Trying Etsy Perfume Oils

I first dove into the indie makeup world when I was 13 or 14. I was immediately drawn to collection tens upon tens of tiny little baggies filled with beautiful mineral pigments for blushes and eye shadows. These days, I find my makeup taste is considerably simpler than it used to be if I wear it at all but I still wanted to support artists and crafters that make their own beauty products. Thus, I was introduced to the world of perfume oils. I credit the indiemakeupandmore subreddit for a lot of the suggestions I considered and I ultimately ended up going with Alkemia to order my first oils from.

One of the things I love about buying beauty products on Etsy as that most sellers offer super affordable sample sizes that you can purchase before committing to the more expensive full sized item. Alkemia sells a 5 pack of your choice samples for $12 plus shipping with an additional sample sent at random according to your taste. Sample sizes are 3/16th dram vials shipped labeled with each fragrance. Alkemia offers a list with scent descriptions here.

As someone who is used to commercial spray perfumes, I knew that oils would be an entirely different ball game. They link to the a blog post as an intro to perfume oils for recommended reading. It basically says that commercial perfumes are mixed with an alcohol that makes the scent layers express themselves differently. Perfume oils take time to evolve on your skin and reveal their complexities. It is also important to let some perfume oils “rest” in order for them to express their best self; so by putting samples in a dark, room temperature spot for a few days, or weeks even, after arrival you may find the smell differently than when you first sampled them.

So here are the samples I received and my thoughts on them. I specifically picked woody, amber scents with a few sea-themed scents mixed in. I also like florals, some fruity, but typically not gourmand (or foodie) scents.

Affaire de CoeurA flirtatiously feminine enchantment of sugared white musk, creamy Madagascar vanilla, white sandalwood, tonka bean, white amber, and pale sugar cane. 

I chose this sent because when it comes to candle scents I gravitate heavily toward vanilla, sandalwood and amber so I thought this would be a good fit. Initially, this scent comes across as very powdery with a hint of floral, which isn’t something I’m a fan of. It is a more mature scent than what I was hoping for. I found that much of the powder scent faded a lot over the course of 8 hours or so at which point I liked it so much better. Waiting that long isn’t really worth it for me unfortunately.

SalomeAn overture of not so innocent magnolia underscored with a sly caress of Queen of the Night, a fulsomeness of nubile black grapes and plums, skin musk bathed in spilled cognac, and ruthless twist of bitter orange, blended with an ancient Arabian love philtre of crushed vanilla and tonka bean, mysore sandalwood, vetiver, cedar, and red oud.

This is the first scent I tried and I knew I would love it after the first whiff.  Initially I got hints of cedar and orientals. After 30 minutes, it was mostly vanilla and sandalwood on my skin, an incredibly warm, sensuous fragrance perfect for evening. Its dark yet soft like velvet – I can’t imagine not wanting a full size of this.

5/5 stars.

Sandscape Sun warmed beach sand, Atlantic ocean breezes, the saline-aquatic scent of drying sea water on skin, and the faintest hints of tanning oil and seaweed.

This smells like ever aquatic scented men’s body wash that has ever existed. It loses a little bit of the harsh edge after an hour or so.  It’s not bad, just wasn’t what I was looking for out of this scent. I’m gonna be giving this to my husband to see if I like it any better on him.

2.5/5 stars.

LuminaeSoftly alluring as candlelight. Luminae is designed to work in alchemy with feminine skin chemistry to create a luminescently sensual glow.

This scent seemed to be popular in the indie subreddit and I wanted to give it a try despite the not-at-all helpful description.  Luminae is an incredibly warm and comfy vanilla scent. Very strong vanilla that easily overpowered for me any other notes that may have been trying to peak through.  It wasn’t a very complex scent on my skin, which was a little disappointing, I like a lot of layers to my perfumes however, I found myself smelling my wrists all evening while I was wearing it.  I would almost wear this to bed, that’s how cozy it is – not necessarily “sensual” for me. This scent also lasted forever.

4.5/5 stars

GaeaForest loam under warm spring sunshine, new ferns poking up through decaying leaves, maple sap flowing over lichens, mosses and wet stones at the edge of a vernal pool.

The only notes I ever really got out of this were pine, maybe with some sort of barely there sweet or floral. This scent unfortunately only lasted a few hours on my skin. That being said, I did sort of like it, I just wish there was a little more complexity to it. It might be good to layer with one of the more vanilla scents. Very wintery.

2/5 stars

Silken Tent candied angelica, chrysanthemums, white flowering Nardo, clove flowers, jasmine-scented rice pudding, blonde caramel, infused with golden amber

This was an extra sample that Alkemia included based on my second choice scents. I wanted to try silken tent because it was one of the most common recommended scents to try from Alkemia on the Indie Makeup and More subreddit. It wasn’t one I would have initially picked because I was going for more woody scents with these samples. The caramel and florals come out quite strong on this one at the initial application – no, it’s definitely the rice pudding. Its a warm scent with a little bit of an edge. I would firmly put this as average. I sort of like it, but one of the notes that I can’t quite pick out continuously makes me cringe a little bit.

3.5/5 stars

Bottom line, I will definitely order from this company again – more samples and at least one full size. Salome was definitely a standout favorite for me with Luminae coming in second. I was beyond please with my first perfume oil experience and I can easily see this becoming my newest addiction. If you purchase different samples from Alkemia, let me know what you tried and what you loved! (FYI, this post is not sponsored, all things purchased with my own money, all opinions are my own. I’m just an enthusiast!)

Influenster #Staycation Unboxing and thoughts

Who remembers way back when I used to get influenster boxes on the regular? Unlike a lot of free sample box services, influenster has actually managed to stay afloat and has really grown their site a lot. The site works basically by giving you an “influencer” score and provided sample boxes to those with good scores that opt in.  If you have a profile, or make one go ahead and give me a follow to see the reviews I randomly post on things.

So lets talk about what came in this box:

  • Kiss Impress Press On Nails
  • Crest Gum and enamel repair toothpaste
  • completely smooth moisturizing no-bump shave gel
  • Mane magic 10 in 1 primer
  • shea moisture african black soap bamboo charcoal gelee moisturizer

I’ve tried everything this box except for the press on nails but I have used this exact brand before so I’m gonna skip talking about them for now.  I’ll of the things were kind of “meh” for me so I’m just gonna be super brief when talking about them.

The toothpaste – it has a very underwhelming minty flavor which is nice if you don’t like overpowering mintness in your toothpaste but I personally like more mint than that. I haven’t used it long enough to attest if it helps with gum issues or whatever so I can’t speak to those claims. It does contain fluoride, so cavity protection is there.

The shave gel – okay so, I don’t know if this will be an unpopular opinion or not but I think shaving creams for legs and shave gels are kind of a waste of money. I find that using conditioner or a nice body wash works just as well for me than spending extra money on girly printed items. This shave gel has a scent that reminded me of a perfume sample I’d smelled in Seventeen magazine in middle school – like a serious throwback. It’s extremely thick which was kind of nice and lathers like a body wash. I don’t think I would reach for this for my legs over other things I use but I definitely think the thickness of the gel would make it really good for shaving the bikini area that is typically more sensitive to razor burn.

Primer spray – it didn’t realize until I read the back of the package that this product was a hair product and I really think they should have included that in the name somewhere lol. It claims to: detangle, reduce frizz, strengthen, soften, reduce drying time, add shine, nourish, smooth and protect against heat and UV. It kind of sounds like a miracle product. I’ve actually been looking for new heat protectant spray as well as a good detangling protect because thats an issue I’ve been having a lot now that my hair is longer. I want to do more research on this as I didn’t notice anything stark on day one usage but I really like the idea of it. It has a distinct scent that I can’t tell if I like or not but am leaning towards yes? Also apparently its on sale as Cosco for 2 full size bottles for $10. If I had I costco card still I would probably take advantage of it because its something I think I will actually use.

The moisturizer – I haven’t ever tried anything from Shea Moisture but I’ve always been interested in their products in the store. I’ve also heard great things about African Black Soap so I was excited for this. I used an entire packet on my face and neck after cleansing and immediately didn’t really like it. It has a very serum-y texture and leaves that slick, slightly sticky effect on your face after you rub it in as if you’d just used a sheet mask. It also didn’t leave my skin feeling soft or smooth. I don’t see myself ever purchasing things just because I don’t think the gel is for me. I would happily try this out of there was a cream version though!

That’s it for my quick thoughts on the Staycation box, overall I think I’ll end up getting the primer spray somewhere and skipping the rest. Thanks influenster for letting me try these things out!





Finally an Iced Coffee I actually Like

) So I am not a big coffee drinker. I can’t stand most coffee drinks unless they have so many additives that the coffee taste is minimal. I only like two coffee drinks on this planet – Starbucks Caramel Macchiato and McCafe’s Caramel Iced Coffee. So many coffee drinkers will put up a huge thumbs down and McDonalds iced coffee because its a lot more watery than other places but I’m all about that dilution! I could easily drink a McDonald’s Iced Coffee everyday if I could. Since going keto I’ve tried th

eir sugar free vanilla iced coffee but its still too many carbs for my taste and I’ve pretty much decided that I’m not really a fan of vanilla syrups with coffee. They just don’t blend with the coffee taste well for me for whatever reason.

I’ve tried to make my own iced coffee in the past pre-keto but it was never exactly right. I think I always just attributed it to not having the right syrup. Now, that I am an avid keto-coffeer I realized I was missing heavy cream! The richness and thickness of heavy cream makes a HUGE difference in diy iced cofffees. A good syrup is a plus too but honestly the heavy whipping cream is the star ingredient here. I imagine half and half would be okay also but straight up milk just does not work for me.

The other day I went to Marshall’s for the first time in forever and was stoked to find Jordan’s Skinny Syrups marked down the $3.99. (Buy them on amazon here: They had several flavors at my store including vanilla, pumpkin spice, vanilla almond, and salted caramel. I picked up a couple and can already tell you I’m going back for more of the salted caramel ASAP. These syrups have 750ml bottles which is a lot larger than the SF syrups you can buy at Walmart. They have zero carbs and are flavored with sucralose. Some strict keto-ers may not be a fan of sucralose but I don’t have a problem allowing it in my diet – YMMV.

For the last week, my go to morning routine has included a keto-friendly iced coffee. Here’s how I do it:

I use about 16 ounces of chilled instant coffee (yes instant, I’m not a coffee snob and its just easier to make it and let it cool down.) I typically make a larger batch and just keep in in the fridge for the entire week. Next I add some ice and about 2-3oz of heavy whipping cream. Then, I add 2 tablespoons of the salted caramel skinny syrup.  Sometimes if I’m feeling it, I’ll add a tablespoon or two of MCT oil to get some extra fat. The MCT oil has roughly 100 calories per serving though so usually I only add this if I’m going to be low on calories for the day.

This iced coffee is just sweet enough that it covers the bitterness of the coffee without completely overpowering it. I also think the caramel syrup blends so much better with the richness of the HWC and coffee flavors and doesn’t have that fake vanilla aftertaste.  I usually drink one in the morning but I’m definitely considering getting some decaf coffee so I can have it more often. This isn’t true bullet proof coffee as I don’t use butter and don’t always use MCT oil but the HWC still gives you a good boost of fat in the mornings.

Depending on the amounts and brands of things you use, your nutrition stats may different but my recipe has about 206 calories, 21g of fat, 1.7g of protein and 1.6 net carbs.

This is going to be kind of a “duh” post for a lot of people but if you’re like me and coffee has never been a big part of your life until now, maybe you’ll enjoy the tips. Its so much cheaper to do it yourself instead of spend $5 at Starbucks everyday, not to mention its like 3 ingredients so its super simple.  This little boost of caffeine has helped my mood and made me way more productive this week so, I’m pleased.  Life is all about the little pleasures.