Monday, August 25, 2014

New fragrances - Summer 2014 edition

The arrival of my fall SA perfume box got me to thinking I should probably talk about my spring/summer perfumes before it's time to talk about fall!

As I've mentioned before, I've greatly cut back on my perfume purchasing, trying to sample before purchasing full bottles. I'm also trying to stick to one new bottle per season. I slid a little these last few months but only a little.

My first acquisition was Replica Lazy Sunday Morning from Maison Martin Margiela. I did sample this one first and fell instantly in love. At the time it was sold out everywhere but I snapped up a bottle as soon as I could from Sephora. It is a light, airy rose. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. This one has been in heavy rotation. I wore it for days on end when I first got it. The bottle is immense, thankfully, because I could bath in this stuff. Signature scent worthy.

Next I purchased Fleur en Fleur from West Third Brand. This was a blind buy. I can't remember exactly what spurred me to buy this one...I was craving florals and it was dead cheap is my guess. Happy accident to be sure. This is another gorgeous scent. Super-girly, sweet floral. And the bottle is so retro cool. Don't let the label "body spray" fool you, this is a real perfume and lasts for hours.

The third bottle is Avon's Today Tomorrow Always Together. I heard about this one on Fragrantica and really wanted to get my hands on it. Every time a new Avon catalog came out I scanned the pages only to find it not there. Diligent watching on Ebay led me to a bottle from Poland (I'm pretty sure this is still the only place you can get it at this time). Avon perfumes are really hit or miss for me. Most end up smelling exactly alike and not very good. This one, however, is an exception. For one, the bottle is stunning. Heavy, pale blue glass, delicate gold designs and a cap that looks like molten crystal. The scent is wonderful, white florals with a hint of peach and aldehyde. This one has gotten me the most complements when I wear it.

There was a fourth purchase...another West Third Brand called Amber Bound. Another blind buy that didn't work out. The notes sounded so promising to me...sandalwood, tobacco leaf, amber, vanilla, and on and on. But the scent was liner, uber sweet amber. At least WTB is inexpensive and I was able to pass the bottle on to someone else who will enjoy it more.

So those were my perfume purchases this summer. All in all I'm quite happy with the three. These could possibly be year rounders depending on the occasion.

I'm already sampling scents for fall and think I have my single bottle picked out already. Hoping for Labor Day sales.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sweet Anthem SA List Fall 2014 subscription box

My much anticipated fall subscription box from Sweet Anthem Perfumes arrived this week. The fall collection is called "Smoke Under Glass". Being the smoke lover I am, you KNOW I was super excited for these to arrive.

Unlike my first box which arrived with leaking/empty vials, this season's box arrived in excellent condition. Meredith has switched to new vials which didn't leak. She had each individual vial in it's own zip bag (I moved them all to one) and all were housed in a tin box.

The fall collection is comprised of two scents, Ella & Petra.

Ella is a blend of agarwood, black tea, lavender and pumpkin. While Petra has notes of candle smoke, cherry, heliotrope, immortelle, myrrh, and vanilla.

I thought all along Petra would be the winner for me but it was actually my least favorite. It's ok, but comes off a bit medicinal on me, kind of like the smell of bandaids. Ella, on the other hand, is gorgeous. The notes blend perfectly into a sweet, rich scent.

Also included in my package was a solid perfume of Catherine, amber, bergamot, neroli, red tea and wisteria. I already have this one and like it as a light citrus.

And finally a sample of Owl.  The description starts "essence of barn owl". WHAT? I wouldn't have a clue what a barn owl would smell like but I'm assuming not this. This actually smells pretty good. Notes are listed as jasmine, mimosa, black and white ambers, Chai spices, juniper berry, and vetiver. In the vial the vetiver smells quite strong but on the skin the chai spice and amber dominate. Quite lovely. (ALWAYS test on your skin! Bottle sniffs can be totally different!!)

I'm exceptionally happy with my box this time. Well worth the price and I will definitely be using my coupon to get a bottle of Ella, and maybe Owl too. 

Subscriptions to the SA list are currently closed. Sign ups will start the end of November and you can sign up now to be notified.

Flea market finds - Aug 24, 2014

This weekend's flea market finds...
 Awesome skull ring found at Renninger's Adamstown outdoor market for $10
A Snoopy paperback to add to C's collection. $1 at Shupp's Grove.

Large (12") footed carnival glass bowl. An absolute steal at $5 at Shupp's Grove.

Monday, August 18, 2014

eSalon custom hair color kit

I'm really excited to share a new BzzAgent campaign I'm in. The company is called eSalon and they specialize in customized home hair color. I used to color my hair at home most of the time but with long hair it's tricky to get the color even so I usually leave it to the experts now. However, BzzAgent was offering a great deal to try eSalon for free (a $60 value with addons) so I decided to get on board.

After completing a survey on eSalon's website I was presented with a number of color options to choose from. I selected a color to match my current color since I'm happy with it and am not looking for a change. I was also able to select additional products (these addons are all optional). I placed my order and my kit arrived in only a few days. Everything was presented beautifully
First there is a folder showing my custom color blend (light brown golden) and detailed instructions for using the kit. Under that was the actual color kit with everything I'll need to color my hair.

The additional products I selected were the set of coloring tools (mixing bowl, brush, timer and clips) as well as an oil treatment (I'm ALWAYS game to try a new oil treatment!) and color enhancing treatment to match my custom color.

Since I just recently had my hair dyed at the salon it will be several weeks before I can try out the color kit. I am super excited to try the oil and color enhancing treatment right away, though. I'll be sure to post back after I've had a chance to give these a test and also when I am able to use the color.

Click here if you would like to check out eSalon for yourself. If you do, I would love to hear how it works for you.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Future Primitive haul

It's been quite a while since I ordered from Future Primitive. But during her recent summer sale I heeded the siren song and placed an order.

I ordered just one soap since I just recently got those soaps from Alamo Candelaria and fall releases are right around the corner. Tobacconist sounded right up my alley with cedar, sandalwood, and oak. It doesn't disappoint. I went for the triple play with soap, bathing grains and aromatic oil.

I also picked up the oil of Rook and Raven and bathing grains in Rook and Raven and Black Honey. I've long loved scented baths and have recently settled on bath salts as my favorite scent delivery method. I was digging bath bombs for a while but they leave the tub such a mess. It's wonderful to have some luxuriously scented salts that perfume the whole bathroom yet rinse clean from the tub. Tiggy had these pouches full up to the brim. Unfortunately all 3 came open during shipping anointing everything in a salty film. It's amazing how messy a small amount of salt can be because the pouches are still very full. I haven't tried these yet but they smell amazing.

Delivery took about 3 weeks but she was on vacation for a week so really it only took about 2 weeks in transit. Postage costs were insane which is the main reason I don't tend to order from overseas. But every now and again, it is so worth the treat.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Dorco Razors

I received an invite to share a coupon from Dorco this morning and realized that though I have been meaning to for a long time, I have never talked about them.

I switched to Dorco razors almost a year ago. I've had used Gillette Venus razors for years and years and thought nothing could dethrone them. But my interest was piqued last fall when many of the beauty vloggers I flow on YouTube started buzzing about Dorco.

They have men's and women's razors in both refillable and disposable varieties. I've tired the Shai Soft Touch and Shai Smooth Touch (previously called Pace) refillable. Soft Touch features two 3 blade heads that flex a bit. While this does provide a close shave, I find the head quite bulky and hard to maneuver. Pace/Smooth Touch is also a 6 bladed razor but all contained in one single pivoting head. This is by far the best razor I have ever used. Holy Grail. The shave is close and nick free. The blades stay sharp for a long time and the rubber-encased metal handle is sturdy and slip free. Another nice thing about Dorco is that all of the heads and handles are interchangeable. So if you prefer the chunkier handle of the Soft Touch, but the smaller head of the Smooth Touch, you can make that change.

I'm pretty sure Dorco razors are available only from the company's website. They run specials all the time and shipping is free over $25 (plan on ordering at least $25, though, because I feel shipping is quite expensive if you don't). I was just rereading the FAQs and was reminded that they do offer $2.99 shipping on orders under $5.98 so you could try just one razor for under $10. They offer bundles so you can stock up on your favorite razor or try a variety pack. As I said at the start, they are offering a referral coupon at the moment for 15% off, good through August 31. If you are dissatisfied with your current shaving solution, I do recommend checking out Dorco razors. I hope your experience is as positive as mine!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Flea market finds 7-6-14

C and I are flea market fans. Mostly we just enjoy getting out in the sunshine and walking around, but sometimes we actually run across some cool stuff. Today was one of those days.

I'm on a carnival glass kick and found 3 lovely pieces today.

I'll have to do some research on the patterns and colors since I am a total novice.
  I just love the look of each of these.

 I got the vase for $10.

The toothpick holder for $1.

The Fenton piece (the only one with a name marked) for $30. No idea if those are good or bad prices but they seemed comfortable enough for me.

I also scored a half dozen vintage holiday candles for only $10!
The pumpkin men and pumpkin don't have their stickers but they are in excellent shape otherwise. The Turkey is an original Gurley with it's 59¢. The snowmen are Tavern candles, with their original stickers. The lady said they were old store stock. They were quiet dirty and the box was filthy and mildewed to the point I wouldn't keep it in the house, I don't care if it DOES have value. But the candles cleaned up quite nicely.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Alamo Candelaria haul

I recently watched a video from Tiggy of Future Primitive Soaps where she talked about her Alamo Candelaria haul. I watch nearly everything Tiggy posts because I love her. Love her voice, love her soaps, love how she is always so positive and informative. So when the video came up in my queue I had never heard of Alamo Candelaria and had no idea what the video would be about. I just watched it because it was Tiggy. Turns out Alamo Candelaria is a soap shop out of San Antonio, Texas run by a lovely lady named Kyme. I sat enthralled as Tiggy unwrapped each carefully and beautifully wrapped soap. The soaps were mini works of art. And I was intrigued.

So down the rabbit hole I went searching out other YouTube videos of AC hauls. The more I watched, the more I wanted. Kyme even has her own YT channel where she shows her soap making and cutting. By the time I finished watching the series of videos on her Scentimental Serectorium collection I already had my cart loaded and was placing an order.

Her shop features soaps, candles, perfume and wax tarts. She has a collection of standard "artisan soaps", a collection of fancier soaps she labels "Ancient Series" and a special collection in honor of the All Souls Trilogy of books entitled "Scentimental Secretorium".
I ordered 3 of her artisan soaps, Blush (fruity, bright and sweet), Puro Gracia (clean and  fresh), Tamarind & Ginger (spicy and sweet). All came wrapped like precious little presents in signature wax/vellum paper with a paper band bearing the scent descriptions and ingredients all sealed up with a really, old fashioned, hand stamped wax seal. I couldn't bear to unwrap them. Click the links if you'd like to see what the soaps look like. They smell amazing!

I also ordered one of her soap/perfume sets from the Scentimental Secretorium line in Ysebeau. Everything in this line comes packaged in a hand decorated box featuring the alchemical symbols of a soap maker (water, lye, etc). Inside the products are wrapped in tissue paper and nestled in a bed of raffia. The scent is a rich, burnt sugar vanilla. Although I've drifted away from perfume oils of late, I do like this one and find it last a good while on my skin.

Kyme also tucked in 2 soap samples (Pompeii and Velvet & Violets) and a Salt Lique Lollie. I'm using the Pompeii sample and find it a wonderful soap. I am delighted with my order, as I'm sure you can tell. Next up I intend to order some of her wax tarts since she has far more scents available there than in her soap lines. Of course I'll be ordering more soaps too!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Latte heaven

I luvs me some yummy flavored coffee and when my Kindle Fire displayed a Mr. Coffee latte maker flash sale a few months ago, I was on it in a heartbeat. The last thing I want is another appliance to clutter up my counters and this is definitely a one trick pony. But it does it's one thing really well and it is light enough to move around and stow away when not in use.

The Mr. Coffee Latte Maker retails for around $65 on Amazon. The price was reduced to a crazy $20 during the flash sale! It is quite easy to and water in the top, milk (and flavoring if desired) in the bottom, push a button and in about 8 minutes or so you've got a steaming hot latte.
You also have the option of just frothing/heating the milk if you prefer. This setting makes super tasty hot chocolate. There is a recipe book included but anyone with an ounce of creativity can easily come up with their own creations. My favorite home concoction is a raspberry mocha (a squirt or two of Hershey's syrup and a few drops of McCormack raspberry flavoring in with the milk), YUMMY!
At the moment I'm using almond milk and it doesn't tend to froth quite as nicely as regular milk. But it works well enough and the flavor is delicious.

The biggest downside is cleaning the carafe. It is not immersible and the milk tends to stick to the bottom. I wait until it cools down and then scrub it out well with soap and water and a sponge after every use. You also need to rinse the whisk very well since it also is not immersible.

In addition to the new coffee maker I need to point out my absolute favorite (new) mug. Isn't it fabulous! The mug I got holds 20 oz, a prefect coffee bucket for me. It feels perfect in my hands. It is a hand painted mug from Grey December on Etsy. Go check out her pottery. Gorgeous stuff. I MUST have this mug next.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 Garden

Thanks to a day or two of fair weather in the last few weeks, we were able to get the garden planted. I've scaled back quite a bit this okra, fewer tomatoes. I'm hoping having things less crowded will result in better plants and more veggies. Here's what we've got
 The tomatoes are back in the big bed this year. 3 Early Girl and 2 Roma. Between the tomatoes I planted King Arthur Peppers and some Jalapenos. Filling out the bed are 2 zucchini, 4 cucumbers, 4 white eggplant and 4 purple eggplant and 2 Gypsy peppers. In the side bed we added a second blueberry plant. It is tiny (picked it up at the grocery store) so it's going to take a year or two to get established. The rest of the side bed has zinnias (last year's sunflowers were beautiful but unruly).
The long bed has our onions, all Candy this year. More pepper plants...Red Knight, Honeycrisp, Gypsy, Orange Bell and California Wonder. Finally a Supersweet 100 cherry tomato plant.

We have a small flower bed in the middle of our yard. Since 2001 it's had a Butterfly bush, planted in memory of our first cat that died (Allegra). Its been getting pretty old and woody these last few years and this year's hard winter finally did it in. The base was all broken and rotted out from the snow/ice pack. So C and I dug it out and planted a lilac. (Please excuse the junk in the background, not mine!)
We both love the scent and look of lilacs. We've been fortunate to have generous neighbors who have let us cut some every year to enjoy, but i still longed to have one of my own. The variety I chose is Miss Kim. It is supposed to stay on the smaller side which we need since the space isn't too big. The plant is loaded with buds so we are hoping to have some wonderful smelling flowers soon.