Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ebb & Flow: March 2019

The highs and lows of the month.

Hermes Eau de Merveilles 

Perfume Oil:
Nocturne Alchemy White Santalum

Body Oil:
Kings Road Apothecary Tulsi and Pinon

Le Petite Ferme Ninja Pit Cream in Lavender Peppermint Patchouli

Moonalisa Krampus

Solstice Scents Whipped Soap in Manor used as bubble bath

Sea Witch Botanical collection

Bath and Body Works Marshmallow Fireside

Super Tarts Hades

Arrok Moodstone studs

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

The Umbrella Academy, We Bare Bears and The Guild of Ambience on YouTube

Enya pretty much every morning.

Toasted bagels with butter and jam.

Water, coffee, kombucha. My holy trifecta.

Seed packets, vinyl and Sterilite moving boxes (we have bought sooooo many!)

Putting the house up on the market (in about two weeks), camping with my girlfriends and a Garth Brooks concert. Also waiting on hearing back from the girls' school appilcations, job applications and waiting on some flowers to bloom.

So much that I don't even want to put words to it right now.

My new bird feeders from Achy Joints Creation. They are so cute and I cannot wait to hang them up at our new place. Photos to come when I do!

Blogging. I miss it. Looking forward to this summer and hopefully spending some time doing more of it. Been a bit crazy with packing, which is almost done, and grading papers and arranging things for the next chapter.

My sister's brother-in-law passing away at such a young tender age. Trying to manage stress. 

My friend Ashley coming to visit, a nice trip to D.C., more books, more coffee mugs, seed catalogs, buying a record player, hanging with my sisters, hanging with my daughters and husband. It was a nice month in many ways too. I also picked up some art supplies so I can get back into drawing. 

How was your March? Anything new blooming on your side of the fence?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Candles From the Keeping Room: 20th Anniversary Order

What's this?! A wax ban break? A wax tart post! Yes, yes it is. Candles From the Keeping Room ranks as my number one wax tart love and Carol recently celebrated her 20th anniversary milestone of making wax. How incredible is that? I absolutely wanted to celebrate with her so I happily compiled a small order. The website was tricky on her celebratory opening so I stuck to pretty much one tart category, the Designer/Clean/Spa/Earthy/Floral section. Otherwise I am positive my order would have been much larger and contained many yummy cookies. I am thrilled to have bagged some delicious scents and look forward to melting these. Each bag contains about 5-6 ounces of wax and costs $6.25, 

Mint Leaf and Lavender is new to me but with those two notes you knew it was going to draw me like a magnet. And with good reason. It smells gorgeous. Crisp airy mint and cool herbal lavender with nary a hint of candy. It's gelid and soothing aroma will be welcome for nighttime melting and creating peaceful atmospheres. A new favorite along the lines of Peppermint and Cypress. 

Frosted Sugar Cookie is a long-time favorite and one I always try to have on hand. It imparts that nostalgic sensation of vanilla sugar cookies baking in the oven during the holidays or vanilla cakes rising for a birthday occasion. Happy moments accented with homemade baked goods. This one always throws strong and lasts all day.

Charcoal Tonka- Notes: Sweet tonka beans and smoked woods. 
This is one I fell hard for when Carol gifted it as a sample. I am so happy it made the cut into her rotation. It is smoky and dark like an oud and softly sweet with the light vanilla-like tonka that is snuggly and fluffy. It reminds me of a purring cat in the lap in front of a winter hearth. It is an upscale rendition of Marshmallow Fireside. 

Winter Flannel- Notes: Sweet and spicy notes over a smoky woody base. 
If Charcoal and Tonka is the high end version of Marshmallow Fireside, Winter Flannel is the more rustic and cozy rendition. It is a creamy vanilla base with floaty fireside smoke and a hint of kitchen spices. Of course that means I adore it. All the comforts I love in one scent. This one was another sample that I enjoyed tremendously and hoped to get a full bag of... and huzzah! I did!

Sugar and Spice Noel is a cozy kitchen blend of sugar, butter, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Noel. This was another sample I had previously that I very much enjoyed melting. It is more creamy and vanilla heavy than spicy but it maintains that warmth and hygge. 

Musk and Mint- Notes: Watery apple, crystal springs, muddled spearmint, white mint, sheer jasmine, lotus pearl and musk. 
I picked this one up without reading the scent notes so I was surprised when the tarts smelled like aloe and garden mint leaves and watery herbs and delicate aquatics. It does very much smell like a Japanese water garden. Lovely. Not very musky and not overly minty. Just clean dewy freshness.

Cedar Leaf and Lavender is another new scent that sounded pretty much perfect based on the name alone. I read on Carol's scent list that it is a Nest dupe. It smells incredible, like a luxury men's cologne. The lavender and cedar are ultra polished and musky and will foster a sophisticated environment. Cannot wait to melt this one.

Amber and Oud was one I knew I needed in a full bag once I melted a sample of it. Smoky sepia woods meld with lightly sweet vanilla amber. It is sultry and sleek, full of beauty and plushness.

I did manage to pop a couple bakery tarts in my cart before the website became too congested and both are new to me.

Grandpa's Favorite Sugar Cookie- Notes: A true sugar cookie.
I was wondering if this had any secret ingredients in it when I threw it in my cart but it is pretty much a classic sugar cookie. Not vanilla heavy or sugar heavy but definitely crisp and crumbly. A wonderful home spun fragrance.

Tiffany's Noel is my shot at trying Tiffany's cupcakes again but this time with more vanilla cream to round it out more. This is one where it blooms much more wonderfully when melted than in the bag. In the bag it can be a little jarring and chocolately. Once melted the vanilla unfolds and fills the room with an indulgent vanilla bakery scent. It throws medium-strong and smells delightful.

Lumberjack- Notes: This woodsy, masculine scent opens with apples, pineapple, cinnamon and mint and finishes with a rich dry down of vanilla, fir and cedarwood shavings.
This might just be my new favorite scent. Don't let the name Lumberjack and the word masculine turn you away. It is actually an incredible cabin scent with an almost holiday vibe. The apples are sweet and with the subtle spice it leans towards a gourmand tobacco aroma more than anything else. I LOVE it. If the next opening wasn't for only people who weren't able to order this past time, I would be setting my alarm just to buy two more bags of Lumberjack. So if I can't, I hope you can! Do yourself a solid and try it. And hey. If you want me in your debt pick me a bag up too. <3

These are the generous samples Carol gifted. She made extra large cuttable shapes to give as gifts in honor of her 20th anniversary at Candles From the Keeping Room. Names of the tarts and brief descriptions to follow:

Sparkling Raspberry bubbles with effervescent lemonade and bobbing raspberry fruits. Not syrupy at all and a great summertime scent.

A cuttable muffin in Tropical Umbrella brings to mind Hawaiian Punch but with some fizz, more citrus and maybe a hint of vanilla.

Pink Champagne Marshmallow smells beautiful. It has a floral musk quality to it but sweetness and flirtatiousness.

Bamboo Musk is a green soapy aroma that brings to mind Irish Spring.

Love U Berry Much is so yummy I want to eat it. A bountiful berry melange with sugar on top.

Lady Katrina is a Lush dupe I believe, but I haven't experienced it before. It has that signature Lush base though. Strawberries tempered by musk with a hint at American Cream but with more citrus perhaps? Either way it is lovely and this pink bunny fits it perfectly. I will melt this happily.

Magic in the Air is a Bath and Body Works dupe and it fits spring to a T. Floral forward with some sugared berries beneath.

Cashmere Cream is my favorite of the bunch. A fluffy amber blend with blonde woods and silken musks. This is the type of "clean" scent I can get on board with. Must have a bag soon.

Capri Olivo definitely has a Mediterranean feel to it. There is a sharp tang of lemony citrus fruits, grapefruits, lemongrass and greenery. Vibrant and tangy.

Pure Paradise is lip smacking good. Coconut daiquiris, plumeria flowers and mellow papaya fruits all pour over into my mind when I sniff this. I am ready for the beach. This is the rare time I am game for a fruity fragrance. 

Cucumber Wasabi Cilantro is certainly a lush green scent but a touch liquid and sappy with that soapy cilantro scent. It is nice.

Blue Raspberry Cotton Candy embodies childhood in a tart. Sugary blue cotton candy flavored lipgloss and Blow Pops all meld into a classic 90's treat that makes your lips and tongue turn electric blue. Love.

Fiji Pineapple Palm is another surprise favorite. The pineapple is subtle and a touch powdery with florals and banana in the background. It works. 

Tonka and Vetiver is my second favorite right after Cashmere Cream. This reminds me of my Pop-Pop's cologne. Starchy, clean and freshly laundered button up shirts with vintage Avon cologne lingering on the cuffs an collar.

Merry Mint speaks more of a cheerful kitchen garden then a candy cane stick. No sugar. Just mint leaf freshness and very little cooling after bite. A spring scent for sure.

I am over the moon happy with my order from Carol. She is always a kind and generous lady and her tarts at some of the very best out there. I hope she has loved making our homes smell cozy and sweet for the past 20 years. Thank you, Carol!!

Were you able to squeeze an order in during her last opening? Are you planning on making a purchase during her next one tomorrow the 29th?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Travel: Washington D.C.

Hello! I am back. I was away at a conference for work for the past few days. It was the American Montessori Society annual conference called The Montessori Event. It was held in Washington D.C. this year, which is a place I have never really had a yearning to visit. 

It ended up being really neat. 

It was cold and rainy the first day but cleared up to cool and sunny over the next few. My first foray took me to Dupont Circle where I saw my first ever European Starling (they are so beautiful!). 

A couple co-workers and I hit up Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe. Kramerbooks is a retail bookstore where I picked up Circe and had an incredible burger in the cafe and a divine Goober pie (chocolate and peanut butter). I soon discovered that D.C. is my book capital. 

We stayed at the Marriot Wardman Park in the Woodley district. It was very nice. But no free wifi, which kinda sucked. The neighborhood had many instances of public art which I did enjoy.

Walking and the Metro were the best options for us since we were just sightseeing and meandering. I enjoyed roaming the residential areas and neighborhoods the most.

Everything was just coming into bloom. The flowers. The trees. We were told many times we wouldn't see the cherry blossoms. That it wasn't time.

This was the second bookstore I hit up, Idle Time Books. This one was a used bookstore and one of my favorites. It was in a vibrant part of town. I picked up an unedited proof of a book and then a novel called Widdershins.

Saturday night all our staff went to Ford's Theater and watched Into the Woods which is a fairytale musical. It was pretty good. The actual theater itself and the museum underneath were most fascinating to me though.

I didn't get around to going the to monument stuff until late Saturday night after the musical. My friend Stephanie and I roamed the National Mall which was honestly a tad scary at midnight with very few people around but also cool being all lit up. 

The Lincoln Memorial was my favorite and moved me the most.

The last day we spent in D.C. was pretty much a free day. We attended a keynote speaker by the name of Dr. Scilla Elworthy who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times so far. She was awe inspiring. 

After hearing her speak we decided to roam once again. This time towards Chinatown.

The most amazing place to eat with mouth watering Beef Chow Foon is a teeny tiny shop called China Boy. If you ever end up in Chinatown D.C. please do yourself a solid and go there. Only two tables in the whole place but the noodles are handmade and it is cheap and delicious with generous portions. We ended up sitting at a table and three other people joined us. One was working for a non-profit helping refugees and another and his wife worked for the Department of Defense. We had a nice conversation and they were excited to learn more about the Montessori method and what living in Florida was like.

After lunch we made it over to the National Gallery of Art and sure enough we ran into some cherry blossom trees in bloom. Many had red and white thread tied onto the ends of the branches and silver bells and strange trinkets. 

It was a beautiful trip where I learned about many things like beekeeping, using visual arts for a Socratic Seminar, how to foster peace and pretty much just be a better human in general. I ate amazing foods. Spoke to many friendly strangers. Used Uber for the first time with many errors. Bought a butt-ton of books. 

What do you like to bring back as a souvenir when you travel? Are you a rental car, subway, taxi or Uber/Lyft kinda person?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sixteen92: Spring 2019 (The Poison Garden)

This narcotic spring release from Sixteen92 is the last Circle sample set for this run. After being a member of The Circle for the full year I have decided to sign up again. I very much enjoyed sampling all the perfumes from each release and I liked the full bottle exclusive perk. It is a great way for me to wear notes and fragrances that I might not normally reach for. I highly recommend becoming a member of The Circle if you enjoy expanding your scent horizons.

Now onto the Poison Garden Spring 2019 release. Claire derived her inspiration from various toxic plants. I love the botanical placard and the atypical twist on the standard floral offerings of a spring release. These won't smell like a wilting daisy.

Aconitum- Notes: Wolfsbane, tangled roots, wildflower, metal, storm, rock, black fur and wild musk.
Ruins with crumbling gap toothed leers and moss studded stone teeth push up from black loamy soil. The damp earth pools in shadows, the air charged with green electrons and strange perfume from immortal flowers lurk in deep niches. This stony, stormy atmospheric is a foggy dream to wear. No one quite does stone and storm and metal quite like Claire.

Conium Maculatum- Notes: Hemlock flower, citrus blossom, coumarin, lavender spike, tobacco leaf, castoreum, oak, bergamot and dried iris. *premium*
Delicate iris blossoms flutter like a field of purple winged butterflies on their green stalks in the breeze. A subtle sweetness characterizes the aroma, perhaps from the tobacco and coumarin. There is a haunting duality to this scent. Much like a spirit can possess someone else and speak through them but with a hint of their own voice, this perfume smells like it has unfolded from a soul in the past and grafted itself to the skin. Long ago a light sugared iris and soft violet hued perfume graced a lady as her signature scent and melded with her body chemistry, adding a human element, and now that aroma has shifted to you. It is beautiful and airy and easy to wear but with an unexpected animalic breath.

Atropa Belladonna- Notes: Nightshade berry, narcotic flowers, green tomato, green pepper, soil, broomstick and velvet plum.
Tiny white hairs running along the stems and leaves of the tomato plant release microbursts of oils that smell of sharp serrated green leaves, pungent herbs and limonene summer sunshine. These oils snap and bite at the skin until a sandy layer of soil grounds the scent and a flood of sweet alyssum carpets the fragrance. The drydown is gorgeous. A softly verdant aroma of nature in the nighttime with plantlings, vegetal musks and a brown warmth from the trees. 

Datura Metel- Notes: Datura blossom, sweet almond, rosewater, sugar cube, vanilla orchid, moth wing and wild honeycomb.
Sweet cyanide almonds yield to honeyed jasmine petals. The honey drips down into the drydown and lands in a dewy hollow of rosewater. Deceptively simple. I love the heart and drydown of this fragrance. It is alluring and hazy, approachable yet sibylline. 

Nerium Oleander- Notes: White and pink oleander, heliotrope, apple seed, sweet custard, pineapple, thyme and coconut water.
A heady thick mixture of almond and custard, coconut and vanilla leave me licking my lips unexpectedly. Not what I was expecting for a floral perfume, but those gourmand notes are creamy and lush and quiet toothsome. As it sways into the heart the bakery aspects diminish and a little of the cooling coconut water and floral nuances emerge.

My two favorites from this collection are Aconitum and Conium Maculatum with Datura Metel as a very close third. These are beautifully rendered perfumes and I look forward to another year of The Circle. 

Were you are member of The Circle? Do you plan on becoming one this year? Are you a fan of the way tomato plants smell?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Melting Basket 138

Wax from the last basket I melted that I would happily add back to my collection includes: Bohemienne Life Bloom, Fraser's Ridge, Heart and Crown, CFTKR White Cedar Forest, Woodland Foliage, and The Bathing Garden Alice in Lavenderland.

Bohemienne Life- Folktale
Rosegirls- Winter Mermaid
Super Tarts- Hades
Vintage Chic Scents- Edelweiss
CFTKR- Fire Roasted Marshmallows
Lasting Scent Candles- Summer Bonfire
Sniff My Tarts- Dragon's Blood/Butter Brickle/Celtic Moonspice/Clove
Beezy- Baked Apples
Beezy- Apple Clove Butter

If you are curious about any of these scents feel free to comment and I will do an individual review of them. 

My sister and I have this oddity store in Tampa, well specifically in Ybor, that we like to go to from time to time called Dysfunctional Grace. I usually end up finding something I just can't leave the store without. 

Previously it was a small glass case and a ring and this last time it was an old hand made wooden shelf. The girls go with us and end up adding dinosaur claws, crystals and knickknacks to their own collections.

Do you enjoy visiting oddity stores?

Hey. I am headed to Washington DC for work in a couple days. Any food or shopping recommendations? Book stores? Cafes? Anything I should see for sure? We need to scout a place for a good lunch for sure. We also have tickets to watch "Into the Woods" at the Ford Theater and one dinner reservation but it is wide open after that. 

Crossing fingers the cherry trees will be blossoming.

Monday, March 18, 2019

CBe Ceramics: Redwoods Tumbler

Cate Be's art really strikes a chord within me. I have one of her goddess mugs and it is a joy to drink coffee from in the mornings. Cate, the maker behind CBe Ceramics, has been having a nice mixture of ready to ship pottery pieces for sale along with a few pre-orders. This redwoods tumbler was part of a pre-order I placed in mid-January. The pre-orders take about 6-8 weeks to be made. 

I also picked up another of Cate's fire cider tonics which I will write about another time (if I don't use it all up before then).

I love this tumbler. It is great for iced coffee, juices, tea and milk. I enjoy the small saying that Cate often includes on the back of her creations. I also love that she changes up small details in the designs so that all her creations morph and flex with her inspiration yet have the same heart and soul.

And her glazes are incredible. Rusted browns and sunset oranges run and pool with turquoise stones and jade hues. 

I was thrilled to place a pre-order for one of Cate's two-sided Totoro mugs. She will probably be having a custom order opening in late April. 

I have yet to see the redwoods but I will be happy to drink from them until I can one day. What plant or tree would you like to see in person one day?

Sunday, March 17, 2019


It's funny how this winter we had different birds come to visit and some that were missing. I did't have my regular woodpecker friend. My Tufted Titmice didn't visit nearly as much and a few others stayed away. But I did get some Goldfinches and several other birds, some of which I am having a hard time identifying. 

This past week has been busy. I had an overnight field trip with my 6th graders at the Orlando Science Center. It was fun having a whole museum to ourselves. It was a really great program. We started with a movie in the IMAX Dome, then some CSI experiments like blood typing, computer facial recognition, chromatography and such, then we headed up to the observatory and looked through two massive telescopes. We got the see four baby stars that were "recently" born in Orion's nebula (they are only a million years old compared to our sun which is about 4 billion I think). Then we saw the moon up close and it was incredible. 

This weekend I am alternating between packing, playing in my garden, reading and buying mugs. Good gravy is Adam going to be surprised when they roll in.

Hey. How funny does that yellow and black bird look up there?? Like a missile headed right to the feeder. 

Spring break starts next week on Thursday and lasts until March 31st. I am very much looking forward to it. It will be packed but it will be good. 

How is your mid-March looking? Did you notice any difference in your bird visitors? Does it normally change that much? Wondering what birds I will see when I move.