Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NOTD: Sally Hansen Indi-glow

2 coats Sally Hansen Indi-glo. This one was slightly easier to work with than my last jelly. It looked decent at first but took hours and hours to dry. Even after it seemed dry to the touch it still got hardcore sheet marks. I never have that problem with any other finish of polish. I think I will soon be done with jellies for a while.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Target Beauty Box April 2017

The timing wasn't right for me to purchase this box in April so I was glad to see it was still available in May. I was interested in several products in this box. 

I always love to test out new nail products and this Sally Hansen top and base coat was especially useful since I go through those quickly. I tested it out as both a top and base and it seemed to apply smoothly and dry fairly quickly.

I am excited to try the white eyeliner soon; I think it could be a different eye brightening look for summer.

I can always use good travel sized products and they will especially come in handy now that I am planning an international vacation. Sunscreen is a must for a tropical climate and I think the argan oil will be a fabulous moisturizing treatment before I leave.

The contents of this month's box were:
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser - 0.5 oz
Daily cleanser with ceramide-3 and prebiotic Thermal Water gently cleanses without leaving pore-clogging residue.

Sally Hansen Double-Duty Base & Top Coat - 0.45 oz
2-in-1 strengthening formula preps and protects with nylon & pro-vitamin B5 for long-lasting, chip-resistant nails. 
Tip: Wear it alone between manicures for a professional look

HASK Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner - 1.57 oz
Hydrating argan oil works to restore and soften dry, damaged, chemically treated or over-processed hair.

Dr Teals Lavender Foaming Bath - 3 oz
Unwind with essential oils that help soothe the senses, relax tense muscles and provide relief from stress. 
Why not? Make it a weekly ritual for healthy body and mind. 

eb5 Facial Cleanser - 0.35 oz
Soap-free, non-foaming formula exfoliates with lactic acid and nourishes with oat protein and vitamins E & B5.

Rimmel Colour Precise White Eyeliner 
Colored liquid liner with a super-precise applicator for flawless, highly pigmented lines—bold or fine. 
Hint: Use this for a new take on the cat eye. Apply above or below for a bold look. 

Banana Boat Dry Balance SPF 30 - 1 oz
Soak up the vitamin D. SPF 30 with a matte finish makes for smart sun care without shine.

At $7 for 7 pieces I would say this box is a good value. Have you ever tried Target's beauty box? Do any of these products interest you?

NOTD: Lemming Lacquer Drink Me

2 coats of Lemming Lacquer Drink Me. I am drawn to those large circle glitter jellies in swatches for some reason. However I feel this one is way darker than in swatches. Not only are the glitters hard to fish out, but you can't barely see them through the dark purple tint of the polish. Maybe I should have tried multiple thin coats instead of two normal coats but I feared it would look patchy. Plus it already dried lumpy with just 2 coats. It's just not an easy polish to work with and the end results were not as pretty as I thought they'd be.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Reader Question Answered: Favorite Books

I love getting ideas from my readers on what sorts of posts you'd like to see! I got some great questions that I would like to take the time to answer. There is so much subject matter to cover that I decided to give each question it's own post rather than doing one huge Q&A post as I'd originally planned. This question is from my good friend Alyssa. Thanks for reading!

Q: What are your favorite "couldn't put them down" books? 
A: I've loved reading since childhood so I'd venture to say I've enjoyed thousands of books over the years. Each story is like a friend to me, making a little mark upon the slate of who I am. With so many good "friends" it's hard to pick a favorite but I will attempt to highlight some that are really important to me. If I was forced to choose a favorite book I'd probably say East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I first read it in my teens and it had a profound philosophical influence on me. One of my most favorite quotes the book is "We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is." I have always been struck by these words. It defines my worldview in relation how humans have free will and when we choose our actions we choose the concequences. Another quote that illustrates this is

If you have not read it and enjoy historical fiction that really makes you think, I highly recommend it.
Other favorite classics of mine include Jane Eyre, Sons and Lovers, Catcher In The Rye, 1984, and Brave New World.

I also love many modern works and I will mention some favorite modern authors rather than attempting to list all their works.
-Kahled Hossini: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
-Sue Monk Kidd: The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair
-Lisa See: Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower & The Secret Fan
-Jodi Picoult (everything but my favorite is The Tenth Circle)
-Elizabeth Kostova: The Historian
-Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Little House series 
-M. L. Gardner: 1929 series 
- Jen Lancaster: Bitter Is The New Black Series 
- Ken Folliet (everything, but especially The Pillars Of The Earth and The Centry trilogies)
-Francine Rivers: Redeeming Love and The Mark Of The Lion series
-Frank Peretti: (everything, but especially the Darkness series)
-Ted Dekker: (everything but especially The Circle Trilogy)
-Garth Stein: The Art Of Racing In The Rain
-Anita Shreve: everything
-C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles Of Narnia series

I'm sure I'm forgetting many more beloved tomes, but this is a short list of those that stand out to me. Have you read any of these books? Enjoyed them? What are some of your favorites and what are you excited to read next?

Have any questions you'd like me to answer? Please leave them in the comments below!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews

Woot Woot Wax Starbucks Coffee- this is a pretty realistic black coffee bean scent. Rich and robust without unpleasant skunky undertones. For a coffee scent the throw wasn't quite as strong as I would have expected, I suspect because it's soy wax. It was fairly strong for the first couple hours and then light for several hours thereafter. Overall grade: A-. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

Southern Sisters Wax Caramel Krispies- and warm and mildly sweet bakery aroma with decadent drizzle of caramel sauce. Fairly strong throw for a couple hours, becoming moderate to light thereafter. Overall grade: A-. Might repurchase.

The Scented Squirrel Alex (blue sugar & violet) - I really like this blend. A musky, cologne-y opening note, fresh and masculine.  A dusky and powdery violet note lends a bit of femininity. Moderate throw for a few hours, becoming light thereafter. Overall grade: B+. Might repurchase.

Hayden Rowe Tonka Bean- a very rich, warm and sweet bakery blend. Sweet caramelized vanilla with baked brown sugar and just the right touch of cinnamon spice. Fairly strong to moderate throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Starry Skies Kirk (cinnamon pumpkin bread, birthday cake, toasted marshmallow, vanilla smoothie) - a busy bakery blend. There are hints of pumpkin and vanilla but the cinnamon was dominant and started to smell burnt after a couple hours. Moderate throw. Overall grade: B-. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

Sniff My Tarts Marshmallow Noel Rose Jam Serendipity- I love this blend! Like most rose jam blends the fresh rose and sweet lemon sugar type notes stand out to me. The vanilla is decadent and delicious and pairs really well. The slightest hint of sweet fruitiness of serendipity lingers in the background. Strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A+.

16 Candles Pomegranate & Green Tea- a nice scent on cold, deep fruity pomegranate tones with a slight green note from the tea. However I really didn't get any throw at all when melting. I am glad I had a certificate for this brand because the performance of these soy wax melts has been disappointing overall. Since I like the blend concept I would like to try a similar scent from other vendors. Overall grade: D. Wouldn't repurchase.

Pink Mermaid Lavender Whipped Cream Wedding Cake- this is an excellent blend! The lavender is somehow both sweet and herbal; it's very pretty. The whipped cream and luscious vanilla cake notes pair really well with it. Fairly strong throw for 10 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Destination Wax London Calling- such an amazing robust black tea and tart lemon juice blend! I also get a slight herbal note, maybe bergamot? This had strong throw for about 4 hours, becoming moderate to light for the remaining of the day. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

NOTD: Pink Jelly

Color Club Strawberry Candle. I don't generally care for jellies that much; I usually like the whites of my nails to be covered. This one is really pretty though; a squishy pink with iridescent micro glitters. 2 coats.

Real Talk About Staying Motivated

So you have an idea. A dream. It may seem so exciting it even feels like a revelation. But when the novelty of your new idea wears off and excitement tends to wane, how do you stay motivated to keep pressing on and turn your dream into a reality?
You may remember in my previous post here that I discussed the fact that my husband would like to do Uber full time and that may eventually lead us to moving out of state. Those are still plans we are trying to pursue and we hope will come to fruition. However the whirlwind dreamy state of researching new cities and imagining dream houses is starting to fade as the weeks drag on and some potential obstacles present themselves.
One possible wrench in the plans has just come to my husband's attention in the past few days. In light of some past changes and some just recently to how Uber pays their drivers, we are wondering if Uber will be a stable enough company to try and earn a living wage off  of, and also whether they are an ethical company with a good enough reputation that he can be proud to work for them and to refer others to them.
Uber is a company that makes the news a lot and often not in the most flattering of lights. A google search will yeild plenty of results if you wish to research them yourself, but I am mainly referring to the fact that Uber drivers have received several pay rate cuts over the years, most before my husband ever started working for them, but just a couple of days ago they have announced a complicated new payment system that essentially allows them to charge  customers more but not pay drivers any more. You'd think this would outrage customers and drivers alike, and indeed some of the popular Uber YouTubers that my husband follows have claimed this is the last straw and are deleting their Uber accounts and encouraging others to do the same. But will enough customers and drivers protest Uber's questionable business practices to hurt their wallet and change their ways? Is this company going to keep making more decisions that ultimately bring them down? These are important questions for someone considering basing their livelihood on this business and we don't yet have those answers. It is concerning to say the least that Uber may be a company that doesn't value its customers and employees as it should, and indeed many experts are predicting it's eventual bankruptcy. But rideshare businesses in general seem to just be growing in popularity as a way to get around in large cities, so are their any other such businesses that might succeed even if Uber ultimately fails?
There are two major rideshare companies currently; Uber and Lyft. Uber is by far the largest and widest reaching, but Lyft is the only other business that is even remotely competition for Uber at this time. If Uber's popularity begins to wane as a result of it shady business dealings, will Lyft begin to rise and dominate the market? Only time will tell if this shift will happen and how long it might take, but for those like my husband looking to earn a living in the rideshare industry, the ride is sure to be tumultuous.
Just a few weeks ago my hubby did in fact sign up to drive for Lyft as well as Uber. Apparently it is a common practice for drivers to work for both companies in an effort to maximize their profits. He has been attempting to drive solely for Lyft for the past two weeks in an effort to complete a new driver goal where if you complete a certain amount of rides in the first 6 weeks you earn a bonus. It has also been giving him an opportunity to research how the Lyft market compares to the Uber market. Even though there are generally a greater number of Uber ride requests at any given time than their are Lyft ride requests, he has been noticing an interesting trend in customer that take Lyft over Uber. Lyft seems to be increasing in popularity especially amongst millennials and more liberal minded passengers and they usually cite political motives and ethical concerns as their motivation for taking Lyft over Uber. Dozens of passengers have volunteered their distain for Uber unsolicited to my husband and they don't seem to care that he drives for both companies.
If success in this industry comes down to a matter of backing the winning horse, working for two companies is definitely a good way of hedging your bets.

I am so proud of the initial steps that my husband has been taking to make our dreams of being financially independent and owning our own home come true. He has basically been working 7 days a week between his regular job and rideshare. I do worry that he is overworking himself, but he does seem to enjoy giving rides to people and also having tangible goals to work on. He has been commuting to San Francisco from time to time to see what it's like to operate in a major city, and just yesterday he made about as much in 5 hours of Lyft as he would in a full 8 hour day at his regular truck driving job. It's experiences like this that give us hope that earning a sustainable living through ridesharing is possible. Many of his rides were to and from the airport, and most metropolitan cities with similar international airports seem to be just as busy when it comes to needing rides.
He is also attempting to design a website to promote his driving businesses and generate extra income through things such as referrals, affiliate marketing, and YouTube videos. He was able to purchase a domain name and hosting platform but is having trouble with the creative design aspects of it as it is just not his forte and he doesn't have a lot of free time to work on it anyway. Any tips on how to lay out a web page would be much appreciated!

So this is the road that we are currently on; it's full of twists and bumps and is sometimes difficult to not become discouraged. The weeks and months wear on and and it can seem as though those aspirations will never be reached.  At some point we have to determine whether it will be a wise move to take the leap and leave a stabe but stagnant career and I'm not sure how long that will take. Yet no one ever accomplishes anything by giving up, so how do you stay motivated in the doldrums of a long journey? Feel free to share any tips for staying upbeat in the face of a potential wrench in the plans.

In other news I am planning two exciting trips this year, so stay tuned for several travel related posts in the next few months!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Top 5 Favorite Pedicure Polishes

Since summer is always upon us, it's the perfect time to pretty up your tootsies to wear those cute sandals and go barefoot at the beach! I have found certain colors and polish finishes work best on my toes, so I thought I'd share my favorite pedi polishes with you. I generally like creme, metallic and neon polishes on my toes. They apply smoothly, are long lasting and yet don't require too much scrubbing to remove. I also find bright colors pop most with my skin tone. I like to keep my toes painted year round and in winter I will wear some darker colors such as burgundy, but summer pedis are all about corals, turquoise/aquas/ hot pinks, and other brights for me. 

1) Sally Hansen Wavelength -
A gorgeous bright and shiny coral, opaque in 1-2 coats. I've had this polish for the better part of a decade and I still look forward to putting it on every summer! Sadly this beauty is discontinued but you may be able to find a bottle here and there, such as onEbay.

2) Wet 'N Wild Bijou Blue -
Another very old polish that is a favorite! A metallic peacock turquoise with subtle gold shimmer. A steal for .99¢!

3) Sinful Shine Alfresco  -
A beautiful and bright sky blue and a super easy to apply one coater! This is the polish that would survive a nuclear blast; it's very long lasting.

4) Salon Perfect Purple Pop -
An eye catching bright neon purple, opaque in 1-2 coats. Such a fun and durable polish that looks great with a tan!

5) F.U.N. Lacquer The Art of Sparkle  -
This is a newly discovered pedi favorite; I used to not care for glitter or holo on toes  because it was hard to apply evenly and nearly impossible to remove, but this polish worked out fabulously! I wore it for well over 2 months and other than the growth of the nails it still looked great! When I was finally ready to remove it I was able to soak them in water and it peeled right off, so not too difficult. Great coverage in 2 coats and so eye catching! The holo in the sun garnered lots of compliments.

General Pedi Tips:
-make sure you swipe your toenails with acetone before applying polish so that the polish has a clean surface to stick to.
-base coat is not required but is recommended to prevent the polish from staining the nails, especially with darker colors such as blues and purples.
-Top coat is not as important as with fingernails, but it will still help preserve the polish and give it a shinier finish.
If you get a mess of polish on the skin around your toes, you can use an orangewood stick or a small brush or q-tip dipped in remover to clean up around the nail. If that's too much bother, Justin wait until your polish is dry and the next time you bathe or shower you should be able to rub off the excess polish when drying off with your towel.

Do you have any favorite pedicure colors for summer? Do you like to do your own pedicures or have them done? Do you wear toenail polish year round or just in warm weather?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NOTD: Winter Affair & Firestorm

This shimmery burgundy is Color Club Winter Affair. It's a very pretty polish but I usually prefer this type of color in the fall/winter. I did a coat of Level Up Lacquer Firestorm over it; so sparkly!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews

16 Candles Coriander & Tonka- on cold sniff this smells amazing! It is a rich, caramelized vanilla bean with just the right touch of spice. I just don't think I like the performance of 100% sou wax though. All the soy tarts I've melted have moderate to light throw for about 6 or so hours and are rather messy to get out of the container, this one included. I love the aroma but dislike the consistency and performance. Overall grade: C. Probably wouldn't repurchase.

Starry Skies Garden Tea Party (tea & cakes, rose jam, pink sugar.) One of my favorite blends from this brand and I really love this scent combo in general. All the notes are present and it had fairly strong to moderate throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Southbound Soap Co Americana (apple pie.) Smells wonderfully of authentic cooked spiced apples and a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Fairly strong to moderate throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Baja Cactus Blossom- a wonderfully fresh, green and floral blend, perfect for spring and summer! Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Kitty's Konfections Can I Live? (Sugar Cookie dough + funnel cake.) A yummy sweet vanilla bakery blend on cold but disappointingly light throw. Overall grade: C-. Cannot repurchase.

BBW Lemon Mint Leaf 3-wick candle- I had read many positive reviews of this candle and they didn't let me down! It's such a wonderful fresh blend of herbal mint and bright lemon with just a touch of sweetness. Super strong throw that filled the rooms and a great performer. Deep even wax pool and no tunneling or drowned wicks. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

BBW Toasted Coconut 3-wick candle- this smelled delicious on cold. It was sweeter than a lot of the other warm, creamy coconut blends at BBW. It really smells like sugared coconut shavings on a baked dessert. It had moderate throw, is noticeable in the air but not extremely strong. Another good performer; no problems with it. Overall grade: B+. Might repurchase.

NOTD: Holo, Can You Hear Me Now?

Don Deeva Holo Can You Hear Me Now? I love this one! Way blingier on the nail than in the bottle. The holo is strong with this one! Super smooth to apply formula, just the right consistency and no flooding. Could have been a 1 coater but I did 2.
My only problem was my fault; I did nails a couple hours before bed and thought they were dry. Apparently they were not (haven't we all been there?) Got a couple of small sheet marks on my left hand which fortunately don't look too bad in the photos, and a terrible crease on my right thumb.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Q&A Post: Question Gathering

I don't flatter myself into thinking a huge number of people read this blog, but for those that do, have you ever had any questions for me? I would love to do a Q&A type post so please leave any questions you might have about this blog, topics of interest I've discussed, myself (within reason) or even any cool random questions you can think of in the comments below! Once I have gathered some reader questions I will do a fun answer post. Thanks for reading and playing along!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

NOTD: Purple Pizazz

I love this polish! 2 coats. Colors By Lalarowe makes amazing holos.

Scents That Won't Quit: My Favorite Long Lasting Fragrances (Part 2)

Next in my favorite long lasting scent series I would like to focus on bath & body vendors.

Taking the number one spot on my list is:

I discovered this vendor several years ago through an online bath and body chat forum and I'm so glad I did! If I could only use one body moisturizer for the rest of my life, Cocoa Pink's body butter would be it. This butter is like finally finding the perfect 3 Litttle Bears porridge temperature: "This one is just riiiight!" Both of their formulas, Coco Mango and Voluptuous are the most decadent creamy formulas that still manage to absorb quickly and are not greasy. The main difference between the formulas is that Coco Mango doesn't contain shea for those with allergies, but they feel nearly identical to me and I use either formula. Both are 100% vegan. The best thing, aside for being an absolute treat for your skin is that the fragrance oils linger on my skin for hours; I've literally never had another scented body butter last so long. It moisturizes and scent me all day; a good 8+ hours. My absolute favorite scent for this butter is Marshmallow Cake On Mondays. It's offered in 2.75 oz size for $7.88 and 4.75  oz for $14.69.
My other favorite product from CP is their Perfume Spray. Their perfume last longer on me and captivates me more than any mainstream fragrance I have tried. My favorite perfume is a dupe of a luscious vanilla fragrance called Tihota. The original by Indult costs $200 for a full bottle, but the CP dupe is dead on accurate and only $17.50 for 1 oz! This perfume lingers for 8+ hours on my skin and has fairly strong silage. I always receive compliments on it. Also offered on the site are 3.5 ml vials for $4, 10 ml for $12.55 and 2 oz sprays for $32.
One more noteworthy CP product is theirs silky soft body oil which I like in the light formula. It is a spray on moisturizing body oil that is perfect for any season and even comfortable in hot summer weather. After a couple minutes it sinks in  well with no greasy residue. The fragrance lasts for a good 4-6 hours on me. This product is not currently available on the site but I would definitely reorder it if it comes available again. Other fabulous CP products I've enjoyed includes their soft bubbles sugar scrub, a very gentle and foaming scrub, and their hair care products. The only CP product that didn't work for me was their deodorant. It wasn't right with my body chemistry and didn't defend against odor/wetness well enough.
These are my most favorite Cocoa Pink scents:
Boo Boo Lemon Noel - CP Exclusive - Lemon Curd and Vanilla Bean Noel.  It’s a wonderful creamy lemon scent.

Breakfast On The Beach - Aromatic Stacks of vanilla waffles, warmed coconut macaroons and thick buttercream swirled with melted sea salt caramel over powder sugar dusted strawberry funnel cakes.

Cinderella’s Carriage – What did Cinderella really wish for? We think it was this blend of Coconut Cream Pie with Marshmallow Meringue, Sweet Pumpkin, Spiritueuse Double Vanilla, and Vanilla Bean Noel. We think this is the REAL reason the prince fell in love, who could resist Cinderella in sexy foody?

Key West Sunrise - Toasted coconut, black vanilla, Hawaiian sandalwood drizzled with pure tropical golden honey.

Marshmallow Cake on Mondays - This scent has it all. It is our bestselling Cake on Mondays scent blended with marshmallow. Do not let the name fool you; this is still a Cake on Mondays scent only a bit softer and sweeter. Original Cake on Monday’s lovers will fall in love with this new updated version.        

Paradise Found - Cool fresh coconut water, coconut meat, tropical palm leaf and large pink hibiscus blooms.

Spun Sugar - A more realistic cotton candy blend with fresh strawberry, sugar and sweet vanilla. 

Strawberry Noel – it just keeps getting better. A perfectly balanced fresh strawberry that smells like real berries (not plasticy bubblegum strawberry), blended with VBN.

Tihota (Indult type) -essence of pure, unadulterated sugared vanilla beans with a soft hint of musk.

Coming in at a close number 2 is:

This vendor does one thing and does It superbly: perfume oils. I was introduced to the fragrance Manor by my sweet enabler friend Julie and instantly fell in love. This was like THE fragrance discovery of 2016 for me, and my love affair has definitely carried over into 2017. I would describe this scent as the richest of vanilla bean extracts mingled with freshly sawed lumber. Heaven! It has a strong sillage that radiates out from the body and lasts for a good 8+ hours. Once I used up my sample had to purchase a 2.5 ml spray vial for $8. It's a bit pricey for a sample size, but totally worth it for my holy grail perfume that is such a good performer. If I had a spare $70 to invest in the 60 ml bottle I probably would. I also purchased a vial of Rose Mallow Cream that I really enjoy as well, but I do have some other similar fragrances that are less expensive. There are many other Solstice Scents that I would love to try in the future.

MANOR* ~ Woody-Vanilla Musk, Vanilla & Glorious Aloeswood. VANILLA/WOODS/OUD

ROSE MALLOW CREAM Moroccan Rose absolute, Bulgarian Rose absolute, Marshmallow Fluff, Strawberry Nectar, White Chocolate, Vanilla, White Musk. GOURMAND/FLORAL

I don't know many indie bath and body connoisseurs who don't love Haus of Gloi. Their pumpkin butters are super popular and they're quite luxurious in their moisture but still light and fluffy and absorb quickly. I currently have 3 pumpkin butter scents in my rotation but my favorite by HoG scent by far is Satyr. This is another one of those love at first sniff fragrances for me; it's so warm and comforting yet exotic and mysterious with it's musk and spices. It's like the softest cashmere throw wrapped in a colorful Moroccan bazaar tapestry. I have it in both butter and perfume oil and it lingers 4-5 hours on my skin. I especially enjoy it in the fall and winter although I crave it at random times too. I will continue to repurchase it as needed.
My other most favorite HoG perfume oil was Coconut #3, a limited edition release that does not seem to have been available recently. Thankfully Julie knew how much I loved it and gift me a whole 5 ml vial! I think I owe many of my favorites to my fragrance loving friend who has excellent taste. But I digress, Coconut #3 smells to me like the most decadent toasted coconut and dark chocolate; like a sophisticated Almond Joy bar. I will be quite sad when it finally runs out. HoG's perfume oils run $2.50 for a sample vial and $12.50 for a 5 ml vial. The pumpkin butters are a very reasonable $4.50 for a 2 oz and $10 for a 6 oz jar. HoG also makes several other bath and body products that I haven't had the pleasure of trying yet, but I have tried and loved their whipped soaps. They are airy and fluffy with lots of lather, leaving my skin moisturized and lightly fragranced.
Here are a few of my favorite HoG scents.

Peach Mama- Peach nectar and a host of resins: offertory frankincense, styrax, copaiba balsam and ambered labdanum absolute. Warmed with cassia and a barely audible breath of black patchouli.

Satyr- Absolutely fiendish creature! And quite frolicsome: Italian blood orange drizzled with blackened vanilla.

Twice is Nice- Sweetest offerings of opulence! Buttery sugar cookie, with shavings of creamy coconut and topped with toasted almond slivers.

Vice- Steam billows rolling off a vessel of fresh made Turkish coffee, marshmallow goo tainted by graham cracker crumbs, toasted hazelnuts and blanketed in black chocolate.

Ghost Puffs- Orbs of buttery popcorn and marshmallow goo, presented on a wooden stick.

Pumpkin Eater- Cream, glowing pumpkin, rich vanilla bean and the tiniest touch of nutmeg butter.  

First Blush- Tahitian vanilla bean, white tea, lavender and peach.
Did you enjoy my favorite bath & body vendors post? Have you tried any of these products or scents? What are your favorite bath & body items? What type of products would you like to see a post on next?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NOTD: Purple Opal Dupe

I put on FP Purple Palette which looks really pretty on its own with 2-3 coats, 

but then I decided to dupe Glam Polish Much More To You Than Meets The Eye (not my pic) 

by adding a coat of Emily De Molly All The Feelings and the result was sooo gorgeous! I highly recommend this topper. I think I could wear it over almost any polish I own and it would look fabulous. Super easy to work with and dries quite smooth too.

Scents That Won't Quit: My Favorite Long Lasting Fragrances (Part 1)

I think one of the most important elements to enjoying home and body fragrances is the strength and longevity of the scent, so I thought I'd do a roundup of my favorite brands that have a lot of wonderful, long lasting fragrances.

First up, Wax! Topping my list at number one is:

(Photo Credit: Tee Brown)

One of the reasons I love SGA blends so much is that for me they've been consistently awesome. I've tried a few dozen different blends from this brand and can't think of a single one that I didn't like or that had weak throw. Most of the blends I'd describe as strong to super strong and last an average of 10 hours, some even going 12+ hours and still having fragrance the next day. That paired with the owner Julie's great communication with her customers and prompt shipping make it a winning vendor in my book. I have never had an order go over TAT, never had an item arrive damaged, nor had anything missing from my orders. She offers a wide variety of sizes for every budget too, from scent shots and pretty shapes to the popular 9 oz chunk bags and loves for a reasonable rate. Plus SGA makes some of my most favorite scents; her bakery blends are especially amazing!
These are some of my favorites I'd recommend everyone try-

(Photo Credit: Julie Johnson)
Number two on my list should come as no surprise; it is the "unicorn" of the wax world after all. I have reviewed different Glitterati scents here on my blog several times and have found many favorite blends. Despite the difficulty levels of getting hands on this wax, Glitterati has many loyal customers due to the super high quality of wax and fragrance oils and the top notch service of owner Janine. For me the vast majority of Glitterati scents last about 8-10 hours and have fairly strong to strong throw. They are cheerfully colored bits of wax heaven that are competitively priced and come mainly in scent shots, chunks and mini loaves. This is another brand where consistency in product and efficiency in shipping are key. The items I have received have always been in perfect condition and my packages always mail out the Friday after they're paid for.
Here's a list of my most favorite Glitterati blends-
Citrus & Herb: sweet basil, lime, geranium, linden blossom & cyclamen 
Lemon Meringue Toasted CoconutPumpkin Pecan Waffles Marshmallow Fireside 
Plum Tart: rich pastry, heady baked plums, and light spices
Tahiti Treat: zesty tropical fruits and berries with a very slight musk base note Tart Berries & White Tea

(Photo Credit: Julie Johnson)

 3) Candy Panda
Another popular vendor and for good reason. This company offers quite a few wax and bath & body products in hundreds of different unique scent blends. While their whipped sugar scrubs are fan favorites and I do own a few, I go through sugar scrubs sooo slowly that I've only tried 3 different CP scrub scents. While they smell and feel amazing, I'm not interested in collecting a ton of them and probably won't reorder any until I have used the ones I've got. In recent months they've also expanded their line exponentially to include loofah soaps, room sprays, body spritzers, lotions and several other body products that seem to have met with an overwhelmingly positive response from their devoted customer base. Since I have not had the pleasure of trying any of the newer items I can't comment on them at this time, but I really hope to purchase and review some in the future. For the purposes of this post I will be focusing on why I love their wax. Candy Panda offers nearly any wax scent your heart and nose could desire, and almost all the ones I've tried have performed really well. I usually get a solid 8 hours out of one Candy Panda scent shot with strong to fairly strong throw. Their wax is sold only in 5 packs of 1.5 oz cup scent shots for $6.75, which I have to admit turned me off at first. I would have liked the option to buy single shots to try a wider variety of scents for less $, but now that I've tried and discovered several favorite blends I don't mind buying the 5 packs as much because I can gift or trade some of the cups with other wax lovers. The only issue I really had with the cups is that their lids were a flimsy plastic that would often crack or come off in transit, despite the team's careful packaging. I saw recently in the Candy Panda Facebook Group that they are going to be switching to a sturdier "soufflé cup" which will hold approximately .8 oz of wax and be sold in a 5 pack for $5 (for 4 oz.) Kudos to the CP team for listening to customer feedback and solving a quality control issue!
Here are my most favorite Panda scents-

(Photo Credit: Julie Johnson)

4) The Bathing Garden
This vendor is an obvious choice for me because not only does she have many incredible and decadent blends, but she also offers up the most beautiful wax I've ever seen hands down. Her clamshells are sprinkled with some sort of magic; I have no idea how she crafts them, but her loving attention to detail is unparalleled. Plus my orders always arrive with a generous amount of freebies that are in such adorable shapes! The superb handcrafted nature of TBG wax makes it well worth the 6 week TAT, and my orders have always reliably arrived within that time frame and in perfect condition. I was at first apprehensive to order from TBG because I had read some reviews several years ago of weak throw from this vendor. But I'm glad I decided to try it for myself because if that was ever the case, it isn't a problem now in my experience. All the scents I've purchased in the last two years or so have performed very well. She offers approximately 3 oz clams for $3.75 and some smaller shapes for around $2. TBG also makes indulgent bath and body products that are very popular. I haven't ordered any of those myself but I was gifted a body butter which I adore as it has a soft, creamy texture and is very moisturizing with a long lingering fragrance. I also received a beautifully decorated and fragrant sugar scrub that I haven't tried yet. 
Here are some of my most favorite TBG wax scents:
Brown Sugar Cream Rose Bouquet - Whipped butter cream is blended with sweet brown sugar and sprinkled with sugared rose petals.
Calypso – Sea salt, vetiver, driftwood, jasmine, and coconut. I can’t stop smelling this scent…very fresh
Candied Peppermint Petals - Marshmallow peppermint crystallized over sweet rose petals.
Lavender Vanilla Custard- A strong lavender is blended with vanilla bean custard, with hints of marshmallow and caramel.
Painting the Roses Red - Butter Cream Frosting and coconut cream pie is layered over raspberries and roses.
Pearls of the Ocean – Pink sugar, suntan lotion, salty ocean, sand, fresh breezes, and mandarin.
Starlight Soda Pop – A bubbling citrus-y soda pop with vanilla and light woods.
Summer Melon & Mint - Cut melon, guava, mango, papaya, and strawberries garnished with freshly picked peppermint leaves.
The Fortune-teller – Cola drenched funnel cake, topped with butterscotch cream soda.
Victorian Midway- Spiced apple funnel cake, pumpkin frosting, and cinnamon brown sugar.

(Photo Credit: Karen Kawallek)

5) Lake Providence Lodge
Last but certainly not least is one of the kindest and most hardworking vendors I've ever encountered, with charmingly rustic wax that has blow your face off throw! Karen's wax is well known and beloved; she offers 2 oz white wax cups with brown paper trimmings for $1.95 as well as some large gorgeous molded shapes ranging from $5-$20 depending on the size. She has also recently branched out into charming metal crafts, such as custom stamped wax knives and vintage key necklaces. This is one of the most kind and courteous vendors I've ever interacted with and her packages are a joy to receive, items in perfect condition and always shipped promptly. The vast majority of scents I've tried from her have really strong and long lasting throw. My only complaint is that some of her vanilla blends have an odd undertone to my nose, but LPL offers many other scents that I thoroughly enjoy. Here are my favorites:
Breakfast at The Lodge ~ The smell of weekend breakfasts at The Lodge. Our French toast casserole, drenched in maple syrup, mingled with fluffy pancakes and sweet cinnamon rolls.
Cold Ginger Ale ~ An ice cold Mason jar filled with crisp and refreshing ginger ale, fresh squeezed lime and slices of lemon and orange. 
Evergreen and Orange ~ Sweet, sugared oranges blended with true pine and deep spruce.
Fresh Pear ~ Just like freshly sliced, tart and juicy ripe pears. This is a strong and true scent.
Glazed Orange Cake ~ A tall, sweet orange fluted cake drizzled with a rich vanilla and orange juice glaze. 
Lemon Fluff Cake ~ A rich, sweet lemon cake iced with a sugary marshmallow frosting. 
Pistachio Punch ~ A fruity and sweet blend of pistachios, ripe red cherries, juicy oranges and fresh pineapple. 
Rainbow Sherbet ~ This smells just like the sherbet mom served us that came out of the square ice cream box. Raspberry, lemon, lime and orange blended with a touch of our Strawberry makes this the perfect fruity sherbet. 
Strawberry Fluff ~ Our Strawberry mixed with our Melted Marshmallow. This smells sticky, sugary and sweet. 
Sweet Honey Cornbread ~ My Southern mama calls my cornbread “cake”.  It is nice and tall and very sweet so she may have a point! This scent smells just like a honey-sweetened, still warm piece of cornbread.
Volcano ~ An explosion of fruit! This is my own blend of a popular scent by the same name. It is a sweet mix of tropical fruit, sugared oranges, lemons and limes.

What do you think of my top 5 favorite strong and long lasting wax vendors? Have you tried and liked any of them? What are your most favorite strong wax blends?
If you enjoyed this post, please check back soon to read part 2 about my favorite long lasting bath & body and perfume vendors!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews

Can-Do Candles Coconut Milk & Lavender: this was a wonderful blend! Slightly sweet lavender with creamy coconut. Strong throw and lasted about 8-10 hours which was really impressive since this tart was well over a year old. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Cleanse Your Soul Rose Water Sugar Cookie: a wonderfully sweet and creamy blend of fresh rose and vanilla sugar cookies. Fairly strong to moderate throw for about 8 hours. An enjoyable fragrance. Overall grade: A-. Might repurchase.

Hayden Rowe Rainbows & Lollipops: a yummy sweet candy fruit type scent. Reminds me of cherry jolly ranchers or slushees. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Pink Mermaid Blue Sugar Shave Cream: this is a fabulous blend! Fresh and clean but also musky and cologne-y. Not artificial. Strong throw for about 8-9 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Hayden Rowe Zucchini Bread: a traditional warm bakery zucchini bread aroma, very yummy and inviting. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Kitty's Konfections The Tasting Room (lavender blueberry lemonade.) I really like this blend! It's unique and smells fabulous; all the notes are pleasant and blend harmoniously together. Since KK is no longer in business, I would love to do a similar custom blend from another vendor. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A.

Hayden Rowe Apricot Chamomile: a very strong and sweet apricot scent. No other notes really detected; the apricot was almost overwhelming at first but calmed down after an hour or so. Strong throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A. Might repurchase.

Kitty's Konfections Uggs & Yoga Pants (cinnamon brown sugar pumpkin cheesecake): this scent was a bit of a disappointment. Instead of the nice creamy, sweet pumpkin aroma I was hoping for, I got mainly only a weak cinnamon spice that quickly started to smell burnt. Moderate throw for about 6 hours. Overall grade: D. Would not repurchase.

Destination Wax Sea Salt & Cocoa Truffle: love this one! A rich dark chocolate cocoa powder aroma with a sprinkling of sea salt. Fairly strong throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Wilma's White Chocolate Macadamia: a yummy blend. It really did smell like the cookie. I wish it were a bit stronger; it had moderate throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: B+. Might repurchase.

Destination Wax Fresh Lettuce: I bought this one on a whim because I had read several rave reviews on it. Sometimes I do like green/fresh type scents but this one was a miss for me. It was a bit too herbal and had a strong bitter note to my nose. Honestly it reminded me of a citronella bug spray. Not for me but not intolerable either. It had pretty strong throw for about 6-8 hours. Overall grade: B. Would not repurchase.

The Scented Squirrel Fairies (jasmine, cassias, ozone, musk, rare woods and vanilla.) This was a very pretty spring floral, slightly sweet about fresh. I really enjoyed the fragrance but it only had moderate to light throw for about 6 hours. I have noticed my Scented Squirrel Wax tends to have less throw as it gets older so because I have so much wax I have slowed down on buying it. I would recommend melting this brand in the first few months after receiving it. Overall grade: B. Might repurchase.