I’m baaaaack! Sihaya & Co Spring Box Review

Hey everybody! I have been away from my blog for a long time. Mostly for good reasons– my jewelry business has kept me pretty busy. I’ve been working on a new soldering technique and happily creating tons of new stuff with stones and crystals. It’s pretty fulfilling. And I’ve been prepping for the Spoutwood Faerie Festival in Glen Rock, PA, at which I will again be co-vending with Faerie Magazine, and dancing with my troupe, Transcendence Bellydance Collective (we’re billed as the Faerie Ring Dance Collective out of cheeky tradition).

So I’ve been keeping pretty busy, and just not having a lot of time to do reviews– although to be honest, I’ve been on a low-buy in general. I’ve been working so much, I’ve been doing my makeup about two days a week at best, and so buying new stuff hasn’t been much of a priority. I’ve picked up some new things here or there, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to write about them soon.

I did want to review some things that I tried recently, though– but I want to be clear that it’s a project I started, and I’m very excited about. In January, I founded Sihaya & Company, a four-times-a-year seasonal box. Focused on indie makers, it’s a gift box full of bath and body, household items, sweet treats, and other fun surprises.


The Spring box, which I am reviewing here, has come and gone, and cost $75 for goods worth nearly $100. I was so thrilled to start out the project with a group of makers I absolutely adore. It featured products from Deconstructing Eden, Villainess Soaps, Paintbox Soapworks, Blooddrop Fineries, Leccare Lollipops, Dryad Tea, and my company, Sihaya Designs. The summer box will feature new collaborators (aside from me!), but I am so in love with all of the companies that I selected that I hope to create a rotating roster of regular participants.

I did want to write up my thoughts on the contents of the Spring box, so here they are.

Deconstructing Eden contributed a 5ml perfume spray, Soft Awakening, created especially for the box. It honestly surprised me that I fell so head over heels in love with it. When Toni was telling me about the scent she was crafting, it sounded floral and aquatic– my two least favorite scent families. But I also knew to trust her– she has created many scents that I didn’t expect to like very much, but absolutely surprised me when I tried them on.

Soft Awakening was love at first sniff. It opens with a burst of lavender maillette, a soft lavender that is not at all heavy or medicinal. But what follows it is just spring in a bottle. It’s the scent of cold morning dew on a freshly-tilled field, and raindrops clinging to quivering fresh buds. It’s so incredibly realistic– this is the way hiking smells on a day after rain, that clean dirt and condensation and soft breeze smell that instantly relaxes me and brings a smile to my face. I have worn it at least six times in the month since I received it, and I anticipate wearing it all through the sticky summer months. Even though it was created for the box, Toni has the option of releasing it in her own collections if she so chooses, and I really hope she does, because it’s just that great. It’s a real hit for people who love fresh scents– it reminds me of a springtime version of another favorite DE scent, Anael. So if that sounds like something you’d like, be sure to tell her!

Paintbox Soapworks contributed a 2 oz guest soap, Song of the Lark, also custom made for the box. It is a two-color soap; the bottom layer is a lovely lavender, and the top, a beautiful peach dusted with golden shimmer. The listed notes are “The soft air of dawn, flowering bulbs, sweet earth.” To my nose, it’s a bouquet of soft pastel floral notes. The “earth” note isn’t as prevalent here as it is in some of Hayley’s other earthy blends, like Hiraeth or Potting Shed In A Deluge, two of my favorite PBSW scents to date, but it’s there, softly underpinning the florals. I can’t really tell you what the florals ARE, but I can tell you what they probably aren’t– I don’t smell rose, gardenia, jasmine, or carnation. Overall, it’s a clean floral, just a touch powdery, and not at all heavy or cloying. The formula is Hayley’s glycerin formula, softly moisturizing, and so silky.

Villainess contributed one of their mainstay sugar scrubs, Jai Mahal, in the Smooch formulation. The notes are “4 rich vanillas and tonka, Mysore sandalwood, bourbon and coconut. Expensive woods, incense and imported spices – cedar, amber, myrrh, cardamom and nutmeg.” It’s a definite crowd pleaser of a scent– the rich vanillas blend so seamlessly with the sandalwood and spice notes that it stops short of dessert-y, while still remaining an incredibly sexy gourmand. I love the Smooch formula, too– this particular one is middle-of-the-road in scrubbiness, and lathers a little bit. It’s such a lovely indulgence, and the one I almost always recommend to folks looking to try Villainess, so it made a great addition to the box.

Blooddrop created a box-exclusive linen & chamber spray, Douceur. It is described as a “gentle waking blend of powdery notes and florals, blackberries, sweet citrus, and lemon herbal tea.” When I spray it, I definitely get the powderiness loud and clear– very much like baby powder. I get a little bit of blackberry sweetness as well, and just a touch of lemony citrus. Overall, it’s a gentle smell like the cap of a baby’s head, and it’s a good choice for linen spray if you’re the type to need help with a restful night’s sleep.

Dryad Tea contributed a trio of deluxe tea samples in loose leaf form. Spring Sprite is “black tea and the kiss of spring blueberry.Mermaid’s Promise is “green tea with vanilla, warm chocolate, and anise notes.Moonlight Grove is “rich black teas laced with light spice and warmth. Perfect for Winter, giving way to Spring.” Of the three, Moonlight Grove was a favorite, as I am a chai girl. It wasn’t a chai, but the delicate spices were perfectly balanced, and the richness of the black tea stood up to milk, my preferred way of drinking tea. Spring Sprite was best without milk, and with a little bit of honey– that way the blueberry really stood out! Mermaid’s Promise was surprisingly tasty, as I am neither a green tea drinker nor an anise lover. The chocolate and vanilla added enough of a gourmand flair that even I liked it!

Leccare Lollipops sent a selection of four lollipops for the box, and even made them with special vegan flavorings to approximate honey and marshmallow. The flavors I received were Lavender & Marshmallow, White Peach & Rose, Marshmallow & Hibiscus, and Marigold. I loved all four, but of them, Marshmallow & Hibiscus was my most favorite. Marigold had a bit of a citrus lemon flavor. White Peach & Rose and Lavender & Marshmallow delicately balanced the flavors so that neither was soapy at all, but they still felt very lush. Each box got two lollies, and I was so very pleased with their inclusion.

As for me, I created petite owl pendants in the box– 16mm painted cabochons on an 18″ sterling chain. I did the owls in petal pink, sky blue, and mint green.


And, since I wanted the inaugural box to really be something special, I added a trio of mini travel candles, 4 oz each. I blend the scents for my candles by hand (ie, I do not use stock scents), and overall I was very happy with the three I ended up with.


(Those are the candles before I trimmed the wicks.)

Lavender & Cream: I know lavender can be major hate note for people if it’s too strong, so I made something that fit my idea of lavender silk– I cut the lavender with a young coconut note (which doesn’t smell like coconut the way we Westerners are used to smelling it) to give it a very smooth, soothing feel, and blended in a milky note that was fresh and not at all sour. So it felt very silky overall, and not “perfumey” like some types of lavender can be.

Antique Sandalwood & Madagascar Vanilla: My original scent profile for this blend in prototype was to achieve a non-sweet vanilla (because in a candle, that can very quickly get cloying and headache-inducing),  blended with a very woody sandalwood. I had originally envisioned the blend to be more vanilla than sandalwood, but one of the sandalwood notes I tested was just STELLAR, and so I decided to make it the dominant note. It ended up a very rich, warm sandalwood blend with a dry vanilla pod note– much more vanilla extract smelling than sweet bakery vanilla. I was thrilled with how it turned out.

Ginger & Wild Peach: This was overall the scent I was the most worried about in the blending process, and I tried three separate ginger notes to get the right one. Ginger is a weird one, and it can either be too aggressively spicy, or it can be weirdly soapy, depending on the source. I wanted a baking spice ginger, but one that wasn’t diluted with cinnamon or cassia, so I was pretty picky about my ginger. For the peach, I actually ended up blending two different peach notes– mostly I used a farm-fresh peach note that smelled more like peach skin than peach juice, but I also blended in a bit of a peach candy note to give it that sweet juiciness to keep the ginger from taking over. The final result was totally mouth-watering, and I am definitely keeping the recipe so I can release this again in the future. I loved it so much.

So that was the first box! The second box will go up for pre-sale the first week of May, for shipment by the Summer Solstice. The theme is Forces of Enchantment, and it will retail for $60 or under. I am REALLY excited– fairytales and magic are among my absolute favorite themes. Also, look at the promo art, by Merle Pace Arts:


I’m practically giddy about it. I will be releasing a pre-order for a candle trio at the same time, to be based on lore of faery queens: Titania, Mab, and Nicnevin. They will be able to be purchased separately, or included in the purchase of a Summer box.

If you’re interested in keeping up with Sihaya & Company, you can visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or search the #SihayaAndCo hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. I’ll be releasing more information about the box’s contents and contributors as we get close to the May pre-sale date.

It’s my aim to create a consistently stellar box and provide a great platform for the indie companies I love, so if you love indies, too, be sure to check it out!

Femme Fatale – Hundred Years Winter

My second attempt at getting my greedy mitts on this shade was a success!  I immediately craved Hundred Years Winter from the moment that Femme Fatale posted preview shots of their Narnia-inspired nail polish collection. Unfortunately, they had to suspend direct sales to the US for a little bit, and the first run of US stock at Color4Nails sold out lickety-split. But I was patient, and I grabbed it on the restock– the last restock for this shade, as it turns out. So if you want this color, now’s the time!


The shade is a dusty plum mauve with strong aqua green shimmer. It’s like Fyrinnae’s Witchcraft lipstick in nail polish form. It also reminds me quite a lot of Takko Nails’ Wanderlust, although that is a bit cooler toned in terms of the base– it’s a little greyer, a little less mauve. And where Wanderlust is a jelly, this is– I don’t quite know how to explain it. A squishy cream? I own a lot of Femme Fatale polish, and this is by far the thickest one I’ve tried. It was a two coater, but I had to be careful not to disturb the first layer when I applied the second.


Anyway, it’s quite lovely, even though I found the formula a little fussier than I usually expect from Femme Fatale. It makes a GORGEOUS Autumn neutral-with-a-kick. I kind of want to do some nail art over it, now that my nails have begun to recover from a bad break I had a few weeks ago.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next few collections by Femme Fatale– I know they have a Dune collection coming out in a few months, and that is DEFINITELY on my radar!

Aromaleigh Swatches, featuring Gorgon!

Today, I have for you a handful of swatches from my most recent Aromaleigh order. I placed the order specifically for the Gorgon lip gloss, but ended up grabbing a few shadow samples while I was there, too.



In the tube, Gorgon looks like a dark, cool-toned purple with very strong aqua green shimmer. It looks a bit intimidating. But fear not! It applies much lighter. Continue reading

A Whole Bunch of Fyrinnae Swatches!

I have lots of swatch posts building up in my backlog. This one contains my two most recent Fyrinnae orders, including a handful of shadows, plus Witchcraft & Wizardry lip colors.

Here’s how I did my swatches for this round, and, aside from my yet-to-have-been-posted swatches, I’m probably going to be doing going forward: the top row is bare skin. The middle is over a black liner, to show duochromes. The bottom is over primer (Too Faced Shadow Insurance).

The first batch are some of  the Exquisites, which are basically very sheer, chunkier multichromatic sparkles that look best layered over other colors, although I’ve worn them multiple times now over lighter shades just for some shimmer, and they look great that way, too. Note: you will need some kind of sticky base (Pixie Epoxy, Glitter Glue) to keep the sparkle from raining down your face.

Princess For A Day, Beyond This World, Elegant Revelry, Fantasy Creatures

Princess For A Day, Beyond This World, Elegant Revelry, Fantasy Creatures

Continue reading

Sixteen92: Scent Assortment Review!


Hey all! I have a random sampling of Sixteen92 scents to share with you. I also bought one of the detangling sprays, but haven’t used it enough for a proper review, so I’ll hold off for now.

I purchased seven of the 2ml samples, which are longer than most companies’ samples. Here’s a comparison pic with their freebie sample size vs their 2ml sample. Their freebie is the same size as lots of samples, like Possets and BPAL Imps’ Ears.

Free sample vs standard sample size.

Free sample vs standard sample size.

Onto the scents!

Black Sugar – Brown Sugar, Red Berries, Caramel, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Dirt, Cauldron Smoke, Cocao Absolute

Upon first application, I got caramel, vanilla musk, and dry cocoa powder, with a fleeting smoky top note. It’s a sexy, sultry gourmand– a slightly darker take on the Pink Sugar concept.

Eternal Return – Peat moss and damp garden soil, tomato leaf, beetroot, grass, herbs, lavender spikes, galbanum, sun-warmed oak bark

Dirt, grass stains, and tomato leaf, very herby. Like an herb garden after a rainshower. I really like tomato leaf as a note in the summertime, as it doesn’t get overwhelming, and it’s a nice break from heavier, sweeter scents. That said, this one had the weakest sillage for me, and stayed very close to my skin.

Paper Moon – Soft vanilla musk, benzoin, oakmoss, trailing ivy, peach blossom, rose 

This scent is all pale vanilla musk and strong oakmoss. Very soft and muzzy. A little bit of peach blossom at a distance, but after about a half hour, I get only the oakmoss with a slightly resiny vanilla base. This one stuck around about twice as long as any of the other Sixteen92 scents I tested, so it’s a good thing I love oakmoss!

Salem – Damp leaves, church incense, Italian leather, dry birch woods, clove bud absolute, bonfire smoke

Wet, it’s smoky insense, heavy on the clove, with bits of leaf litter and leather in the background. Portentous and atmospheric. Very witchy. There is a smoky note that emerges, but it doesn’t have that warm, comforting sense of a bonfire. It’s got a sense of– finality. A working done. Blackened pages. Burned, old wood. Stays very clove heavy throughout its wear. I really liked this one, and I’m going to pick up a bottle of it for my trip to Salem in the fall!

Southern Gothic – Mandarin Orange, Apple, Coconut Pulp, Southern Magnolia, Jasmine Sambac, Balsam, White Sandalwood

An expertly blended scent– no one note dominates. Mostly I smell magnolia rounded by coconut, but not sweet coconut– the actual, unsugared flesh. A little bit of the dryness of sandalwood comes into play, and overall, this is a close-to-the-skin, work appropriate scent. Soft and comforting without being heavy. After a while, it almost smells orris-y, with a powdery jasmine note. I’d say this is a good starting floral for most floral haters, because it’s never cloying or funereal.

The Afterparty – Chocolate espresso truffle cake with marshmallow filling topped with dark chocolate ganache

This oil is all super dark chocolate marshmallow. Not marshmallow as in gooey-sweet, but marshmallow as in “I am smelling an actual chocolate marshmallow.” It’s not too much. I get a little bit of espresso, but mostly it’s dry dark chocolate– almost a cocoa powder type of chocolate. Like chocolate lava cake paired with coffee.

The Beautiful & Damned – Sparkling pink grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry and currant with soft violet, gardenia and vanilla absolute 

I get mostly berries and currant to start. No tart grapefruit, no florals. A very realistic swirl of red berry. I liked that it was not super sweet. A lot of times berry scents are, and it becomes quickly overwhelming. This doesn’t do this, which makes it a nice choice for berry lovers.

The Masquerade Party – Spiced pumpkin cake filled with toasted pecans and topped with maple buttercream

When first applied, I got a strong hit of pecan, with maple hovering subtly over cakey notes. It’s sweet, but not a total sugar rush. The pecans drop off after 15 minutes or so, and it’s a sweetly frosted spice cake. Nothing about this smells synthetic, and the notes combine to create a realistic pastry case scent. My skin really amps sugar, so after about an hour, it was mostly maple frosting one me.

Swatch post! Indie Iridescent Purples

Hey all! This is a quickie swatch post to include recently-released iridescent purple shades, as well as some similar ones in the color family for comparison. I plan to have full-face shots of Witchcraft, Wizardry, and Gorgon soon (Sorceress and Faerie Wings have already been reviewed), but I wanted to get the swatches out now for anyone thinking of getting them. All shots were taken in diffused natural lighting on an overcast day.

So, without further ado:

Fyrinnae Witchcraft, Fyrinnae Wizardry, Aromaleigh Gorgon, Darling Girl Faerie Wings, Notoriously Morbid Sorceress

Fyrinnae Witchcraft, Fyrinnae Wizardry, Aromaleigh Gorgon, Darling Girl Faerie Wings, Notoriously Morbid Sorceress

Fyrinnae Witchcraft, Fyrinnae Wizardry, Aromaleigh Gorgon, Darling Girl Faerie Wings, Notoriously Morbid Sorceress

Fyrinnae Witchcraft, Fyrinnae Wizardry, Aromaleigh Gorgon, Darling Girl Faerie Wings, Notoriously Morbid Sorceress

Bare lips, if you prefer a shot for pigmentation.

Bare lips

Bare lips

Darling Girl Faerie Wings 3D Balm Gloss: the least pigmented, a slightly grapey gloss with pretty but subtle blue sparkle. A very wearable lip. Low fuss.

Darling Girl Faerie Wings

Darling Girl Faerie Wings

Aromaleigh Gorgon: a nicely pigmented, mid-opacity grape purple with noticeable green shimmer and pinkish tones (on me). Definitely not as dark-looking as the tube. Non-sticky and very pretty.

Aromaleigh Gorgon

Aromaleigh Gorgon

Notoriously Morbid Sorceress Mystic Matte:  Full-face here. A pink-leaning mauvey purple with very noticeable blue shimmer. The matte makes it really stand out. This lipstick continues to be my jam.

Notoriously Morbid Sorceress

Notoriously Morbid Sorceress

Fyrinnae Witchcraft: A plum with brown undertones and aqua shift. Very wearable, and nice for fall.  Nowhere near as dark as Wizardry, and the shift is a little more muted. Smells like vanilla, decent formula. Not waxy, not stiff, but not slippery-creamy, either.

Fyrinnae Witchcraft

Fyrinnae Witchcraft

Fyrinnae Wizardry: A cool-toned dark purple with a brown undertone, and bananas aqua blue shift. Patchy as all get out on the first layer, evens with a second. Very gothy.

Fyrinnae Wizardry

Fyrinnae Wizardry

Bonus shot: Fyrinnae Witchcraft tube!

Fyrinnae Witchcraft

Fyrinnae Witchcraft

What a disappointment: Lunatick Labs Hocus Pocus Palette

I ordered the Lunatick Labs Hocus Pocus palette almost without thinking. I mean, look at this packaging. It’s so spookily awesome:

Lunatick Labs Hocus Pocus Palette

And the colors appeared to be perfect for me– a good mix of Halloween brights I could use to break out of my normal shade range. AND A BAT MIRROR, YOU GUYS.

Lunatick Labs Hocus Pocus Palette

I’d heard good things about Lunatick’s lipstick shades from bloggers I trust, and so I took the plunge on this palette, which is named after one of my favorite movies of all time, Hocus Pocus. Here are the shades:

Sacrifice, Lime Lagoon

Sacrifice, Lime Lagoon

Phantom Craft, Omen, Pumpkin Queen

Phantom Craft, Omen, Pumpkin Queen

Unfortunately, the packaging was, by far, the best thing about this total dud of a palette. I haven’t been this let down by a product in a long time. I would go as far as to say that the performance of these colors was so abysmal, I would consider the site swatches to be very near to false advertising. Continue reading