Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ebb & Flow: December 2020

The highs and lows of the month.

Manor by Solstice Scents

Perfume Oil:
Marshmallows Burn Down the Yule Tree by Arcana Wildcraft

Body Oil:
Lavender and Rosemary by Wildroots Body Care

La Vie en Rose by Bohemienne Life

Sugar Scrub:
Ghost Chocolate and Burnt Sugar by Sugar Spider

Lip Balm:
Baba Yaga by For Strange Women

Winter Moon Serum by Forest & Fjord

Twisted Peppermint by Bath and Body Works

Demeter by Mermade Magickal Arts

Crystalized Spearmint and Peppermint by The Bathing Garden

15 Bean Soup (the kind in the bag with dried beans) with country sausage and mustard greens (I feel bad for my husband but it tastes soooo good).

DRAM sparkling water drinks infused with CBD

Finished Hannibal, and watching The Office before it disappeared, plus the newest season of The Great British Baking Show.

Still reading The Witcher series. I am on The Time of Contempt. Only a few more to go!

My new Ella and Louie vinyl albums I got for Christmas.

The vaccine. New paths. Fresh starts. 

Flip flopping between online and in-building learning models when we return. It is so hard on the kiddos.

My new Sugar Spider scrubs.

My Bath and Body Works Candle Day order that never arrived. BBW is making it right but many of them are not available now and so I am out some that I was looking forward to.

Christmas without most of the family. 

My 40th birthday in the mountains with Adam and the girls. Christmas with just Adam and the girls. It was quiet and low key and I didn't realize how much I needed that at the time. 

This is where we normally say good-bye but I wanted to add a small "Best of 2020" to the tail end of this if that is ok with you. These best of choices are based on products I purchased or used this year.

Best Perfume (EDP):

Best Perfume Oils:

Best Soap:

Best Scrub:

Best Skincare:
-Forest & Fjord Deep Forest Serum (she is rebranding as House of Yore and will return with goodies)

Best Lip Balm:

Best Incense:

Best Candles:

Best Wax:
- Candles From the Keeping Room Very Vanilla
- Candles From the keeping Room Christmas Around the Campfire
- The Bathing Garden French Country Christmas

Best Tinctures:

Favorite Pottery:

Favorite Jewelry:
- Blood Moon Botanica Lucky Mercury Dime Necklace

Favorite Planners:
- Many Moons by Modern Woman: for tracking the moon, my monthly and spiritual endeavors
- Tudor Planner: for artwork, goals, buckets lists, places to eat, things to do
- Purple Trail: for teacher work, lessson planning, calendar, conferences, report cards

Favorite Art Supplies:
- Stabilo pens
- Sakura KOI Watercolor Brush Set

These were some of my favorite things this year. I still used many of my tried and trues but it was a good year for creativity and comforting smells. A good year for pulling in and making coziness where I could. 

I will post some goals for 2021 on January 1st. As always, I have a hope for a clean slate. Not only for myself but others too. Did you stumble upon any new favorites this year? What brought you comfort? Please leave a comment below and be entered for a chance to win a medium flat rate box of smell goods (wax and perfume and such). I will draw the winner sometime Sunday. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Sugar Spider Scrubs

Ready for some delicious sugar scrub haulage? We all know that The Bathing Garden is one of my favorite scrub makers but Brooke Perry (former owner and founder of Villainess Soaps) is known to craft a mean sugar scrub too. Earlier this year Brooke opened up Sugar Spider, an artisan bespoke sugar scrub shop where you could blend up the scrub of your dreams. I had been meaning to sample the wares for a while but my distracted brain managed to forget (I really regret missing out on her seasonal lavender noir scent- but hopefully it will come back). Brooke's shop carries some house staples but she also specializes in seasonal scents that rotate throughout the year. Which brings me to why I jumped now, Peppermint Schtick. 

You can either buy pre-made blends or you can blend your own sugar scrub with up to four layers. Either option is $15. I love that the labels have the boxes ticked that hold the specific blend inside. Even better, the sugar scrubs can be layered with Brooke's creamy ganache whipped soap. 

I mean, look at those juicy layers!

The first scrub I made was a custom layered blend of Blue Marshmello Ganache (sticky, sweet marshmallow fluff) and Peppermint Schtick (traditional red and white stripes, that sweet, tired gimmick). I love this blend to pieces. The marshmallow is concentrated and holds up wonderfully well against the icy peppermint candy canes. The ganache is dense and creamy. When they blend together they exfoliate gently but effectively. It rinses well, leaving skin smooth and satiny. 

This next custom blend is a layering of Chantilly Creme Ganache (smooth, sweet vanilla bean and other delights) with Peppermint Schtick. This blending is more subtle and the mint pulls through stronger in this one. The Chantilly Creme rounds out the icy edges nicely with its gauzy vanilla scent. I will be blending with this again for sure. Again, same blissful texture and scrubbing properties. 

Look at that creamy whip. Mmmm.

This is the only layered scrub I made without ganache in it. It is a custom layering of Burnt Sugar (rich custard and caramelized creme brûlée crunch) and Ghost Chocolate (stark white chocolate haunted with a breath of cardamom). I wanted to see if the scrub would lather up on its own and it does. The scrub creates a creamy light lather that cleans and smoothes. The burnt sugar really does smell just like my favorite dessert, creme brûlée. I even get that sharp sugar crunch from it. The ghost chocolate is a wonderfully airy rendition of white chocolate. The cardamom adds a silky depth. This is a warming scent.

My last scrub purchase was a ready-made blend that is still on the website called Sugar Snow. It is Peppermint Schtick, Suikerspin (cotton candy), and Butter Cream Ganache. I am so happy I grabbed it! On my skin it smells just like creamy, rich eggnog with a fat peppermint stick swirling about. I love it to pieces and will be using this one up first while things are still chilly and semi-festive around here. 

Overall, I am thrilled with my first Sugar Spider purchases and will be back in spring to make some blends with that Lavande Noir and Dead Liliacs. Winter offerings end on February 21st and spring ones launch the same day. I am wondering if there will be any overlap? I would love to blend the peppermint with the lavender. Do you enjoy sugar scrubs? You should try out Sugar Spider!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Bookish Jay and the Reading Mermaid: 2021 Reading Challenge!


Good Morning, friends! Here we are in the twilight of 2020. I have wrapped up this year's reading challenge, if you missed what all I read you can find that (here). Despite the turmoil that the year brought, it did give me ample time and reason to retreat into the world of books. I am currently reading my 52nd book of the year and I think I may even squeeze in one more before midnight tolls on the 31st. I mean, that is what winter break is for right? Thankfully, Jay at The Scented Library, was up to collaborate for our fourth annual reading challenge. We had several that overlapped in similarity so I think we have finally hit that hive mind connection. :-) 

In total there are 31 prompts for 2021. Feel free to join us for one or two, a dozen or even all 31. We hope you find some prompts that bring you to a new favorite.

1. It’s the end of the world as we know it…—an apocalyptic tome, dystopian nightmare, or something set in/about the year 2020.

2. Choose a book from an independent book store.

3. Reclaim her name— choose from a multitude of titles which feature generic pronouns; “girl”, “woman”, “wife”, “lady”, or “she” in the title, and discover the true story of the character. Or, select from the sponsored list by the Women’s Prize for Fiction of 25 authors who used male pseudonyms to publish.

4. Shelf control—pick up a dusty, neglected book that’s already sitting unread on your shelf.

5. Big Book Energy😉—level up with an 750+ page.

6. Bright lights, big city—get lost in a Metropolis, real or fictional.

7. Small town vibes— find yourself in a cozy village setting, where everybody knows your name.

8. Don’t you, forget about me— relive the 80s, whether it was your glory days or decade of excess, choose a throwback book from that time, either set in the 80’s or published in the 80’s.

9. Embrace your elemental—align with a fiery, earth, air or water feature in title/cover.

10. Rule of 3—three main characters, a friendly trio, love triangle or 3 objects on the cover.

11. Font geek—if an appealing typeface catches your eye, give the book a try.

12. Book that bites—snakes, bones or teeth on the cover or the title.

13. Go to the dark side—villains, rogues, bad bois or anti-heroines--pick your reading poison.

14. Note your improvement—read up on your favorite hobby, or new interest.

15. Book with a map.

16. Story set in, or written during the 1920s.

17. Comfort read—need a feel-good story right now, who doesn’t? The cozier, the better.

18. 2021 is the Year of the Ox, read a story with themes of hard work or manual labor. “Without labor, neither knowledge nor wisdom can accomplish much.”

19. The UN declared 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables- pick a book that has a cover ripe with edible plants.

20. Choose a book with regency couples- the art of smoldering eyes while maintaining social distancing.

21. Space Force, astronauts back on the moon and missions to Mars- read something out of this world.

22. Social Justice- read a book to provide more perspective.

23. Animated film adaptation.

24. Cooking up something more than just food in the kitchen: a chef inspired tale.

25. Poetry: Lyrical limericks, buried metaphors and big feelings. Dive right on in.

26. Find small moments of adventure with some short stories.

27. Christmas in July anyone? Find a holiday centric story to read out of season.

28. Brush up on a Native American tribe or historical event involving Native Americans.

29. Pick a candy read, a fluff read, a junk food read. You know the kind. The guilty pleasure you can fly through in a day or two that makes you smile and reminds you that not every book has to be top shelf literature to be enjoyed.

30. Royalty reading: monarchies of the past, present or fantastical times.

31. Thinning of the veil- tales involving ghosts, spirits or spectral phenomena.

I hope if you do decide to join us for even one book, please tag us on IG at #bookishjayandthereadingmermaid
We love to see what you are reading! I usually update my readings two or three times a year, and regularly on IG. This year I would like to finally read The Name of the Wind. I have owned it for several years at the recommendation of a friend but have held off. I also have lots of Atwood to read, some books about trees, and a ton of unread randoms on my shelves. My stepdad bought me Beach Music by Pat Conroy and wanted me to read it. I am looking forward to that one too. 

Are there any books you hope to crack open in 2021? Will you be joining Jay and me for a book or two?

Friday, December 25, 2020

Candles From The Keeping Room: Winter Opening

Good morning! Merry Christmas! This is easily going to be the strangest one yet as I am sure it is for many this year. No annual Pop-Pop party for us. No Christmas with Dad's side of the family. And mom is prudently staying home as well. So it is Adam, the girls and I having quiet nights by the fire (thank goodness a cold front blew through!!!) and some fried turkey, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese and whatnot for Christmas dinner. We will watch some movies and maybe do a puzzle or so. At first I was sad but now I am kind of relieved. Going to soak in the quiet while we can. 

Anyway, I did stalk Carol's Facebook page for Candles From the Keeping Room to make sure I made her last opening of the year. I popped on the website as soon as it launched and grabbed a handful of waxy tarts and blew outta there. The tarts are $6.75 a bag and still some of my very favorite around.

Strawberry Spruce is a repurchase. I love how the juicy berries fit alongside the soft sweet spruce so perfectly. Comforting and cheerful.

Twisted Strawberry Juniper is new to me but sounded like something I would enjoy. It is a tart and citrusy aroma with slight herbal tones from the lavender and juniper. The strawberry sweetens it up nicely. This will be great in the summertime.

Strawberry and Pearls is one I had in a sample a long time ago. It is Fresh Picked Strawberry with vanilla and floral musk. It is a pretty scent, a strawberries and cream perfume that I wouldn't mind wearing.

Very Vanilla is a repurchase. I started melting my other bag and loved it even more melting than on cold sniff (and I LOVED it on cold sniff). You can say I am officially obsessed. It is a strong throwing vanilla scent that straddles the line between fresh vanilla, a touch of sugar cookie and vanilla extract. It is rich but not bakery, sweet but not cloying. 

Vanilla Pinecone is different. It is almost like marzipan woods. There is vanilla but it is pasty and thick, almost like putty. It softens up and sweetens a bit when melted. it throws about medium to medium-strong. Still on the fence if I will repurchase this one or not.

Pumpkin Firewood Type is a forever repurchase. Love this combo of mildly sweet pumpkins and gently smoky fireside. It is very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Marshmallow Fireside is another forever purchase from Carol. Hers is strong throwing, sweet and sticky with that marshmallow and just a touch smoky from the fireside. Excellent blend of a true favorite.

Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow yet again another brilliant rendition that is a repurchase and will continue to be. Creamy vanilla and sweet pumpkin swirled together with minimal spice but a whole lot of love. It throws strong and smells incredibly cozy.

A Christmas extra was included generously in the form of a prim cuttable in one of my favorite scents: Apple Clove Butter. YUM!

Homemade Apple Pie is an easy repurchase. I had so much fun sampling many of Carol's apple pie scents a little while ago that I decided to grab one more of this one. A delightfully sweet and softly spiced fried apple dessert. Not much crust or bakery and I like it just that way. 

Baked Apple is a classic and a repurchase. I find this one to be more nectar sweet than the one above. There is a definite spice to it but also a crunchy sweetness like coarse sugar sprinkled on top. 

Country Gift Shop is the quintessential "welcome home" scent for me. It is the warm fire of cinnamon, the sweetness of plump berries and the bowl of fragrant potpourri that sits in a glass bowl on grandma's coffee table with a proper doily underneath. I love it.

Royal Sugar Cookie is one of the original sugar cookie scents I tried when I got into vendor wax and I was blown away by how delicious it was. I am not the biggest bakery fiend but I do appreciate a good sugar cookie. This one is strong, crunchy and full of vanilla.

Plumberry Spice and Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies were two of my favorite Christmas scents right after Citrus and Balsam. It is a wonderful mix of spruce, balsam and ripe sugared fruits. Repurchase always.

Spiced Cranberry is one I get a craving for every now and again. It tends to be about a medium thrower but is such a cheerful scent. Just like a fat cinnamon stick in a homemade pot of cranberry sauce. Tart and warm.

Lingonberry Wreath is one that I forget that I love. I have purchased this before but it has been a while since I have had it on hand. The berries are very tart, almost sour, like currants and cranberries and pomegranates. There are other notes in there like grapefruit and violets but for the most part this is a tart juicy wee berry.

Frosted Pine Noel is one I enjoy. The frosted pine portion is vibrant and sharp with eucalyptus and a touch of mint alongside the pine needles. The vanilla bean noel serves to add a breath of sweetness to the mix. 

Balsam Boughs has an evergreen an eucalyptus base but smells more soft and sweet than Frosted Pine Noel. I melted this one from a previous purchase and loved how strong and beautiful it was. 

Free samples! As you guys know by know Carol has an incredibly generous sampling offering. She packs the love in there. 

Twigs and Berries is a dry woodsy scent with a hint of grassy vetiver.

Fireside Type is soft and musky with a touch of sugared warmth. Not smoky at all.

Tonka and Oud is like a tonka bean lollipop. Think candied vanilla woods.

Brazilian Bum Bum Cream has to be one of my most unfavorite names out there for a scent. But hot damn if it doesn't smell amazing. It is a tropical musk with vanilla and sandalwood and hints of wild florals. 

Caramel Pumpkin Swirl Type is a solid yummy caramel scent.

Pumpkin Pizzelle is a lovely chewy cookie with caramel and pumpkin aroma. I forgot how much I enjoy Carol's pizzelle scents. 

Apple Pie a' la Mode is a creamy vanilla ice cream with a touch of apple pie in the background. I am going to love this one. 

Cotton Candy Skies Type is a strong cotton candy with a dash of Skittles and other sweet and sour fruity candies thrown in.

Fairy Godmother is a fruity floral with a pink almost bubblegum vibe.

Cookies and Cupcakes came in the most adorable teeny tiny cupcake and cookie mold!! It is a classic staple of vanilla cupcake and sugar cookie combined. Not overly sweet and not frosting.

Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo is a tart fruity melange of fruits that leans into the sorbet territory. Lovely!

Fruiti Jelly Bean Type does kind of remind me of those Starburst jelly beans that come out at Easter time. 

Vanilla Ice is perfectly chilly and creamy sweet.

Giggles is a tropical take on a fruity floral. There is a tang of citrus and pineapple lurking in there I think.

Raspberry Ale is wonderfully boozy with ale. It is a berry hops filled delight. Reminds me of one of the very first tarts I tried called Beer Wench. Loved it.

Blueberry Thyme is very herbal... almost minty with it. Not sure I can pick up the blueberry on cold very well.

Rose Water and Apricots is plump with the peachy scent of dried chewy apricots and the softness of rosewater. Pleasant!

I look forward to melting these guys over the coming months. I am setting some aside for a giveaway next week. Carol has a post for scent requests if you are looking to get something specific in her next opening. Did you pick up anything from this winter opening? Do you plan on ordering in January? I might pick up a few things but I do have some goals to set for next year. Reality is always there waiting to pounce. 

Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy and happy Christmas and holiday season.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Arcana Wildcraft: Winter Scents

 These perfumes were sent as gifts. All opinions are my own.

Merry Christmas Eve, friends! Today is new pajama day in the Johnson household (well, for the girls anyway). We will have the day (well, the whole week) just the four of us and maybe play some games. I will get Christmas morning breakfast ready to go tonight. Then relax. Hoping you have a nice Christmas Eve. I do have some festive perfumes to chat with you about today. Julia at Arcana Wildcraft has a wonderful catalogue of winter scents. These should be up for the next month. You can get 10% off with the code NEWYEAR and there is free shipping on orders of $40 or more in the US. Not a bad deal! 

Winter Mirth- Notes: The scent of favorite scarves, gleeful snow days, and a lighthearted whirl of holiday parties: green coconut, baked pumpkin, nutmeg, red patchouli, and brightest lemongrass. $26
This is a festive scent! In the vial the coconut and lemongrass pull out like strings of confetti and paper streamers. It does remind me a teeny tiny bit of a yummy Thai soup. Once on the wrists the coconut becomes creamy like condensed milk while the baked pumpkin brings out gingery tones. The lemongrass still adds its lemony green tang. I am still salivating a bit over the reminder of that one time I made Thai coconut soup. I probably shouldn't blog and sniff when hungry. The Thai vibes fade as the heart blooms with creamy nutmeg and the pumpkin sweetens into a tasty treat. Lemongrass sparkles off and on again much like a trick candle, surprising you when you least expect it. The red patchouli base was not what I had expected. It has an almost ambery musk to it that glows. Marvelous! Winter Mirth is a cheerful and dynamic scent that is warming and fun.

Sneachta- Notes: Irish Gaelic for snow, the word sneachta (shnokh-ta) is also slang for another powdery white substance. Dry tobacco, sweet Irish honey, white musk, smoked vanilla (layering note), and the unmistakable whiff of wayward impulses. 
Boozy tobacco drifts from the mouth of the jar. Nuances of honey spiral away from the sticky sweet shredded leaves. It smells like the pouches of butternut chewing tobacco I would buy for my stepdad at Christmas time from Edwards' Pipe & Tobacco. Dabbed onto the skin, dusky honey and the golden suede-like texture of tobacco leaves hanging from barn rafters to cure reaches my nose. Bees hum merrily nearby. In the heart the large dry leaves are finely shredded and tamped down into grandpa's meerschaum pipe. The familiar scent of his flannel shirt teases the memory, sleeves lazily rolled, knotty knuckles, impish grin. His vanilla tobacco as yet unlit wafting its nostalgic perfume out. I am a fool and a half for tobacco scents and Sneachta is a welcome addition. It has a more rustic and intimate feel to it that I appreciate.

Snug- Notes: The scent of staying in to watch the snow fall: dark honey amber, marshmallow, and the glow of beeswax candles. $26
I have been meaning to buy this scent for quite a few years now. I am so happy to have it now. This has been an Arcana winter time classic for quite some time. Sticky amber, dusty altar candles, and a drop of booze for an offering display themselves upon first sniff. Pressed onto the wrists Snug is a burnished amber, pregnant with dark sticky sacred bits of nature: honey, sap, resin, and a breath of animalic musk that lends a growl. What is a fulfilling snuggle without a nip? The viscous drops of amber glow with the reflection of altar candles, hand-rolled and made malleable by warm hands. The honeyed wax melts pleasantly into the vanilla laden amber accord. The base burrows down to snuggle even deeper with creamy soft benzoin and a whiff of buttery soft labdanum musk. Less sweet, more burnished and snug indeed. A truly lovely scent for all seasons.

Tinderbox- Notes: The essence of a baroque case filled with tempered firesteel, flint, and linen charcloth: resinous black amber, woodsmoke, sweet mallow root, frankincense, cubeb, and sandalwood. $26
I love this one. Smoky frankincense and peppery cubeb blended into a smoldering and delightfully smooth perfume. Ignited on the skin the woodsmoke diffuses instantly to create an aura of perfectly serene smoke. It isn't acrid, sweet, bitter or thick. It achieves that delicate balance that only comes from getting a faint trace of woodsmoke on the chilled late fall breeze when walking in the countryside, making you want to inhale deeply and revel in it. The heart is made of the most exquisite raw frankincense resin. The overall effect is a warm, velvety smoke that feels luxurious and immensely wearable. Tinderbox is one to get if you are a fan of smoky scents or smoldering frankincense.

Star Dark is one I have had in my stash for a little while. I think it was gifted to me in a swap. It is not on sale from Arcana currently but I thought it would be nice to give my thoughts on both of these since they are probably from a winter release in the past. Of the two, Star Light is on sale right now.

Star Light- Notes: Sugar cookies infused with Mexican vanilla and sprinkled with tiny hints of peach, fig, and raisin. $26
Sugar cookies studded with dried fruits. I love the chewy sweetness from the peaches and figs and raisins. They really pull through on cold sniff. On the skin those dried fruits do retain some soft chewiness and they marinate in a heaping glug of sugared vanilla. The raisins are as dense and rich as dates, the peach is jammy and bright. A breath of the sugar cookie plays in and out of focus with a touch of almond extract in the batter. This is a beautiful gourmand. It settles down into a toothsome vanilla still studded with the ghost of those fruits. 

Star Dark- Notes: Dark chocolate, vanilla, French cocoa absolute, cinnamon cream, pumpkin rind, pink pepper, and frankincense. (not currently for sale)
Fragrant dark chocolate, black as midnight and melting like velvet in the mouth. I normally am not he biggest chocolate fan in fragrance but this one is incredibly delicious. Applied to the wrists the darkest bitter sweet chocolate liqueur pours forth. It is a touch boozy and absolutely decadent. Quickly the cream swirls in but I don't catch much heat from the cinnamon. If anything it only lends a dusky wood element to the cocoa. This is not a sweet perfume but it is rich. It smells of the most delicious and expensive artisan dark chocolates made. If you like Solstice Scents' Pinyon Truffle or Black Forest you would enjoy this one. Though they aren't standing out to my nose independently the incense, pumpkin and pink pepper are blended seamlessly in this scent to create that expensive cocoa refinement that makes this perfume so special. If you find this on the marketplace pick it up. 

Wishing you a peaceful and calm evening with love abound. 

Merry Christmas Eve! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Arcana Wildcraft: Snow Witch Collection

 These perfumes were sent to me gratis as a gift from Julia, all opinions are my own.

Julia at Arcana Wildcraft composed a line of Snow Witch scents for wintertime and they are quiet lovely! All of them are scent to snuggle by. They run $26 for a 5ml bottle.

Snow Witch: Ritual- Notes: A dark, mysterious mix of blackened amber resin, wild-harvested fir and spruce branches, aged iron-distilled patchouli, frankincense tears, and bitter orange nectar.
Immediately I know I am in for a treat. From the vial lifts up the most clear and smooth patchouli, heavy with forest gifts of fir and orange pith. It is a Yule wreath woven with the most fragrant bounty of the woods. Graced on the flesh the bitter and pithy orange peels jolt the senses and feel alive. The tangy citrus pulls the mossy patchouli out of the darkness. The sourness of the wild orange give way to a subtle sweetness in the heart, merging beautifully with the dark vanillic amber. A faint specter of incense and fir haunts the borders of the heart. As it settles into the base the amber and orange become chewy and sweet, reveling in the dark sticky patchouli. This is a wonderful scent that will be worn often.

Snow Witch: Moonrise- Notes: Cold, pale lunar musk, white amber, fluffy snow, Boswellia sacra, silken robes, purple iris, soft cedar, and Egyptian blue chamomile.
Fresh chamomile flowers crushed between the fingers with an eerie halo of musk rises from the bottle on first whiff. On the skin a similar silhouette is reflected but more roots are entangled in the scent and cottony fabric emerges as well. Like glimpses of a flowing spirit between the portal that dwells betwixt trees. The opening is uncanny and peculiar. Right as I try to dissect it the heart unlocks to divulge a dried bouquet of feral irises tied with twine and sighing their melancholy thoughts into the night. Austere tear drops of frankincense mingle with the iris to create a gauzy texture fit for a moonbeam. As it dries down the lunar musk hovers like a tender fog, clean, fresh and silvery. Moonrise is a delicate and serene perfume, evocative of tenderness and maybe even a touch of longing. 

Snow Witch: Hinterland- Notes: Far afield from her home this is where a witch harvests her spell supplies. Wild woodland roses, loamy forest floor, wild-gathered green mosses, and golden vetiver.
Incredibly authentic smells of damp fecund earth spring up when sniffing this perfume straight from the bottle. Bits of twig and moss, sprigs of dainty seedlings and dewy lichen all give a nod to the life giving soil. Julia is a deft hand at soil and loam accords. This one sings with vitality. Planted into the skin the gentle green buds of roses open. These are petite cottage roses that grow in wild and tangled abandon their diminutive faces alight with mischief and potent medicine. I love the fresh green aspect of these roses. They are not overly heady nor overly refined. The roses are embraced by the nourishing soil and dwell within a bed of springy mosses and leaf litter. If you are looking to add an earthy rose with lush green hues and warm brown tones to your collection this is it. 

Snow Witch: Sleigh- Notes: A twinkling, sugar-encrusted blend of fluffy pink candyfloss, creamy Madagascar vanilla, frozen coconut musk, and a single bright red cherry.
Ambrosia salad in a tiny glass vial. Spoonfuls of creamy sweet whipped dessert studded with ruby cherries slides into Edward's confused mouth. This smells exactly like the backyard BBQ scene of Edward Scissorhands. On the skin the coconut husk is tropical and sweet like a blended colada concoction with a garnish of greenery. It slips into a stunning musk on my skin that is reminiscent of Turkish Delight. A bit floral, softly ethereal and of course, dulcet and delicate with notes of pistachio and honeyed coconut. These are the treats offered by the Snow Witch on the sleigh in Narnia. It dries into a silken candied vanilla that is infused with coconut musk and I want to inhale it as often as I possibly can. This is the fist cherry scent I have truly loved.

Snow Witch: Familiar- Notes: The scent of a witch and her animal companions snuggling on a quiet, snow-muffled day. Cafe au lait, vanilla-infused cheesecake, a soft woolen blanket, and warm fur. 

When unstoppered the aromas of roasted coffee beans and tonka beans appear. They harbor in a cashmere scarf. Sepia toned vanilla woods provide a shadowed vignette that surrounds the scent. On the skin a creamy latte is served right up, foamy in its sweetness with extra spoonfuls of sugar. Almost immediately the thick vanilla cheesecake arrives. It possesses a hint of salty richness around the edges, perhaps it is the crust or some caramel sea salt hidden in the layers. On my skin at this point it *almost* leans towards popcorn. The cheesecake slowly morphs into warm wool blankets that hold a bit of lanolin and the scent of clean scalps within. These are the purring and huffing familiars gathered around while the cafe au lait steams in cupped hands, pooled into a favorite vessel. It dries down into the cozy scent of the family snuggle blanket. You know the one that the pets sleep on, the youngsters steal to make forts and mom wraps herself up in on slow mornings. This blanket has hosted countless sips of coffee and teas and furry companions. It is sweet, musky, creamy yet has a tender clarity. I adore the drydown on this one. It is fantastic.

Snow Witch: Embers- Notes: The cozy scents of a winter witch's cottage hearth. Rich, sticky caramel, smoky Japanese Hiba woods, warm cardamom, and pink Himalayan sea salt.
In the vial arises wood and salt with a glowing greenness that could be green cardamom pods and vetiver. It smells of a mossy seaside fire on chilly windswept cliffs. On the wrists the green bitter cardamom pods burst into ashes, scorched caramel bubbles around the edges. There is a slight acridness to the charred wood that is realistic. Biting herbaceous sap from nightshades wink in the dying ambers. What strange offerings are being set aflame here? 

I truly enjoy each and every one of this beauties. I do have to say that Ritual, Familiar, Sleigh and Moonrise are my top favorites though. I will be chatting about some more winter collection scents from Arcana tomorrow. There will be a wax/perfume giveaway here at the end of the year as a small last celebration that 2020 will be closing out. Which of these do you think would be your favorite?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Arcana Wildcraft: Glittering Collection

 These perfumes were sent as gifts. All opinions are my own.

Glittering White is a wonderfully creamy and minty sweet winter treat. Julia at Arcana Wildcraft has chosen this blustery delight to build several flankers that showcase various tonal notes used along a color wheel. These particular four colors are currently on offer for $26 each. 

Glittering Lavender- Notes: Smooth, sweet, buttery French lavender absolute with our Glittering White (cold peppermint, sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk). $26

I must admit I was most excited for this version. I am absolutely smitten with Julia's lavenders. I have yet to meet one I didn't want to immediately adopt. Sniffed directly from the bottle I easily envision a cup of warm frothy white chocolate with lavender buds floating on top. It is decadent and mouthwatering. On the skin a blizzard of lavender twirls about the senses. It is jammy and sweet, calming and serene with hints of rosemary or pine to it. A backing of pillowy while chocolate and marshmallow gives the lavender a soft place to land. Lavender cream. Divine. The white chocolate fades, allowing room for the vanilla musk to pull through and weave into the lavender. It remains creamy and sweet and a truly indulgent lavender treat. I am over the moon for it. I will be wearing this for bed, for comfort, and all year 'round. Normally I find white chocolate to be cloying and too rich but Julia crafted a scent that uses it to its best.

Glittering Black- Notes: Black amber, black musk, ice-coated black metal, motor oil, smoky vetiver and just a hint of Glittering White. $26

In the vial Glittering Black is all about that dank dark vetiver. Shinning on the wrists it wafts up smoggy clouds of sooty oil and musky vetiver. The sweetness of Glittering White glides in quickly to pool around the inky vetiver and glittering black hues to cast a dulcet warmth to the fragrance. This transitions nicely with the black amber and the thick gooey marshmallow pairing up together. This part of the drydown is my favorite.

Glittering Green- Notes: The scent of eating mint-laced white chocolates in a huge old growth forest. Jammy fir balsam, a bit of black spruce, and Glittering White. $26

I love Julia's description of eating white chocolate mints in the forest, because that is exactly what comes out of the bottle on first sniff. And if anyone can illustrate a forest in fragrance, it is Julia. Fresh on the wrists I get chilly and minty fir trees. This might be the scent where I can detect the mint the easiest. I think sometimes I am a bit asnomic or at least desensitized to mints because I love them and wear them and melt and burn and goodness knows what all else, the most. So usually if it is minty it needs to be minty for me to pick it up. I get a whiff of that here. I also get Julia's dreamy balsamic turpentines and resins, her boughs and bark and needles. The white chocolate reveals itself in the heart once the bark is peeled away, but it is a white chocolate Andes bar (do they make those?? now I need to find out). The evergreens give the mint a touch of wintergreen vibe that suits perfectly. As it dries down the evergreens grow more sturdy and the sweet is left as a musk. I really enjoy this scent and will wear it often.

Glittering White- Notes: An opening of cold peppermint settles into a heart of sugar cookies, marshmallows, white chocolate, and vanilla musk. $26

I was thinking when I began this post that I should have put Glittering White first, but honestly, I feel like each of these scents really stands out as its own fragrance without being too similar to the original. Glittering White in the vial highlights that sugar cookie in a gourmand way. I didn't catch it in the other versions but in this one it is supreme: chewy, vanilla, and toothsome. On the skin marshmallow and an almost pink cotton candy peppermint comes out in a rush. The soft candy floss aspects of the mint do evaporate as it settles. Shimmering cool sugar crystals grace the tops of the cookies while vanilla beans and delicate white chocolate curls lie nestled within. The white chocolate is a touch furred and almost powdered like cocoa, it has a feathered texture rather than creamy, but that keeps this from being something found in a Mrs. Fields case. It truly does capture a glittering moment in a Marshmallow World where fluffy sweet snow blankets earth, leaving quiet and calm. This is unique in my collection and I look forward to wearing it as a holiday perfume.

We only have this week of school left before the winter break. I am working on making the students bookmarks, typing up their report cards, and plotting a time to sit and begin wrapping gifts. The past few years I have left it woefully late. I did bake cookies and make candies for the neighbors and co-workers. So I am not feeling too far behind. My mom is staying home due to COVID so this will be the first year in a while that it will just be Adam, the girls and I on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Heck! Probably all holiday weekend. I know it is for the best but I can't help but feel it is a touch bittersweet. 

I am still going to beg Adam to fry us a turkey. I don't care if we have leftovers for days. What are your holiday plans? Anything that you must eat or bake?