Summer Swatches

Summer Polish Collage

The craft stores may already have their Halloween decor on clearance, but I think there’s still lots of time left on this summer thing.  And for once, I can’t say that’s a bad thing – unlike previous years, I haven’t had a terrible problem with the heat.  And while I’d say that a major contributing factor has been the wetter-than-usual (and therefore cooler-than-usual) summer we have been “enjoying” in eastern Ontario this year, I think the lack of profuse sweating may actually be due to my rather profound weight loss – about 50 pounds since the end of February!  Also probably the hour-long swims I enjoy four or five times a week – a crack of dawn swim in my building’s indoor pool seems to bring my core temperature down to something approaching normal for the remainder of the humid day.  Totally awesome side benefit to this weight loss business; I highly recommend.

I also recommend this collection of sweet summer polishes that will see you through the final sultry days of the season in polished perfection.  Drawing from a wide array of indie vendors – Polish Me Silly, KB Shimmer and Painted Polish among them – there’s a nod to every great and vibrant thing about the summer, from gorgeous oceanic hues to drippy cherry popsicles.

WatermelonSquidding Me

First up we have Whimsical Idea by Pam’s Wacky Watermelon (here over Pure Ice’s lime green, Wild Thing) and Different Dimension’s You’ve Gotta Be Squidding Me.  I’ve used Wacky Watermelon in a few different manicures over the years, but Squidding Me is one I rarely pull out of my box of magic nail tricks.  And I really have no idea why, because it’s a gorgeous one – smooth jelly finish, and that flamingo pink hue shot through with purple shimmer?  Lush and vibrant, yet tremendously flattering, even for us pale, pale lasses (although I’ve no doubt it would look stupendous-er on those with darker skin tones.  Which is literally everyone else in the world.)

Lost MarblesSprinkle On

Taking a nod from the boardwalk, we have the two lacquers I always think of as my “bubblegum ice cream” polishes, Polish Me Silly’s pink I Lost My Marbles and Dollish Polish’s custardy yellow Get Your Sprinkle On! Get Your Sprinkle On! has always been a favourite – I think it looks like french vanilla ice cream topped with rainbow jimmies.

Whispering WavesMermaid

You’ve Gotta Be Squidding Me makes another appearance in this manicure as a fun, flamingo-hued base on which to layer another Whimsy, this time turquoise glitter Mermaid, alongside A England’s lush aqua holo, Whispering Waves.  This mani makes me smile – it’s very South Beach.  Somewhere in Sarasota there’s a granny rocking a velour tracksuit in these exact colours. 😉

Jello ShotChasing Rainbows

The white polish in this manicure, Painted Polish’s Chasing Rainbows, reminds me of colourful shells washing up on a white sand beach, while the pink polish, ILNP’s Jello Shot, reminds me of melted cherry popsicles. Also its namesake, the deadly, deadly jello shot (*shuddering in remembrance of hangovers past.*)

Citrus SmoothieBelle of the Mall

Finally, we have another manicure featuring a favourite polish, KB Shimmer’s coral pink glitter, Belle of the Mall, and Candy Lacquer’s Citrus Smoothie (once again over Pure Ice’s Wild Thing), a mad mix of citrus-hued glitters that remind me of sweet fruit salad.  Belle of the Mall is such a great polish; awesome consistency and the coolest Hawaiian Punch hue.  It’s summer in a bottle, just like all of these polishes!)

Measured Meows

Kitten Measurement Collage

Bahahahahahaha!  There’s no such thing!  Fellow cat lovers, I don’t know about your fickle felines, but when my cat starts going off, it’s about the furthest thing from measured as you can get.  We’re talking meows (also mews, rrawows and merows) that break the sound barrier.  It’s kind of insanity-making!

These cats at least seem to be taking a more measured response to life.  I purchased this adorable little set of ceramic measuring cups from ModCloth years ago, but I see these best-seller kitties are still available on their website.  I’ve actually never used them for their intended purpose, as I figure the first time I do I’ll snap somebody’s tail off on the edge of the sugar canister, but they’ve been a cute decorative item, lined up (or stacked and leaning) on my kitchen window.

And so in keeping with the decorative spirit of these measuring cups, I decorated my nails with some matching kitties.  Cute!

Kitten Measurement Awkward

Metamorphosis: A Mini Lush Review

Metamorphosis Collage

This bath bomb totally looks like the Death Star, right?  Actually, wait, before any big time Star Wars fans start nerding at me about the placement of the exhaust port amidst all of those little concave notches, I’ll amend my statement to say this bath bomb totally looks like Spaceship Earth, right?!  For those who don’t speak Disney-ese, that’s the name of the attraction that resides within the giant geodesic dome at the front gates of Epcot. The ride is basically a journey through the history of human communications – a very, very slow journey.  It also features some of the most disturbingly lifelike – and just plain disturbing – animatronics in any Disney park (and there really are so very many to choose from.)  But it’s essentially 20 minutes of darkened, seated, gently moving air conditioning, which means there will always be a place for it in Florida.

Anyhow, with its little speckled dimples, I think this Metamorphosis bath bomb from Lush looks like Spaceship Earth.  The ride is sometimes affectionately referred to as The Big Ball of Boring, which is also apt when describing this bath bomb – cool outward appearances aside, this one didn’t have much zing.  Again. This is kind of becoming a trend with my bath bombs, and a highly regrettable one at that – I don’t like it when the insides don’t match up with the super cool outsides.

Metamorphosis Pic

While I didn’t love the scent of Metamorphosis, fans of the Lord of Misrule line (a black pepper, vanilla and patchouli fragrance) will find its spicy scent quite pleasant.  And while I also didn’t love that this bath bomb puttered out in a little under a minute – again – I did appreciate the deeply unusual colour combination, an odd assortment of charcoal grey, mustard yellow, baby pink and, right at the very end, a tiny puff of grass green.

At the moment the Metamorphosis bath bomb is an online-only purchase.  It retails for $8.95 Canadian.

Meltology!

mini-melters-collage-1

Like mixology, except instead of various alcohol combinations, it’s scented wax and…yeah, okay, that might be a bit laboured.  But what else would you call futzing about with dozens of scent possibilities to create (or re-create) favourite blends?  Blendology? Now, that just sounds stupid. 😉

Not stupid?  These terrifically yummy blends I created using indie vendor Rosegirls’ Mini Melters, single scents (also sometimes house-blended combinations) you can combine in whatever fashion you see fit.  Smell fit?  No, no, definitely see fit.

Mini Melters are a product that’s really only now offered a few times a year (announced via Rosegirls‘ quite active Facebook page) and so if you do manage to catch an opening, stock up on a few favourite scents – they’re lovely and convenient to melt on their own (simply toss into a burner, no messy cutting required) and so much fun to combine in infinitely delicious-smelling variations.  Variations such as…

Coffee Shop Favourites, a tart and spicy blend of Cranberry Marmalade, Orange Danish and Lemon Poppyseed.  All of the bright scents of a coffee shop pastry case, minus the people taking up space at tables with their laptops while they work on their “screenplays.”

mm-coffee-shop-favourites-collage

Monster Berry Crunch Donuts, a ludicrously yummy combination that Mr. Finger Candy created featuring Berry Creme Brulee (it smells like raspberry Bubbalicious!), Vanilla Crunch Donuts and Monster Cookie.

mm-monster-berry-crunch-donut-collage

Cotton Candy Fluff Puffs, a recreation of what is surely already an existing Rosegirls scent, a sweet and creamy blend of Cotton Candy Frosting, Monster Cookie and Marshmallow Smoothie (Rosegirls refers to their Monster Cookie-and-Marshmallow Smoothie blend as “Fluff Puffs.”  Basically you can Fluff Puff virtually anything and it will be fantastic.  Also sort of naughty-sounding?  Yeah, I’ll fluff yer puff, heheheh.  See, dirty!)

mm-cotton-candy-fluff-puffs-collage

Sweet Raspberry Lemonade, a mouthwatering, Lemonheads-like blend of Raspberry Sauce, Swizzle Sticks and Sweet Lemon Confection.  I find I don’t much care for any vendor’s lemonade scent (they all tickle my nose; just me?)  Here the combination of Sweet Lemon Confection and even sweeter, vanilla glaze-type Swizzle Sticks makes a far less irritating alternative!

mm-sweet-raspberry-lemonade-collage

If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for more Mini Melter mixology missives in the near future – I’ve been having a blast creating custom scents for whatever the day brings my way, and I’d love to share my cool blending discoveries.  I also now have, like, 8,657 photos of melting wax.  Is that weird?  Yeah, pretty sure it’s weird!  Well, so be the weirdness – at least it smells fantastic in here!

Ballistics and Sparkling Red Slippers: A Mini Lush Review

framed-ballistics-and-red-shoes-collage

Combating a dreary start to the week with a couple of cheer-inducing bathtime goodies from Lush, Sparkling Red Slippers bubble bar and a Never Mind the Ballistics bath bomb. Released as part of Lush’s 2016 holiday collection, I think both were brand new creations this season, at least for North American consumers.

For this super sunny bath, I crumbled up half of a Sparkling Red Slipper, a mica-dusted bubble bar the exact same shape and colour as one of Dorothy’s iconic ruby pumps, and ran it under the tap until I had a fluffy mound of bubbles.  If you like to spice up your bath with coloured bubbles and water, but you’re looking for something a little softer than Lush’s usual high intensity palette of neon pinks and blues, I’d suggest a Sparkling Red Slipper bubble bar – my bathwater was a beautiful, plush rose red, and scented like a bouquet of slightly peppery carnations.  Very nice!

Then, being quite careful not to drop my phone into the carnation-scented water, I lowered a Never Mind the Ballistics bath bomb into the cloud of bubbles and watched as it erupted into a delightful mess of banana split-hued bends and twirls.  And then I took pictures of it!

framed-ballistics-and-red-shoes-bubbles-collage

I quite helpfully took no note whatsoever of Never Mind the Ballistics’ scent, but I do remember giving the simple yellow orb (partially dipped in a hot pink, bath melt-type shell) a curious sniff and thinking that it wasn’t unpleasant, and vaguely reminiscent of tart, powdery candies.

Aw, dude, I *heart* you, too!  So nice when your bath products show you a little love in return. 😉

i-heart-baths

Winter Solstice

framed-main-solstice-collage

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. 😉

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.

framed-solstice-cards-pic

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.

framed-solstice-cards-collage

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.

framed-solstice-rollerball-collage

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.

framed-solstice-2-5-ml-pic

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.

framed-solstice-samples-2-collage

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!

Northern Lights: A Mini Lush Review

northern-lights-collage

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.

northern-lights-bubbles

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. 😉

northern-lights-up-close