For our 12th anniversary a few weeks ago G and I went to a Pumpkin Festival at 
Young's Jersey Dairy. It's a working dairy farm that sells ice cream, cheese, and has lots of animals to see and special seasonal events. The Pumpkin Festival is one of their most popular. The weather was unseasonably cold and drizzly that day, but it was still packed to the gills.

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Today we're going to do something a little different...blind reviews! I thought that Sixteen92's fall collection would be a perfect opportunity to play around and test out the scents first without looking at the names/notes. It's a big enough collection that I couldn't remember all of them by heart, so it was easier to get some true blind impressions. 

In this order I also bought a full size of Shadow Show. It came rolled up in a little logo-stamped cardboard tube...super cute! The order didn't have any extra samples, but did come with some promptly eaten Halloween candy. 

Now...let's see how good (or really bad) I am at this blind smell test business! I just wrote  out very brief phrases or notes I thought I smelled, so I will elaborate after I reveal the scent name.

Mystery Scent #1:  Slightly acrid smoke..lapsang tea? Leather maybe. Very rustic, intense. Leaves, dirt, like an extinguished hearth fire. I like it.

#1: Helsing
Smoky Lapsang Souchong tea, dragon's blood, cedar wood, fir balsam, leather, saffron, chai spice accord

It was pretty easy to pick up on the Lapsang- I've never had it, but I recognized it from Smoky Mountain Mallow from Solstice Scents, and it has a very distinctive smokiness. Yep, it is totally how a vampire hunter would smell. Rugged, primal, and on the prowl. 

Mystery Scent #2: Vanilla, reminds me of Haus of Gloi's Twice is Nice, almond, super sweet, a little treacly.

#2: Wicked
Three vanillas, aged patchouli, marzipan buttercream

Duh! How did I not get the patchouli in this? It's so totally there. Granted, on cold sniff it's mostly the sweet top notes, and then once I put it the patch starts peeking out more, but still. Step up your game, Vix.

Mystery Scent #3: Apples! A little bite of tea. Very clean smelling. 

#3: Raven
Spiced apple, tea leaves, tobacco, guaiac wood

This is by far the "safest" one of the bunch, I think. The most accessible. I don't get tobacco or the guiacwood, it's just a clear, clean apple and tea with a very soft spice. It's nice, but it didn't really wow me.

Mystery Scent #4: Urgh. Fruity. Sharp, kind of resinous or animalic. Oud? I don't know if I like this.

#4: Hallowmas
 Fossilized amber resin, spiced Bosc pear, red apple, black musk, heliotrope

Ok, no oud but maybe the amber was tripping the animalic vibe to me, so I'll give me a point for that. No, this is the kind of fruity I hate. Cloying, cough-syrupy. Just not my jam. That kind of fruit, I like.

Smelly rainbow!

Mystery Scent #5: Cleaning products. I swear I smell pine. Very astringent. Nope.

#5: Vespertine
Aged, double-distilled patchouli, precious mitti attar in sandalwood oil, white thyme, frankincense, rich black myrrh, long-dried rose petals, cannabis flower

 There are so many notes in this. Mitti attar, where are you? OK, so it's not pine, but it does smell very cleaning product-ish. I get a childhood memory flash of my mom in our kitchen with a big bucket full of Pine Sol, mopping our hideous yellow tile. She won't let me come in until it's dry. I guess that's sort of nostalgic. I still don't want to wear it. Now I can pick up on the patchouli a little,, still nope. 

Mystery Scent #6: Leather, woods. Tea? I keep smelling tea. Very sexy, kind of incensey. Decidedly badass. Yes.

#6: Salem
Damp leaves, church incense, worn leather, dry birch woods, clove bud absolute, bonfire smoke

This smells like a little chapel built in the woods, abandoned, and then swallowed up again by the forest over time, covered in ivy, with tree branches breaking through the walls still sooty with incense smoke. Shattered stained glass windows, the outside world spilling in. This smells like two worlds colliding. And the result is something totally sexy, wild, and unpredictable. I feel invincible when I wear this. Is that weird? Well, I do.

Mystery Scent #7: This is really sharp and medicinal. Kind of bitter. Coffee and pine? That can't be right.

#7: Huntsman
Cardamom and vanilla infused coffee, fossilized amber, Agarwood (oud), tilled soil  

More pine that isn't pine. Cardamom...huh. Of course. It is a lot sharper than other cardamom blends I've tried. Usually it's a really floral, perfumey spice but this does have a medicinal edge to it. It's probably the coffee doing that. I actually
 like the dry down when it's more deep and earthy and not quite as pungent, but that cold packs a bitter punch. 

Mystery Scent #8: OMG I want to drink this. Can I please? Cinnamon and cake/cookies and something's creamy. Cinnamon is muted, not like red-hots. Love this.

#8: Calaverita
Pan de muerto sweetened with cinnamon sugar, Calaveras (sugar skull candies), crisp November air, and an ofrenda of sweet incense and candles to honor los difuntos

This one is killing me. It smells like something from my childhood, something very concrete and particular, and I cannot for the life of me place it. It seems like a straight-forward gourmand, but it's got this creamy, waxy feel to it. Like actual candles. A very soft, barely noticeable incense. And there is a very faint hint of chocolate, though it's mostly a muddled, creamy cinnamon. I narrowed it down to something I might have encountered on a family vacation, a gift shop that sold both candles and fudge perhaps? It's a possibility, but that answer doesn't make me sigh with relief and dawning realization. I get the nagging feeling it was something I could actually hold in my hands. Don't you hate when that happens? Anyway, I really love this, despite the mental anguish it's caused me.

So this is how these break down:

Love: Salem, Calaverita
Like/Indifferent: Helsing, Wicked, Raven, Hunstman
Dislike: Hallowmas, Vespertine

Even with the scents I didn't like, I could still tell they were blended with care and were definitely unique! This is not your standard fall collection- not a pumpkin pie in sight. More incense, leaves, woods, smoke, spices, earth, and just a smattering of sweetness. Taken as a whole, they make me think of what Sleepy Hollow might smell like.  Sixteen92 continues to impress!
Today I have for you a First Impressions review of a brand spanking new company, Sixteen92. Now, I am normally very hesitant to order from new companies without many reviews under their belt, but as soon as I saw the layout and scent list on the not-yet-opened website HERE, I knew I would be giving this one a chance. I mean, look at it! Call me shallow, but it is just beautifully formatted, professional and minimalistic, clean but with small touches of edginess. I've never seen a new company looking that good before even opening, cohesive, their mission and POV well-defined. That centers around their name, Sixteen92, which for those scoring at home was the year the Salem witch trials began. The website states:

Alchemy. Science. Magic. In the seventeenth century we would be outcasts, sorceresses, witches. Today, we are olfactory artisans, authors and curators of the tiny works of aromatic art that you carry on your skin.

Sixteen92 is a conceptual fragrance house that crafts small-batch perfume blends inspired by literature, history, lore...and, yes, a little bit of magic.

Having felt more than a bit misunderstood and longing for something more than the status quo in my time, I immediately gravitated towards this mission statement. And as an aside, if you need some mood music while perusing the site, may I humbly suggest the best (OK, the only) witch trial-inspired song I know, Waking the Witch , by Kate Bush. It likens the hallucinations of a person being stranded at sea and facing the prospect of drowning to a woman being accused of witchcraft, facing a sinister judge that will decide whether she she is guilty or innocent. One of the "tests" for identifying witches was to tie a rock to their ankle, put them in water, and see if they would sink or swim. Floating indicated witchcraft, drowning proved innocence, except, whoops, they still died. It is one of the most disconcerting songs I've ever heard, and also one of the most compelling and brilliant.

Anyway, I know it is unfair to judge on appearances, but first impressions do play a role when deciding what indies to buy from. I know not everyone has the artistic inclination, time, or resources to create such a glossy and stylized image. But I admit if a brand shows attention to detail and a consistent, attractive aesthetic (and even manages to do so without years of trial and error and revamping experience) I am more tempted to trust that they know who they are and what they're doing  and the quality of the product will reflect the outward appearance. There can always be exceptions: for example, say, in baking, an impeccably manicured cake could still be dry, tasteless, and bland, while the more rustic, messy, and homespun cake could be the most delicious thing ever. I try to keep that in mind, but it was hard to look at this company and not feel just plain old excited to try them out.

Now, onto the practicalities. The owner, Claire, offers generous 2ml size samples, sold individually or in packs of 3 or 5. General Catalog full sizes are available both as 5.5 ml vials (open, no dropper or roller ball) for $13.00 and 10 ml roller balls for $20.00. There is also a new fall collection, which you can sample or buy full sizes in a complete collection, or use one of the general sample listings to buy smaller quantities. The seasonal release full sizes are currently only available as 5.5 ml bottles. She recently released a line of shower gels and hand/body lotions, and I'm already eager to try those out too.

I ordered a 3 sample set during a "soft" release, on August 20th. My order shipped on September 1st, which I found reasonable seeing as there were likely a lot of orders and a holiday weekend during that time period. The samples came securely wrapped in a bubble mailer, in a cute plastic bag stamped with the brand's logo, with a business card. I love how the business card has a really modern look but the sample labels have that awesome old fashioned typeface, like something you'd find in an dusty old book in a antique store. To me it evokes the sense of being timeless, aware and appreciative of the past but also moving forward and learning from it.

And finally, the scents!

Shadow Show
A passing carnival caravan, the hustle and howl of hot metal and electric air. Cotton candy and smoke, salty kettle corn and dirty machine oil, crisp autumn apples and sinister eyes piercing the night.

Oh, yum. The first thing I smell with this are apples and salty-sweet kettle corn. It's warm and comforting yet there is a bite of something...a nip of cold air? It's an eerie contrast. As it dries I get an impression of something mechanical; creaky, rusty wheels, the abandoned frames of the carnival rides almost skeletal in the twilight. It's a good gourmand for those that like a tinge of meloncholy, something a little edgier. It's nostalgic, but with a sharp, unyielding coolness under the warm sugar. Spoiler alert, I've already bought a full size of this. I only wish this lasted a little longer on me and had slightly stronger sillage, my skin seems to soak it up really quickly, and I want the whole world to smell it on me. But oh well, I'll just keep slathering, because it's just that good. If you like scents like Alkemia's County Fair or Cellar from Solstice Scents, Shadow Show might be one to try.

 I Saw Goody Proctor With the Devil
Dragon’s Blood, Champaka Flower, Exotic Spices, Ancient Spellbooks, and a Smouldering Cauldron

I kind of got this just for the name. Of course, the scent description sounded right up my alley too, but the name immediately grabbed my attention. This is the perfect rendering of the quintessential New Age shop. Crystals, tarot cards, dream interpretation books, candles, incense..ah, brings back good memories! It's not like the stereotypical hippie/headshop smell, there's no patchouli in this that I can detect. it's just a really solid, assertive but not overpowering incense, lightly sweet and smoky. It makes me think of a cross between Haus of Gloi's Cozy Sweater and Solstice Scents' Gehenna.

Cocao Absolute, Tonka Bean, Tobacco, Immortelle, Wet Forest Moss & Leaves

This one's fun! It's got cocoa absolute in it, so it has that funky lava-lamp effect going on. The cocoa doesn't make this a really sweet blend, but adds depth and an interesting boggy wet earthiness. Even though it's not, my brain keeps telling me...mushrooms? Searching for mushrooms at dusk, digging in the dirt. But that makes no sense, it can't really be mushrooms, because I hate the smell of them, but I like this. Maybe they're magic? It's like a fairytale forest, mossy and mysterious, full of things that bite.

I'm so glad I decided to try Sixteen92 out, as they are quickly turning into one of my favorite indies. All of the scents were well-blended, at times reminiscent of other scents I've tried, but not at all in a derivative way. I was impressed that already the scents are elevated to the levels of complexity and quality I've come to expect of established companies, all the while maintaining their own unique flavor. I'm really excited to see what else Sixteen92 has in store for us!
I have been off work for part of this week, which has been lovely. G and I are celebrating our 12th anniversary this weekend and one of the neat things we've been able to do was attend a Pearl Jam concert on Wednesday, and I thought I would share my makeup and outfit with you, along with a few pics from the show. Our friend J was kind enough to gift us tickets, not necessarily for our anniversary or any real reason, he just thought it was a show we needed to see. How cool is that? He's a good dude.

I've always liked Pearl Jam well enough, and know the hits for the most part. Though I did spend a couple years as a child thinking the line was "can't find a butterman." Which makes no sense. What the hell is a butterman? Like a guy that delivers butter instead of milk? Ok, maybe that should totally be a thing. I digress..Eddie Vedder did all the songs for my all-time favorite soundtrack, Into the Wild, but I've never been a well versed superfan. G, on the other had, has already seen them twice, one time in 1992, he was in high school..and  I was 11. And also unlike G, I haven't been to a ton of concerts, let alone big arena shows (oh goodie, massive crowds), so this was an experience for me! Luckily my anxiety stayed at bay and we had a great time.

Anyway, here's my face!

On my lid I wore Fyrinnae's On Wings of Silk, applied very carefully over Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Pixie Epoxy. I figured this would be a good day to test drive this shadow out and about, since I wouldn't mind if it got a little lived in and glitterbombish. I used Bare Escentuals Queen Tiffany in my crease, and Fyrinnae's Innocent Sorrow as a highlight. I applied their Bawdy Librarian wet as a liner. I used their Nordic Angel blush and Meloncholy Lip Lustre as well.

I love the following shot because it seriously makes my lids look I used either flash or am holding up a candle to my eye. Nope, neither. This is inside, no flash. Those two colors are actually both On Wings of Silk, so you can really see the shift.

 Another view, a little more gold in this shot:

And here is my outfit:

The pants are my trusty wine colored cord jeggings I got from Maurices last year and the blouse is from Forever21. The boots I found in the back of my closet and had no idea I still had or where I got them. The bag is one I bought like 5 years ago from Baba Studio on Etsy, and they are still there if you want to check them out. I don't actually use it that much since I need a bigger bag for everyday use, but I didn't want to carry my regular purse into the venue. I also don't want to use it that much honestly because it's so beautiful and I don't want to tear it up, as I am rough on bags! It's very well made and the back is the most gorgeous silky teal fabric. For my perfume of the day I went with Solstice Scents' Jack and the Devil. I wanted a workhorse scent that would last the night without reapplying, one would make me feel totally invincible and supremely rock and roll even though I'm rarely either.

And here are a few shots from the show! Our seats weren't that great (behind stage) but they were definitely still not cheap! Eddie was inclusive and turned around and played a couple numbers for us, and they had big screens so we could see them more easily. They even did a song from Into the Wild, which I wasn't expecting so that made me extra happy. They played for three hours straight (this was the first show of their new tour) which was amazing to me. I can't imagine having the energy to sing and play and be on point for that long! The fourth one down is funny, that big blur is Eddie beating the crap out of his guitar.

All in all, we had a terrific time and I am really glad I got the opportunity to see them live!
It is officially fall up in my neck of the woods. A perfect day for Solstice Scents' Foxcroft and Darling Clandestine's Vardogr (which I like to layer on moody, blustery, rainy autumn days). I got a small Fyrinnae haul recently that also seems to evoke autumn very well. I didn't intentionally order them as such, but they make a splendid autumn palette.
I bought a full size of Meloncholy lip lustre, a mini lustre in Last Kiss, and shadow minis in Dreamwoven Luxuries, Innocent Sorrow, and On Wings of Silk. I got a freebie in All Hallows Eve.

On Wings of Silk and Dreamwoven Luxuries are from their newer Exquisites line of Arcane Magic shadows, and are meant to have a more noticeable, dramatic color shift. I think these two come through on that claim with, er, flying colors.

Check out the following two sets of pictures:

They are the same two shadows!

 On Wings of Silk is on the left and Dreamwoven Luxuries is on the right. When I hold On Wings of Silk up high, it shifts from a pinky, sparkly bronze to a more gold toned color. It is a gorgeous, "lit from within" color and really benefits from a sticky base like Pixie Epoxy because I personally had some trouble with fallout. Even with the PE, after a few hours I get a magically light smattering of sparkle dust. Not a lot, but enough to be mildly annoying. But this one has one of the most noticeable shifts of the Arcanes I've tried. Sometimes I can see them when I swatch them, but they don't show up on my eyes. With these, when I move I can clearly see that shift from pinky bronze to gold. It's very cool! 

 Dreamwoven Luxuries shifts from a taupey purple with multicolored sparkles to a sparkly olive green/gold color. This is a good color to wear alone or with a really subtle/ neutral crease color because it is so complex, it steals the show and needs little accoutrement.

Dreamwoven Luxuries, On Wings of Silk, All Hallows Eve, Innocent Sorrow

All Hallows Eve is a perfect rusty pumpkin spice shade. I thought it might be too orange for me, but it's a burnt coppery orange that works nicely as a crease color.

On Wings of Silk: so much sparkly gorgeousness. Use your Pixie Epoxy!

Dreamwoven Luxuries: more complex than it looks

Innocent Sorrow: Wonderful pale, warm golden ivory with a slight green sparkle. I use this as a  lid shade  for everyday looks and it doubles as a great highlight shade too.

I'm working on some looks with these and will be posting them shortly. Have a great day all!
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