yule 2017: ushering in the light with the Nui Cobalt Designs Crone’s Crate

Happy Yule/Winter Solstice, everyone! As you may know, it’s the shortest, darkest day of the year. But what’s exciting about me when it comes to Solstice time is, we can only rise from here! After today, the we get a few more minutes of daylight each day, and that’s not a bad thing. The holiday season is in full swing and I hope for a blessed holidays for each and every one of you.

I got a couple of surprise early Yule treats this week, and I wanted to share them with you! All of the photos taken in this post were taken with my brand new iPad Pro! B got me an iPad Pro for Yule and it along with the Apple Pencil will take me to a new place in 2018, and help me launch the brand I’ve always been wanting to launch. More to come on that!

Another beautiful Yule surprise I received this week was the Yule Crone’s Crate from Nui Cobalt Designs! Forest is a dear friend of mine and she and her husband gifted me one of their Crone’s Crate subscription boxes for the holiday. Of course, I have to share this awesomeness with you! The theme of this year’s Crates, from Samhain 2017 until Mabon 2018, is the Tarot. This high day’s theme is The Magician: archetype of initiation, empowerment, and the pursuit of knowledge. It is the electric moment of connection between consciousness and the Cosmos.

I definitely want to highlight the level of care that goes into each Crone’s Crate. When I opened the box, I was greeted with this beautiful scroll! It gives more details on what’s inside the Crone’s Crate, and where you can purchase further products from each vendor. (Bonus Patsy the cat pic!)

I peeled back the black wrapping to find this beautiful paper on the inside:

Then I peeled back THAT paper and here’s what I saw….

Okay, hello gorgeous. Look at the detail with which everything was wrapped! It was clear that Forest and her husband spent quite a bit of time on this one. Let’s dig into it!

First up is The Magician, from Arcana Wildcraft. An enigmatic and powerful blend of dewy red rose, petitgrain, bergamot, necromancer’s incense, dragon’s blood, and a shelf stained with hermetic potions. Label art by Forest Nui Cobalt. I put this fragrance on today and I am loving it. When I asked Forest her impression of it, she said, “It’s the first time you walk into your local metaphysical shop.” And she’s right. How it smells, how it feels. The resins and herbs and the hint of something truly magickal. It smells like a place, a moment, a memory.

Next up is this beautiful Magician Holiday Ornament from The Magical Druid! An elegant poplar wood ornament featuring the classic image by Pamela Colman Smith for the Ride-Waite Tarot. Perfect for the Yule tree or a year-round complement to your own sacred space. The Magical Druid is one of my favorite places on Earth. I feel so lucky that I have such an awesome magickal space in my town full of rad people – and they have the bandwidth to make beautiful things like this ornament!

I next unwrapped the Cedar Forest Soap from Honeyrun Farm, a local farm offering some pretty awesome handmade bath and body products, as well as a full array of honey and bee products. Pure, woodsy, and warm. Red Cedarwood essential oil, coupled with a hint of real Lemongrass essential oil and pure raw honey to sweeten the scent of the bar. This soap is made using the old-fashioned cold process method with beeswax and honey from the family-owned beehives at Honeyrun Farm. I absolutely love handmade bar soaps, so this will get put to good use in my home.

Next up was another Honeyrun Farm item and I just had to show off how beautifully it was wrapped. This is their Buckwheat HoneyEarthy, strong, and robust with an aftertaste that is reminiscent of molasses. It is rich in antioxidants and contains a range of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Many like to use it as an alternative to cough syrup, since it has a thick, rich texture that coats the throat and can suppress coughs. Natural alternative to cough syrup? I’m all about it! I’ll have to try this if I feel myself getting that winter malaise that seems to be going around. In the meantime, I haven’t tried Buckwheat honey, but I love all of the other varietals of Honeyrun Farm’s honey that I’ve tried so far.

The final Honeyrun Farm item was this Floating Star candle. A charming pure beeswax candle ready to float in your favorite dish for entertaining! Pure beeswax is harvested from family-owned beehives and is cleaned, melted down, and poured into star shaped molds. Beeswax has an aroma that is wholly natural and burns brighter, cleaner, and longer than other types of wax. This little guy is covered in glitter from opening the honey, but I love it! It definitely fits with the overall theme of The Magician and the Winter Solstice. I absolutely LOVE the smell of beeswax, too. Be sure to check out Honeyrun Farm for all of your bee needs!

The final few items in the box were from Nui Cobalt Designs themselves. They’re well known for their apothecary and chandlery items as well as magickal talismans, and I’m always excited to try more of Forest’s products. Included in this box were the Golden Solstice Bath Spell and Soy Candle. A light in the darkness, this uplifting blend evokes renewal, empowerment, and the indomitable human spirit. Warm mahogany and spiced sugarplum are accompanied by traditional frankincense and myrrh with a spritz of juicy pomelo. The smell of these is truly amazing, and really is a light in the darkness of winter. It’s warm and cozy but still juicy and bright. I’m going to be lighting the candle tonight at 5:10 pm when the Solstice sun sets and we’re plunged into our Longest Night.

A final item in the bag, and last but not least, is a handcrafted Mojo bag. Enchanted to brighten, lighten, and illuminate the path ahead. It is an empowering companion for a healthy and prosperous new year. I definitely will be keeping this on my altar and on my person until Imbolc hits! Let’s usher in the light!

The Crone’s Crates are available individually or in a subscription here at Nui Cobalt Designs. I think these are perfect for not only the magickal in your life, but people who like supporting small businesses too, as all of the items were handcrafted and handmade. Thank you so much Forest and Josh for the lovely gift! And a happy Solstice to all of you, my dear readers. Let’s usher in the light!

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august full moon in aquarius + lunar eclipse – sturgeon moon

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Happy Mo(o)nday everyone! As you may have already heard, August is a huge month in the lunar/metaphysical sense. We’ve got two full eclipses – today is a Full Moon lunar eclipse, and then on the 21st we have a total solar eclipse! Historically eclipses have been viewed as bad omens, harbingers of death and bad news.

This full moon is in Aquarius, the sign of humanity, authenticity, and a little bit of eccentricity. This full moon eclipse will force us to see what’s closest to our hearts and will force us to ask ourselves some pretty tough questions – what’s holding you back from going after your desires? Is it time to let go of things – be they friendships, relationships, jobs, ideas, or material things that have become toxic to you and your growth? Basically, it’s time to stop hiding emotionally – it’s time to be honest about who we are and whom we love and how brightly it is that we can shine. This Full Moon and subsequent eclipse has really had me kind of returning to my roots and asking myself what is important to me.

If you’re familiar with the indie perfume world, you know it’s very witchy-minded. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is definitely witchy-minded, and for over a decade they’ve been putting out what they call “A Little Lunacy.” Lunacy is a special fragrance corresponding to each full moon every month.

August’s full moon Lunacy fragrance is Sturgeon Moon – A month of bounty, when the fish are plentiful and the corn grows high. This is the scent of breezes passing over the Great Lakes, mingling gently with traditional lunar herbs. Sandy shores and sweet fresh water, lichen, green algae, and whitestem pondweed, with benzoin, cyclamen, moonlit musk, cucumber, blue poppy, and agave.

I decided to wear this scent today for August’s Sturgeon Full Moon in Aquarius and it is giving me all of the aquatic beachy realness I’ve needed. I spoke earlier about returning to my roots and this scent is evocative for me – I’m from the shores of the Great Lakes, after all. This smells like a beautiful sea breeze, and I can smell the scent of the lunar herbs on the air. It reminds me of summers at home. It’s almost mouthwatering to me. It’s very refreshing and invigorating and I feel like it’s got me ready for all this full moon energy we’ve got going on right now.

I purchased this from my good friends Jenn and Sierra at Crown and Tulip. They decant pretty much every BPAL fragrance and make my love of fragrance a lot more affordable – I get to try things for a reasonable price rather than blind-buying all the bottles (which I have SO done in the past. That gets expensive).

Happy Full Sturgeon Moon, and happy Eclipse season to you!

friday face of the day

Happy Friday, everyone! I was playing around with some of my indie makeup stash today and came up with a look that I really wanted to share. I’m definitely wanting to share more makeup content on here, so here ya go!

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Products Used: 

  • Urban Decay Primer Potion all over eye and undereye
  • ColourPop Cornelious in the crease as a transition shade
  • NYX Glitter primer on the lid
  • Shiro Cosmetics A Fell Voice on the Air eyeshadow all over lid, blended up into crease.
  • Crow & Pebble Cosmetics A Bushel of Wheat eyeshadow in the inner corner.
  • Mascara: Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
  • Foundation: Tarte Maracuja Miracle “foundcealer”
  • Powder: Tarte Amazonian Clay Setting Powder
  • Dabbed Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova on the high points of my cheekbones with a finger
  • Blush: MAC Blushbaby
  • Bronzer: Benefit Hoola
  • Lip: ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips in Tiny Chum

This was a really simple almost one-and-done look, but I really enjoy the ethereal look that A Fell Voice on the Air gave. I think the NYX Glitter Primer really did help that duochrome pop out as it wasn’t flashing that much on bare skin when I had swatched it earlier.

I also wish Tarte hadn’t discontinued this foundation – It is so nice for my dry skin!

Let me know what you think of the look and what you’ve got on your friday face of the day! Have a great weekend!

summer love: amazing skincare ft. under aurora

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! As I’ve mentioned before, it’s Summer Love week, and I’m showcasing things that I’m loving this summer here on the blog.

Back in May, I attended a yoga class benefiting my friends at Aunt Flow! While there, I met Tina from local skincare brand Under Aurora. I loved her setup and ingredients – really beautiful formulations using natural ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. Everything of hers is vegan with the exception of the honey in one of her perfumes.

I purchased a skincare set from her at a bit of a discount due to my blogger status. I’ve been using it quite a bit this summer and I wanted to bring you a review – because we’ve all been missing out if we haven’t tried Under Aurora! This has been my day skincare for a lot of this summer. I use a more Asian Beauty-based routine at night, but these simple and great formulations have really been keeping my skin in great condition this summer.

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First up is the Gentle Facial Cleanser. I was intrigued by the ingredients – aloe vera leaf juice, sunflower oil, rose flower water – just to name a few. This has no added scent, but smells herbal and a bit lavender-y from the ingredients inside. You massage a small amount of this onto a damp face. HOLY HECK, Y’ALL, THIS IS MAGIC. It’s gentle and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and moisturized. It removes my makeup. It doesn’t dry me out and it’s so wonderfully textured it’s an actual joy to use. I have very reactive, breakout-prone skin, and the Gentle Facial Cleanser hasn’t broken me out or exacerbated any of my skin issues.

Follow cleansing with the Balancing Facial Toner. I spritz this on damp, freshly washed skin. It’s very simply formulated – just rose hydrosol, aloe vera, and lavender hydrosol. The rose and lavender give it a nice herbal fragrance and the aloe vera keeps me from getting dry or tight, which some toners totally do to me. This isn’t my favorite product in the line, but it’s a really great way to keep skin feeling moist and refreshed.

I follow up with the Nourishing Facial Oil, then. This stuff is a real treat to use. I have chronically dry skin with a few oily/acne prone patches, and as I’ve said before, my skin is really reactive. I have to be really careful about what oils I’m using on my face as a lot of them will just break me out. What I love about this one is that it’s coconut-free! Coconut oil is used in a lot of skincare, and it just breaks me out. This is jojoba oil, rosewood oil, rosehip seed oil, and helio carrot oil. All of these oils are GREAT for the skin, and won’t make you too oily as they are sebum-balancing. The best part? It sinks in quickly, but the moisture and balancing lasts for me ALL. DAY.

About two to three times a week, I use the Brightening Facial Scrub. It’s got beet sugar, sunflower oil, coconut oil, olive butter, pomegranate extract, shea butter, rosemary, essential oils. The beet sugar in it is so fine, it’s some of the finest-ground exfoliant I’ve ever used. This will buff and polish skin to brightness, but doesn’t overexfoliate or tear skin up. Even though it has coconut oil in it, it hasn’t broken me out! This leaves a nice moisturized feeling along with the soft smoothness of being exfoliated.

You guys, I can’t recommend this enough and it’s even better that she’s local to me. I love supporting local businesses, and Tina’s made it easy with her amazing skincare.

What skincare have you been loving this summer? Let me know!

 

summer love: sixteen92 summer collection

Happy Tuesday everyone. This week I’m exploring my favorite summer products and things I’ve been using a lot this summer. sixteen92 is an indie perfume house that I recently got into when I subscribed in April to their Circle yearly subscription, which allows you to try out all of the seasonal collections (with a few goodies thrown in, like discounts!).

Since then, I’ve discovered that I really like the blends that Claire Baxter comes up with, and I’ve become a huge fan of sixteen92. The summer collection this year has been on my pulse points more than once, and today I’m sharing my review/impressions with you!

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The first thing I really enjoy about sixteen92 is their minimal branding. Sure, I love a great bottle label as much as the next person, but since these labels and bottles are simple, the perfumes really stand out for themselves. I loved sampling the Summer collection so much that I ended up buying the entire collection full-size. Here are the perfumes! The Summer 2017 collection is inspired by Greek mythology.

Erinyes: Sweet wood, golden amber, wild tuberose, nectarine blossom, lychee jam. I love Erinyes. It opens up with a very sweet and juicy nectarine blossom with just a hint of tuberose. On my skin, it blossoms into the most juicy lychee jam scent, with the woods and amber grounding it so that it’s not too sweet. This one is just so juicy.

Hesperides: Apple wood & blossom, sweet cherry, magnolia flower, clover honey (vegan), hedione. As a honey-obsessed fragrance lover, I knew that I wanted to smell Hesperides. And I get so much honey from it and for that I’m glad! This is a bright cherry honey fragrance on me. There’s the tiniest whiff of jasmine from the hedione, and there’s just the light crispness of apple blossom as well. This one is really really gorgeous, and I’ve been reaching for it more often than not this summer.

Keres: Blood orange, black iris, metallic accord, vetiver, sun-warmed musk, ISO E Super. Keres was surprising for me. On my skin, it is all metallic blood orange. I liken this one to an abandoned cabin in the woods in a summer forest. It’s darker than the others, but it’s still beautiful. The ISO E Super gives this fragrance a velvety smell that goes well with the blood orange, musk, and metallic smell. There’s just an earthiness to this that is really nice.

Moirai: Black fig, black and red tea leaves, ginger root, coconut milk, papyrus. Moirai was the one I was looking forward to most after Hesperides. I love fig scents, and I don’t think they’re usually done well. Diptyque Philosykos is one of my favorites, and it’s a perfect blend of every element of a fig tree. Moirai is very green on me, but a dark sort of green. The black fig is prominent, and it’s not sweet, but is further greened out by the tea leaves and ginger root. It’s not spicy, but it’s an earthy green. The coconut milk and papyrus give it some necessary lightness. I find Moirai pretty moody and dark, even compared to Keres.

Nereids: Surf & shoreline, driftwood, dried coconut shell, pistachio, sweet sea grasses, salt. Nereids was another surprise for me! I don’t normally love aquatic scents, I prefer heavier things and gourmands as they do better with my chemistry. And along came Nereids. It’s an aquatic gourmand – akin to standing at the seashore, eating some pistachio gelato, watching the waves come in. It’s salty and warm and the pistachio is really beautiful in this. I love this in the Aura mist so I can spritz it on my clothes and bedsheets. This is summer in a bottle for me, as it reminds me of vacationing on the Outer Banks.

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The sixteen92 Summer Collection can be found here, and there are also individual sample sizes available on the site. Thanks for reading! What are your favorite summer fragrances – or what has been your favorite summer collection thus far? Let me know in the comments.

What else do I have in store for you for Summer Love? You’ll just have to find out 🙂

summer 2017: zoya wanderlust swatches & review

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Hey everyone! This week I’m going to be posting about a lot of summer collections and things that are just encapsulating summer for me. I initially had a perfume post scheduled for today, but I wanted to get this Zoya collection up sooner than the perfume post! Today I have for you the Wanderlust collection by Zoya for Summer 2017.

As always, Zoya polishes are cruelty-free, 5-free, and vegan! What’s also awesome is that they’re made right here in Ohio, in my hometown of Cleveland. Thanks so much to Zoya for sending these my way!

On to the swatches!

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First up we have Zoya Arbor. Arbor is a fitting name, because when I hear it I think green. Zoya describes this as a rich olive green creme and I agree with their assessment on that. What I love most about Zoya cremes is that they’re so saturated and wonderfully formulated that you can usually get away with just one coat. This was the case with Arbor – just one coat with no topcoat is shown here, and isn’t it gorgeous?

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Zoya Byrdie (like the singer) is described as a muted fuchsia pink creme. This wasn’t muted at all to me, but it was definitely fuchsia pink! This one had a bit of a thinner formula than Arbor, and so I needed two coats for my swatch. As with my other swatches, this is with no topcoat as well. I have a lot of colors like this, but I think it fits in the collection quite well.

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Zoya Cora, a muted coral creme, was such a stunner for me. It was bright like it had a drop of neon in it, but was so totally wearable and I was really impressed. The formula was great, not streaky or had to deal with at all. This was JUST ONE COAT, no topcoat.

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Next up we have Zoya Esty, which Zoya aptly describes as a rich bubblegum pink. This one had the same buttery-smooth formula as the others but I found it was just the tiniest bit sheerer as well. I used two coats with this swatch, but you could definitely get away with one if you’re careful. This is two coats with no topcoat. Also not unique in my collection, but really pretty and summery nonetheless!

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Zoya Journey is a shimmering strawberry red. This has Zoya’s amazing “glass fleck” type formula, it looks like crushed up crystals on your nails. This is definitely strawberry to me, and I see red, and even gold shimmers in there. I used two thin coats without topcoat for this swatch. These shimmers have some of the best formulas – but Zoya sets a high bar with formulas anyway.

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Zoya Lois is a magenta violet creme and it was the ONE exception formula-wise in the whole collection. The above swatch is only one coat with no topcoat, but this formula for Lois was pretty bad. It was really thick, a bit gloppy, and it resulted in a thicker coat than I’d like. I’m not sure if my sample is a bad one or if it’s affected by humidity or something, but I was not a fan of the formula of this one. The color is GORGEOUS though. I wonder if this would benefit from me using some nail polish thinner.

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Next up we have Zoya Mandy, which is a shimmering berry pink. I feel like Zoya has put out a lot of these shimmery pink ones, but it doesn’t stop me from loving them when I try them. This is one coat with no topcoat – I found it a bit more opaque than the other shimmers in this collection.

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Why hello there, Zoya River. River is a shimmering cobalt blue and is very true to description! I am such a sucker for blue nail polishes and this was no exception. Two coats with no topcoat in this swatch. This is way more multi-dimensional in person than it is in this photo. It was bright and shimmery and beautiful and definitely reminded me of summer.

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Zoya Sawyer, a soft taffy orange creme, was my standout #1 favorite of this collection. I’m not usually one to gravitate towards too many oranges or corals because they can go so weird on my pink skin tone. This one was gorgeous – it reminds me of circus peanuts and the formula was AMAZING. This was two coats with no topcoat. I will definitely be revisiting this one in a manicure or pedicure!

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Zoya Scouta shimmering moss green, really intrigued me in the press release photos because it looked different than anything I’ve seen Zoya offer in a long long time, in all of my years of being a swatcher for them. When I got the polish, it certainly did not disappoint! This is a moss green with a gold shimmer, that sometimes can give it a bit of a yellowy-green look. This is one of those “ugly pretty” polish colors that I love so much. Two easy coats with no topcoat, and this is a favorite of mine.

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Next up we have Zoya Sonja, described as a summery crimson red. If Journey was a shimmery strawberry, then Sonja is a strawberry creme to me. This was ONE coat with no topcoat, and had a really beautifully smooth formula. I really like this color!

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Last but not least is Zoya Winnie, a soft watermelon pink creme. This one is really bright and vivid, and the formula was buttery smooth as well. Two coats, no topcoat. It really is a watermelon, and I don’t think that shows up in this photo. It’s not as bubblegum-y as Esty or Byrdie. It’s really gorgeous!

What do you guys think of the collection? I’m really partial to Sawyer, Scout, Cora, and Winnie! These all had amazing formulas with the exception of Lois, which I think could easily be fixed with some polish thinner. Nevertheless, this summer collection has me really feeling summery and I’ve been playing around with them all summer to bring you this review.

The collection also includes three lipsticks, which I may or may not be including in an upcoming post this week about summery makeup! 😉

These are summer in a bottle, and I highly recommend you pick them up! If you’re interested in the collection, feel free to hop on over and check them out on Zoya’s site for $10 each.

Happy Pride Month!

Happy Pride month everybody! I’ve got lots of stuff in the works for this summer. Hope you’re all doing well! As some of you may know, LGBTQ+ issues are near and dear to me. I’m all for inclusion and making sure their world has the same rights as mine.

This year, I’m marching in the Pride march on Washington D.C. It’s this weekend and I’ll be posting lots of pictures!

Meanwhile, head on over to check out my latest article on The Vinazine!