Thursday, October 2, 2014

Subscription Box: Pretty & Polished September 2014 Beauty Box

So here's the September box! I've given up getting my stuff in the first half of the month :(

The bubble bath bar smells awesome but I haven't had the time to use it yet
For some reason, this month's polishes seem thinner than usual. I actually had to use 3-4 coats to achieve this opacity. Sinner's Circle needed 5 coats.
My crappy attempt at nail art with Carrigan over Hullabaloo

Sinner's Circle on ring finger, Pretty Little Thing on the rest

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review & Recommendation: Ten Three Labs (all 7 scents!)

Sometime ago, Cara (/u/ifweburn) gave me a bunch of her scents to test out to review privately before her store, Ten Three Labs, opens. I gave her my brutally honest review and she took it like a champ and told me I can publish my reviews, both good and bad. I didn't censor anything, except for leaving out some scents didn't make the cut because they're better for other seasons.


Perfume Oils General Review


The 7 scents now out and 4 fragrances not out yet!
I was honestly impressed with their qualities. Cara was so nervous in the beginning, I got nervous too and started wondering what I would have to say if I didn't like the quality at all. Both of us didn't need to worry because the quality's great. One thing I noticed is that there's a mix of sillages.

Certain scents (Artificial Angels, Exorcist of Malignant Devils, His House of Fear) start off at a casual conversation distance, where people will surely notice once you walk into a lift. However, others (Dark-Eyed Daughter, Fair Season, Men Who Walk As Trees Among Their Fellows, Sinister Reputation) starts off at faux whisper distance. Unless otherwise noted, the scents usually stay at their initial strength for 1 1/2-2h, before getting to intimate whispering distance until about 3-4h since initial application. I usually smell faint traces for over 10+h.

Another thing I noticed is that most of these perfumes open up with a very scary fruity liqueur/cough syrup sort of scent. I was so sure I had to scrub off every single scent at first, but then the intimidatingly artificial fruit smell mellows out and the smell that blossoms on my skin is awesome. So before you toss your perfume into the swap pile, definitely do more than a cold sniff and let the perfume settle & bloom on your skin for at least 5-10 min.

I didn't know the notes until /u/ifweburn opened shop, so all the reviews are done blind. If there's anything unexpected in the notes, I discuss it in the overview.


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Artificial Angels

"A somewhat cloyingly sweet scent. Maybe TOO sweet…Nothing good can come of such sweetness. Apple, black cherry, sugar cane, olive."

This smells like a gourmet cotton candy that comes in a fruity floral flavour. The scent is girlish, but not overly artificial candy scents that's usually marketed to pre-teens. It's definitely a more grown-up candy scent, I'm a fan! The tartness in this gets stronger while the sugary, flossy cotton candy scent get upstaged after about 20 minutes. I actually found a picture that'll make such a perfect ad for this scent:

Fun, flirty, makes you want to giggle but still so seductively grown up.
Photography by Anny To



 This one has lower longevity than the rest and starts getting faint after about an hour -you have to get to kissing distance to catch a whiff. It's better than a lot of other perfumes, but noticeably lower than the scents in the collection. It stays this way for about 3h though, and stays on your skin for 10h+ (had to take a shower so can't test how much longer it'll last).

TL;DR: Gourmet, tart cotton candy

Overview: On reddit, some people mentioned they got scared off by the "TOO sweet" description. My skin tends to amp up sugary notes, but this didn't end up too sweet on me. It's also a fun scent, but not a teenager/pre-teen sort of scent. I'm 26 and the scent still smells age appropriate on me.

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Dark-Eyed Daughter


"My writing informs a huge variety of other things in my life. With this scent, I wanted something to represent one of the first characters I ever created–a weird little redhead named Shaina. And for her–something sweet, but also dark. Brown sugar, almond, gardenia, lotus, cranberry and plum."

Oh dang! I don't know why my skin is hating this! This starts off as cordial smell that's a lot like cough syrup. After about 10 minutes, there's a scent that smells like slightly medicinal burnt caramel at the bottom and a green/yellow scented room spray trying to break out. The room-sprayness did calm down and it becomes a but there's still a burnt caramel coffee smell that overpowers it. This has lower throw than the rest too, and goes to intimate whispering distance within 10 minutes. It stays this way for 1 1/2-2h though. The good thing (for me) is that by 5h, it's completely gone from your skin.

TL;DR: Burnt caramel coffee with a hint of something green.

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Exorcists of Malignant Devils


"Exorcists probably smell kind of spicy, right? Dragon’s blood, star anise, fig, oleander, apple, black raspberry, and poison berries. Er. Boysenberry."

Starts off as a green roomspray sort of scent, this may be scary. The roomspray part faded after about 5 minutes and the scent becomes a honeyed green sort of scent with a fruity tartness, and it just keeps getting better. At about 10 minutes it's a very fresh & cool sort of honeysuckle scent with a very well-blended fruity tartness at the base that I can't identify. Honeysuckle and honey smells almost the same to me, but there's just something cool and fresh in this that makes me think of flowers more than sticky, gooey honey. It's so very wearable. This has one of the highest throws for me, and the scent easily filled my entire cubicle.

TL;DR: Fresh & cool honeysuckle with a fruity tartness.

Overview: I think Ten Three's apple notes tend to blend into the scents for me, creating a fruity tartness that can't easily be identified as apple. The smell is surprisingly not spicy at all on me, but ends up cool and fresh instead. I'm definitely a fan of this.

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Fair Season


"It’s fall! Fall’s great. And fall means fairs all around America. Funnel cakes and giant turkey legs and rides with people getting sick…You know, fun! Cola, beer, candy corn, cotton candy, caramel, buttered popcorn, firewood, pumpkin, brown sugar, amber."

I bet there's caramel in this, because I'm getting that sugared plums smell, that's often a caramel note going weird on me. That's the most dominant scent and I can't really pick out anything other than some edible carbs in the background. Eventually, after about 10-15 minutes, the sugared plums calmed down a bit. Now the scent is a slightly creamy sugared plums scent, with a light, clean touch to it. I bet this would smell awesome as caramel. The scent I got makes me think of someone sweet and elegant, who'll have a bedroom that looks like this hotel room I once stayed in:


Hotel Der Kleine Prinz - a Le Petit Prince themed boutique hotel. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of the book, but I thought this was the most gorgeous hotels I've ever stayed in.  If you're ever in Baden Baden, check it out.
IPhone photo I took...my hard drive got stolen so I only have iPhone pics of my trip :(



TL;DR: Light & clean sugared plums (that was probably caramel)

Overview: I knew it. It was the caramel going sour. /u/ifweburn was worried about that being a sign that there's something wrong with her oil. It really isn't. Off the top of my head, Violette Market's & Solstice Scent's caramel notes do the same to me. The smell is definitely lighter than what you'd expect from the notes though!

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His House of Fear


"A scent inspired by a character of my sister’s. A darker, devious scent with a hint of sweetness. Absinthe, pear, tobacco, smoke, vetiver, bay rum and brimstone."

It smells a bit scary in the bottle and on the first application, but it gets better. It smells like an old decaying building. Not exactly a house and more of an apartment building since there isn't anything woody in this smell. There that scent of metallic decay that's sharp, bitter and usually is a sign to nope the crap out of there if you're in a horror movie. For some reason, underneath this, I get the smell of kacang ijo, an Indonesian dessert that's basically mung bean soup, and usually seasoned with gula melakasantan (coconut milk, but it's not the kind of coconut you expect in western cuisine, and it lends more of a slightly savoury creaminess to the dish) and ginger.

This one has ketan hitam (black glutinous rice) in it.
Image courtesy of kitabmasakan.com


After about 5 minutes, everything mingles together and the scent is so unique! The mung bean soup smell is the strongest, especially the gula melaka part of it. If you haven't tried gula melaka before, it's delicious -it tastes like a watery caramel before it's burnt, with a richness that I just can't describe. There's still the hint of metallic decay in it and also a cool, almost clinical scent floating above it. If I'm in a horror movie, this is the point where I go, "Creepy dude in a lab coat all alone in a creepy, abandoned building? RU-oooh! Kacang ijo? You're awesome! Of course I'll stay! Can I have 2 bowls?"

After an hour the smell is a sweet, almost musky smell of decaying plaster. As you can expect, the scent it leaves on your skin is bittersweet decay.

It's not something I'd recommend to everyone because it's pretty odd, but it's definitely a unique scent that's worth sniffing even once. Even though this scent isn't for me, I'm impressed with it.

TL;DR: Decaying apartment building with kacang ijo.

Overview: The coconut-y santan smell is definitely the bay rum, since some rum notes end up smelling like coconut on me. I'm not quite sure what causes the kacang ijo smell on me, but I've had other perfumes end up with the same green bean sort of scent, both from Deep Midnight and the notes are:

  • Catriana's Cauldron (very slight mung bean smell and more dessert-y like this scent):
"Sweet frankincense, a concoction of rare spices, and a warm creamy vanilla, all topped off with a whiff of cauldron smoke. A personal favorite… of course."
  • Garden & Graves (strong mung bean smell):
"Melancholy notes wrap you in a blanket of flowers and damp earth. Be at peace with the scent of rose petals, vetiver, and a handful of fresh dirt."

The only thing I see in common is the vetiver, so maybe certain vetiver notes turn into mung beans on me. I'll definitely need to try more vetiver scents from both perfumers to be sure.

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Men Who Walk As Trees Among Their Fellows


"Trees probably wouldn’t really blend into a crowd very well, but at least they can smell nice. Pipe tobacco, leather, amber, hinoki wood, firewood, cherrywood, pine, and cedarwood chips. Basically all the wood ever."

There's a pine-like green scent that's cool and slightly dry. There's also a bit of a dirty, bitter smell that smells like dirt on leather boots. At about 30 min, the smell starts smelling like detergent on me and just keeps getting closer to detergent. The unscented kind that just smells like detergent. I'm not sure why.

TL;DR: Unscented detergent.

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Sinister Reputation

"The people your mom warned you about. You should probably stay away. And yet there’s some pull toward them…Frankincense, amaretto, black cherry, grape, black pepper, pomegranate and magnolia."

This starts of smelling like a red pixie stix, with a hint of Nyquil. About 10 minutes in, the smell settles into a scent that smells exactly like these "fruity" flavoured chewable vitamin pills my mom used to make me take. There's even that chalky graininess to the scent. I personally had bad memories with those calcium pills since I hated the taste, so I'm not too fond of this scent.

They do NOT taste like candy.
Image courtesy of http://wlsvitagarten.com


TL;DR: Fruity flavoured chewable vitamin pills. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tutorial: Lining Monolids With Eyeshadow

So I personally prefer lining with eyeshadow instead of regular liner for several reasons:

1. I like crazy colours.
2. It actually creates a softer look
3. It's easier to create an ombré effect that I find more flattering on monolids (tutorial for super dramatic ombré liner here). I find that a single dark colour tend to look "mask-ish" on monolids or make our eyes look smaller. Using a lighter colour on the inner corner and a darker colour on the outer corner makes the look softer & more natural. If you want a dramatic, dark liner look, I recommend using navy blue or dark brown on the inner 2/3 and black on the outer 1/3 instead of black all over. 

The hardest part about lining monolids is actually figuring out how to line it. This is my favourite way of doing it, which I find is most flattering on my eye:


For maximum drama, line the inner corners & lower lashline with a light, shimmery eyeshadow. Keep your eyes open to get the inner corner placement right.

1. Following my eye shape, I create a semi-circle that'll peak and peek out of the middle of my eye.
2. Then I'll draw the wing out of the outer corner of my eye, following the line of my lower lash line. 

To make it easier to see, here's the side view of how I normally do my liner (I usually do shades of brown for a more work appropriate look, but picked this more colourful version to make it easier to see):

I love how half my lashes are gone as soon as I open my eyes...

If you're lining this method, you'll notice your wing looks like it's curved downwards & sideways when you open your eyes. The downwards & sideways ("like puppy dog eyes"), is often called the Korean-style of lining, as opposed to the "American"/"Western" style where the wing curves up. There's a reason this style is so popular in Korea, it's really way more flattering for Asian eyes.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review & Recommendation: Dolly's Polishes

I answered Ajevie's call for swatchers for her new Dolly's Polishes and she sent me 4 minis!

First of all, check out how they were packaged..the little touches makes such a difference:
The little details are awesome!
The colours I got are:


  • The Ghost Ship (glow-in-the-dark): A light blue Glow-in-the-Dark (can be 'charged' under natural or artificial light) cream packed with tiny black and white specks and a scattering of skulls with crossbones.
  • Laternelaufen (Glow-in-the-Dark): A yellow Glow-in-the-Dark (can be 'charged' under natural or artificial light) cream speckled with multicolored hexes.
  • Queen Agnes: A clear topper packed with shiny copper hexes and 'patina accents' of aqua circles.
  • Sugar Skull: A white polish packedwith glitter and has a subtle textured finish


I have to say, I love these polishes. They last me as long as my good mainstream polishes. Queen Agnes is my favourite nail polish out of the 4. Glitter polishes are often bumpy without a top coat, but this is ok on its own. It's like Cult Nails' glitter polishes, where they dry into a smooth finish.

They also dry in about 2 minutes (I timed it..longest was 2 min 19 seconds), so it's great for busy people.

I'm also now a fan of glow-in-the-dark polishes thanks to Dolly's. I've only tried 2 other glow-in-the-dark nail polishes (one indie, one mainstream) and they don't work as well as these. I've actually given up on glow-in-the-dark nail polishes and decided that they only get charged under UV lamps, but these converted me. They get charged even using artificial light! I got so excited! Also, the glow-in-the-dark polish has this awesome, sandy matte texture that I love, so I didn't use a top coat for these swatches.

I did find the formula of Sugar Skull slightly hard to work with, but I think it's more of a white nail polish thing.

So here are the swatches:



Laternelaufen on ring finger and The Ghost Ship on the rest


The Ghost Ship actually comes with skull glitters, but I couldn't get them out. Angi mentioned she'll be including rollerballs, so this may be fixed.

Skull glitter!


Queen Agnes on ring finger & Sugar Skulls on the rest. Queen Agnes is on its own, but I layered Cult Nails' Wax That top coat over Sugar Skulls for that waxy effect.




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review & Recommendation: Haus of Gloi Autumn 2014 Pumpkin Butters &Bubbling Scrubs

I recently got a sample size of all the Haus of Gloi (HoG) Autumn scents in bubbling scrub & pumpkin butter form, except Pumpkin Queen because I accidentally missed that while ordering, and Persephone's Descent since my order got a bit messed up. I also got the Candy Corn lip balm.


Pretty presentation!

Unfortunately, the Ghost Puff pumpkin butter came in the wrong size (I ordered full tub),  and my pumpkin butter & bubbling scrub of Persephone's Descent were missing.

I only ordered the Candy Corn lip balm & not the other 2, so I'm not planning to use them until I get my situation resolved. I'm also not sure if those perfume samples are freebies or part of Minkishly's order for a sample of every perfume. We're also missing the full-size of Samhain. 


Customer Service Review


Matt was so nice and let me pre-order since my mail forwarding address is already live (another indie seller sent to the wrong address) and needs everything to arrive by a certain deadline. He was in such a rush to send my order, he sent them without billing me first!

Unfortunately, he got my order wrong and I ended up with a lot of stuff missing, extra stuff & incorrect sizes. I may have gotten someone else's order, so I've emailed and Facebook messaged Matt & Britton to let them know about this. I still haven't gotten a reply and I admit I'm slightly nervous, but HoG usually has amazing customer service (previous reviews here), so I'm positive they'll resolve this.

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Bubbling Scrub General Review


I love these scrubs! They use relatively smaller grains of sugar, so they're not as strongly exfoliating as some scrubs. I like them because they're gentle enough for everyday use, though. It feels similar to using soap with a loofah, so they're perfect for travelling if you're moving from place to place and don't want to keep packing a still wet loofah into your suitcase.

They're slightly more drying on your skin than the whipped soaps, but just barely. You do notice the slightest hint of dryness after washing this off, but it's very slight and not as bad as most other soaps (indie & mainstream).

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Pumpkin Butter General Review


These pumpkin butters are my favourite body lotions ever. When I use them, I can get to typing almost immediately since they're not sticky.

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Scent Reviews


Turns out HoG scents can smell VERY different in bubbling scrub or pumpkin butter version, so I'm doing a scent review for each version. If you ever got a wtf HoG recommendation, that person's nose isn't broken, s/he probably tried a different version of the scent.

These scent reviews aren't done blind since I've spent too long gazing longingly at their newsletter and reading HoG reviews, that I've memorized the notes.

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Ghost Puffs

"Orbs of buttery popcorn and marshmallow goo, presented on a wooden stick."

Pumpkin Butter

It does smell like marshmallows & popcorn! The marshmallow & popcorn scent you get in candies. It's all gooey, very sweet marshmallow at first, then goes to watery buttered popcorn as you rub it in. It's watery in the sense that it kinda smells like you dissolved a bunch of buttered popcorn flavoured jelly beans in water. On me, there's also a lotion smell to this. It's not horrible enough to make me not love the scent, but it's enough for me to find it a bit off.

Bubbling Scrub

There's less of the popcorn smell in this but it's still a marshmallow flavoured popcorn candy smell. As you rub it in, the scent's more of a watery caramel sort of scent. There isn't that off lotion smell, so I'm guessing that lotion smell is just the pumpkin butter.

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Olde Cider Haus

"Old oak, sweet drying hay fields, crushed apple pulp and vanilla husks."

Pumpkin Butter

There's a creamy, almost baked smell to this. Thanks to the oak & hay notes, the apple somehow smells more like a sexy, spicy, masculine perfume than something edible. It's a smell that hits both lusts so I'm a huge fan.

Left is Daniel Henney and right is what looks like the most amazing apple pie ever. This is too hard. Which one should I choose???
Images courtesy of hearts4kpop.wordpress.com & ohladycakes.com


Bubbling Scrub

There's a spiced apple cider & baked smell to this at first, but when you rub it in, it's mostly a masculine apple. It's a spiced apple scent but the spices are the kind that makes it smell more like a masculine perfume. This is awesome! This scent lingers a bit on your skin and you can definitely smell faint traces of it even after you've washed it off.

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Pumpkin Eater

"Cream, glowing pumpkin, rich vanilla bean and the tiniest touch of nutmeg butter."

Pumpkin Butter

This smells like vanilla & pumpkin, only the vanilla's the stronger note on me. It's also more of a sugary rather than creamy sort of vanilla. I also smell a fruity tartness to this that smells like baked raisins, but I'm not sure if it's a vanilla/caramel note going sour on me. Bubbling scrub's not available for this one.

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Spider Silk

"Procured from a dream: delicate water mint, wispy grey musk, crystalline webs of amber, oakmoss, torchwood, copaiba resin, and a touch of withered violet leaf."

Pumpkin Butter

There's a slightly astringent, candied violet smell (smells like a powdery, blue sort of floral). The violet isn't heavy at all, and while it's powdery, it's countered by this dry, astringent and slightly minty scent. It smells like an expensive face cream prescribed by a dermatologist.

Bubbling Scrub

Oh wow, this smells totally different and I'm a bigger fan of the bubbling scrub version of this scent. There's a rounded, suede-like sort of woody smell that reminds me of the homes of Indonesian socialites. There's hints of wood from some wooden furnitures, but they're tampered down by the smell of luxury in a home that's cleaned twice a day by an army of maids. It's a home that usually looks like this:
Though there would be more marble in an Indonesian socialite's home...
Design by Michael Abrams Limited, found on houzz.com

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The Horseman

"Autumnal forest and wood, distant fire, smooth saddle leather, brown musk and the lingering scent of a dark gentleman's cologne on a black woolen coat."

Pumpkin Butter

This smells like fallen leaves on the ground, with the earthy bitterness you'd expect. There's also old leather in this -one without the sweetness of new leather. There's also a scent that reminds me of rustling pages of an old book.

Bubbling Scrub

I smell a musky leather sort of scent on the tub, but once I wash it in, it's a bitter, musky old leather smell. The leather is sweeter than the leather in the pumpkin butter version, though. As it washes off, there's a bit of a cool wooden smell that makes me think of books in an old library. Now it smells like leather seats in an old school library, in an English castle where it gets drafty at times.

The Chirk Castle library, which looks so awesome


You get this sweet, lightly musky men's cologne smell lingering on your skin it's musky enough to make me think of an older gentleman, but not that old and definitely hot.

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Tobac

"Pipe tobacco, a wisp of smoke, bourbon vanilla and two cedarwoods."

Pumpkin Butter

This scent makes me think of an old bar in a now abandoned town. A bar that has seen better days and now is old and decaying.

Used to be classy and totally not haunted at all..
Image by Þorsteinn H Ingibergsson
There's the smell of old wood, sour chewed tobacco and a hint of a boozy vanilla all blended together. It's a weirder type of scent but I kinda like it.

Bubbling Scrub

The scent in the bubbling scrub doesn't blend together like the pumpkin butter, and the notes come in separately. This opens with the most delicious boozy vanilla smell, but it's quickly drowned out by the strong, sour, chewed tobacco smell. Luckily, the scent it leaves lingering on your skin is a slightly boozy & woody vanilla. 



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Candy Corn Lip Balm


HoG's lip balms are unsweetened, and they tend to be the waxier kind. I definitely got a bad batch because this is very different from the Beguiled lip balm from HoG that I've tried before. The previous lip balm is pretty strongly scented, but this one barely has a scent. I think I can taste a bit of candy corn, but I may be imagining it because I thought I accidentally ordered an unscented & unflavoured lip balm when I first put it on. I can even taste the waxy lip balm taste. Anybody else with a Candy Corn lip balm can let me know how it is?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review & Recommendation: Black Violet's Autumn & Halloween Scents + several other scents

I finally got my Black Violet order! I unfortunately didn't take pictures before I started messing things up/decanting, but her packaging is always awesome. I also got certain scents as decants (/u/minkishly and I decant everything we get for each other, check out her awesome blog here), so they're not great for photographing.

My previous Black Violet review is here.


This review is for her Fall & Halloween scents (Apparition, Komorebi, Bavarian Apfel Cider), 3 soon to be discontinued scents (Sea Goddess, Momotaro, Snow White Tea) & the Bavarian Apfel Cider whipped soap.


Customer Service Rave


Leilani is AWESOME as usual. 

So, another indie seller messed up and sent my subscription package to the wrong address, which was my forwarding address. So now my forwarding address is live and everything I order has to arrive within 21 days or the service gets very expensive. Unfortunately, most Halloween releases, including Black Violet's, wouldn't launch until only about 2-4 days before my forwarding address expires. Leilani actually rushed everything out early for me (so technically, I could've gotten an early preview :P) and I got everything in time! I love her!


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Perfume Oil General Review


I always recommend Black Violet scents for people first venturing into indies. They smell really great and are often straightforward with nothing overly complex/"weird" in them. A lot of the scents are scents you typically find in high-end mainstream perfumes, so they're easy to like.

Sillage-wise, while you can usually smell certain notes wafting up as you type if you put them on your wrist, you'll need to get to about faux whisper distance to get the full scents. They stay at this strength for 1 1/2-2h, before they fade to an intimate whisper distance for a further 4-5h. You can smell lingering traces on your skin for around 10-12h though.

These perfumes definitely last! So here are the scent reviews:


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Apparition


"Unisex, dark, cool fragrance which opens up with a slight camphorous note with a peculiar, sharp & clean musk."

I'm torn on this scent. This scent reminds me of my childhood trips to Bali -my parents would often rent a villa with my aunt & uncle and this scent reminds me of those villas. While I feel nostalgic, I'm not sure if I want to wear this out. On one hand, there's the smell that smells like the slate walls in a Balinese villa. At the same time, there's the smell of Baygon, a popular Indonesian insecticide, which is why it smells so much like those Balinese villas I used to stay in. The maids had to spray the entire villa with Baygon since Indonesian mosquitoes are vicious.

This is the closest design I can find to those old villas I used to stay in. I realize I can't find a single villa that's designed similar to the old villas I used to stay in. The old villas tend to be dimly lit and had a lot of orange bricks, black slate and stones. The modern villas are now an architectural fusion of Balinese-Mediteranean-American styles, with a lot of wood, open spaces, bright lights and clean, white walls. Sure, I prefer the modern villas design-wise, but it's kinda sad something so iconic in your childhood no longer exists.
Image courtesy of .designbali.com


Don't get me wrong, Baygon can smell great. As a kid, I used to love sniffing it until my mom caught me and freaked out. It smells like a slightly bitter, cool, powdery scent. I know tourists who love the scent. Unfortunately, I can't shake off the feeling that I'm sniffing insecticide, and get uncomfortable.

TL; DR: Slate walls in a 90s Balinese villa.


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Bavarian Apfel Cider 


"Your stein froths over with golden apple cider alongside a slice of red currant torte, topped with slivers of almonds."

This smells like a cool, apple perfume with baked raisins in it. There's a bit of an actual apple juice scent underneath the cool, apple perfume scent, which I found impressive. After about 10 minutes, the cool scent somehow mellowed out and the baked raisins blended in. The scent becomes a warm, spiced apple cider scent that makes you feel warm and snuggly. As the scent dries down, the spices are the first to go, so the smell it leaves lingering on your skin

The scent's pretty straightforward and is exactly what you'd expect it to smell like from the name. If you're looking for a straightforward, not overly complex spiced apple scent, this is it.

Sillage-wise, I noticed this has a lower throw than what I'm used to from Black Violet. You have to get close to intimate whispering distance to get a whiff of it.

TL; DR: Apple cider.



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Komorebi


"Showers of light between the colorful trees, glowing to the warm forest floor. Absinthe, rosewood, amber musk, carnation, fallen leaves."

This makes me feel nostalgic and I'm not sure why. It smells like warm summer nights, slowly turning into fall. The floral in this is warm, mellow floral -it reminds me of the scent of flowers that have been baking under the hot sun the whole day, carried by the night breeze.

I was torn between this and another photo by the same photographer (Koveh Tavakkol), but I think this picture captures best how the scent's warm and cool at the same time.
Image by Koveh Tavakkol, who's a freaking amazing landscape photographer. You HAVE to check out his work.


There's also a scent that reminds me of fallen leaves in Autumn (romanticized of course...actual fallen leaves on the ground smells like dirt & mush). As the scent wears on, the florals fade and the cool, autumn breeze smell takes over. It really smells like summer turning into fall.

TL; DR: Flowers on warm, summer nights melting into autumn.

Overview: On my second sniff, I realized why this makes me smell nostalgic. Deep within this scent is that Baygon note that Apparition has. It's very well blended into the scent that I didn't notice it at first. It's faint enough that I don't easily identify it & freak out about sniffing insecticide, but visible enough to trigger my nostalgia since I constantly smelled Baygon as a child. 

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Momotaro

"Floating down a stream was a ripe little peachling. When opened to eat, the couple was surprised to discover a little boy sweetly named Momotaro- which translates to peach and eldest son."

This is a straightforward peach scent. It's a light, fresh sort of peach scent that has the barest tinge of greenness to it. The scent reminds me of peach spritzers! As the scent wears on, it starts smelling a lot like a Victoria Secrets' body spray that used to be popular. I don't remember the name now, but it used to be so popular I smelled it everywhere.

TL; DR: Peach spritzer and a potential Victoria Secrets' dupe.


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Snow White Tea

"Chilled white tea kissed by juicy, red apples."

Oh dear gods this is awesome. Have you seen that Memoirs of a Geisha movie poster featuring the gorgeous Zhang Ziyi?

Image found on Wikipedia

This is a scent I imagine her wearing. This is a cool, slightly tangy white tea scent that's so clean and exquisite. It makes you think of beautiful, refined women in white kimonos with long, silky hair cascading down their backs.

I'll be honest, I was trying to find a picture of an Asian lady in white since this is the image I get from this perfume, but for some reason, I can't seem to find a single picture of an Asian model elegantly dressed in white who doesn't look depressed. Plenty of white kimono pics out there, but the models are either incredibly fetishized (creepy), semi-nude or look like they've been force fed Prozac to get them to look girlishly chirpy.So imagine this woman, but with a happier expression because she smells fantastic.


 It's as if the photographers see white and immediately go, "Ok, look like someone just died."
Photography by Woo Changhoon

Anyway, just sniffing this makes me feel more refined and elegant, and I'm one sniff away from attempting to glide around the office and insisting we have afternoon tea sessions.


TL; DR: Clean, slightly tangy white tea scent for elegant, refined women.

Overview: The apple isn't that strong on me, and just sits in the background giving the scent a slight tanginess that stops it from smelling like a plain tea scent/roomspray. I decanted a bit for a friend who hates apples (before I knew there were apples in it) and she's so in love with it, she immediately ordered a full size before it's discontinued. So if you're not a fan of apples, I'd still give this a go.


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Sea Goddess


"Tropical waters, trade winds & ti leaves braided with orange blossoms. As Madame Pele dug a deep fire pit, her sister Namaka the Sea Goddess flooded the glowing embers with salt water to show her displeasure with all the destruction. The battle raged on as ocean and fire met. The Sea Goddess climbed to her windy lookout only to discover Madame Pele form thru the smoky clouds. Her steamy spirit disappeared into the crater with trade winds of island flowers as offerings."

I like this blue note! There was a hint of citrus in the first few minutes which blended into the scent. At first, it smells like a very luxurious spa, but then a masculine, almost bitter sort of scent enters. The scent becomes a unisex, blue scent that isn't too sweet & doesn't smell like room spray.

TL; DR: Unisex blue scent that doesn't smell like room spray.



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Bavarian Apfel Cider Whipped Soap


Oh wow,  I love this whipped soap formula! The texture is like thick whipped cream:

Thick & fluffy!


There's some crumbly bits in it but they're very soft and melt fast under water. And oh gods, they feel so amazing against your skin. I love good whipped soaps...it's like washing your hands with fluffy clouds.


Gaze upon the fluffy awesomeness.

And they're not drying! They leave the slightest, barest hint of dryness right after washing, but your skin feels fine almost right after. It's the same level of dryness as Haus of Gloi's bubbling scrubs -very, very slight and waayyy less than a lot of other soaps, whether indie or mainstream.

The scent's pretty true to the perfume oil -a straightforward spiced apple cider. While you're washing with it, the scent strength is about casual conversation distance, but it definitely lingers on your skin! My skin smells so awesome afterwards. I have this obsessive need to immediately moisturize after washing though, so I'm not sure how long the scent will linger on your skin.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Solstice Scents Foxcroft Collection & Ghost Body Ganache

I ordered the entire Foxcroft Collection and a body ganache from Solstice Scents some time ago! 



I finally got them from /u/minkishly (we combined shipping) and she also passed to me her Ghost body ganache since it didn't work out for her (the joys of knowing other beauty bloggers!). Anyway, I didn't get to see how the package arrived, but apparently I'm missing out since /u/speakstruth from indieknow.net posted these pictures of how pretty their presentation is!

Image courtesy of www.indieknow.net, reposted with permission from /u/speakstruth

Image courtesy of www.indieknow.net, reposted with permission from /u/speakstruth



So here are the reviews...

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Ghost Body Ganache


This is supposed to be scentless but it's definitely not scentless at all. There's a strong cocoa smell, which I personally like since it smells like actual cocoa instead of the artificial "chocolate" smell (actual cocoa smells like a dustier, more bitter version of chocolate), but people expecting an unscented lotion will definitely be surprised. I immediately messaged /u/daisyismydog since I remember her preference for unscented options.

Someone mentioned she found it drying on her. While I didn't find it drying, I didn't find it particularly moisturizing either. I really can't tell the difference after I put this on, and neither can my sister (who's forced to regularly grope me while I'm testing out body lotions). I think that's why my friend found it "drying" -if you're used to highly moisturizing body butters from other indies, this may not be enough for your skin. My skin is unfortunately spoiled, so after a while, I ended up with the dry patches on my elbows if I use this only.

The good thing is that the texture is very light, like slightly thickened whipped butter, and spreads easily. This gets absorbed really fast -in slightly under 2 minutes! Well, to be more exact, an average of 1min 47.5 seconds. Yes, I timed it with a stopwatch.

So now my tub sits in my office as my regular moisturizer since I use moisturizers as often as some people use hand sanitizers. It's so lightweight, I can put it on my hands and almost immediately start typing again.


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Perfume Oils Review


The throw's ok for these perfumes -within whispering distance with some notes wafting up to casual conversation distance. It stays this way for 1-2h, before the smell fades and can only be sniffed close to your skin. You can still smell faint traces lingering on your skin for up to 10 hours though.


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Blackburn's Parlor 

"Vanilla Waffle Bowl, Vanilla & Chocolate Ice Creams, Banana, Caramel, Whipped Cream"

Oh I definitely smell banana in this! It smells like a banana rum with whipped cream on top. I smell a sugared plum sort of smell in the banana rum, but some caramel notes turn into tart sugared plums on me. So I'm not sure what note it's supposed to be. After 25 min it's mostly sugared plums with cream. Delicious smell and I love it! Still not sure if it's what it's supposed to smell like though.

TL;DR: Banana rum giving way to sugared plums

Overview: I knew it wasn't supposed to smell like sugared plums! Violette Market's Caramel Sugar Kettle Corn also turned into sugared plums on me. I guess some caramel notes just turn into sugared plums me.


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Covered Bridge 


"Woods, Moss, Leaves, Wood Smoke, Dirt, Ozone, Fir Absolute"

This has that burnt wood smell again, only the burnt smell isn't too strong so it smells like a cologne featuring smoked wood as a note rather than something on fire. After 10 minutes, there's a masculine musk smell and a bit of a leather sort of bite to the scent, but the smoked wood is still prominent. The smell is a bit overwhelming, like a brand new leather chair in a very smoky cigar lounge with tons of wood panels.

This is Bibliotheque in Jakarta, one of the most beautiful bars I've ever seen. Unfortunately, they don't have a website and I can't find a single good-quality picture without people in it. This is actually the best picture I can find, which is a pity because it doesn't do it any justice. Their architect & interior designer are brilliant!
Image courtesy of jakarta100bars.com


After close to 2h, there's a bit of a BBQ smell to it.


TL;DR: Drowning in smoke in a cigar lounge, while sitting in a brand new leather chair.


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Maine Moon


"Crisp Fall Air, Wood Smoke, Leather Seats & Concessions of Root Beer, Popcorn & Chocolate Covered Caramels"

This starts off as a cool,  chocolate covered jellybeans smell, with a smokiness that clings close to my skin. While I don't really like the smoky scents, the smokiness in this isn't overpoweringly strong and stays close to my skin instead of wafting around, so I don't mind it.

This scent has the best milk chocolate note I've ever encountered. It smells like actual milk chocolate instead of the artificial cheap kind. And I swear I smell jellybeans, there's that jellybean smell every jellybean seem to have, regardless of flavour. I'm torn on the jellybean flavour though. For the first 5 minutes, it smells like the root beer jellybeans I usually get, but by 10 minutes, it smells more like the buttered popcorn or caramel corn jellybean flavours. There may be toasted marshmallows in there too, but now I'm just listing all the flavours I often get.


This starts drying down in about an hour, which is faster than the other SS scents. The note that lasts the longest is unfortunately the smoky note, so that's what's left on my skin as it dries down.

TL;DR: Chocolate covered jellybeans in Popcorn, Caramel Corn, & Root Beer flavours.



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Maplewood Inn

"Maple, Woods, Amber, Benzoin, A Roaring Fire & A Hot Cup of Frothy Vanilla Chai"

The maple smell is strong in the bottle but once it's on me, it's mostly a bitter smell that smells like burnt wood or coffee. There's also a wood resin bite that's floating above the bitterness and fighting it. If you power through, the bitterness calms down after 7-10 min, and it ends up smelling like fried, maple-coated, wood smoked bacon with burnt bits. This has a bitter, medicinal smell as it dries down. 

TL;DR: Fried, maple-coated, wood smoked-bacon with burnt bits

Overview: I tried this layered with the Ghost body ganache and it's amazing! It smells like chocolate covered, maple-drizzled wood-smoked bacon. Unfortunately, the chocolate smell fades the fastest and after an hour, it amplifies the burning smell that smells like balsam or Chinese muscle relief patches to some people.


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Minister

"Sandalwood, Amber, Cassia, Elemi, Sweet Smoke & Somalian Frankincense"

There's this citrus dryness to this scent that makes me think of either one of those car perfumes that comes in a tin, or Chinese dried orange/lemon peels. It looks like this:

I like snacking on them but it smells so acrid and the smell pierces your nose.
Image courtesy of www.esgreen.com


As a car perfume it's the kind that's in a yellow/orange tin that'll have pictures of citrus fruits and flowers on it.

The dry smell is the kind of dryness that makes you feel as if all the moisture is being sucked out of the air and pierces your nose. After 1h more floral but still bone-dry citrus. As it dries down, there's a bitter medicinal smell to it, so I'm leaning towards Chinese dried orange/lemon peels. 

TL;DR: Chinese dried orange/lemon peels.



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Sycamore Sugarworks 


"Caramelized Pear Tarts, Banana Apple Muffins, Spice Cakes With Rum Glaze, Cream Puffs & Maple Walnut Pastries"

Oh yum! This smells like something fruity and something vanilla-ish and edible. Either vanilla fudge or vanilla burnt toffee. I caught a whiff of banana in the beginning, but it disappears into the scent fast. Pretty sure there's caramel in this since I smell that sugared plum smell some caramels turn into on my skin.

There's also a "clean" type of smell that makes you think of white rooms and bright white lights -kind of like a See's Candies store. It's like going into a lab that specializes in making edible goodies.

Baker's bakery by Studio 180 in Tel Aviv...I may need to visit Tel Aviv just munch on those tempting pastries...
Image courtesy of retaildesignblog.net

The clean smell unfortunately gets stronger and sometimes, this smell tethers on the brink of smelling like a bathroom in an expensive office building, that's right next to a dessert store. 

TL;DR: A lab specializing in making desserts.

Overview: I'm guessing it's the pear note that starts smelling clean and almost office bathroom-ish.