Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ebb & Flow: July

Sea salt bar soap from Handmade in Florida

Body Oil:
Solstice Scents Lavender Vanilla Glace'

Bath Bomb:
Lush's Titsy Totsy bath bomb

Dame Perfumery Gardenia, Lime and Benzoin

Lancome Bi-Facil eye makeup remover

Dior Addict Lip Maximizer High Volume Lip Plumper, not really for the plumping but I love the tingle and high gloss finish.

Sniff My Tarts Pink Peppermint Swizzle Sticks

The most amazing homemade marshmallows that were sent to me by Gretchen: vanilla, apple cinnamon, and chamomile. I die.

Ice Water, nothing quite like it quenches.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Mr. Selfridge, only one season left to watch.

Mini skull earrings handmade from Marta Oms in Spain. A deal for only 15 Euros. I will feature them later.

Starting my new job and getting in the swing of things. I am ready to start fresh and start saving for some trips for 2017. 

The ultra hot sauna days of August and September fast approaching. 

Essie Good To Go Topcoat

Sassy Girl Aroma Body Cream

The leg injury was painful and set me back on vacation a little but it is finally healing well though it will leave quite the scar.

Getting the girls' rooms redecorated has been a high point. The painting and hard work were challenging at times but the end result has been enjoyable. 

I am going to try and pick up The Cursed Child today. I was lax and did not pre-order it like a proper Harry Potter fan. Are you planning on reading it? How was your July? Any hits or misses, highs or lows? What are you reading, watching, eating, drinking? Please share!

Oh, and happy birthday Harry! Yer a wizard!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Cooking Cove: Gingered Brussels Sprouts and Chicken Over Rice

It has been a while since I have shared a well-loved recipe with you guys. When I decided to make a family favorite last week I took some photos along the way. My girls are strange birds for little kids and brussels sprouts are a favored vegetable. I enjoy making this easy and wholesome meal, it can be fancied up quite nicely as well.

4-6 servings of cooked Jasmine rice
1 large egg
1/2 cup to 1 cup of cornstarch
2 (or more) teaspoons Five Spice Powder (found in the Asian aisle of the grocery store)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite size pieces
3 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
1/2 pound of fresh brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks
2-3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
toasted sesame oil

Prepare the brussels sprouts, garlic, and ginger.

Whisk the egg into a bowl and the cornstarch and Five Spice Powder in another. Dip the chicken in the egg and then the cornstarch. 

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken slices a few batches at a time until cooked through. Place on a paper towel on a plate when done frying to soak up excess oil. 

While the chicken fries, make the sauce by combining soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and 3/4 cups of water in a bowl (or mixing cup like me for easy pouring) with a whisk.

Once the chicken is cooked, add a little more oil (don't clean the pan! leave all the yummy fond on the bottom to add flavor) and toss in the brussels sprouts, ginger and garlic. Saute' until just softened, a few minutes.

Add the soy sauce mixture. Stir a few minutes more.

Add the chicken back to the pan, toss and cook about one minute. Drizzle some of the sesame oil on the rice and serve alongside the chicken and brussels sprouts.

I like to dust a pinch of cayenne pepper on mine for a kick. Other delicious toppings include: chopped roasted peanuts, scallions and bean sprouts.

I really enjoy one bowl meals. The kind you can curl up on the couch with and enjoy while taking in a show.

If you normally aren't a brussels sprout fan this is a great way to try them. Do you have any favorite one bowl meals?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Olfactif Artisan Perfume Subscription: July

Olfactif has changed their signature slide drawer ebony box to a magnetized lid that lifts so that it can be reused to house little treasures. I have saved every Olfactif box I have ever received (well over a year's worth!) but now I will be able to put things in them. The subscription costs $18 a month for three artisan perfume samples and includes an $18 coupon code to apply to any scent featured that month.

This month's theme is Day to Night. The placards now include the price of each scent as well as the cost if the code were to be used.

Summer by Dasein- Notes include: Cilantro, grapefruit, jasmine, orange blossom, grass.
Torn cilantro leaves braced by bitter yellow grapefruit pith and sweet tangy pink grapefruit pulp make for a daring and fresh take on a summer inspired fragrance. This scent sings summer. The vivid green cilantro imparts a touch of soap, bergamot and lime, paring well with the grapefruit. Gauzy orange blossoms and jasmine hover in the space above and the dry down shifts ever so slightly to include grassy vetiver tones. This scent stays green and fresh and botanical all the way through. Summertime, rolling down the grassy hills of childhood. Unique and strikingly realistic. $95

Geisha Vanilla Hinoki by Aroma M- Notes include: Bergamot, hinoki, lavender, leather, patchouli, amyris, cedarwood.
I had the extreme pleasure of getting this fragrance from Maria, the creator of Aroma M, in May when she released this newest icon in her Geisha fragrance line. My thoughts can be seen here. It remains one of my favorite Geisha's and a few of my friends have fallen in love with it too. If you have a proclivity towards vanilla and woods, you will love this beauty. $90

The Red by The Sun- Notes include: Fire, saffron, sandalwood, amber, sterling silver.
Live copper threads of saffron charged with electricity ignite a fire that burns warm and red. Slowly, ashes swirl and drift among the embers. A thread of silver gleams in the flame, metallic and cool. The burn down reveals fire smoothed sandalwood and ash stricken amber resin nuggets. A warm scent The Red, is. Glowing, unique, and other worldly. $75

What a fabulous box for July. Vibrant and saturated, each of these scents have the ability to transport one to enchanting places. I would love a bottle of any of these three scents and with the discount they all fall into the $77-$57 range. Quite affordable. 

Which of these three stand out to you? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ReVibe Box: July

ReVibe is a subscription service that features handmade, cruelty-free and natural products that induce relaxation and rejuvenation. Each box holds 5-7 items from small businesses worth over $60, the service is $39.95 per month.They also have a Tri-Me box for $20.00 that contains 3 items. I follow ReVibe on Instagram and entered a giveaway of one month and won! I did have to pay $2.50 to pick it up at the post office as it was under paid on postage., but once I saw the outside of the box I got excited. Look at that lovely pattern.

July's box theme was Meditation. The multipage color booklet detailed every product.

As soon as I uncovered the crocheted owl eye mask I cooed.

Owl Sleep Mask by Pixistics, $13.00, is too cute for school. Sadly I must have a large noggin because it is very tight. It fits Savanna perfectly. I may end up nipping the elastic and sewing in an inch more, if Savanna ever gives it back. It is lined with a smooth silk and hand stitched. Sweet dream inducing for sure. Hoot hoot.

Relax and Refresh Myst by UrbanMysticism, $20.00 for 2 ounces, holds a relaxing brew in a lovely cobalt glass sprayer. Full of lavender, vanilla and peppermint essential oils, sweet pea flower essence and even a couple amethyst crystals for extra measure. The all natural blend is safe for pets and children as well. I appreciate the thought and detail that went into this spray. I love the minty lavender scent it imparts. I spray it on my pillowcase and a little on my chest before bed. 

A closer peek at the crystals. Have you seen the water bottles with a huge crystal in the middle? This made me think of them for some reason. Savanna's birthstone is amethyst. I think she will enjoy having these once the bottle runs dry. Which won't take long. I see myself using this frequently. 

Gold Lava Oil Diffuser Bracelet by ReVibe, $24.95, to be sprayed with the Mental R&R Myst or any essential oil of your choosing. I do not really use essential oils medicinally like some of my DoTerra friends do so I will pass this on to one of them.

Meditation Candle by Knockout Candle Company, $5.00, blends soy and beeswax with cedarwood, patchouli and lavender essential oils and inserts a seasoned pecan wood wick. Sadly I could not get this guy to stay lit and burn for any length of time. The oils smelled amazing on cold and I was crushed I could not get it to work.

I kept at it. For like, 10 minutes I kept relighting the wick and the flame refused to thrive. I may have gotten a dud. The quality ingredients and scent alone would have me willing to try again. 

Lavender Sachet by Coffee and Lavender, $7.00, is a tiny little fragrant thing. It is about 3 inches tall and holds some seriously lovely lavender buds within. This guy will be living in my car soon.

The last item in the box was this packet of Balancing Bath Tea in Green Tea & Lemon by CerealFly, $4.00, This bath tea contains: chamomile, hibiscus flowers, lavender, lemon balm, oatsraw, orange peel, rose petals, lemon, green tea, dead sea salt, epsom salts, baking soda, and citric acid.

The total value of products in the box was $73.95, pretty good for a $39.95 box. Overall it was a lovely experience that indeed would assist in relaxation. As with all subscription boxes, not every item will fit every taste or lifestyle but that is to be expected. My favorites of the bunch were the lavender sachet, the myst, and the owl mask. Could you use a relaxation box? Do you use essential oils? 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Travel: Cleveland, Ohio Squire's Castle and Holden's Arboretum

The last full day we were in Cleveland, Adam, the girls and I spent all on our own. We headed to the North Chagrin Reserve of the Metroparks system to see Squire's Castle which was built in 1890. The castle was meant to just be the gatekeeper's lodging with the giant actual castle being built further into the woods, but it never came to fruition.

Inside there is a layout indicating what purpose the rooms served, or were believed to serve. I fell in love with it and would have loved to just pluck it up out of Cleveland and moved it home to live in. This was thought to be the main hall for gathering.

The girls are standing in the kitchen.

A side bedroom.

The back view of the castle. After exploring, we decided to hike in the woods behind the castle.

After the Metropark we drove about 15 minutes to Holden's Arboretum. I had never been to a tree museum and it was quite beautiful.

It reminded me a bit of Bok Tower gardens.

We paid the extra fee to walk in the canopy on swinging bridges and to climb a 120 foot tower to see Lake Erie. Adam and Savanna are not for heights so Scarlette and I climbed the tower on our own. It was about as high as a tall lighthouse. My thighs were shaking by the time we got up there.

This is the whole crew gathering for breakfast at grandma and grandpa's. It was a nice visit for sure. Tomorrow I will post about my visit to Indigo Perfumery and then that will be the finale of the Cleveland shenanigans. Have you been to an arboretum? Do you take vacations to visit family? I think Adam is ready to head back to North Carolina next year. He really has the mountains in his blood now. I personally would love to take the girls to Yellowstone or to see redwoods or something. We shall see! Where would you like to vacation?

Melting Basket 70

Wax tarts from the last basket I would buy include: Lasting Scent Candles  Sweet Dreams, Lemon Wedding Cake, Coco Pink, Lemon Love, Southern Belle, The Bathing Garden Sea of Tears and Gardenia Coconut Cream, CFTKR Cinnamon and Spice, Glitterati  Pink Serendipity, Vintage Chic Scents Johanna.

The Bathing Garden- Pirate Punch
The Bathing Garden- Pink Sands
The Bathing Garden- Serendipity Cream Pie
The Bathing Garden- Pearls of the Ocean
Beezy- Apple Clove Butter
Vintage Chic Scents- Queen Anne's Lace
Glitterati- Citrus Sunrise
Rosegirls- Pink Peppermint Milkshake
Rosegirls- Pomegranate Cotton Candy Frosting <3 gift
Sniff My Tarts- Marshmallow Noel/Vanilla Marshmallow Smoothie/Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake
CFTKR- Fresh Picked Strawberry
CFTKR- Serendipity Marshmallow Delight
CFTKR- Toasted Marshmallow Fruity Loops
CFTKR- Citrus Vanilla Pound Cake
CFTKR- Pomelo Sage

I think I am diving into a bit more of my beachy summertime scents in this basket. I will probably hold on to the rest of my beach Bathing Garden order for next summer. I won't be melting fall scents quite yet but I will move into more earthy and herbal scents probably. Melting all these fruits has me ready to move on from the genre. If you would like a review of any of these please let me know in the comments and I would be happy to oblige.

I would love for this last week of July to drag out like the sunlight on an exquisite summer evening. Once August 1st hits I will need to be brushing up on some reading and studying for work. 

Even though I would like to wallow a bit more in lazy indulgent days I do look forward to the new school year. A new start. New people to meet and new beginnings. I realize to most people, the New Year starts in January, but for me it starts with the first day of school. 

But before I start musing about my goals and new leaves and all that... I am going to keep my cat slippers on and my makeup off for a few more weeks. How is your July going? Are you keeping cool? What types of scents are flowing in your home?