Saturday, October 31, 2020

Ebb & Flow: October 2020

 The highs and lows of the month.

(Throw back photo from our Salem visit last year.)


Solstice Scents Foxcroft

Perfume Oil:

Nocturne Alchemy BIC: Halloween Spice Cake and Sixteen92 Van Helsing


Black Alchemy Wild Chaga Rootbeer


Bath and Body Works Leaves and Pumpkin Bonfire (love this one tons).


Candles From the Keeping Room pumpkin scents (love Pumpkin Firewood, Butternut Pumpkin and Frost on the Pumpkin).




Apple cider


Gardener's World on the BBC


Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. All excellent. Currently reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.


Halloween instrumental music on YouTube.


Shirts from Seventh Ink.


Suave Rosemary Mint shampoo doesn't smell or feel nearly as good as the Trader Joe's version. 


Cooler weather, Christmas shopping and the first fire in the fireplace.


The December 18th decision by the governor over school mandates in COVID, the election results, and upcoming cold and flu season.


My sister leaving to go to Belgium. I will miss her. But I it is more of a bittersweet thing because she will be having a blast and I will get to fly out and see her one day in the future when COVID relents. 


My new students are amazing. I love watching them grow, getting to know them and seeing their passion for learning. They are kind to one another, humorous and pretty much just the best ever. 

October has been kind to me. I worked in the yard, the birds are coming back, and the humidity is waning. How was yours? Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Willow Wax Craft: The Urge Struck


I had the wax tart urge. Did I need more wax? No, not really. But I was craving some elusive scents that I just did not have in my collection. I found in my quest for constant comfort that I had amassed plenty of vanilla bakery, apple cinnamon and evergreens. However, I was lacking atmospherics and ambers and scents that really sent me somewhere. 

I knew where to go to get that itch scratched: Willow Wax Craft

Ghoul-Haunted Woodland-Notes: Cool, shadowy conifers, a hint of rain, withering leaves, apples, and lavender. $6
This is a beautifully rendered fresh outdoor aroma. The conifers are brisk and piney while the rain and leaves add to the coolness of the scent. Apples very subtly keep the too fresh edge from creeping in by softening the mountain air robustness. This ghoul-haunted woodland is located in a temperate late autumn coniferous forest and I like it.

Lost on the Moor- Notes: The haunting, chilling scent of the wild Yorkshire moor- heather, lavender, moss, chamomile, ozone, juniper, and elderflower. $6
Flower laden meadows in wide open spaces. The chamomile and elderflower have a lovely mild sweetness that enhances the verdant herbal aspects of the moss and juniper. This will be lovely to melt in the bedroom and once winter fades away.

Primeval Forest- Notes: Cardamom, cedarwood, loam, rose, and decaying foliage scattered on the forest floor. $6
That cardamom and rose is beyond elegant. I love that pairing of spicy warmth and earthy rose. The cedarwood and leaves play perfectly with the rose and cardamom, providing the reminder that this is a forest scent first and foremost. I would wear this as a perfume.

Bonfire Stories- Notes: Caramelized marshmallows, a crackling fire, sweet woodsmoke, and all the tales they weave. $6
Based on the notes I knew I couldn't possibly check-out without this one. This reminds me a touch of Bonfire Bliss but the caramel note is much stronger. The caramel is so dense that it pulls more toffee than marshmallow. It stands up against the flame and smoke. 

Desiderium- Notes: Tuberose, jasmine, vanilla, leather, and honeyed immortelle absolute, with shadowy whispers of incense smoke, musk, and amber. $6
I had to look up what desiderium meant (an ardent feeling of longing, especially accompanied by grief). The scent is nothing short of incredible. I asked for unique and evocative blends and that is certainly what I got. The leather and white intoxicating florals stop short from femme fatale by the addition of the jammy immortelle and velveteen incense. The incense leans a touch nag champa and I love it for that. 

Mechanical Heart- Notes: Sharp frozen metal and clockwork covers a heart of hot carnation and resinous-spicy copal, all surrounded by sudden snowfall. $6
The blending of spiced carnation with it fresh peppery hues and the cool metallic clank of metal is wonderful. They do have a certain symmetry. The copal smells a touch green and fresh, reminding me of the copal a friend brought back from Belize. I am going to enjoy melting this one. 

Victorian Smoking Room- Notes: Dark wood panels, tall shelves of worldly literature, opulent leather armchairs, and velvet. Black pepper, patchouli, vetiver, sweet tobacco, cherry vanilla pipe smoke, rich bourbon, and deep brown sugar. $6
If I could visit any time in the past for future, I would always and forever choose to visit the Victorian era. About 1890 would do it. I love reading historical fiction set in that time and I have a few books published during that time (Harper's Bazaar and some others) and they simply transport me. So of course I had to pick this scent up. Certainly in my wheelhouse of notes as well. It lives right up to its name. The tobacco and pipe smoke are lush and softly sweet. The pepper and patchouli add depth. I would almost venture to say that this combination reminds me of a much deeper and richer version of Lord of Misrule. It has that vanillic and cushiony pepper and patchouli suggestion. 

Aurora- Notes: Fresh citrus, rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, vanilla, oakmoss, and vetiver. $6
I am a sucker for minty herbal scents. And I love how this one was poured with the three color layers. The rosemary and vanilla peppermint shine brightest but the other notes give this a sparkle and brightness that makes it unique among my many minty wax tarts. I will be going back for more of this one for sure.

I am so thrilled with my order. I shared several scents with a friend of mine who was looking for some lovely green scents and I think what I sent off fit the bill.

I also picked up some of the elemental fire scent shots. Samantha makes really cool themed elemental bundles for $21 that feature seven scents that are to be used blended together. These four from the fire collection really struck a chord with me. Chai is a wonderful example of a freshly steeped cup of chai tea. Labdanum is one of my personal favorite perfume notes so to sniff its sticky amber sweetness in wax is great fun! Tobacco is rich and almost coffee-like in its toasted molasses twang. Vanilla Smoke heady and so dense I can almost chew the smoke.

I will be back to buy and sniff more of Samatha's wonderful wares. More Aurora for sure and perhaps a few of her Halloween scents if I can snag some fast enough. Do you enjoy atmospheric scents in wax? Where do you like to be transported? What unique notes do you enjoy?

Friday, October 23, 2020

Sawdust & Embers: Winter Woods Candle

 This candle was provided free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

This candle is on my bedside table and it is slaying it. Sawdust & Embers Winter Woods travel candle is made of a proprietary soy blend in a 7.5 ounce tin with a cotton wick and lasts about 55-60 hours. 

I am happy to hear it lasts that long because I don't want it to end. 

Winter Woods- Notes: Noble fir, balsam, and cedar. $18
This is a splendid sugared spruce type of scent. It is bursting with jammy evergreen notes and has just a touch of sweetness. But that balsam is star. This candle burns evenly and the wick is strong without being alarming. It pools to the edges and throws strong in my bedroom. I love it. 

I am sold on these tins. The woodwicks were nice but they got a little angsty when burning. These cotton wicks are strong but not overwhelming with their flame retention. I will be back for more. Especially in that Rosewood. 

I am on a small nightstand candle kick. I like smaller ones like this and in scents that make me feel serene and relaxed. School is finally settling into a routine and I feel like I am able to make some headway guiding the kiddos in their learning. The girls are doing well and my garden is growing. I don't think I can ask for more than that right now. 

How are you doing?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Arcana Wildcraft: Layering Note Perfumes


Two very important things had me popping over to Arcana Wildcraft recently: I needed a restock of Filthy Viking and I had to snag Aged Patchouli. 

Filthy Viking is my go-to scent for when I am feeling sick, sad, troubled, stressed or just want to feel comforted in some manner. I have drained two 5ml bottles and my 15ml is almost out. I messaged Julia and asked if I could purchase another 15ml and she posted one for me buy lickety-split. She is the best.

Filthy Viking- Notes: Bracing Norwegian juniper, frigid Icelandic mint, and the hardy wood of a longship. $76 for 15ml or $26 for 5ml

Although I have reviewed this one before (here) I am going to chatter about it a bit here again.

Filthy Viking is a forever favorite because it is a minty fragrance that does something no other mint has done on my skin before... linger. I splashed this on at about 7am yesterday morning as I dressed for work. The cooling effects of peppermint oil and the spiky green bursts of juniper immediately awoke my senses. As the day wore on the mint mellowed in its arctic intensity and the woods slowly came to berth upon the skin, but the crisp essence of the mint remained. The woods of the longboats read like a blending of cedar and sandalwood on my skin, sturdy but not splintering. The freshness of the mint relaxes while the juniper fades into more of a greenery rather than the photorealistic plant that it is in the beginning. There I was sitting in bed, back in my pjs and I could still sniff Filthy Viking on my arm at 6pm, right along the with Icelandic mint. Perfection.

Aged Patchouli- Earthy, spicy, iron-distilled patchouli essential oil in dilution. Very finest quality. Aging since early 2018. $26, on sale for $20

As soon as I sniffed the contents I knew I had made a most excellent choice. I might have to make that choice a few more times as well. This is a top notch patch. It smells smoky and earthen but with nuances of woods and tannins, minerals and cool dark places. On the skin this sings. The cool damp and dark nooks reveal themselves to be warm and inviting. The woods flourish and threads of shimmering minerals abound. I love wearing this patchouli on its own in pure perfection but I know it will be layered with vanillas, mints, lavenders and pretty much anything I can dream up. It is a staple.

Yellow Cake- The scent of a sweet, golden bakery cake. $26, on sale for $20

Speaking of staples, this is one for many Arcana fans. Julia's yellow cake notes is highly favored by gourmand lovers. On the skin it is a buttery vanilla delight. There are tones of bread and perhaps even corn meal at first when sniffed close to the wrist but wafting all about is a fluffy cloud of pillowy yellow cake. Sweet, but not sugary, decadent and vanilla laden. 

Pumpkin Milkshake- Cold vanilla ice cream blended with fresh pumpkin, milk, sugar, and Korintje cinnamon. $26, on sale for $20.

This is a toothsome treat. Pumpkin, vanilla and subtle spice. The vanilla is sugary and sweet and sets itself deliciously against the pumpkin puree. There are hints of caramel within the pumpkin. The cinnamon warms the scent and all in all it is easily one of my favorite pumpkin centric scents, of which I have many. 

Seaweed- A proprietary dilution of seaweed absolute. Briny, oceanic, pungent, and kelp-like. $26, on sale for $20.

Julia was talking about this layering note in the Arcana Addicts group and she mentioned that this was not a perfumer's interpretation of seaweed, but actual seaweed that had been harvested and processed to serve as a truly realistic scent. She suggested layering it with florals and any scent you wanted to add a mermaid flair to. It smells briny and oceanic and all the critters and organisms that go along with that. It is salty, green, a touch fishy and wholly seaweed. Barnacles, wee crabs and all. Once on the skin the dank living bits float up then the scent warms with a tinge of lemony brightness and a whole lot of saltiness. You never forget you are wearing true seaweed and it is a fantastic experience. 

Truffle- A dark chocolate ganache center is dipped in thick, generous layers of milk chocolate and white chocolate. $26, on sale for $20.

This is a lush chocolate scent. A perfect balance between bittersweet and milk chocolate. Melting velvet on your tongue. Hints of coffee, woods and hazelnuts dwell within the chocolate liqueur heart of this scent. I normally don't do chocolate. Julia has made me a believer on more than one occasion and this is another such experience. 

Pollution- Plumes of black smoke rising from coal fires, burnt vetiver, and a slick of motor oil. $26, on sale for $20.

In the vial is it charcoal, liquid smoke and creosote darkness. On the skin is plays out in similar gestures, starting with a raging bonfire where unsuspecting organisms might be roasting. Char, smoke and ash dance in devilish delight. Don't be afraid to try this one out. You may find you will want to layer it with everything you own to give it a kick of bad assery. It is just as effective as a black leather jacket with chains.

Amber Caramel- A dark, sexy blend of blackest amber with Arcana's Caramel (rich toffee, sticky maple, sugar cane, and tonka bean absolute.) $26, on sale for $20.

Amber Caramel pours like liquid resins onto the flesh. Warm, vanillic and with notes of caramelized sugar. I almost get a latte aroma from this blend. Perhaps it is the warmth and sweetness. The toffee really stands out along with the amber. There exists a definite cream aspect. I know this will age beautifully like the rest of Julia's amber accords. I will be keeping this on hand to wear as a whole perfume in and of itself.

Fresh Coconut- A pure, beachy, almost underripe coconut with a light dusting of sugar. $26, on sale for $20. 

This is coconut nirvana. As a child who grew up slathered in tropical sunscreen until adulthood and even now, I can attest to the fact that beachy coconuts reign nostalgic supreme to me. This is a fantastic one. It is lush and slightly sweet, fleshy and not at all dry but does have a hint of the wooden husk. It is the milk, water, flesh and all wrapped into a dulcet bundle. Perfect for beach days, summer evenings, or paired with patchouli, vanilla, seaweed, yellow cake, or more.

Julia has some really lovely layering notes and Halloween releases out right now. Head on over and check it out. Do you do layering notes or do you sometimes enjoy the simplicity of a single scent? It can be quite refreshing.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sawdust & Embers: Incense

 This incense was sent free for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Sawdust & Embers is an artisan candle company based out of Texas and run by John and Brett. I have enjoyed wonderful candles from Sawdust & Embers in the past. The house blends have a quality of scent that takes me out of doors and into the woods, which we all know is a place that I love to be.

Coyote Tobacco Incense- Notes: Wild tobacco, conifer needle, lichen. $16

This charcoal based incense comes in a handy tin with 30 incense cones that have a burn time of 20-30 minutes each. These light easily and emit a silken thread of moss covered pine and fresh green tobacco leaves. It gives the impression of bright blue skies ringed by tall strapping pines and optimistic thoughts. It leaves rooms smelling welcoming and open-windows fresh. It burnt into a small pile of ash in about 20 minutes and left a lingering ghost of mountain air.

I have never used charcoal incense but it was wonderful to work with. I look forward to trying the rest of the blends that Sawdust & Embers has to offer in the future.

This has been great since I am on an incense kick. My oldest even requests some when she is sitting at the desk and working on bead bracelets. 

Have you used charcoal incense before? What is scenting your home right now?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Sihaya & Company: Autumn Dream Box "A Dream of Truth and Beauty"

 This box was sent gratis in exchange for photographs. All opinions are my own.

Sihaya and Company's fall box of curated indie goodies is themed "A Dream of Truth and Beauty" with a focus on Persephone and Pre-Raphaelite art and beauty. The items were thoughtfully gathered and all speak to the soft and golden transition from gilded summer into a glowing bronze autumn. This box was $65.

This spiral notebook was a joy to discover inside the box. I have actually ordered one of Christina's notebooks (and a tank top) from her swag tab at Sihaya. I am a sucker for notebooks. I use them when traveling to record perfume impressions as well as for list making. These retail for $14 on the website, but this particular cover art is not available (but many more are and they are lovely- I have the Moon Maiden). 

Forms Divinely Beautiful- Notes: Carnation, sandalwood, amber, golden musk, and a swirl of spice. $13

This is a lovely candle. The aqua shimmer and gorgeous fragrance are appealing. The carnation is feathery and smooth, paired with velvety woods and gauzy amber musk. This is a soft and pleasant fragrance that portrays itself as primarily a carnation musk. I look forward to burning this in my bedroom to create a gentle atmosphere.

I always get excited when I see a new lip color from Sihaya in the Dream Box. Goblin Market ($6.50) not only has an incredible name but it also feels and looks just as magical. There is a nice moisturizing slip to the lip color, the hint of something dark and berry-like to the scent and it is the color of russet fall leaves with a warm undertone on my lips. They look flushed and ripe, as if kissed by chilly fall winds. This one will stay in my purse.

There were two eyeshadows from Crow and Pebble but I think I lost one of them in the bottom of the box and it got recycled. Yikes. Bone head move. The color I do have is called Priestess of Delphi and is an illuminating warm brown and mauve with pink and lilac shimmer shadow. It is a beautiful shade and will make for an easy wash of color on the lid for work in the morning. Five pounds for a full sized container of eyeshadow.

Entwined by Astrid Perfumes- Notes: A lush blend of black currants, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, dried rose petals, twisted wood branches, soft violets, dusty lavender, Scottish shortbread, and English ivy. $25

I was very excited to see this in the box. Astrid is a talented perfumer and she always combines scent notes in unexpected ways. From the vial this perfume bursts with the fragrance of berries, sun dappled, springing from brambles and stolons. Their ruby and merlot hues are as intense as their effluvia. On the skin those berries divulge themselves in my the same manner. Astrid is a deft hand at brewing berry notes. The vibrate with life and realism. The amethyst and ruby berries slowly soften in the heart, revealing the blossoms that they originated from. The violets allow for a pillowy fall from the vine where they mingle with the magic of the woods. This is my first berry-centric perfume that I have fallen head over heels for. It is utterly enchanting. 

This Virtuoso artisan caramel bar is flavored in Seasonal Spice. Their Etsy shop is currently closed so I am not sure how much these normally cost but I love the packaging. I did gift this to a friend since I recently had to have my crown replaced and I am nervous about chewing anything overly sticky right now... call me a coward.

Willow Tree Company scrub in  Fairytale Rose- Notes: Neroli leaves, papaya flower, geranium, gardenia, African dog rose, Turkish rose absolute, cashmeran, sandalwood, and light woods. $35

I have to admit, I kinda had sticker shock when I saw the price on these. I rarely comment on pricing, as I will pay outrageous amounts on things that tickle my whim, but this is a bit high on my scrub allowance spectrum. Since it was whipped it did arrive a wee bit condensed but came with a lovely rose soap embed. The blue is electric and the mica is shimmery and vibrant. The scent is redolent of a high end floral perfume. The scrub consistency is thick and scoopable with the fingers and the sugar particulate was medium-fine, scrubbed nicely but dissolved quickly. It is a coconut oil based scrub. 

This is easily one of my favorite Dream Boxes (other than Halloween, or the Sisterhood of the Moon, it is pretty spectacular) to date. I love the perfume, candle, notebook, make up and other treats. I highly recommend these Dream Boxes as a gift for yourself or anyone you love that would enjoy artisan products. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Bathing Garden: Halloween Order


With Halloween approaching I knew I would end up placing a small Bathing Garden order. I love Shannon's fall scents and I was fresh out of scrubs. 

Haunted Hayride- Notes: Tart Granny Smith apples, caramel, cinnamon, pumpkin, and hints of hay. $3.95
Haunted Hayride is an old time favorite of mine from years and years ago. I always enjoy the meshing of the spiced apples and pumpkin with the soft golden hay. It brings to mind fall festivals and carnivals. There is a touch of creamy vanilla sweetness to this scent too.

Salt and Bone- Notes: Salty lime blends with juniper, lemon, and hints of lavender. 

This is a fresh and bracing scent. The salt and lime are crystal clear and invigorating. The herbs lend a touch of cool greenness. The name, the decoration and the notes are all perfection. I will be saving this one for next summer. 

Sleepy- Notes: Pink sugar, peppermint and vanilla.

One of my very favorite Bathing Garden scents. I always like to have some on hand for bedside melting. I have never had a dressed up Halloween version and I must say it is wonderful. Icy mint buffeted by fluffy pink cotton candy and thick vanilla cream. Forever fave.

Breath of Lucifer- Notes: Rich pipe tobacco smoke blends with sweet vanilla, amber, marshmallow, and fireside notes.

I adore how baroque this tart looks! The gothic name, the fiery sweet scent, the red hues. This one is daring. The amber and tobacco are more resinous than sweet and the fireside smokiness pushes it even further into moody territory, but that wisp of vanilla marshmallow keeps it from smelling like fire and brimstone. I am looking forward to melting this one sooner rather than later. 

Patchouli Nightshade- Notes: Patchouli, sweet lavender, green grass, and wisps of absinthe. 

Shannon had me at patchouli. I have been a patch fiend as of late. I wear it as perfume, burn it as incense, want it in candles and now in wax tarts. This tart smells more like a clean, fresh shaven Pop-Pop more than anything else. The patchouli is mild and fresh, the grass and lavender are cologne hued and the absinthe softens the masculinity. It will be fun to melt but probably isn't my favorite patch scent. I think I will try Witchy from Shannon next, it is a patch and violet. 

I picked up a large scrub in Haunted Hayride ($9.95). I am excited to use this one. I normally only open one scrub at a time but I am thinking I will ping pong between this one and the next...

Fall Leaves and Woodsy Vanilla- Notes: Sweet fall leaves, creamed vanilla with notes of oak and bark. $9.95

I had to break this one open up fast. I love it. The leaves side does remind me a touch of Bath & Body Works Leaves with a pinch of cinnamon and the vanilla oak side is pure bliss. Combining them both is perfection. Oaken vanilla leaves with a touch of sweet spice. I love Shannon's scrubs. They scoop easily with a thick consistency and a medium scrubby particulate that exfoliates wonderfully. I love the moisturizing effects and clean rinse. Bathing Garden scrubs are pretty much my gold standard. I have used others but I always come back. I see that Shannon is offering half sizes (4 ounce) so I went back and grabbed a few I wanted to try out. 

I am loving my order as usual and will be placing another one for some more scrubs soon. Who makes your favorite scrubs? I also want to try out Sugar Spider scrubs but I am waiting for the winter scent release.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Bath and Body Works: Harvest Gathering Candle


My candle stash dwindled there for a while once we had moved but recently I have taken to restocking my Bath and Body Works fall candles. My oldest and I had really be enjoying the Harvest Gathering handsoap as of late so I know that I wanted to pick up the candle as well. 

Harvest Gathering- Notes: Fresh picked apple, autumn berries, and clove buds with essential oil. $24.50 full price but paid $12.25 at half price candle sale.

This candle burned well with strong wicks and nice pooling. The scent throw was medium strong, filling the common living areas. The scent reminded me of a more apple centric Leaves aroma. The apples are sweet and reminiscent of the Macintosh variety while the berries are juicy and vibrant. The clove is mild and adds just a hint of bark-like spice. 

I enjoyed this candles and will be happy to repurchase it in the future. I have Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin burning now. And it is pretty awesome too. 

What candles are you burning right now? Loving any new candle makers?