Thursday, August 2, 2018

Handmade in Florida: Summer Pre-Order

Look at this beautiful bounty. Anytime a Handmade in Florida order arrives, I know I am in for an indulgence. Zahida has been doing pre-orders as of late and I am abundantly thankful for that. I am able to shop with ease and add as much as I'd like without the mad rush. She opened up March 30th for a day or so I think. That was when I placed my order to restock on some staples and sample some new things. Zahida slated this to ship out in July sometime and that is when I received my order. I honestly don't follow my wax TATs if I know it is a pre-order. I know that huge orders sometimes take extra time and that these makers have personal lives too. Grace is always welcome in my life so I try to bestow it upon others too.  There really isn't a more beautiful box of smell goods to open out there. The soft aqua tissue paper with nary a wrinkle, the custom sticker seal, the shimmering sea of brilliant white crinkle paper is all eye candy, even more so is what is inside.

Spa Time is my favorite bar of soap ever. My husband's favorite is Moroccan Mint Tea. I was out and he was out so we were ready for a restock. I picked up two bars of Spa Time ($10) and him three bars of Moroccan Mint Tea ($8).

Spa Time is a touch pricier due to the all natural, essential oil content of the bar. It is lovely with mint and patchouli essential oils. Let me say, this is some high quality patchouli. It smells more wooden and mineral laden than herbal and earthy. Very refined and soothing. 

Moroccan Mint Tea brims with spearmint and is set off by the dark tea which is subtle yet grounding. I admit that I will use this soap from time to time when the urge is overwhelming, because it is that great, but I do try to save it for Adam. 

Zahida generously added a few extra bars. I gave two away to friends but kept another for a giveaway and for myself. 

Patchouli Oudh was one I bought for myself ($10) and was a repurchase (maybe three times now?). It is simply stunning. Patchouli essential oil aged to perfection combined with oudh, sandalwood, amber and leather. It is slinky and sexy and ultra posh. 

The ones she gifted were Matcha Green Tea Smoothie and Seaside.

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie mixes organic matcha tea, leafy greens, zesty grapefruit, herbal cassis and Mediterranean fig. These notes blends to mimic a wonderfully realistic matcha. It has tones of earthiness and seaweed (which is really green coconut fig milk), tea and soft florals. It is just like matcha. I am amazed. 

Seaside is the perfect visual rendition of a sugar sand Gulf beach shoreline. Seaside overflows with ocean breezes composed of light florals, sea spray and musk. The musk is brilliant in this... fanning out the sea salt and blending the freshness into beauty. I love this. 

Look at those tiny jasmine blossoms on that Matcha. Gorgeous.

Zahida's sugar scrubs are creamy and luscious ($8). 

Lavender Creme Brulee is a blend of lavender essential oil, vanilla bean and caramelized sugar. I fell hard for this when it was given as a sample a while back. I have a hard time not wanting to taste this when I use it in the shower. Sweet creamy candied lavender. I would LOVE to have this in a linen spray for my pillow before bedtime. 

Coconut Smoothie is a simple but well executed coconut and cream. Zahida has a deliciously divine coconut. It is rich and lush while balancing the tropical with the creamy vanilla aspects. Strong and yummy.

Doesn't that lavender one look like a rose? 

As a native Floridian and one who still resides in this always crazy, often backwards, occasionally misunderstood (it really isn't all Disney, beaches and old people) but at least beautiful state (look, I was planted where I was planted) I had to get the With Love From Florida sampler ($25). Zahida knocked this one out. It is as brilliant as a cloudless day in the Sunshine State.

As a side note before I get into the scents, I really like how she executed these clamshells sans clamshells. The ease of the breakaway tarts without the skunky plastic is smart. Also a random thing I noticed... Zahida has such an amazing eye for detail that the scent name colors on the labels match the color of the wax!!!! Can I tell you how easy this makes it for me to get the right tart back in the right bag after I take photos?! So nice.

Let's go on a tour of Florida shall we?

The oldest city in America is St. Augustine and it is also the most northern locale of all these tarts. 
San Marcos- Notes: Inspired by historic St. Augustine, Florida. Smoky notes of rosewood, tobacco and sweet vanilla.
The Castillo de San Marco is a really cool fort built of coquina shells and this scent is equally cool. It does have the smoky hue of old cannon shot mixed with aged timber and the smoldering pipes of conquistadors. This is my favorite scent of the bunch. I hope I can get more in the future.

Moving down to central Florida, where I was born and raised we have:
Pineapple Whip- Notes: A delectable  blend of sweet pineapples and vanilla ice cream.
A Disney staple that even after over 30 years of going to Disney that I have yet to try. Scandalous, I know. The pineapple is mellow, sweet and tangy, with citrus tones and a clarity that is admirable. The vanilla ice cream rounds the scent out and tames the pineapple into a purring kitten. 

Heading westward toward the coastline we encounter the area close to where Adam and I got married on Anna Maria Island, just south of that is:
Sarasota- Notes: Inspired by tea-time at Mable Ringling's Rose Garden in Sarasota, Florida. Notes of fluffy vanilla cake, drizzled with an orange and rose glaze. 
This is my second favorite scent. No tea notes thankfully. This is a full bodied cake with mouthwatering citrus and a light rose water taste. The vanilla adds a creaminess to the cake and makes me want to eat it. 

Taking a two hour trip further south takes us to where Adam's parents and aunt live, this is where he grew up in his teen years:
Naples- Notes: Inspired by beautiful Gulf Coast city, Naples, Florida. Ocean mist, lemon, mimosas, salty sea air, lotus blossoms, cedarwood and musk. 
Naples is a haughty and yet pretty area full of money and art and gated communities with pristine golf courses. This scent matches it perfectly. A seaside spa, an exclusive Fifth Avenue gift shop, a beach house condo with wall to wall windows, take your pick and this is the scent that wafts about. Airy citrus and ozonic salty air merge with woods and musk to perfection. It is gorgeous.

Traveling to the southern most point of the U.S. will yield the best thing to eat next to conch fritters in Key West:
Key Lime Pie- Notes: A classic blend of Florida Key Limes, sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese and graham cracker crust.
The Keys are stunning. A trip down A1A has been taken a time or two in my childhood and also for my bachelorette party. I look forward to taking the girls one day to watch the sunset and leaping cats in Mallory Square, to chase chickens all over the island, to pet the extra-toed Hemingway cats and go snorkling off the island. Oh, and to eat slices of Key Lime Pie that smell just like this one. Tart and zesty baby limes beat into a custard and sandwiched between thick whipped cream and crispy graham crackers crushed and mixed with butter and sugar. Tart lime filled cookies and frosted with cream.

Swinging back north up A1A and headed up the east coast we get to Miami, bienvinedo!
South Beach- Notes: Inspired by Miami's glamorous and eclectic South Beach. Bergamot, orange, sparkling cassis, turquoise seas, lemon zest, patchouli and hints of exotic spices. 
Miami truly is its own city. It has rich culture and sways to its own beat. The fashion and vibe is all original. This scent captures the sultry exoticness of Miami. Tropical, humid and vibrant. The blend of citrus and spice and patchouli almost has a jasmine lean to it. There is definitely a naughty undercurrent. I quite like this one. 

Finally, the last leg of the trip going further north on the east coast we end up at:
New Symrna- Notes: Inspired by the quaint town of New Symrna Beach, Florida and the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Ocean surf, lemon zest, leafy greens, amber and musk. 
Just south of the tourist laden Daytona Beach and north of Cape Canaveral is New Symrna. This beachy scent that represents it is gorgeous. The leafy greens add a seaweed component to the aquatic waves of the salty sea. The amber and musk take it over the top. I truly love this scent. <3 Definitely spot number 3 in the favorites. 

Overall, I am in love with this scented tour of Florida. When I was brainstorming wax scents I had some Florida destinations I wanted to capture so this was great fun to experience from another fellow Floridian. 

Continuing with the Florida theme: Mickey shaped tarts with multiple colors and a wee bit of glitter. Fabulous!!! These weren't for sale but they were samples given out. They are not only cute but they smell good too.

Caramel Popcorn- Notes: A Main Street staple of fresh buttery popcorn drizzled with sweet creamy caramel.
I normally don't like popcorn smells but this one is terribly rich and decadent. It almost reminds me of pumpkin pecan waffles in its rich caramel creaminess. There is some popcorn to it for sure and my sister claimed it so there it goes to live. 

Marshmallow Delight- Notes: A fluffy homemade marshmallow treat with hints of lavender, caramel and vanilla. 
This is one divine lavender. It is almost syrupy in its concentration, sweet juicy lavender and luxe vanilla. I will be melting this one in my bedroom soon.

Sweet Tooth- Notes: An abundance of sweet treats delight the senses at the confectionary.
Pink sticky candies, chewy gummy bears like so many gems filling the bins and gumballs shining in spheres of vibrant colors all tumble in a riot about the candy shop shelves. This is a sweet scent for sure and smells like all the best of Honeydukes. <3

I had to repurchase my beloved Ritual Lavender. It throws wonderfully and smells of smoky lavender and sage with a base of shadowy woods.

Ma Cherie- Notes: A complex blend of neroli, sandalwood, oakmoss, patchouli and sweet incense.
I love this scent. The oakmoss has a peachy tint and the neroli is beautifully smooth. The woods and incense smoke trickles in a soft flow. This will be one that makes my knees weak when I melt it. 

Lavender Creme Brulee, because if I loved it in a scrub then I couldn't wait to try it in wax. 

Raspberry Jam- Notes:  A sweet blend of wild raspberry, loganberry, rose, lily, cranberry, sugar syrup and white musk. 
This is a fruity scent I can get on board with indeed. This is not a run-of-the-mill fruity-floral. This smells like crystalline raspberry sauce with the merest undercurrent of sweet sugar musk. The prefect raspberry for me.

Cosmic Caramel- Notes: A medley of sweet and spice, starring gooey caramel and warm clove.
I was over the moon when I saw this one. I LOVE Cosmic Caramel. It is spicy and sweet and thick. It reminds me of fall and comfort. It throws great and will be highly anticipated this autumn.

Date Night- Notes: Fresh and clean with hints of mint and sage.
A mellow spa scent that has a fruity-floral sweetness that is lightened by a subtle coolness. 

Amber Sunset- Notes: Warm amber, sweet orange, cedarwood, musk and creamy vanilla. 
How does Zahida do this? This really does smell like a sunset. Especially how I would scent a Florida sunset, a deep blood orange with amber warmth.

Spiritual Rose- Notes: An offering of velvet roses, sensual oudh, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, musk and vanilla.
A dark pillowy rose with a sweet resin foundation. This is lovely. 

Coconut Smoothie has the same notes as the scrub above and smells just as good in wax form. Coconut cream that straddles the islands and confectionary with ease. Just like the scrub previously mentioned above.

Honey Lavender- Notes: A dreamy blend of lavender, vanilla, berries and sweet honey.
It doesn't mention lemons in the scent description but that is what I mostly pick up, sunny sour lemons with delicate honey and just a sliver of herbal lavender. Two cubes melted in the kitchen threw strong and continued with the honey lemon lavender vibe. So good. And particularly wonderful after cooking onions to clear the air.

Berry Peach Macaron- Notes: A crisp, chewy macaron filled with a delightful blend of fresh raspberries and peach jam.
The peaches and raspberries have that characteristic concentrated sweetness of preserves and blended with a touch of vanilla. It truly does have a chewy aspect and I love that Zahida's macarons don't smell overwhelmingly of almonds or pistachios like most do. 

Like I mentioned, Zahida gifted extra goodies and so now I am going to give them away! 
One soap: Seaside
One full sized scrub: Violet Rose
Five wax tarts: Sweet Tooth, Spiritual Rose, Date Night, Amber Sunset and Berry Peach Macaroon

To enter the giveaway, tell me what Handmade in Florida scent or item is your very favorite or if you haven't tried Handmade in Florida yet, which one you most want to experience. Make sure to leave your email address along with your comment below. One winner will be randomly drawn August 10th. Open to anyone. World-wide.


  1. They all look and sound sooo amazing! The Coconut Smoothie, Amber Sunset and Lavender Creme Brulee really interest me. Thanks for the opportunity to win some goodies!

  2. Great photos and descriptions as always. Cant be anything then jealous of all this good stuff in US. If i just could rub the screen and smell all of it :)

    1. Thank you! I am entering you in the giveaway. It is open to international readers. <3 Going to draw the winner soon.

  3. I think id love to try seaside and the lavender creme brulee. Thanks for your review and giveaway. I hope to buy some handmade in Florida soaps the next time around.(crossing fingers) email:

    1. You won't regret giving Zahida's products a whirl. They are really high quality and made with lots of love.

  4. Seaside soap (I visited Florida Panhandle a few times, and there is a lovely town called Seaside by Santa Rosa Beach. It would be cool to discover that it smells just like I remember it). mirellabajric(AT)gmail DOTcom

  5. It’s hard to pick a favorite but so far I’m loving Moroccan Mint Tea. Its funny how you picked Seaside as the soap for the giveaway because I’ve been bugging Zahida on social media if that will be in her next presale �� Fingers crossed! Email:

    1. Moroccan Mint Tea is absolutely amazing. And I was so happy she included some Seaside in the box for me to share. It is easily the prettiest, most artistic soap I have seen.

  6. I really want to try her scrubs and lavender creme brûlée sounds amazing!

    1. They are nice! And Lavender Creme Brulee is one of my favorite new scents.

  7. I just stumbled onto your site. I haven’t tried your soaps but the soaps on this page sound really good!

    1. Thank you and welcome Kim! These beautiful soaps were made by Zahida at Handmade in Florida. You should check out her Facebook or Instagram, she has gorgeous stuff!

  8. I enjoyed watching Zahida make soap at the HSCG conference in Atlanta. She makes uniquely besutbeau soaps and I would be happy to try any of them. Serenity Lavender mint sounds especially lovely since my fav color is purple.

    1. How cool that you got to see her in action. I hope to meet her one day since we live pretty close to each other. I have tried Serenity Lavender Mint and you would love it. A very smooth and uplifting aroma.

  9. Zahida outdid herself it that's possible, you can sense how much fun and creativity flowed through her during inspiration and production, I mean that SEASIDE soap is the most gorgeous I may have laid my eyes upon.
    You'd probably guess my fave HiF scent is Ritual Lavender, I've been gifting pieces of it to all the waxies I see personally and it's beauty should be spread across the country, it's so unique. Scents I'm intrigued by: the caramel popcorn, I'm into it and who's better than Zahida at caramel? Amber Sunset, Ma Cherie, South Beach (I <3 Miami), Lavender Creme Brulee, Marshmallow Delight, San Marcos and Naples, is that all of them, lol. I didn't know you don't like tea scents, ah well, I love them so much [not tea and cakes, just varieties of tea}.
    Before I sign off, I couldn't order more wax when this was offered but I mentioned it to my sis hoping she'd go for the Florida sampler as it's her home away from home. Instead she picked up the bakery, which I was happy to sniff but slightly disappointed as it was 90% fruity bakery or just fruity. Oh well, she's happy with it and turns out I like the lemon curd scent which was a surprise.

    1. She really did!

      Ritual Lavender is easily one of my favorite lavender scents. It is so lush and warm. I love it.

      She really knocked this pre-order out of the park. There wasn't one scent that I didn't get along with. I like certain tea scents but a cloying sweet black tea or tea and cakes is not something I enjoy at all. I like a smooth green tea, early grey or chai though. I love that your sister got some goodies and that you discovered a love for lemon curd. It is such a vibrant scent. I regret not getting the earthy sampler, as usual.

  10. I've been obsessed with coconut lately and want to try all of Zahida's, they sound particularly lovely!

  11. I want to try Handmade in Florida so badly but I keep missing preorder announcements since I've been staying away from much social media time. Probably good for my wallet. ;) I would live to try the scrubs and wax. Any of the lavender and fruity scents sound divine. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

    1. Oh man. The social media breaks are definitely rejuvenating but missing the good releases is a drawback. I enjoy vendors who do the emailed newsletter of info, it helps me stay away from social media but I still get notifications.

  12. Everything sounds and looks so wonderful from your order!! The power of Zahida's amazing blends, creativity and aesthetic eye.
    I love how locations from the Florida sampler coincided with actual, real, (and future), beautiful memories of yours and your family.. thank you for sharing those with us. <3 <3
    My favorite scents thus far are Sweet Serenity, Ritual Lavender, Enchanted Woods, Indian Rose and Eastern Oudh.
    Please don't enter me in the giveaway.. I just couldn't help but comment. ;)
    Yay to whoever wins!! :D

    1. She really is a wizard.

      Aw thanks! It was neat to see how she came up with those. I loved it.

      All of your favorites are some of mine too. Very unique and polished scents that can't be found anywhere else. <3

  13. Wow, what an order! Their stuff is so, so beautiful - it always looks great whenever you photograph it (Jay had a recent order, too, that she had laid out so beautifully.) I think it's all those gorgeous pastel colours and the gilded shimmer.

    And Mickey heads!!!!! Inspired by the goodies along Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, it looks like (the incredible scents of which, by the way, are mostly artificial - some animal called a Smellerizer, I think, pumps out that incredible popcorn/cotton candy/waffle cone scent (the waffle cone one might be actual baking waffle cones, as they make those on site.)

    Two things, though - 1) Dole Whip might smell great, but it's really overrated and 2) Florida *isn't* just Disney? Huh, weird. Well, I guess there's also the Universal parks. ;) And if you want to go way old school, GATORLAND (also known as the Everglades.)

    1. Zahida really does have a knack for creating a pleasing colorway with her wax. It always coordinates so well. I hope she does a fall pre-order soon.

      I thought you would appreciate the Mickey heads too! They are so cute! And I had no idea about the smell generator but it makes sense. Disney is just great like that.

      Yeah, somehow the theme parks get all the attention. And Gatorland is a fun place to take the fam. Very old Florida. The girls and I loved it when they were little. Funny thing, I have yet to actually go to the Everglades. I need to put that on my bucket list.

  14. Thanks for the review! The lavender creme brulee sounds amazing. My email is slm464(at)