What am I doing up? Guess I'm running on baking adrenaline. G is already tucked in for his long winter's nap and I've quietly filled his stocking with candy, as if he needs any after the obscene amount of goodies I've made this week. Maisy's got some treats and a new stuffed flying squirrel toy in her stocking (yes, my cat has a stocking, don't judge me). She will undoubtedly play with it for five minutes before she loses it to the place where all her buggy babies, ball-balls, and missing socks go, some alternate dimension perhaps.

This week I've made jam pinwheel cookies, salted caramel chocolate cookies, cranberry chocolate gingerbread cookies, shortbread, homemade peanut butter cups and peppermint patties (these are MUCH easier to make than you'd expect and even better than the brand name kind), a yule log that sadly fell apart and was quickly (and quite brilliantly on my part I must say) broken up and turned into a trifle, mint meringue cookies, fudge filled cookie cutters, apple cheesecake bars, and Kahlua marshmallows. I should have taken some pictures and done some Nomtastic posts on everything I've made, but I've "had my game face on" as G would say and been busting my hump to get it all done. And it is all done, except the marshmallows are still curing and the goodies have to all be separated into gift bags for the family get-together tomorrow (G's family, not my crazy one, which will *fingers crossed* get together Monday.) But that will wait till morning. Oh wait, it is morning. Well, it can wait a little longer.

Because now, I am doing nothing. Sitting here with my Bliss face mask on and enjoying the lights of our little Christmas tree and watching A Christmas Story for the umpteenth time. Excited because I know my dad got me the camera I've been wanting forever. It's a Canon Powershot A3300, which is still just a basic point and shoot, but it has good reviews and I'm certain it will be better than the one I have.

Ok, so enough rambling, I know I meant to post for a reason: My Christmas Eye look! Classic green, red, and white. Super simple too, using only 4 colors, all BFTE:

Inner Lid and Highlight: Moonlight
Outer Lid: Pegasus
Crease: Vamp
Liner: My Pretty applied wet over black cream liner

Goodnight everyone!
I know, I've been a very bad blogger lately. I'm up to my elbows in baked goods and still have to wrap presents and make marshmallows before tomorrow, but I thought I'd share a Sephora haul I got last week for their VIB sale, for which I got 20 dollars off a 50 dollar purchase. Here's what I got:

Bliss No Zit Sherlock Rubberizing Mask: It's supposedly a one-use sample size, but I've gotten it once before and got 2 uses out of it, easily. This is a really fun mask, like a science experiment! I don't know if it did a lot for my acne, but it left my skin amazingly soft and cool to the touch.

Smashbox Brow Tech/ Cream Liner palette: This was only 9 dollars, and it is small, but totally cute. I was going to just get another MUFE Aqua Liner, but I wanted this haul to be maximum bang for my buck, so I got this whole palette and two Urban Decay 24/7 liners for the exact same price as one Aqua Liner!

Urban Decay 24/7 liners in Bourbon and Ransom: I've been using Bourbon a lot this week and really like it. It applies smoothly without tugging and seems to last all day.

Top: Ransom
Bottom: Bourbon

Anastasia Pro Wax Kit: handy for eyebrow shaping!

The Art of Shaving Lavender Set: G has this interesting affinity for lavender scented things, so in addition to this set, I also got him a bar of Haus of Gloi's Lavender Sugar Soap. I know he will be happy to open these tomorrow! This set was only 10 dollars, and I was pleasantly surprised at the size for the price.

I also managed to snag one of the Flawless Skin Prep Kits, which contained 8 substantially sized skincare samples.

 I was a little bummed that Sephora forgot to include the standard 3 samples that come with each order, as the samples are a big part of what keeps me ordering online. I sent them a friendly message about it, and they offered me 25 points as compensation, which was nice since it wasn't a purchased item they missed. Funny thing though, somehow after promising me those points, they forgot to actually add them. Then it became a matter of principle to me, so I messaged them about it again, and they apologized and added the points immediately, and all is forgiven.

Even without those samples, this was a pretty awesome haul for only 30 dollars, eh?

Until next time, lovely readers: Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, or whatever you hold dear!

Well, this is a little pathetic, but I'm just now getting to posting about my wee BFTE Cyber Monday haul. I think because it's been so cloudy/rainy/gloomy lately I haven't been able to get many decent pictures of the looks I've done with these colors, which are all full of win, per usual. I didn't get much, but I couldn't resist 40% off!

Here's what I got:

Dew Drop, Heat, Jumping Bean
Upper two: Bubbly, Super Nova
Bottom two: Avoid the Mistletoe, Hitchcock

I did some swatches, but I'd advise you to just ignore them, as they blow. Cursed camera, and cursed elusive sun! These are so much prettier and sparklier than they appear. Jumping Bean, a limited shade, is a great crease color, and appears to be a matte taupe, but actually has a very faint sheen that can be buffed out, as well as light pink sparkles.

Jumping Bean, Heat, Dew Drop

Bubbly, Super Nova, Hitchcock, Avoid the Mistletoe

Bubbly is somewhat similar to Fyrinnae's Rapunzel Had Extensions, in that it is a light pink with a golden sheen. Bubbly is more pale baby pink and Rapunzel is more salmon-pink and sparklier, but it is what Bubbly reminded me of at first swatch.

Oh, and if you need a Christmas-y color, Super Nova fits the bill. It's a little lighter than BFTE's Vamp, but has gorgeous green sparkles. LOVE!

And if you need any reminding as to the benefits of primer, here are Super Nova, Hitchcock, and Avoid the Mistletoe swatched side by side, on the right with Too Faced Shadow Insurance and on the right with bare skin. Even with my diabolical camera you can tell a difference! Those sparkles want to stick around, people, help them along!

And finally, a look I did this week for my branch's annual holiday party. It's Christmasy without being over-the-top obvious as such. Here's what I used, all BFTE!

Lid: Autumn and Glimpse
Crease: Super Nova and Vamp
Highlight: Canyon
Liners: Treason and Avoid the Mistletoe

You can't tell as much in these pics, but Treason has a gorgeous blackend green tone to it which stands out more in person, so with this look you've got the green, red, and gold covered. Plus I think the red really helps the green in my eyes pop! This has turned into my go-to look this month.

OK, folks. Pull up a chair and get comfy. I recently received my "reconnaissance mission" Winter order from Solstice Scents and I will try to rein in my verbose ways in writing my impressions. I may, of course, fail miserably.

This order wasn't entirely from the Winter collection. SS also had a small Cyber Monday sale and I snagged a Scrying Smoke ganache and a Monster Mash perfume. A few of my sample vials are also little stocking stuffers. A Jack and the Devil for a co-worker that I've been preaching the wonders of SS to, Basilica for my mom. The Monster Mash is for G. He doesn't read my blog so I'm not worried about him figuring it out. He's a little easy to trick. Yesterday I told him I needed to swing by the mall and get a sweater for my dad, because I had a coupon about to expire, and I "admitted" that I'd be picking up a shirt for him as well for Christmas. Always ground a lie with a version of the truth; it makes it more plausible. I left him waiting in the car, ran in, and bought him an epically cool winter coat, and got it boxed up so he couldn't tell. Wa-ha-ha!

Anyway, every time I wear the Monster Mash lotion he says I smell good, and since I like the smell but don't love it on me, I figured, why not let him wear it?

So, here's what I got:

Scrying Smoke Ganache
Spiced Cranberry and Spruce Whipped Soap
Monster Mash Perfume
Samples in:
Night Star
Snowshoe Pass
Gingerbread and Vanilla Cream
Dark Ginger Spicecake
Russian Caravan
(gifts of Jack and the Devil, Inquisitor, Sages Athenaeum, and Basilica)

Spiced Cranberry and Spruce whipped soap in the jar smells a little like fruit punch. It's sweet, slightly tart and fruity. I don't really get any spice in the blend at all. The spruce/green element is faint. Once in the shower though the spruce comes forward and makes the shower smell wonderfully woodland and refreshing.

Onto the perfumes:

Night Star
Nutmeg, Patchouli, Frankincense, Myrrh, Woods and Lemon

A lovely interpretation of the "precious gifts" type scent, an excellent "Christmas in a bottle" without smelling exactly like a church, or a tree, or a cookie. The nutmeg and lemon keep it interesting but do not dominate the blend. The woods make it a little darker and perfect as a man's scent as well. I would have loved this in other products, but alas, it's only available as perfume. I'm really impressed with these scents. They are so well blended that it's hard to pick out individual notes in some. All I can do is take a whiff and helplessly sigh "mmmmm." Which does you, the reader, not much good when trying to form a mental image. But really, these are just so "mmmmm."

Snowshoe Pass
White Amber, White Musk, Vanilla Accord, Peppermint Cream, Cold Winds

I did not expect to love this as much as I do. It is such a bloody pretty scent. You open the vial, and get this cool breath of frosty air. It miraculously does this without venturing into peppermint patty territory. The combination of musk, vanilla, and mint just make for a gorgeous, pristine fragrance. I don't normally gravitate towards such scents, but it works. This is a perfect winter scent, a snowy scent, but one more akin to "the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow, gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below", you know, like the poem. Sparkling and effervescent, a silent expanse of icicled woods. Or when Ralphie looked outside his window on Christmas morning in A Christmas Story, all sparkling, magical winter wonderland. NOT a March snow, when it's long since lost its appeal and has turned dirty, murky, and miserable. A good snow smell.

Gingerbread and Vanilla Cream
The Scent of Gingerbread Cookies & Creamy Vanilla

Pretty much what the description says. Delicious and authentic. For some reason in the vial I smelled something fruity and cakey, and came to the conclusion that I smelled Fig Newtons. I have no idea why, but it smells yummy.

Dark Ginger Spice Cake
Gingerbread, Woodsy Earth Musk, Patchouli & Vetiver

This is gingerbread that bites back. Since I love Jack and the Devil, which is another dark foodie scent, I knew I would love this. It is not extremely dark, but it does have a little attitude. I smell a touch of lemon, like ginger-lemon cookies. The food element is there, but it's blended so well with the patchouli that it smells like a perfume, and doesn't scream "I'm foooood!!!!"


Tobacco, Saddle Leather, Virginia Cedar, Black Pepper, Woods, Bayberry & Evergreens

I can't really do much better than Angela's description of this scent. The image she conjures of a frontiersman traveling throughout the wilderness is utterly perfect. It's rugged, smokey, earthy, woodsy, all those good things. I would like G to wear it, but he didn't care for it. I told him he was nuts.

Sugar Crystals, Spruce, Fir, Soft Woods, Bayberry, Mistletoe & Amber

This fragrance almost got lost among all the others I tried. It blends so well that I couldn't smell much at first. I suppose having four other fragrances on at once might have been a contributing factor as to not being wowed by this initially. Luckily the other day I committed to only wearing Outpost, and bully for me, because we have a winner. It really does present a morphing journey like Witch's Cottage, though they are indeed very different scents. At first I get a woodsy green note, and at the dry down I smell sweet wood smoke, which happens to be one of my favorite scents ever. It smells vaguely like some Yankee Candles I've smelled before, perhaps Fireside, but not as strong or as obvious. I did wear it on a cold rainy day per Angela's advice and it did make the scent more vibrant and noticeably morphing.

Russian Caravan
Smoked Black Tea, Leather, Pomegranate, Black Currant, Amber & Pink Peppercorn

I did not like this one at all in the vial. I smelled nothing but cough syrup. On the skin though, it mellowed into a mixture of black tea and pomegranate. It does remind me of a wandering caravan, packed high with exotic wares, precious spices, and full of music, laughter, and bartering between mysterious strangers. It turned into one of those confusing scents that I can't decide how I really feel about it. Another one of those "hmmmm interesting" scents.

So, in conclusion: awesome collection! I seriously wish there were more fragrances I didn't like, because SS is getting a considerable portion of my discretionary income, and well, eating into those silly incidentals like groceries. 

And one final word: Another work display using re purposed SS packaging!
I forgot to take a picture, but I even re purposed the adorable rusty jingle bells. Simply string them onto a bit of ribbon...voila, instant tree ornament!

I've managed to make two Haus of Gloi Yule orders already this year, so this will be a dual post, as I just got another order today. Granted, some of the items I ordered are gifts, so I won't discuss them since I left them all pretty and wrapped up. Gloi's Yule scents are great, and I found several winners.

Here is my first order:

Sweet Potato Treat Whipped Soap
Snow Wolf Pumpkin Butter
Perfume samples in Parkin, Three Treasures, Snow Wolf and
 Insalata Nocturna free sample

The whipped soap arrived perfectly fluffy and luscious, with no melting issues like I had once before. Sweet Potato Treat smells divine, and I don't particularly even like sweet potatoes in casserole form. It's buttery, spicy, rich, positively decadent. I really have to force myself to get out of the shower when I use this.

Snow Wolf is very fresh and woodsy. It sort of reminds me of Shoikan Grove from Solstice Scents. They do share several similar notes, namely fir, cedar, frankincense, and vanilla. Snow Wolf seems to lean more towards a smoother frankincense note and Shoikan Grove more towards the sharp green notes. It's interesting though how perfumers can utilize similar notes, but still come up with unique, distinctive blends. Even though they smell somewhat connected, I could still blind-sniff either one and name each as either a HoG or a Solstice Scents product. As varied as the individual scents are, each brand seems to carry an olfactory calling card of sorts, a general aura that surrounds the products taken as a whole. But, like Shoikan Grove, I like the scent and will use it, but it's one of those scents that never seem to really merge with my chemistry and become a part of me, it very much maintains its own separate identity. I do prefer those scents that apply like a second skin, if that makes sense.

Three Treasures is a beautiful gold, frankincense, and myrrh scent. It can work as a unisex scent, and in fact I might buy some for my dad for Christmas. It seems like a universal, inoffensive scent that could work for lots of people. It's very light on me though, and I like a stronger sillage. I don't want to have to deliberately huff on my wrist in order to detect the scent. When I do catch a whiff of it though, it's lovely. I think I prefer Solstice Scents' version of that sort of exotic, precious gifts type scent though, Night Star. ( I will be reviewing my Winter order soon!)

Insalata Nocturna is more of a summer scent, which I've tried before as a scrub, so I was a little "meh" about it as my sample. It's very fresh and citrusy, with a fresh- from- the- garden feel. It's nice enough, just not where my interests lie right now.

Right now my interests lie with Parkin. Oh my. I love Parkin. It is in-your-face spicy ginger cakes, slightly nutty and rich with sweet icing. It has a touch of pleasurable bitterness from the treacle and oh, I just adore it. It makes me ridiculously hungry.

With my second order I got:

Bubbling Scrub in Hearth
Parkin Pumpkin Butter
Plotter's Breakfast free sample

I was thisclose to just getting the Parkin bubbling scrub as well, and purchased the Hearth scrub instead on a whim. I am so glad I did. It is incredibly comforting and memorable for me. The first thing I smelled was apples, fresh baked bread, a faint hint of spiced orange. How perfumers manage to make bath products smell like actual dough is beyond me, but it is so delicious. Then, I smelled it again, and it smelled somehow familiar. I had a memory flash of a movie theater. Not the movie theater I went to just last weekend, a very particular movie-going time I had as a child. I suppose because I was there so much, the smell of the theater permeated my brain. It was around Christmastime in 1990, and I was 9 years old, and totally enamored with Edward Scissorhands. I went to see that movie NINE times in the theater. Most of the times my mom took me, because she loved it too. It was a really good time, a great memory. That movie takes the cake as the movie I've seen the most times in the theater, and is still one of my top movies today. So, Hearth smelled like homey fruit and bread, and then, like the theater and slightly buttery popcorn, fresh soft pretzels, and fruity candy. Not overwhelmingly or cloyingly so, but it's there. You might not smell it, but that's what it's like for me. Plus, it's just so pretty:

Plotter's Breakfast is, like, a frontier scent. It's rugged and gunsmokey. You can indeed imagine a leathery older man hunched over his bowl of oatmeal at a rickety wooden table, huddled by the wood stove for warmth on a cold morning, enjoying a pipe before leaving for a long day of work outdoors. I love scents like this that tell stories.

I am definitely using Haus of Gloi and Solstice Scents for a large percentage of my Christmas gifts. I want to share the goodness!
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