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 year...no 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.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sweet Anthem Perfumes Seasonal Anthology summer 2014

Sweet Anthem is a niche perfume house out of Washington state with Meredith Smith at the helm. The perfumes are natural based and come in various formats (EDP, perfume oil and solid perfume). I recently heard that she was coming out with the "Great Northern" collection, two scents based on the Pacific Northwest. One, Cooper, is inspired by my favorite Twin Peaks character, Agent Cooper. I knew I HAD to try it. And Sweet Anthem was going to feature the two new scents in their Summer SA List sampler box. Sign me up!!

According the the website, the SA List offers a quarterly sample box featuring 2 samples of new seasonal perfumes as well as a surprise sample from a previous release. You receive 2ml samples which should be enough for several wearings. You also receive a $10 voucher towards a future purchase on their website. The cost ranges from $14 for 2 seasons to $24 for 4 seasons. I signed up for the 2 season option.

I was so excited to see my box arrive this week. I was in the last shipping group and didn't expect it to arrive until closer to June. The set was beautifully packaged in a silver box with a brown cigarband with the company's logo. Inside where the samples of Walden and Cooper along with a FULL SIZE solid perfume in Peter and a lip balm in Champagne & Rose.

The box was incredibly fragrant when I opened it. To my utter disappointment I discovered why...the sample of Cooper had completely leaked out of the vial. Walden also leaked, but a bit was left. Although the vials were in plastic baggies, the perfume seeped through and was absorbed by the cardboard box. The box has a nice, woody smell from the combination of the two scents.

Cooper is described on the website as: Nutty vetiver, smoky teak, coffee – black as midnight on a moonless night, and the transcendental Douglas Fir. All I get from sniffing the empty vial is alcohol. I am crushed. This scent sounds like something I would love and was the whole reason I bought the box. *sigh*

Walden is described as: Aquatic musks, vintage florals, and greenery everywhere. There was enough in this vial to actually get a few sprays out. It is very green and earthy. I don't get any florals at all. This scent leans more masculine.

The notes of Peter are listed as Champagne, Matcha Tea, Black Current, Lemon, Leather, and Patchouli. I get a lot of leather with a hint of lemon and a sparkling note (I assume that's the champagne). The solid format is kind of nice. It leaves a gentle scent that lasts about two hours on my skin. I feel this scent could be unisex.

The lip balm smells neither of champagne or rose. It has a nice smooth texture and feels moisturizing on the lips. It's a nice freebie, but I don't care for lip products that you have to apply with your fingers so not something I would rush out and buy.

I did contact Meredith about the leaking vials. She explained that they had run out of their usual vials and were using new ones in order to fill the orders. She apologized for the problem and offered me a free shipping code on my next order. I would have rather had a replacement of Cooper since the whole point was to try to decide if I even WANT to place an order. However, her prices are not bad (ranging from $6.50 for a small solid perfume to $32 for a 10ml perfume oil) and with the $10 voucher from my box I'm not rising a lot to buy a full size unsniffed.

Click here to join the Sweet Anthem SA list.