Have you ever felt like there wasn't enough time to really enjoy a perfume company's seasonal releases before it was time to move on to the next one? That by the time you decide you truly love a scent and want it in a full size, the weather is already changing and making wearing it feel a little obsolete? I know I have. Sometimes I just can't justify buying a full size of something I love, knowing that in a few short weeks I probably won't want to wear it as much. So sometimes I'll just push it back and say "oh well, maybe next year." Which is a bummer, because with indie, you never know for certain that it will be back next year.

Sweet Anthem has taken that frustrating experience and provided a solution: a perfume sample subscription service, the SA List. Depending on when you subscribe, you can have up to a month prior to the official seasonal release date to test the new fragrances and decide what works, what doesn't, and what you want more of. Less pressure, and plenty of time to feel like you've gotten your money's worth. And, speaking of money, you get a $10.00 voucher to spend on anything you want when the season debuts. You can put it towards a full size, or try more samples. As I understand it, anything goes. 

So, how does it work? Well, you can sign up for one or more seasons, and the price goes down per season the more you buy. I decided to be conservative and bought 2, this spring and summer, and paid $14.00 total, with free shipping. Keep in mind that you get a $10.00 voucher per season, so the price of the subscription more than pays for itself. I like the idea of paying for something like this ahead of time, so even if money gets really tight, I know I've got something pretty and fun to look forward to. The package you receive contains two 2 ml sample vials of the season's new scents in eau de parfum format. You also receive an additional sample from a previous release. I also received a bonus 5 ml solid scent, which was a very welcome surprise. I'm not sure if that kind of extra will be standard or was just a freebie to coincide with the SA List's first season. I was really impressed with the packaging and presentation.

 Everything was packaged neatly and securely in a sturdy silver bubble mailer, and included cards describing the spring theme and the notes of the two new scents, Poppy and Lolita. I also received a sample of Anastasia and a solid of Red Queen.

Shall we discuss the scents now? 

A bouquet from her beloved and only friend, hung to dry during winter; the gunsmoke of an approaching revolution, the remnants from the last afternoon tea, still left steeping, and an ethereal musk, white as snow, hanging on until the thaw. Champaca absolute, civet, dogwood, fresh snow, green tea, honeysuckle, white patchouli.  

Let's get this one out of the way first, since I've been dreading it. Better to rip the bandaid off quickly. Objectively speaking, I loathe this scent with the fire of a thousand suns. There. I said it. A quick Google search reveals that plenty of bloggers actually love this scent, so please take that under advisement. I could smell this before I even opened the well-sealed box, and immediately my heart sank because I was worried either something had leaked or the whole thing was going to be a massive fail and nothing would work for me at all. Nothing was leaking, but this scent of course has the most massive sillage of them all, enough that just opening the vial makes me feel like I've been doused in it and will never be clean again. This scent makes me want to curl into a ball in a corner and weep. It must be the honeysuckle, or perhaps the civet, which I must not have much experience with, because there aren't many scents I've had taken such an immediate and sustained strong dislike to. 

It smells like one of my first scent memories, of a great-aunt and uncle's house (who both died when I was so young that the memory of being there is literally of me feeling very, very close to the ground, and seeing adults mostly at knee level.) Anyway, I remember they had candy dishes set out with those little foil wrapped, liquid filled strawberry hard candies, so I liked going there, but their house smelled strange, like musty, stale mothballs, smoke, and old people (not the stereotypical "old lady perfume", but actually old people, to clarify). Unfortunately, this is exactly what Anastasia smells like to me. I gave it a fair shake, I kept it on for several hours and tried it a few times, and my feelings haven't changed. G smelled it and demanded I throw it away, and let's say his analysis was even less objective than mine. Please check out Su and Dee's reviews to get some different perspectives though. I don't think I've ever had such a polar opposite experience before, it's quite fascinating!

Honey-limbed, sparkling river nymph. Resinous tonka bean, sweet cherry blossom, a bushel of aldehydes, musky sea spray. Sea Salt, Black Currant, Cherry Blossom, Tonka Bean, Rosewood 

I can't even tell you how relieved I was to smell this scent, it's beautiful and I love it! I was nervous because of the black currant note, which smells disturbingly like cat pee to me. But there is no hint of that here. This is refreshing, floral with a tinge of the tangy aquatic, sophisticated and coquettish all at once. It smells modern and classy, and a touch playful. It's the most reminiscent of spring to me. I adore the dry down, which is just a little deeper and woodsier, but still sweet. I will spend more time with this and see if I will get a full size. I love having so much time to decide, I feel like I can make more informed decisions this way rather than reflexive impulse buys.

Per fumum. The caliginous, circuitous haze of resurrection. Opium, Turkish musk, red flowers, cocoa, clove bud.

This one is really unusual! Cold sniff is unexpectedly foodie, the rich cocoa and clove give me this strange hypnotic urge to drink it, though I know it would probably be a bad idea. Those top notes flutter away fairly quickly and it becomes this sexier, incense-y, musky scent. It's not terribly dark, but if Lolita is frolicking in meadows and splashing in waves, then Poppy is hanging out in mysterious bars full of shadows and deep, moody people, contemplating life. Damn, I really like this one too. 

Red Queen
A drunken rose, positively dripping with honeyed ale and swimming in bourbon. On a backdrop of leather, cardamom, and white pepper.

This was from an older release, so I had to look this one up in Sweet Anthem's fragrance archive. It's nice, has a sort of boozy tea note at first. Despite the name, not overwhelmingly feminine, definitely not demure. It has sass and bite. Everything is really well blended here so it's hard for me to discern individual notes, but that is sort of standard for me and Sweet Anthem scents. It was a pleasure to get to try it.

In conclusion, the SA list was an absolute steal and I will probably extend my subscription beyond the summer season. You may get some scents you don't like, but you will also be exposed to new ones that you may love. It's such an exciting idea!

Have you signed up for the SA List? Do you know any other perfume brands that do a sample subscription service? 
It's a sad time in indie makeup-land, folks. BFTE has recently given notice that they will be closing shop on January 31st for an undetermined amount of time. This closure could be permanent, or they could possibly reopen in the future under new management. The owner, Crystal, has been a one-woman show for seven years and it seems like she's burned out and ready for a break, which is totally understandable. I've seen the company's popularity explode on Facebook in recent years and it seems like it would be really overwhelming for such a small business. I honestly haven't been as active on their page and haven't bought much in the last year because my collection is quite huge and I have tried to focus on just using what I have, and the debut of Facebook's timeline feature really cut down on the interactive aspects to their page (not as many people posting looks,  liking, asking questions, etc., simply because it wasn't as convenient to see those posts.) 

But BFTE is still my first indie love. I happened upon them in the autumn of 2010 when searching for a rainbow cake recipe and happened upon Leesha's Rainbow Eye Look. I was transfixed and though I had never really been interested in colorful makeup, and had never bought indie, I decided I had to try this brand out. And with one order I was hooked. From there I branched out to other indie makeup brands, and then to perfume and bath and body products. So BFTE will always have a warm fuzzy place in my heart for opening up such a wonderful new world to me, and I'm truly saddened to see them go. While there is a possibility they will reopen in the future, I'm not going to count on it, and I will tear apart the couch cushions for enough money to get their final collection, which will be on sale tomorrow for $25.00, called Altered Time. I must get this collection because it is possibly their last, yes, and also because it appears to have a Steampunk inspired aesthetic, and the swatches on their Facebook page look just my style. 

If you are kicking yourself for never having tried BFTE, or are wanting to also make a final order, here are my absolute favorite and most often used shades from them that appear to still be available at this posting:

Dusty Rose
Golden Age
Blackberry Sorbet
Dew Drop

It appears that on Monday items will be taken off the site as they sell out, so I would recommend making your order as soon as possible, and while their TAT is usually pretty fast, I would allow some extra time as I have a feeling they will be quite bombarded with orders. Fingers crossed that all runs smoothly as they make this transition. With a heavy heart, all, until next time.
Hello, dear readers! Sorry for the long quiet, I am still trying to get into the swing of things again after all the holiday stuffs and the horrific weather we've been having. To recap, I baked a lot, as I usually do. Here's what I made:

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