Bath and Body by Providence Perfume Co.

Apricot Blossoms

Providence Perfume Company has branched out into the realm of bath and body products which came as a very pleasant surprise to me. I knew nothing of this development until a box filled with samples of body lotions and shower gels landed on my doorstep. I’m not inundated with press packages like many bloggers, especially since I’m on a bit of a break,  but I get a few, so I don’t normally get too excited over these things. This was an exception. When I lifted the top off of the box, I was truly thrilled and couldn’t wait to give them all a try knowing full well I would want to share my thoughts with all of you.

There are five scents in this bath and body line: Stonefruit & Ylang, Sandalwood, Fern, Gin & Tonic, and Chai Cocoa. Stonefruit & Ylang is the standout for me, hence the image of apricot blossoms above.

Regarding their ingredients, the shower gels, body lotions, and hand creams are 100% natural and contain 90-97% organic ingredients. The shower gel is sulfate free and is infused with organic aloe juice. The lotion is made with olive, aloe, coconut and jojoba oils, while the hand cream boasts shea, kokum, mango and cocoa butters.

As you would guess from such high quality ingredients, these products feel wonderful on the skin. The lotion is lightweight and melts into the skin immediately. It provides excellent hydration and leaves your skin feeling smooth and soft. The hand cream is thicker of course, and takes a little more time to fully absorb, but is by no means greasy and is a very lovely treat for dry winter hands. The shower gel is very mild and non-drying, and doesn’t lather up a great deal on its own. I used it with a shower pouf to augment the suds which worked very well, and the scent from all of the five fragrances filled the shower beautifully but did not linger on my skin afterwards.

As I mentioned, Stonefruit & Ylang is my favorite. I did not receive a sample of the hand cream in this scent, but the lotion is fantastic. The fragrance lasts for hours and is juicy apricot perfection. It’s ripe and floral with an indolic tang that bursts when you first apply the lotion (or suds up in the shower). After the scent settles on your skin, ylang’s tropical blossom-like quality adds to the sweetness of the fruit, creating such lushness that it is hard to believe that it came from a small application of lotion on one hand! Stonefruit & Ylang is truly a fragrant experience, and I can only imagine that using it all over one’s body would be truly intoxicating.

sandalwood

Sandalwood is my second favorite, as it’s smooth with just the right interplay between creamy and dry. I like that it’s not too overpowering and find that it layers beautifully with Stonefruit & Ylang. As for the other fragrances, Gin &Tonic is a lighthearted lime with a floral twist; Chai Cocoa is a dark chocolate confection laden with cardamom and ginger; and last but not least there’s Fern, which will knock the socks off any oakmoss-chypre loving perfume nerd out there.

gin and tonic

These are all very reasonably priced for such gorgeously and botanically perfumed body products. $24 for the hand cream (3oz), $36 for the body lotion (9oz) and $30 for the bath gel (9oz). Available at ProvidencePerfume.com

Samples are also available.

Happy New Year + Acure Day Cream Review

robin

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’d like to say that one of my resolutions is to start posting on a regular basis again, but I’m not one for resolutions. I will say in earnest though, that I do hope to post more in the new year, and it feels good to be here now, sharing my newest find with you all.

acure

Prominently printed on the box and tube of Acure’s Day Cream are the ingredients gotu kola stem cells and 1% chlorella growth factor. The former is supposed to protect your skin’s hyaluronic acid and provide firmness, while the later is purported to support collagen fibers while providing antioxidant benefits. I can’t say I noticed anything that dramatic after a couple months’ use, but I have enjoyed its efficacious hydration and lightweight texture.

acure 2

Acure Day Cream is less of a cream and more of a lotion in terms of its feel on the skin. It absorbs immediately and wears very nicely under mineral powders, tinted moisturizers and foundations. It has a very light orange scent that dissipates after 15-20 minutes, and I imagine this might be irritating only to those who dislike orange scents and for those with a strong aversion to scented face products. (I am one of those people who prefer unscented skin care, and this did not bother me at all).

Considering the lightweight nature of Acure’s Day Cream, it seems best for people with combination to dry skin, and probably would not provide enough hydration for very dry skin. Although, it might be a nice option for very dry skin in humid climates during the summer and the orange scent would be refreshing!

I bought my tube while it was on sale at Whole Foods. I was out of my usual moisturizer, Dr. Hauschka’s Quince Day Cream, and felt the urge to check out less expensive alternatives. I wish I could say that I love the Acure option as much as I love my Quince Day Cream, but I don’t. I find the Quince Day Cream to be a little more of everything for me. It moisturizers a little better, it sinks in a little better, it feels better, and even though it’s quirky, it even smells a little better. But having said all that, the Acure Day Cream is an excellent daily go-to moisturizer and just might be a little more of everything to you.

Acure Day Cream is $18.99 for 1.75oz. At Whole Foods, acureorganics.com 

Ingredients: Organic Curoxidant Blend (Organic Euterpe oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Calendula officinalis (Calendula), Organic Matricaria recutita (Chamomile), Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Aspalanthus linearis (Rooibos), Organic Aloe Barbensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Organic Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE (vegetable derived), Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Infusion of Organic Calendula Officinalis Flower in Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Glucono Delta Lactone (fermented Sugar), Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Stem Cell Culture, Marrubium vulgare (white horehound) stem cell culture, Echinacea stem cell culture, Fermented Resveratrol Extract (Probiotic), Organic argan oil, CoQ10, Olive Leaf extract, Organic Chlorella pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Citrus Reticulata (Red Mandarin) Oil, D-Alpha Tocoperyl Acetate (Vitamin E), Organic Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud Oil

Photos of Acure Day Cream are mine. New Years Image from The Graphics Fairy

Thoughts on Mother’s Day

iris bouquetMy older son went to an iris farm outside of Portland yesterday. He had a sleepover at a friend’s house, and in the morning his buddy’s dad drove them to Salem and I’m assuming they went here. When I woke up this morning, this enchanting bouquet awaited me at breakfast and their delicate but delightful aroma warmed my heart almost as much as my boys’ hugs and excitement.

But this post is not a humblebrag about my charmed life as a mom. I wasn’t going to post at all actually. After I read Anne Lamott’s piece about Mother’s Day on Salon.com (thank you to IndiePerfumes for posting it on FB) I started to think more about all of the expectations around the day. Ones that aren’t met, either by us or for us. I thought about those who have lost their mothers literally or figuratively. Those who have lost children, or who have had difficulty in having children. As a midwife, I have to break the devastating news to women and couples quite frequently that the pregnancy they have been nurturing is no longer viable. I just had to tell a couple this last week. It’s a lot to bear on this day. This is a day that carries a lot of weight.

These irises look like they carry a lot of weight too. Their petals appear worn and seem like they’ve lived a thousand lives. The light pink ones look like stained vintage silk and the dark burgundy ones take on the appearance of old thick velvet. And for all of their beauty, there’s a sadness to them that’s apropos for Mother’s Day, which for me, holds a bit of both in its hand today.

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2012 FIFI Indie Award Top Five Finalists

Visit the FIFI Awards Website for the official announcement of:

2012 FIFI “INDIE” AWARD TOP FIVE FINALISTS

The five finalists are:
Carner Barcelona “Cuirs” – Min New York
Come L’Amore, Bois 1920 – Bois 1920 (Perfume Holding Corp.)
Miller Harris La Fumée – Miller Harris
Odin New York 06 Amanu – Foundry NYC
Siberian Snow by D.S. & Durga – D.S. & Durga

Congrats to the nominees!

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Beauty Bloggers' Auction to benefit Doctors Without Borders

I am so excited to have been asked to join forces with so many fantastic beauty and perfume bloggers- organized by Karla Sugar- for this amazing charity auction. Head on over to beautybloggers.org and feast your eyes on the wonderful items available to bid on. You can read more about the auction here and please visit the Doctors Without Borders website to learn more about the medical care they provide around the world.

My donation is a full bottle of Strange Invisible Perfumes Tour D’Ivoire (save for two spritzes needed for reviewing purposes) that I bought on my last trip to Los Angeles. This 1.7 oz bottle is engraved with 22 karat gold and is gorgeous to look at and experience on your skin. Check out the auction page for a mini-review.

As for me, I’m ready to bid on The Non Blonde’s Best of the Best: Eyes and Messy Wand’s Le Metier de Beaute Modernist Merlot Kaleidoscope. We all have to wait until November 28th, but there’s no waiting necessary for ogling and wishlist making.

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What I’ve been doing this week.

 

Unfortunately I still have this blasted cold- now sinus infection- so my week is reflective of that state. Here it is:

Drinking lots of tea. My favorite right now is Smith’s White Petal. All I need to say is, heavenly osmanthus.

Making soup in the slow cooker. Here’s a really good recipe for Italian Sausage Soup.

I’ve managed to create a new addiction. Have you found Pinterest? It’s amazing. I’ve spent hours and hours there this week. Follow me if you’d like.

Did you know Poppytalk Handmade also makes for a splendid time suck? I’ve spent a few hours over there too. I’m trying to figure out which Nest Pretty Things I need the most.

My new BFF is my DVR. I’m all caught up on Pan Am which has turned out to be a terrific Mad Men substitute. Love the costumes, good acting and the story lines aren’t half bad. I just can’t get over not being thrilled with the casting of Christina Ricci.

Of course, I’ve also spent time getting caught up on my favorite blogs and here are a few highlights:

Another Perfume Blog’s “get to know me” post. I loved it. I want to do one too.

I am one of many NST Angela fans, and I ate up every word of her Bottega Veneta review. It got me stomping my feet in the middle of Nordstrom’s to hasten its arrival. That’s an exaggeration. I didn’t do that. But I imagined it, and I will do so once I feel better.

I really enjoyed Olfactorama’s review of Tania Sanchez and Luca Turin’s new book “The Little Book of Perfumes”. I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t even try. I’ll link to it instead.

And finally, Nathan Branch published another installment of the series, “Letters to a Fellow Perfumer: Mandy Aftel & Dawn Spencer Hurwitz”. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the intelligent, creative, and intriguing process of these two perfumers.

Have a lovely and fragrant weekend!

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The Clarimonde Project, Part I

Is she from heaven or hell? Is she an angel or a demon? Perhaps both, considered Romuald, a priest who just moments before his ordination became fascinated with a goddless-like woman sitting in the congregation. She was radiant and wildly beautiful with hair like a river of gold and sea green eyes. Yet, even though he was utterly riveted by her, Romuald proceeded with his vows to become a priest of the lord, during Easter week no less.

For a full year, Romuald was haunted by his desire for Clarimonde, his worldly obsession. While he fulfilled his pious duties of prayer, fasting and tending to the sick and dying, he ruminated on the memory of her with a bereft heart.  But that would change one night when a horseman summoned Romuald to Clarimonde’s palace. She was on her death bed and he was needed for “matters related to holy calling.” Once there, he found Clarimonde lifeless in her chamber but as lovely as he had remembered. Overcome by grief he shed tears upon her cheeks and kissed her- which brought her back to life.

This miraculous occurance sent Romuald into a coma-like state for three days. He awoke to stern warnings from his abbot, Serapion, to do away with all thoughts of the evil temptress, Clarimonde.  Romuald did not heed Serapion’s advice. She came to him that night, a vision wrapped in dazzling white linen and spoke the words, “love is stronger than death.” He declared his love for her, and confessed it to be stronger than his love of God. And so began his nightly affair with Clarimonde.

There were now two men within Romuald, “a priest who dreamed nightly he was a gentleman” and “a gentleman that dreamed he was a priest.” As the gentleman, he was Clarimonde’s devoted and faithful lover. He lived in her Venetian Palace decorated with Titians and sumptuous fabrics of velvet and damask. His life there teemed with poetry, music, and worldly pleasures.

Whether it was reality or fantasy, Romuald led a double life. The tension between piety and debauchery is palpable in this captivating tale and speaks to the duality within all humans. But what I found even more salient within Romuald’s narrative, was how similar his feelings were for the church and then for Clarimonde. Romuald was nearly ecstatic on the day of his ordination as he waited with impatience and joy for the moment to finally arrive. “Never did a betrothed lover count the slow hours with more feverish ardor,” Romuald explained. “I slept only to dream I was saying mass.”

When he first gazed upon Clarimonde, he fell instantly in love with her, with a religiosity to rival the most devout priest. “She breathed her will into my life… I no longer lived in myself but I in her and for her.” He could have been speaking about God in such a manner, and actually was, just moments prior.

So what does this story have to do with perfume, you might wonder. Currently, it has everything to do with perfume! Lucy Raubertas of Indie Perfumes has ridden passionately through the blogosphere, snatching up perfumers and bloggers to join her in a chamber of Clarimonde inspired creations.

Perfumers Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes, Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes, Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Perfumes, Monica Miller of Skye Botanicals, and Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl of Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume have crafted Clarimonde perfumes that I will review in subsequent posts.

I listened to Clarimonde, a short story written by Théophile Gautier in 1836, via Librivox, and was entranced at word one. It is read by Joy Chan whose voice lends itself perfectly to this devilishly romantic thriller. I won’t reveal the ending, even though many of you are already privy to its conclusion. Fair warming, if you head over to the blogs of my fellow participants, Lucy Raubertas, Sheila Eggenberger, and Monica Miller, you will discover the dark outcome, but it’s worth it. Keep an eye on the blogs of Jade Dressler and Beth Schreibman as they will be contributing as well. And if you’re one who doesn’t mind a spolier, also stop by LostPastRemembered for a perfumed wine recipe to accompany this beguiling yarn.

The Clarimonde Project Part II
The Clarimonde Project Part III

Images: Autumn by John Atkinson Grimshaw and Choosing by George Frederic WattsShare