviewing and testing purposes. 

This has to be one of the most anticipated Influenster programs I have been a part of recently. SK-II is a high end skin care regime that is produced in Japan. I was sent one Facial Treatment Mask and one bottle of Facial Treatment Essence. 

The one ounce bottle of Facial Treatment Essence has the consistency of water, but once on the face does not feel like plain water. I patted this onto my skin after washing my face at night, let it absorb and then applied my regular skincare. It dries quickly. The main ingredient is Pitera (a natural by-product of yeast fermentation) which is said to be full of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids. After two weeks of use I do feel like my skin is clearer than normal for being during that cycle of PMS when my face usually breaks out like a newly hatched teenager. I have noticed some clarity as well. It purports to smooth skin, replenish moisture, moderate skin renewal and penetrate better than a cream. A 2.5 ounce bottle runs $99.00. 

The mask is soaked in Pitera to provide a radiant and crystal clear complexion. I found the cotton to be too thick, it would not stay on my face like the thin face masks I am used to wearing. I had to lay down while wearing it, or it simply fell off, which was strange since there was so much serum soaked into it. I had enough left in the pouch for 5 more applications directly to my face. I did not achieve a  crystal clear complexion but it felt nice and my skin was in better condition. The serum was slippery like aloe and dried to a tacky, tight texture. Ten masks are sold for $135.00. 

Overall, I would not purchase the face masks, as I find very similar results from My Beauty Diary with a mask I can wear around the house and not strictly lying down and a box of ten usually runs me $15.00. I would however, consider buying the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It feels amazing on the skin and does show more of an impact on my skin than the mask did. At $100 for 2.5 ounces it is a bit steep, but I have paid that much for two lipsticks in the past and this gives me much more long term satisfaction I think. At 35, I am definitely thinking more long-term for my skin care and not so much on the next hot shade of pink. It seems to last a while too. I have been pouring it into my hands and slathering it on and still have only used 1/4 of the one ounce bottle. (I won't tell you how much of that ended up in the sink). If I conserve I am sure I will make it stretch even farther. 

Have you tried SK-II products? Thoughts?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sonoma Scent Studio: Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille takes my breath away.

Laurie's creations all posses key traits that ensnare my senses and always pull a smile from my lips: golden honey thick tones, warmth, and phantoms of nature encapsulated in liquid. Jour Ensoleille, or sunny day, achieves the same. Dappled sunlight grazing off late season orange blossoms, ivory petals turning antique in anticipation of their fall from the fruit they strove to create. White thin stars of confederate jasmine curl among the wild citrus on green vines that reach forth soft yet tenacious tendrils. The two blossoms merge beautifully in their habitat and on the skin. Beeswax lends a slightly boozy and golden air to the bouquet, providing a footpath in the woods for amber and my beloved labdanum to walk through. This is a sunny day, a golden sunlight shaft filled sunny day. 

A 1 ml dauber is $3.50, 3 ml spray is $11.00, 5 ml travel spray in a case is $18.00 (I love this option!), 17 ml bottle is $45, and a 34 ml bottle is $80.00. When you order your can request a sample in the comments section and this was one I requested from a previous purchase. Laurie's handcrafted fragrances are usually parfum strength and have the best longevity of any other house I have worn.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Melting Basket 64

Knock, knock... "Who's there?" "The tired blogger...." "The tired blogger who?" "The tired blogger who uses the same melting basket set up in the past, but desperately hopes her readers don't care and like the pink and aqua lights so they graciously forgive her." "Oh that lady. She's a mess."

Wax from the last basket I would melt again include: Candy Panda Lord of Chaos, Uluru, and Pale Blue Eyes, Sassy Girl Aroma Jenny Juice, Super Tarts Snape, SMT that long blend I don't feel like writing out, Zeep Bath Rose Jelly, CFTKR Buttered Cream Soda (SO GOOD!!!).

Glitterati- Raspberry Sangria <3 gift
Glitterati- Honeydew Birthday Cake <3 gift
Glitterati- Boo Berry Marshmallow <3 gift
LSC- Lemon Sorbet
LSC- Lemon Fizz
LSC- Strawberry Wedding Cake
LSC- Coconut Cream Pie
VCS- Hello, Gorgeous
VCS- Sweeney
VCS- Johanna
CFTKR-Tokyo Nights
CFTKR- Pink Strawberry Chiffon <3 gift
SMT-Pink Noel
SMT- Lemon Cake Pops/Sticky Pink Serendipity/Pink Sticky Marshmallow
Country Lane Keepsakes- Vanilla Peach
Country Lane Keepsakes- Fresh Picked Strawberry
Country Lane Keepsakes- Strawberry Cookie Crumb Pie
Country Lane Keepsakes- Grandma's Lemon Cake
Country Lane Keepsakes- Mint Mojito
Country Lane Keepsakes- Raspberry Cotton Candy
Kitty's Konfections- Finessin' (fizzy soda) <3 gift
Can-Do Candles- Bedtime Bath <3 gift

You know the drill. Ask for melted review and you shall receive. 

Up ahead lie many photographs. Some are hideous, some may even be distasteful. The writing may be full of self-pity and melancholy and infinite sadness. Yes I used a Smashing Pumpkins album reference. But in a more non-joking manner.... it will be personal to me. And possibly boring to you. If you came only for the wax here is your exit. If you are curious how my weekend went... proceed.

I met my step-dad at the age of five. When a child begins to remember. When anyone who shows love burrows their way into a tender newly formed heart. 

His father, Buddy Erskine AKA Chief White Thunder, owned The Reservation Golf Course, which my step-dad was soon to inherit. My mom and I moved into a trailer on the golf course and began the new chapter of our lives. After years of living together they finally wed when I was 9 on a schooner "Wolf" in Key West, lives joined by the captain of the ship. Needless to say Jimmy Buffett was my 3rd dad and The Beach Boys taught me all I needed to know about being a teenager. Anyway, I began working on the course when I was 11 or 12 all the way until I graduated college at 22. I knew it like I knew my own bedroom.

A few years ago, he decided to leave. His wife, his life, his golf course. 

My sisters and I wanted to have one last reunion with the place that taught us how to work in the Florida heat without vomiting, how to install a solenoid onto a golf cart, mix and spray and kill broad leaf weeds while always secretly wondering if the blue dye will ever leave our fingertips and if we will be able to bear children one day, clean up debris after hurricanes, mow greens, mow fairways on a tractor, mow collars and mow until my shoes are permanently green with chlorophyll, change holes, move tee markers, and start each morning drinking rot gut coffee while reading the comics before being told what needed to be done for the day. This was repeated for me for a decade. My sisters had very similar days after I went to college. My husband even worked there during the summers in between classes. My grandpa refused to call him Adam, instead he was always Andy.

We asked Dean recently if we could go back. Have one last tearful glance good-bye. He wouldn't meet us up there but sent a friend of his to unlock the pro-shop and keep us guarded from vagrants and vandals that had taken up shelter. He said we could have what we wanted. He said he took everything worth having. Except photos from our childhood.

Except us.

Except awards given to him for outstanding service to my high school FFA chapter.

Are those really important? Probably not. But my heart cracked none the less.

Ghosts of memories. Faded moments. Abandoned building to most but derelict home to us.

Yet, being the kind of women we are... we had to laugh through the tears. Make a jokes while stepping on our own faces that lie covered in rat and roach droppings. Or even act ridiculously creepy.

Hard to believe this was a place of joy. Of fellowship. Of recreation.

Now a place of decay.

Forgotten past. Uncertain future.

Where new homes and strip malls and gas stations or mini storages will be planted and sown like so much urban sprawl. It is being auctioned in less than a month.

The fairways are swamps where Mexican Whistling ducks roost. They will soon get the boot too.

The trailers that housed laughter echo with horror. They know the time is short.

I can't tell you how many times I gazed out this window at the trees while I washed dishes or did homework at the kitchen table. Now the trees gaze in, creeping inside. I hope the trees will get to stay.

Everything else will go.

Even though it has been a few years, and forgiveness has been given, things are not quite healed.

Scars show.

Maybe they always will show.

But my heart and mind will carry the good still. 

I am ready for him to be a part of my life again.

To know my daughters again.

But I cannot force it, just like the decay did not happen over night...

the healing won't either. 

But I am here for when that time comes. I am ready to embrace the next chapter.