Shattered Dreams

Shattered Dreams Main Photo

Oof, these busted bath and beauty items are giving me nuthin’ but shattered dreams (shattered dreams!) – unfortunate victims of a sudden drop and a short stop, both. ūüė¶ And yes, I know being crushed all to bits impacts the functioning of this Luxury Lush Pud bath bomb and Unicorn Horn bubble bar not a whit, but for blogging purposes, I always prefer to have these things looking their finest.

But shattered or not, I can’t say really say my dreams with regard to these items were all that grand – I’ve been a bit off Lush as of late. ¬†Or perhaps I was never actually “on” Lush to begin with – I’ve never really cottoned to their scent blends or company aesthetic. Then a string of expensive, dudderiffic bath bombs kind of sealed the deal on my whole informal Lush embargo, at least until I’ve used up the few items I already have in storage.

Which is where this Luxury Lush Pud and Unicorn Horn come in – might as well use up that which is busted all to crap, as no saying I know of goes. ¬†Anyhow, my Pud wasn’t too badly damaged in its swan dive off the counter, so it performed nicely, throwing off first pastel – and then ultra vibrant – swirls of pink, turquoise and yellow bubbles.

Shattered Dreams Pud

And the Unicorn Horn, jaundiced devil that he is (there’s seriously so much yellow in that Horn), provided mounds of creamy, lavender-scented bubbles beneath which to sink. ¬†A very relaxing and daintily-hued bath, broken bits or not.

Shattered Dreams Bath Art

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Treating Myself: A Bathing Garden Haul

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I’ve noted in the past that despite all indications to the contrary here on this nail and beauty blog¬†where I talk about such things all the ding dang time, I’m not much of a product person. I never use intensive hair treatments, I rarely slap on a mask and body moisturizer is an only-if-I-remember-I-actually-own-any kind of thing. ¬†Come to think of it, I’ve been using the same brand and make of face wash for the past 22 years (Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser, in case you were wondering.)

But with an upcoming milestone birthday (the one accompanied by all those obnoxious black balloons) and the gentle nudging of some dear blogger friends (lovely people, but terrible enablers with their gorgeously photographed blog posts!) and a completely bare beauty cupboard, I thought it was high time to treat myself to some beautiful bath and body care, Bathing Garden-style.

The Bathing Garden, an indie bath, body care and home fragrance vendor popular with the waxie set, does steady, year-round business turning out rotating themed collections of beautifully crafted scented wax and other bath and beauty products.  I have ogled their hoard-worthy wares for years.  Alas, with shipping restricted to the United States, this Canuck has been crap out of luck.  No Bathing Garden for me, eh?

No Bathing Garden, that is, until one of those dear blogger enfriendablers (rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?) allowed me to piggyback on her order, a random enough act of kindness before she also picked up the outrageous shipping as a sweet little pre-birthday treat. ¬†I was so touched. ¬†There are some truly lovely people online. ¬†If your Internet activity centres around Twitter or Reddit or YouTube comment boards, that statement will absolutely not compute, but kindness on the Internet can occasionally happen!

Anyway, enough with feeling all hashtag-blessed. ūüėČ ¬†Onward haul, right?! ¬†Let’s do this thing.

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Starting off with the body care, you might be asking yourself what a not-a-product person is going to do with so much, uh, product. ¬†Well, I’m going to use it! ¬†Because I’m also one of those “if you’ve got it, use it” kind of people – it irks me when beauty products sit unused in drawers for years. ¬†That’s not going to be a problem with these goodies, though – I’ve already used up nice handfuls of both the sugar scrub and the lotion, and I’ve only had these items in my possession for a few days! ¬†Thank goodness reinforcements are now on the way. ūüėČ

TBG Sugar Scrub Collage

The scrubs I chose were both from the soon-to-be-rotated-out Circus Collection, Poppet’s Coaster Ride (actually a scrub/soap hybrid), a blend of strawberry peach jam, raspberry cake bites and lemon curd (ugh, I want to eat that, it sounds so delicious; it also helps not one bit that the lemon curd side actually looks like lemon curd!) and Clowning Around, a carny-approved blend of toffee apples, cotton candy, popcorn and layer cake.

I’m so in love with these scrubs, they’re beyond gorgeous. ¬†And that’s just the labels! ¬†The scrubs themselves feature a beautifully plush texture – like slightly damp Magic Sand – buff on gently and rinse away cleanly, leaving behind no oily residue. ¬†Best of all, despite sporting such lush, vibrant hues, they don’t stain your hide 12 different shades of turquoise! ¬†Victory! ¬†Clowning Around, the sugar scrub, was $8.00 US for an 8 oz. jar and Poppet’s Coaster Ride, the split parfait, was $12.50 for an 8 oz. jar.

TBG Soap and Lotion Collage

Suds and saturation came in the form of two more picks from the Circus Collection and one from the recently-retired Valentine’s Day Collection, Candy Carousel lotion, a sugary sweet blend of candy floss, apples and cake, Fried Candy Donut whipped soap, a lip-smackingly delectable wildberry bakery blend, and Coconut Crystal Cake whipped soap, which, to paraphrase my friend Julie, smells like a coconut if it didn’t know whether to be dessert or suntan lotion.

I haven’t cracked into the whipped soaps just yet, so I can’t speak to their sudsing power or their scrubbing bubbles, but the texture, which you can see in the above photos, is just divine – thick and rich, like buttercream frosting whipped into stiff peaks (there we go with that “do I eat it or wash with it?” thing again!) Coconut Crystal Cake’s delicate fragrance is unfortunately somewhat obscured by the soap blend used here; Fried Candy Donut’s robust berry bakery holds up much better. ¬†I really wouldn’t kick either out of bed, though. ¬†Each soap was $8.00 per 4 oz. jar.

The light lotion, here in Candy Carousel, looks deceptively thin and maybe even a bit watery. ¬†Looks aren’t everything, though, as beneath the surface lies a powerhouse moisturizer that soaks in quickly and dries down to a soft, touchable finish. ¬†This lotion was $8.50 for a 4 oz. container.

TBG Clamshells Collage

Ah, but did you really think I was going to stop with body care and 799 words? ūüėČ Not when there’s wax to be had, and certainly not when it’s this beautiful! ¬†Because this, this is what lured me in to The Bathing Garden in the first place – the gorgeous little details on these clamshells, to say nothing of the deliciously complex scent blends. ¬†These feel like such sweet little luxuries, I love them.

From left to right we once again have Poppet’s Coaster Ride, the wax version of the lemonberry curd scent featured in the parfait, Fried Candy Donut, also once again, which smells even more scrumptious in a scented wax, and Raspberry Hearts, a soft raspberry-vanilla that smells exactly like this skate shop I used to frequent as a teenager because that’s where all the cute and floppy boys hung out. ¬†Each clamshell was $3.75. ¬†And worth every penny when they’re as gorgeous as this:

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In addition to their fantastic clamshells, The Bathing Garden also offers a number of their scents in adorable little shapes. ¬†Many of these shapes are pressed into service as super generous samples (more on that shortly) but a number are available for purchase. And in my world, if there’s something donut-shaped on offer, you just don’t say no!

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From left to right we have two frosted donuts in Fried Candy Donut ($1.25 per .8 oz. tart), a glitter-embedded bundt in one of Julie’s favourite scents, Victorian Midway, a sweet, pumpkin-apple cake blend ($2.00 per 1.5 – 2 oz. tart) and a wee little dipped caramel apple in Nights at the Circus, a dupe of one of my mother’s favourite scents, Bath & Body Works’ Winter Candy Apple ($2.50 per 1.8 oz. tart.) ¬†I will never be able to melt any of these because they are just too darn cute.

TBG Samples Collage

Finally, let’s close this beast of a bathing beauty bonanza out with what we all came here to see – the free stuff! Of which, I don’t believe it can be denied, The Bathing Garden goes way, way above and beyond in providing. They are crazy generous, often providing dozens of samples, in addition to full size products. ¬†And this bounty – save one or two extras my friend snuck into the package – represents just my choice of items! ¬†We split the freebies (and the three full size samples) roughly 50/50. ¬†Perhaps I should upgrade that to wicked generous. ¬†So what freebies did I score?

In the top left-hand corner we have a beautiful little bunny tart studded with glittery hearts in Tea with the Queen of Hearts and a wee chocolate gateau in Eat Me.

In the top right-hand corner we have a pair of bedazzled and undoubtedly surgically enhanced lips in Kiss Me Silly and two swirly, twirly hard candies in Big Top Lemonade (top) and Tunnel of Love (bottom.)

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In the bottom left-hand corner we have, from left to right, a microbead-embedded Peep in Looking Glass, a speckled robin’s egg in Blackberry Fudge (actually a little gift from Julie), a pale-and-pastel Peep in Keep Your Temper, a grape-hued Easter egg in Lavender Vanilla Custard, an absolutely delectable little mica-dusted egg in Caterpillar Mischief (it came in that cute little chick cup!) and a ruby red Easter egg in Strawberry Nonsense.

Finally, in the bottom right-hand corner we have the body care items I chose, a full size body lotion in Cranberry Fig (I’m hoping the scent on this one blooms a bit, because right now all I smell is lotion) and a sample size scrub in Lemon Cheesecake (another one of those scents and consistencies that is seriously testing my “is this food?” boundaries.)

Phew! ¬†So there we have it, my first Bathing Garden order. ¬†Also, as of this afternoon, not my last – I went back for seconds on a few new favourites, and stocked up on a sweet stack of those wonderfully scrubby scrubs. ¬†I’ll be sure to share that gorgeous bounty with you when it arrives, though hopefully this time in fewer than 1450 words! ¬†And I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my conspicuous consumerism! ūüėČ

Lipstick Love

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Feeling impulsive, I recently picked up a little treat for myself in the form of this gorgeous gold flake-sprinkled lipstick from Kalijumei, a Chinese beauty brand completely off my radar until Harlow & Co. began carrying them some weeks back. ¬†That’s when I jumped on this beauty, Kalijumei’s Flower Jelly Lipstick in Flame Red, a way upmarket mood lipstick that changes colour based on your body temperature.

I’m actually making this all sound a LOT less glamorous than it actually is, which is quite – this luxurious lipstick, with its real gold flakes, gorgeous floral core and elevated price tag ($28.99 Canadian, eh) bears this one out as a very special purchase. ¬†Even the scent of this light pink gloss feels lush and plush – the intoxicating, but ever elusive, fragrance of vintage, high end cosmetics. ¬†I can’t deny that I feel undeniably glamorous when I swipe on Flame Red’s sheer pink wash, like a movie star from the golden age of Hollywood.

A tiny footnote regarding the Inspector Gadget-like tube, however: The lipstick is released from its mirrored case by depressing the inlaid button on the top of the tube (very ninja; I love the spy work aspect to its design.) But if you’re not careful, as I was, and you don’t roll the lipstick all the way down before putting it back in the tube, it WILL bump up against the top of the case the next time you depress the release. ¬†Which affects the lipstick itself not one iota, I know, I know! ¬†But a blogging and photography bummer all the same.

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Texture-wise, Red Flame applies and wears like an ultra light lipgloss, imparting a sheer wash of colour that morphed from a light pink to a medium berry depending on my temperature. ¬†I didn’t find the colour change hugely noticeable, although there was some visible difference in tone. ¬†In this photo, which I took outdoors, you can really see the rosy tinge to this lipstick, in addition to that gorgeous little floral core.

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Speaking of those little floral centrepieces, having used this lipstick for only the briefest of moments, I can’t speak to how well they’re going to hold up over the long run. ¬†I suspect things are going to get somewhat dicey when I reach the halfway mark. ¬†But until then, let’s just enjoy the gorgeous, luxe design of a unique beauty product done so very right. Such a lovely treat; I’m so glad I splurged.

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If you also feel like treating yourself, these Kalijumei lipsticks are still in stock over at Harlow & Co. ¬†There are four shades on offer, including a tantalizing coral and a perfect purple and a…you know what? ¬†I think they’d all be pretty fantastic. ¬†Go get it, girl. ūüôā

Winter Solstice

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Before I do the show-and-tell thing with this beautiful order I received from indie parfumerie Solstice Scents, allow me to share with you one of those odd little serendipitous moments that makes you feel at one with the universe. ¬†Or mildly creeped out. ¬†Depends on your world perspective, I suppose. ūüėČ

Anyhow, after choosing a title for this post – Winter Solstice, because it’s winter, and this is an order from Solstice Scents – I thought to myself, “Huh, IS there such a thing as a winter solstice?” ¬†Turns out there is! 2016’s winter solstice – you may know it as the shortest day of the year – was December 21st, which is the day I received this order. ¬†Dun dun duuuuuunnnnnnnnn. ¬†Really nothing more than a coincidence (Alanis would probably call it irony) but a cool little blip amid the atrocious randomness of the universe nonetheless.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that heavy stuff out of the way, let’s move on to the perfume! It’s been ages since I’ve been this excited about a new vendor, and even longer since I’ve worn perfume (I worked for many years in close-quarters courtrooms, pretty well the last place you should be doused, or even lightly spritzed, in anything.) ¬†So when this tiny, potent pack of goodies arrived a handful of days before Christmas, I was in *just* the right festive mood to dive back into the world of olfactory delights,¬†and delight in discovering a new vendor.

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First, the basics. ¬†I placed my order on December 13th, Solstice shipped it from their Florida location on December 14th, and I received it here in Ontario a week later on the 21st. ¬†That lightning fast turnaround time allowed me to sample some of the fragrances over the holidays, where I discovered a fabulous new favourite that smells just like me. ¬†It’s the best thing I’ve smelled in forever! ¬†My items (four 5 ml rollerball perfume oils, two 2.5 ml spray samples and six sampler vials) came neatly packed in a tiny box filled with the most gorgeous dark green tissue paper adorned with a festive sprig of evergreen – a lovely little touch. ¬†Lovelier still were the postcards – including a handwritten thank you – depicting some of Solstice’s fragrances, as well as maps and bulletins from the Town of Foxcroft, inspiration for a number of their perfumes.

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Thoughtful aesthetic touches aside, let’s take a closer look at the contents of my order, shall we? First, I purchased four perfume oils in these cute little blue glass rollerballs. Each bottle was $15.00 US.

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Owing to what I’m assuming are infuriatingly random trade rules, Solstice is unable to ship sizes greater than the 5 ml perfume oils internationally. ¬†So I’m stuck with these baby bottles until such time as I can ask an American friend for a fragranced favour, because I’m in LOVE with one of the scents I chose, Snowmint Mallow, and would very much like it in a larger size. ¬†This is the fragrance I described some weeks ago as smelling like a beloved perfume I wore in high school, a refreshing, creamy and comforting blend of peppermint, cake, cookies, coconut and marshmallow cream. ¬†Holy lord is it fabulous, and not remotely as heavy or gooey-smelling as you’d imagine from that description.

Of the other three perfume oils, I like Blackburn’s Parlor the best. ¬†It’s another sundae-scented fragrance in that it literally smells like a banana split – sugary, buttery waffle cones, creamy chocolate and vanilla soft serve and the barest hint of fresh banana. ¬†This is another one that somehow doesn’t come across as tooth-achingly sweet; rather, it’s a light gourmand scent softened with custardy cream.

I regrettably don’t care much for either Halloween Night or Blackburn Farmstead, the latter being a musky blackberry scent that simply doesn’t tickle my fancy. ¬†Dark berry blends never have, though, something I should have remembered when placing this wildcard pick in my basket. ¬†But I’ve no doubt I’ll be able to find Blackburn Farmstead a good home with someone who can appreciate its lush amber berries. ¬†Halloween Night is…intriguing. Smells a bit like assorted candies rattling around the bottom of a plastic trick-or-treat pumpkin. ¬†I can actually picture myself wearing this Halloween night.

Next, I ordered an assortment of fragrances in smaller sizes I wasn’t too sure about based on their descriptions.

I purchased two 2.5 ml eau de parfum spray samples in Owl Creek Aleworks, a rich, toffee and stout-infused butter bomb, and Foxcroft Fairgrounds, a light confection of a fragrance scented like sweetly spun sugar. Lovely, both.  Each spray bottle was $8.00 US.

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Finally, I purchased five fragrances (plus one freebie) in a beautifully presented sampler pack for $15.00 US. ¬†I haven’t yet explored these scents in any meaningful way, but here I went kind of buck wild with my choices, swinging from sugary gourmand fragrances like Kitchen and Sycamore Sugarworks, to lively fruity fragrances like Heat of the Night, whose succulent mango notes I can already tell you I like very much.

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Overall, I’m tremendously pleased with my first – but certainly not last – Solstice Scents order. ¬†Everything about this was a positive experience, from the no-fuss ordering system and super speedy delivery, to the beautiful presentation and gorgeously-crafted fragrances. ¬†A definite winner. ¬†Can’t wait to see what other fantastic scents are awaiting my discovery.

ETA: It has been brought to my attention by the very kind and complimentary folks at Solstice that there are actually a couple of vendors that deal in their beautiful perfumes internationally, Pretty Indulgent¬†(they also carry a number of other niche lines) and The Rhinestone Housewife¬†(same), who offers Solstice’s eau de parfums in 60 ml bottles that should hopefully slay my scent lust for all things Snowmint Mallow!

What a Wonder: A Mini Lush Review

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Okay, so I never particularly care for the scent of, well, any of these, and I always have a bit of a hard time watching $7.00 to $11.00 literally dissolve into glittery nothingness in my bathtub in less than a minute, but ding dang, Lush’s bath bombs – fizzy little orbs of multi-coloured sodium bicarbonate tenuously held together with good-for-your-skin essential oils – are just plain fun. ¬†Far preferable to regular old water (although much like dosing your drinking water with flavoured extracts, you really ought to give plain eau de tap a go every now and then; the pigmentation in these things cannot be good for your delicate bits if you’re using them every day.)

But pretty! ¬†And glittery, and colourful, and…okay, so I won’t comment on the smell. ¬†They all smell like powdered (insert approximation of whatever the heck Lush thinks X smells like.) ¬†Weirdly, though, I really like the smell of this pretty little bath bomb, Lush’s Golden Wonder. ¬†Lush’s website tells me its scent notes and active ingredients include lime oil and bourbon extract, which…maybe? ¬†Smells like citrus to me, which I quite enjoy.

Actually, I really enjoyed everything about this bath bomb, from its buttery yellow hue, to its dusting of gold mica, to its secret green and purple core. ¬†I even loved the weird little ghost creature that popped up right toward the end of the bomb’s life cycle, eking out one final, bubbly gasp before dissolving into the glittery gloom. ¬†Really, look at this odd little guy! ¬†I think he looks like one of those swooping ghost baddies from the Super Mario games. ¬†Or Mr. Boo Berry without his hat. ¬†He don’t look like nothin’ now, though, because I sat on his face (in a completely non-sexual way, of course.) ūüėČ

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The one thing I didn’t love about this bath bomb was that it, like so many Lush bath bombs I’ve purchased recently, dissolved totally in about 30 seconds flat. ¬†And while I recognize that there’s more to bath bombs than the wow factor (this one was super moisturizing and turned my bathwater the coolest shade of glittery moss green) their main job is to put on a big show. ¬†And when you’ve barely had time to whip out your camera,¬†not drop it in the tub and fire off just a smattering of photos before everything’s said and done, well, that’s not very good value for your money (in this case $6.95 Canadian.) ¬†All the same, the Golden Wonder bath bomb is one I would definitely buy again, should Lush bring it back next holiday season, with or without the little interloping ghost man!

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Celebrity Style

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Mix and mis-match nails inspired by an Altuzarra gown the lovely Amy Adams wore the other evening at one of those innumerable lead-up events to last night’s Golden Globes. I’m not the least bit familiar with Altuzarra, but they’re also responsible for the gorgeously tailored suit Evan Rachel Wood wore last night, and she looked incredible (except…I really hate the “no feet” look that happens when pants are hemmed right to the ground instead of hiked up a bit to the lower arch. ¬†Besides, how else am I supposed to see what I’m assuming are a devastatingly awesome pair of shoes? ¬†Feet are great and the things we cover them with are even better; free the feet!)

Northern Lights: A Mini Lush Review

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Whooo, what a colourful stunner this Northern Lights bath bomb turned out to be! ¬†Good job, Lush, this one’s a keeper (indeed, I think Northern Lights makes the rounds just about every Christmas, although this is my first time giving it a whirl.)

And “whirl” is just the right word, as Northern Lights’ chubby little cylindrical shape keeps this bath bomb swirling, twirling and barrel rolling from the very first moment it hits the water. ¬†The colour effect on this guy is pretty spectacular, too, morphing from a bubbly mess of Barney-type hues to a gorgeous spray of neon yellows, pastel oranges, periwinkles, dusky purples and bubblegum pinks. ¬†The neon pastel colour palette of this bath bomb is unlike any other in Lush’s collection, and I had a ton of fun messing about with the slowly dissolving bomb.

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Drawbacks? ¬†I didn’t care for the scent, which Lush describes as a blend of ylang ylang and jasmine, two fragrances that have never rung my chimes. ¬†However, gigantic grain of salt when it comes to my assessment of Lush scents, as historically, I don’t tend to care for any of them (eh, Twilight’s lavender is nice and The Comforter’s not-too-sweet currant is great in shower cream form, but you get my drift.) ¬†Also, Northern Lights’ colour combination – yellow and turquoise in a plummy purple shell – results in gorgeous bath art, but also some seriously gungy-looking bathwater. ¬†Just a bit of a warning if you’re not fond of sitting around in suds I describe as being the shade of shimmery bong water. ūüėČ

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