Thursday, October 23, 2014

Subscription Box Review: Sweet Anthem Fall 2014

I subscribed to Sweet Anthem Perfumes and got my first set of perfumes. I have to say, the packaging is great.
The rip was from me, I got so excited, I nearly tore it open before I remembered to take a photo first.




Pretty!

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Customer Service Review


I actually encountered some problems in this subscribtion. I made the mistake of putting my forwarding address as my address initially when I first signed up. I realized a few days later that my mail forwarding company will not ship alcohol-based perfumes, so I immediately messaged Sweet Anthem to ask them to change my address to my cousin's address instead (this was long before the fall subscription boxes were sent out). Meredith from Sweet Anthem confirmed it would be no issue at all.

However, when the subscription came, they sent it to the wrong address -my mail forwarding address. I contacted the mail company asking them if they could just get rid of the package for me. They could...at a $6.50 processing fee. I asked what would happen if I just ignored it..well..then they'll just keep charging me a warehousing fee.

So yeah, I had to pay.

Sweet Anthem tried to make it right by sending me another set free of charge to the right address, but I'll be honest, I'm not too happy about being forced to pay for their mistake.

I still would recommend this subscription since it's so thoughtfully done, but it's definitely not for international customers since most countries won't ship flammable items, and you better make sure the address you provide initially doesn't change.

Anyway, on to scent reviews. As always, all reviews are done until the TL;DR's written. Overviews are written if any scent notes surprise me.


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Solid Perfume Review


First of all, check out how neat this is!

Oooh...smoooth....
Seriously, little stuff like these make me so happy. I love it when my solid perfumes/lip balms look neat and professionally poured when brand new instead of looking like an interpretive artwork with wax.

The solid perfume definitely has less of a throw than the perfumes -I have to get to an intimate whisper distance to catch a whiff. It also leaves a bit of a wax-like oiliness on your skin. I tried rubbing it in and it stays waxy & oily, even after an hour. Rubbing it in also seems to make the scent disappear faster. By an hour, you'll have to get close to the skin to catch a whiff too.    

I get traces on my skin for about 4-5h if I don't rub it in, barely 2h if I do.  

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Lucille 


"From an old Germanic ballad: The linden-maiden rests beneath an illuminated grove / night-blooming jasmine fastened in her hair / Surrounded by the memory of ash and smoke and trove, the linden-worm takes flight / off they climb together, through the salty air."



Head Notes: Sea Salt
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Linden Blossom

Base Notes: Amber, Rosewood, Tonka Bean

I love the initial scent -it's a cool, almost candy-like rounded floral with a fruity candy type of sweet tartness. There's definitely jasmines in this, muddled with other florals I can only describe as "white florals". It's a scent that's elegant, yet light-hearted at the same time. If I'm picking an ad for this scent, I'd pick this picture:
Though I'd probably get the model to smile more. You're surrounded by giant flowers! That's freaking awesome!
Photography by Jean-Baptiste Fort


Unfortunately, this scent mellows out fast and in about 20 min, what you get is a sweet, light yet rounded white florals. It still smells great, but it's just a shadow of its former glorious scent. After an hour, the scent's more of a heavy, powdery sort of florals. Luckily it's faint by now. 

TL;DR: Cool candy and white florals -elegant yet lighthearted. 


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Perfumes Review


This is my first indie alcohol-based perfumes and I have to admit, it's interesting to see the difference. First of all, I can't really figure out the throw. Sometimes, I have to get close to the skin to get the full force of the scent, and then I put my hand down and bam! The scent hits me. It's sometimes so strong, I got self-conscious about the strength. They definitely tend to waft around me more at random times.

With oil-based perfumes, I get a very strong scent at first, which wafts around me though it's strongest where I dabbed the oil. With alcohol-based perfumes, it wafts around me and doesn't smell concentrated on the spot I placed it on. But while my oil-based perfumes gradually gets weaker and weaker until I get weak, lingering traces, alcohol-based perfumes seem to gradually concentrate on the spot where I sprayed/dabbed it. After a few hours, it stops wafting around and I can only smell it on my skin, but the smell is really concentrated and strong.

Anyway, I notice these scents tend to do the weird randomly wafting around thing for about 1-2h and then end up in a concentrated patch on my skin for about 7-8h.

I need to stress that while I didn't find any that worked for me, I still like the quality of these perfumes.


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Ella


"Aldehydic lavender, smoky black tea and agarwood, strewn with pumpkin spices."


Head Notes: Agarwood, Black Tea

Heart Notes: Lavender

Base Notes: Pumpkin

Oh wow, it's one of those old, dusty citruses. If you've sniffed Solstice Scents' Minister, it's that kind of old, dusty citrus. Only this has a bit of that old English lady scent you can find in Solstice Scents' Manor. So the resulting smell is an old English lady wearing a citrus-scented vintage face powder that's probably a biohazard by now and should definitely be thrown out.

Pretty to look at but probably not safe for face. If you like this, it's actually on sale on Etsy!
Image courtesy of VintageCookEtc on Etsy


While I didn't really like this scent, I actually like the faint traces it leaves lingering on my skin. It's a clean, almost soapy scent that somehow reminds me of my elementary school classrooms back when I was still in an international school. It smells like clean carpeted floors you can roll on, brand new giant cushions, beautifully illustrated children's books, paper crafts, and awesome teachers who make you believe you can do anything you want. It makes me feel really nostalgic. Unfortunately, at this point, the smell no longer wafts around and stays on a concentrated patch on my skin.

TL;DR: Vintage citrus-scented powder on an old English lady....or Solstice Scents' Minister & Manor crossed together.

Overview: This is definitely a complex blend and I blame the black tea for causing the dusty citrus smell. If the lingering smell is lavender mixed with pumpkin, I need to find more scents with those notes. 


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Owl 


"Indolic jasmine, softened by mimosa and black and white ambers, warmed with Chai spices and juniper berry, all on a base of earthy, grassy, vetiver."


Head Notes: Chai Spices, Juniper Berry
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Mimosa
Base Notes: Black and White Amber

This is a bit confusing. Initially, it's like a men's cologne for an old lady. It's one of those cool, fresh yet slightly bitter type of men's cologne scent...but there's something powdery in it. The powdery scent keeps getting heavier and heavier until the scent is like an old lady musk cloaked in a cool men's cologne. It's like an old lady wearing her husband's coat.

By 10 minutes, it's mostly a heavy, powdery, old lady-ish sort of scent with a bitter muskiness. It makes me think of a cranky posh old lady who's perpetually pissed off because people nowadays are soooo rude.

Regardless of what you think about Thatcher's politics, you have to admit she has one of the best disapproving looks ever.
Image courtesy of cnn.com

TL;DR: Cranky posh old lady.


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Petra


"Lingering candle smoke, tart cherry, a powdery, vintage style floral center, and a dry-down of real vanilla and resinous myrrh."

Head Notes: Candle Smoke, Cherry
Heart Notes: Heliotrope, Immortelle
Base Notes: Madagascar Vanilla, Myrrh

There's a clay-like scent as well as a bitter, medicinal scent. The bitter disinfectant sort of medicinal. Oh and something vaguely creamy..perhaps vanilla? I've had foot surgery once and this was the scent of my cast..with a bit of something creamy. It's as if a nurse tried to cheer me up by scenting my bandages with a vanilla perfume, only to have the medicinal cast smell overpower it.

The smell this leaves lingering on my skin kinda smells like latex gloves blown up into a balloon.

TL;DR: Creamy foot cast.

Overview: I tried sniffing this again. Still medicinal disinfectant.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review & Recommendation: 2 of Possets' Endangered Blends

So I er...ordered a bit to much from Possets. It's not my fault, they have awesome vanillas! And free international shipping past a certain amount!

Anyway...I ordered 7 bottles and 12 perfume samples, and this is what I got.






Yup. An extra 12 regular-sized and 6 super-sized samples.

I was so freaked out, I contacted Fabienne thinking she messed up and misread my order. Obviously, I had to offer to pay her too if it was a mistake.

There's a typo in my email..it's supposed to be 6 big samples, not 5.


Nope, it wasn't. Possets is just that generous.


Customer Service Review


This is actually my first order of Possets directly from Possets since I've only bought decants from Ajevie previously. The customer service is AMAZING. Well, the free stuff definitely made me happy, but Fabienne was also so quick to respond when I had a bunch of questions about international shipping. Oh yes -and free international shipping. I love free international shipping.

There's also little touches that make you feel so loved, like this handwritten note she included:
She has a pretty signature!
So anyway, on to scent reviews. I'm only reviewing the 2 bottles of Endangered Blends I got since I don't have time to try out the samples yet. I figured I better review those two before they're sold out. As always, they're done blind until I finished writing all the way to the TL;DR.



OHIO-Sticky Gooey Buckeyes 


"Well, this one is in the Midwest (which is noted for its simple and delicious fare), a foody blend here several delectable chocolates play serious footsie with nuts and gooey delights. This harkens to the candy called "buckeyes" which is a combination of nut butters and chocolate. Foody, gourmand, sweet."


Oh wow, the peanuts in this is strong. So strong, it actually makes me wonder if someone with a severe nut allergy can go into anaphylactic shock from sniffing this. There's also chocolate - sinfully sweet chocolate. It smells like a chocolate covered peanut brittle from See's Candies.

You lucky Americans can buy this anytime..
Image from amazon.com


There's something in it that doesn't agree with my skin chemistry. It's something that smells like body lotion that solidified after being left out for too long, but it isn't strong enough to bother me.

After about 30 min, there's a warm vanilla that overpowers the peanut brittle scent. I still smell the peanut brittles, but it's more in the background rather then the foreground. 

TL;DR: See's Candies' chocolate covered peanut brittle


The Girls Love Chai-Chai-Chai


"Lively blood orange and a couple of rose buds make this chai extra special. Teas, dark and sustaining and the persistent scent of honey and spices make this a most memorable blend."

This is the scent of a dry, more acidic black tea. It's one of those special blend black teas that looks like decorative potpourri, smells like perfumes, and tastes slightly sour. I think there's cardamom in this because that's a scent that always reminds me of India and this scent definitely takes me there. After about 20 min, I can finally identify that perfumed smell -it's roses. Heavy, powdery roses. 

Mixed with the acridity of the tea note though, the roses end up smelling more like India than an old lady. Don't get me wrong, this is still a really strong scent. But it's a heady, hypnotizing smell that reminds me of entering "mystical" boutiques that cater to tourists in India. If someone wants to pass off as a mysterious Indian fortune teller, this is the hypnotizing perfume she'll use (as you can tell from my language, I don't believe in fortune tellers).

I just wanted an excuse to post pictures of a sari. I wish I can wear saris all day...they actually hide my tummy and make me look like I have curves. I love saris.
Photography by Alex Hann


TL;DR: Believe me, I can see into the future. I swear. Check out how mystic I smell.

Overview: Now that I looked at the notes, I think I assumed this would smell like chai tea from the name, and got it without looking at the notes. Citrus and black tea are my death notes. Add rose into it and I normally would have ran for it. Somehow Possets made me love them so I'm impressed.

EOTD: Gold & Green

Monday, October 20, 2014

Subscription Box: Pretty & Polished October 2014 Beauty Box

I finally got my Pretty & Polished October box last Saturday, on the 18th of October. As always, the packaging's cute:




My favourite from this batch is Of Fire and Ice. It's a sheer black glitter polish and obviously, I had to do this glitter gradient look because it's so perfect for it!
Of Fire and Ice
Here's swatches for the other colours:
From left to right: Rake A Little Piece of My Heart, Bonfire Bliss, Autumn Enchantress
Autumn Enchantress and Bonfire Bliss are both glitter toppers and Rake A Little Piece of My Heart is a glitter pale peach crelly.






Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Blooddrop Clothing & Fineries Perfumes (7 Scents)

Earlier, /u/minkishly, being the awesome person that she is, passed me 7 of her decants (6 scents since there was a double) of Blooddrop's Horses of the Carousel collection (decanted by the awesome Ajevie, as usual). I also got a full size of Moonstone, a Blooddrop exclusive scent for The Rhinestone Housewife.

First of all, huge rave for The Rhinestone Housewife. I sent her a message via her website because I noticed there's no security certificate on the site or an option to check out via Paypal. She got back to me really fast and fixed the problem (it was a website error). Not only that, she actually invoiced me separately on PayPal so I'd feel more comfortable. Everything was shipped out the next day!

The order also came with a free tub of Brazen eyeshadow!



Perfume Oil General Review


My skin seems to eat up Blooddrop really fast. They start off at casual conversation distance and I can smell certain notes waft up as I type, but they usually go down to about faux whisper distance within a minute. By 45min-1h, I tend to have to get pretty close to the skin to catch a whiff.

I like certain blends but certain blends also give me a headache. I'm still undecided on Blooddrop, so I'll definitely try more before scents first.

The full-size perfumes do not come sealed in anyway and doesn not have a reducer.



So on to scent reviews! As always, they're done blind until I write all the way up to the TL;DR. If any notes surprise me, I write an overview.


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Scent Reviews


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Moonstone 

"A cool, lunar, dreamy, luminous blend for this goddess stone; white tea, apple meat, moonflower, blue agave, wintergreen, jasmine, and white ginger."

There's an icy touch to this scent along with a delicate, sweet, almost candy-like floral. The icy scent is that stone/concrete/rock note perfumers seem to like using -the kind that smells like Baygon, a popular insect repellent in Indonesia. While insect repellent sounds off-putting, Baygon actually smells great if you don't realize it's something you shouldn't be inhaling or using as a perfume. Other perfumes that use this notes are:

  • Alkemia's Prairie 66 (very dominant and almost the entire scent's just that note)
  • Black Violet's Apparition (balances with other aspects of that scent)
  • Black Violet's Komorebi (faint and in the background)


For Moonstone, this Baygon note is slightly stronger than the Baygon note in Black Violet's Komorebi -well-blended with the other notes to the point where it's almost overpowered, but definitely there and not in the background.

The result is a perfume that smells like small, delicate bursts of cotton candy pink flowers, preserved in icy frost while the cold, biting winter wind blows around it. If I'm picking an ad for this perfume, I'm totally picking this picture:
The video ad will have tons of CGI flowers blowing everywhere, obviously.
Gorgeous photography by Alena Root, check out her stuff here!
Unfortunately, within about 45 min, the scent has mellowed out to just a sweet, pink floral scent with a hint of something green, and you have to get close to the skin to sniff it.

TL;DR: Small, delicate bursts of cotton candy pink flowers, preserved in icy frost while the cold, biting winter wind blows around it

Overview: I can't pick out the apple in this, or any of the individual notes actually. They're really well blended. Not sure which note's responsible for the Baygon smell, and other perfumers with this note simply describe it as "stone" or "concrete".

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Horses of the Carousel Collection




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The Aurus Horse


"It smells of a vanilla bean cupcake with vanilla frosting covered in yellow and white daisy sugar flowers and edible gold stars."

There's a tart, sour smell that may be vanilla going sour on me. The sour smell is really strong and I can smell it as I type. You have to get to faux whispering distance to catch the full blast of it, though. I really can't smell anything except for that tart, sour smell for the first 5 minutes. Luckily, it calms down and I catch whiffs of green notes and that play-doh-like "cake" note. Unfortunately, by the time it calms down, it's very faint and I have to get close to the skin to catch a whiff.

The green is more of a realistic, sort of green that smells more like crushed plant stalks that have been left out for a while and starting to brown. It clashes with the play-doh "cake" note so I'm not really a fan of this scent -it's like someone serving you cake and you bite into it only to discover overcooked spinach inside. I really hope this doesn't mean Blooddrop's gourmands don't work on me.

TL;DR: The dry-down is that metallic "cake" scent a lot of gourmands turn into.



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The Giant Horse 


"Its scent is of a bold, mocha cupcake with mocha frosting that is delicately drawn to appear like the horizon with tiny tree tops, roof tops, mountain tops and the ocean."

Ok, in the vial, it's a scary sour coffee smell. On my skin, there's hints of the sourness, but it's tempered down by the smell of slightly burnt coffee and a clean, office-like smell. Unfortunately, the sour smell keeps threatening to burst out. It's not a fruity sort of sourness too...it smells like rotting coffee. Maybe it's a vanilla/caramel note going crazy. The resulting scent is like the cubicle of that one person who practically lives in the office -tons of empty mugs of coffee left out on his/her table because s/he's too wrapped up to wash them, and some mugs have even started to grow stuff.

Whatever you do..don't look inside..
Image courtesy of confessionsofacouncilworker.blogspot.com

TL;DR: Old mugs of coffee at various stages of age.

Overview: I still don't know what was creating that rotting smell. Usually it's vanilla or caramel that goes this way.


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The Lyrical Horse


"Its scent is a pink vanilla cupcake with raspberry jam filling and raspberry meringue frosting softly ascending upwards."

I smell raspberries in this. It mostly smells like the artificial raspberries that I normally like, but there's something off. I can't really describe it. I think a note may be going crazy on me, but I can figure out which one it is. There's that plastic-like smell that raspberry scented toys seem to have, but there's another off smell I really can't describe. It makes me feel nauseous too.

TL;DR: Weird, artificial raspberries.

Overview: Maybe it's the cupcake mixed with the vanilla? I think Blooddrop's gourmands hate me.
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The Mountain Horse


"Its scent is a dense, thick chocolate cupcake with a chocolate pudding center and dark chocolate glazed top."

This smells like a creamy chocolate truffle. Unfortunately the cheaper kind of mass produced "chocolate truffles" that tends to piss off chocolatiers and make your teeth ache. My skin tends to amp up sweet scents and holy crap this is sweet on me. I feel nauseous.

TL;DR: Very, very, very sweet chocolate truffle.

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The Twisted Horse 


"Its scent is that of a fried dough, churro-like cupcake made with a vanilla and cinnamon sugar spiced batter. It has a crisp outer texture with a light fluffy interior and is dusting with powdered sugar and gold dust."

At first I get a vaguely sweet, deep fried goodies smell, but the cinnamon grew stronger and stronger until it smells a bit like those Red Hots candy. There's a bit of a dry, almost peppery smell in the background but it's mostly Red Hots. I urge people with cinnamon allergies to be very careful with this scent. I'm normally not allergic to cinnamon, but I can feel the spot I put this on feel warm.

I should have wiped it off because 5 minutes after I wrote that sentence, this was my arm:
It itches and still feels like it's burning T.T
Yeah..best be careful with this scent. This has never happened to me before with cinnamon, so I'm hoping it's just this one off case and I'm not developing a cinnamon allergy.

There's something else cloying in this that I can't figure out since the Red Hots is so strong. I had to wash this off fast, so I don't know if I could identify the cloying smell once the Red Hots scent is gone.

TL;DR: Very strong Red Hots with a very dry, almost peppery scent and something cloying in the background.

Overview: To test out if I've developed a cinnamon allergy, I put on Possets' Gelato: Vaniglia the entire day. Nope, no rashes or anything. I also use Cocoa Pink's conditioner with the Cake on Monday scent, which also contains cinnamon, and I'm still ok after using that too. So I guess I'm still not allergic to cinnamon in reasonable doses and it's just this scent containing far too much of the cinnamon. For anyone who developed an adverse reaction to anything with cinnamon at all, it's best to stay away from this.

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The Velvet Horse


"Its scent is that of a chocolate and coconut cupcake with chocolate cream cheese filling and chocolate frosting decorated with red and purple sugar rose petals."

Oh I like this. It's chocolate but more like a buttery, melted chocolate that's not so sweet. There's a floral in this, but it's too blended into the scent for me to identify what it is exactly. It ends up smelling like chocolate being melted in the kitchen of a traditional chocolatier. There's the smell of a clean room and melted chocolate with flower petals sprinkled on top. I love this one and this is actually one of my favourite chocolate scents ever - actual creamy, smooth chocolate. It doesn't end up going sandalwood on me or smelling like chocolate powder, it's actual chocolate. I'm a huge fan.

I want to swim in this...not in reality though. Someone actually nearly drowned in a vat of chocolate in the Hershey factory once.
Image courtesy of chocolatieroverijse.be

TL;DR: Flowers sprinkled on buttery, melted chocolate in a clean room.



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While a bunch of scents didn't work out on me, these are scents that didn't work out on /u/minkishly as well, so there's a chance they're the weirder scents. I'm definitely giving Blooddrop another try.  The only thing I'm sure about is that their vanillas just don't work on me, so if you have a similar skin chemistry, steer clear. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Swatches: Beauty For The Win

Laurel from Beauty For The Win sent me eyeshadows to help her swatch some time ago. She finally launched today and you can buy her shadows here!

She's also having a sale right now and each purchase you make supports a charity! Here's her launch announcement, in text to make copying the sales codes easier:

I'm so excited to finally be able to launch my brand; Beauty For The Win! 
http://www.beautyforthewin.com/index.html 
You may remember my soft launch earlier this summer, along with hints of an August launch.Well, grad school happened and the opening got delayed, so I had to expand my timeline. But the website is up and running, and I'm excited to share all three opening collections with you all! 
Each collection sponsors a charity -- 1$ from all full sized products and .50$ from each sample sized product goes to a charity that relates to the collections theme.-The Fault In Our Swatches - Eyeshadows based on The Fault In Our Stars, sponsoring This Star Won't Go Out -We Are Wizards - Eyeshadows based on Harry Potter, sponsoring The Harry Potter Alliance -The Jane Austen Blush Club - Blushes based on Jane Austen Heroines, sponsoring Girls Write Now 
And to celebrate, we're having a sale for the rest of October. Not only do we have amazing Blogger specials this month, all regular products are 15% off with the code IMAMLOVE and full collections are 25% off with the code OPENINGFUN 
And if you have a coupon for free shipping from the soft-launch, that will be good until January 31st to make up for the delay in launching.If you have any questions, I'm more than happy to chat with y'all! I'm so excited for this launch that's been a long time coming! 
EDIT:I forgot to mention; I changed website hosts, which also added to the delay. But now, I can accept paypal, which I think should improve the shopping experience :]

Anyway, these are the shadows she sent me for swatching:

Her samples are so generous, I still have some left even after wasting so much on these shots! 
How they arrived.
Safety seals! Yay!
So on to swatches!

Glitter glue close ups. Swatched over Darling Girl's Glitter Glue.
Completely bare skin

Foiled with water, over bare skin

Over UDPP

Over Darling Girl's Glitter Glue