Monday, September 20, 2021

Hi, There


I sometimes wonder if other teachers feel as out of control and chaotic during the month of September as I do. In Montessori, there is the equilibrium called "normalization" where the kiddos are into their work intention, routines are established and expectations are set and being met by all community members. I think after a virtual hiatus for my incoming 4th graders and a merging of classrooms for my 5th and 6th, this period will take longer to enter into this school year. But hey. That is what grace and courtesy are all about. 

I go to bed at 9pm most nights. 

I deleted the Facebook app on my phone several weeks ago. 

I am trying to limit IG time. 

I have not bought much wax, what I do is from Carol at Candles From the Keeping Room. 

Candles are hauled from Bath & Body Works for the most part, with a Witch City Wicks and For Strange Women mini-order.

Perfumes are still around. I placed A Blood Moon Botanica perfume order today. Excited to see Britton back in the perfume maker saddle. 

I still get the Sihaya & Company boxes. The candle above and the ritual items below are some of my favorites from the summer box. 


My oldest is adjusting well to high school.

My youngest is making some new friends in middle school and is working hard. 

I have the Halloween decorations up. 

I planted the fall garden: radishes, rutabagas, turnips, pole beans, carrots, burdock.

I am trying to read four books at one time but keep starting and stopping them. 

Getting to see Bob Ross' grave with my dear friend Giffe' was a treat. 

It is fascinating to see my DNA results shift around. I am about 50% English with Irish and Scottish playing hopscotch (was 25% Irish and 12% Scottish and now it is reversed), more Welsh is pulling through (from 6 to 13%) and now the German is gone.

I have several bathes of fire cider curing in my cabinet and one in the ground. 

I am back on the ceramic mug kick. Lord help me. 

I am in a strange place of enjoying where I am at right now, but also itching to push through some of these cobwebs that keep nagging around my life and irritating me. I am ready to get some type of workout routine back on, push away the refined sugars, and stick to a budget. Always the same old song, but that is how these things go. 

How are you doing? Wishing you many yummy mugs of warmth and blankets of softness this cozy candle season.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Bookish Jay and the Reading Mermaid Reading Challenge 2021: Update

Here we are, at about mid-year. Summer break, my prime reading time, is over as swiftly as it begun. I am looking forward to fall and winter reading, with chilly breezes and eventually some fireside stories. But now it is hot. I am in a back-to-school frenzy. And reading for pleasure has not been in the forefront for a few weeks now. However, I have read several books so far for the reading challenge this year.

My rating system: *= skip it, it was terrible,  **= might be worth the time,  ***= you should read it

 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.
Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides was picked up at an independent used bookstore here in Orlando. I read it lightening fast. It was a gripping, through distressing tale of a clutch of sisters desperately trying to grow up in 70's middle- America suburbia, though ultimately failing. I went on to watch the film. ***

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.
The Grave Keepers by Elizabeth Byrne was a strange tale of how in an alternate time people spend a great deal of time in their future grave, contemplating and reflecting, tending to their long-term home for when they die. This young adult book follows a family of "grave keepers" who live in a cemetery and help others with their plots and graves. They live on the fringes of society and the two daughters struggle to find belonging. **

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

6. Bright lights, big city—get lost in a Metropolis, real or fictional.
Winterfolk by Janel Kolby is a young adult story about a homeless teen girl and how she navigates her coming of age in Seattle with an absentee father and an over protective male friend. It made for a quick, heartfelt read. **


7. Small town vibes— find yourself in a cozy village setting, where everybody knows your name.
The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker had better cover art than content for my money. A tale of a young lady who is battling grief over her father's death and whether to keep up his fishing territory in small-town Maine or go to college. She is haunted by local spirits who demand to have their injustices brought to light. It is a promising story-line but not well executed. The characters are flat and the story drags. *

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.
Baptism of Fire by Andrzej Sapkowski, and well the whole Witcher series. I enjoyed tagging alongside Geralt and Dandelion's adventures. I do feel that the books did not merge seamlessly into one epic tale. It had many starts and stops and points of view. Sometimes I was semi-lost and others happily ensconced in the tale. Overall, I recommend reading it if you are a lover of fantasy. However, I would not re-read the books. Once was good enough for me. **

10. Rule of 3—three main characters, a friendly trio, love triangle or 3 objects on the cover.
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike was an entertaining read. It follows three women in New England who are joined by their life sorrows and magical abilities. An intriguing man moves into town and disrupts their small coven both for better and for worse. ***


11. Font geek—if an appealing typeface catches your eye, give the book a try.
Darwin's Ghosts by Rebecca Stott, I mean, would you look at those fonts? I love them. I also loved this book. It is a well researched, non-fiction approach to to the men and women who set the stage for Darwin to emerge with his theories on evolution. Growing up as a Baptist kid, Darwin was uber taboo and his ideas discredited roundly. I am so happy that I have been able, over time, to education myself about him. This book was a joy for me to read. ***


12. Book that bites—snakes, bones or teeth on the cover or the title.
The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec fit this prompt perfectly since the witch in question gave birth to a large wolf, snake and daughter, all of whom can be spied in the book art. This is the tale of the ice giant witch named Angrboda who fell in love with the Norse god Loki and bore his children: Fenrir, Jormungandr, and Hel. Their love story is bittersweet and the witch discovers much about herself. I love well written mythology tales and this is one of them. ***

13. Go to the dark side—villains, rogues, bad bois or anti-heroines--pick your reading poison.
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan is certainly an anti-hero story about a fierce female werewolf and her struggle to save her children from a vampire clan. She is anything but nice, and is quite often very repulsive. This is the third book in a series but I read it as a stand alone and it was quite good. Very gory. Very gross. But I liked it. ***


14. Note your improvement—read up on your favorite hobby, or new interest.
The Green Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock was a pleasant and uplifting read about the green path. This is not a religion or spiritual journey but a way of being, living in tune with the earth and surrounding elements, creatures, and life forms. It is a simple read and can be repetitive but is a wonderful foundational book. I ended up gifting it to another who was interested in beginning witchcraft. ***

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.
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater is the first in a trilogy about a human teenage girl and the fae who are attracted to her like a magical magnet. I have not made my way to the second book but probably will at some point. This is one of my favorite author's but it is also one of her first books, so if you do read it it, don't judge her other works on it. It is a little weak. It is a young adult read. **

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.
Good Luck With That by Kristin Hannah is the story of three friends who met at fat camp as teenagers and grew into women who continued to struggle with their weight. One is a chef. It was hard to read at times given my own battles around food and weight but I pushed on. It was a decent book, a bit contrived at times and simply annoying at others, but not terrible. **


25. Poetry: Lyrical limericks, buried metaphors and big feelings. Dive right on in.
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J. R. R. Tolkien is a wee book of poetry and so beautifully written. He is gently lyrical and paints with sunshine and moonbeams. Some I had to read three and four times because they were so tender and deft. ***


26. Find small moments of adventure with some short stories.
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood is technically only one short story but I think it still fits. If I am at a book store and I see Atwood on the spine of something I have not read then I always pick it up. This is the short tale of Odysseus' wife, Penelope, and her point of view of the famous events of the Odyssey. It is set up like a play with the handmaids as a chorus and it reads simply but powerfully. One can never quite tell if Penelope was as honorable as she was portrayed. ***

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.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Maron is a young adult zombie love story that was popular years ago. I never got around to it but I am glad I finally did. A zombie boy falls in love with a healthy girl and they try to fight a sinister force together. I have not read the rest of the series but I was happy with the first book. It was entertaining, engaging and silly. ***

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

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

I have also been heavily into David Sedaris memoirs but could not figure out where to put them in the challenge. How is your reading going this year? Is it a good year for it, or a crap one? Any recommendations for me on my empty prompts? 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Arcana Wildcraft: Layering Notes - Forest Floor, Cedars, Buttercream, Chocolate, Lavender and More



I picked up a handful of layering notes a while back from Julia at Arcana Wildcraft. I was in the mood for woods and calming scents. A few gourmand scents were generously gifted as well. I believe Julia mentioned that her Layering Notes scents would be living at Arcana Craves, once it is set to reopen, which I believe will be soon. The Layering Notes scents are currently $20 each on the Wildcraft site. I enjoy them for their simplicity and realism. Once in a while I will layer them but I mostly choose to wear them alone in appreciation for uncomplicated pleasure.

Buttercream Frosting- Notes: Clouds of powered sugar are lavished over creamy whipped butter and plump vanilla beans. A rich and buttery buttercream confection. 

In the vial the powered sugar and vanilla pull forth strongest, the dustings of velvety white sugar that cling to the lips and corner of the mouth. Stray sweetness. On the wrist that powdery confectioners' sugar slowly warms with soft fresh churned butter to create the creamy whipped sensation of buttercream frosting. A dash of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and dozens of memories baking my daughters' birthday cakes over the years. Each cake was graced with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting, whether it was a dragon, snake, Pokemon (Mew), the One Ring, heart-eyed emoji, or whale cupcakes. This perfume is the perfect photorealistic impression of these moments. As it settles in, the frosting becomes soft again, powdered and gentle. Flavors of dusky tonka, papery benzoin and furry vanilla musk drift hazily through the scent. This will be a bedtime aroma for me. For some reason I get comfort from simple vanilla scents at night. My current go-to is the Marshmallow Layering Note. Once it is gone I will put this in the rotation.


Forest Floor was a Layering Note that was requested by a customer. This accord was featured in Her Forest and Strawberries Crave Sunlit Paths (I believe). I don't recall it ever really being officially listed on the website but you could order it upon request. For a while there Julia was generously creating customer requests for Layering Notes. I think that is on hold while she gets back to curating seasonal delights and some Craves goodies. She does still ask for input in her Facebook group Arcana Addicts. I highly recommend joining. 

Back to the scent at hand, Forest Floor is indeed just that. Soil, moss, humus, mycorrhizae, roly-poly pill bug decomposers, peat, and all the brown, damp crumbly life-filled organic matter that is so vital to forest health. On the skin it begins fresh and mineral laden, like the cool, wet stones in the river bed that meanders between massive trunks of trees. The wet knotty brown roots of cypress knees creep up as you ascend the bank. Bits of needles, dead leaves and pine straw pinch and grab at the toes while silken mud seeps between. Forest Floor possesses the ability to straddle the line between earthen and refreshing, bracing in its dewy greenness and grounded in the bracken, much like lichen and moss. This beauty is easy to wear. I put it on when I want to feel like a dryad. 


Along those dryad tendencies, I also requested a cedar layering note from Julia. She said she had two so I bought both of them. Can you tell I am a sucker for cedar? It all began with the Western Red Cedar oil I purchased from Britton at Blood Moon Botanica. I knew Julia would have some amazing cedar offerings as well. Red Cedar Heartwood and Atlas Cedarwood were the two she created. 

Red Cedar Heartwood is dry and papery, like the dust motes that fly through the shafts of sunlight filtering through the cracked and hazy windows in an old barn. This is the scent of forgotten cedar chests, sunny Victorian attics, and empty barns in the dark of late summer. On the skin this dry wood imparts a peaceful grounded feeling. As a teacher I do catch tiny suggestions of pencil sharpener leavings and that is nicely nostalgic. I would wear this with the other foresty scents, vanillas, frankincense, and patchouli. 


Blue Amber- Notes: Fresh white amber, crystal blue aquatic notes, sea air, and a bit of Egyptian blue chamomile.

From the vial lifts up a perfectly serene blending of chamomile and smooth pale amber. It glows like polished moonstone. There is a soft sandy sweetness to it. On the skin a bit of the salty sea air and briny aquatic tang pushes through the sandy amber initially. It possesses a mild soapy cleanness, like a creamy buttery bar of the best goat's milk soap. The chamomile watery sweet, apple-like essence compliments the ghostly amber. This wears perfectly as a stand-alone aroma.


Chocolate Cake- Notes: The scent of a delicate, cocoa-dusted chocolate cake. Rather than a fudgy chocolate note, this is light and cake-like. 

This is brownie batter in a bowl, spoon licking, spatula licking, finger licking bliss. On the skin the chocolate is light and airy, dustings of cocoa that make the mouth water. Nuances of coconut play around the edges of the light fluffy chocolate cake. This is supremely delicious and completely realistic.


Atlas Cedarwood is not dry like the Red Cedar, this one blooms with the bracing effluvia of turpentine like effervescence. This camphorous scent bubbles with life, the aldehydes of the forest. If you like a wee bit of gasoline in your whiff, give this one a go.


Lavender Absolute- Notes: Buttery, smooth French lavender absolute. The creme de la creme of lavenders.

I know lavender may seem a little pedestrian or commonplace, but honestly no one sources a lush lavender like Julia. Hers always shine with authenticity and saturation. It is certainly buttery and smooth, but also delicately sweet and herbal, with tones of rosemary and pine. I wear this alone but also pair it with Filthy Viking, vanillas and patchouli.

If you enjoy keeping things simple and high quality, give these Arcana Layering Notes a whirl. I find them to be priced well and of excellent taste. What is one of your favorite notes right now? I am on a huge vanilla kick. I cannot get enough Two Finger Ballet, Marshmallow or Devilish. 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Ebb & Flow: July 2021

 The highs and lows of the month.


Perfume:

Solstice Scents Black Forest EDP

Perfume Oil:

Arcana Wildcraft Yurt

Scrub:

Paintbox Soapworks After-Winter

Body Oil:

Aftelier Spiced Patchouli

Candle:

Bath & Body Works Palo Santo

Wax:

Candles From the Keeping Room Celtic Moonspice

Incense:

Sea Witch Botanicals White Lodge

Reading:

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell but I am dragging on it. I have been spending the last couple weeks vegging out in between heading into the classroom, and my mind is a bit too spacey right now. I know I will get back into it soon and it will be a nice book for fall.

Watching:

Saw the movie Old with the girls. It was good. Handmaid's Tale, Ouran High Host Club, Attack on Titan, Hoarders, Grand Tour. 

Listening:

Enya, John Denver, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac.

Drinking:

Dram Black Tea and Cardamom sparkling water (so good!!), Blood Moon Botanica teas, and water.

Eating:

Pocky sticks and tiny Fuji apples.

Awaiting:

Next week going back into work to set up the classroom and prep for the new school year. And also awaiting putting up the fall decorations. It may happen very early this year.

Dreading:

The hot summer days that are about to get even hotter.

Hit:

Sewing again. It was nice to have something to hand sew while on long car rides.

Miss:

Kitulife Super Coffee Creamer, it was gross.

Low:

Some blues. Lack of motivation. Worry.

High:

Being able to take it easy. 

How was your July? Is it hot? Anything exciting happen?

Friday, July 2, 2021

Ebb & Flow: June 2021

 The highs and lows of the month.


Ha! Creepy and weird, right? It was a scene from the haunted museum I went to in Cassadaga that I mentioned last month. The wall of babies. Yikes. Yet, almost artful. 

Perfume:

Solstice Scents Flintlock (lots of compliments on it- I described it as a sexy cowboy).

Perfume Oil:

Arcana Wildcraft Aged Patchouli, day and night.

Skincare:

A small squeeze of Blood Moon Botanica Moon Dew with one drop of Forest and Fjord serum

Soap:

Painbox Soapworks The Wooden God

Scrub:

Painbox Soapworks The Man in the Moon

Body Oil:

Aftelier Spiced Patchouli

Lip Balm:

Lypsyt

Candle:

Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint and Vanilla Birch

Wax Tart:

Candles From The Keeping Room Celtic Moonspice

Incense:

Sea Witch Botanicals White Lodge

Eating:

Gyoza

Drinking:

Boba

Watching:

KDrama and anime: A Love So Beautiful, Violet Evergarden (so beautifully done!!! I cried during several episodes- Netflix), My Hero Academia (first half of season 5), Attack on Titan, Monthly Girls Nozaki, and currently into season 2 of Fruits Basket. I watch these with Scarlette. It has been something for us to bond over. I also watched The Virgin Suicides and Cruella.

Listening:

Pink Floyd, Jimmy Buffett, Led Zeppelin

Reading:

Dune by Frank Herbert, also finished a ton of others books recently but hardly any were on the reading challenge prompt. 

Awaiting:

I placed a small order at Choosing Keeping in the UK for some nice pencils and fine liners and erasers. Looking forward to that arriving. I even went for the gift wrap even though it is only for myself. 

Dreading:

No dread. Just need to get outside more and finally enjoy the summer now that work is done.

Hit:

My used furniture from a local consignment shop. I picked up a sofa and two reading chairs. On my next paycheck I will grab a rug and some pillows and I think we will be set! The new (used) couch is even already Toddles approved.

Miss:

I am getting down to the last dregs of my very favorite natural deodorant from Wild Roots Body Care. I have been watching for a restock but there have not been many updates from the owner. I am hoping things are fine on her end. Should I email and ask or just figure she is on a hiatus?

Low:

Being sick for a couple weeks at the start of the month. Low iron. Tiredness. Moodiness. Some blues.

High:

Spending time with Adam's family in Ohio. Getting some new (used) furniture for the living room finally. Snagging some good books. Chickens. Flowers. Sunshine. Rain. And lots and lots of boba.

How was your June? Any fun plans for July?

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Candles From the Keeping Room: Late Spring 2021



I forgot the month of Carol's last release at Candles From The Keeping Room but I want to say it was May? I stocked up well since I have been keeping my wax spending rather tame this year. And since Kyme at Bohemienne Life has retired from wax making, Carol is pretty much my go-to home fragrance supplier for wax tarts. Each bag is $6.75 for about 5-6 ounces of wax. This paraffin blend throws really well and stores for a very long time. I used to be slightly concerned about paraffin but further research into it has me no longer concerned at all. 

Caramel Apple Pie- This is a robust bakery scent. The crust is salty and buttery and thick. The apples are mildly sweet and softly spiced. This is the first time I have tried this one. I worry it might be a touch too bready and salty but things change once melted and it might surprise me. 

Cinnamon Cider- This is one have had before and enjoy. It is a nice fruity apple with mellow spice and lots of sweetness. It is almost like there are other fruits like citrus within as well. It certainly is not just a run of the mill apple cinnamon.

Apple Bear Claw- This was a fast favorite of mine. A sugary apple filled vanilla pastry with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. It is sweet but not too sweet. It throws strong and makes the home feel cozy. 

German Cinnamon Strudel- This one is newer I believe. This is my first time buying it. This is first and foremost a crumbly vanilla cake with ribbons of cinnamon filling weaving through it and sugar snowed on top. It is another rich bakery for sure. 


Caramel Sticky Buns- I don't think I have tried this one yet either. It has a toasted sugar and sticky toffee gooeyness to it. It is a lovely honey bun aroma.

Powdered Donuts- I was surprised by how much I loved this the last time I picked it up. It is hyper sweet with that powdered sugar and possesses just a touch of vanilla within the cakey donut. It has a wonderfully strong throw too. It tends to smell more balanced while melting rather than from just the cold sniff.

Grannies Vanilla Bean- This is a first for me, getting this scent. You know it had me at "vanilla bean." This is not a bakery scent at all. But it does have some candied caramel and butterscotch hints to it. The vanilla is creamy and candied as well. It will make for a very nice melt. 

Pumpkin Vanilla Cream- I had to try this one too, even though it is not anywhere near fall right now. You know I always keep my eyes peeled for good fall and autumn scents to bring home. They are my weakness. This scent reminds me a little of Pumpkin Crunch, or those pumpkin roll ups that are filled with vanilla cream cheese frosting. It is cake-like and dense with pumpkin but also creamy vanilla.


Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow- This scent I will melt all year long. It is lighter and fluffier than the Pumpkin Vanilla Cream scent. It almost has a coconut cream lean to it. I love it. 

Very Vanilla- A forever love. This is an epic vanilla that throws strong and combines the clarity of vanilla extract with the coolness of whipped cream. 

Warm Vanilla Sugar- I like this Bath & Body Works classic. I recently picked it up in a three wick candle during the last sale. It will be nice to burn the candle and have these tarts going at the same time. I love this musky vanilla beauty.


Boardwalk Marshmallow Clouds- I really like this one on cold sniff. That marshmallow musk with airy sandalwood and creamy magnolia is truly special. I don't think I have had the Bath & Body Works version but it must be nice. I hope this one throws well. 

Marshmallow Musk- This was a sample in the order previous to this one. I loved it. The sweet white musk and pillowy marshmallow that almost leans like vanilla candy floss is ethereal and wonderful. It doesn't throw mega strong, but it still creates a wonderful atmosphere. 

Campfire Marshmallow- I love my marshmallow scents, especially with added smoky notes. I got both this one and Marshmallow Fireside. This one is more like burnt sugar, the crispy, crunchy top of a torched creme brûlée, with a hint of wood and soft woodsmoke. It is candied and lovely!

Marshmallow Fireside- This one is more smoky and sticky and with that marshmallow musk that I love. Both are gorgeous scents and I am happy to have them. Both throw well too!


Vanilla Bean Noel- Strangely I don't think I have ever had Carol's Vanilla Bean Noel. I am thrilled to have this. It smells strong and rich, just like I would want my vanilla scents to be. 

Lush Vanillary- This was a favorite from my samples last time. I adore this scent. I used to wear it in a solid perfume format. I love how the vanilla houses tonka with a boozy backnote. Mmmmmm.

Vanilla Frosting- Another new to me scent. A great buttercream vanilla frosting. This does have some bakery notes in it on cold, so not a straight up frosting at the moment. Hoping this one throws well, but I don't see why it wouldn't. So much potential!


Nights of Autumn- This is one I always love to have on hand. It is a stunning scent. Dried apples, cedar, woods, a touch of earth and the perfume of dried fall leaves. It does have a wonderful floral musk to it that really elevates it.

Woodland Berries- This is a vibrant and bright scent! Juicy berries and a touch of woods. It kind of brings to mind a more complex and fruity version of Sugared Strawberry Spruce. It would actually be a perfect summertime fragrance.

Autumn Woods- This lovely scent blends leaves, pine and berries. It has a similar profile as Nights of Autumn, but less of the perfumed floral musk. They are both wonderful scents.


Fireside Type- This is a lovely scent. It is a soft and airy woodsmoke fragrance. Warm and burnished. It isn't sweet or acrid in any way. 

Country Gift Shop- I adore this one. It is Kirklands in a bag. Super strong throwing apples, fruits and cinnamon. Classic potpourri.

Warm Welcome- I always forget that this one has cherry-almond in it. But it is a spiced fruit aroma too, but with a cherry lean.


Christmas Past- Yes, I even picked up a couple Christmas scents. Christmas Past is a rich evergreen and cinnamon that is sure to bring some happiness during the holidays.

Balsam and Citrus- This is a holiday staple in my home. A strong throw, vibrant oranges and grapefruits, and the ubiquitous sugared evergreen scent of spruce and balsam. It really is perfection.


Fresh Picked Strawberry- If I am able to snag a bag of Fresh Picked Strawberry I am always happy to. I love this ripe and juicy strawberry. It throws strong and smells like a dream.

Serendipity Marshmallow Delight- This is an oldie but goody that I think Jacqui from the Scholarly Nail introduced me to. I don't really remember. It was several years ago. I do love it though. It takes the creamy vanilla sweetness of cherry and coconut serendipity to a whole 'nother level. 


Free Samples!
I gifted many away already but these were some of my favorites of the bunch.

Summer Boardwalking is taffy and popcorn. Just like the Bath & Body Works dupe. Nicely done!

Pink Fresh and Clean is divine. It has cheerful apple freshness with flowers and sweet musk. I love it.

Tropical White Musk is a gauzy fragrance redolent of mango and tropical drinks. It is lush and lovely.

Watermelon is one that is like a creamy watermelon taffy. Chewy and sticky.

Boardwalk Strawberry is very pretty. There is a squishy marshmallow musk that lifts the strawberry perfectly.


White Apple Oakwood is one I have not tried before and I quite like it. The apple is mild but pleasant. It reminds me of Winter Candy Apple but made for fall.

Berry Chamomile is smooth and almost has a vanilla creaminess to it. Like if you brewed a warm cup of chamomile tea and added a dash of cream. 

Blood Orange is incredibly intense and concentrated. A melange of tangerines, mandarin, clementine and of course, blood oranges. Citrus magnified.

Pink Sands is a classic fresh yet sweet scent that reminds me of lollipops on the beach. Or applying fruity lip gloss on a boardwalk.

Nectarine Blossom and Honey is light and lacy. A gentle blend of apricot and nectar.


Gingered Peach smells just like its namesake. Syrupy peaches and candied ginger.

Pear Brown Sugar Pound Cake is a nicely dense cake with slight caramel tones and a flowery pear accent.

Blackberry Cobbler Ala Mode is heavy on the melty vanilla ice cream and doughy cobbler with just a hint of dark blackberries. It really is marvelous.

Pumpkin Pecan Praline Pound Cake is super rich. I *almost* get a zucchini bread aspect to it. 

Gooseberry Birthday Cake is a fruity delight. Almost like lemons and grapes with a vanilla icing on top.

Spiced Honey and Tonka is molded into this fabulous honeycomb hexagon. This scent is powdery and gorgeous. The honey is velvety and warm. The tonka is like purring vanilla.  


Autumn Magic pulses with sugared brittle leaves.

Brazilian Strawberry Bums blends the joy of Fresh Picked Strawberry with the lushness of Brazilian Bum Bum wonderfully.

Sugar Cookie Dough is a dense bready cookie dough. 

Mr. Bear at the Fair smells like sugar cookies to me, or maybe funnel cakes.

King Cake is probably one of my favorites in this bunch. The cinnamon glaze is exceptional and the cake is just like a honey bun. Delicious.

Pumpkin Pecan Spice Cake is similar to the Pumpkin Pecan Praline Pound Cake but maybe a touch more spice. Both are very hearty blends.


Apple Jack and Peel is an intensely strong spiced apple with a focus on aged wooden cinnamon notes and very little sugar. I love it. Very rustic.

Celtic Moonspice is a long-time treasure. A perfect sugar and spice.

Apple Harvest Festival is a softer and sweeter version of Leaves I think. Sugared apples and gentle nectar.

Rustic Lodge is another wonderful fall apple scent. No spice, warm apples and maybe a touch of vanilla caramel within the juiciness.

Pilgrims Pie brims with woods and cinnamon and chewy dense toffee caramel. There is a bite to this one. 

I think Carol is opening up again in a couple weekends. She said it would be a huge restock with a ton of scents. I am already excited about it!




Thursday, June 17, 2021

Summer List 2021

 


My friend Giffe' and I visited Cassadaga, which is touted as the psychic capital of the world, and though we did not go and get our fortunes told we did have a rather nice time. This photo was taken on the fairy trail and I rather got a childish kick out of someone being so very generous with their herbs. 

Normally by now I have created a summer time bucket list of things I wanted to do or places to go with the girls. I am woefully behind. I just wrapped up my most current ESOL course, I am at work doing pre-planning all this week, and I caught a summer cold that lasted two weeks. So my summer is starting very slow. But here are some things I would like to do over the next month and a half:

- Kelly/Rock Springs swimming and tubing

- Bioluminescent kayaking in Titusville

- Hike a new state park or trail

- Finish two quilts

- Boba at three new places

- Weekend at the beach

- Biking as a family

- Read as much as possible

- Visit a used book store in Cleveland

- Make lots of iced herbal tea

- Swim two to three times a week


Any summer plans for you? We are headed to Cleveland to visit Adam's side of the family for a week. Other than that we will be hanging around central Florida, with the exception of a beach weekend which I hope I can make happen. I plan on lots of reading, gardening, hiking, sewing. I am proud that I did get one quilt done for Eloise. And I am almost done piecing the top to my sister Lindsey's quilt. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Ebb and Flow: May 2021

 The highs and lows of the month.


Perfume:

Wylde Ivy Green Lady

Perfume Oil:

Verdant Faerie Fancy French Lavender (I use this as an evening deodorant sometimes too!)

Face Mist:

House of Yore/Forest & Fjord Spruce hydrosol

Deodorant:

Wildroots Body Care (herbal and sensitive, I alternate them).

Scrub:

Paintbox Soapworks Crickhollow Cottage

Soap:

Black Magic 50 Shades of Chaga

Candle:

Bath & Body Works Comfort (patchouli and vanilla)

Wax:

Candles From The Keeping Room Apple Clove Butter

Eating:

bacon wrapped asparagus

Drinking:

Vivi Boba Specialty tea with strawberry popping boba

Watching:

Lots of anime with Scarlette: Maid, Sama! and Violet Evergarden currently.

Reading:

Witches of Eastwick by John Updike and a book about tarot by Leanna Greenway.

Listening:

John Prine and John Denver on vinyl

Awaiting:

Summer is here! No more teaching, but I do still have some classes for ESOL left to finish. Hoping to get those out of the way quickly. Scarlette invited all her 6th grade friends over for a pool party this coming weekend so I am looking forward to seeing my students one more time. 

Dreading:

Mosquitoes, droughts, not taking advantage of summer freedoms.

Hit:

Nocturne Alchemy Height of Love perfume and Sandalwood Bourbon perfume

Miss:

CBe Ceramics mushroom paint brush. It arrived broken in half. I didn't feel like shipping it back so I just taped it for now. 

Low:

Colds/sore throat coming back for every period again. I went through this cycle a year or so ago but with ear infections. Hoping this won't be long-term. Ready for menopause already. 

High:

Visiting Cassadega with my friend Giffe, giving the sixth graders a big send off to middle school, watching my youngest be admired by a really sweet boy, seeing my oldest get excited about high school, seeing my flowers bloom, reading in the hammock swing.

How was your May? Did is bring any blooms? Happy things? New experiences? Hope?

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sihaya & Company: Spring Dream Box

This was sent for free in exchange for photography. All opinions are my own.


This stunning springtime Dream Box from Sihaya & Company is named Musa Venit Carmine- The Goddess Inspires Our Song. It is packed with dulcet florals that provide a gentle awakening of the senses ($65).


Dryad Tea is a familiar and loved maker in the box. Black Cats and Pointy Hats is one of my favorite fall teas. This time the offering is Ambrosia Skies, a green tea with grapefruit, pomegranate, and blueberry. My girls will love this iced with honey. $7

Leccare Lollipops are another delicious addition that I have seen before in past boxes and always enjoy. White Peach Rose, Marigold Lemon, and Marshmallow Hibiscus are lovely fruity floral pairings that tickle the taste buds. This shop offers custom labels for special occasions too. $4


Deconstructing Eden perfume in Musa Venit Carmine- Notes: Gently warming earth, pale green grasses, peonies, apple blossoms, green strawberries, green pomegranates, daffodils, cool air, and soft sunlight. $9.75 for 5ml

Right out of the spray nozzle, damp soil pairs with citrusy tart fruits. It smells like walking through a cottage garden where riotous rainbows of petals and fruits reach out to be sniffed and plucked. The ground is a mosaic of sunlight and shadow. Crystalline streams trickle through willows, where chilled stones gather necklaces of moss and lichen alongside their meandering path. This is a lovely scent and I am so happy it came in a spray format. I will love smelling this on my hair and clothing.


At first I thought this was a Sihaya & Company lip color (those are so nice!!), but upon closer inspection I see that it is from Crow & Pebble which I love too. This pink lip color is scented in Earl Grey tea. $7


Paintbox Soapworks had two amazing products in this box. The Flutterbutter face cleanser is incredible. I have been using it for a couple weeks now and it gently removes makeup, dirt and grime. I don't wear much makeup right now but do still put on eyeshadow and such. Also my husband gives me grief that when I am outside gardening, somehow my face always ends up dirty. But this stuff takes care of it. The consistancy is thick but smooth and melts gently into the skin. It smells of lemony bright frankincense, like sniffing a summertime sunbeam. I will be buying this again. $6

Poesy is a complexion and linen mist that has rose, lavender, and rose geranium hydrosols. I love it as a face mist so much. It is cooling and reviving. $6

My love of Paintbox Soapworks was rekindled and I picked up a TON of scrubs to replenish my stock. I will blog them sooooon.


LuvMilk is an indie bath and body company I have tried several times and love every single time. I seriously need to get my junk together and place an order soon, maybe when I finally get my bathtub. In the meantime, this soap is already almost used up in my shower. I have been loving it!! Floralia melds sweet magnolia, peonies, acai flowers, fresh arugula, and basil. It smells like a rich garden. $6.50


One of my favorites! The seasonal Sihaya & Company candle in Ostara.

Ostara- Notes: Fig, blackcurrant, berry, and rhubarb with hints of white jasmine and curling green ferns. 

This is a cheerful and juicy tart fruit and floral that is springy and ripe. The blackcurrant is sour and sweet right along with the rhubarb. The jasmine and greenery are lush and dewy. This candle throws well and burns perfectly. I always enjoy Sihaya's candles. They are expertly crafted.

 It took me way too long to get this up but here it is. There is another wonderful Sihaya and Company Dream Box in the works for summer (moon themed I believe?) so keep an eye out!