Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sept. 28 - Skateland (movie)

Director Anthony Burns and screenwriter brothers Heath and Brandon Freeman tell the story of 19-year-old Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez), who finds his life at a crossroads when the Texas roller rink where he works is forced to shut its doors. Set in the early 1980s, this is a coming-of-age tale in which the hapless but hopeful protagonist must contend with his parents' divorce, shifting friendships and making choices on the path to adulthood.

I never would have heard of this movie if not for seeing it on a Twilight site I go to.  Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen) is in it.  What made me add it to my Netflix list though is that it's set in the '80s and I'm all about that.  So we watched it last night and it was . . . ok.  I think this would make a really good book but as a movie it just wasn't exciting enough, or strong enough.  I don't mean exciting like car chases (there was one) or gun fights or robots or spy action.  No, I mean it was just sort of a blah blah look at the lives of these people.  It was a pretty good story though, so I think *reading* it and letting yourself sink into it would be better.

And there really wasn't much skating in it.  LOL

Richie is the main guy and he's content with life at the moment, going to his job at Skateland where he's been for four years, hanging out with his friends and partying whenever they can, liking one girl (Ashley Greene) but still hoping to get back with ex.  But he's graduated high school now and people are pushing him to decide what he wants to do with his life.  His sister is pushing him to apply to colleges.  His friend (Ashley) is pushing him to grow up and not be like her slacker brother, who Richie worships.  Then things start changing . . . Skateland is sold and closing down, Richie's parents are divorcing, his idol friend admits his life is going nowhere, and then they are all struck by tragedy.  It takes that tragedy to start opening Richie's eyes, and the movie does end on a few encouraging notes.

There are some characters that had my blood boiling, and they're meant to.  Richie's mom . . . wow, ok.  A total hooker and then trying to come across as all injured and doing everything for her kids.  Yet when she moved out and Richie vaguely asked if he could stay there, she pretty much said no, this was her time and her place.  Biatch!  And then there are the three dumbass guys who keep bullying everyone.  Later in the movie when Richie snaps and goes after them I was totally cheering him on.  I was wishing he'd done more damage (killing them all would have been ok at that moment, lol) but at least it was something.

So while it was not a fabulous movie, it was good if you've got a boring evening or if you don't want anything too involved. 

Oh, and I spent the entire movie trying to figure what I knew the main guy from and never did come up with it.
In Skateland (above) . . .
And where I know him from (below) . . . 
He was in Red Riding Hood!

Have you seen Skateland?  Or Red Riding Hood?  What have YOU seen lately?  I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sept. 27 - Some Older Goodies

I was sorting through photos, cleaning up my memory cards, and came across some old pics of soap orders that I don't know if I ever posted about. 

This is the order that got me hooked . . . or should we say obsessed.  That's an Oatmeal, Milk & Honey bar, and it's still my sentimental favorite scent.  I was so excited and fascinated by this newly discovered world of goat milk (and handcrafted) soap that I placed several more orders from Goat Milk Stuff early on.

I know there was one more order later on because they sent a 'We miss you!' email with a discount code after I hadn't ordered for something like six months.  I must not have taken a pic of that one though.  They are kinda pricey, especially now that their business is growing like crazy, and I always thought their shipping was high, but I do love their soap. 

Katie MacKay's Bathworks 
This is one I came across during my brief time on an absolutely horrible bully infested soapers forum.  Her site (not the forum) is gone now and I wonder if she quit or just has a new one.  Now that I think about, I'm pretty sure I did post about this one.  At the time, I ordered these because she had a renaissance line and I thought that was the coolest thing.  I was a bit shocked by the scents once I received them because they were not the sweet and pretty types I was used to at that point.  Thinking about it now, these were more along the lines of what FuturePrimitive, Haus of Gloi, and Valhalla do.  If anyone knows what happened to this shop, please let me know!

I think I got to know this shop through comments on my soap blog.  Becky is so friendly and supportive, she was my soapy shoulder to cry more than once when I was frustrated.  She was having a blog contest where we had to comment what we 'saw' in the 'ink spot' soap she had made.  I was one of the winners.  The 'ink spot' soap is the brown one on the left but I'm pretty sure that wasn't the actual bar we were commenting on.  I don't remember if I ordered the other bars or if they were freebies, and I don't even remember anymore what kind they were.

Becky/Heirloom Soapworks had another blog contest when she started exploring the world of hot process soap.  I don't remember what the contest details were but I was a winner again and received this bar of Catmint hot process soap.  This bar was AWESOME!!! 

I know I said in a recent post that melt-n-pour shops would not get my business, and I've felt that way all along but last fall when I saw these on Etsy I could not resist.  That was my first soap cupcake, and it was so freakin' Halloween-gorgeous.  The cupcakes are available again this fall . . . HERE  . . . and are in Candy Corn scent.  The other was a French Macaron soap in a vanilla or caramel or something scent.  I see those are now available in Halloween colors too . . . HERE.  Oh, they look so cool!  

I know there was at least one more shop I had tried but I didn't see the pics from it when I was sorting, and I'm not even sure what the name was.  I know she's still around but I'm not sure what she's called now.  I remember the names Pure Simplicity, and something like Hil's Heavenly Scents.  I don't know if they are the same shop, or why they both stick in my head.  If anyone can clarify this in my head, thank you!!

I think I am now pretty much complete on every handcrafted soap I have every tried . . . LOL  I'll have to move on to talking about books and movies and general life rants.  How boring is THAT?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sept. 25 - My CBV Prize

If you love candles (or tarts) and you haven't acquainted yourself with Candles By Victoria, you really should.  And you really should 'Like' them on Facebook because they have so many sales and contests and ways to win things.  One of the contests they have is they pick a candle they'll give away and you have to 'Like' and comment on that photo.  And I won!  Yay me!!

Not only was I thrilled to win something, I was thrilled to win THIS one.  It is the Pumpkin Cheesecake candle from their Sweet Treats line.  It's described simply as 'The perfect blend of spicy pumpkin and sweet cheesecake.'  When they debuted the Sweet Treats line a while ago I was absolutely drooling over several of them, even wrote myself a note of which ones I wanted to order when we got into fall and winter.  This was one of them.  Unfortunately I have a cold right now and can't really smell things but I do pick up a spicy warm pumpkin scent even through my stuffiness.  
And it looks so nice, beautiful fall colors, and that cute little pumpkin candle on top.  There are shimmery gold bits set into the top and then it's been dusted with something that might be cinnamon.  Very nice.  I really want to burn it!!  BUT . . . I don't want to waste the deliciousness of the scent right now when hubby and I are sick, and I'm undecided if I'll even keep this.  It would make an excellent holiday gift because I know there are candle lovers in my family.

With every order from Candles By Victoria you get a free, random 'scent shot' (tart).  I thought it was sweet that I still got a free one even though I technically didn't order anything.  This one is Tonka Truck scent, and is described on the site as 'deep, rich woody scent has notes of Italian bergamot, apple wood and tonka bean to round out the darker, more sensuous patchouli, cedarwood and oakmoss. Bottom notes of cardamom, vanilla bourbon and allspice. Very rich and complex.'   I can't wait till my cold passes because this sounds interesting but I just can't smell anything from it now.  Maybe when I melt it the scent will be stronger.  

I was thrilled to win this candle, and have loved the candles we've tried so far from Candles By Victoria.  They might seem pricey at first but heck, Slatkin candles at Bath & Body Works are outrageously priced and people swarm on those.  At least with the Candles By Victoria candles you can smell them throughout the room, even the house.  And with all the sales and contests they have, you have to at least give them a try.

Thank you, Candles By Victoria!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sept. 24 - Soap natterings

Now that I've tried handcrafted products from several shops, I've been thinking that I'd like to find one shop to be my main supplier.  I'm sure I'd still be keeping an eye on others, treat myself as new or interesting things come along, but I think it would be nice to settle down to one shop in general.  So I've been thinking about what I'm looking for and have realized none of the shops I've tried so far meet all of my criteria.  How is that possible with all the shops I've tried??  Crazy, I know, but true.

And just what is it I'm looking for?

First, what I intend to buy regularly is bar soap, body butter/cream, and lip balm.  Plenty of shops have all three, but what usually cancels them out is I want my soap to be goat milk soap.  Some shops offer the occasional bar of goat milk soap among their many different types, but I'd prefer to have a shop that is ALL goat milk.  While some soaps out there are freakin' works of art with their colors and glam, I tend to like the more subdued style.  I also prefer smaller sized bars because I don't cut mine down, so I like something I can hang on to, and I like to use up a bar and move on to a new scent. 

Melt-n-pour soaps will not get my business.

I like it when a main recipe is used, instead of every bar being an experiment in new formulas.  Maybe that seems simple or like a shop is just churning out bars but really, if I buy a bar of Pink Sugar scent from Blah Blah Shop and find I absolutely love everything about that soap, I don't want to go back to buy more but in Love Spell scent only to find it's made from a completely different recipe.

When it comes to lotions I prefer the creams, the thick but light and fluffy style.  I would love that they are made from scratch, since I've been told they are easy to make.  Some of the creams I was absolutely in love with early on turned out to be from pre-made bases that you buy and just finish off.  While I'm not totally against this because I *LOVED* some of those cheater creams, it seems if it's easy to make from scratch, and vendors are running 'handcrafted' shops . . . their lotions should be handcrafted too.

I'm not too particular about lip balms yet, but a lot of shops don't have them.  Oh, I want the tubes, not the little tins or pots that you rub on with your finger.

So those are the products I'm looking for.  Now what about the shop itself?  I've found that I like consistency in a shop.  That doesn't mean I want the same five soaps made the same way endlessly.  It means the shop has settled into it's style, it's look, it's manner.  I'd hate to find a favorite natural looking bar with a cozy scent and really cool medieval style only to go back next month to order more and find it's now all about bright colors and trendy names and packaging.  I'd like a decent sized general catalog that is always available, enough scents to have a variety but not so many that it's overwhelming to try and choose . . . and then have new ones pop up here and there, along with seasonal choices.  Shops that are totally customer/trend driven kinda turn me off.

I go back and forth on packaging.  It's always been my opinion that fancy packaging adds nothing to the product and just drives the cost up in the end.  Having said that, I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging!  LOL

I love samples!  Extra bits added to your order are so much fun, whether it be a soap sample or a thank you note or even just a business card.  To have that bar of soap I ordered arrive just plainly thrown into an envelope without so much as even an invoice is sort of, I don't know, snobby.  Samples don't have to be huge or numerous, but they really do help you get to know other scents.  Maybe there is something I wasn't sure about when I ordered but now I've received a sample with my package, enough for me to be able to tell whether I like it or not.  And after I've sniffed it I can pass it on to someone who maybe hasn't tried that shop yet.

Goat Milk Stuff was the first goat milk soap I ever tried.  Heck, they were the first handcrafted soap in general I ever tried.  Goat milk soap??  I'd never even heard of such a thing before stumbling across a blog post about it.  Goat Milk Stuff is still my sentimental favorite but they are a bit pricey and they don't have the type of body cream I like.

Haus of Gloi would totally be my main shop if they had goat milk soap.  Since they are a vegan shop though, that's not going to happen . . . LOL

And then there is a shop very local to me, a goat milk soap shop that I really want to love and make my main shop but her lotion is the thinner, runnier, true lotion type.  She has liquid soaps . . . hand soaps, shampoos and conditioners, shower gels . . . and that's intriguing.  She also frequents a farmers market very close to me so it would be so handy to just pop over and buy what I want.  I think after I work through a good chunk of my current stash I'm going to try some things from that local shop.  And who knows, maybe she'll consider doing a thicker creamy lotion!

Anyway, if anyone knows of a shop that has my main three . . . lip balms, body creams, and goat milk bar soaps . . . I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sept 21 - More Soapie Treats

Donna, soap maker at Valhalla Soaps, had a little contest on YouTube recently and I was one of three winners.  I've ordered from Valhalla once before and always knew I'd order again eventually, so this seemed like a good time since she'd be sending me my prize anyway.

This was my prize.  Donna calls them funky cupcakes or something like that, because they are the leftovers piped into cupcake molds, making them less than perfect.  I don't care, heck, it's a cupcake, and it smells good, and it was free.  Yay!

Polly Good Witch scent is a mix of fruits and woods and musk, and description on the site is so cute.  Click the link above to read it, and check out the rest of the site while you're there.  I love Valhalla's style or theme or inspiration or whatever you want to call it.  Anyway, what you smell is quite an equal mix of the fruit, wood, musk notes.  Your immediate reaction is 'Oh, fruity,' but it's quickly pulled away from straight up sweet summer fruit to something more sophisticated.  I like it.

When I saw the video for this one on YouTube . . . actually just seeing the NAME of the video . . . I knew I had to get this one for hubby.  I don't see it on the website but in the video it's described as a blend of cedar, balsam fir, juniper, clove, and blood orange.  I'd left a comment on the video saying that I thought hubby would be all over this because he's all about Norse and Vikings.  Little did I know that Donna was now holding a bar of this for me, intending to surprise me.  I sort of ruined that surprise when I won the cupcake and messaged her that I wanted to order some others to go in the same shipment, Norseman being one of them.  When she replied that she'd already been planning to send me one I was floored.  OMGosh! 
My first impression of this scent was not favorable.  It was like overpowering resinous wood and nothing else.  Hubby has been sick with a man-cold (you know, on death's door and all *rolls eyes*) so he couldn't really smell anything, said he picked up a bit of woodsy scent and kinda liked it.  He did get a kick out of the name though, and thought the bar itself looked really cool, and was glad he had a manly soap now instead of all my sweet, seasonal, pretty soaps.  Now that the soap has had time to sit on it's own and get some air, I like the scent a lot more.  It's still very woodsy but I get the sweet and spicy notes of the blood orange and the clove now.  I do quite like it.  It's along the lines of FuturePrimitive type scents, and that makes sense because they are both out of the ordinary, essential oil, custom blends shops.

So I'd won the cupcake, and I was getting a free 'surprise' bar of Norseman, but I still felt like I had to order something.  Browsing the site, I kept coming back to this because of the visual appeal.  The scent description was intriguing as well, 'Dark aged honey mingles with sweet wild blackberries, spiced just right with warming cassis, nutmeg, tangy orange zest and fresh green sage leaves and herbaceous red clover.'  Hubby and I were both oohing and aahing over this one when I took it out of the package.  I just looks so cool!  Oh, and there is scent to it too but did I mention how cool it looks??  When you finally get around to smelling it you are treated to softly spiced fruits.  It's one of those complex blends again, deep and unique.  Do NOT think of simple, recognizable fruity scents because it most definitely is not.  Very nice.  Oh and by the way, doesn't that just LOOK awesome??

I would have ordered a lot more from Valhalla if I didn't already have my cabinet, attic, trunk of my car, and two rented storage units filled with soap and bath products.  And since these are not particularly seasonal I will bump them down the usage line until I work through my pumpkin and fall scents.  But Valhalla is absolutely a shop I will order from again.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sept. 17 - Surprise Goodies

When I gave up soap making a month or so ago, I sold all of my silicone molds and things by posting a clearance sale on Facebook.  Response was immediate!  I knew my prices were low and I was ok with that because I just wanted to clear everything out and be done with it. 

One of the ladies who bought some of my things was Misty, and she was so friendly and easy to work with.  I wasn't too familiar with her before the sale but have since been watching her videos on YouTube.  I think she's a newer soap maker, working with melt-n-pour first and just starting to get into cold process.  Not long after receiving the things she bought from me, she told me she'd already used one of the molds and it worked great, and she wanted to send me some soap as thanks.  Well how sweet is that?

The package arrived yesterday and I was so excited to see she'd included samples from other soap makers.  But first off, right away, I grabbed the one that was made in my mold.

So cute!  And so clean and crisp, the details all well defined . . . a far cry from my attempts were everything came out smooshed and smeary.  Now, this IS a melt-n-pour soap and I've always shied away from them because they seemed cheap and fake, but the bases that are available now have so many varieties and some are even natural.  Like this one she sent me, I'm pretty sure she said it's a yogurt based soap.  I am intrigued!!  And the scent, I think she said is Pumpkin Lager.  It smells pumpkiny and sort of oatmealy, very warm and cozy.  I'm quite excited to give this little guy a try!

And I got such a kick out of the fact that the soap was made in my silicone mold, and was packaged in my Halloween treat bag, with my Halloween sticker on it.  So sweet.

This is another melt-n-pour soap, soy milk base this time.  It's pretty with its white bottom and pinkish purplish top.  Only problem is . . . it was supposed to be a tri-color Candy Corn soap.  Misty was so excited to try making Candy Corn (watch the videos HERE and HERE) and then so bummed with the results (HERE).  And then other soap makers reported having problems trying to do Candy Corn cold process soap, longtime soap makers, so I think the general consensus was that the fragrance oil itself was the problem.  I don't know if they were all from the same supplier but it seems likely they were if everyone was having problems.

Anyway, enough sidetracking.  Misty included a bar of her Candy Corn attempt.  I emailed her and told her to just name it something pretty and no one would ever know what it *should* have been.  It is still a nice looking soap with that pink blending into white, and the smell is awesome.  If you know it's Candy Corn it does smell like it, but if you didn't know you'd think it was just a really nice sweet vanilla scent.  Looking forward to trying this one too.

She also included four samples from other soap makers.  I've bought from three of these four before so I'm familiar with them.

Left to right . . .
A Life Deliberate - Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream goat milk soap.  This is the shop I have not tried.  I did receive a couple samples in a giveaway that I won a while ago from someone else, but I had passed them along to other people.  It's only been recently that I've become more aware of this shop and added it to my list of ones to try.  The scent is minty but light, and I don't pick up any chocolate or ice cream sweetness.

Beacon Creations - Snowcakes.  The sticker on the package says it's a bubble bar but it looks like regular soap.  I'll have to find out for sure what it is.  The scent is a Lush dupe of Snow Cake, an almond-marzipan fragrance.  It smells soooo yummy.  I'll have to add this scent to my Next Time I Order list.

Nature's Essence - Green Apple Explosion.  It's called the ' "spunkiest" green apple fragrance on earth' on the website, and yeah, it's a green apple scent.  Nice and summery.

Nature's Art - Pink Sugar.  'A fruity blend of cotton candy, lemon drops, caramel and raspberry jam on a dry down of musks. A wonderful dupe of Aquolina`s Pink Sugar.'  I'm familiar with this scent from my own soap making, and I really do like it.  I should put the actual perfume on my birthday/Christmas list this year!

It was so much fun to get these little goodies.  Thank you, Misty!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sept. 14- Eco-Emi

In my previous post I said I'd cancelled my Birchbox subscription and was looking for another program to try.  While trying to figure out what the other one I'd seen on YouTube was I came across something called Eco-Emi. 

Check out the website . . . here.

Hmm, what's this?  An eco friendly version of Birchbox?  Interesting.  And I started looking into it more.  I watched part of one video and I was hooked.  It's like Birchbox only in that you get samples each month.  But where Birchbox is beauty and skincare products, Eco-Emi could be anything . . . makeup, food, anything!  The first video I watched showed that along with the products there are a bunch of coupons, brochures, information cards included.  The box in this particular video was supporting a 'save the manatee' cause.  And apparently the products included can usually be found easily (such as Walmart) instead of having to order rarities online or run around to high-end stores. 

Sign me up! 

I hurried back to the Eco-Emi site to sign up, only to find there is a waiting list.  ARGH!!!  I immediately sent my email to get put on that waiting list, then headed back to YouTube to find more videos about the program.  And the more I see, the more I want this!  The products are earth friendly, fair trade, vegan, etc.  They support animal and environmental causes.  I just really really want to check this out!  Maybe my interest will die just like with Birchbox but for now I'm really excited about it.

This is one video I watched last night . . . *click*
And this is one I watched this morning . . .  *click*

What do you think?  If you have any interest in joining this I would suggest getting yourself on that waiting list now.  (Go here,)  I've read that the wait can be a couple weeks, or even over a month.  I can't wait till I get my chance to join!!

Sept. 14 - September Birchbox

Yep, it's that time of the month again . . . time for Birchbox!

  I mentioned in my Birchbox post last month that I'd lost that urge to get into makeup and be all girlie.  Well this month I'd sort of lost my excitement about Birchbox.  When it arrived yesterday I was curious about what was in it, yeah, but it wasn't that super giddy tear it open like a child on Christmas feeling anymore.

Pangea Organics - Facial cream 'Nigerian Ginger With Lavender & Thyme' . . . I've heard of Pangea Organics before but can't think of where.  Must have been in guru videos on YouTube.  When I pulled this out of the box I was a bit excited, thinking ok maybe the box will still be fun after all.  Face cream is something I will use.  It has a nice, sort of herbal smell.

Inococo - nail polish applique . . . These are those nail stickers.  Polish challenged people like myself should be thrilled but I was just like 'Hmm, ok, never gonna use that,' because it's super sparkly and in a light, bright blue color.  I should try them just to see how crazy they look.

LIV GRN - Eau de Parfum . . .  I don't know if the scent is 'earth,' or what.  When I pulled this out I was surprisingly bummed.  There was a perfume sample in last month's box, and I've been getting so many perfume samples from all my soap buying lately.  I don't wear perfume all that much, and I'm really hating these impossible to open vials.  The information card says it is a jasmine/sandalwood scent but I can't tell you anything more than that because I seriously can NOT get this thing open.

Jouer - Lip enhancer . . . A tiny tube, apparently it hydrates, plumps, and conditions all in one.  Another thing I won't use because I have no interest in poofy lips.  Ha, maybe I should try it for fun along with my crazy nails.

And then there is this friendship bracelet.  The string is the same maroonish color that the tissue paper in the box usually is.  Apparently this is the one year anniversary of Birchbox.  I didn't realize it was so young.  Wow.

So yeah, with my interest already fading, the things in this month's box made me decide to cancel my subscription.  I know there are other sample box programs out there, have seen one mentioned a few times on YouTube, but couldn't think of the name.  I did some Googling and found a few different ones but they're not run the same as Birchbox.  Seems like Birchbox might be the biggest 'best' one out there.  But I know there is something else that YouTubers talk about . . . *wracks brain*

Anyone know of any similar programs?  I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept. 13 - Beacon Creations fall haul

This is another overdue haul, and another combined haul.  I have ordered from this shop before and pretty much loved everything about it.  When fall scents started rolling out I'd already ordered so many items from so many other shops that I almost passed on ordering more from here.  There was one soap that changed my mind though . . . 

'A warm blend of pumpkin puree, fresh ginger, crushed nutmeg, cinnamon and sparkling rum.'
Look how beautifully packaged this arrived!!  When I pulled that out of the box I was amazed, like 'Omg, Kia, you've outdone yourself!'  I don't know if you can tell but the ribbon has a pumpkin design on it.

Ok, so moving past the fabulous packaging, the bar itself is gorgeous too.  I just love the look of Kia's soaps.  The bars are a perfect size.  The textured tops are so cool, sort of elegant looking . . . and create a good gripping spot for your fingers when you're handling it in the shower, hehe.  Her bars always look so natural, even when she is using color.  And the scents are strong enough to easily know they're there, but not knocking you over in perfumey potency.

This particular one is a dark brown with a dark orange top.  The scent is awesome, very pumpkiny, with the spice coming through but softened a bit, perhaps by the rum.  I don't really pick up the rum specifically, not like the sweet buttery rum I've had in other soaps, but you can detect something besides the pumpkin and spice.  Excellent fall scent.

The label is cute too because on the back she has the name in the same Charlie Brown font that everyone would recognize, and a little pumpkin by the description.  I should have taken a pic of that too.  Oh well.

Because I've been trying different sugar scrubs to find one for my sister, and because she is a Charlie Brown holiday junkie, I decided to go ahead and order Kia's 'Sugar Polish' in The Great Pumpkin scent as well.  I mentioned in another post that if you order the the same scent in different products that scent will sometimes seem different.  The scent in the scrub is quite different than the scent in the soap, at least sniffing them 'cold.'  The rum in this one comes out strong.  I'm assuming it's the rum anyway.  There is an almost coffee smell to it.  I haven't actually used the scrub yet though so I don't know if it will change when it's actually in use.  It's still not a bad scent, regardless.  

This is a thicker consistency than what I'm used to.  Not sure how I feel about it yet, and won't know until I use it.  And I realized after the fact that I don't think this is a foaming scrub, which is what I like.  Hmm. 

There was another soap I'd been considering and since I knew she includes samples in orders I sent Kia a message and asked if it could be a sample of that particular scent.  There was a mix up and I got samples of Cluricaun and Duchess instead.  
Cluricaun is a 'blend with creamy oatmeal, orange peel, butterscotch, farm-fresh milk, nutty almond and rich vanilla,'  and I actually have a bar of it already.  It's a very nice, warm and cozy scent, like a nutty oatmeal, and this particular soap is made with oatmeal stout beer. 

Duchess is 'almond rum cake accented with fresh coconut milk, cardamom & blue agave nectar.'  The name Duchess makes me think of Keira Knightley, who I can't stand, and her movie The Duchess, which I hated and couldn't even finish . . . but wow, I really like this scent!  You get the almondy rum right off the bat with a warm sweetness chaser.  I will buy a full bar of this next time if it's still around when I order again.

Kia sent that missing sample separately and I was so smitten with it that I immediately went back to her shop to order a full bar.  And that brings us to the second part of this haul . . . 

After being amazed by the packaging and the color theme (you'll see . . . ) in this order, I had to laugh at how she stocked me up on samples.  LOL!  We'll come back to that.

'An effervescent blend of juicy Cherry and berries highlighted with fresh citrus notes and vanilla.' 
This smells so good!  It's cherry, for sure, and hints of vanilla, but the cool part is that it's almost like you are smelling the bubbles of a fizzy soda or something.  There's just something so fun about this one!  And look at that bar.  How perfect for the name, perfect for Halloween.  Deep full black and blood red, with that signature type swirl and top, and some red sparkles on top.  Awesome.  
And once again, look at that packaging!  I used to think that fancy packaging was a pointless waste that just drives the cost up in the end but daaaaaang, when you get things so pretty and fun, I'm all for it!!  And if you're buying it as a gift to pass on, well heck, it's already wrapped and presentable.  I don't know if it's just the fall/Halloween soaps that get the special treatment though, because I ordered another bar in this second part and it was just the usual shrink wrap and cigar band.

'Sweet, ripened bananas, caramel sauce, butter, brown sugar, banana liquor, vanilla ice cream, and just a touch of aged dark rum and cinnamon.' 
This one is interesting.  There is banana scent but there is so much more.  It's a complex, sort of dark scent . . . not fruity, not spicy.  I'm really not sure how to describe it.  And it looks so cool, reminds me of pudding.  LOL

Kia and I were messaging back and forth on Etsy about the missing Bitten sample, and I had asked if she had any other scents coming up that weren't in the shop yet.  We talked about those a bit and that's when I decided to get the Hatter bar.  So when I got the second order and pulled out the samples, I just had to laugh.

She loaded me up this time!  And not only with soap, but with a couple perfume samples too!  I'll just run through them quickly, left to right in the pictures.

Malzbier - 'A refreshing scent that smells just like a frosty cold mug of root beer soda.'  It does smell just like root beer!  Or black jelly beans.  Hmmm, never thought they smelled the same before.  Interesting.
Lucid - I don't see this in her shop at the moment but in our messaging she described it to me as 'star anise, fennel, cinnamon cassia & nutmeg with base notes of amber, madagasgar vanilla and woods. sweet, spicy, unisex.'  I'm not fond of this one.  The woody note hits you first, like a woody blends of spices.  I'm seeing that wood notes are just not my thing.

Rock Star - 'Funky and fun with sweet candy & fruity notes that are sure to leave a fizzy taste in your imagination!'  This is a Lush dupe and I think I've seen/heard others describe it as a bubble gum scent.  It does have a sweet candy smell but bubble gum is not what comes to mind for me.

Cider Barrel - 'A delicious plethora of juicy autumn apples simmered to perfection with spicy notes of cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and the tiniest dallop of buttery caramel.'  This is probably her most well known soap.  I was so happy to get a sample of it way back in my first order and now I have another.  Maybe someday I'll actually order a full bar!  Anyway, it smells like apple cider with a bit of sweetness from the caramel and sugar.  Very nice.

Stay Puft - 'The classic sweet aroma of fluffy white marshmallows fresh from the bag. YUM!'  Yep, pretty much straight up marshmallow.  An old fashioned fun scent.

And the perfume oil samples . . . 
Pishsalver Potion - 'A sparkling blend of juicy summer berries & sun ripened grapes with sugar crystals on a green citrus bottom.'  I only see it in bath bomb form in her shop at the moment.  An interesting fruity scent, probably fun for summer.  I pick up hints of the grape, but it's an overall mixed berry type scent.

And then Stay Puft again.
These perfume samples are huge compared to what I've been getting from other shops.  They're probably double the size.  That's cool.

I still have several bars left from my original purchase way back in the spring.  I've been pushing them farther and farther aside as I play around with soap from everyone else but with these new fall soaps reminding why this is one of my favorite shops, I think I will be hauling them out and bumping them up towards the front of the usage line!

I love Kia's consistency.  She's definitely branded herself with her beautiful labels and her signature swirl/top work.  She has a good selection of scents to choose from but not so many that it's overwhelming, and there are some scents that are mainstays while new ones pop up here and there, and come and go.  There are other products in her shop too . . . bath bombs, bubble bars, and I think she might have had lip balms back when I first ordered.  (Absolutely not sure on that though, just seems familiar.)  I don't know if she's done lotions or not, but that would be an awesome addition.  She's generous with samples, quick on shipping, and customer service is great.

One thing I'm confused about is the actual name of the company.  We all know her as Beacon Creations, but on her actual labels it says Petals Secret Garden.  One name phasing out the other?  Name change that never took off?  Was never supposed to be known as Beacon Creations?  I really couldn't tell you.  

But go check her out anyway!