Sunday, November 23, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: 8 More Soon-To-Be-Discontinued Alkemia Scents

Since Alkemia just announced that they're discontinuing a few more scents, I figured it's time to dive into my collection and finally review the scents they're discontinuing. So here's the review for 8 of the soon-to-be-discontinued scents.

As always, all scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written, and overviews are only written if anything in the notes surprises me. For my previous Alkemia reviews, you can go to the Alkemia tag on the side or click here.



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Corsaire


"An aromatic fougère based on an 18th century men's cologne — a blend of spiced bay rum, amber, tonka, and french lavender with a splash of fresh oceanic breeze ."

Ok, something is going sour on me. The rotting kind of sour. What is going on. Underneath the rotting, sour smell, there's this cool, slightly bitter blue scent that smells like a lot of mainstream high end men's colognes. Fortunately, after 10 min, the sourness dissipated and I'm left with this mellow, cool and a tiny bit powdery sort of blue scent.  The scent may be passable as a unisex scent, but it leans more feminine on me. If I'm picking an add for this perfume, it'll be this picture:

Slightly amazed she can still breath in that corset. It looks kinda painful..
Gorgeous photo by Mascha Seitz

TL;DR: Clean, cool and muted with a touch of boudoir.

Overview: I don't smell the spiced bay rum at all, and I'm wondering if it was the scent that went bitter & sour in the beginning.




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County Fair


"The nostalgic scent of an old-fashioned American carnival midway - pink cotton candy, hot kettle corn, freshly fried dough, candied apples, and saltwater taffy."

There's a sugared plums sort of scent, and I can't tell if it's deliberate or it's a caramel or vanilla note going sour on me. I think it's deliberate since it's a tad like apple soap, so it's different from the caramel/vanilla going sour sort of scent. There's an edible, buttery scent underneath that smells a bit like a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a loaf of bread (not the freshly baked ones), but the apple soap bit is definitely more prominent on me. I think if the apple smelled like actual apples, this can be a gorgeous chocolate dusted apple fritters sort of scent.

I think the combination is unique, even though my brain's a bit confused about whether I should eat this or wash my hand in it.

As the scent dries down, it becomes more of a luxurious apple liquid hand soap that has a more mellow, creamy, rounded apple scent.

TL;DR: Apple soap and chocolate-dusted, buttery, carb-y snack.

Overview: I'm not sure what's causing that slight chocolate smell. Maybe it's the kettle corn going weird on me? I definitely don't smell kettle corn.




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Fetish 


"Commanding black leather, blood-dark roses, sharp thorns..."

It's a very sweet version of that baby oil-like scent. Extremely sweet. The sweetness got to the point where I smell like ants will eat me alive. The baby oil bit got less cottony and the scent smells like sugared syrup water with a dash of baby oil. I have a bit of a headache from this scent.

TL;DR: Extremely sweet baby oil.

Overview: Sniffing it again, I can smell the roses, but it's definitely drowned out by the sugary sweetness. Maybe the leather note added into it makes it smell baby oil-ish. It definitely doesn't smell like the fierce type of  scent you'd expect from the name. It smells more like a perfume belonging to someone with this kind of bed:
Don't get me wrong, it's pretty....but I'd be more in the mood for a chaste cup of tea rather than something naughty.
Image courtesy of decoholic.org




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Incendere


"Fiery red carnations, incendiary dianthus, erotically hot spices, a touch of burning incense, and a hypnotic splash of bay rum. "

It's a wooden smell that's dry and astringent yet powdery at the same time, there's also a hint of sourness. I'm guessing there's a black tea note in this? It's definitely that same dry, astringent and sour scent. It makes me think of opening a drawer in a grandma's wooden vanity-there's the old lady powders and the smell of old, dusty, dry wood.

Ignore the nice product photography and imagine the smell of those drawers if this thing has been unused since your grandma's time.
This is apparently on sale from indeeddecor.com for $1,870.


TL;DR: Grandma's vanity drawer.

Overview: I tried sniffing it again and the carnations may be adding to that tea-like scent. Now that I'm looking out for it, I can sniff some of the hot spices, but it just blends in to the dry, astringent wood scent.



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Las Solderas 


"A blend of commandingly sexy musks blended with Queen Elizabeth root (a hoodoo charm for strength and luck); fiesty pink pepper, bay and ginger; a splash of honky-tonk ale; a fleeting kiss of tonka; and a dash of gunpowder."

It starts of as very sour citrus soda with something slightly bitter. The bitterness is more of a new leather sort of bitterness. Makes me think of drinking a whiskey sour with soda added into it, while sitting in a leather chair. The bitterness left after about 10 min though, and I'm left with a whiskey sour soda that's heavy on the lemon. The smell makes me want to pucker my lips.

Taste the sourness.
Image courtesy of Straubs and you can find the recipe here!
TL;DR: Very sour whiskey sour.

Overview: I think it's the pink pepper going extremely sour on me. I don't really smell gunpowder since the boozy sour soda smell is strongest on me.




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Sanguinaria


"Sweat-spiced skin arches hungrily toward the slow, sensual penetration of a fang. Dragon’s blood incense, virile dark red musk, and hauntingly blood-kissed Asian florals."

In the beginning, this starts off smelling like a dank, musty broom closet. The kind that even little kids won't be afraid of because they know any ghost/monster will just go, "Fuck that. I'm not going in there, it smells!"

After about 45 min, the dank, musty scent faded a bit, and there's this sweet sort of scent that makes me think of red velvet (the cloth, not the cake), with a bit of an old lady sort of floral perfume. While the floral perfume is heavy, it's faded enough in this scent that it smells more like the lingering traces of a very heavy perfume. It's definitely an old cloth too, since there's still that musty smell. It's nice enough, but kinda makes me think of someone grabbing their great-grandma's red, velvet dress from the closet for a last minute 1800s themed party.

TL;DR: Musty old, red velvet dress.

Overview: I normally love dragon's blood so I'm trying to sniff it out here. I guess it's behind the slightly wooden scent, but it's definitely drowned out by the mustiness. Maybe the sweat bit is behind the mustiness. The old, dank part may be the incense here, and I'm guessing the musk and Asian florals is the great-grandma note.



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Sea Goddess

"An oceanic hymn. Warm skin caressed by iodine and seawater swirled with seaweed and a whisper of seaspray roses and beach plums on a summery breeze of honeysuckle, nardo, and champaca blossom."

This is such a gorgeous floral blue! I was a bit worried at first since Alkemia has some pretty room-spray-ish blue scents, but this is gorgeous! There's a Balinese flower in this that I can't identify, but it's definitely one of the popular ones since I often smell this in Bali. This is definitely a mainstream high end perfume, reminiscent of one of the Tocca scents.

If I'm picking a model for this scent, I'm so going with her:

The model's Ricarda Kalla and she's so pretty! This photo is by Martin Strauss and the amazing hair & make up is by Anja Nega.

It's just such a classic, elegant scent!

There's definitely roses in this, since as the scent wears on, heavy roses started blooming. It's still a lovely scent, but it's personally got too heavy for me. Pretty sad since the initial scent was so pretty. It's still something I'd recommend for people who prefer more mainstream high end floral scents.

TL;DR: High end mainstream blue & floral scent –elegant, feminine & classic.

Overview: That's it. Honeysuckle & rose is my magic combo. Everything smells great with honeysuckle & rose! I wish this didn't get too heavy though, the initial smell was gorgeous!





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Vanille Vert


"The innocence of fresh ferns, sweet green grass, and tender new leaves juxtaposed against seduction of white amber, Madagascar vanilla orchids, and vanilla musk."

This is a very green, fresh scent. It's very light and more of the watery, leafy sort of green. 

I smell the vanilla, mostly because I was looking out for it. It's more in the background, grounding this scent so it smells more like perfume rather than room spray, which a lot of greens tend to turn into. As it dries down, the scent gets very sugary, but my skin tends to amp up sweet notes so it may not be a problem for other people.

TL;DR: Wearable fresh, green scent. One of the best light, fresh scents I can think of!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: 9 Scents from Conjure Oils' Dark Cinema: Hallows 2014 Collection

I got a bunch of Conjure Oils decants from Ajevie again!





So here's the review for 9 scents from the Dark Cinema: Hallows 2014 collection. As usual, all reviews are done blind until I'm done writing the TL;DR, Overviews are written if anything surprises me. 



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Perfume Oil General Review


These perfumes definitely specialise in...weird. I guess it's because it's a Halloween collection. The throw's great and is somewhere between intimate to faux whispering distance for the first 1-1.5h –about half the length of an iPhone 5, to be exact. Then it goes down to intimate whispering distance. It doesn't get faint until about 2h after initial application.


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Dracula


"Corrupted incense, blood musk, clove, Tunisian myrrh and blood red pomegranate."

There's that game-y scent that many perfumers like to describe as opium or incense, and NAVA likes to describe as Kashmir. There's also the scent of some slightly artificial red fruit I can't really identify over all the game-y scent. About 45 min after I first applied it, it finally starts smelling like a fruity version of my grandma's altar -full of joss sticks and that prayer paper. If you're not a fan of Chinese incense, you may not like this scent. 

TL;DR: Fruity game-y "incense" note turning into Chinese joss sticks.




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Far East Frightfest

"Japanese musk, juniper, green tea and osmanthus. Pale, haunting and terrifying."

The scent is like a watery and papery sort of floral scent. There's just something about this scent that makes you think of delicate paper flowers. Unfortunately, there's something at the base of this scent that I find a bit cloying -it's the artificial grape sort of cloying. It doesn't have the grape scent, but has the cloying part, if that makes any sense. That cloying part reminds me of chewable calcium supplements and that paste some dentists use when they're deep-cleaning your teeth. I guess this part makes it unique, but I kinda wished it stayed boring at the watery, papery florals bit.

TL;DR: Slightly cloying watery, papery florals.

Overview: I had to check out the scent of osmanthus & juniper to figure out what's causing that cloying smell. I think it's the juniper. According to How Stuff Works:
"The fragrance is pungent, herbaceous, peppery, pinelike, and camphorous. The needles produce a turpentinelike scent called juniper tar."



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Grindhouse

"Sleazy booze, cigar smoke, booze, maybe a hint of something green and illegal… and blood. Lots and lots of blood. Did I mention the booze?"

It smells like a wet toilet in a cheap structure, minus the poo & pee. The kind with white tiles, corrugated pipes and a cheap lemon-floral air freshener that sears your nose. 


Think this, but with less shiny pipes.
Image courtesy of 24dash.com

Not for me, but I'm sure it's deliberate and I'm impressed they captured that scent so well. As it dries down, you're left with a floral, fruity citrus scent that smells like the air freshener in slightly nicer toilets, but still a toilet air freshener.

TL;DR: Clean toilet in a cheap structure. 

Overview: Ok, I can see the metallic corrugated pipes scent being the scent of blood from someone who follows a high iron diet. I can't really smell any smoke over the other scents. If I try really hard, I can smell the weed scent, I guess. It's really faint and drowned out by the air freshener scent though. I guess the sweet, wet part of the scent is slightly boozy, but it's more of that sickly sweet smell like last night's booze that was spilled on the couch. Let's be honest though, a lot of cheap, public restrooms often smell slightly like weed and last night's booze. 



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Slasher Chic

"The waters of Camp Crystal Lake, the steamy hiss of a boiler room and a dark Halloween night of crisp leaves and doom."

Oh, a blue note and some kind of pepper. Ok, so this scent is trying its best to be sweet, but it just ends up with this sweet & sour peppery scent, that just reminds me of eating instant Tom Yum flavoured ramen. After about 15-20 min, there's a sweet musky scent that finally overpowers the Tom Yum ramen scent, but unfortunately, I find it too heavy for me. 

The scent it leaves when it dries down is that generic, heavy, sweet, and musky blue scent that could be an old lady's signature perfume.

TL;DR: Tom Yum ramen and old lady perfume.




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Strange Geometries 


"Black and white musk, black currant and white pepper."

It's hard to describe this scent - it's that slightly bitter blue scent that makes me think of men's colognes, at the same time, there's a candied, musky amber scent that reminds me of an older woman. There's also that scent of icy oils for muscle relief (eucalyptus, balsam) but without the icy zing. 

The result is like an absent minded old man who accidentally spritzed on his wife's perfume, then tried to cover it up with his own cologne. Oh, and he's the type of old man who perpetually smells of icy oils, of course. 

The musky amber got amped up on me to the point where it's giving me a headache. 

TL;DR: Old dude accidentally using his wife's perfume.




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The Old Dark House

"Brandy, fading bouquets of calla lilies and cracked leather."

This is awesome. It's a floral with some fizzy fruitiness in it. The florals is one of those elegant, light florals that smells fresh and ladylike at the same time. I got a burst of what smelled like that plasticky leather note in the beginning, but the other parts of the scent overpowered it. It's still hanging around in the background, but it's faint enough that it smells more like good quality plastic chairs rather than cheap plastic stools that get sticky in hot temperatures. It's a clean, sweet scent -has a bit of that office type of sterile smell, but still toned down with elegant florals to add some life to it. Oh and plastic chairs. There's plastic chairs in this scent.

This scent reminds me of one of the tuition centres I used to go to as a kid. While I'm technically Indonesian, my family's still Chinese, so obviously I've been going for extra tutoring since I was in kindergarten. It's definitely the smell of one of the nicer tuition centres -the kind with carpeted floors, adorable kid-sized chairs, teachers who don't yell so much, and actual play time.

This is a daycare in Vegas and I really want to attend it. Screw work. I want to fingerpaint all day.
Image courtesy of creativekidslearningcenter.com


TL;DR: Really awesome classroom. 




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The Outsiders

"Green musk, bracing lime, Martian flora and a drop of mint."

Ok, I got citrus and that cottony, baby powder-ish scent, only the cottony bit is attached to a rather heavy and powdery musk. It's a bit too heavy for me..almost suffocatingly heavy. I was going to scrub it off but got called to a meeting and ended up stuck with this slightly headache-inducing scent for about an hour. After an hour though, the scent dries down and it's amazing. It smells like clean baby oil. I've encountered a lot of baby oil scents before that don't come with the headache-inducing heaviness, though, so I think I'll pass on this one. 

TL;DR: Citrus and very heavy baby oil. 

Overview: Tried again...the mint probably got drowned out by the heaviness because I can't smell it.



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The Wolf Man

"Gypsy incense, deep forests and soft fur."

Ok, we've got some citrus here and a scent that smells like the taste of soap in your mouth. There's that game-y scent again. The kind perfumers often refer to as opium or incense & NAVA refers to as "Kashmir". The sweetness is a bit too heavy & cloying for me, but my skin does tent to amp up sweet notes. 

After about 20 min, the game-y scent faded enough but it's still there. The scent smells more chemical-ish now, thanks to that soap suds in your mouth scent. The resulting scent is like the scent of shirts in a Southeast Asian market - where you can still smell the ink and goodness knows what else goes into  the manufacturing process. 

TL;DR: Game-y citrus & soap suds, turning into printed t-shirts in a Southeast Asian market.

Overview: Ugh...looks like they also use that game-y incense note. Not getting anything incense from Conjure anymore. 



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Torture Porn


"Dark fear (dark chocolate) collides with singed flesh (bacon)."

Chocolate & singed hair. The chocolate is one of those very well done rich, velvety chocolate notes. As time goes on, the singed hair scent got a bit wetter and it kinda reminds me of burnt victim in a hospital. I guess I'm thinking more of burnt flesh rather than cooked meat since there's this clinicial hospital disinfectant smell, so it smells like being in an ER full of burn victims. If this is their smoke note going wrong on me, I'm avoiding anything with smoke from them. Forever. 

Luckily the burn victim smell is gone by 25 min, and the scent I'm left with is Indonesian "chocolate". In Indonesia, a college graduate often only get $300/month for salary. As you can guess a $1-2 bar of chocolate is like a $10-20 treat for a recent American college grad in the liberal arts fields (ex-Sociology major here..still pretty bitter about the job options). So what a lot of companies, including international companies like Nestlé, would do is that they use a cheaper "chocolate" to make their candies cheaper. The cheaper chocolate tends to be more crumbly and tastes like solidified oil and crumbly, cheap, chocolate powder. Some companies take this to larger extremes and create chocolates that are even cheaper at 5-15¢ for each bar. 

This is a 20¢ chocolate bar. It's actually not bad! The plastic doesn't look like it's toxic and it doesn't taste too artificial! Though the chocolate bit does taste mostly sweet, and more reminiscent of chocolate rather than tasting like actual chocolate. They can make it this cheap without compromising too much on quality, by making it relatively small...there's my driver's license for scale. 


These 5-15¢ chocolates usually has this weird waxy film over them, taste mostly of solidified oil with few sad traces of crumbly, sickly sweet "chocolate" powder, and always, always smell of the cheap plastic wrapping it's in. This is what the scent smells like –oily, powdery cheap chocolate and cheap, plastic wrapping. If you've ever tried extremely cheap chocolate coins from Asian supermarkets, you may know the taste I'm talking about.

TL;DR: Some psycho making chocolate fondue in an ER unit full of burn victims, turning into cheap Indonesian "chocolate". 

Overview: Their bacon does smell like singed flesh. It's creepy.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review & Recommendation: All 6 Winter Scents + 1 Fall(?) Scent

BathSabbath is having a sale until Nov 1! Use the code SCUTFARKUS for 10% off!

As anyone who read my comments on IMAM knows, BathSabbath is one of my favourite perfume brands out there. They're definitely great at realistic scents, especially gourmands, and they managed to make one of the most perfect baked scents ever - Keelhauled. I've given decants of it to 2 people so far, and both of them reported to me that they're buying full-sizes since their boyfriends have stolen their decants. Yup. It's that good. I also notice that I attract loads of positive attention (especially from hungry children) when I wear that, probably because I smell like a walking bakery.

Oh, and my favourite coffee scent (Duncan Hills), and blue scent (Holy Diver) are also BathSabbath creations. So yeah, I'm in love with this brand.

Their quality is also very impressive, and I get a good throw & longevity from them. For all my past BathSabbath reviews, you can click on the BathSabbath tag on the side or here.

Anyway, on to reviews. Done blind as always, until the TL;DRs are written. Overviews are written when anything surprises me.


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Black Xmas


"Devil's Wine! Notes of Apple and Orange zest, Cinnamon and Clove on a base of tart cranberries. Contains essential oils."

Oh crap, vitamin gummy scent. It's the cloying grape coloured ones, with orange. After about 10 minutes, it starts smelling like an orange-grape soda. I hate grape soda so I'm not a fan of this scent. There's a dry, spicy wood scent somewhere in the background, but it's mostly orange-grape soda. Oh and the fizziness went flat after a while too. Flat orange-grape soda. Worst. Drink. Ever.

After close to an hour, this scent finally calms down to become that typical clean cranberry Christmas scent I always smell in malls and shops close to Christmas. It brings back memories of Christmas present hunting in an American mall. One of those sterile-looking ones with bright lights like this:

South Coast Plaza, oh how I miss thee!
Image courtesy of globalgoodgroup.com


It's still an artificial sort of scent, but it's making me very nostalgic...I really miss Christmas in the US. I'm glad I'm heading back this December!

TL;DR: Flat orange-grape soda morphing into Christmas shopping in an American mall.


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Christmas with the Devil


"The classic combination of Frankincense and Myrrh. A smoky, musky blend rounded out by notes of Vanilla and Cinnamon. Contains essential oils."

This kinda smells like a whiteboard marker. Er. After about 15-20min, I get something creamy coming in, but the whiteboard marker smells keeps coming back to haunt me. The dry down for this scent is a very dry, woody smell that's leaning towards dusty.

I tried putting it on my boyfriend to and it still smells like a marker. On the bottle, it mostly smells like whiteboard marker, but just a bit creamier.

TL;DR: Whiteboard marker.

Overview: I wouldn't call it smoky, or musky, it's more light and "hollow" like the smell you get from whiteboard markers. I'm now getting an image of baby Jesus' house smelling like whiteboard markers thanks to the gifts of frankincense & myrrh.


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Dead Winter Dead

"The cold, crisp scent of Sweet Balsam, Siberian Fir, Cedar leaf and a touch of Mistletoe. A perfect Winter scent. Contains essential oils."

Oh gods, this smells like a luxurious ski lodge on Christmas.


This lodge is so gorgeous! The prices freaked me out until I saw what's included...3 meals, wine, sleigh rides?? Now I want to stay here!
Image courtesy of Vista Verde
There's that icy eucalyptus/balsam scent with pine, and a tartness that always reminds me of winter berries. This is awesome. Oh for anyone looking for a pine scent that doesn't smell like detergent, this is it.

As this wears on, my skin chemistry starts hating it and coming up with this sour, dry tea scent. There's still the tingling sweet iciness that I love, though.

TL;DR: Winter cabin in Christmas turning into dry tea.


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Duncan Spice Latte 


"The Duncan Spice Latte is a seasonal twist on our Duncan Hills soap, Freshly brewed coffee with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and cream and a kick of sugary pumpkin spice. "

This is the lonely scent I mistakenly classified as winter before I checked the scent descriptions. I only saw it listed as a soap, but I guess the perfume oil for it is available too.

I was freaking excited for this even before I sniffed it, because Duncan Hills is my favourite coffee scent ever. Sure enough, this is like a realistic spiced latte scent. I feel like I'm snowed-in in Starbucks and enjoying their winter lattes. It's just so heavenly and I really recommend it. Unfortunately, my skin eats up the spices in about 20 min and it starts smelling a bit more like plain coffee, but I still love the scent. I need to test this next to Duncan Hills to see if it's worth getting both.

TL;DR: Spiced latte.

Overview: Ok, so I tried both of them together and in the beginning, Duncan Spice Latte is definitely sweeter, with spices that Duncan Hills doesn't have. Getting Duncan Spice Latte in full size is still tempting at this point. Then at about 20 min, the spices in Duncan Spice Latte started getting overpowered on me. It's still sweeter than Duncan Hills, but they're getting too similar to justify having both in full size. Duncan Spice Latte also smells like it has more milk in it than Duncan Hills. Still too similar though. Oh darn it. Once my Duncan Hills run out, I'm getting this in full size though!


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Mistress for Christmas


"A rich Gingerbread, with notes of Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove and Vanilla on a bed of spicy Ginger. The sexiest part of Christmas if you ask me. Contains essential oils."

This is heavenly. It starts off as a watery creamy scent that reminds me of creamy Asian desserts. It's creamy, but not so thick to the point where you feel your arteries screaming in terror. I'm eating kembang tahu right now, and it smells just like that. It's this delicious, creamy soy pudding in ginger soup dessert and looks like this.

Despite looking like baby mush it tastes amazing. I promise.
Image courtesy of Cooking With Mama Miyuki and you can find her recipe for it here.


As it wears on, the scent gets heavier until it smells like a gingerbread, only with more fragrant spices to make it smell more like a wearable scent rather than something that'll attract hungry children.

TL;DR: Some gingery dessert.


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Winter Madness


"Buttery, creamy Eggnog with a kick of Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Clove! Contains essential oils."

On first application, something went sour on me. Not good. There's also this oily margarine smell that was freaking me out. This only lasted a few minutes though, and my skin finally amped up the fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) scent. The fall spices are so amped up, it's all I can smell and the scent becomes pretty ordinary. I still smell a bit of margarine oiliness in the background, but I really have to be looking out for it.

The dry down is this creamy, slightly cloying clay-like scent, with fall spices.

TL;DR: Fall spices.

Overview: Looks like the eggnog note is the one that's not agreeing with me. If I try hard, I think I can sniff traces of eggnog, but I have to really look out for it since it mostly turned into an oily margarine scent or a creamy clay-like scent.


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Wizards in Winter 

"Sweet, fresh Peppermint with a touch of Vanilla. Contains 100% natural essential/infused oils."

Vanilla & peppermint. I personally love it since it smells more like a mint rather than a toothpaste, which a lot of minty smells end up smelling like.

TL;DR: Vanilla peppermint mint.




Beauty Trick: Turning Regular Polishes Into Stamping Polishes

So these two are from the same nail polish!



As you can see, the one at the bottom is pretty faded and the lines aren't that defined compared to the one on top.

The nail polish I used is OPI's Merryberry Mauve, and it's not really meant for stamping. With a bit of indie eyeshadow though, it's perfect.

The plate is EDM05, which I got from Femme Fatale

First, I took out a bit of Daisy Bird Cosmetics' Hello Hyacinth:



Add the nail polish:

I usually just eyeball it...about 1:2 eyeshadow to nail polish ratio's usually pretty good, but it depends on how sheer your nail polish starts out as.
Now just mix both of them. The right consistency should be a really thick nail polish - slight resistance but not gloopy. Once it's gloopy, it's too thick and won't stamp, so just add in more polish.
I put in too much eyeshadow so there were a lot left that I didn't mix in.
Once you get the right consistency, taa-daaah! You have a stamping polish!

Sometimes, you can even do this to change to colour of your stamping nail polish. Here's more I did (left is the original nail polish, right is the altered colour):

The plate is by Pueen

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review & Recommendation: Midnight Gypsy Alchemy

I got a Fall sample set from Midnight Gypsy Alchemy and I'm not sure if it's the best or worst choice I've made when it comes to my indie perfume addiction. On one hand, I discovered a really amazing brand, on the other hand, I want EVERYTHING. Luckily, they're currently having a 25% off sale with the code: MGAHOLIDAY14 valid until Nov 18. I just bought more stuff from them because holy crap, this brand is amazing.

First of all check out the packaging!




Unfortunately, the oils did come leaking, which I'm sad about. However, it happens enough with various perfume oils I ordered, that I'm not too upset about it.




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Customer Service Review


There's FREE international shipping. Yes, free. Isn't that amazing?? I'm used to free domestic shipping but international? I'm in love!

So here's the TAT:

Ordered: Oct 2
Received: Nov 8

I'm not exactly sure when Nina shipped the item, since the label was created on Oct 14, but the tracking showed that USPS only received it on Oct 23.

I also accidentally ordered the wrong item the 2nd time I ordered and had to message Nina. I got a reply within a few minutes saying she'll take care of it, so I'm impressed!


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Perfume Oils General Review


This brand is really awesome. They make natural perfumes, which are basically perfumes made only of essential oils, absolutes, tinctures...basically no artificial fragrances at all. As you can guess, they tend to be more expensive and tend to be be more herbal sort of scents due to the limitations of natural ingredients.

I've always been wary of natural perfumes since my last experience with natural perfumes from another brand left me smelling like a salad bar. These are amazing though. They just smell so fresh and wearable -more perfume rather than salad bar or a natural remedy store. The quality is just top notch and the blends are amazing. Even if I hated a scent, I'm still impressed by the quality of the perfume. I cannot recommend this brand more.

Like most natural perfumes though, these are relatively short-lived with a low throw. I had to get to intimate whispering distance to catch a whiff, and they were really faint by an hour. By 3-5h, they were  completely gone from my skin.

As always, scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DR is written. For this brand, the notes are so complicated, I gave up writing overviews most of the time, since there's no way I could guess any of those notes.


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Scent Reviews

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Autumn Embers


"A scent to capture the season of Fall in a bountiful blend of smokey, earth and leaf notes topped by candied spice created with ginger, spiced cassia, clove, bergamot,sage, and orange blossom essential oils delicatley infused with real ginger root , orange peels, clove buds and sage leaves."

Actual oranges! I normally hate citrus scents since they often smell too much like dishwashing soap but this is actual oranges. More specifically, that scent you get when you're peeling an orange, with the bit of bitterness in it. There's a herbal, dry wood scent entering at around 15-20 min, and the scent starts smelling a bit too dry & dusty for me. By 30-40 min, the oranges & wood are gone to reveal this mildly bitter, herbal, and clean scent. 


TL;DR: Freshly peeled oranges turning dry, old & dusty.


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Broomsticks


"A special blend made in honor of the witches broomstick meant to capture the scent of wheat straw and vintage wood with notes of subtle spiced honey, clove and basil notes. Created with Labdanum and Genet (Broom) absolute,Sandalwood,and Clove leaf essential oils infused in Myrrh and Amber resin, Cinnamon Basil leaves and ground cloves"

This is definitely herbal. It's a bitter, herbal scent, but somehow Nina manages to make it smell fresh as well. No idea how she does it, but I'm impressed. It ends up smelling like how a clean, herbal salve would smell like. Usually herbal scents make me think of old apothecaries, but this has such a clean, clinical touch to it, that it smells more like salves you'll get from modern clinics like this one:

You better have insurance for this...
Image courtesy of ghcchina.com


TL;DR: Fresh, clean herbal salve from a modern clinic.



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Night of the Spirits

"In honor of the spirits of "All Hallows Eve", nostalgic images of sweet youth and the mysteries of fall nights this is a scent created of star anise oil, blue berry fruit extract, blue lotus absolute, sage, clove, ylang ylang, amyris, ambrette seed essential oils, coffee extract and cocoa absolute infused with dried blue berries, star anise pods, cloves, coffee grounds, cocoa powder and sage leaves."

This starts off as tiramisu. The part where the sponge cake is soaked in coffee liqueur. After about 3 minutes, I swear this smells like the top of a baby's head. It's that soft, slightly milky powdery scent every baby's heads seem to have. I'm in LOVE.


TL;DR: Baby's head.


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Octubre


"A beautiful seasonal scent of hay and apples blended with the scent of hot cocoa by a warm evening fire. Created with hay, oak moss and cocoa absolute, apple isolate, cinnamon leaf , chamomile essential oils infused in apples, chamomile flowers, cinnamon sticks and hickory wood."


This one takes a while to settle. It started with this scary sour and old chocolate covered peanuts smell, but once it settles in about 5-10 min....wow. The only way I can describe it is lotion-y florals with a mild spice in the background. The lotion-y florals is similar to Darling Clandestine's Blue Valentine.

I'm really not doing this gorgeous scent justice. It makes me feel feminine yet not overly so, fun yet poised, sweet but not saccharine. If I have to pic an ad for this scent, I guess I'd go with this picture:

I really want to know how she can make that outfit look so elegant.
Another gorgeous photo by one of my favourite photographers - Emily Soto

TL;DR: Sweet, whimsical yet mature.

Overview: I tried both Octubre & DC's Blue Valentine together and they definitely smell different. I don't really want to say that Octubre has a sharper scent since that implies a piercing sort of scent. I guess if they were musical pieces, Octubre will be a rearrangement in a higher key. Octubre is sweeter, and has more of a floral touch to it than Blue Valentine. It's also not as lotion-y as Blue Valentine and has a slight herbal touch to it . They're different enough to get both, and definitely awesome enough that I really can't pick a favourite. 


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Shadow of the Cat


"A blend as mysterious as the black cat shrouded in shadows in the cool night air. Created with black currant, patchouli, amber, vetiver, carrot, mint, violet leaf, ylang ylang and amyris infused in mint and patchouli leaves."

Oh wow, this is beautiful. It's a slightly herbal citrus floral, with a masculine spiciness. Everything blends together to create a grounded green type of unisex cologne. It's leaning towards masculine though. It's definitely a cologne scent that can be a high end mainstream cologne and very easy to like; it smells like a guy who plays a sport in an exclusive country club.

And I don't know how this is done, since this is a natural perfume, but I swear there's the scent of water droplets on vegetables when it dried down.


TL;DR: High end cologne.


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Under the Harvest Moon

"Created with essential oils of Nutmeg, Cardamom, Frankincense, Cinnamon Leaf, Tonka bean and Vanilla Absolutes infused in Saffron Threads, Sage, Vanilla Beans, Tonka, Beans and grounds Cardamom seeds."

This starts out with a nutty, woody scent, with a ginger sort of spiciness to it. The woodiness got a bit medicinal around 10 minutes into the scent and stayed this way for a while. I was starting to get worried but about 30 minutes into the scent, the magic happens. It becomes this beautiful, molten honeyed wood scent that makes me think of the warm glow of a setting sun on wood. There's hints of that nutty scent in the background, but it's mostly molten honeyed wood.

I know this probably smells like dirt, grass & animals, but it looks like it can smell like a molten, honeyed wood scent.
Gorgeous photography by Mark Bridger


TL;DR: Molten honeyed wood.