Post Holiday Catch-Up and Solstice Scents: Winter 2013

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:

Spiced Orange Baklava
Chai Truffles
Peppermint Patties
Salted Caramel Honey Marshmallows
Pumpkin Thumprints

...and a chocolate cake layered with a homemade spiced blackberry wine jelly (my first foray into jams and jellies!) and topped with a chocolate glaze and pomegranate arils.

G bought me a kitchen torch, which I've been asking for forever, so now I get to set things on fire (or make creme brulee). Very excited about this. Maisy got some catnip toys and because she has no opposable thumbs and couldn't open the package, she did the logical thing and sat on it until mommy opened it for her...

... and then she was happy.

The weather here has been pretty terrible, wind chills around -30 to -40. G and I have this informal cold scale we go by, such as "gloriously cold," "stupid cold," "ludicrous cold"(Spaceballs reference) and the newly adopted "asinine cold." Yes, it has been asinine cold. Literally breathtaking, snot-freezing, painful cold. I had an absurd amount of difficulty getting to work on Monday (which involved me standing in aforementioned asinine cold for 20 dangerous minutes), when we really should have closed, and finally the library realized this and closed early, a whopping half hour before the end of my regular shift. G picked me up, and on the way home we hit some black ice, spun a 180 until we stopped facing oncoming traffic, including a rather large bus. Luckily they were far enough away to avoid us, and we had been going pretty slowly. G kept his cool and was able to get us turned around without getting hit, but it could have easily been very bad for us. It was pretty terrifying, actually. So I went home, made hot chocolate, and called in the next day. It would have been my late day and there was no way I was risking that again when it would have been dark out. My manager actually called in too, so she was understanding. Temperatures are slowly increasing, this morning was a balmy 7 degrees, and it was kind of sad that it did feel a little warmer.

Another interesting development is that my baby cousin (who is now a shocking 24) is having a baby shower on Sunday. I haven't seen this side of the family with any regularity or consistency in about a decade. I know I've posted about my frustration regarding this before, how we grew up so close, went on vacations together, I baby-sat little K and M. Cousin T was virtually the closest thing to a sister I had, right down to the phase we went through where we wore matching clothes.Then somehow we just drifted apart, and things just started feeling weirder and weirder and it was harder to come together. I've been so torn about it. I got an invitation to M's wedding a couple years ago but didn't go. I was feeling resentful and cynical, like they only wanted me around if a gift was to be had. But when I got the invitation to her baby shower, something compelled me to accept. Maybe it's that it's a smaller affair than a big fancy wedding, less pressure. I'll just show up, catch up with them, and go from there. I decided I needed to stop lamenting the situation and at least try to reach out, even if all I learn is that they don't really care about me being in their lives anymore. At least I'll know and can move on. It will probably be sort of awkward and my social anxiety will probably be flaring, but it's something I need to do. Even though we're all very different people now, I do miss them. So, I'll give it a try. Wish me luck.

Next up, my Winter 2013 Solstice Scents sample order!

I must apologize for the order photo, our apartment maintenance people told us they were going to repair our patio fence so it would look nicer when our new neighbor moved in (loud neighbors moved! New neighbor works nights, so epic WIN!) but all they did was tear off the top of the fence which served as a handy shelf for setting plant pots, oh, and displaying my hauls. Now I'm not sure where to move my photo set-up. Anyway...

The new scents this year are:
Buttered Rum Mallow
Snowmint Mallow
Lemon Ginger Creams
Shadows in the Night
I got a free sample of Fires in the Night, another newer scent in the Night Collection. This order came with an updated newsletter from the cozy town of Foxcroft (so cute!) 

And the scents!

Buttered Rum Mallow
Rum, Marshmallow, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Clove, Butter, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Brown Sugar & All Spice

This is very boozy and spicy on cold sniff, and maintains a very strong, dry spiciness throughout wearing. If the maple note in Maplewood Inn didn't work for you and you still want a rich, snuggly holiday drink scent, this may work for you. It's a little too dry for me, and not quite as creamy/marshmallowy as I'd prefer.

Snowmint Mallow
Peppermint, Vanilla Cake, Flaked Coconut, Sugar Cookies & Marshmallow Creme

I honestly didn't expect much from this one; it sounded a little boring or perhaps too similar to Snowshoe Pass. But I love it! It's got a creamy Andes mint quality to it at cold sniff, and I usually don't care for those at all. But the other notes elevate it into something fresh, cool, warm, and gourmand all at once. It's soft and as Angela suggests, easily work safe. It clings close to the skin and the mint note does dissipate fairly quickly. What's left is just creamy, sweet goodness. If you didn't like the musk notes in Snowshoe Pass, but do like the mint, you might want to try this one. I've been layering it with Sugar and Spite's Goblin lotion, which was a creamy vanilla that layers nicely with other scents.

Lemon Ginger Creams
Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies Filled With Vanilla-Lemon Cream

Oh my. I love this so, so much. If you have even a passing affection for lemon cookies, try this. I adore Haus of Gloi's Beguiled, and while this one feels sort of similar, I may love this one just a touch more, because of the added spicy ginger, for which I am a lovestruck fool. I think it is a perfectly warm, foodie winter scent, but because the initial burst of lemon is so bright and fresh, it will transition nicely into the spring months. Angela says this is a good substitute for Gingerbread and Vanilla Cream, but I like this much, much better. That one always smelled nice, but strangely like Fig Newtons to me. I admit, I splurged and bought the perfume and ganache of this, and they are both already very well used. I may put some on right now, in fact. Be warned, it will make you hungry.

Shadows in the Night
White Amber, Fir, Somalian Frankincense, Elemi, Bayberry, Spruce, Amber, Peppermint, A Puff Of Incense, Edge of the Night Base

I love Edge of the Night, so it stands to reason that I enjoy this one too. Edge is super sultry and sexy, and the Shadows element is very cool, mysterious, coniferous and woodsy, so it's sort of like meeting some dark and mysterious stranger in the middle of cold, silent woods and...yeah. Magic happens. There is something in this that reminds me of Solarium from the Manor Collection, but I can't pinpoint exactly what it is. Like Shadows in the Night is the cool, creamy green to Solarium's warm, humid green. Glean from that what you may.

Fires in the Night
Sandalwood, Ginger, Clove, Orange, Amber, Wood Smoke, Cinnamon, Patchouli, Edge of the Night Base

This is like a darker, sexier Dark Ginger Spicecake, as if that is even possible. Because the orange, clove, and ginger spiciness bring to mind gingerbread, coupled with that amazing Edge of the Night intensity. This one has kick and tenacity. Not for the timid. 

Rows of Christmas Trees, Clove Studded Oranges, Bayberry Tapers, Handcrafted Wreaths & Mistletoe

With Winslow's we revisit Foxcroft and their local Christmas tree farm. This one is classic, vintage Christmas at home. This one is the scent of your Christmas decorations, packed away and brought out again each year like an old friend, infused with the bayberry candles you burned and the oranges and cloves you simmered on the stove top. It's the snow and pine needles you tracked in with you after traipsing in the woods for the perfect Christmas tree. This one made me think of coming home after school as a child in December, and my mom and dad were getting the boxes out from the basement, and we put our old John Denver and the Muppets A Christmas Together album on the record player, and I ran through the house singing "Christmas is Coming" at the top of my lungs along with Miss Piggy. There's that sense of comfort and anticipation that I am always trying to recreate and hold on to as an adult, and this scent brings it all back. I would LOVE for this to be released as a home fragrance oil! So, when was the last time you lunged for the Christmas tree like this?

Yep, that's me, with the awesome Dorothy Hamill hair. It was a tradition to take a picture of me when I saw the tree with all the presents under it Christmas morning. I seriously love those socks, and my dad's incredulous expression...crazy girl.

And here's what I was lunging for that year, rocking out with a keyboard, a Star Stage, and who knows what else. I think I missed my calling. 

Well, that's all I've got for today. I hope the New Year finds all of you happy, healthy, and safe. Till next time!

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