Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ebb & Flow: December

The highs and lows of the month.

Central Park Snow Globe by Vintage Chic Scents

Cire Trudon Gabriel

Solstice Scents Manor

Make Up:
Dior Lip Maximizer, I loved the sample I was using so much I bought a full sized tube. ($33)

Hand Lotion:
Manuka Hand Cream

November Cakes

Peppermint tea from Celestial Seasonings

The Grand Tour on Amazon
Supernatural on Netflix

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.... still. 

The Bathing Garden's A Snow Globe World, the peppermint coolness and vanilla sweetness were wonderful on the face and body. 

Hand Soap:
Bath & Body Works Sparkling Mint Blossom

A New Year! I am ready to commit to making healthier choices (as I have for the past 20 or so years, I just can't seem to give up on the idea) and I am ready to finally learn to knit. And travel. And make lists.

Killing my adorable new succulents. I got a succulent dish garden for my birthday and one for Christmas. Some of the leaves are dying. I feel impending plant death breathing its decaying breath on my neck when all I want for them is life.

GTS Synergy organic kombucha in Lavender Love

Glade Blue Odyssey candle, way too much soot and overly aquatic scent. 

Being sick for several days before Christmas. I hope this is not the new period trend.

My birthday. And Christmas. It was nice to stay home, cozy, and hang out with my family. The girls exclaimed it was the best Christmas yet.

How was your December? Any highs or lows? Hits or misses?

I hope you all have a wonderful New Years Eve! We will be keeping it low key. Some party crackers, sparkling grape juice and snoozing by midnight. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Melting Basket 82

Wax tarts I would repurchase from the Yule basket are.... all of them. Seriously. Most were repurchases anyway and really they have become Christmas staples. To see what I melted click here

This basket is full of gifted scents. Some are from orders but I wanted to melt out the end of the year with treats that friends have given me recently. 

Rosegirls- Pumpkin Pecan Waffles Butterbrickle man I missed this one!
Rosegirls- Harvest Bake Sale Noel
Rosegirls- Apple Puff Pumpkin Pie
Rosegirls- Macintosh Swizzle Sticks
The Country Scent Shack- Vanilla Bliss
Candy Panda- Pumpkins in Paris
Pour Girl's Wax- Fall Fireside
Wild Vine- Radient Red Maple
Wild Vine- Orange Fireside
Front Porch- Hot Apple Pie is has been soooo looooong since I have had any FP
CFTKR- Cuban Tobacco
CFTKR- Burgundy Rose
SMT- Warm Vanilla Sugar
VCS- Ice Palace Cookies
Bonjour Wax- The Yule Ball
Satin Suzie Scents- Winter Woods
Satin Suzie Scents- Cranberry Festival
Long Cane Primitives- Vanilla Mint Noel
Long Cane Primitives- Creamy Nutmeg

If you would like any of these reviewed please leave a comment with which scents you want to know more about. 

The day after Christmas two of my sisters, Heather and Lindsey, and I headed out around 8am to check out the Lush store in Brandon and then a couple Targets. I ended up buying this 6 foot pre-lit birch tree for $47. It was half off plus an extra 10% off since it was a display. My obsession with birch continues. I also nabbed a 6 foot tall and skinny pre-lit evergreen to go outside by the door for $30. It was $100 but returned and on clearance for $69.99. My sister wheeled and dealed with the manager and got it down to $30 even. I was flabbergasted. No photo, as it is tucked into the attic now.

Lindsey and I scooped up all the vintage looking wrapping we could find. She has an eye for the cutest patterns possible. And she won't tell you either. You have to watch her like a hawk. Eye what she tosses into the cart. She even snuck in a second vintage Santa wrapping paper and I missed out on it. I only saw it as it scanned across the register. Look at those campers! The buffalo check (she taught me that) and the foxes! Coordinating tags and bows abound! And even a cookie plate. 

I love Target's big bow boxes. Full of various sizes, textures and colors, as well as ribbon and trim. I am a full fledged nerd and love to use the ribbon and bows on all the packages I can. The glass owls had to come home with me. Two for the tree and one each for the girls' ornament boxes. And lastly, a box of crackers for New Years Eve. Everything was 50% off and ended up being a great deal. I am set for next Christmas.

This is the majority of my Christmas spoils. Santa was generous and a great listener. The Sephora skincare box highlights products from South Korea and Tokyo. The Yves Saint Laurent Couture palette in 08 shimmers with green, taupe, gold and nudes. The color payoff impresses me with the small swatching I did. I also received cats in space leggings, purple pajamas, a bra, and a Lush Hello Gorgeous box. In my stocking I found panties, Essie Good To Go topcoat, Burt's Bees, Lancome eye makeup remover, lotion, Boscia face masks, a couple Lush bath bombs and wand, as well as a fat pack of Orbit gum. From friends and family I was treated to Sephora and Loft gift cards, candles, Starbucks gifts cards, a coffee mug from the original Starbucks, Sonoma Scent Studio's Forest Walk travel spray and other wonderful treasures.

I will post my Lush haul in a few days. I did get in two orders from the Lush USA site, but nothing from the UK site this year. Probably for the best. 

We will spend the rest of the week cleaning and hanging out. The tree is in the fire pit waiting on a chilly day, the decorations are in the attic and the girls have shed their tears of Christmas coming to a close. 

It is bittersweet but I am ready to move on. Ready to enjoy these last few days off. 

Did you do any post-Christmas shopping? What are you up to during the Christmas/New Year's interim?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Best of 2016

Another year of fragrant bliss and blogging about my olfactive experiences is under the belt. This blog is a peephole into a portion of my life, though not the whole view. I do share as much as I can in an effort to be transparent and chronicle my journey in some small way. Plus the rapport and conversations had with you all during times of turbulence always lift me a little higher when I struggle in the mire. 2016 was the year of tweaking my photography (thank you Stephanie), a new job, painting bedrooms and a new A/C unit, a family vacation back to my husband's hometown, meeting a blogger friend, making new blogger friends, watching Savanna read the Harry Potter series and participate in her first Pokemon tournaments, seeing Scarlette hone her math skills and reading her first chapter books. Adam remains the constant in my life that keeps me sane, laughing when I want to cry and feeling loved when I can't seem to love myself. 

I enjoy looking back and reflecting on the year, identifying if my tastes changed or new vendors took a top billing in my home and if new smelly treasures emerged. And I believe a few did pop up. 

Top Ten Scents of 2016:

1. Peppermint/Lord of Misrule/Peppermint Swizzle Sticks from Sniff My Tarts
2. Merlin's Forest from Candle From The Keeping Room
3. Sleepy from The Bathing Garden
4. Cranberry Citrus Balsam from Lasting Scent Candles
5. Pumpkins in the Fire/Cinnamon Sticks from Sugar & Spice
6. Fresh Picked Strawberry from Candles From The Keeping Room
7. Apple Clove Butter from Beezy Tarts
8. Starlight Soda Pop from The Bathing Garden
9. Apples & Cinnamon from Dessa's Homspun Scents
10. Violet Sugar Cookie from Glitterati

Top scent of the year: Nag Champa, I loved it from Valhalla, various blends of it from Candles From The Keeping Room, FuturePrimitive, and Rosegirls. Sunnee even gifted me an amazing hand cream that smells like a refined Nag Champa that I use daily.

Top Five Vendors:

Candles From The Keeping Room-No surprise here. I love the wide variety of scents offered, the consistent throw, and the customer service. Carol puts her all into her business and it shows. I tend to stock up when I order and I know that the tarts will last a good long while. Some favorites this year include: Merlin's Forest, Fresh Picked Strawberry, Moroccan Mint, Woodland Foliage, Tokyo Nights, Amish Quilt, Balsam & Citrus, Juniper Berry & Cedar, Blue Cedar Lavender, White Cedar Forest, and Apple Cobbler Delight.

Sniff My Tarts- Amy and Donna create amazing wax and have many years of experience under their belts. They fulfill my craving for endless blending options and the new website this year was just the cherry on the top. Anytime they open I am there with bells on. Plus the new RTS option is nice for those who don't like a wait. Favorites: Pink Sugar blends, mint blends, Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake, Dragon's Blood, Lord of Misrule, Butter Brickle, marshmallow blends, serendipity blends and my new favorite this year is Enchanted Forest.

Lasting Scent Candles- I felt like I dodged a bullet this year with Lasting Scent Candles staying open. Pam has been opening every few months with a hefty scent list, 1.5 ounce and 2 ounce scent shot options and bags of brittle too. What I really enjoy is that after a pre-order, she will often take the left overs and have a nice RTS sale with a discount. If I missed out on certain scents or didn't take advantage like I wanted, I often go back for seconds with the RTS offered. In the new year she will kick off with some customer favorites in loaf format. Some of my LSC stand outs this year are: Toasted Embers, Beignets, mint blends, patchouli blends, lavender blends, wedding cakes, Spooky Apparitions, Dracula, Samhain, Cobweb Cookies, Cranberry Citrus Balsam, Sugar Sparkle, Snow Globe, marshmallow blends. Heck. I love them all. 

The Bathing Garden- Ahhhh... the artful tarts that are from The Bathing Garden are both a joy for the eye and the nose. Shannon is on a nice roll with the seasonal collections and offerings this whole year. She stays open 24/7 and everything is made to order. I try to purchase at least a little something from each collection or season. I think my favorite one this year was the Marie Antoinette and Take Me To The Sea falling into a close second. Her monthly scent bundles, scrubs, lotions and parfaits are dreamy. I wouldn't mind a room spray in some of her scents. Some of my favorites: Widow's Walk, Ever Night, Starlight Soda Pop, Sleepy, Marie Antoinette's Boudoir, Cleopatra's Cream Bath, Gingerbread House, Lavender Vanilla Custard, Calypso, Beach Bum, Pink Sands, and Chestnuts & Pinecones.

Dessa's Homespun Scents- As a spice lover, shopping Dessa's scent list is pure bliss. Dessa offers a wonderful selection of scents and shapes, all at fair prices. She even does sales too! Her scent list does have a few staples missing of mine but I can pick up my mints and earthy scents other places. Her spice and bakery and woods more than make up for it. Her TAT is always great, given the wax is made to order. Stand out include: Apples & Cinnamon, Cranberries & Pine, Cinnamon Garland, Pumpkin Wreath Woods, Smoky Mountain Berries, Haunted Hollow, Country Store, Home for the Holidays, Winter Solstice, Autumn Campfire, Harvest Moon, October, Fall in the Country.

Other great vendors I enjoy:

Candy Panda

Sugar & Spice



New Vendor I enjoyed:

Satin Suzie Scents

New Wax Vendor Wild Card Item:

Lasting Scent Candle's room sprays- excellent!!!

My top three soaps this year:

Handmade in Florida sea salt and lime (I think? It was a freebie and I love it to pieces)

FuturePrimitive Owlette's End (so scrubby and yummy)

Bathhouse Soapery Tea Tree & Peppermint (a pick-me-up and perk-me-up)

My Favorite Fragrance Experience: Sniffing around Indigo Perfumery with Jacqui in Cleveland this summer. 

Fragrances I bought full bottle of in 2016:
1. Manor by Solstice Scents
2. Chai by Baruti
3. Arancia di Capri by Acqua di Parma

Top Five Fragrances Sampled in 2016:
1. Equestrian by Sonoma Scent Studio
2. Matsu by DSH Perfumes
3. Runestone by Solstice Scents
4. Dryad by Verdant Faerie
5. Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors

Body Care Highlights:

Burnishing Glace' from Solstice Scents in Lavender Vanilla is a nightly treat.

The Bathing Garden Ever Night body lotion hit the spot.

The Bathing Garden's Coconut Crystal Cake parfait (half whipped soap, half sugar scrub) made my mom, sisters and I ooooh and aaaaaah when I brought it to our beach getaway. 

FuturePrimitive's Milk Bath Tea in Bell, Book, and Candle gave a frothy, milky luxurious bathing experience.

Handmade in Florida's Patchouli Oud Buddha Bath Bomb fizzed and bubbled amazingly. 

Candle Highlights:

The best candle of the year was the Tizianna Terenzi Laudano Nero candle from Olfactif. I am going to try and order another one next year. The throw was stellar, the wood wicks were the sturdiest and loudest beasties ever and the heavy glass and gold details... exquisite. 

Pumpkin Woods from Bath & Body Works hit a sweet spot in home fragrance for me.

Cire Trudon's Gabriel ended the year on a sophisticated high note in my bedroom (review to come in the new year).

What were some of your stand-outs from 2016? What vendors should I give a go in the new year to come? 

I plan on plugging away here at The Redolent Mermaid in 2017. There will still be wax to melt, candles to burn, jewelry to wear, food to cook, books to read and random finds to highlight along the way. I hope you will join me. And I sincerely wish all the best for you in 2017. 


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Redolent Mermaid 2017 Reading Challenge

Welcome to the Redolent Mermaid 2017 Reading Challenge!

My goal was to create a reading challenge that would stretch me a little, yet still contain genres that I crave, have flexibility and an amount I would not feel overwhelmed trying to complete. Feel free to change or omit as it fits you, but do please join me!

1. Re-read a beloved book (or series!- give yourself credit for each one you read).

2. Art and literature. Graphic novels, art history, comics, even a doodle or two on a Wreck This Journal, as long as art is involved, count it. 

3. Magic. Witches and wizards, fairy courts or simply a story that enchants you.

4. A book gifted or loaned to you.

5. A book that has been in your TBR pile but overlooked time and again. Read it!

6. A library find.

7. A book to learn something from. 

8. Cool book cover art that lures you in like bait. (Yes, it is fun to judge a book or wine by its cover).

9. A story that takes you to another place and time, real or imagined.

10. A book from a favorite author that you haven't gotten around to reading yet.

11. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title.

12. A memoir.

13. A fluff read. (Easy, fast, or cheesy).

14. A Steinbeck, Hemingway or John D. MacDonald creation or book about one of them or inspired by one of them.

15. A scarlet hued tome.

16. The next in a series you have read.

17. A tale that takes place during a war.

18. Female heroine triumphant. 

19. A European setting.

20. Female authored.

21. Paranormal or supernatural phenomenon.

22. A book to make you belly laugh, guffaw or snort and chuckle along the way.

23. A book that will be a movie, you read, then watch. Preferably with friends then you can chat about how much better then book was (unless it was Maze Runner, then the movie was better).

24. A book with words in it. That should cover it.

I figure two books per month is attainable. I have so many exciting books to dive into. I will probably update a couple times a year with what I have completed. Please join me! And anytime you post a photo of what your current read is use the hashtag #redolentmermaidreading so I can follow along please. 

What do you think your first read of 2017 will be? I am thinking of wading into Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon. It has been ages since I have entered the world of Claire and Jamie Fraser. <3 Swoooooon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Vintage Chic Scents: Last Restock of 2016

Good Morning, Starshine! Guess who finally scored some Central Park Snow Globe from Vintage Chic Scents after several strike outs?! This chic chick. Ok, maybe not chic, but definitely persistent. It being an evening opening helped so I could stalk here and there between cooking dinner and such. I ended up grabbing a Deluxe Blossom bag in Central Park Snow Globe and a loaf in Cookie Baking at Mom's/Edelweiss. 

Central Park Snow Globe forges a creamy icy sweet dream of peppermint creme and vanilla bean noel. I have loved this scent for many a year and I am thrilled to have more on hand. I melted one of the thinner rose medallions and a small flower bud in my bedroom and it threw medium-strong all night long and even the next morning when I woke up. Brilliant. The Deluxe Blossom bag weighed just over a pound at 16.6 ounces and cost $19.50.

Someone gifted me a couple snowflakes in Edelweiss a few years ago. I want to say either Jacqui or Lauren, and I loved it straight off. Edelweiss blends gooey gingerbread cake and frosts it with cream cheese frosting. Normally I cannot get along with cream cheese frosting, but Kirby's lacks that sour note I usually pick up. Edelweiss is the overpour on this gorgeous loaf and the snowflake chunks are in Cookie Baking at Mom's, which entails baking vanilla frosted gingerbread men, cinnamon buns and sugar cookies. Whew! That is a lot of baking. The two combine to create a rich vanilla laden fresh baked cake fragrance with a soft cinnamon spice. Like the ultimate coffee cake. I love it. I threw a chunk in both the living area and kitchen warmers and got a strong throw. This regular sized loaf weighed just under a pound at 15.5 ounces and cost $18.40. 

Kirby included an extra bakery bag to keep the loaf in once it was chopped up. But I stuck it back in the zip top bag it came in. I love that she did that though. 

A free sample in Tea Room came with my order. It is that classic lemon tea and almond cake scent of Tea & Cakes. 

Shipping is a flat rate of $9.00. This time she had a few things in stock well after the initial rush of orders. In fact she had a loaf of Cookie Baking at Mom's that kept calling to me. But it did eventually sell out buy the time I came around to deciding that I would want it. Worked out for the best I am sure. 

Did you get anything from this last restock of the year? Do you have a VCS scent you crave time and again?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Adam, Savanna, Scarlette and me to you and yours. 

May your holiday be full of love and joy and 2017 be the best year yet. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sniff My Tarts: December 1st Opening Part One

Merry Christmas Eve!!! Can you believe it?! Santa comes tonight. I hope you have been good boys and girls. 

I was good. Good at ordering from Sniff My Tarts on December 1st apparently. Sniff My Tarts opened for custom orders and my fingers were extra twitchy that day. I placed two orders and both are in the first group of orders being worked on. Woot! Amy and Donna engineered a fabulous new website that makes ordering easier and faster, more streamlined. They are also offering RTS from the over pours of orders they are working on, which is nice for those who know they love a faster TAT. But speaking of TAT, they have been cranking out orders pretty speedily.

The first thing I knew I wanted was a decorated sheet cake in Peppermint/Peppermint Swizzle Sticks/Lord of Misrule ($22.00 and weighs 1 pound 7 ounces). Lord of Misrule's vanilla musk, soft patchouli and tame black pepper accord gains a chilly breath of the arctic with double the peppermint. Overall, it feels like a spa type scent and I am crazy about it.

So, so lovely.

The single piped hearts are my favorite way to sample new scents or get some of my staples, these were $3.84 each and between 3.1 and 3.4 ounces. 

This time I picked:
Marshmallow Noel- one of the best and strongest vanilla scents out there.
Marshmallow Noel & Candy- add peppermint candy canes to that gloriously thick vanilla marshmallow creme and eyes roll back into the head.
Dragon's Blood- earthy incense filled with spiced amber, patchouli and florals, garnished with blood orange.
Ultimate Bakery- a decadent blend of apples, cinnamon, pie crusts, bread, sugar cookies and pink sugar- the spiced apples, pink sugar and pie crust come forth the most. One I am excited to blend with and even use alone.
Barbershop 1920's- amber, rum and musk have a powdery sweet aroma and reminds me of the Bay Rum after shave splash my stepdad sometimes wore. Love. I would blend this with Dragon's Blood.

I love the little sprinkle of fine glitter on the piped hearts. 

Frosted cookies are the way to go if you want to do some small scale blending. I took advantage of the limit of five, at $5.12 each and between 4 and 4.5 ounces.

Guava/Serendipity/Watermelon- Wooooo! Candy sweet! The guava is the strongest, a little tart and peachy. The watermelon mimics watermelon Jolly Ranchers and the serendipity lends a soft creaminess. This will be brilliant in the summer.

Cinnamon Sticks/Dragon's Blood/Butter Brickle- I had a crazy idea to mix butter brickle and Dragon's Blood at the last custom loaf opening but I chickened out. Figured I would wait until the frosted cookies were offered again. And this blend is crazy. Crazy good. The sweet cinnamon and caramel toffee bite of butter brickle add a homey coziness to an earthen cottage. A potion of such spice and sweet and mystery that it enticingly wafts out of Hansel and Gretel's witch's cottage, luring me inside. This is getting blended in a larger size next time.

Dragon's Blood/Leather/Warm Vanilla Sugar- Not as keen about this one. I think the leather is too loud in this and the Warm Vanilla Sugar too soft. But I got a chunk of Warm Vanilla Sugar on its own as my sample and I think I will blend it with a piece of this to smooth it out. I love the whiteness of this cookie though. It is lovely!

Frost Bite/Candy Cane/Enchanted Forest- Mmmmmmm!!! Minty goodness! A little candy cane sugar, pine tree resin and crushed mint leaves. A perfect winter scent.

Pink Sugar/Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake/Pink Noel- Pink Sugar bliss. I swear Amy and Donna have one of the best Pink Sugar oils out there. Strong and sweet. Mixing the cotton candy caramel musky perfume with Vanilla Bean Noel and sweet lavender cake takes it to the next level of decadence. I should have ordered this in the chunks.

Free samples of:

Peppermint Candy Cane is minty fresh and icy. Excellent.

Warm Vanilla Sugar is sweet but mellow and velvety. A little bit of musk and cashmere. I need to blend with this more. 

Sniff My Tarts invoices actual shipping cost at time of completion. I am thrilled to pieces with my first order and my second order is being completed right now. Placing and receiving a Sniff My Tarts custom order is still one of the best waxy highlights for me. Did you place a custom order? What blends are you most looking forward to sniffing?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Aftelier: Amber Tapestry

Mandy Aftel has been brewing up some exquisite concoctions at Aftelier. She graciously sent me a sample of her newest fragrance to try as a thank you gift for being a customer. 

Amber Tapestry weaves together top notes of heliotropin and yellow mandarine with a heart of jasmine grandiflorum, jasmine sambac, pear and cinnamon on a foundation of ambreine, labdanum, maltol, benzoin, castoreum, ambergris and coumarin. As a reminder, all of Mandy's fragrant creations are all natural.

Flames of gilded petals and smoldering ambers lick up and down the skin, a fragrant mirage of warmth shimmering like an aura. This is the feel of Amber Tapestry. Powdered gold dusted heliotrope and yellow mandarin blossoms unfurl their nostalgic ivory petals upon the landscape of a medieval tapestry, The Unicorn in Captivity. Honeyed jasmine blossoms abound in the heart, sweetened by pears and spiced by cinnamon. The overall heart accord strikes a breath taking honey tone. Aged and deep and golden, this honey drips as the juice from the unicorn's pomegranate tree. As this exquisite natural beauty weaves its threads of silk and gold to tell its story, sturdy and warming cords of amber wool, underlying the whole piece, provide strength and longevity to the aroma. Downy pelt, living animal, golden sheen, dark warmth; the amber base holds all of these in a magical brew that is the unicorn in the center yet the darkness all around, setting off the florals to antiqued perfection. 

Photo Credit: Met Museum

This new fragrance from Aftelier is a treasure indeed. A 1 ml sample runs $7, the  30 ml eau de parfum spray is $180.00. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Bathing Garden: Winter Collection

As much as I wanted to buy one of each, I kept my Christmas Collection haul from The Bathing Garden minimal. I did buy two Lavender Blueberry Cake bundles as gifts for friends, but those I won't be featuring (as I already gifted them). I ended up buying 5 clamshells ($3.75 each) and one parfait ($12.50) for myself.

Rosemary Mint,  infused with actual rosemary essential oil, also adds in peppermint and spearmint for a relaxing and soothing blend. The rosemary oil aroma lifts notes of anise and woods along with the traditional herbal rosemary tang. Marvelous.

Winter Woodland is an old favorite of mine. The pine stand right outside the cabin window. The tall resinous pines adrift with snow, sparkle with the slight fruity notes of oranges and berries and subtle spice. 

Crystalized Spearmint and Peppermint is another classic Bathing Garden offering. Always a nice thrower and another wonderful scent to induce peace. I may need to melt this now. Not overly minty, but excellently balanced. Green herbal mint leaves combined with that signature spearmint tone.

Sleepy, one of my first pink peppermint blends. With a little added vanilla musk. Gosh darn I love this fragrance. I went ahead and bought a back up. Just now. Yeah, baby.

Chestnuts & Pinecones is new to me, I believe. At least I don't really recall having tried it. Notes of vanilla, cream cake, spiced chestnuts and pine won me over. Add in the anise star and I am over the moon. The cream cake sings in this one. The pine oh so subtle. The spice is light but present and the chestnuts are not overly dry or popcorny. A new winner. 

You guys know I love my Bathing Garden parfaits. Rosemary Mint in a parfait was a must. Half whipped soap, half sugar scrub and all in that Rosemary Mint goodness.

And look how festive?!

So I thought I bought this Sleepy shape in a snowflake, but now I think it was a free sample. My littlest girl opened this box for me and I got confused as to what was in the sample bag and what wasn't. My bad. But isn't this a beaut?!

Now this I did buy. A snowflake in Glacier Blue, which stirs up mint, musk, menthol and citrus into a sexy man snowflake. Not sure why, but this ends up smelling like something Lush would release for the Dirty man in your life. I like it. I think I may even love it. I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone though. 

Another stunning snowflake in Candied Peppermint Petals. Strong peppermint and Rose Jam packed into one amazing aroma. In love.

Free sample scrub in Sugared Snow Dust. I mostly pick up vanilla marzipan and a touch of minty coolness (or is that the remnants of the Peppermint Rose?). Could be way off. Don't quote me. Or quote me. Doesn't really matter I suppose.

Blueberry Lavender Sugar Cake is not one I have melted but I wanted to hang on to these to give them a test drive. On cold the blueberry is sweet and softened by the cake, the lavender is herbal but brilliant when fused to the blueberry. 

Another Glacier Blue and a rosette in Rose Glace (sweet rose but not Rose Jam) and a teeny man in Gingerbread House (a fantastic spicy gingerbread).

A golden poinsettia in Just Jasmine Frost (reminds me of the skanky Flying Fox from Lush- but I don't think I can do it in a home fragrance, I like keeping the skanky to myself on the skin), a mini Valentine in Kiss Me Silly (tart currants come in hard and fast with sweet cranberries and various fruits lagging in behind), and a snowflake medallion in Mrs. Cratchit's Christmas Pudding (spiced bread pudding studded with dates and raisins, so delicious I just ordered a whole clamshell to gobble up- see how delightfully evil free samples can be).

A swirly pink ornament in Cinderella Would Be Jealous (Lush Snowcake, pass), a blue ornament in Bohemian Solstice (fab name! spiced blueberries and raspberries, interesting indeed), and a snowflake medallion in Crystalized Spearmint and Peppermint  (excellent! >rubs finger tips together like Mr. Burns<). 

A jolly late season Jack 'o Lantern in Haunted Hayride (huzzah! love the hay and spice and apples and what not) and some luscious lips in Old Fashioned Valentine (vanilla bakery and spice, I will order this and a few Valentine goodies at the end of the month). 

WHEW! I think Shannon gifted more free samples than I have ever seen in my life. What a wonderfully generous Christmas gift. I am in love with just about everything as usual. I plan on using my holiday tarts here and there as it is cooler outside (in January and February around these parts) and save the rest for next Christmas. Did anything strike your fancy in the Christmas or Valentine collections? I noticed she didn't have Coconut Crystal Cake in a parfait this time. Tears. But I have my Rosemary Mint to tide me over. 

Did you get a super sweet freebie bag? What was in it?