Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ebb & Flow: May

The highs and lows of the month.

Arcana The Kraken

Haus of Gloi Ploughman pumpkin butter

Wonderberry Sinus Relief

Handmade in Florida Spa Time Essential Oil Clay bar

Lasting Scent Candles Bliss

Diptyque Le Roi Sapin (thank you Jacqui!)

Tatcha Sunscreen

Too Faced Sun Bunny bronzer

Still chugging along with the homemade kefir. I love it blended with strawberries and honey.

Kitchen Sink salads, you know just throw anything in there and chow down. Really digging the heirloom and yellow tomatoes in them.

The Kate Daniels series from Ilona Andrews, starts with Magic Bites. Onto the second one now.

The Tudors thanks to Deb. On season three.

Harry Potter soundtrack

Having to squash my ordering for a couple months this summer. I need to find a way to avoid the temptation of wax and perfume while I get ready for some trips.

The fresh start that summer brings. I will be planning healthier meals and more activity. 

Handcrafted Honeybee All Natural Smarty Pits probiotic deodorant

I was all stoked about my Keurig but now I am not so sure. Is it just me or does the coffee always come out tasting like plastic? I tried some K-cups and then got a filter so I could use my Starbucks ground coffee but everything tastes just a little "off." Granted I have only drank about a week's worth of coffee in it so maybe I just need to let the system run a bit. But I am already missing my old percolator. This might turn around, but for me right now this is a little bit of a miss. 

Not really a low but I did find out what is making my woman time so very painful and awful. I have cysts on my ovary and my uterus. I will be back at the doc in July to further look into it. She wants me on birth control but I am going to try some of the more natural suggestions I have been generously given by friends. The increased stroke risk from oral contraceptives makes me nervous since that is what both my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother passed from. So knowing what is behind it all is good but I am hoping I can come up with some better long term solutions. Thank you all for your love and prayers and good thoughts.

A wonderful end to a school year, a fabulous 3 year blog anniversary celebration, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 with my family and wonderful books read.

How was your May? Did it fly by like mine did? What were some of your favorite experiences, news or products? Any bummers? Do share, please!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

That Bohemian Girl: Arcana and Haunt Perfume Oil Order

My friend Jean commented on a post not too long ago about some hidden Arcana gems on the internet at That Bohemian Girl and I had to investigate. Sure enough, it was a jackpot. Not only were there older Arcanas but also Haunt Beguiling scents and Poisoned Apple Apothecary perfume oils. Haunt has been closed for a few years now so that should give a clue about how well aged these are going to be. There is a very popular train of thought that, more often than not, perfume oils tend to only get better with age. I will certainly be finding out about that first hand with these guys. 

These took about 10 days to arrive after placing the order. The Haunt scents were regularly $12, marked down to $3.95 and the Arcana's ranged from $6.95 to $15.95. The Poisoned Apple ones are on sale for $4.95, normally $18. I had a few in my cart but decided to back out and perhaps try them later.

I won't be doing any in-depth thoughts unless you want them as the scarcity of these (unless you buy them from That Bohemian Girl) will make these hard to find. I do still hold out hope that one day Haunt will come back.

Sword & Lion- Notes: Smooth black tea leaves, orange peel, sweet hay, dark myrrh, and exotic spices.
Spiced Christmas tea with clove studded slices of pomanders floating on top. Warm, sweet, and inviting.

Cinnamon Girl- Notes: Creamy vanilla, sticky molasses and fresh coconut shreds lit with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.
A spice lover's delight. The coconut and molasses feel like threads of dark sable against the cardamom and cinnamon. Sweet and fluid and mysteriously comforting. About a 4 hour life on the skin. Love.

Batik- Notes: Smoky beeswax and resin darkened honey.
 A fathomless well of dark resinous honey, smells exactly like the description. Lasted about 3-4 hours with a close sillage. Perfect for a close scent that won't swallow the people around you. 

Carpathian Lore- Notes: A bit of native dirt and dark patchouli, blood orange and ylang ylang.
Earthy, loamy patchouli with a sharp edge of green given by the ylang ylang. This is raw patchouli. True patchouli. Dank, dirty and strong. You know I like it.

Gloaming- Notes: Vanilla, dark patchouli, amber, yellow mandarin and clove.
Black heart patchouli, enhanced and buoyed but the other notes but still all about that sweet orange spiced patch.

The patchouli based scents have a healthier longevity on the skin versus the others. I am happy to wear these given the incredibly affordable price point. If I decide the shorter life span on the others bothers me I plan on making some bath salts with them as I had great results doing that with my Alamo Candelaria perfume oils.  At $3.95 a pop these are well worth it for me. 

These are the Arcana scents I gathered up. There are a couple more on the site that I didn't get but I may still if they linger there much longer.

Mulled Apple Layering Note
Oh yum! This one will be worn copiously and with abandon this coming fall... I might have to bring it with me to The Big Apple in November. It reminds me of my beloved Mulled Wine scent from Candles From The Keeping Room. Red apples brewed into a boozy potion full of unfiltered pomme goodness, deepened with spice and a hint of the wooden stein that it is served in. A glogg for fortification on a cold grey evening. This is the 5ml for $6.95. Still some left at time of writing.

Zombie's Cucumber- Notes: The poisonous apple known in the voodoo world as concombre zombie, carries a wicked and perverse reputation. Our homage to this narcotic night-bloomer reeks of Egyptian musk, Haitian vetiver, crisp apples, sweet clove, black pepper and a host of dark spices.
The earthy decaying tang of wild vetiver arises and is then folded into musk and a slightly aquatic leaning apple. I think with age the pepper and spice burned off.

Ruby Crow- Notes: A folkloric mash of red raspberry, steam-distilled lime, honey, cream, blue Egyptian chamomile, beeswax and a pinch of lemon.
The lime with the cream and honey is bringing Key Lime Pie to the mind. It turns sour and powdery pretty quickly and reminds me of children's multi-vitamins mixed with lemon-lime.

Little Ghouli- Notes: Jack O'lanterns, ginger cookies, chocolate candy and a frisson of overwhelming delight.
Warm chocolate cookies with possibly some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups crumbled within emerge from the oven on a brisk late October evening. The cookies transform into gingerbread cakes and all the tiny grubby hands reach out to capture them in their delicious fervor. 

Of the four Arcana's I love Mulled Apples and Little Ghouli the best. I will probably keep the other two and wear them from time to time. 

I was not expecting samples! And some in scents I was interested in smelling too. The scents were in Mutiny, Ambrosia, Fugue, and Sturm and Drang. If you want me to give my impressions on these scents let me know. Sometimes Julia brings back older scents if requested. So though these might not be on offer at the moment, they could potentially be at some point.

Look at that juice coloring!!! Mmmmmm, so intense!

So there ya go. A lil' blurb about my That Bohemian Girl order. There is still stock on the website, I linked it above. Do you know of any hidden treasures tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the internet?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Three Year Blogiversary Giveaway Winners

First off, thank you to all who took the time to enter my big giveaway. I wanted to make it as special as I could for those who take the time to read my blog. I have gone through the motions and used Random Name Picker to select the winners from the Facebook page and the blog itself while I had Adam choose a number 1-127 (the number of entries) and he chose 28 which I then went back and counted the #redolentmermaidgiveaway tags until I reached that number. Hope that makes sense. 

Congrats Joanne F for being drawn for the blog page giveaway box!

Congrats Ellisa Vitulli for being drawn for the Facebook page giveaway!

The Instagram winner is Purrrrincess! 


Please contact me with your information so I can send out the boxes this week. Thank you!

Blog Life

Since today is the official 3rd birthday of the blog I thought it might be worthwhile for those who may be interested in blogging or who are curious as to my blogging process to peek into some of the behind the scenes work.

To begin, I had always enjoyed reading blogs and was more often than not content to read and not comment. That all changed when I started reading a few wax blogs and became friends with Deb, Sunnee and Lauren. As the only non-blogger in the group I felt I was missing something and wanted to join in on the fun. With their help and support I did just that. 

My goal first and foremost has always been and will always be to describe as accurately as possible, my experience with products to help consumers be informed. But sidled right along side of that goal is my wish to chronicle some of my life goings ons, discuss goals and dreams to better be held accountable and to have fun along the way.

Once I decided that my blog would encompass not only fragrance but also lifestyle content I brainstormed a name and chose Blogger as my platform. Now we could go 'round and 'round about whether to use Blogger or WordPress or any other platform but I am not here for all that. I chose Blogger and 99% of the time I am thoroughly happy with it. I purchased my domain name from Google for about $12/year and I have thousands of photos and almost a thousand posts and have not had any impending limits mentioned or issues (so far). The commenting has some bugs but if that is the only thing then I am ok with that.

I started out with the basic free layouts to get on my feet and get a feel for the whole process. After realizing this was an endeavor I would want to continue I splurged on a $35 layout from Etsy about a year into it that I still use today. If I ever get a bug to rebrand I would go the same route. 

Blogging is a hobby for me. I do not get paid. I do not get tons of free product. I do not expect to make a living from this. Yes, there are definitely benefits. I do get to meet amazing people and I do get to try some freebies once in a while but by and far the majority of the product is bought under my own steam. I could use a ton of ads or affiliate links but I know I personally do not enjoy reading blogs that are so inundated with pop-ups and ads that I can hardly read the content. That is my personal preference though. I will say that the blog has afforded me the opportunity to take on some free lance work and that is another benefit. 

There are rules for blog and social media posts that must be followed according the FCC regarding whether it was a sponsored post. I do make a point to clearly let my readers know when a product was received free for reviewing and testing purposes. And those companies do know that the reviews will be honest and not guaranteed to always be positive. So get your thick skin on if you need to make a less than glowing post and remember, you don't have to post something you don't feel comfortable dissing. Often times if I am not in love with the product at all, I just won't review it. No need to bash a small company that is trying to get on its feet because it didn't work for me.

Writing is the backbone of blogging. Your voice. Your style. It helps if it is grammatically correct and edited (though I am notorious for rushing a proof read and posting errors, I do go back if I catch it but sometimes I don't). Once you hone your voice decide how you will execute it. Some bloggers like to develop rating scales for wax or makeup or nail polish or fragrance. Those work great! I never really found one I like for myself without feeling like I lifted it from someone else so I just write about my overall experiences. But a scale or system might work for you. 

My blogging starts with the product. I like to see it, smell it, use it and get familiar with it before I start writing. Sometimes that means I do research or background digging. And sometimes that means I cannot get a post up the same day. I am sure it would be better for readers if my turn over rate was quicker but I work at a comfortable pace and sometimes I am not in the mood to blog or I have a cold and can't smell. So the product sits. And that is ok. Again, blogging is my hobby. I still hold down a full-time job, being a mom and a wife and a teacher. Keeping a reign on the hours spent blogging is important. 

Photography is a big part of blogging as well. You do not have to be a pro by any means. My biggest advice is to use natural lighting and practice. Play with editing apps if you use your phone or play with camera settings if you use a point and shoot. It really doesn't matter what the photo looks like as long as you show the products. I personally love photography and took some courses so I could improve. I use an old Nikon D40 with a 35mm 1.8f stop lens. I use twinkle lights as bokeh and I set everything up in any area of my home I think I can get some good lighting. If I go on vacation sometimes I will take product with me if I think I can get a few good shots. I try to mix things up so I don't get bored but other times I just have to roll with whatever I have going on and sometimes that isn't much.

Photos also can be used on other social media platforms to advertise your blog. And you will want to do that if you want readers to know you are out there. SnapChat is popular as well as Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. A new one called Ello has popped up as well. I don't do SnapChat, I closed my Twitter and Intagram has me fed up with not being able to see everyone's posts. But I still dinker around on mainly IG and FB. 

One of my biggest pieces of advice is to meet and get to know other bloggers. Find out how they operate, hook up for collaborations and make friends who can help encourage you onward. 

Blogging expectations that I strive to meet for myself:
- Reply to any and all comments. If someone took the time to write on my post, replying is the least I can do to thank them for their time.
- Post consistently, maximum of once per day and minimum of 3 days per week.
- One photo per post minimum.
- Keep stock internet photos to a minimum.
- Delete spam comments with links as soon as possible.
- Read and comment on others' blogs out of respect and to generate conversations and friendships in the community.
- Photograph and write posts on the weekends and schedule for posting during the week.
- Incorporate as many non-product focused posts as possible when able. 

If you have any questions about blogging or need advice or are curious about anything feel free to comment or send me a message. Again, these are just my personal experiences and ideas, the beauty of blogging lies in its customization.

Thank you for being here! I will post the winners of the giveaway tonight.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Melting Basket 96: Summer Dreams

Fruity juicy wax from the last basket I would scoop up again: CFTKR Orange Tarocco and Blueberry Cream Type and Twisted Mermaid, Lasting Scent Candles Blackberry Ren Ten, Rosegirls Raspberry/Mango/Gilligan.

The Bathing Garden- Pink Sands
The Bathing Garden- Gardenia Coconut Cream
The Bathing Garden- RingMaster's Paramour
CFTKR- Sun Kissed Sugarcane
CFTKR- Mahogany Coconut
Rosegirls- Peppermint/Shaving Cream/Gilligan's Brew
Rosegirls- Green Apple and Honeydew <3 gift
Lasting Scent Candles- Manuka Lavender
Lasting Scent Candles- Amber Lights
Glitterati- Tropical Soda
L3- Coconut Citrus Pomegranate Sorbet <3 gift
House of Phoebe- Shadow <3 gift
Cosmic Cleanse- Caribou Lou

If you would like any of these reviewed please let me know in the comments.

It is time for my annual list of summer activities! The girls and I brainstormed some things we would like to try and experience this summer so we aren't stuck around the house too much. Here is what we came up with so far.

Summer 2017 Wishes:
- Clearwater Aquarium to see Winter the dolphin
-Kids make dinner nights
- Sunset pirate cruise with Captain Memo on Clearwater Beach
-Tubing down the Ichetucknee Springs
-Homemade ice cream
-Visit the Everglades National Park
-Swim at Lithia Springs
-Beach days!
-Typhoon Lagoon Water Park for Father's Day/Anniversary
-Downtown Disney
-Hobbit movie marathon
-Eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company at City Walk
-Bird watching and trail hiking at Highlands Hammock State Park
- Catch a free movie at Cobb Theater
-Fishing at Tenoroc
-Tennessee vacation

...and one just for me.
-Yoga hostel in St. Augustine with Giffe' and Stephanie

Of course all these things may not happen but it will be fun to try and squeeze them in! There will be days full of nothing but pj's and TV and books and snuggles. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Possets Perfume

I am in an Indie Fragrance group on Facebook and Possets often comes up in discussion. I went on a new-to-me perfume oil bender a few weeks ago and Possets was one I visited. Madame X came up as a beloved blend so I went ahead and sprang for it. Possets sells their perfume oil in 6ml ($20), 10ml ($31.66), 15ml ($45.00) and 30ml ($85) bottles.

Madam X- Notes: Skin musk, wax, cream, lemon zest, champagne, and a kiss of bitter vanilla.
Be careful when opening! These cobalt blue vials are generously filled to the tippy top. In the bottle, it smells of the soft powdery vanilla and faint plastic of cherished childhood baby dolls. I believe it is the wax note that smells of the doll skin. Applied wet on the skin the cream blooms becoming the remnants of a milk bath clinging to the pelt after a late afternoon soak. The lemons and champagne don't feature on my skin in any outright manner but their light and warmth bubble up through the creamy vanilla. As the scent dries and melds into the skin, the vanilla cream is sealed with a drop of wax.  

She Walks in Beauty- Notes: Black oude, musk, sandalwood, artemisia, rue, Arabian white oude, pettigrain, elimi, silk essence, black tea, and a mystery note. 
She Walks in Beauty lifts from the vial in a verdant landscape of pettigrain and the evergreen scented ghosts of elemi. Dewy on the skin, she still strolls in her grassy fields, the breeze heavy with the must of rue and spore of the rustic flora. As she grabs the sunset glow into her hands and escorts the beams down into the warm folds of the Earth, she trails behind her the effluvia of comforting tea, snug sandalwood dreams, the musk of embraces yet claimed. The final moments of the scent grow dusky with the twilight haze of oud smoke and chilly with silken star light as it evanesces.

Landscape in Suffolk- Notes: Oakmoss, bergamot, lavender and coumarin. 
Spry bergamot and lavender painted in shades of pine and vanilla swell from the glass tube as it passes under my nose. Damp on the skin the lavender billows out in a pillowy soft cloud of velvety lavender buds and powdery vanilla. Into the dry down an edge of oakmoss sharpens the lavender  and lends a delicate feathered sage tone even deeper into the final moments of the bouquet. 

Florida- Notes: Several natural orange essences, musk and spices. 
In the imp, Florida is a honeyed sub-tropical concoction of guavas and tangerines. Poured onto the skin, juicy tangerines merge with tart Meyers lemons and candied Ruby red grapefruits and kumquats. The citrusy brew releases effervescence and tartness, it starts to bubble up into a tropical fruit punch heavy with papaya and mango nectars. Eventually the Carmen Miranda samba potion dries into a softer orange blossom and pineapple and Valencia orange veil of fruity gentleness. 

Mistress of Power- Notes: Black, grey and golden musks, dark aged patchouli, chocolate liqueur, clove and an ambergris-like musk. 
Boozy bittersweet chocolate liqueur fumes curl from the sample vial. Wet on the skin, amber and suede and dark unsweet cocoa dust waft forth. The sillage from a distant smells slightly indolic with ripe jasmine but softens when smelled closer to the skin. The dry down turns earthy with patchouli and musk and the ever present dark cocoa. Several hours into it the black patchouli reigns supreme.

I enjoyed sampling and wearing all these scents but I think I would spring for She Walks in Beauty and Landscape in Suffolk for a full bottle out of all the samples. Possets will be visited again in the future I am sure. Do you have any Possets favorites?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Incense Craze: Esteban Incense from ZGO Perfumery and Apothecary

I love incense. If I could burn it more often in my home I would. My husband abhors it with every fiber of his being. So I burn when he is out of town or working late. I used up my last Nag Champa sticks last time he was out of town and wanted to restock with something more refined. I stumbled across ZGO Perfumery and Apothecary based out of San Fransisco. They have not only perfumes and candles from the likes of Diptyque, L'Artisan and Montale but also a nice assortment of incense. The Esteban line from Paris was both affordable but also in scents that enticed me. I chose three of the smaller packs in 20 sticks for $8.50 each. 

Teck & Tonka- Souvenir of Africa, wooden houses full of spice: cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
This is one dreamy scent. It smells more of teakwood and tonka beans like the name but there is a soft background of aged nutmeg and cardamom. I want to light this and swirl it among all the clothes in my closet so I can smell like this all the time. In-freaking-credible. Already plotting picking up the larger box.

Cedre- Cedar
More herbal and green than I anticipated. Cedar leaves full of bitter sap and roots clinging to soil. The dry callous bark but not necessarily the austere cedarwood I am accustomed to inhaling. Lovely and unique but maybe not one I would repurchase.

Ambre- Subtle ambery scent with a citrus accent and vanilla woody hints.
The dried lemon peels and vanilla sandalwood surround the umber resinous amber and lends it a sharper edge that almost smells of cedar and green tobacco leaves. I like it enough to buy the smaller package again.

These incense sticks are crafted using bamboo sticks, crushed wood and natural vegetal binder. No glues or dyes are used. Natural essential oils are also utilized.

Normally I burn my incense in a candle holder that I wad some Play-Doh up and plug in the bottom. It does the job of keeping the incense stick up right but the ash never makes it all into the jar. I finally decided if I was going to spring for nicer incense I should at least use a decent holder. After searching Etsy for incense holders, my eyes lit upon this serene aqua beauty. It is a handcrafted lotus bloom ceramic incense burner from Barchilon Ceramics. It was $18.00 plus $3.60 shipping and arrived safely packaged in just a few days. Lightening fast. And just as stunning in person as in the photos. 

The hole is sized for traditional Japanese incense sticks but ones like these with the thinner stick at the end can fit if broken in half and double over then stuck in. 

I am thrilled with how these incense sticks performed. There are more scents in the Esteban line up like peony and a nutmeg one that I would like to try. Shipping was $7.95, and I used a coupon code I earned for signing up for the ZGO newsletter. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cosmic Cleanse Scent Sations: First Order, March Pre-Order

Cosmic Cleanse's fan base has exploded in the past year and its owner and creator, Heidi, is busting her tail getting out product to all her clamoring customers. The playful unicorn mascot, vibrant scents and her CBD (cannabidiol) infused body care all merge to generate mass appeal. My interest was piqued several months ago in Heidi's wares but I never quite made the jump until her most recent March pre-order. I initially had it in mind to pick up only a couple things but in the end I made 4 separate orders. Even though it is flat rate $10 shipping, Heidi generously combines orders and refunds shipping. I love that. I suggest joining her Facebook group to keep up to date on pre-orders and openings.

These mini (2 oz) Miracle Budders run $3.75 each. I bought five in infused unscented to use on Savanna's growing pains, Adam's neck pains and my lower back pains. The CBD is touted by many in the group, and from various websites I have read, to help ease pain. I gave one to my mom and rubbed it into her neck, shoulders and upper back. She was amazed and thankful to feel the pain ease as that is where she carries all her stress. I have not had cause yet to test the efficacy on my own skin but will report back when that arises.The consistency is thick and buttery but light and silky. It absorbs lightening fast and leaves the skin like velvet. A brilliant summer lotion for my needs.

I also picked up four other scents in the Mini Infused Miracle Butters.

Hoochie's Palace- Lavender, Pink Sugar and peppermint.
The herbal lavender and cooling peppermint come in dominate while the Pink Sugar softly sweetens in whispers. I love it. Perfect for bedtime and relaxing. 

Kirin- Blackberry birthday cake.
On initial application the blackberries are vibrantly sweet and syrupy with a touch of strawberry and raspberry candies included. The cake comes off more as a vanilla centric aroma, rather than bakery on my skin, but really this is all about blackberry syrup. I will enjoy this for summer. 

Dracula's Drink- Blood orange champagne fizz.
Orange Crush fizzy pop and soapy squeaky clean champagne bubbles bloom on the skin when I apply this budder. Unique and refreshing, this will keep me smelling fresh and clean and slightly citrusy this summer too. 

Poolside Enjoy Mint- Cucumber, blueberry, mint mojito.
Whoa. This one. The cucumber and blueberries marry blissfully. The mint offers some cooling and crispness. I freaking love this one. 

I need to mention at this point at how far a little bit of the budder stretches.

These are the full size Miracle Budders for $12 each. I picked Hoochie's Palace (hello?! lavender, pink, peppermint? yessssss) and Janine's Pink Cupcakes. Now, Janine's Pink Cupcakes is infused, but the Hoochie's Palace was not, though I did ask in the comments if I could get it infused. I see it has a heart sticker on top so I am thinking that means it is not infused but that is alright. I will just use it as I would any body butter.

Janine's Pink Cupcakes- Peppermint and birthday cake.
Just like is says, sweet candy cane peppermint crushed into a fluffy vanilla birthday cake. Dreamy.

I picked up both the whipped sugar scrubs and the original sugar scrub. 

A full sized 6 ounce ($12) Infused Whipped Sugar Scrub in We All Float Down Here blends fresh ocean, shaving cream and sea salt. Love the scent of this one. It is fresh and oceanic without being too clean or artificial. The whipped scrub feels more sticky and like a solid soap with exfoliant built in rather than a traditional sugar scrub. I hear some ladies in the FB group like to use it as shampoo so I gave it a whirl. It didn't quite work as a shampoo for me, personally, but I loved it as a whipped soap. *** EDIT- they were raving about the WHIPPED SOAP, not the whipped scrub.... doh. Sorry guys. *** It lathered well and smelled amazing. It rinsed clean but did leave that little extra clean skip to the skin. 

I also picked up a 2oz travel size of the Infused Whipped Sugar Scrub in Hoochie's Palace ($4.25).

The Infused Original Sugar Scrub travel size that I chose is in Janine's Pink Cupcakes ($4.25). This is more like the traditional exfoliating sugar scrub. It is less dense and thick than The bathing Garden's but still full of scrubby fine grain sugar and overflowing with nourishing oils. It left my skin beading with water and feeling smooth and lush.

I found my favorite way to use the whipped sugar scrub is as a soap and then follow up with the original sugar scrub as an exfoliating moisturizing treatment. 

I *almost* went this opening without trying the Unicorn Ashes or Massage Oil. Thankfully I rectified that with my very last order I placed. I purchased the 8oz size ($12) of the Unicorn Ashes in the scent Hoochie's Palace (feeling like an Original Hoochie with all the Hoochie's Palace products I bought). 

The Unicorn Ashes are basically loose bath bomb powder infused with CBD for relaxing bath time bliss. I poured between a 1/4 and 1/2 cup into running bath water. It didn't fizzy much but did provide a silky and fragrant bathing experience. My body was relaxed and my skin felt like satin when I emerged. I plan on purchasing the bigger size next go 'round.

The massage oil came in a 4oz bottle for $9, I chose the peppermint fragrance oil blend. I assumed this was an infused product too like the ashes, but I was wrong. Mine is not infused, sadly. The sticker tells the tale. But I will make sure next time to double check my options. I enjoy using this on my skin all over after showing or bathing before I go to bed. It feels amazing on the skin, soaks in well and smells minty fresh, though the scent fades rather quickly. It surprisingly doesn't tingle a whole lot but maybe that is because it is a fragrance oil and not an essential oil? I plan on getting the same scent again but infused next time it is offered.

And wax! It is my duty as a fragrance blogger to test the wax too. My friend Liz created this wax sampler called The Playlist and out of all the samplers it had most of the scents I was interested in trying. It contained eight 2oz scent shots for $14.00 and came in a lovely drawstring bag. I enjoy the unicorn wearing headphones and jamming to some magical tunes on the label as well as the scent description and pour date. These scent shots are liberally sprinkled with glitter.

So let's check out what is on the unicorn's playlist:

Edge of Seventeen- Salt water taffy and cotton candy.
I surprisingly love this blend. Normally, salt water taffy is not my favorite scent note but blended with a strawberry and cherry heavy cotton candy makes it extra thick and sticky. It threw medium-strong in my bedroom warmer.

Caribou Lou- Pineapple juice, coconut and rum.
A pineapple heavy pina colada with a dash of spiced rum. The coconut is shy in this one. I will melt it but pineapple is iffy for me. 

Fell On Black Days- Fresh rain, ocean air, sea grass and sandalwood. 
A nice ozonic aquatic scent that is dominantly rain and ocean. Nice for a summer cleaning day.

Little Amsterdam- Raspberry tea and cakes.
Sometimes it is nice to try a scent you normally do not enjoy just to make sure you really feel that way... I sadly still cannot do tea and cakes. I wish I could as so many people love it and it is hugely popular right now. It is a well done tea and cakes, however. Strong almond cakes with sweet lemon tea and bobbing raspberries. 

Speed of Sound- Vanilla salted caramel mocha with whipped cream.
A classic latte scent. Strong coffee, a touch of hazelnuts and chocolate with cream and caramel. 

Set Fire To The Rain- Pink Sugar, shaving cream and leather.
The leather in this one whips the shaving cream and Pink Sugar into shape with a loud crack and a sting on the rump. Timidly quivering in the background is the soft fluffy shaving cream and the mellow sweet Pink Sugar. A unique and interesting take on leather. I quite like it.

Radioactive- Green apple fizzy pop.
A sour green apple Jolly Rancher in a Sprite. The green apple has a slight plastic tone to it but still pretty vibrant none the less.

Lakini's Juice- Pistachio pudding cake and pineapple.
Strong on both! Full blast cherry-almond and pineapple.

The glitterrrrrrr!

I think out of The Playlist sampler I enjoy the Edge of Seventeen, Set Fire to the Rain, and Fell on Black Days the best. 

Overall, I am very happy with my Cosmic Cleanse Scent Sations order and will be back for more in the future. I particularly enjoy the Miracle Budders, Original Sugar Scrub, and Unicorn Ashes.

Have you tried Cosmic Cleanse Scent Sations? What are your favorite products and scents?  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Jean-Michel Basquiat Perfumed Candle

I kept eyeing this candle on Olfactif's website and when it went from $48 to $38 I knew I was hopeless on holding out any longer.

This Basquiat Blue Amber-Woods candle is 140 grams with a 40 hour burn time. It touts glass from Ligne Blanch Paris, Givaudan fragrance and artwork from Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

The notes are deceptively simple: amber and woods. However, it is much more lush and full bodied than it seems.

When I opened the box and looked into the candle I was surprised to see little wood fibers suspended in the paraffin wax. Once lit the wick held strongly and burned steadfast and slow. The wax pooled to the edges after about an hour of burn time. The scent throws medium-strong on my nightstand in the bedroom. And that scent. So eyerollingly good. Sleek drops of golden resinous amber, smooth like suede and brimming with blonde woods and white musk, this candle smells like an elfin queen's intimate bedroom bower, overflowing with sophistication and elegance under the light of a full Hunter's Moon. 

The glass is semi-transparent and etched with the stark and energetic art of Jean-Michel Baquiat. I will be saving this glass holder long after the plush amber woods scented wax is long gone.

There are two other candles that caught my eye as well... a mint one and a cinnamon caramel one. I may have to revisit Olfactif soon. Plus I really would love another Laudano Nero candle to cherish. 

Do you have any candles burning by your bedside or in your home? 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Three Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

May 29th will mark three years of The Redolent Mermaid. Exploration of interests, creation of friendships and the sniffing of hundreds, if not thousands, of things has made for a splendid time. Some milestones: this is the 955th post, a total of 399,512 views, my most popular post is the Harry Potter Paper Piecing Tutorial, 11 vendors interviewed under the Q&A tag, and after Google and Facebook, most of my viewers enter through Deb's blog at It's Always Something

To celebrate this event I built a box full of My Favorite Things. These are products I absolutely adore and have bought and used multiple times. Staples. These products were all made FRESH for this giveaway, the only thing that personally came from my stash are the face masks. Everything else was bought or donated just for this giveaway. So let's dive in!

Some wax, of course!

A 3 ounce bag of Ten Digit Creation's Rosewood & Amber. This is one of my all time favorite sophisticated scents. The longer it cures, the better it gets. I love Amber's use of dye-free wax. It makes warmer clean up a breeze and looks simple and classic.

Vintage Chic Scent's Central Park Snowglobe Jumbo Rose provides the ultimate in vanilla peppermint goodness. The rose did turn yellow when I was storing a few items on my husband's desk in the office. Vanilla fragrance oils will do that sometimes when exposed to light, but it still smells amazing.

Rosegirls Muffin in Americana Wafers, which blends Blueberry Cobbler, Hot Apple Pie and Vanilla Wafers, remains one of my favorite fruity bakery scents. Comforting and homey.

A nice fat chunk of Glitterati's Pink Marshmallow Fireside, because I am addicted to this scent.

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know of my huge love for Carol's Fresh Picked Strawberry from Candles From The Keeping Room. There are two cute piles of FPS as well as two other scent samples she gifted.

Lasting Scent Candles Aroma Mist in Serenity, a lavender spearmint blend, lends a refreshing aroma to rooms, bathrooms, cars and closets. I spray some in the girls' rooms (reptiles can get a little gamey sometimes) and others areas that may need a little aromatic sprucing. The Aroma Mists are strong and long lasting.

A scent shot of Lasting Scent Candles' Bliss since I can never get enough of Pam's lavender or her wedding cake. Seriously. It is incredible stuff. 

The Bathing Garden's Victorian Midway wax tart shape had to be included. It is fall in a bundt cake form: apples, pumpkins, spice and bakery. I always try to keep a couple on hand. 

Shannon from The Bathing Garden makes one of my favorite scrubs too. The dense consistency and fine yet effective particulate always makes for smooth skin. This 2 ounce tub of scrub is scented in Tea With The Queen of Hearts. 

My favorite vendor for all things fall would hands-down be Dessa's Homespun Scents. I had a mini sampler bag made up in a few of my favorites: Autumn Campfire, Smoky Mountain Berries, Apples & Cinnamon, Country Store, and Harvest Moon. Dessa poured them in a variety of cute molds and shapes and that just adds to the charm.

Handmade in Florida creates some of my very favorite soaps and now Zahida is pouring wax as well! Wax tarts in Summer Smoothie (mango, guava, papaya and coconut) and Sweet Serenity (confectioners sugar, lavender, eucalyptus and mint) will be included and these are pretty exclusive, as they have not been officially released yet. They smell absolutely incredible. Two full sized bar soaps are in the giveaway as well. The scents will be discussed later. Let me assure you they are lush and delicious summer fruit scent. Handmade in Florida soaps are refined, silky, easily lathered and impeccably scented. 

Beautibi has become one of my favorite places to shop for skin care. Their boxes and masks never disappoint me. This is a mini sampler of some of their best selling skin care products including: OneOSeven, L'Herboflore, and Simplistic. Just wait until you use that 107 face soap.

Holy Snails Shark Sauce serum is one of my daily skin care staples. I have almost used up my whole 30ml bottle and will be replenishing it soon. This 8ml sample (says 5ml but it was generously filled to the top!) should give at least two weeks or more worth of use.

How could this be a favorites box without my beloved Pink Peppermint from Sniff My Tarts? Are any further words needed? Enjoy this large frosted sugar cookie as you drift off to dreamland. 

Another dreamland inducer is the Urban Mysticism Mental R&R/Sleep Myst. I am on my 3rd bottle. The gentle yet cooling blend of lavender, peppermint and sweet pea extractions are enhanced by amethyst crystals in the bottle. I enjoy spraying this on the back of my neck and on my pillow if extra lavender mint goodness is required. Savanna enjoys this too for nights sleep is evading her.

Haus of Gloi is up next, but of course! I love their pumpkin butters and one of my favorite scents is Moon Dog, a blend of coconut, sandalwood and spice. A small 2 ounce tub of pumpkin butter and a sample vial of fragrance oil will be featured, as well as a Butter Bomb in Haus Amber. These butter bombs are dense, rich and heavily scented. They can even be split into two bathing experiences despite their small size. 

One of my favorite fragrance books is Fragrant by Mandy Aftel. Reading this book last summer comprised one of my most enjoyable experiences. Mandy not only discusses uses of fragrance, sourcing of ingredients but also includes simple perfume recipes for those interested in creating natural perfumes of their own. This book was purchased from The Book Outlet online and has some very minor cosmetic imperfections. I hope that is alright. That was pretty much the only way I could swing getting it for the giveaway. I did purchase mine directly through Mandy on her website and she signed it. I will be purchasing her other books through her in the future as well. She has a couple more published I am itching to push myself into.

To go along with Mandy's book is also one of my favorite products from Aftelier, her Chef's Essence Chocolate Absolute. I love it in my coffee on a daily basis (currenly on my second bottle), but it is very versatile! There are about a dozen other items I love from Aftelier I would have loved to include such as her hair and body oils, perfumes and teas.

If you read any of my perfume reviews you know I am crushing really hard on two creators right now: Laurie from Sonoma Scent Studio (well, I have always crushed on her) and Julia from Arcana Wildcraft (which I loved her soaps before but now I am in a perfume oil renaissance with her). So I am including a 3ml of Sonoma Scent Studio's Forest Walk and a full 5ml bottle of Arcana's Estella. 

Forest Walk smells of primitive evergreen forests, warm amber and earthy sweet patchouli. I wear my travel one sparingly until I can buy a full bottle.

Estella is a divine boozy amber vanilla that takes time to develop. If you get it and wear it, give it plenty of time (even an hour or so if needed) to let it stew on your flesh. Hang in there. It gets really really good. Also, as a perfume oil, let it sit after receiving it in the mail and the longer it ages the better it will get. But honestly, I love Estella just the way she is. 

I am really loving my NOHJ sheet masks. I will be including three of my favorites right now: Snail, Sleeping and 24K Gold Lifting. I bought the 10 pack boxes and I have been blowing through them.

I am obsessed with these minty heating eye masks for napping, bedtime and flying in planes, they are from KAO and I buy them on Amazon. I blame Michelle who used to blog at Waxing About. She gave me one once and I was hooked ever since. They do have that icy hot sensation and go over your eyes so if you think you will be sensitive to that, please proceed with caution. I freaking love that though. I puts me out like a light.

Beach bag staple... Hawaiian Tropic SPF 45 Lip Balm. I love the scent. I love the coverage. I put it on my nose, lips and under eye area on myself and the girls when we are at the beach.

Random Japanese favorites straight from Tokyo to you: Japanese no-show socks (they work SO GREAT!!!), mini stationary, washi and cat pens. Don't scoff. Those pens are like magic. I swear. Super fine point that is oh so satisfying. I am sorely tempted to keep these for myself, but I love you guys. I can't be greedy greedy pumpkin seedy.

It has been a good long while since I ventured into nail polish territory since Rescue Beauty Lounge and Cult Nails closed shop, but Cirque Colors released some amazing high quality polishes and I wanted to add one to the giveaway. I love the coverage and glassy finish.

You all know my latest love of handmade silversmithed jewelry pieces from various ladies all around the world. By far, my favorite everyday piece is this simple moon and star necklace from Rachel at Dida Metals. I wear it alone or layered. But I wear it 5 out of 7 days a week. And now you can too. Rachel is also including a ring sizer so you can buy rings online with greater ease. A coupon code is included too! And everyone can make use of this, for 15% off any Dida Metals purchase through June 31st, use code: REDOLENTMERMAID  

I can't send a box out without something sweet. And one of my favorite finds last year was A Secret Forest Patisserie. One mermaid lollipop in champagne made just for you and a second one in a surprise flavor because it was a generous extra. These handmade beauties not only look magical but taste that way too. 

All of these products total up to over $250 in value. 

I would like to thank these vendors for generously donating product to this giveaway:
Aftelier, thank you Mandy!
Arcana Wildcraft, thank you Julia!
Beautibi, thank you!
Candles From the Keeping Room, thank you Carol!
Glitterati, thank you Janine!
Handmade in Florida, thank you Zahida!
Rosegirls, thank you Jenny!
Sniff My Tarts, thank you Amy and Donna!
Sonoma Scent Studio, thank you Laurie!

Thank you to these vendors who donated a portion of the product for this giveaway:
A Secret Forest, thank you Vanessa!
Dida Metals, thank you Rachel!
Holy Snails, thank you!
The Bathing Garden, thank you Shannon!

And thank you Ashley for the Tokyo Daiso run for me. <3

Now for how to win. Well. You see, there is not just this one box. >gulp< Nope. There are THREE boxes just like this! Well, the nail polishes are different colors, two of the CFTKR samples are different, the Handmade in Florida soaps are different scents (either Flamingo, Peachy Keen and/or Pink Grapefruit will be in the box), and the socks, stationary and washi are different patterns, and one of the lollipops will be different.... but other than that they are identical! Items will be shipped in a medium flat rate box.

This box will be given away here on this blog page, the second will be given away on Instagram and the third box will be given away on The Redolent Mermaid's Facebook page. Please follow me on both IG and FB. 

To enter here, please tell me what you are most excited to try in this giveaway AND one thing you look forward to this summer. All entries MUST have their email address included in the comment to be qualified. One qualifying entrant will be randomly drawn on May 29th. 

Thank you for sticking with me all this time. <3