For Valentine's Day Solstice Scents released two new scents in their ever-growing sub- category of marshmallow inspired scents, Violet Mallow and Rose Mallow Cream. In a recent order I got a sample of Rose Mallow Cream along with full sizes of Black Forest and Lace Draped Spectre (yes, that scent really started growing on me; carnation and I are tentative friends now!). This was a couple weeks ago when everything was going on with my uncle, and when I got my shipping invoice, I noticed Angela put a note to include a sample of Violet Mallow for me too. I really don't know why she did that, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and lifted my spirits when I was feeling quite low. Anyway! The scents:


Violet Mallow
Marshmallow Cream, Violet Flowers, Vanilla Bean, White Musk

I didn't order this one myself because while I had liked Violet Truffle in theory, the wet/earthy violet and chocolate combo didn't really work for my skin and I was feeling skittish about violet in general. But this is lovely! It's a playful, young, slightly sweet floral, a gentle introduction to violet that those undecided about florals might like to try. It starts out stronger on the violet, but the marshmallow starts coming in as time goes on  along with the white musk, making the whole scent very cool, classic, and delicate. The sillage is not too strong, and both of these scents would be great for work. This is available in several formats, including bath salts, which sound wonderful!

Rose Mallow Cream
Moroccan Rose absolute, Bulgarian Rose absolute, Marshmallow Fluff, Strawberry Nectar, White Chocolate, Vanilla, White Musk

NOT your grandmother's rose! Oh my, this scent is delicious! It is not the least bit old fashioned or stuffy, or overwhelmingly floral. It's a little flirtatious, but not immature. It has a refined decadence. It's like a bowl full of sugar crusted rose petals drizzled with strawberry syrup, served with a side of sweet cream. In this magical fantasy world, you could take a spoon and dig right in, and it would taste magnificent. I admit I was unsure at first at the inclusion of strawberry nectar, I wondered what the point was. But it blends so surprisingly well with the rose, and serves to remind the wearer that this is not just rose, but a sweeter, sexier, more edible rose. The drydown brings the musk and white chocolate to the forefront, and reminds me a lot of Nightgown. So much so that when I bought a full size of this one (I've just gotten it!) I also ordered a Nightgown ganache to go with it. This is a premium scent, so only comes as a perfume. It seems to be quite popular, so I suspect it may become General Catalog.

I'm quite liking these marshmallow blends, and Rose Mallow Cream has gotten me into quite a rose-obsessed mood, as you will see with my next few posts!



I had to work on Valentine's Day so G and I went out on Friday instead. We don't subscribe to the commercialized hype of the day anyway, we think it's far more important to have a relationship based on mutual respect and appreciation the other 364 days of the year. I'm not into flowers and jewelry for gifts either, I'd much rather have a nice meal and an experience to remember.

So G and I went out for breakfast, then went to an art museum, then the mall where we got some chocolate at Godiva, then G took me out for dinner. I splurged and got french onion soup, BBQ chicken pizza, and flourless chocolate cake. Oh dear, it was so good! We finished the day with a trip to Half Price Books and some reading at Barnes and Noble.

This was my look for the day:


Lid: When I Grow Up, Fyrinnae (over Pixie Epoxy)
Crease: Blackberry Sorbet, BFTE
Liner: Ravishing Red Wolf, Fyrinnae (This is a gorgeous rich plum wine color in the jar, but wet it becomes more metallic purple)
Highlight: The Balm Mary Lou Manizer (this is my go-to highlight color now. Every day!)





I wore a casual cotton dress from Maurices  that I got several years ago and it's still one of my favorites. It's super comfortable and goes well with cardigans and tights or leggings in the fall and winter, and with sandals in the summer. It's shabby chic without being too Little House on the Prairie. The cardigan and leggings are also from Maurices, and the boots I got this past fall from Payless. I have been wearing these things to death!

I'm glad I got G to take this picture because not five minutes later it started sleeting! The weather the whole day was odd-it was frequently sleeting/flurrying while it was simultaneously sunny. That's Ohio for you.


It's time to get back to some happy things...and Haus of Gloi always hits the spot for me.

Last year I meant to get a full size of Odette but never got around to it, so that was at the top of my list. That signals a real love for and commitment to a scent, if a year goes by and you still want to purchase a full size! I also got a pumpkin butter in Odette and a bubbling scrub in Something Hopeful, which I hadn't tried before. This one is described as:

Perhaps the first stirrings of the spring to come. Warm sakura blossom green tea with the tiniest droplet of plum juice, red mandarin and crystallized jasmine essence.

I quite liked this one, very fresh and tea-like, a touch fruity but not enough to offend me. I read someone somewhere commenting that if you like HoG's Litchi Milk Tea, you would like Something Hopeful. Well, Litchi Milk Tea is one of the few HoG scents that I really, truly dislike, so I was a little concerned. Something Hopeful is far more fresh and floral though, so I needn't have worried.

My free sample was Spring Tonic #3:

A clean and green blend of: parsley, peppermint, howood, petitgrain, kaffir leaf, bergamot and dry gingergrass.

This one definitely fits in with the Tonic theme started last Valentine's Day. It also reminds me a bit of Mintha, from the Spring 2012 collection. Extremely fresh and green with a little ginger bite, a touch medicinal, but pleasant. Not a perfume I'd wear, but I bet it'd be great as a foot cream.



Now, onto something I was so excited to try...Butterbombs! I love baths, love bath bombs and fizzies and bubbles, and am always looking for products that can compete with or
out-perform LUSH for a better price. These yummy little dumplings exceeded my expectations! At $2.50 a piece and at a mere 1 ounce each, I thought they were absurdly cute, but more of a novelty product. I mean, they're so little, what good are they going to do?

Aren't they precious?


I sampled three of the Butterbomb scents, A Simple Rose, Toasted, and Sea Salt Brownies. They come wrapped in foil and sealed with a label listing ingredients. First off, they smell AMAZING! Strong enough to smell through the foil. I was really surprised. The colors are light enough that they don't look like they've been pumped full of dyes and they won't change your bath water any colors. They look and feel very rustic and natural.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I used the first one. I chose the rose scented one to start, and just crumbled it up under the running water like I would with a bubblebar. Immediately it started foaming up and gently fizzing like a bath bomb in my hand. I thought these were more for moisturizing and very light bubbling, so I was really impressed by the amount of bubbles I got. Not huge mountains of bubbles, but a nice layer of rich, creamy bubbles, and they just make the bath water slightly milky. Here is what my tub looked like:


These moisturize really well, but they don't feel greasy at all. A perfect balance. And the rose scent, especially, was fantastically strong. I couldn't believe such a dainty little morsel could fill my whole bathroom with scent, and linger on my skin for hours! Two thumbs way up for these. I liked the Toasted and Sea Salt Brownies scents as well, but they didn't linger quite as much as the rose scent did. Toasted is a very comforting, milky  bread-like scent, very interesting. Sea Salt Brownies is nomtastic and pretty authentic smelling, but again, not quite as strong in the tub as A Simple Rose. They all bubble and moisturize equally well.

I was just so impressed by these, and will be getting more!

I'm in a rose mood, so I'm considering finally getting around to ordering another one of their custom scents. I'm thinking of Rose, Leather, Labdanum, and Tonka Bean. I was initially considering plain Vanilla Bean, but I like Tonka and think it would go well with the Rose and give it a little flirty sweetness to balance the animalic earthiness and amber/incense of the other notes. What do you all think?

Hello there, everyone. I'm starting to crawl back slowly towards some form of normalcy. I won't lie, the past few days have been extremely difficult for me. To recap, Thursday G and I went to the hospital, where quite a bit of my family had gathered, and we stayed while they took my Uncle H off oxygen. We all just gathered together and tried to share good memories and support each other. I've never been a very physical person and always felt awkward giving hugs and especially admitting I need them, but I must be growing in that regard because I felt a lot more comfortable with it this time. I kept mostly composed, though I admit the sight of my Aunt G sitting my my Uncle's bedside, just talking to him, brought me close to a breakdown. I had such a hard time reconciling that image of a couple married 42 years saying their final goodbyes to my previous mental perception of them, always active in my life, vital and happy. It seems like such a short time ago.

Another cousin of mine actually works in the same hospital, and she was able to take a break to come see us. She is from my mom's side of the family, but she still spent plenty of time with Uncle H when we were children as well. She was one of my first and best friends. I haven't seen her for probably three years, though we keep making plans to. Why is this the only sort of event that can compel us, motivate us, to make that first step towards reconnection? What are we waiting for?

He was able to breathe on his own for a couple hours, but died that afternoon. As I've said before, I've always somehow avoided actually being there when someone in my life passed, and I technically did this time as well. My dad, G, and I had gone to the cafeteria for a snack when my cousin S (his daughter) came down and told us he was gone. I couldn't bring myself to go back in the hospital room afterwards. Everything else had been hard enough, I couldn't be there in the immediate aftermath when everything was still so raw.

There was a viewing on Monday, and S had created an awesome photo slide show of scenes from Uncle H's life for everyone to watch. I had posted some old pictures I found on Facebook and she was able to use those as well. She had them set to music, and of course one of them had to be the Annie Lennox song from Lord of the Rings, "Into the West", which has always made me cry even when it had no sad associations. That song just gets me, every time, so I choked up a little there. I don't like actually going up to the casket, I never have, so I stayed towards the back.

The next morning we had the actual funeral service, and cousin S gave an absolutely amazing speech. I couldn't believe she spoke so eloquently and beautifully and kept herself mostly together. She shared messages to many family members that she thought Uncle H would have wanted to share with them, and that was such a comfort. She told my dad that he brought out the kid in my uncle, they weren't afraid to be silly. My uncle was a quiet, patient, unassuming man. I can't remember him ever getting angry. But with my dad, they were more like mischievous little kids. On Fourth of July cookouts they would hole up in the garage and, hunched over their huge pile of fireworks, combine them into more explosive and exciting combinations like mad scientists.There was that one time when they set the neighbor's yard on fire...

It was just a little fire.

And the time when I was in the third grade and they filled a box of those little snap-n-pop crackers with huge, disgusting june bugs, and handed it to me. I opened it so innocently, and was then scarred for life when all those june bugs started crawling out. It was pretty funny though.

My uncle was the kind of man who, when we would go on vacations together, would put quarters in the change receptacles of pay phones at rest stops, because he knew I would invariably check them. For so long I just thought I was really lucky!

He was someone we could always hear coming, because he had a habit of jangling the change in his pants pocket. My dad does this too sometimes, and it makes me smile.

Anyway, cousin S gave her speech, and showed the slide show, with people making comments or saying where it had been taken, who was with him, etc. I had never been to a funeral that did this, and I thought it was a really wonderful, celebratory idea. We then went to the cemetery, visited the other family plots, then went back to a relatives church where they had made us a lunch. I spent more time with my family during these few days than I have in years, so despite the sadness, he helped bring us together again, in his gentle, selfless way.

I also wanted to thank those who left me such kind messages and who have been thinking of me. For several days I couldn't even look at those comments because they just made me cry all over again. But truly, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Though we've never met, your empathy, and this outlet, have helped me immensely. I think maybe my co-workers haven't quite understood why I seem to be taking this death so hard. I haven't felt like talking or justifying my grief to them, explaining over and over that he wasn't "just" my uncle, but my godfather, more of a grandfather really, someone who was always active in my life in a way that my other aunts and uncles, though I love them, really weren't. But all of you shared your support with no questions, no expectations. For that, I thank you.

Rest in Peace, Uncle H.


Blowing bubbles on Lake Erie :)


Warning: Bummer post ahead.

Recently I've been on a bit of an indie perfume buying spree, and have been exploring several brands that are new to me. I've been reminded just how wonderfully diverse the world of scent is, how each perfumer has their own unique signature aura, their own olfactory calling card. I'm also reminded how woefully inadequate my scent description skills are, how frustratingly helpless it feels to smell something wonderful and not have the words or the insight to properly interpret it. But, I continue to try, if only to tell you all-hey, go check them out and experience them for yourself. That, at least, I can manage!

So, first up is Twyla Perfumes and Apothecary, a newish seller that has been getting some buzz lately. Twyla sells perfume oils and is branching out into various apothecary items, skincare, and aromatherapy blends. I have only sampled the perfumes, but the other items sound intriguing as well!

I ordered a three piece set of her "Little Drops of Poison", her pet name for sample vials. They are quite affordable at only $6.00. As a new customer, I let her know in the comment box at check out and was able to choose another sample.
When I received my order, I got another free sample, which is always an appreciated plus.

I had a little drama with getting actually getting my order, which had nothing to do with any problems on her end, but rather the postal service. I always keep an close eye on my tracking, and when my package updated to "delivered" I realized by the next day it most definitely had NOT been. Our apartment complex has these large metal mail boxes with locked slots for each tenant, and the mail carrier unlocks the unit from the back to sort the mail. I suspected he accidentally put my package in someone else's slot, and so I called to ask about it. Customer service spoke to the carrier, who said he remembered delivering it (clearly not to me!) and I wasn't about to go knocking door to door asking my neighbors to kindly return my package. So they recommended I call the central number and report it as a theft while they continued to "look around" for it. I did that, and had to give them a bunch of information about what it was, how much it cost, etc. I felt a little silly reporting a less-than ten dollar order, but hey, perfume is serious business! I then went away for the day and when I returned my package was sitting on my front step.

 I still don't know if the mail carrier actually found it or a neighbor was honest enough to leave it for me. It was a featherlight bubble mailer so I would be surprised if the carrier chose to leave it on my step on a windy day rather than just leave it in the proper box. So, if it wasn't him, my neighbors suck a little less than I thought. Anyway, that was my little adventure getting my order.

Onto what I got!


I ordered samples of Occula, Love and Squalor, Slammerkin, Breathless, and received  Roses and Chocolate as a free sample. Also included was a handwritten note, which is a sweet touch!

(scent notes listed from website)
Breathless

Red and white rose, vintage patchouli, myrrh, cacao absolute, bourbon vanilla, and sandalwood

The first thing I noticed about this scent is that the cacao absolute is insoluble in oil, so the sample looks like a wonderfully smelly lava lamp. A little entertainment with your scent, and a wee shake gets them incorporated. Based on the scents I tried, Twyla likes her some patchouli and cacao absolute. Quite a few of her scents contain one or the other. The patchouli is always quite well blended and never screams "hippie!" I'm not quite as big a fan of the cacao absolute as a scent, but while this particular one features it prominently on cold sniff, it then settles quickly in a very pretty, surprisingly delicate mix of patchouli and rose and woodsy notes. It hugs quite close to the skin and sillage is fairly low.

Slammerkin

Golden Amber, my own hand-blended, proprietary version of Egyptian Musk, vintage patchouli, pink lotus, carnation, Russian Rose otto, Bourbon vanilla,  benzoin, immortelle, and bitter almond.

Oh, this sounds just amazing. But sadly it just didn't work for me. I was hoping the bitter almond, way at the bottom of the list, wouldn't be a highlight of the scent, but all I can smell on cold sniff is a boozy fruitiness, quite reminiscent of cherry cough syrup. This one also mellows over time and becomes more incensey/ musky and more pleasant, but the cold sniff was way too intense for me.

Love And Squalor

Jasmine, spring floral blend, Blonde Tobacco, Amber, Bitter Orange, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, and Cedarwood

This one is by far the most light in mood and most overtly floral of the group, but it was also the most faint. It was a little like knowing someone has a powerful voice, but they insist on speaking in a whisper. So, you're straining to hear what they're saying, but all you can hear is an unintelligible murmur. Maddening! I get floral, probably the ylang ylang, a bit rich and buttery, and something a bit dirty, I suppose the woods or tobacco. It disappears so quickly on me.

Roses and Chocolate

Russian rose otto, milk chocolate, tarragon absolute, and a touch of mint

This sample is from her Valentine's Collection, all variations on chocolate. This one reminded me a bit of Breathless, as far as the rose and chocolate go, but maybe a touch more fresh. It was sweet, but didn't really do anything for me.

Occula

Vintage patchouli,  tuberose, massoia bark, neroli, amber, clove bud, spice, fire tree, and honey

This was by far my favorite, and a definite full size candidate. The patchouli in this is just beautifully, seamlessly blended with the spice and wood notes while the tuberose uplifts the scent and keeps it from feeling too heavy or dark. It reminds me a bit of church incense. It is probably the strongest, most long lasting of the bunch.

Twyla is coming out with new items all the time so I will be checking out what else she has to offer. I definitely think her shop is worth a sniff or two!


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