Thursday, February 28, 2013

alkemia grasslands

A fresh, summery blend of Osmanthus, Hay, Chamomile flowers, Clover tops, Linden blossom, Kentucky Bluegrass, Olive blossoms, White moss, Galbanum, Helichrysum, and Virginia Snakeroot.

This one sounded so good. I'm a sucker for "smells like a wildflower meadow in the spring" or "smells like the woods in november" or "smells like a sunny summer day on the prairie" kind of scents. I want to smell like a pretty place in the middle of nowhere, basically. Plus it has some notes I love in it: chamomile, hay, clover. I am forever searching for a perfume that smells like clover flowers. So it had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, at least for me, it did not live up to any of it.

In the imp it smells very strongly floral. I was holding out hope that it would change once I put it on, but no - on skin it's the same. I put this on my wrist, brought it up to nose, and actually went "GUGH." I don't smell anything that brings to mine a warm, soft, grassy landscape - I just smell "floral." Very strong, generic floral. The kind of scents that I hate, because they smell like being assaulted by perfume sprayers in department stores and they give me a headache. Which this one did.

I don't often have to wash a perfume off, but this one drove me to the sink.

Would I buy it again: Very much no.

Available from: Alkemia Perfumes

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

arcana herne

Horned trickster, lord of the forest, god of the wild hunt. Cassia cinnamon, Atlas cedarwood, fir needle oil, and a whiff of Herne's holy oak tree.

In the imp Herne smells like cinnamon and cedar. It's an odd combination, in part because cedar always put me in mind of hamster cages. On skin it's mostly still cinnamon and cedar, but I get a bit of the fir as well. It's spicy and very woody. The cinnamon smells like sniffing cinnamon sticks rather than the ground stuff, if that makes sense, which adds to the woodiness.

This scent is weird. If I had to sum it up I'd say it smells like a spicy hamster cage, and I don't really like it, but I keep sniffing my wrist anyway. It's not something I would wear, but it's very interesting.

Would I buy it again? No. I'm glad I have a sample of it, but I just can't with all the cedar.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold - Scent Addict and The Soap Box Co among other places, or directly from Julia via email.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

delightful rot 67 chevy impala

A man's scent. Bay rum, spiked with graveyard dirt, gunpowder, a touch of leather and a ring of salt, with an overtone of masculine musk.

Another Supernatural scent from Delight Rot today - I asked Mike to reach into my current "to be reviewed" sample bowl and pull something out for me, and this is what he came up with. Kind of fitting since it's described as "a man's scent," I guess.

For those not familiar with Supernatural, 67 Chevy Impala is in reference to the car Sam and Dean drive, which is a shiny, badass, incredibly sexy 1967 Chevy Impala. Yes, it is sexy. And I'm not a car person at all. But it just is.

In the imp 67 Chevy Impala smells like dirt and spicy cologne (that'd be the bay rum). It is STRONG. So strong that it stung my eyes a bit when I brought the wand up to my nose. On skin I get more leather on top of the dirt and a whiff of spicy bay rum. There is a slight musky, sweaty saltiness to it as well. After it wears for a while the musk comes out and I get a tiny hint of smokiness from the gunpowder, but it's not overpowering at all, even for a smoke-phobe like me.

In the full description of this, it's noted that 67 Chevy Impala is quite strong and you don't need to use much. This is very true. I swiped a tiny bit onto my wrist and I could smell it very clearly while typing this. The throw is impressive for a perfume oil. It lasts really well too.

I really, really like this. It's masculine, yes, but I tend to like manly scents - Old Spice is one of my favorite smells in the entire world, to the point where I will creepily sniff the deodorants whenever I am in a drugstore - so this appeals to me. It smells sexy, which is fitting for a scent based on the Impala. Because while in reality Sam, Dean, and the car would probably all smell like dirt, blood, engine grease, hotel soap, and fast food wrappers, this sexy, dirty, rugged man smell is much more appealing and in line with the image presented by the show.

Would I buy it again? Yes, definitely. I'm actually thinking about picking up a bottle of this, because I don't really have anything like it and I couldn't stop sniffing my wrist while I had it on. This is the gem of the bunch from my Delightful Rot samples so far.

Available from: Delightful Rot

Monday, February 25, 2013

stash inventory: solstice scents

This post was prompted by the fact that Solstice Scents is holding a "post your stash" contest, in which you show off your stash and can maybe win a SS gift certificate because of it. Show people my pretties AND get the chance to win/hoard more stuff from SS? SOLD. But while I was taking the photo for this it occurred to me that it might not be a terrible idea to do this for all the different companies in my stash. I love seeing people's stash posts, and it'd be a good way to keep track of what I have and what I've reviewed on the blog. So look for more of these in the future, but for now, here's my Solstice Scents stash! Scents that I've reviewed will be linked to said reviews.

For the record, if I win I have my eye on a backup bottle of Rose Mallow Cream. If I don't win, I have my eye on a backup bottle of Rose Mallow Cream.

Perfume oils:


Spellbound Woods
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Victorian Tea Room
Harvest Moon
Blueberry Muffin Batter
Gingerbread & Vanilla Cream
German Chocolate Cake
Witch's Cottage
Lavender Vanilla
Cocoa Mallow
Blackburn Farmstead
Rose Mallow Cream
Chantilly Cream
Blossom Jam Tea Cakes

Burnishing Glaces:


Witch's Cottage
Blackburn Farmstead
Blueberry Muffin Batter
Enchanted Forest
Chantilly Cream

Body Ganache:


Whipped Soap:

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Banana Nut Bread 


Spellbound Woods

Rice Pudding & Rum Soaked Raisins
Spiked Nog & Nutmeg
Roasted Chestnuts & Marshmallows
Snowshoe Pass
Black Forest
Caramel Apple
Blackburn Farmstead
Thornwood Thicket
Violet Truffle
Lavender Vanilla
Black Leather, Red Lace
Devil's Millhopper

Sunday, February 24, 2013

alkemia pumpkin strumpet

A decadent blend of rich pumpkin, caramelized sugar, Madagascar vanilla, precisely balanced with a swirl of cinnamon, ginger, & clove and a tiny drop of amber musk.

Pumpkin Strumpet is the cutest name.

In the imp it smells sweet and spicy, like pumpkin, caramel, ginger, and clove. On skin it's actually a bit less spicy, and I smell the pumpkin, vanilla, and a bit of ginger most prominently. It's quite mild, and definitely not overly sweet.

I don't have all that much to say about this one - it's a perfectly nice pumpkin scent, but it doesn't knock my socks off in any way.

Would I buy it again? No. There are so many sweet pumpkin scents out there that if I'm going to buy one, I want one that wows me.

Available from: Alkemia Perfumes

Saturday, February 23, 2013

delightful rot blood bath

A sexy, romantic bath with a vampire. Crisp water soaked with rose petals and a trickle of blood and musk.

When I ordered a batch of Delightful Rot samples many moons ago, I didn't choose Blood Bath - it was included as a free sample with my order. At the time I sniffed it, went "GYEEEYAY," and put it away. Not my style, no sirree. But that was before The Rose Thing Happened. That thing where I am obsessed with rose smells. So I figured it was time to pull Blood Bath out for a second try. What say you now, nose?

In the imp it smells very wet, like dark, damp soil thick with roses with lots of heavy green leaves. It smells like a graveyard at night. (Speaking of Buffy scents...) On skin I get somewhat less freshly-turned earth and more of a generic floral - the kind of standard "perfume" scent I can't stand. They give me a headache, and this one is no exception. There are subtle green elements keep it from going completely off the deep end, but unfortunately it's still way too far in that direction for me.

Would I buy it again? No. I like it in the imp, but it's terrible on my skin. And it gives me a headache, which you know, not a great selling point. But now I do want to find a wet-roses-and-dirt scent that works with my skin chemistry, because I love the idea of it.

Available from: Delightful Rot

Friday, February 22, 2013

firebird woodsmoke and vanilla

Spicy, smoky, resinous, warm and sweet- with notes of frankincense and myrrh, fir needles, balsam and cedar, on a soft base of vanilla and honey. Brings to mind firewood, incense, cold winter nights. 

I read a lot of rave reviews of this perfume, which is why I ordered a sample when I know full well that smoky scents smell like acrid horror on me. Because sometimes I am not so bright. And peer pressure. Let's see if it fulfilled its doom potential.

In the imp it smells like incense and Christmas trees. Not so bad. On skin it mostly still smells like incense and Christmas trees, with a hint of smokiness. I don't get much, if any, honey or vanilla from this, which is unfortunate since I think it would go very well with the rest of the notes. But I also don't smell like burning, so that's a plus. It's actually quite nice - it makes me think of a bonfire in the middle of the woods on a cold night. The smokiness does get stronger as it dries, and alllmost crosses over into being too much for me. It sort of zig-zags across that line actually.

This is a funny one. I remember trying it out when I first got it and not liking it at all. Perhaps aging a bit has helped it out? Or maybe my preferences have evolved. Either way, I don't completely hate it, which is high praise for a scent with "woodsmoke" in the name. I just wish I got a bit more sweetness.

Would I buy it again? While I don't hate it - I actually kind of like it - I wouldn't buy a bottle of it. It's an interesting scent and if you like smoky, woodsy fragrances I think you'd probably love this one. But it's not something I would wear often, since it occasionally becomes just a bit too smoky for my taste.

Available from: Firebird Bath & Body

Thursday, February 21, 2013

delightful rot castiel

A softer, clean masculine scent. A hint of frankincense, touched with heavy wet clouds and the worn cotton of a khaki trench coat.

I am a Supernatural fan. I am two seasons behind at the moment, and I think the series went a little ehhhh after about season 5, but still, I would call myself a fan. I know a thing or two about two smokin' hot brothers driving around the country in a badass car killing demons. I am kind of a big nerd in general, to be honest, which is part of why Delightful Rot appeals to me. They have a whole host of scents inspired by Supernatural, Doctor Who (!!), Harry Potter, Batman, and other nerdly delights. I don't know what the scent-brain behind Delightful Rot has in mind for the future, but - just tossing a suggestion out to the void of the internet here - if Buffy perfumes ever happened I would buy all of them immediately. ALL OF THEM. It is to dream.

Anyway, today I have Delightful Rot's Castiel to review. Castiel is an angel who is kind of Sam and Dean's sidekick in the later seasons of Supernatural. He's amusing because he doesn't understand human things. I like his coat.

In the imp and on skin Castiel smells clean and very slightly sweet. A bit like lemon, though there is nothing like that in the description. It is listed as a masculine scent, and while I think that's true, I would wear it as well. It's not heavy or cologne-y. It really does smell a bit "wet," if that makes sense. Like hanging laundry to dry outside on an overcast day. I don't usually go for "clean laundry" kind of scents, but I actually do like this one.

I was curious about the lemon thing, so I looked up frankincense, and sure enough, it's described as having a "balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone." That's exactly what I'm smelling. So the description here is spot-on.

Would I buy it again? The sample, absolutely. While I do quite like it, I'm not sure I need a full bottle as it's not the kind of scent I usually wear. But the more I sniff it the more it grows on me, so we'll see if my feelings change by the time/if I finish the imp.

Available from: Delightful Rot

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

alkemia apple tart

A temptation of candied fall apples swirled with a playful tease of fall spices and sexy aphrodisiac resins.

In the interest of getting through some of the approximately 475 perfume samples I have in a box in my bedroom, I've been scooping a handful out into a little bowl and keeping it next to my computer. Every day I reach in, pull one out, and review it. It's been fun and I'm re-sniffing things I wouldn't have chosen on my own or that didn't work out for me the first time around. Today I pulled out Apple Tart from Alkemia. Apple Tart is actually the reason I ordered some samples from Alkemia ages ago - I am a sucker for apple scents, and the name is adorable.

In the imp it's spicy and resiny with just a bit of juicy apple underneath. On skin it's pretty much the same. The apple is supporting player in this - it's definitely a spice-heavy scent on me. But I do tend to amp cinnamon and the like, so skin chemistry could be mucking this one up for me. Either way, I don't like it much. I prefer my apple scents to be on the fresh, tart end of the spectrum, or if they're spicy, of the buttery apple pie oeuvre  This reminds me more of an apple-cinnamon candle.

Would I buy it again? No. I remember not loving it when I first got the samples, and that remains true today.

Available from: Alkemia Perfumes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

violette market coconut husk pumpkin

The first pumpkin you pick from a tree! White pumpkin covered in a hard coconut husk, Tahitian vanilla flower, and rich vanilla pods.

My first Violette Market oil! I didn't actually buy this - I received it as a frimp when I purchased a bottle of Arcana's La Befana from someone in an LJ sale. It sounds promising, though. Let's find out!

In the imp it's sweet, a combination of coconut and vanilla with something else lightening it up. Maybe the vanilla flower? It's definitely not a rich, buttery, tropical kind of coconut. On skin it's a bit less sweet and I get more of the vanilla flower. I'm not a fan of florals, generally, but this works for me. It seems to just keep the rest of the notes from diving head on into foody dessert territory. I don't get much pumpkin from this at all - it's mostly just vanilla, coconut, and a light floral to my nose. After wearing for a while a bit of spiciness that I think might be the pumpkin comes out, but it's not pronounced. After a few hours it's just sort of warm and sweet with hints of coconut and vanilla.  It's a nice scent and the lasting power is excellent, but I don't love it.

Would I buy it again? Well, I didn't buy it, so let's say, "would I buy a bottle of it now that I've smelled it?" And the answer is no. It's nice and I'll use my sample, but it doesn't grab me in a way that makes me feel compelled to seek out a bottle of it.

Available from: Violette Market (does not appear to be available for purchase at this time)

Monday, February 18, 2013

ohwto orenjipai

Orange cake! Tangerine, Slivered Almonds, Buttercream Icing, and Cake.

Orenjipai was part of One Hand Washes The Other's 2012 Winter release.

In the tube it smells like a creamsicle. Exactly like a creamsicle! It is delicious and makes me want a creamsicle. Someone make a vegan creamsicle and sell it to me, okay? On skin I get the almond in a big way, it's like buttery almond cake with orange zest. The almond fades pretty quickly after application and it becomes more of an orange cake with heavily zest-studded buttercream frosting. There's not as much creamy sweetness at this point, so it doesn't smell much like a creamsicle once it's on. It's very tangy, if I may co-opt a flavor word. It's not complicated but it's really, really yummy.

It smells so much like a creamsicle in the tube though. I kind of wish it stayed like that. Or maybe that I just had a different, for real creamsicle-scented perfume in addition to this.

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's awesome. But it will make you want a creamsicle, so you know, be aware.

Available from: OHWTO (still available for purchase as of this posting)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

ohwto not your grandma's fruitcake

It's not, it's really not! Unless your grandma's from the tropics and throws holiday convention to the wind, anyway. A scent made to whisk you from the frozen tundra straight to the Caribbean- Jackfruit, Acai, Sliced Fruit, Pluots, Passionfruit, Banana, Sugar, Coconut Milk, and Nectarines.

Not Your Grandma's Fruitcake was part of One Hand Washes The Other's 2012 Winter release.

In the tube it's very fruity, with the passionfruit and coconut milk being strongest. On skin I get banana immediately, then passionfruit, coconut milk, and a whole overflowing bowl of unidentifiable "tropical fruit" smells. After the initial burst of banana, the passionfruit remains the strongest element on me. It's really nice, and not at all your typical winter/cold-weather scent - it smells like something from a summer collection. The banana doesn't smell fake and the coconut doesn't smell like suntan oil, so if you normally aren't into tropical scents for those reasons, you might want to give this a go.

Would I buy it again? Yes. I love banana, coconut, and fruity scents in general so I was destined to like this. I like that it bucks the convention of warm, spicy winter scents, but because I am boring and conventional, I do think this one will have to wait until the weather heats up to get a lot of wear.

Available from: OHWTO (still available for purchase as of this posting)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

ohwto queen bea

Juicy Apricots drizzled with fresh-from-the-comb Honey, Plum wine, Peonies, Freesia, a whiff of Violet, warm Cardamom, and White Patchouli.

Queen Bea was part of One Hand Washes The Other's 2012 summer collection. It was the only one I reeeeally wanted to try and I thought I missed out on it forever (or at least for the year), so when it showed up in the clearance section of the OHWTO website recently I snapped it up immediately.

In the bottle I smell honey and apricots. On skin it's mostly the same, perhaps a bit less sweet. I smell a bit of the plum wine but none of the flowers, the cardamom, or the patchouli make much of an appearance. (I'm super happy about that last one.) Overall it's very warm and rich and fruity - I can see how it would be perfect for summer.

My only complaint about this - and it is not a complaint about this oil in particular, but every oil I have with the little euro dropper/reducer insert thing - is that I cannot get any damn oil out of the bottle. I always end up prying them out and throwing them away because they're completely useless. But maybe I just keep getting faulty ones or I'm really dumb and don't understand how to work them? Who knows, but GRRR.

Would I buy it again? Yes. I really like this one and I'm glad I got a chance to pick it up after all.

Available from: OHWTO (Not currently up for sale, unfortunately.)

Friday, February 15, 2013

pacifica enlighten eye brightening shadow palette

Makeup review the second! Today we're going to discuss the other, less terrible half of my Pacifica makeup purchases from Target. This was $11.99 in the store, but is listed at $14.99 on the Pacifica website. Spoilers: I really like it. Thank god.

Swatches of Skinnydip, Coral Sands, Golden, and Urchin

The colors in this palette are:
Skinnydip: "Matte nude base cover or lash liner. A universal highlighter."
Coral Sand: "Satin coral for lid base or highlighter." 
Golden: "Perfect gold with just the right amount of shimmer.  Use on the lids and/or for highlighting."
Urchin: "Iridescent jeweled purple with gold tones.  Perfect for lining and crease."

The descriptions on these aren't nearly as insipid or flowery as those on the cream shimmers. They're also pretty accurate, although they are listed from dark to light on the box which totally bugs me. Skinnydip is a almost matte pink-leaning cream shade, Coral Sands is a light shimmery peach, Golden is a yellow gold, and Urchin is a dark purple. It doesn't strike me as particularly iridescent, but it is pretty.

They're decently pigmented - not spectacular, but they get the job done. All of the swatches above are a single swipe on bare skin. With the exception of Golden, the shadows are creamy and a bit powdery, but I don't notice any fallout. Golden is kind of hard and difficult to pick up comparatively, but it still applies fine. None are glitterbombs; I'd call them all satin finish, even the "matte" highlight. Coral Sand is a great lid color that really brightens up the eye, Skinnydip is the perfect inner corner/brow highlight, and Urchin is a beautiful liner. I've used it wet and dry for this purpose and it works well either way. Golden is my least favorite color, but that's just personal preference. I don't love yellow golds. My skin has yellow/olive undertones to start with so yellow golds tend to make me look jaundiced if I'm not careful. I would've loved to see a medium brown in its place since the only thing I think this palette lacks is a good everyday crease color. They indicate that Urchin could/should be used in the crease, and maybe some people can work that, but it's a bit dramatic for my preference.

Comparison swatches!

Skinnydip and Coral Sand are similar - but not identical to - two colors from my favorite everyday eyeshadow palette ever, Wet n Wild's Walking on Eggshells (seriously though, Walking on Eggshells 4EVA). Skinnydip is slightly pinker than the browbone color in Walking on Eggshells, and Coral Sand is a peachier version of the lid color. Both Pacifica shadows are less pigmented and slightly warmer than the WnW ones.

Overall I really do like these shadows. They could stand to be a bit more pigmented, but the colors are all pretty and good for a glowy, natural look. They wear well over primer - I get minor creasing after 8 hours or so, but I have problem with most eyeshadows so I don't think it's a knock against these.

To sum up, the pros: Pretty, wearable colors, reasonable good quality, affordable, gorgeous packaging, cruelty-free and vegan.

And the cons: Could be more pigmented, Golden is a bit hard and scratchy, and in my opinion the palette lacks a good crease color.

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's not perfect, but I do like it a lot and I find myself reaching for it most days since I bought it. I'd like to see Pacifica put out more of these.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

solstice scents rose mallow cream

Moroccan Rose absolute, Bulgarian Rose absolute, Marshmallow Fluff, Strawberry Nectar, White Chocolate, Vanilla, White Musk.

Rose Mallow Cream was released as part of Solstice Scents' 2013 Valentine's Day collection. It is a premium perfume oil, meaning it comes in a 5ml instead of a 10ml bottle. It is, as far as I know, limited-edition, but it's been quite popular and I dearly hope it becomes part of the general catalog because it is, in a word, amazing.

As I said in a recent State of the Blog post, I have really started to love rose scents. This is new. For a long time I hated the smell of roses - they smelled musty and slightly rotten, a bit like a funeral home. But somewhere along the line the wires in my brain re-routed and now I'm completely infatuated with them. (I blame Haus of Gloi's Come Hither.) So much so that when Rose Mallow Cream went up on the SS website, I grabbed a bottle up immediately, unsniffed. Considering how quickly it sold out, I'm glad I did!

In the bottle, Rose Mallow Cream smells sweet and soft, mostly of roses and white chocolate. Wet on skin the rose is the strongest element, with a bit of sweetness from the marshmallow and white chocolate. There strawberry nectar provides just a hint of fruitiness that really compliments the other notes well. The vanilla is there, but to my nose it just mixes up with the marhsmallow and white chocolate into one lovely sweet, white smell.

Angela notes in the scent description for this that only natural rose absolute is used here, and you can tell. There is nothing synthetic or musty about this at all. She also notes that the rose is apparent up front for about an hour, and then it gets sweeter and muskier as it wears - which is exactly my experience. The white musk is never overpowering, though, it just sort of grounds the scent and keeps it from being overly sweet or candy-like.

Would I buy it again? YES. And I plan to, if it ever comes back in stock. Words cannot express how much I love this. It's easily moved into the #1 spot on my rose-based perfume list, knocking Haus of Gloi's Come Hither down to #2, which I didn't even think was possible. Angela hit it out of the park (again) with this one, and as I said, I really really really hope it goes general catalog. But just in case it doesn't, I will be watching the site like a hawk to snap up a backup bottle.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

arcana 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.

I have this thing where I'm kind of obsessed with the Pacific Northwest. I've never even been there, but for as long as I can remember I've thought it was the perfect part of the States for me. It's got my perfect weather - mild tending toward cool, frequently overcast and/or rainy - and my favorite landscape - lots of trees and dense greenery. Plus Portland is basically the vegan capitol of the world. So combine this unfounded fascination with my gut-level need to sniff any scent with the word "leaves" or "woods" or "forest" in the title, well, it was only a matter of time before Leaves Falling Like Rain made its way into my possession in some format.

I picked up this sample with my last Soap Box Co. order, and then promptly spilled half of it all over myself while I was making Mike sniff it. Wah wah. Luckily it spilled on my hand and not our couch, but it hurt me to wash it all away. This shit ain't cheap.

In the imp it smells sweet and spicy and peppery. I get a bit of something almond-y even though there's nothing like that in the notes list. On skin the pepperiness is less pronounced, and I smell gingersnaps and brown sugar and cappuccino. It's like being in a coffee shop on a chilly fall day. That almond note is still coming out for me, a bit like an amaretto cake or something. I'm not sure what's responsible for that but it's nice.

I thought this might smell a bit like Solstice Scents' Gingerbread and Vanilla Cream, and it does, but Leaves Falling Like Rain is much spicier and less sweet.

Would I buy it again? Yes. I'm glad I got a sample of it, finally. I'm not sure it's one I'll need to hunt down a full bottle of, though, as I have similar scents and do tend to prefer the sweeter ones.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold - Scent Addict and The Soap Box Co among other places.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

pacifica radiant shimmer coconut multiples

The color on the left (front) of the box is more accurate.

I was bopping around Target the other day, looking for something they didn't have - I always seem to be looking for the one thing they don't have - when I noticed a new Pacifica display. With makeup! I love Pacifica - their Indian Coconut Nectar scent is amazing - so I couldn't resist the temptation to pick a few things up. I bought an eyeshadow palette and this trio of cream things. Both were $11.99 at Target, which is a bit cheaper than the Pacifica website, where they're listed at $14.99. There is also a bb cream, apparently, but sadly it wasn't available at the store.

Today we're talking about the cream palette. Or the "radiant shimmer coconut multiples," as Pacifica is calling it. In short: I hate it. Like, a lot. A lot. Let's run down why.

Swatches of Bronzed, Island Rose, and Moonlit

The three shades in the palette are:

Bronzed: "Perfectly glowing sun-kissed color with golden shimmer."

Island Rose: "Shimmering, radiant dewy pink."
Moonlit: "Iridescent pale shades of moon-kissed shimmer."

Ugh, those descriptions. "Pale shades of moon-kissed shimmer." Whatever. Bronzed is orangey-bronze, Island Rose is a light mauvey-pink, and Moonlit is a pale pinky-peach.

The texture of these things is really thin, slippery, and greasy. Since the packaging says they can be used on eyes, lips, or cheeks, I expected something a bit thicker and more substantial. But no. The colors are nice, I guess, but ultimately useless for me since they suck in all applications. They're all incredibly sheer. The swatches above are two layers each, and you can see how light they are on my pale skin. In the interest of giving them a fair shot, I tried them out in all the ways suggested on the packaging. Here's how that went down.

Eyes: I knew these weren't going to work as eyeshadows. You have to layer them up to get any color payoff, and because of the texture they creased immediately with and without a primer. I actually noticed them basically taking off my eye primer as I patted the layers on, which was weird. You can use the lightest shade as a brow/inner corner highlighter if you must, but it's really subtle and fades quickly.

Lips: I hate how these look on the lips. And only the middle shade is a viable lip color on someone with my coloring anyway, unless you want to look like you have advanced leprosy. Or have been eating a fudgesicle. Unfortunately even the middle rosy shade doesn't work here. It's frosty and it sinks into lines and emphasizes dry patches. The whole effect was gross.

Cheeks: I figured they'd be okay here, at least. I was wrong. The blush shade is so sheer that it barely shows up on my skin, and I'm pretty fair. And because of the texture, by the time you're done blending them out you've completely rubbed them off and all that's left is glittery bits. The bronzer is the most pigmented of the three but still doesn't show up well, and most people don't want a shimmery orange bronzer anyway. The highlight shade is pretty, I'll give it that, and I've worn it a few times dabbed on my cheekbones. It works okay in that capacity, but it lasts about half a minute.

Basically these are terrible. I don't know what I'm supposed to do with them, other than stare at the palette and get angry that I spent $12 on something that is literally useless. I'm glad Pacifica is branching out into makeup and I hope they continue to expand their offerings, but this product is just a massive fail.

To sum up, the pros: gorgeous packaging, they smell nice (kind of like coconut, unsurprisingly), reasonable affordable, cruelty-free and vegan. It even says so right on the box, which is always helpful.

And the cons: Thin, greasy texture, super sheer, does not work well for eyes, lips, or cheeks, thereby rendering it completely useless. Yay!

Would I buy it again? No. I would, however, gain immense satisfaction from throwing it in the garbage. Seriously, save your money.

Monday, February 11, 2013

solstice scents nightgown

Vanilla, White Chocolate, Tuberose & Tiare Flowers

Nightgown is part of Solstice Scents' general catalog. I've never tried it before because florals are not my thing, but it's so incredibly popular with SS fans that I figured I should give it a chance and chose it as the free sample with my last order.

In the imp and wet on skin I get a very sweet floral. It's flowers, flowers, flowers, and some vanilla. After a few minutes I start to get a bit of smooth richness from the white chocolate. The sweetness of the vanilla and white chocolate help keep the floral elements juuust on the right side of overpowering, and then as it dries down they begin to take over and the tuberose and tiare move to the background. By the time it's completely dry and settled on my skin it's more of a floral-tinged creamy vanilla than anything. It's actually quite pretty, and I like it more than 99.9% of other (non-rose) florals I've tried.

The name of this is so appropriate. The scent really does evoke images of wispy, feminine, gossamer-thin, pale pink and ivory fabrics. It's just pretty.

Would I buy it again? I'd definitely choose it as my sample again, but even though I do enjoy it, I don't think it's something I need to own a full bottle of. Ultimately florals are just not my preferred scents, and while I may pull this out and wear it on a day I'm feeling particularly girly, I can't imagine I'll use it enough to justify owning 10ml of it.

Available from: Solstice Scents

Sunday, February 10, 2013

ohwto samovar

A warm cup of tea always at the ready. Three teas, Thyme, Honey, Pennyroyal, & Saffron.

Samovar was part of One Hand Washes The Other's Winter release in 2012. I love notes of tea, honey, and thyme in scents, so I had to pick this one up.

In the tube it smells herbal with a bit of sweetness, sort of like those honey-herb cough drops. There is a touch of bitterness from the tea. On skin it's thyme and tea. The honey is there but it's not strongly sweet. I don't really know what pennyroyal and saffron smell like so I can't say if those notes are asserting themselves or not. Honestly the longer I sniff it the more I get those honey-herb cough drops. It's not a bad scent, or even a bad thing to be reminded of, it's just very specific. It makes me think of being sick in bed and loading up on hot tea and honey-herb cough drops. I even get an almost chilly rush when I sniff it that reminds me of popping a mentholated cough drop in my mouth. It's a little strange but I like it.

Would I buy it again? Hmm. I think so? It's a very specific scent-memory for me and because of that I don't think I'll wear it too often, but I do like it. And I can't stop sniffing it when it's on my wrist, which is an indicator that it's interesting if nothing else.

Available from: OHWTO

Saturday, February 9, 2013

first sniff impressions: ohwto

Last week I noticed that One Hand Washes The Other's TAT had gone down dramatically - from 18-20 days to 5-7 days. I was also poking around in the clearance section and found some goodies I wanted - Summer and Halloween scents that I regretted not getting but thought were long gone. Sold! Of course I placed an order. I placed it on January 29th and it arrived yesterday on February 8th, which is awesome and will definitely encourage me to place more small, "just a few things" orders in the future. In fact I'm eyeing up the new Valentine's Day scent right now...

BUT ANYWAY. On to the impressions!

Harvest Moon: Tart and fresh and fruity. I have a solid in this scent so I already know it's lychee and berries and yum.

Gracie: Sweet and rich, but not completely foodie. I wasn't too interested in this one, but then I received a sample of it when I placed my Halloween order and immediately regretted not getting it, so I'm glad I got the chance to snag it on clearance. I loved the sample so much I picked up both the oil and the solid, because I am a crazy person.

Queen Bea: Juicy apricots and honey. I missed the Summer release completely, and this is the one that I wanted most from it. Score! (Full review)

Be True 2013: Chocolatey floral. A little fruit. I have the 2012 version to do a comparison later. I think this one is stronger.

Cascadia: This smells kind of clean, like those fresh linen/laundry scents? Also a little floral. (Full review)

Friday, February 8, 2013

haus of gloi satyr

Absolutely fiendish creature! And quite frolicsome: Italian blood orange drizzled with blackened vanilla.

Satyr was one of my very first full-sized purchase from Haus of Gloi, lo those many moons ago. I bought the perfume oil in February of 2011 and the pumpkin butter in May of the same year. So at this point they've been kicking around for pretty much two years and the perfume oil is barely out of the neck of the bottle and the pumpkin butter tub is still about 1/3 full. This right here is why my compulsion to get backups of stuff is insane. Insane. And yet.

Satyr smells like a grown-up creamsicle, in every form. The blood orange makes it a bit less candy-like than straight-up sweet orange, but still: creamsicle. It's delicious. Simple as that.

For the record, the products have lasted very well. The texture of the pumpkin butter has changed a bit - it's firmer than the fresh ones, but it still moisturizes just as well and the scent hasn't morphed much, if at all. The perfume may have changed a bit with age - I feel like the vanilla is a little deeper and creamier than it was when I first got it - but that's to be expected with any perfume oil.

Would I buy it again? Yes, although I don't know when I'll have to. When I eventually finish the pumpkin butter I will pick up a mini-sized one instead of a full-size, and it will probably still take me a year to finish it.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

Thursday, February 7, 2013

arcana quim

Lush French cognac, deepest chocolate, banana creme, and succulent orange entwine over a base of sensual ambrette musk.

Cheeky name, right? But the slang works. I'm not sure I'd want to buy a perfume called Vagina, but Quim doesn't have the same off-putting effect. (For the record I wouldn't want to buy a perfume called Penis either, though I'm not sure calling it Wanker would be any better... )

I've been interested in this one for a while, because chocolate, banana, and orange sounds delicious; banana in particular is a note I'm very fond of. I only got a sample imp of it, though, because the mention of amber (or in this case ambrette musk) makes me nervous... most ambers go over-powering and gross on me.

When I first sniff this and put it on, it smells like bubblegum. It's really weird. After a few minutes I get banana and orange, sort of like bananas flambe with orange liquor or an alcoholic creamsicle. It's yummy. Much yummier than bubblegum. After a bit more time I get a tiny hint of chocolate, but I never get any sniffable amber, which I am happy about. The longer I wear this the more it smells like banana to me, and I love it.

It's got decent lasting power, too - I put it on around 2 pm and I could still smell it faintly at 11:30. Not too shabby.

Misc. Notes: Mike says this one smells like "raisins and dark fruit and maybe bourbon." Okay then.

Would I buy it again? Yes. In fact I will be receiving a full bottle of this soon. I love banana scents and I don't have many, so I'm happy to add it to my collection.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold - Scent Addict and The Soap Box Co among other places.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

state of the blog 2.6.13

I'm a bit under the weather today, so instead of trying to sniff and review something with a drippy nose I thought I'd post some random bits about what will be coming up on the blog in the near future.

I've got small (very small! really!) orders coming my way from Solstice Scents and Haus of Gloi at the moment, so look forward to reviews of HoG's new Butterbombs and Solstice Scents' new premium fragrance, Rose Mallow Cream. I don't know when I started liking rose scents so much - or at all, really - but it's like ever since Come Hither wormed its way under my skin I can't resist them. Rose Mallow Cream sounds amazing: a mix of genuine rose absolutes, marshmallow, and white chocolate. So amazing, in fact, that I didn't even bother ordering a sample first. Hopefully that doesn't come back to bite me.

I'll also be getting quite a large amount of Arcana oils in in the near future - 7 bottles, plus samples. But I don't have to feel bad about this one! I did an illustration for Julia to use in the Valentine's collection, and part of my payment is coming in product. (Best currency.) It was a really fun job and I'm super happy with how it came out. She ended up using it on two labels (Venus Callipyge and Venus Libertina), so I'll be posting about that both here and on my art blog once I receive the bottles. In addition to those I'll have Amorini, CakeLust, Star Light, Quim, Murder Ballad Blues, and a sample of Bonfires at Dusk to review. Probably a few others as well. I already have a sample of Quim, and spoilers: I love it.

Moving on from perfume (WUT) to the "vegan beauty" part of the description up there under the title... I haven't really done much of that yet, but I want to! I'm both a beauty junkie and a long-time vegan, so yeah, I want to talk about it. I think I've avoided it because to be honest it's a very complicated topic and everyone draws their personal line in a different place, so what I consider vegan, someone else may not. I'll explain my stance when I post my first beauty bit, which should be sometime soon-ish because...

I think I found a vegan bb cream AT THE DRUGSTORE! Emphasis on I think. It's by a company that doesn't test, and wading through the ingredients doesn't set off any immediate red flags. I'll do a more thorough check before I post about it, but I'd give it a preliminary thumbs up. Whether or not it matches my skin at all remains entirely to be seen, however.

Actually come to think of it, the generic CVS store brand version of the Garnier bb cream might be vegan too. Unfortunately the lightest color is light/medium, which, if it's anything like the one it's knocking off, is both too dark and Oompa Loompa orange.

So yeah, I'm kind of bb cream crazy lately. Just foundation crazy in general, really. I was never much into bases and face makeup until recently, but now I'm all about them and I'm finding it very difficult to get one that is vegan and matches my weird pale yellowy/olive skin tone and works with my currently oily/dry combo skin type and provides light, non-masky coverage and isn't loose minerals and isn't $45 a tube. And and and. My list of things to try includes: OCC's tinted moisturizer (currently sold out, wah wah), Tarte's new bb cream, and Too Faced's version. A trip to Ulta is in my near future for sure. I've also been experimenting with making my own bb cream/souped up tinted moisturizer type thing, which, we'll see how that goes.

I think that's it? I've been testing out two cheap mascaras with predictably mixed results. And I'm eyeing up a couple of Too Faced blushes right now (as in they've been in my bag on the Sephora website for like two weeks) but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. Perhaps, perhaps.

And now I'm going to go back to sniffling under the covers and watching Pretty Little Liars.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

haus of gloi spring tonic #1

Haus of Gloi Spring Tonic #1 perfume oil sample

California lemon, Mexican lime, parsley and dandelion greens.

Spring Tonic #1 is part of Haus of Gloi's recurring Valentine's Day release. It may overlap with the Spring release as well, but I can't say for sure. I picked up a perfume oil sample in this scent.

In the imp Spring Tonic #1 is WHOA lemon lime, very zingy. On skin the lime comes to the top more than the lemon, and after a minute or two I smell the parsley and greens. Fresh is really the best way to describe this. It's what I imagine running your hand through the leaves of a lime tree after the rain would feel/smell like.

When I first sniffed this I thought it was nice but not something I'd need more of. Now I'm not so sure. It would be a great scent for a hot day. Unfortunately the lasting power is not good (less than two hours), so I'll probably get this in the whipped soap or pumpkin butter rather than the perfume if I decide to pick up more.

Misc. Notes: I put this under Mike's nose and his response was "Oooh. Now that, I like." I knew he would; he likes anything that smells like a salad.

Would I buy it again? Definitely. And I'll be picking up samples of the rest of the Spring Tonics now as well.

Available from: Haus of Gloi - the Vday collection is up for sale as of this posting!