Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Today's haul is my Winter 2015 order from Solstice Scents. A lot of these are new additions to the EDP line-up or returning scents, so if you want to see my reviews for previous years' scents please check out my posts HERE and HERE. I bought Lemon Ginger Creams ganache and a mini Snowshoe Pass EDP as gifts and my full size Snowmint Mallow oil is a scent I've tried before, so the reviews for those items are in old reviews (some of the things in those reviews aren't available anymore-sorry!)

Onto the new stuff!

I bought mini EDPs of Desert Thunderstorm, Estate Carnation, Manor Fire, and my free sample was Wolf Spirit. I somehow got an extra sample of Conjure Dark, which was a pleasant surprise.

Check out the gorgeous artwork of the Manor on Fire- it kind of makes me sad to see it go up in flames, and then I have to remind myself that it is a fictional place, after all-but there is a kind of perverse guilty pleasure in enjoying the scent of the poor place being destroyed. Feelings are weird.



Estate Carnation
Estate Vanilla, Sweet Opium Smoke, Carnation, Rose, Olibanum, Orris Root

When I think of carnation scents I tend to envision lightly spicy, kind of haunting, melancholy florals- think SS's Lace Draped Spectre and Riverside Hayride, Posset's Silver Carnations, Cocoa Pink's Fear of Cemeteries,  or dainty and mildly foodie like Winter Dove, that sort of thing. Estate Carnation is NOT like those scents. It's spicy carnation, but turned to 11, and bolstered by deep, resinous, sweet vanilla incense smoke (not gourmand) and rose. On cold sniff this reminds me just a little of Estee Lauder's Beautiful, and I mean that in a good way- when I first started getting into perfumes I really loved that one. I truthfully haven't tried many of the classic perfumes that may have inspired this one so Beautiful is the one my memory latched onto- it must be the rose/carnation combo, but Estate Carnation is much warmer and richer, to my nose. It's a very classic, strong, sexy scent- not as much as Edge of the Night, but it is potent and wafts quite a bit, so for me it's more of a night out or day off scent- I probably wouldn't wear it to work unless I had applied it well beforehand and it had already faded alot. It's not necessarily heavy, per se, but it does make its presence known. It's gorgeous and I love it.


Desert Thunderstorm
 Desert Sage, Pinyon Pine & Resin, Petrichor, Sweetgrass, Creosote Bush, Sand, Ponderosa Pine, Smoke


 I am a sucker for thunderstorm scents, and this is a unique one as it's got more of a woodsy and herbal element to it. Usually thunderstorm scents seem like they take place in a lush forest or on the ocean and are cool and watery, but this one clearly takes place in a dry, parched desert, and it creates that atmosphere vividly. I've never been in a desert but I can imagine this is a good representation of what it would be like. On cold sniff I am greeted by the familiar blast of dry sage that I got from High Desert, but this is lighter and smoother somehow, more palatable to me. It's very fresh, cleansing, and invigorating. It's got the memory of wetness- rain falling but immediately soaking into the cracked desert floor, leaving nary a trace. There is realistic ozone, but it's like heat lightning, not a typical thunderstorm. I will reach for this most probably in the spring and summer for actual wear, but it's nice to just steal a sniff every so often- it's invigorating but also kind of calming, too-much like real thunderstorms.

 Manor Fire 
Manor, Smoke, Charred Wood, Melted Beeswax, Wood Resin, Dry Wood, Burning Leaves, Worn Leather

This is the Manor I love, just charred a little around the edges. It's actually not as strong as I expected as far as the smokiness goes- it's not as smoky as Smoky Mountain Mallow but it does have a similar aura to it. I can pick up on a hint of leather and some creamy beeswax- I'm pleased this isn't acrid or jarring at all- it's quite smooth and wearable. I would love wearing this hiking in the woods- I bet it would mingle perfectly during the winter with cold air and real woodsmoke on the breeze. 

Wolf Spirit
Desert Sage, Pinyon Pine & Resin, Conifers, Cedar, Palo Santo, Soft Incense, Vetiver, Frankincense, Fur, Juniper

I knew this would be an iffy one- I have some Palo Santo essential oil from Eden Botanicals- and I don't like it at all. There is something terpenic about it-sharp, uber-fresh, bitterly citrus or like turpentine, it's a common element found in conifer-centric scents, and it's not very pleasant to me. So Wolf Spirit smells a lot like that Palo Santo on cold sniff, and it sticks in my throat, like it's a physical thing I'm trying to swallow. I wore this to bed- and while it's not my favorite SS scent by any means, I do appreciate that after a few minutes the Palo Santo recedes and mellows, and I'm left with a serviceable soft incensey, woodsy scent that I probably will use as a nighttime scent as it is sort of meditative after the first few minutes.



Conjure Dark
Amber, Frankincense, Sweet Incense Smoke, Dried Rose Petals, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Woods, Oud, Vanilla

Despite the name, this doesn't smell much like the original Conjure. The longer scent description mentions this, but I thought it worthwhile to reiterate. Whereas Manor Fire clearly has Manor interwoven with other notes, Conjure Dark is, I'd say, inspired by Conjure, but definitely not the same or merely layered upon. It's not overly dark to me either, but it's smokier than the original Conjure for sure. It is a deeper resinous incense blend with hints of agarwood and vanilla. Any sweetness is extremely muted.  It also has a churchy vibe to it with the frankincense- it makes me think of soft incense smoke, just a bit edgier. Nice!

Whew- posting this a few minutes past midnight so it's technically Christmas! Hope you all have a wonderful day :)

Today's Holiday Haul is from Sugar and Spite's Yule collection! First off, it's not a secret that I am a sucker for the branding and packaging- it's always so quirky and irreverent. All the Yule scents were throwbacks to classic films or stating uncomfortable truths about the holidays (you know, Santa is a bit of a creeper). So the artwork was kitschy and snarky and lots of fun. I really enjoyed it!

I got-

A perfume sampler including:
Gnome for the Holidays
It was an Ugly Tree Anyway
Dysfunctional Family Christmas
The Horseman Rides Again
Santa is a Creeper

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out sugar scrub and Bath Truffles (gifts)
Fruitcake for One Bath Truffles
Gnome for the Holidays Lotion
(Eat me Drink me bar soap-freebie)



Gnome for the Holidays
Mmmmmmm. Creeeaaaamy. Egyptian musk, four vanillas, and a smidge of bright white mint.


I picked this up as a lotion as I don't really have any minty, wintry lotions and I recently got a full size of Solstice Scents Snowmint Mallow perfume, so I figured they would layer well. And it makes me think of There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays by Perry Como, which I remember hearing a lot when I was little around Christmas and it made me nostalgic. Anyway, at first the perfume oil has a buttery note to it that I don't care for, but it does fade quickly into a more musky vanilla mint, in that order. It smells sort of like SS's Snowshoe Pass. I really like the lotion, it's a kind of neutral scent that layers well with a variety of other scents.

Dysfunctional Family Christmas
pumpkin, rosewood, vetiver, tea, nutmeg, clove


I don't really get pumpkin in this, it's mostly a lightly spicy tea scent with perhaps a touch of smokiness. It clings pretty close to the skin and I can't quite make out all the notes. It's pretty, I love Lysa's tea scents- this one is a little "same-y" to me though. I'll definitely use up the sample but it's not wowing me enough to require more after that.


Santa is a Creeper
 Lock your windows. A (quite possibly) felonious blend of incense, leather, amber, patchouli, licorice, clove and black tea. He sees you when you're sleeping.

This is pretty heavy on the licorice, but also a large amount of leather and then some incense. I think I can pick up some tea as well. This has a similar vibe to Solstice Scents Black Leather, Red Lace, with other notes added. It's a lot of licorice though so it's not my favorite, but if you like licorice and leather you're golden.


The Horseman Rides Again
 leather, leaves, fir, pumpkin, vanilla, incense, oud wood


I don't remember if I've sampled the original Horseman so I can't compare the versions- this one is nice though- leather is in the forefront-there is a sweetish vanilla woodsiness- if I sniff really intently I think I can make out the oud- it's actually quite nice. I've only tried this once or twice, I should spend more time with it. It's a good unisex scent-maybe I can get G to try it on.


It was an Ugly Tree Anyway

baking spices, a roaring hearth, sweet breads, faint cigar smoke, and the warm glow of a Christmas tree........ on fire.


The label and inspiration for this one cracks me up! This one was also my favorite, and I did order a full size of it. It's an interesting sweet baked goods/ fir tree scent with a faint smokiness. It sounds a little weird  but it works for me. I like the scent of this wafting around me more than huffing straight from my wrist, and I have gotten compliments from G on it, so it's G approved.

Everything else is intended as gifts- I did sniff the You'll Shoot Your Eye Out lotion- it's a straightforward delicious lemon cake. I don't smell any violets, but then again I didn't actually try it on. I'm not sure why A Christmas Story scent is lemon cake really- but it's well enough, considering the alternative would probably be Lifebuoy soap, boiled cabbage, and Ovaltine. I'll take the cake.

Have a great day everyone!







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Today I've got a First Impressions review for you! This is based solely on the scents offered by Arcana, as I didn't have any experience with their customer service. Arcana is one of the companies I've sort of avoided, not because their offerings don't sound awesome (they do!) but because they sell mostly through third party vendors, like The Rhinestone Housewife and Pretty Indulgent. They do sell some scents on Ebay as well. That's fine of course, but mostly I've avoided them because they don't do samples. That's their prerogative, and whatever helps them run smoothly is totally cool. But for me personally, samples are kind of imperative, especially when their full sizes are a little pricier than others in the 5 ml size range, around $18-$20, which is simply outside my budget for blind-buying from a new-to-me brand.

Recently a user on the IMAM subreddit, /u/worldwidethrowaway, was kind enough to host a general catalog decant circle for Arcana, and I thought it would be a perfect time to give them a shot and get a feel for their style. I've never done a decant circle before but everything went smoothly-it took about a month and a half, which was understandable as the response for this circle was overwhelming (I'm guessing I'm not the only one who laments the no-samples thing). The package I got was sealed perfectly, each vial was wrapped with plumber's tape, the vials were neatly labeled, and there were even a couple soap samples included. Everything was fine on that end and I'd feel comfortable doing another circle with that user in the future.

So, onto the scents! Since this was a GC circle, there is kind of a range of scents here-some I would gravitate more towards during the summer for sure, so even though I liked them a lot, I'm not as excited right now about them as I am the more fall/winter type scents. But check back with me later on that.



Leaves Falling Like Rain
In honor of our beloved Pacific Northwest and the best time of the year. A comforting base of brown sugar, caramel, gingersnaps and cappuccino is sparked off with hints of vintage patchouli, hyssop, mullein and white pepper.

Of course I will start with the one that has lately been discontinued due to a component issue. But, for posterity and if you find it available for swaps, I will still comment on it. On cold sniff it smells sweet, almost maple-y, but there is a bite of spicy ginger too- it's not sickening sweet. There is rich coffee and a fair amount of earthy patchouli grounding it. It smells like a toned-down version of Solstice Scents' Jack and the Devil to me, It's a very warm, cuddly, sweater-weather type scent. I am going to pretend that I don't like it at all. Blech. 

Vampire's Garden
For vampires and other dark souls addicted to topsoil, the sweetly herbaceous scent of freshly turned earth, blood oranges and staked tomato vines under a midnight sky

This is fresh and vivacious, oddly enough, considering it's named after the undead! This opens with a blast of juicy, astringent orange. It's almost cleaning product-ish but there is peppery,green tomato leaf and dirt notes too so it's not that simple. It's a little sharp and pervasive for my taste, but it's possible I will like it more in the spring.



Aestas
The ancient Roman goddess of summer: Madagasgar vanilla, yellow cake, soft peach nectar, golden musk, black musk and a hint of patchouli.


I knew it was a long shot, but I ordered this hoping for more cake, vanilla, and musk. Nope, lots 'o' peach. Peach and I don't get along so well. It's a deeper, earthier, more grounded peach with a hint of sweetness, but still, peach. If you like scents like Haus of Gloi's Peach Mama or Solstice Scents Chantilly Cream (which I actually do like somewhat), you may gravitate towards this.

Filthy Viking
Between the sea voyages and the pillaging, it must have been difficult for Odin’s henchmen to stay fresh. Too bad they didn’t have this ferocious blend of scents from the Viking world: bracing Norwegian juniper, frigid Icelandic mint and the hardy wood of a longship 

One word sums this one up: bracing. Oh wait, that's already in the description. So I can't use it again. Argh. Okay. Um. Shivery. Biting. Almost-fruity juniper and evergreens. Icy mint. But it morphs rather dramatically after applying, when it suddenly becomes woodsy, like you're tucked deep in the lower levels of the longship, wrapped in some kind of toasty fur, surrounded by warm wood planks, a hint of slightly sooty smoke in the air.


Philtre Consumed
In its wake, this potion is said to leave a trail of ravenous longing and insatiable lust. Three gingers (fresh ginger, ginger extract, and gingerbread) are blended with a cheesecake accord, French cognac, butter co2 extract, caramel, black pepper, sugared milk, copaiba balsam, a pinch of ho wood, and a shameless slap of cassia


This is some deliciousness, right here. It's powerfully spicy ginger at first- more dry than sweet but still decidedly edible. It's tangy too- it IS like cheesecake. But a deep, mysterious, sexy, spicy gingerbread cheesecake. This is winner winner chicken dinner for me. 




Surf
Orange blossoms with beach coconut, skin musk, and warm sand


Talk to me about this one in about six months, as it's really lovely, I'm just not woo-hoo excited about it right now. The scent is reminiscent of Solstice Scents Coquina- lots of orange blossom (and I love orange blossom!), light coconut and ocean spray notes. It's fresh, airy, sweet and summery and so not on my radar right now. Soon though. Very soon.


The Sweet Trade
This laid-back tropical tangle celebrates the less black-hearted side of piracy. With heady notes of caramel, honey, orange blossoms, rich coconut cream and dark Indonesian patchouli.

This is Surf's older, sexier, edgier wild-child sister. It's Surf with the lights turned down lowwwww. Wear this on a hot, sultry summer night and watch the magic happen. It smells a lot like a Haus of Gloi custom scent I made with orange blossom, mahogany, coconut, and red musk, and it has always been my favorite one, The patchouli is not heavy here, don't worry about that. It's mostly rich, almost syrupy orange blossom and coconut. Very heady stuff, and quite swoonworthy.


Philtre: Adoration
An aphrodisiac believed to draw one's beloved to the greatest heights of receptivity and indulgence. Three vanillas, sweet cream, banana custard, white pepper, exotic amber, pearl musk, black pepper, and cardamom. 

Somewhat like Philtre: Consumed, but this has a kind of sharp,boozy banana thing going on. It's another blend that is foodie, but also musk and amber and spice, and keeps you guessing. Of the two I prefer Consumed, but this is quite delish as well.


Song of Songs: Comfort Me with Apples
Honey-sweetened cider, green apples, vanilla, buttermilk, amber resin, and a hint of cinnamon bark. 

This is definitely a tangy, lip-puckering green apple, and there's not a whole lot of spiciness to my nose and it's not particularly creamy or resinous either. Just a lot of apple. One second I think it smells really realistic, the next it's like a green apple Jolly Rancher. Not bad, but not over the moon about it either.

Apples Crave Vanilla
Wild apples and green apples with delicate vanilla, sensual musk, and white amber


This is a more subtle red apple, not too sweet and not spicy. It's a little lackluster on cold sniff, but enjoy the drydown when more muskiness and depth starts to peek out and it behaves more like a my-skin-but-better type scent.

Holy Terror
There are utterly somber and fearsome spirits which are known to haunt certain long-deserted chapels, monasteries and abbeys. An unsettling, austere blend of burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles. 

Holy moly! I really love this one. I thought it would smell like Solstice Scents Basilica (ultimate church scent), but it stands on its own. This has a lot of dusty, creamy beeswax candles and the most gorgeous incense smoke, not too strong but just acrid enough to feel that old familiar Catholic guilt kicking in. Full size material.

Bonfires at Dusk
Woodsmoke, sweet beeswax, Oregon lavender, sandalwood, charred juniper, and the scent of swiftly appearing stars. 


This smells like smoky lavender- a very potent, sharp herbal and coniferous element at first, It does have an atmospheric, eerily quiet twilight feeling to it. The drydown is similar to Holy Terror to me with the smoke and beeswax, but I think I prefer Holy Terror as is.


Will I try Arcana again? Sure! Everything was well blended and interesting, Consumed and Holy Terror were definite full size candidates, and Surf and the Sweet Trade might start tickling my fancy more come spring. I have actually have purchased from Arcana again- I recently blind bought a full size from the Ebay store, Vanilla Craves Bread- because I adore bread scents and it just sounds fantastic, I couldn't resist. I'm glad I went ahead and gave Arcana a chance!




Alright, so I've been hauling pretty hot and heavy lately and I figured in order to get these reviews done in a somewhat timely manner, I'm going to have to be all official and festive about it- hence the "hap-hap-happiest" in the title, and all that jazz. Up to Christmas, I'm going to share as many hauls and other First Impressions reviews as I possibly can. Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol? 

So first up is my Haus of Gloi Reverie order- it's a little one, and mostly gifts. I got a His Sweater whipped soap and pumpkin butter for G, and bought 3 Gimme Mah Coffee scrubs (one is mine and is in the shower currently, the ones pictured are gifts). I got a Winter Divinity whipped soap and a Peppermint Vanilla lip balm for myself, and received a sample of Spiced Cocoa, I'd been wanting to try that one!

I feel a little evil reviewing some of these as they are mostly Reverie, and no guarantees as to whether they will ever return. But in case they do, here you go!




Gimme Mah Coffee
We'll let the ingredients speak for themselves! Rich coffee butter, shea butter, organic virgin coconut and olive oils are blended together with organic cane sugar and organic fair trade coffee grounds and aloe leaf powder. We lightly scented this decadent scrub with true coffee essential oil and the barest hint of lemon oil to round out and enhance the coffee notes. This will truly awaken you to whatever the day has in store for you!

This is one of those scents that make your eyes roll back in your head, it's so transcendent and realistic, and just utter heaven. It's not bitter, it's well rounded and rich, and very intense. It's chock full of coffee grounds so it is a little messy to use in the shower, but rinsing thoroughly gets rid of it easily enough. It is going to be painful giving these away, but the joy they are sure to elicit will bring its own reward. I wish this would become GC, for reals.

His Sweater
A well worn woolen sweater infused with brisk outdoor air, a hint of incense and clean skin musk. Accompanied by three woods and a root: western red cedar heartwood, hawthorn accord and Japanese hiba with a touch of calamus root.

Cozy Sweater worn by a hipster lumberjack- a little incense, a little plaid, some laced leather hiking boots with warm woolen socks, a shiver of winter air, and a little clean sweat, you know, from chopping down trees in an artful and elegantly graceful manner. I only cold sniffed this as it's a gift for G, but I am eager to smell it on him, as I like it a lot. 

Winter Divinity
Sugary white vanilla divinity with a surprising jolt of peppermint


This is pretty simple- vanilla and mint. It's refreshing and lightly sweet, it's pretty inoffensive and isn't too strong in the jar. I will see how minty it is in the shower, but on cold sniff it's mild and creamy.

Peppermint Vanilla Lip Balm


I adored the Peppermint Sugar Cookie lip balm last year, used it all up, and I got this hoping it would compare though it's missing the cookie element. I'm happy to say it does smell pretty much the same based on memory, maybe more peppermint than any "baked goods" kind of note, but it's a fair substitution.

Spiced Cocoa
Double the warmth, hot cuppa cocoa and mild wintery spices!


This smells a little like Vice minus coffee, and also kind of like Parkin. The chocolate is a bit fake smelling at first, but that's not a terrible thing, I still like this. Occasionally I'll smell it and get a really realistic hot cocoa/creamy marshmallow vibe too. It smells a little like Sixteen92's Mexican Hot Chocolate, but not as nutty smelling to my nose. I think I would like this more as a whipped soap, but I will still use my sample.

Alright, that's all for today! Hope your holiday season, however you choose to celebrate it, is going smoothly and...happily.


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So it's been about a gazillion years since I've done a LOTD. Not sure why that is, but honestly my makeup has been pretty neutral for a while now and not really remarkable, so it seemed silly to bother. But hey! I liked my Thanksgiving face so I remembered to take some pics along with the desserts I made, so here ya go! It's only taken me two weeks to get it posted. Progress?

I recently got my first order from Silk Naturals so most of this look features products I got- I'll do an actual First Impressions post soon.

On my face:

Maybelline Dream Wonder Foundation
Revlon Color Stay Concealer in Fair
Silk Naturals Crystal Perfecting Glow
Silk Naturals Sleep In a Jar Extra Light Peach concealer (undereye)
Silk Naturals Perfecting Powder
NYX Baked Blush in Wanderlust
Fyrinnae Meloncholy Lip Lustre

On my eyes:

Coastal Scents Step One Primer
Silk Naturals AKA shadow on lids
basic medium matte brown in crease (using Coastal Scents Revealed 2 pallette)
Silk Naturals Joyful duo (light highlight color)
Ulta Gel Eye Liner Pencil in Bronze
Stila Huge Extreme Mascara




I adore AKA from Silk Naturals! I've been wearing it pretty much every day since I got it- I selected that one for my initial order because it's said to be a dupe for Urban Decay's YDK (which I haven't tried), but I came across a blog comparing that shade to Inglot 154, which is one of my favorites and almost used up, so I decided to take a chance on it. It's not really the same (AKA seems darker, not as frosty/pearlescent with more pink/brown than gold/taupe) , but it's gorgeous. It's an awesome neutral for me, and it wears perfectly. A++

Another thing worth mentioning- I really like the Stila Huge Extreme Mascara, I think I got it in a Birchbox. It lengthens and thickens my lashes really well- but sadly it smears a lot during the day and I end up with smudges under my eyes. So that's the only thing keeping me from getting a full size of that one.








And finally for something a lot more fun to look at- my Thanksgiving desserts! I made a pumpkin pie from scratch (crust and all) using Smitten Kitchen's
recipe, and Deb never lets me down. This turned out really well-the trick is cooking the pumpkin on the stovetop before putting in the pie crust to deepen the flavors and get rid of that lingering raw taste. My crust got a little smushed as I used pie shields to keep it from browning too fast- oh well, it was still delish!





And because Deb never lets me down, I also made her Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake, 
and it also turned out yummy. It's a nice mash up of fall apple flavors and Christmasy gingerbread, then all caramelized and gooey. Good times!



I have been busy with all kinds of DIY projects lately, and today I'm going to share a technique that is pretty easy, and applicable for all kinds of projects, not just the particular ones I used it for: image transfer!

There are lots of ways to transfer images to your projects (wood, fabric, furniture, whatevs), and a nice link round-up can be found at The Graphics Fairy

For my projects, I used a simple wax paper transfer method. My first project was turning a new wood crate from the craft store in a shabby, vintage style crate for holding shoes at our front door. The small, flimsy basket we had was overflowing, and G forgot more times than not to put his shoes in there. I won't say he's gotten much better at remembering, but the crate sure looks a lot nicer!

First things first: the new, raw wood crate!



And because raw wood is not the look I was going for, I painted it with a "stain" of brown acrylic paint heavily diluted with water. I also sanded the crate a little to get off any sharp splinters. I didn't worry about that initial stain being neat or perfect, as I was painting it over anyway, and only wanted the stain to show through a little after I distressed the finished piece.


For my crate, I went with a matte, chalky finish paint. It's got a rustic, shabby-chic vibe and is super easy to use. I used Enchanted from the Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint collection.



Now, the image I wanted to use on the front of my crate is also from The Graphics Fairy, a beautiful old French shoe factory advertisement (which I thought was apt, since this is a shoe box, after all).

Wax paper is too fragile to try feeding it through your inkjet printer by itself-well, I'm sure some people have been able to do it, but I didn't want to risk a nasty paper jam. So my trick it to cut the wax paper to fit a plain piece of 8.5 x 11 paper, and I used a little bit of spray adhesive to attach them together evenly, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles. 

Depending on what your image is, be sure to reverse it before printing so text doesn't look backwards after transferring. The Graphics Fairy already has a reversed version of this image, so it was easy peasy! 

Then I printed out my image (this is a project just for inkjets, I'm not sure if it will work with laser jets printers). Then, while the ink was still quite wet, I carefully placed the paper on the crate and began smoothing over the paper with a sturdy card. Press firmly over all portions of the image to really let the ink soak in, but don't use so much force that you disrupt the paper's position or tear the wax paper. If the paper shifts too much, you could smear the image. 





Once you are sure the image has transferred to your liking, gently pull it up and behold your masterpiece!


This definitely has the vintage vibe I was hoping for! However, it would ideally be a little bit darker for my tastes. I've read that some people get the wood lightly damp before transferring and that intensifies the amount ink that soaks in. I may try that in the future, but it still turned out great! I used sandpaper to wear down the paint on the edges of the crate and where natural weathering might occur, and then I sealed the whole crate with a few coats of Krylon Crystal Clear spray.


For my second project, I used THIS lovely autumn themed pumpkin label for a hanging wood pallet sign. This was a new, dark wood sign from Michaels. 


I wanted the wood to look lighter, more weather-worn, so the image would show up more clearly. So I painted the sign with a diluted mix of cream and light brown acrylic paints.



Here you can see the image (a black and white test version) that I reversed and used adhesive spray to attach the wax paper to plain printer paper. I  actually wanted the image to print out a little larger than 8.5 x 11 inches, so I spliced a little extra paper to a regular sheet to make it approximately legal size.



I think next time I will definitely try making the wood a little damp (but not too damp as that can make the ink run and smudge)- because my final result was lighter than I'd hoped and I didn't get all the details and vibrant colors from the label. To me it looks pretty authentic and worn out-but I wish the image stood out just a little more. I sealed this with Krylon Crystal Clear as well. This is currently hanging in my kitchen for the fall/ Halloween/Thanksgiving and I think for Christmas I may do another one.




That's all for today, hope you all have a great Thanksgiving if you celebrate that sort of thing!


Cocoa Pink is having an early Black Friday Sale from Friday, October 30th-Sunday, November 1st so I am cranking out this long overdue review! The sale will be for 10%-25% off your order depending on your purchase amount, and they also open up their entire scent list for purchase and custom scents. The order I'm reviewing today I got right before they switched to their fall/winter scent list.

Behold my haul!

I got :
Coco Mango Body Butter in Marshmallow Fireside
Shampink in Indian Donuts
Dry Oil Spray in Seaside Picnic
Hairspray in A Little Piece of Heaven
Squeaky shampoo in Tahitian Monoi Cake
Perfume Oil Drams in:
Butterfly Forest
Black Apple Noel
Indian Donuts
Cinderella's Carriage
Marshmallow Fireside
Fluffy Green Tea

I got free samples of their sugar scrub in Lavender Clouds and the Shine Sweetie conditioner in Bonfire Celebration


I'll cover the bath and body products first.

Coco Mango Body Butter

Love this formula. It soaks in quickly and isn't too heavy, but is rich enough to make a dent in my dry skin. It's tied for favorite body lotion with Haus of Gloi's Pumpkin Butter and Sugar and Spite's lotion. I got this in Marshmallows Fireside and it is a perfect layering scent to go with a lot of my fall perfumes.

 Shampink 

I've used this before and really liked it (and love that they changed that silly previous name, to be honest). It's sulfate free but it does still foam up pretty well. My hair is really fine and prone to being limp some days, staticky and frizzy other days. If I use this too many days in a row, my scalp does start feeling kind of greasy. So what I've discovered works best for me is to rotate products. One day I will use just this, the next I will wash first with the Squeaky shampoo, then with the Shampink, the day after that I will use a regular shampoo and then the Shampink. That's been keeping my hair from getting too weighed down or too dried out from sulfates. YMMV. I got this in the scent Indian Donuts- which is one of those confusing but delicious scents that are part floral, part gourmand. The scent isn't overwhelming, but I do catch whiffs of it when I dry my hair and it's warmed up, and I also smelled it a little when I got caught in the rain last week and my hair got wet. So, it sticks around but it's not too pervasive. Other scents might act differently. of course.

Dry Oil Spray

I haven't really used this much since yet since it's a more summery scent (Seaside Picnic- Airy whipped cream, snow white cake crumbles, cotton candy frosting, aromatic white tea, and coconut limeade tempered with gentle sea breezes).I would say it's slightly more oily than Solstice Scents' glaces, with a less fine mist, but not quite as greasy as CP's regular body oil spray. I find the glaces more versatile as I can almost use them as fragrance mists and don't mind getting a little on my hair, but this spray isn't really suited for that.

Hairspray 

I am loving this! It's not a super strong hold hairspray- it will not carry you through a windstorm unscathed. But it's not sticky and doesn't leave my hair crunchy, and the scent I got is strong and really gorgeous (A Little Piece of Heaven-Ceylon black tea accented with gentle notes of clean sun dried cotton, white rose petals, breezy transparent musk paired with dewy blades of summer grass.). It smells fresh, like roses and tea mostly- there is an alcohol base scent to it, but it fades quickly. It just smells like some fancy, expensive hairspray you'd get at a salon.

Squeaky Shampoo 

This is Cocoa Pink's clarifying shampoo. I love this scent- Tahitian Monoi Cake (Vanilla cake batter injected with candied citrus, moist white cake smothered in whipped buttercream icing touched with nuances of Polynesian Monoi oil).I hadn't tried this scent before but have read it's a strange tropical floral/cakey combo, and I thought it would make a nice shampoo, and it does smell like a sweet, dense cake with tropical nuances. I'm undecided about the formula. The texture is almost shower gel-like, and it doesn't foam much at all. I know it's psychological, but I like my shampoo to foam at least a little without having to use a ton of product. This is one I'm torn about. I like being able to choose my scent, and the fact it's sulfate free-but...I will finish this bottle before I decide if I will get it again.

Soft Bubbles Sugar Scrub

I got this in the Lavender Clouds scent (Sleepy Spanish lavender essential oils softly blended amongst French vanilla clouds and fluffy marshmallow pillows), and wow, I am really loving their marshmallow note. It's wonderfully fluffy and realistic. I have truthfully already finished the sample and am just going by memory- it's delicious and strangely edible-smelling because there's this sweet marshmallow and mellow, relaxing herbal lavender, and it left my brain confused. Do I eat it, or stuff a dream pillow with it? The texture is kind of fun to poke at- spongy and bouncy feeling. Not super foamy, I wouldn't use it as a soap replacement, but it's got a nice grittiness to it, and some light lather.

Shine Sweetie Conditioner 

 This is a thick conditioner, more like a hair mask, so I've only used this maybe once a week or so, and it does the job. I just use it on my ends only and leave it for a few minutes, and it does soften and detangle nicely. The scent was Bonfire Celebration (White sand, cool salty sea air meet with the fragrances of sandalwood, sparkling, pink champagne and wisps of smoke from a crackling bonfire), which I've tried before and smells nice, but not so much like the description. Mostly like dryer sheets.


And now, the perfume oils!


 Butterfly Forest

 Warm sunbeams peek quietly through majestic, ancient oak trees entangled within lush English ivy setting the paper thin wings of Pipevine Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, and Monarchs aglow in a breathtaking display of color. Purple sandalwood, ancient wood, English Ivy, Firelight Peony petals, snow white musk and a single drop of Oud.

 I get soft, diffusive woods and some airy florals, and can definitely get some fresh white musk too. I like this most on cold sniff and after first applying. Once it's dried down it loses some complexity, and reminds me of stealing sniffs of jars of face cream and body lotions from my mom or grandma's dresser as a child. It just makes me think of those dainty tubs of perfumey lotion from Avon that I thought were so fancy and mysterious when I was little. I wish the initial application scent lasted longer, as it's really lovely. The dry down goes to fancy face cream with a little soapiness. It lasts quite a while once it dries down-I wore it overnight and got traces of it the next morning.

Black Apple Noel

  CP Black, juicy Golden Delicious apples smothered  in a mouthwatering sticky sweet caramel coating and rounded out with ghostly ribbons of vanilla bean noel.

This is a blast of caramel on cold sniff. The caramel registers as a little sharp and medicinal (alcohol-y?) almost to my nose on cold sniff, but it goes away when I put it on and it smells delicious. The apple is fairly muted throughout, it's not a particularly bright, tart, or juicy apple to me. The vanilla bean noel is a lot more prominent. I haven't tried their "Black" note on its own so I'm not sure where it's at exactly, but as a whole this is a sweet, foodie scent with some deeper, perhaps amber tones. It's not a super dark or heavy scent at all though, just rich.


Indian Donuts
 cakey sugary donuts with pistachios, cardamom, a splash of rose water and a dusting of powdered sugar.
I got this mostly to compare with Solstice Scents' Cardamom Rose Sugar, which to me smells precisely like gulab jamun. That scent is heavier on the cardamom and brown sugar notes, with only a faint hint of rose to me. This scent inverts that profile. It is much heavier on the rose, with some sweetness and very little spiciness and bite from the cardamom. It is a gentler, softer scent, more "perfumey" than Cardamom Rose Sugar, which to me is way more gourmand. I like it a lot though- but I find CRS to be a more in-your-face literal representation of the thing than Indian Donuts. 



Cinderella's Carriage
 What did Cinderella really wish for? We think it was this blend of Coconut Cream Pie with Marshmallow Meringue, Sweet Pumpkin, Spiritueuse Double Vanilla, and Vanilla Bean Noel. We think this is the REAL reason the prince fell in love, who could resist Cinderella in sexy foodie?

 I think I get why this is a popular scent! It's this mash-up of the yummiest gourmand scents- cake, vanilla, pumpkin, marshmallow. I don't really get any coconut cream pie but the scent is plenty busy without it. It is VERY sweet, it reminds me of a gourmand you might find at Bath at Body Works, but made just better. The dry down is mostly a strong dose of vanilla bean noel. I sort of prefer it after first applying when I get more cake and pumpkin, but if you like super sweet gourmands, this would be a safe bet.


Fluffy Green Tea

We took our fabulous Green Tea and blended it with Marshmallows.  A customer’s special request!

This one doesn't really work for me. I like tea scents, I like marshmallow. But in this one- I don't care for them together. The green tea smells authentic to me, to its credit, it's not a generic, impressionistic spa green tea, it's quite astringent,clean, and bracing. But paired with the sweet marshmallow I keep getting a chemical-ly, antiseptic tone that's off-putting. It just isn't my style, I guess.

 Marshmallow Fireside
Toasted vanilla marshmallows over a roaring fire.  An excellent rendition of BBW's version.
Can someone please explain to me why Bath and Body Works has never (to my knowledge) turned their Marshmallow Fireside candle scent into a proper bath and body line? It's an egregious oversight, in my opinion. Maybe a "smoky" scent on the body is seen as too "out there" for the general clientele, I don't know. It's just silly. So I've been looking a long time for a perfume scent that smells like the candle, and this here is it. My HG toasted marshmallow. Sweet, sweet relief! It's a perfect balance of warm, cozy, charred wood and lightly crispy, caramelized marshmallows. It's not nearly as smoky as Solstice Scents Smoky Mountain Mallow, and is more toasted than Sixteen92's Toasted Marshmallow, which is mostly fresh marshmallow to me. I got it as an oil and a lotion and think it's also a perfect layering scent. It translates really cleanly to lotion format, too. I still get all the nuances of the oil in the lotion, which doesn't always happen.

Alright, now go forth and buy all the things!


Lysa from Sugar and Spite recently moved from California to Salem, Oregon (so jealous!) and the move seems to have inspired LOTS of new creations and a gorgeous new aesthetic. Lysa has always been aces at using vintage ephemera in her artwork in quirky and unexpected ways, and her new lotions, scrubs, and soap labels are no exception. 

After getting settled from her move, she released a line of bath and body products in scents designed to layer well with the various perfumes she offers. The scrubs and lotions were originally released in glass packaging, which was exciting since they're so useful for re-purposing and they just look extra special, in my opinion. I got my hands on a lotion and scrub in the glass jars but it looks like shipping them was cost prohibitive, so it's back to plastic we go. It was worth a shot!

For my haul I got a body scrub (8 oz) in Sister Witch, a lotion (8 oz) in The Bee Queen, and a bar soap in Strangefellow.



Sister Witch
a steamy cup of earl grey tea, wee lavender buds, and sweet milk

I'm normally underwhelmed by lavender (can take or leave it), but not in Lysa's scents. I LOVE her Forever as Now perfume (lavender, tonka, french vanilla, sandalwood, Egyptian musk) especially layered with Haus of Gloi's Cozy Sweater, so I was pretty sure I would like Sister Witch. It's a perfectly executed, relaxing, gentle lavender with a hint of tea. I would eventually like this a lotion, because it would be a great bed time scent.

As far as the scrub formula goes, it's a non-foaming moisturizing scrub, but it's not greasy at all. I get virtually no oily residue. It's firm, with a gritty, stable grain that doesn't instantly dissolve. Nothing worse than a wimpy scrub that feels like a waste of time! I normally like foaming scrubs best, but this one is my absolute favorite of the non-foaming variety.


The Bee Queen
  rich honey, horchata, sticky beeswax, and woodsmoke

 This lotion could easily serve as perfume! It is STRONG. Like, all day strong. I don't think I've ever used a more tenacious scented lotion. I've used it on my legs in the morning going to work and when I've come home in the evening I can still catch hints of it. The texture is that of a creamy yogurt. It's a good balance between a heavy butter and a lighter lotion, and it soaks in quickly. The Bee Queen is a potent floral/honey to my nose, and it's a little cloying when I first apply it, but once it settles and the woodsmoke comes out, it's compulsively sniffable. I don't know if I smell any cinnamon or milk, but it is pretty sweet with other notes grounding it. It reminds me a little of the now defunct Honey Tree from Haus of Gloi.




Strangefellow
tonka, amber, musk and pepper, with a sugar cookie base

I would probably get more of the nuances of the notes in this if I had the scrub or lotion, in the soap, it smells awesome but a little more muted than I imagine other forms would be. It smells mostly like sweet oatmeal cookies to me. I have never been a big bar soap person but I love Lysa's because they don't leave me feeling too squeaky (which I hate) and they have a lovely, creamy foam. Plus the bars are just pretty to look at, often with swirls of mica or extra garnishes on top. These are hot process soaps and have a neat sparkling "geode" look to them.



And of course my order was full of assorted Halloween goodies- candy, a card, fake vampire teeth, a sticker, and soap and scrub samples. Can't say enough good things about the packaging, it's always a treat to open one of these!

Also, it looks like these have been popular enough that she's released matching perfumes for them, in case you want the whole layering experience.







Sixteen92 released their Halloween Collection on October 1st, so we are going to pretend I am very timely and seasonally appropriate with my review (even though I've been sitting on it, as a Circle subscriber, for...awhile.) In my defense, it IS indeed more fall-ish since my review of the Fall 2015 collection so I feel more like reviewing these. Let's get to it before I get distracted by something shiny and put it off for another week, shall we?

Aradia

Tobacco leaf, tonka, crushed cocao pods, aged vanilla, red woods, dried spices

When I first received the package, this one played with my nose in some bizarre ways. I kept smelling strange things like yogurt and tortillas. Something tangy or yeasty or bready or unctuously sweet. Perhaps the tonka and cocoa combo, along with almost syrupy tobacco produced this effect, I can't explain it. Now that is has aged a bit I smell way more cocoa- but it's not quite candy-bar sweet, it's got some woodsiness weaving in and out tempering it and there's the vanilla/hay of the tonka. The yogurt and tortilla first impression has receded thankfully, and I find this much more wearable. Sillage and lasting power is minimal, lingers close to the skin. Not full size worthy but it's nice.


Baba Yaga

Fiery dragon’s blood incense, sweet woodsmoke, dried herbs, dripping candle wax, forest dirt

Yep, this is all the incense. Incense and a little bit of dusty dried herbs and a hint of sweetness. It's got stronger sillage and staying power than many of the others. I like the smell of this in the vial but it gets a little overpowering when I wear it.


Hecate

Tart cranberry, benzoin, fir needle, dark chocolate, smoldering incense, dry leaves

How is that that I don't have any perfumes with cranberry? This is REALLY excellent. It's got a mostly sweet/bright, and just slightly tart juicy cranberry opening with a well-blended hint of chocolate, and it dries down to a super sexy, woodsy incense blend. This reminds me a little bit of Monarch from Solstice Scents (minus the cranberry)- it's got the unique fir/incense thing going on- and has the same "red" deep, musky vibe. This would be my full size choice for sure.


Morgan Le Fey

Black patchouli, amber resin, vanilla bean, warm gingerbread


This is for the patchouli lovers, as this is BAM! patchouli. It's dry, not terribly sweet to my nose. The gingerbread is not a cute little cut-out man with gum drop buttons, but a deep, dark, dense loaf of cake packed with spices and barely any sugar. It has kick, y'all. And you better like patchouli. You've been warned.

Black Annis

Absinthe, black honey (vegan), raw sugar, balsam, labdanum, crushed fern

This and Hecate get my vote for most unique scents from both fall collections. I don't even like anise all that much (I'm never falling over myself to get the latest absinthe interpretation), but anise like this is an exception! The honey and anise play perfectly with each other- the anise keeping the sweetness in check, the honey mellowing the anise's sharp licorice facets. It's got a subtle green herbal tone as well. It reminds me a little of Solstice Scents Sun Warmed Honey- with that chamomile note which almost salvaged it but was in the end still too cloyingly sweet for me. Black Annis succeeds for me where Sun Warmed Honey did not. This one is complex and just fun to journey with!


Last year I bought a "Choose Your Own Adventure" custom scent from Alchimia Apothecary based on my memories of my grandma- and I detailed the experience and the scent HERE. Suffice it to say, this is the best custom I've ever made, and a generally good experience as the owner, Erin, really seemed to "get" the tone and feeling I was going for with this. I know it's based on my grandma, but it does NOT have a stereotypical old lady smell. Not in the slightest. It's green, peppery, vivacious, with some soft florals and a gorgeous agarwood drydown. The black agar was Erin's idea, and it absolutely made this scent special and totally unique.

So, I bought a 5 ml oil last year, and I have only around 1/4 left- so I checked to see if by chance she keeps records of the customs she makes, and she does! I was interested in trying my custom as an EDT, and Erin was helpful and thorough with my inquiry and told me the differences one might encounter between the oil and an alcohol based perfume. I went ahead and ordered it ( $25.00 for 1 ounce) along with a special September limited release, Pool's Closed. Erin wrote me a few days after I ordered and let me know that since my original blend was stronger than others typically are (an extra note or two I believe) she found that the perfume concentration ended up being closer to that of an Eau de Parfum. There was no extra charge or anything, she just wanted to let me know, which was a sweet gesture and a happy surprise, as the stronger, the better! 

The scent translates well, I think. It may take some aging for any clear differences to start appearing, though right now it smells pretty much like my oil. I love the bottle and love seeing my grandma's name on the label- it brings back good memories of her and times gone by, and that was well worth the price of admission.

Pool's Closed was only available during September 2015 (not sure if it ever will come back) and I feel like a jerk for not reviewing it sooner. The notes were: 

Water Notes – Fresh Ozone – Citrus Notes

Damp Autumn Leaves – English Ivy

Smoke – Damp Woods – Cool Earth


I haven't tried many of Alchimia's scents besides my custom (they have cut way back and are focusing on customs while letting other vendors stock their house blends), but I have seen plenty of people say that they are really good at green and watery scents. From what I've smelled, this is an accurate claim. Pool's Closed is lovely and smells just like one of those first chilly days of fall- cool, leafy, with very soft hints of chlorine water, stone, and a very subtle woodsmoke. It dries down to almost a skin scent, a little like Haus of Gloi's Ploughman minus the leather. It's atmospheric and I'm pleased with it (sorry!). Baby Bibb was  a free sample and I haven't seen a description anywhere, but it is a very bright, garden fresh green scent, so I'm guessing Bibb lettuce is involved. It's really nice too! Yep, I would trust them with aquatics and greens for sure. 




Anyway, current events. I meant to get this post done a while ago, and I have SO many great hauls to share with you, and fall releases are the bee's knees, but the past couple weeks have been distracting. I've written a few times about losing several family members this year, two aunts and an uncle. My dad was in the hospital for a while, then I had that weird issue with my eyesight. Good times. So two weeks ago my last living uncle got diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor. He got diagnosed on a Wednesday and they did surgery on that Friday. I was pretty tore up, after this year I admit I was sure I'd be going to another funeral soon. But he pulled through! Surgeons were able to remove 80% of it and he will need radiation for the last 20% and is currently getting lots of PT, but he is strong and eager to get it beat. I am never one to count my chickens before they're hatched, but he has gotten over a big hurdle, that's for sure.

A couple days ago I had to go to a periodontist and had a small tumor removed from my gums, which, being super nervous about any kind of dental procedures, let alone ones that involve blood and cutting, wasn't easy. But I sucked it up because, seriously, my uncle was posting selfies on FB of his bad-ass scar two days after brain surgery, so it would be pretty lame for me to freak out over a tiny (comparatively speaking) gum tumor. I did get a prescription for an Ativan to take beforehand for my anxiety though, and that made me suitably loopy, to where I barely remember any of it. It was kind of surreal. I remember the nurse saying I had nice skin, and I told her it was just makeup, and she said something about liking Bare Minerals, and I told her she should check out Silk Naturals as they have lots of Bare Minerals dupes. I feel kind of bad as I've never actually purchased from Silk Naturals, though I've been considering it, and I never give recommendations for brands I haven't tried! Who knows what else I said! I came home right after and slept most of the day. I am still a little sore and the lesion is still healing. I will find out the biopsy results in a couple weeks. The doctor doesn't think it's something bad, but now that I got the actual removal taken care of, I'm worrying more about the test results. Because worrying is what I do. That part is harder to cut out, unfortunately.



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