Do You Suppose This is His Way of Telling Me I Smell?

Demeter Birthday Pic

Simply curious, as my husband gifted me with a metric butt ton (actual measurement, “butt ton”) of delicious Demeter fragrances for my birthday, and you just don’t do that unless a) someone really stinks (“This smells so great! ¬†Wear all of it at once, immediately”) or b) you know your spouse really well, as mine did when he correctly surmised that I’d love to receive such a bounty of beautiful birthday blends (also an affection for alliteration.) ūüėČ

So what terrifically odd combination of fragrances did my husband put together for his beloved on her 40th? Let’s take a peek, shall we?

Starting with the header photo, this apparently represents my birthday breakfast, a thing I actually didn’t have because I was fasting in anticipation of a blow-out Italian dinner later that evening. ¬†But the thinking here is that I’d wake up and snarf down a plate of birthday cake-flavoured cinnamon toast topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. With a tomato on the side (which I wholly approve of; all that sugar needs a bit of tart and fresh to balance it out.)

Speaking from a dietary perspective, that’s kind of horrifying! ¬†But these fragrances are not – lovely single scents, all. ¬†I particularly like Cinnamon Toast, which smells like cinnamon hearts, and, super surprisingly, Tomato, which on initial application smells exactly like a ripe, sun-warmed tomato. ¬†It’s a unique smell that conjures up nice memories of my grandfather futzing over his heavily laden tomato plants out in the garden.

Demeter Zombie Collage

Next up we have the zombie fragrances, which, upon spritzing and sniffing, we decided I will never, ever wear because they smell like dirt and rot and probably skunk pheromones. ¬†I love the theming behind these Zombie for Him, Her and Dog fragrances (what, the cats just fend for themselves?) but wowza, do they stink. ¬†I suspect that Demeter’s Dirt fragrance, an otherwise pretty acceptable fresh earth kind of scent, is the base for all three of these colognes, with hits of dead flowers (for Her), decaying leaves (for Him) and something that’s erring awfully close to urine (for the Dog.) ¬†I adore them, they are so weird, but these will probably remain collectibles only. ¬†Also, you will pry my Snowmint Mallow from my cold, dead, zombiefied hands before I trade it in for something more apocalypse-appropriate.

Demeter Kitten Fur Pic

Leaving the best for last, we have my cat Weegie looking disillusioned (so basically a day ending in Y) beside a bottle of Kitten Fur! ¬†Which smells a bit like very mild laundry detergent. ¬†I don’t think Weegie’s tummy fur smells like soap (you get the best, most accurate results – also probably hissed and swatted at – by sniffing a cat’s tummy) but I suppose if any creature in this house is going to smell like laundry, it’s going to be the one that spends 22 hours a day lounging around on freshly washed linens.

All in all, a lovely, thoughtful gift full of fun surprises and some very unique finds. ¬†Well done, sweetie. ūüôā

Herbal Refreshment

Lavender Bath

Not that kind of herbal refreshment (although I can’t even type the phrase without hearing Brittany Murphy’s Tai, of Clueless, New Yawk-drawling, “I could really use some sorta ‘erbal refreshment” to her new pals Cher and Dionne.) ¬†I’m talking about the beauty variety, like the loaded-with-lavender bath I recently enjoyed. Lavender is one of those fragrances most commonly associated with relaxation; you’ll find it in all sorts of naturopathic sleep aids like teas and eye masks and bubble baths. ¬†Its buds also taste pretty darn terrific baked into ultra buttery shortbread, believe it or not (and rendered down with simple syrup and added to lemonade as well.)

But that’s dried lavender (and in the case of the shortbread and the lemonade,¬†cooking lavender – that’s very important!) which to me always errs towards the powdery – granny’s unmentionables drawer. ¬†My preferred lavender is fresh and green and uplifting; very much an herbal refreshment.

I used a bunch of fun products for this lushly lavender bath, including a couple of items from Lush itself, a Twilight bath bomb and a bit of a French Kiss bubble bar. ¬†A third of this lavender-sprinkled bubble bar tinged my bathwater the loveliest shade of plummy purple and produced an absolute mountain of fluffy, super moisturizing bubbles. ¬†Plus it’s as cute as a wee little button!

French Kiss Bubble Bar

Entertainment and additional moisturization was provided by a Twilight bath bomb, a lavender-scented bath ballistic embossed with tiny stars. ¬†I’ll have a bit more to say – and show – on the subject tomorrow when I take a closer look at the Twilight bath bomb (including some pretty cool bath art) but this little guy is stupendous; the best Lush bath bomb I’ve used to date. ¬†You can’t ask for much more than a sweet scent, a super cool – and long-lasting – effect and tons of skin softening goodness.

Twilight Bath Bomb

And if you’ve ever wondered what the inside of one of these things looks like…well, kind of like that egg husk that Hopper touches in The Upside Down in Stranger Things. ¬†But turquoise!

Alien Twilight Egg

And because I scoff in the face of overkill, I melted a wax tart from Ten Digit Creations in one of my favourite scents, Lavender Poundcake, a fresh, herbal lavender kissed with the very barest hint of buttery bakery, and gave myself a wee spritz with my Demeter Lavender cologne.  Overkill?  I say no-verkill!  And the perfect finishing touch to a really nice bath that did exactly what baths are supposed to do Рleave you feeling refreshed and relaxed and smelling pretty darn awesome.

Gingy’s Hot Date

Gingy's Hot Date Fingers

The final Demeter cologne I have for you is a do-it-yourself scent, a fragrance blending experiment I call Gingy’s Hot Date. ¬†Gingy’s Hot Date, a spicy, creamy mix of gingerbread blended with bright, herbal lavender, is the custom scent I created with the perfumes I was sent from Demeter Fragrance Library to do just that! You can read all about my adventures in blending here and how I came to create this unexpectedly delicious scent, but for now, here is the final “inspired-by” manicure I did, this time inspired by the base notes of Gingy’s Hot Date, both of which are supposedly massive turn-ons for men (human AND gingerbread!)

Gingy's Hot Date Bottle

One Big Blended Family

All In Bottle Shot

To my continued delight, I recently received a most generous press pack of blendable fragrances from Demeter Fragrance Library to test, muck about with and report back on. Like the Mr. Bubble campaign I took part in last September, this arrangement was brokered by Canadian Beauty Bloggers, a helpful online resource for Canadian bloggers, vloggers, Tweeters and ‘Grammers alike. ¬†Pleased with the response to the one-bottle Mr. Bubble campaign, Demeter are now upping the ante a bit, providing bloggers with a range of complimentary, singular scents to mix and match and blend and otherwise play amateur parfumier with. I’ve long been a fan of Demeter’s spunky approach to fragrance (one of the blending scents is a cologne I already own) so this felt like a fun and natural fit. ¬†There’s lots of delicious-smelling, DIY enjoyment to be had from these all-in-one blending kits, so let’s get into it!

Participants were asked to choose one of three different scent duos (jasmine/lavender, clean skin/sunshine or grass/dirt) to blend with a chosen base note trio (Hawaiian vanilla, angel food and gingerbread.) ¬†I suspected that my choice, jasmine/lavender, was going to be a popular one, and indeed, I see there’s already a preponderance of posts favouring the floral duo.

Duo Collage

All the same, the point of this exercise is to build a unique custom scent, and with five lovely fragrances in the mix, as well as all the necessary blending accoutrements, Demeter has made it easy to do just that, enabling you to create a fragrance that, similarities in scent notes notwithstanding, is your unique creation and yours alone. ¬†So we might all be dabbling in the night blooming lavender pound cake pool here, but everyone’s creative interpretation is going to be just a little bit different from their neighbour’s, and delightfully so.

Before I get into the actual fragrance creation, let’s take a look at the blending kits themselves. ¬†For this campaign, Demeter chose the all-vanilla trio as its base note kit, although it’s also offered in scents ranging from smoky and woodsy to clean and floral. True to their name, these heavier scents form the foundation for your fragrance on top of which you layer one or both of the lighter scents from your chosen duo (which is also offered in a wealth of sweetly scented pairings.) ¬†Having said all that, there’s no rule that stipulates that you must combine them in such a fashion. ¬†In fact, the whole point is that there are no rules! ¬†You can mix these fragrances (the duo and trio, both) exactly as you see fit, although I might warn against the all-in approach to fragrance creation – “jasmine gingerbread sunshine dirt cake” is a heck of a mouthful, and I can’t imagine it would smell that wonderful either.

Demeter Collage

Between the two kits, there are five one ounce fragrances, a funnel, four plastic droppers, a small stack of scent strips and an empty one ounce bottle in which to capture your perfect – and perfected – scent. ¬†Of course, you could always go completely low tech and just fire two scents into the air – sideways! – and then glide through the mist like you’re Antonio Banderas in a beauty-obsessed version of Desperado, but where’s the fun in that (actually, that sounds like A LOT of fun!) ¬†The set-up is simple and nicely intuitive – use the droppers to dab various scent combinations onto the disposable strips until you create THE perfect blend, at which point you use the empty bottle and funnel to create a lot of that perfect blend. ¬†Easy!

But a beautifully blended fragrance truly is the sum of its individual parts, and so before we get to my creation, let’s first take a look at those singular fragrances. ¬†Getting the negative out of the way first, I am no fan of jasmine, nor have I ever been. ¬†I concede that it’s therefore an odd choice of blending fragrance on my part, although I was really after the lavender side of the duo, with jasmine simply coming along for the ride. Scent preference is a deeply personal thing, so I won’t fault you if you just adore jasmine, but to me, it smells simultaneously like hippie grandmas and an ex-boyfriend’s nauseatingly bracing cologne, neither of which I need to be reminded of on a day to day basis. ¬†It does make for some rather beautiful nail art, though, no? Actually, as you’ll see, they kind of all did.

jasmine bottle

The other half of the scent duo is a gorgeous herbal lavender. ¬†Lavenders can be quite tricky, as they often drift into “grannie’s unmentionables drawer” territory (again with the grandmas!) but this one is fresh and green and sweet, and not the least bit powdery or cloying. ¬†Really lovely.

Lavender Bottle

Moving over to the base trio, angel food is the Demeter scent I already own (having a duplicate is stupendous, as the bottle I bought 15 YEARS AGO is just now starting to show its age.) ¬†Unlike its diabetic-friendly namesake dessert, this fragrance is rich and sugary and buttery. ¬†Immensely edible (but please don’t eat it.)

Angel Food Cake Bottle

If you’re looking for something a little less bakery-oriented, Hawaiian vanilla is a fresh and floral vanilla that’s evocative of the orchid plant that gives it life. ¬†Mild and sweet, this vanilla will play nicely with other fresh florals and watery, clean scents.

Hibiscus Bottle

Finally, we have the fragrance I was the most excited to play with, gingerbread.  Spice-phobic folks need not fear this gingerbread, which is mild, sweet and dry, lacking that irksome and irritating fresh spice note that overwhelms most ginger-based scents.  Very nice.

Gingerbread Bottle

So lovely individual scents, all (save and except the jasmine) but what sort of fabulous creations did I wrest from combining them? ¬†Well, I suppose it all rests on your definition of “fabulous,” but I don’t think there’s a dud in the bunch. ¬†The “softness” of the scents aids in successful blending – there’s no sharp, unduly alcoholic tones to the fragrances, and they blend beautifully in nearly any proportion. ¬†Just about as close to Demeter’s promised “foolproof” as possible!

Before settling on one favoured fragrance (the big reveal of which I’m saving for the end of this massive missive) I tried my hand at:

1. Lavender Vanilla Cake.  This blend of sweet lavender and angel food is the very definition of a gourmand scent, with a light herbal freshness to cut the all the sugary and buttery.  Yuh-um.

2. The Ex-Grannies. ¬†That sounds like a punk band. ¬†Or the bank robbers in a low budget remake of Point Break (so pretty much the recent remake of Point Break.) This combination of jasmine and Hawaiian vanilla represents my one and only attempt to blend with jasmine, and it failed miserably. ¬†Best to leave this one to the grandmas and my ex-boyfriend’s gag-worthy cologne. ¬†You can’t say I didn’t try.

3. Hawaiian Lavender. ¬†I’m pretty sure there is no such thing, but work with me here! ¬†It’s all about being creative, and that includes horticulture. ¬†This blend of lavender and the most floral of the three vanillas combines beautifully, creating a soft, gentle fragrance the most in keeping with traditional floral perfumes.

4. Butter Your (Ginger)Bread.  Sweet and lightly spiced gingerbread gets a tender, almost buttery kick from delectable angel food.  Another beautiful bakery.

The last scent I blended¬†was also my favourite, and the one I chose to bottle, a uniquely sweet and spicy combination of gingerbread and lavender I call “Gingy’s Hot Date.” Studies have shown that when it comes to stirrings of lustful feelings in people bearing the Y chromosome, lavender and spicy scents like ginger get the job done. So why not combine them into one monster aphrodisiac of a scent that will work its magic on men and gingerbread men alike? ¬†Heck, gingerladies, too – let’s not leave them out of the sweetly scented fun. ¬†This is a delectable, unexpectedly yummy-smelling fragrance that bridges the gap between earthy spices and rich gourmands, and I love it.

Gingy's Hot Date Bottle

All told, this was a fun do-it-yourself beauty project – like a science experiment, but less explode-y – and a well-run blogging campaign by Demeter. ¬†A great experience all around, at the end of which you’re left with a beautifully scented reminder (or reminders) of your creativity. ¬†Sweet! ¬†And kind of spicy… ūüėČ

Angel Food

Angel Food Cake Fingers

I’ll preface this post with an apology to the handful of kind readers who liked the unfinished fragrance piece I accidentally published some minutes ago. ¬†It’s very much a work-in-progress (in fact, these nails are a small part of the larger, to-be-published whole) and I didn’t intend to loose it on the world until it was good and ready. ¬†Which it’s not! ¬†So down she goes. ¬†On the plus side, that’s the first time in over two years of nearly daily blogging that I’ve hit the “publish” button as opposed to “edit.” ¬†That has to be some kind of record, right?

Here’s another manicure inspired by a recently acquired bottle of cologne, Demeter’s sublimely yummy Angel Food. ¬†Rest assured that all this now-not-so-secretive perfume business will clarify itself in the coming days, but for now, let’s enjoy yet another “inspired by” manicure, one that reminds me that my talents do not like in baking, either of the real or lacquered variety. ¬†I mean, really, look at that cake. ¬†Somebody left that bastard out in the rain¬†for sure.

Angel Food Cake Bottle

Lovely Lavender

Lavender Fingers

It is an absolutely bee-youtiful day in the neighbourhood, complete with sunny skies, melting snow, birds a-tweeting and, to my never-ending delight, a neighbour out walking her two fat cats on the path that runs alongside my building. ¬†And I don’t know about you, but I think beautiful days call for beautiful nails, especially ones that evoke all things warm and springy.

Here we have another manicure inspired by a Demeter perfume, this time the sweet and simple fragrance of herbal lavender. ¬†I think perhaps the background polish I chose for these nails, A England’s Wuthering Heights, is a tad too dark to really let the delicate little lavender blossoms shine – these nails ultimately remind me of a pair of flannel pyjamas I used to own! ¬†Still fitting, though, given the whole lavender-sleep connection.

Lavender Bottle

Night Blooming Jasmine

Night Blooming Jasmine

All will become clear in a few day’s time¬†when I’ve completed the entire post,¬†but these pretty floral nails featuring the delicate white blossoms of a night blooming jasmine were inspired by this bottle of jasmine-scented cologne I was sent from Demeter to tinker around with and report back on. ¬†Tinker and report, I shall, but for now I just wanted to create some simple nail art showcasing these pretty little night owl flowers.

jasmine bottle

As a related aside, did you know that jasmine is a relative of nightshade? ¬†It’s a whole plant family with dark reputations! ¬†Kind of like the Malfoys and some of the female members of the Black family from Harry Potter if they photosynthesized.

Double Bubble

Bubble Bottle

YOU GUYS, I am beyond excited for this post! And why exactly am I so excited? Because that bottle of perfume I’m clutching up there, Demeter’s Mr. Bubble-scented cologne, is the first free/for-your-consideration item I’ve been sent in my fledgling blogging career, and I’m just as pleased as punch! I’ve seen other beauty bloggers tag their posts with casual disclaimers that they were sent this, that and the other thing for unbiased review, and I always think they’re so blas√© about it. If that were me, I’d be screaming my good fortune from the rooftops – wherever you are in the world, you’d hear my whooping cries. And while I am a (former) student of journalism, and therefore well versed in the concept of honest, uncompromising review, I’m a beauty buff who just got her first freebie, and that’s just aces in my books. So I suppose that’s my not-so blas√© disclaimer right there: I’m friggin’ excited, and a total lack of bias is probably not something you’re going to find here!

First, however, and perhaps most importantly as it pertains to the discussion of bias, I’ll note that this bottle of Mr. Bubble cologne was NOT sent to me for traditional smell-and-wear review. Rather, I was asked to recall and recount a memory of Mr. Bubble, the soap, which if you’re at all familiar with this blog and my writing style, is right up my alley. Moreover, I was not sent this perfume from Demeter itself, but rather through CBB, or Canadian Beauty Bloggers, an online networking resource for Canuck bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers. As a small side note, my involvement with CBB has proven quite beneficial, and not just because of opportunities for product reviews like this one – CBB also offers up a number of beauty and blogging tips and tricks, tons of opportunities for cross-promotion, and they nurture an active and friendly Facebook community of helpful, like-minded beauty buffs. A truly terrific resource for the Canadian beauty blogger.


Secondly, a quick word about Demeter, a company I have been brand loyal to for some 15 years now – their perfumes are awesome. And while I personally am not completely sold on this fragrance, as my scent preferences err towards the edible, I can attest that, like the other five or six Demeter perfumes I’ve bought, Mr. Bubble is long-lasting, scent-true and complex – even their singular scents, like Sugar Cookie or Pomegranate, have distinct layers, and Mr. Bubble is no exception. It’s airy, fruity and a touch floral – lovely if that’s your thing. Best of all, it’s really nice to see a company that you’ve supported for so many years keep on keepin’ on, and well at that – I hope to be writing about Demeter in another 15 years’ time.

But for now, let’s flash BACK 15 years to a university-aged Sandra, fresh off her first visit to a Lush store. I was too, too excited to Lush it up and had, in fact, a mile-long list of must-have items – hand cut soaps, bath bombs and the like. Then I entered the store and was hit with what I call THE WALL OF LUSH. C’mon, you know that smell; it’s really quite distinct. Some people love the all-fruit, all-herb, all-essential oil smell of Lush, but I simply cannot abide it. And so I was exceptionally disappointed to discover that, to me at least, all of Lush’s pricey products smell like that one all-encompassing WALL OF LUSH, no matter the delicious-sounding description on the label. I left the store empty-handed and grumpy – I had major bath plans that evening, and stinky, expensive Lush was harshing my buzz. Then later on that afternoon, as I was working my cashier’s job at a local grocery store, a giant, inexpensive and yummy-smelling bottle of peaches and cream Mr. Bubble came across my cash. At the time I was a bit of a foolish beauty snob – I’d equate a product’s worth with its retail price, which is not fair to the Mr. Bubbles of the world. And so I decided to give Mr. Bubble the bath time shot it deserved, and you know what? It was totally awesome. Giant, soft piles of peachy-smelling suds, and the sweet satisfaction of knowing I wasn’t paying an arm and a leg for the privilege. Plus, at the end of my bath I didn’t smell like the floor of a chill tent at Burning Man. ūüėČ

I haven’t taken a bath for relaxation in years (I’m thoroughly Team Shower) but this fun little exercise has me adding a bottle of Mr. Bubble to this week’s grocery list. It’s been a while, and it would be nice to be reacquainted again. In the meantime, though, I’m content with confining the Mr. Bubble to my pulse points, and my nails, like this manicure featuring one of my favourite lacquers, Polish Me Silly’s pink, blue and white matte glitter, Mr. Bubble. Double the Bubble for your bath time fun!

Bubble Polish Bottle