Friday, September 27, 2019

Fall Friday: Ten Digit Creations Fall Haul

The kick in the pants I got that initiated this order was melting that Ten Digit Creations mini loaf a couple melting baskets ago. I know Amber had been tinkering with a new website and ordering process so I popped over just to see what all was shaking out. Turns out I found quite a few goodies on offer. She currently has $3.50 flat rate shipping and a nice selection of RTS and custom offerings. I went the RTS route.

Mulled Cider & Chestnuts/Orange Clove/Indian Sandalwood ($2.70) is a deeply spiced orange pomander scent with rustic wood elements and old world charm. Amber knows how to blend and this one has me excited to melt it.

Apple Pecan Sage/Gingerbread/Wood Spice ($3.40) features a nice cozy mixture of cinnamon, woods and a hint of apples. I shared quite a few from this order but the two of these I picked up I selfishly kept for myself. I am a sucker for apple cinnamon scents and this one is very lovely and unique. This is apples with cinnamon being canned in a wooden barn that has stood for many generations while a whiff of hay and late afternoon sunlight filter through the planks that make up the walls. 

Caramel Apple/Marshmallows by the Fire/Sandalwood Marshmallow ($3.40) is a brilliant merging of Macintosh apples, shining red cheerful on their wooden sticks awaiting a thick coating of viscous caramel. The fireside aroma is a tantalizing addition to the scent, and you know I am a fanatic of marshmallow fireside types of scents. The merging of the two is magic. I bought three of these leaves and kept two. 

Egyptian Amber/Sandalwood Rose/Vanilla Lace ($3.40) is a beauty. I wasn't sure how I would like the rose but I am very happy I threw it in my cart. Sandalwood and rose are a pair made in heaven, plush and refined with a softness that is added by the vanilla. A wonderful bedroom scent.

Palo Santo/Bourbon Tobacco/Wood Spice ($3.40) is my died-and-gone-to-heaven aroma. Holy smokes. Where has this been all my life??? Amber always stocks the best tobacco oils. This one is elevated from smooth, sweet tobacco wonder to smooth, woodsy, sweet tobacco incensed spectacular. Seriously. It is divine. 

Winter Candied Apples/Vanilla Birch/Campfire ($3.40) is a unique melding of sweet and tangy cotton candy apples and smoky woods. Garnet hued candy apples and tangy cider tasted alongside scarves holding woodsmoke and sweaters full of the outdoors.

The chunk was 2 ounces and the leaves are 2.5 ounces. I like to cut them both in half to get two melts out of them. Amber likes to make sure her customers are happy with their wax and packaging. She noticed that her wax was making the baggies soft so she is now double bagging them along a similar vein as Carol at Candles From The Keeping Room. She tucks them into a thinner plastic pouch and then that pouch goes into a ziptop bag. I love how easy it is to use and I think it will help cut own on the soft bag syndrome. 

What fall notes do you like to melt right now? Woods? Leaves? Apples? Spice?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Handmade in Florida: Summer Pre-Order

I have been sitting on this Handmade in Florida order for an embarrassingly long time. Between typing up student progress reports I decided to give my brain a break by engaging in some aromatherapy and blogging. I placed this order mostly to stock up on soap for my husband but of course some wax and other goodies tagged along. Zahida generously added some extras as a housewarming gift as well, since I moved to her neck of the woods. 

These adorable Mickey heads always make me smile. I love how smooth they are, the layers and the small details Zahida adds. I don't think Zahida sells these as a shape so no price will be listed. She usually sells her wax as larger shapes, scent shots or clamshells.

Lagoon- Notes: A blend of smooth peppermint, dead sea salt, delicate florals and warm tonka beans.
Lagoon is a lovely take on a fresh but delicate aquatic. The mint is watery but the tonka adds a hint of vanilla to the musky florals.

Life's A Beach- Notes: Light florals, fresh notes of bergamot, lemon, green tea and mint.
A luxurious scent that begins with strapping bergamot and a nod to iris. It smells like an upscale beach hotel. I very much like it.

South Beach Smoothie- Notes: Fresh mangoes and creamy vanilla ice-cream, garnished with sweet raspberries and a sprig of mint.
Oh wow. This one is very very yummy. The creamy mango paired with juicy raspberry are making my mouth water. As much as I am dying to melt this I know it has to go to my friend Sandra who truly appreciates a scent like this. <3

Peaches and Cream- Notes: A blend of juicy peaches, berries, vanilla and freshly whipped cream.
There is a cobbler quality to the peaches. A bready aspect to the lush stone fruit and heapings of vanilla cream. There is also something almost green peeping out from the decadent Southern dessert.

Berry Chantilly Cake- Notes: Fluffy vanilla cake loaded with layers of sweet berries and freshly whipped cream.
Divine. Angle food cake, spongy and light, is formed into a trifle with macerated strawberries and raspberries, pillowed with sugared cream. The berry reminds me of Rosegirls' Strawberry Jam single note. Really thick and chewy.

This cream puff of a tart is scented in Lavender Ice-cream and it is scrumtrulescent. If you have ever experienced Solstice Scent's Lavender Vanilla blend and enjoyed it, then this is for you. It is a sweet and rich lavender with syrupy herbal tones that compliment the lush vanilla really well. I look forward to melting this in my bedroom.

These larger paisley and heart shaped tarts are about 3 ounces and cost $5.50 each. I usually get 2 or 3 melts from one of these. 

Nag Champa- Notes: A blend of sandalwood, patchouli, oudh, lavender, vanilla and the champa flower. 
I love Nag Champa incense, perfume and blends. This one is lovely. Smooth and velvety with that classic sandalwood and floral incense aroma. 

Easter Oudh is a forever favorite. It throws strong and smells incredibly beautiful. Dark woods with a touch of smoke, full of resins and a touch perfumed. 

Oudh Rose is gorgeous too. Similar dark, dusky woods and resins are made more mysterious by an unfurling of burgundy rose petals. I love the tranquil quality of the dried rose petals. They are ghostly and almost smoky like a rose petal incense.

Mystic blends amber, florals, citrus, sandalwood and lavender into a spellbinding aroma. There is a heady rich quality to this that reminds me of something dense and honeyed. I quite enjoy the lavender in this blend. The fact that it is lavender essential oil stands out. A true lavender, not a fragrance oil rendition.

I love Zahida's clamless break away bars. They are 3 ounces of waxy goodness for $4.50.

Lemon-Lime Float- Notes: Key lime ice-cream and lemon-lime soda.
Electric citrus puckers the lips and twangs the jaw. The extra tart Key limes pack a punch for such a tiny fruit. And they feature prominently in this tart. I love the subtle creamy vanilla background that keeps these limes and lemons from running off with the blend. 

Gulf of Mexico- Notes: Pineapple and passionfruit blended with sweet peaches and bright citrus.
This fruity tropical blend has something a little extra in there. I am thinking it is the passionfruit adding a twitch of foliage and floral that keep this from being a tropical fruit salad. Zahida has a magical way of creating blends that are extraordinary and sophisticated. The oranges and peaches compliment each other effortlessly while the pineapple adds sunny sweetness. A beautiful scent for a beautiful place.

Southern Girl- Notes: Cucumber, citrus, light florals and freshly cut grass.
A mature version of Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon. The blending of the grass is what sets it apart. Genius. A water dappled, verdant aroma. 

Drum Circle- Notes: Bergamot, orange, lemon, geranium, rose, patchouli, vetiver and tonka beans.
I knew this would steal the show. Grassy vetiver and the green ivy tones of geranium twine wildly with the earthy hues of patchouli. I cannot wait to melt this one. 

Sensual Suede- Notes: An exotic blend of warm woods, amber, jasmine and musk.
I loved Sensual Suede from previous melting. It is a smooth cashmere woods type of scent that is silken and liquid with golden warmth.

Yacht Club- Notes: Lemon, rosemary, sandalwood, patchouli, musk and vetiver.
Zahida's vetiver is intense and wonderful. The thick grassy and haylike tones are refined with the addition of musk and citrus laced herbs. This yacht club is all about casual elegance. 

This is my husband's all-time favorite bar soap. Since we exclusively use bar soap, I always try to keep him in stock.

Three bars of Moroccan Mint Tea to the rescue!! I should have started tracking each bar I have purchased for him. I think over the years it has to be close to approaching at least a dozen. Only once or twice since we discovered this particular soap has he had to go without it. The mint is refreshing, but not arctic. There is enough essence of black tea to push it into a deeper and more complex fragrance.

When I am in need of spirit lifting or soothing I admit that I make a grab for this shower staple from time to time myself.

But my all-time favorite bar soap is Zahida's Spa Time which brims with minty cool patchouli and various other essential oils and clays. It simply feels and smells like relaxation to me. Zahida's soaps have a beautiful texture and lather like bubble making machines. They feel amazing on the skin and rinse away leaving behind nothing but suppleness and bliss.

Serenity is a close second with its lavender, mint and eucalyptus oils. I always get a lovely lavender and spearmint vibe from this one. I enjoy melting it in wax form too. But the soap is a wonderful nighttime treat.

All three of these soaps are $10 each due to their essential oil components. Zahida does craft other soaps without as many essential oils for $8.00 each. But I love these the best. <3

Coconut Smoothie Whipped Sugar Scrub takes me right to all my childhood beach memories. It is a lush tropical coconut aroma that brings to mind coconut heavy Hawaiian Tropic. I simply adore it. A 4.5 ounce tub is $8 and made from scratch, not a scrub base. I enjoy the texture and feel of these scrubs and will tuck one into my order whenever I can. I particularly like this one and the Lavender Creme Brulee.

Sorry I have been so quiet and this took me so long. I am trying really hard to acclimate to my new duties. I am dropping some balls and some plates and all the metaphors and idioms regarding tasks. I am thankful to have an amazing co-lead and assistant teacher. I am thankful to be building rapport with my new kiddos. I just need to get a handle on all the rest. 

But for today I am just going to breathe deep and teach my students how to edit their five paragraph informational essays on a historical figure of their choice for their final drafts.

Did you like writing as a kid? Do you like it now? Do you write for fun?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Plant Love

I grew up helping my mom water all her patio plants and working with turf grass from about 13 to 23. I took many botanical classes in university but mostly cold season and warm season vegetables and crop production courses. As an ag teacher I helped coach my students in a nursery and landscape contests, learning quite a bit myself. Plants have always held a special place in my heart. But now I am holding special places for them in my home. 

The prolific bloom of nurseries, online plant shops and plant-related YouTube videos has grown my own indoor plant passion. I still have a lot to learn (many of my plants enjoy the humidity of my patio more than my home, which makes sense why mom always put hers out there). 

But some are content to live inside. I even have started a propagation station.

I have collected plants from Walmart, yard sales, nurseries open to the public and even boutique plant shops. It has been fun hunting down the smaller Mom-and-Pop nurseries.

Sometimes it sucks to live in a sub-tropical climate. No fall leaves. No snow. Now definitive shift of seasons.

But I will concede that it makes gardening and plant tending fun.

Abundant grow year round.

Do you do house plants? Gardening? What are you loving? I am finding I murder ivy at a pretty consistent rate. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Fall Friday: Sihaya & Company Pumpkin Juice Candle

I featured Sihaya & Company's Butterbeer candle earlier this week and I figured for my first Fall Friday post I would talk a little about the other candle in Christina's Wizarding Collection, Pumpkin Juice. 

Pumpkin Juice- Notes: A sweet beverage of yummy pumpkin tinged with oak-barrel cider and a whisper of caramel. $12

I loved Butterbeer, and Pumpkin Juice is just as nice. The apple cider and caramelized pumpkin play together well, each giving way to the other to create a delicious autumnal treat. There are minimal spices. I love that the Pumpkin Juice bottle looks exactly like the ones at the Wizarding World. I have ordered Pumpkin Juice several times and I must say that this is a cool rendition of that aroma, if a touch more rich since at Universal it is mostly apple juice. I would rather drink this one to be honest. 

I would absolutely buy this again (and I just might!). 

This weekend I am think about baking an apple pie. Normally I have done so by now but we all know I am behind this year. I have the apples and the ingredients waiting in the fridge and pantry. Have you made any fall treats? What do you like to make or bake about this time of year? Have you ever had Pumpkin Juice? Do you like it?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Nocturne Alchemy: Book of Halloween Pumpkins

Nocturne Alchemy is unique among perfume houses in that their perfumers enjoy doing collaborations with other artists such as authors, musicians and visual artists. The House of Nocturne Alchemy has teamed up with Chris Raimo in the past. He has created exclusive art for their labels, especially Halloween releases. Last year Chris did a Kickstarter for his new Halloween book and pledging a certain amount enabled the purchaser to not only get a signed copy of his book but also two limited edition NA perfumes. I was quick to pledge.

Incense Pumpkin- Notes: Pumpkin accord, pumpkin skin, black fig, nutmeg, clove, butter accord, NA Kashmir incense, frankincense, myrrh, amber, nag champa and black amber.

Robust blood red Kashmir musk spools out of an incense stick, almost berry like in its texture and hue, from the orange bottle. Smoothed onto the skin the red musk resins continue to smolder along with amber thick with labdanum and cistus. In the heart, myrrh smokes upon a bed of straw and wooden nuggets with nag champa threads weaving through the haze. A warm spiced pumpkin rind like a ribbed harvest moon rises from the midnight patch where a multitude of these incensed offerings  wend their smoke to the stars. 

Vanilla Pumpkin- Notes: Pumpkin accord, pumpkin skin, black fig, nutmeg, clove, NA Crystalline, Bourbon vanilla, French vanilla, Tahitian vanilla, Ember vanilla, ember burning woods accord.

From the pumpkin hued vial arises a sweetly intoxicating vanilla that is shot through with veins of almond. This vanilla almond sugar rests in the womb of a russet roasted pumpkin. Basted on the skin, softly spiced pumpkin pie puree is layered with vanilla custard and drizzled with thin ribbons of golden caramel. The heart casts out a velvety and plummy darkness that appears to stem from the fig. This is not overly sweet but more fuzzy and furred like the skin of figs rather than their sticky flesh. The vanilla, fig and pumpkin are shrouded in cauldron smoke until the deep dry down when the Boubon vanilla comes out of hiding. 

I am very happy with not only the Book of Halloween by Chris Raimo but I am also happy with my Nocturne Alchemy pumpkin perfumes. These will be worn for many falls to come. Though they are not currently available for purchase they may come available from time to time on the Facebook indie perfume groups. 

Do you like the smell of pumpkins in perfume or are you more of an apple person? Or perhaps woodsmoke and crunchy leaves? 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Melting Basket 144

Autumnal wax from the last basket I melted and rolled my eyes over because it was simply so good: The Bathing Garden Cardamom Apple Pie, Beezy Apple Clove Butter, TDC Witches Brew/Patchouli/Cabin in the Smokies, and CFTKR Apples N Spice (super spicy apple cinnamon but doesn't last more than 3-4 hours), Noels of Autumn (for a creamy take on fall), Country Gift Shop (throws strong and smells amazing), Nights of Autumn.

Vintage Chic Scents Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Vintage Chic Scents The Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Vintage Chic Scents Cozy Jackie O
Bohemienne Life Zsadist
The Bathing Garden Cinnamon Cream Apple
Lasting Scent Candles Autumn Evening Hay Ride
CFTKR Apple Dumpling
CFTKR Cinnamon Apple Cider
CFTKR Cinna Bits
CFTKR Olde Town Bake Shop
CFTKR Farmhouse Kitchen

If you are curious about any of these scents please just let me know!

Hey. Guess what? I put some things up in my house. For fall. And it felt frustrating at first then it felt good. The best part was that the girls helped me. Savanna decorated my bedroom for me and I love it. Little black crows, bats and lanterns perched about the nightstands and dresser.

In an effort to minimize clutter I tired to cull some things from the collection. I don't have my home organized and decorated how I want it yet but this will be a nice way to document how it changes from year to year until I get situated. In the living room is where most of the decorations went. I love my Family Dollar light up pumpkin and I fit in where ever I can squeeze it. Right now he lives in a small house with a large bat flying overhead.

I promise this is not done. Not even really attempted. The bookcase is wobbly and needs to be secured to the wall and Adam left his drill at work so this will be completed later. When it is I will recapture it.

Even though the mantel is cluttered I like it. I do want to get some type of bunting to hang down to merge the gap between the mantel and the fireplace. I think. What do you think?

I love the pumpkin wizard but not sure if I will keep the other stuff the way it is. 


Had to throw this in. Savanna was trying to sketch, but the minute she does Toddles likes to remind her what she really should be doing.

I am happy I found a place for my "thankful" banner. I did try it over the fireplace but the colors didn't sit well. But I like it here in the dining room. It fits there anyway. Especially with the bright mums.

I have these old lanterns from my Pop-Pop. I put some candles in there previously but they were kind of messy as they melted. I found some battery powered short candlesticks on Amazon and they work perfectly. Strangely I like the remnants of the soot left behind by the previous wax candlesticks so I am keeping the glass lanterns sooty.

Not very Halloween or fall-like but I did add a few knick knacks to the kitchen shelf. The bird art to the right is made of feathers. I love it.

I finally got around to hanging some things in the sunroom. This little corner is pretty much finished. It is my record area with some art and plants thrown in. I want to keep it as simple as possible. The girls added the crows and tombstone.

Nothing too fancy or elaborate but there is officially some fall in the house. Once I get my bookstand and my mountain sign decorated I will post more photos. Maybe it won't be Christmas by then.

Are you fall ready? Do you merge fall and Halloween or keep it pretty separate? Does my Halloween/fall/Thanksgiving mish mash drive you bonkers? 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sihaya & Company: Butterbeer Candle

Christina at Sihaya & Company pours beautifully blended and wonderfully scented candles. I have burned many of her creations but certainly have not touted them nearly as often as I should have. After ordering well over a dozen this past year I am currently making sure to remedy that. With fall upon us and the season of Harry Potter approaching, I present one of Christina's newest candles from the Wizarding Collection: Butterbeer.

Butterbeer- Notes: A delicious butterscotch concoction with marshmallowy foam and the slightest hint of rum. $12

Sihaya & Co. candles come in 8 ounce travel tins with a shimmer of beautiful glitter atop. The key with these candles is to keep the wicks trimmed and to burn as long as you can with the first burn. However, I will say that oftentimes I have not been able to burn for a hour or so and even though it seems like the candle will tunnel, if you keep burning at later times the heat from the tin will cause the wax to pool down into the bottom and it will level out mid-burn. I love these candles for my nightstand since they are smaller but I have been burning one in my kitchen and one in the living room too with nice results. I enjoy using the lids to snuff the candle out.

Butterbeer is a deep caramel laden dream with those sticky sweet butterscotch morsels tempered by that tiny hint of rum. I adore a butter rum scent and this is a tasty one. It throws strong in the kitchen. I have burned over half of it and I am seriously contemplating ordering another. It complements the spiced apple scents I have been melting in my wax tart warmer.

Of course I ordered the Pumpkin Juice candle as well and will feature it next. I also have several of the Halloween and Fall candles to discuss too. 

And the Harry Potter lipbalms. Yep, she made those too.

What candles are you burning?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

BranchOff Skin Care

These skin care items were sent gratis from BranchOff for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Sarah at BranchOff reached out to me and asked if I was interested in trying out her skin care and after looking into her story and at her products I was excited to accept. Sarah and her husband work together to create nature-based skin care with an emphasis on being environmentally friendly and giving back to nature as well. They do this through planting trees with every purchase and as of July this year they have planted over 10,000 trees through their "pay it forward" donations made possible through their customers' purchases.

I was sent two facial soaps, a facial scrub and a facial serum. I also have a soap and a mini jar of scrub to giveaway to you guys. <3

Lux Face Oil is on sale for $35 for 15 grams and acts as a rejuvenating and anti-aging serum. The ingredients are mostly organic and include: carrot seed oil, wheat germ oil, argan oil, rosehip oil, black cumin seed oil, frankincense, lavender and sandalwood essential oils and rosemary extract. It smells amazing and it feels beautiful on the skin. It nourished my skin and absorbed quickly. I will keep wearing until it runs out to see if I would purchase but as of right now, I would.

Salt of the Earth Himalayan Face Scrub is 4.2 ounces and is on sale for $24. The combination of fine grain salt and clays with emollient oils makes for a decadent facial exfoliation. I will say my face breaks out on the regular, especially around my cycle and so the salt does sting my acne but when my face is clear (and it was once or twice when using this) it feels wonderful. My skin is left pink, smooth and soft and if I need moisturizing I leave the oils on, but if I don't want the extra oils I just towel my face off and my skin is left feeling supple and velvety.

These face soaps are 1.5 ounces and are $5.50 each. The Activated Charcoal soap is formulated for blemish prone skin and is recommend to be used at night. I have used it and it cleans easily and rinses to a silky finish. Obviously, with my blemish prone skin this is tailor made for me. The other soap is suited for normal to dry skin and is a Moroccan Red Clay and Lavender bar, meant for morning face washing. This bar is also touted for winter washing when faces tend to be more dry. I don't personally wash my face twice a day but I have been alternating these soaps. They both lather well and do an excellent job cleaning the skin.

This mini facial scrub and Moroccan Red Clay bar are up for grabs. I will also be throwing in some wax and perfume and other goodies. If you would like to try BranchOff and enter the give away comment below with a movie you love to watch in the fall. 

All of my readers can get 15% off of a $20 purchase or more by using the code: MERMAID
Code expires October 11th.