Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Summer Tea Service



So only having four hours of sleep the last several nights finally caught up with me! I was up at 5 AM and when I got home at 7:30, I fell right back asleep. I really was trying to get this posted early! Duh. Haha, so I am apologizing again today!
Along with the Summer Tea collection, NAVA offered up a beautiful Tea Service to layer with your tea perfumes. There are five Tea Service, and I have three of them today to talk about!
Sweet Santalum Milk is something I recently acquired and fell madly in love with. Notes are: Simply a Sweet Milk accord caramelized (nuances of caramel corn) blended with true Sandalwood (Santalum) oil. In the bottle, this is sweet and light, a bit milky. Another sniff and I can catch a little bit of woody sandalwood. Wet, I'm experiencing much the same. This is a bit caramel-y, yes. A light sweet delicious milk, tempered by the beauty that is sandalwood. Once this is dry, the sandalwood makes more of an appearance, it balances this perfume out so it doesn't ever become too sweet. It doesn't feel foodie despite the fact that there's that caramelization. I have tried this with Luxor Lemon and Green Tea Crimson and love it with both of them. Coconut Milk is one I hope to snag a backup of, I've used quite a bit of the bottle already as I love it so much. The notes are: Coconut Milk and Coconut Water blended with a soft undertone of Egyptian Musk to enhance the smoothness of the milk. In the bottle this is pretty much straightforward coconut milk. I get a bit of the musk but it's very light at this point. Wet on my skin the musk is a bit more prominent. The coconut milk/water is still the major star though. Dry, this is the most delightfully milky coconut. There's a touch of almost perfume, which is not a good description, but that's the musk, and it kind of reigns in the milkyness. This is such a pretty, straightforward blend - I like to wear it alone also.
The last one I have for you is Sugarcube. Notes are: A delightful sugar accord with breaths of vanilla bean that is beautiful for sweetening your NAVA Summer Tea Perfumes. Like adding a perfumed sugarcube to your tea perfume. Again, you see these Tea Service notes are really straightforward. In the bottle, I get basically sugar water. You know, sweet but not too sweet. Just a lightly sugary blend. Wet on my skin, I'm getting the lightest bit of vanilla, but it's very much in the background and it's mostly sugar. I don't know how but it feels like the vanilla softens the feel of the sugar. Dry, this is the perfect single note sugar. It smells just how a sugarcube on your tongue tastes. Not too sweet. Really beautiful. I like this one alone too, but I love it with White Tea Vanille and Luxor Lemon. Really, it goes with all three of my Teas.
So these Tea Service blends are very simple, almost single notes. Absolutely lovely and perfect for pairing with the Summer Teas. If you missed my review of the three Summer Teas here's the link.


Nocturne Alchemy Summer Tea Collection



Late, so late. I know. I was supposed to post this the other day, but then the holiday happened (Memorial Day, which is actually like a 3 day weekend for us here in America), and then I expected to get home before the update today, but fate had other plans. Sooo it's 11:30 at night and I shall try to get this done without falling asleep on my keyboard. Fingers crossed aye? Hah! I do apologize.
So last year, NAVA released the most delightful collection, the Summer Tea collection, and it also included the sub-collection Tea Service. There were seven Teas, and five Tea Service perfumes. I have three of each, and I hope my review will help a little - can I just say, buy everything because it's amazing? No? Okay! Well, here we go. (Kidding, only not, it really is amazing.)
I'll start with the three main collection scents. Green Tea Crimson notes are:  Hints of Fresh Green Tea leaves infused with Lemon Zest and tempered with the soothing effects of Crimson Red Egyptian Musk. In the bottle I'm getting something fresh, tart. Slightly citrus but not overpowering. Ooo. Wet on my skin, yes. Fresh green tea, the lemon in the background but not overpowering, just adding a bit of zing. The red musk is there but it's not the key note, it's supporting, so it's soft. Dry, okay can I just go ahead and tell you this is my favorite, hands down? It's so bright and fresh, it has a bit of tartness from the lemon, but that makes it pretty perfect. It's very obviously green tea and it never becomes about the musk, but the musk saves it from being too tart, this is sooo well balanced. I actually like wearing this alone at times, but I often pair it with Sugarcube even though any of the other Tea Service blends would go well with this. Absolutely AMAZING.
Luxor Lemon was a bottle I blind bought, I actually initially picked up decants for all of these except Luxor Lemon - and I'm not really sure why I skipped it, but I remedied that when I did my bottle order, and I am glad I did! Notes are: An afternoon Earl Grey with a side of lemon, this one would benefit from a side of vanilla-honey. Italian lemon peel and Bergamot EO are infused into the tea giving it a citrus bite that is both cured and beautifully soothing with a drop of Sweet Santalum Milk or any of the Summer Tea Service. In the bottle, this is pretty much straight oooo LEMON. Hah. Tart, yellow lemon. I'm not getting any tea yet. Wet on my skin, we now have lemony Earl Grey. Yum!!  Okay, now that this has dried down, it settles into, well, stunning! The lemon and the Earl Grey are perfectly balanced. The bergamot is just adding to the citrus. It's bright and summery. If you like honey, I think it would do well with Vanilla Honey. I don't have this, so I usually pair it with Coconut Milk, but I recently acquired Sweet Santalum Milk and I like that even better - although as with Green Tea Crimson, I think any of the Tea Service would compliment this - Sugarcube is definitely a lovely addition.  So my last Tea is White Tea Vanilla. I think this one is pretty popular, judging from what I saw in the Tent last year! Notes are: Beautiful, ethereal, and crisp White tea enhanced with limestone amber resin, undertones of Crystalline and Kobalt vanilla and fresh mallow root to sweeten naturally. In the bottle - crisp white tea, vanilla, and something very fresh. Wet on my skin, amber! Ooo amber and white tea. The vanillas are not overpowering, they are supporting . This is so crisp and fresh. Dry, this is a delight. It remains crisp and fresh, with soft, floaty vanilla. And this is interesting, it almost feels like there's a soft white musk in here, although it's not listed. Maybe it's just the culmination of all the notes dried to perfection, you know how sometimes at the end of the drydown phase with NAVA a perfume will just kind of stop swirling and flop into perfection? I think it could just be that. This is actually quite yummy, I kind of want to drink it. I often wear this one alone, but a dab of Coconut Milk is pretty delicious with this.
Okay, I literally just woke up on my keyboard. I think I will post this as a two-parter and review the Tea Service in the morning for you lovely folks!
I will just go ahead and say, I love my resins, my dark and hippy scents, but this collection is absolutely perfect when I want a bit of fresh, bright scent in the hot Florida summer. I used these quite frequently last summer and they really garnered a lot of compliments - and my guy was pretty appreciative of them as well! So thank you for being patient with me, and as soon as I get home tomorrow morning I will post the second part. Here's the link to the Tea Service review!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Seth's Secret Six Collection



So long time no blog, eh? Life has been getting in the way and there are a few things I want to get written up for everyone, including the Summer Teas collection and Seth's Dinos, which I think I read are being renamed the Prehistorics? But first, Seth's Secret Six - I have four to review for you today.
As you can see, two of my labels are a tiny bit different. I got lucky, super lucky, to win one of these scents in a little giveaway during the holidays in the Tent, and the other I purchased during a little Facebook sale they had in the Tent right after the holidays. I really like the new labels!
Seth is apparently a wizard with foodie scents. Yes. I have to tell y'all I am not a foodie woman! Like, not at all. Granted, I have an affinity for coconut scents as I crave it especially in the summer, but that's about as far as it goes. I don't much care for foodie vanilla. I do like fruit scents, particularly peach and fig, but I think that falls into a different category. That being said, and emphasized, these blow me away, and if he continues to make foodie scents, I will continue to purchase them, because like so many other amazing blends from NAVA, they have a way of changing my mind on notes I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole before - I'm looking at you, lavender!
Let's just dive right into it, shall we? First up, Seth's Secret Hot Cocoa Cookie NAVAliday Confection (I'm going to call this Hot Cocoa Cookie for short). Notes are: Cacao Absolute, Seth's Cookie Dough accord, NAVA Hot Cocoa accord, some vegan marshmallows, a touch of French Cocoa, Belgian Chocolate, a little chocolate-amber absolute that Bastet made, a dusting of vanilla and a whole bunch of Cookie Monster love.  In the bottle: mmmmm chocolate, cookies! Wet on my skin, yum. Cocoa, cookie, a bit of marshmallow/vanilla? Dry I'm getting a pretty evocative picture, the perfect mug of hot cocoa, complete with floaty marshmallows, with a nice little plate of warm chocolate chip cookies. This to me is more like baked cookie than raw cookie dough, but I am a little less sophisticated with scent detection than so many other great reviewers! This is...amazing. None of these except the coffee would belong in any other category besides foodie (maybe that's not even the best word for this category, either) but this is just - well, divine. It takes foodie to another level completely and for me to fall as hard for this as I have, I'm in shock. Yes, you need this.
Next, we have Seth's Secret Spiced Hot Cocoa Cake NAVAliday Confection (I'll call this one Hot Cocoa Cake). Notes are: Hot Cocoa Accord, Chai Spices, Crystalline, Chocolate Cake Accord, a drop of Black Santalum, a drop of Black Sugar and a smattering of Angel Food Cake accord. In the bottle, I'm getting cocoa, spices and cake. Mmmm cake! Wet: Ooooo chai spice! Chocolate cake! Hmm, something else going on in the background, but I can't pin it down yet. I can see this is complex. Dry on my skin, the angel food cake and vanilla is coming forward a bit and lightening up a very rich chocolate cake and the chai spice. I am catching slight whiffs of the Black Santalum and not really getting the Black Sugar at all, but I'm sure it's there adding to the complexity that this blend has. This is so, so different than anything else I've ever tried, much more foodie to me than Hot Cocoa Cookie, but I'm actually very into it, I absolutely love it. The chai and vanilla make it so interesting, and that little bit of Black Santalum in the background you would think wouldn't work - sandalwood in a food blend? Huh? It's AMAZING here, I think it's delightful. I'm not sure this could be more delicious. I'm in shock over these two blends, they're so very obviously out of my wheelhouse but I don't even mind!
Next up, Seth's Secret Very Vanilla Crystalline Angel Cake (we'll call this Vanilla Angel Cake for short). Well, I knew I'd love this, as soon as I saw the name. I got this initially as a sample skarab, and when I sniffed it, I smelled coconut and knew I was going to be in trouble. Hah. Notes are: SL Crystalline, toasted Coconut, a drop of French and Tahitian Vanilla, Angel Cake accord from Vanilla Bean and Coconut Husk e/o, a drop of Crystal and a touch of Vanille Noir #1. I knew I was going to grab a full bottle if it became available, so when they put this one up on the website, right into my cart it went. In the bottle: Oh man. Cake + vanilla + coconut heaven? Yes please. Wet on my skin - Oh my Gods I want to swim in a vat of this. Angel food cake, and I can actually tell there are several vanillas here, including my beloved Crystalline. Rich, toasty coconut. This feels like a coconut frosting on angel food cake. Dry - yes, coconut frosted angel food cake. Totally foodie and I don't even care. I looooove it. I want to nom my arm off, it's so delicious. The vanillas are beautiful, delicious, rich, buttery. I can't stop using the word delicious in this set of reviews. Sigh. The coconut is not the fresh, raw variety, but toasty. I actually don't much care for coconut to eat it, but I love toasted coconut in cookies and cakes. However, I love the smell of it in all varieties. The angel food cake is light and fluffy and balances out the richness of the vanillas. Seriously, get this blend! Hah.
Last, and certainly not least, is Seth's Secret Sweet Vanilla Bean Black Coffee, or Vanilla Bean Black Coffee for a shortened version. This is one of two new scents that were never sent out as previews before, and when I saw the notes I just knew I should blind buy it. I have only recently tried NAVA's coffee as I came across a full bottle of Mummy Daddy Espresso, and quite loved it. This one sounded perfect too. The notes are: Coffee without the dairy. Vanilla beans from Egypt, Mexico and Australia infused into a blend of roasted Egyptian Black Coffee beans, Arabic Coffee Beans and the accord of an Egyptian Sugar Cube that adds just the right amount of sweetness to give this one a nice wear. I got this and my bottle of Vanilla Angel Cake yesterday, along with a few other bottles, and this was the first one I tried - and went positively nuts over. Boy, was I glad I blind bought it. My notes here are actually transcribed from my review for the Tent: This is the most lovely sweet coffee. In the bottle, it's very soft coffee with vanilla bean. The vanilla is sweet but not too foodie - both it and the coffee are not strong and overwhelming! Oh, nice.Wet on my skin, the vanilla bean is more prominent than the coffee but you definitely get the coffee. Still not an "in your face" scent. Dry, this is delicious. I am obsessed with this. I want to nom my arm off. This was MADE for coffee lovers! This is a softly milky coffee, that vanilla bean is a creamer and there's just enough sugar here! This is actually quite evocative. It softly surrounds you with the scent of coffee, tempting you when you first wake up. So softly delicious, you can't resist. A must have! If you have Mummy Daddy Espresso to compare, I think you will find this one much softer, a less "in your face" coffee than that. Don't get me wrong, I adore MDE too! But this is lovely and if you are a little nervous trying a coffee scent for the first time, you cannot go wrong with this one. 
Well, there you have it! Four of the Seth's Secret Six. In my humble opinion, all of these are total wins - I'm so, so glad I was able to get these. I had to unfortunately pass on Fantastic White Truffle Framboise Cream, and I know I will regret it, but I had to pick up a few more of the other Spring scents before they went away (and I still have regrets I wasn't able to get as many of those as I wanted!) so I had to make a tough choice, but if I remember it well enough, my skarab was delicious, and it seems very popular in the Tent! I hope this was helpful if you are still trying to decide which of these lovelies you need. Hah. You need them all, right? 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Enigma



So I have a real problem with dithering. You'd think I'd learn this lesson, right? Wrong, I just did it to myself again. I dithered over Cecilia last year, and ended up missing out until the Resurgences came around, and I did the exact same thing when Enigma came out. I ordered a decant, but I wasn't sure it was true love (haha!) until it disappeared from the site. I was using my decant and moaning about it being gone, of course. This year I had decided I needed Al Aaraaf, but I wasn't sure what the rest of my order would be, so I waited a bit to place my order, and Al Aaraaf sold out! Argh. That will teach me a thing or two! It was just not to be. At any rate, let's take a closer look at Enigma. Notes are as follows:

Kobalt Vanilla Resin infused with Gold Carnation EO, Studio Limited N2, Crimson Musk, Ozymandias Amber, Himalayan Amber Resin, Canadian Vanilla Bean Essence, Egyptian Sage, a tiny drop of Clove and Cinnamon to spice up the Vanilla.

So when I initially read the notes, I wasn't sure. I hadn't had much luck with carnation, and clove and cinnamon seem to amp on me. I thought I'd give it a try anyway, and ended up very happy I did. In the bottle, I'm smelling carnation. Oh, it's glorious. I do love the way carnations smell. Such a spicy flower, if that makes sense! Yum. I get a bit of musk and the Kobalt (vanilla) resin too. I'm not catching anything else yet. Wet on my skin, oh yeah, hi carnation. Loud and clear, but it smells so good, very fresh, this is working for me! I get a bit of the musks and definitely Kobalt, but I don't seem to be getting either clove or cinnamon. There's the carnation spiciness, but maybe they're just adding to that? I definitely don't get them individually. I'm not catching the ambers still, and I do love Ozymandias...hmm. I'm sure they'll show up.  
Okay, during drydown the musks are more prevalent and the carnation is taking a bit of a backseat, and the amber is peeking out. Yay! I do love NAVA amber, so much. Full drydown and I...wow. I am at a loss for words. This is definitely living up to its name, I get wafts of amber, and then I'll smell a bit of musk, and the next thing I notice is vanilla and carnation. It's never the same thing twice. How different this is! I never do get the clove or cinnamon, but I suspect it's as I mentioned before, they're backing the spice of the carnation, and the sage isn't present for me either, but this is such a different blend, it could be there and I am not noticing it with everything else going on! 
I am so glad I was able to get a full bottle of this. I had been hoarding my decant because I didn't want to run out! Hah, as I'm typing this, I just got a whiff of full on Ozymandias. How amazing. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Tibetan Crystalline



So in the last update, Nocturne Alchemy added three new perfume oils to their Studio Limited (SL) line, and this one, Tibetan Crystalline, was the first one I had to have. I fell for it so hard, I immediately nabbed a backup. Yeah, it's that good. Well, I'll try to dive a bit deeper with it than that, so here we go. Notes are as follows:

Deep incense of Indian Nag Champa Studio Blend (Champa, Indian Sandalwood, Benzoin and Henna), Mesua Ferrea Absolute, Aged Crystalline Absolute, Tibetan Musk undertones and soft spirals of pure Bergamot leaf essential oil.

Well, an ode to the infamous Nag Champa Seahorse? Done by the Cat Goddess Herself, Bastet? It must be divine. So my first sniff in the bottle is pretty much nag champa. With my second sniff, I smell the Crystalline and I think I'm getting a bit of the musk also. Okay, so wet on the skin, I get much of the same. Upon complete drydown, the musk is a bit more fully evident and totally compliments the nag champa, and the Crystalline (vanilla) is purring away in this as well. Can I just say by the way, I am really liking this Tibetan musk? I love musks, and what I'm catching of this is really quite beautiful. This blend is such a delight. The staying power is immense for me. I've had it last all day on me, and sometimes I will catch a bit of this the next morning. 
I've seen quite a bit of swooning over this one - it seems to be as popular already as NAVA's famous Nag Champa Seahorse already. I'd venture to say it's already reaching cult classic status! I'm so happy I went ahead and nabbed myself a backup bottle, I can happily slather away now. 
By the way, if you are feeling adventurous, I think this will do well layered with many things, as suggested on the Nocturne Alchemy site. I layered it with Bloodstone and it's absolutely stunning. I can't imagine that it wouldn't be equally so with many of their other blends, I was thinking Kashmir right off the top of my head would be swoon-worthy. 
I feel like this is a bit short and sweet; but I do want to tell you since I've never reviewed one of NAVA's nag champas yet that they really do some divine nag champa blends. I never expected I could find such a well loved incense done as a perfume oil, let alone done so well as they do it. I am not surprised to find that the magicians in the Nocturne Alchemy studio would do anything well, but I am delighted. I have at this point several different blends with their nag champa and they are all quite unique. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pretty Serious Cosmetics Rock On! Review



Hey everyone, long time no post eh? Facebook told me it had been 9 days since I posted. Thanks, Facebook, I appreciate you looking out for me and then making me feel guilty hah! Life gets you busy sometimes, and sometimes life gets you down. Had a bit of both going on this week. 
So obviously, I don't plan on doing any one thing with Zombiiesque, but more likely a number of things. Whatever feels good to blog about! Today I want to talk about those treatments I nabbed during that Pretty Serious Cosmetics sale I posted about. You saw I picked up some polishes after that, but I probably won't be ready to post swatches quite yet. 
My nails have been a wreck. There, I said it. Yes, I used to blog about nail polish but my nails have been a wreck for probably six months! Ugh. How embarrassing. Breaking constantly, peeling, my cuticles giving me fits. I have been taking some medicine for some of my medical conditions, and it's been a rough winter too, so nothing I did seemed to help. I'd seen lots of rave reviews about Kaz's treatments, and I dithered a bit between Rock On! and Harden Up, because while I had peeling nails, they weren't thin. I decided to try Rock On!
Ugh, here's the big reveal. This is what I was dealing with prior to giving Rock On! a whirl.


Enlarge at your own risk. Eek. You can see how short they are, and how freaking awful my cuticles are. Both hands pretty much looked like this. Actually I think there was more peeling on my right hand, and this is the left, so you can only imagine how frustrated I was. 
I started using Rock On! as a base coat about a month ago, and varied between Aqua Coat and Crystal Coat for my top coats. I have been using various oils for my cuticles, and this is what my nails look like now:


That's a huge difference! My cuticles aren't 100%, and there's still a bit of damage growing out on my nails, but wow. I'd say this is a success!
Now, I'm going to put out a disclaimer. I've seen a lot of success stories with Kaz's treatments, but your mileage may vary - just how Seche Vite doesn't work for everyone, this may not work for you. But it may be just what you needed to help grow out your nails, so I thought I'd share my story! I'm well on the road to recovery, thankfully.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy A Dream Within A Dream


So this particular perfume is from the Art of Love Resurgences, brought back from last year's offerings and thank goodness. I missed so many beauties and have been valiantly trying to decide which I must get from the return before they disappear. The name is based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem. Yay! The inner nerd in me does a little jig.

Sweetened Egyptian Black Tea, Black Fig, Arabian Oudh, Zamsara Incense accord, Blue Sugar and a drop of Coconut Crystal Milk.

In the bottle, I'm getting sweet. Maybe I'm catching the tea, I'm definitely not catching fig which I usually can detect now that I own so many fig blends...hmm. Maybe a touch of incense, definitely sugar. 
On my wrist, wet, more of the same.This isn't like overly sweet though, like I feel like scrubbing my arm off sweet. It's lightly sweetened tea and beautiful. I think I'm catching a bit of the oudh now with a bit of the incense. Definitely getting the sugar and the sweetened black tea but this is melding quickly and it's hard to pick out individual notes. I keep huffing, because it's simply gorgeous. It's got a nice summery feel too. I think I get the tiniest bit of the coconut milk back in the back. 
Okay, this is dry and I have the most delicious sweet fruit tea. The incense and oudh are back there making things a bit more interesting. It's not overpowering sweet, hasn't been all along, and I think that's the purpose of the incense and oudh, It is not a loud scent either, it kind of hovers lightly around you. You'll find yourself looking for it though! Wow. This is a gorgeous delight of a scent. I had some teas from last summer's collection but this one is quite different - lovely, all of them, but this is a darker, sweeter tea. The lasting power seems pretty decent on this one.  To be honest, a lot of the NAVA scents I have are pretty long lasting. This is still available for purchase at the time I'm writing this - will you be picking up A Dream Within A Dream?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Ophelia


So this perfume is based off of the beautiful John Williams Waterhouse painting, and I wanted to capture the label. I ... I did not think I could love such a beautifully feminine perfume, but as with so many others in my collection, NAVA  being alchemists surprised me. Why shouldn't they? At any rate, here are the notes.
Japanese Plum, Cranberry Absolute, Crystalline Essence (softer version of SL Crystalline), Crimson Musk, Sweet Musk, Pink Sugar Cube, Kobalt Blue and SL N4 Musk.
My first whiff of Ophelia in the bottle is ooooh plums for sure - and cranberry! The plum is juicy, and the cranberry is slightly tart, and I'm getting kind of a sugar vibe in here. Like, sugared fruits How delicious. On the skin wet, I'm getting much the same, with a bit of vanilla coming in. There's a musk here too. Oh, yum. During the drydown, the fruits are melding with the sugar and the vanilla and the musk is playing a bit more of a presence. 
Okay, full drydown. This...this is insanely gorgeous. This feels like a very expensive, feminine perfume, and it's working on me in ways feminine perfumes usually don't. I feel like a fraud wearing them. This though? The magic has happened and I am surrounded by a pink cloud of the most amazing sweet, gorgeous, vaguely fruity musk. It's not overly sweet - the cranberry's tartness helped with that, it's ... what are words? The sugars and the vanilla are playing with the fruit and the musk and they all have come together in a glorious pile of pink scent. If you think a pink scent isn't for you, think again with Ophelia. She will shock you, draw you in. I forget I'm wearing this and I'm walking around wondering what smells so amazing...wait, it's me! Also, this is another one of those blends that you will notice sticks around for a very long time. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Pandora



So now that I've talked about my early love of dragon's blood, NAVA's Pandora, from the Resurgences Art of Love collection, seems like a natural must have for me. This is based off of a John Williams Waterhouse painting, captured here on the label! Notes include:
 Aged Kashmir Incense, Aged Dragon's Blood Resin, Peru Balsam, Benzoin, Mandarin and Amber infused Lavender (hardly noticeable but necessary to bind spice and incense) blended with a drop of the richest black clove essential oil and a drop of Egyptian black pepper.
Well. That sounds amazing.  I don't know why I hesitated on it, but I think it might have been my deciding to get the ones I'd about kicked myself over for a year. Once I got those bottles, I started trying to decide what else I might need, and this came up on my radar. So, all of that sounds amazing, but I am worried a bit about the clove - will I amp it? I never know. I made a blind bottle purchase on this one.
In the bottle, I get the dragon's blood, all out in front. The Kashmir (juicy red musk)  is definitely there also, right behind dragon's blood. Hmm, more sniffing detects a bit of spice - the pepper and clove, maybe? Alright, let's test this. Wet on my skin it's ooooh spicy? dragon's blood and Kashmir. There's something fresh in the back! Wait. What is that? It's a slight hit of fresh. Must be the amber with the lavender balancing this out. Oooh. I get a bit of balsam and benzoin.  Okay, so this is even more glorious dry!  The Kashmir and dragon's blood resin are playing peekaboo with each other, the clove and pepper are adding a small bit of interesting spice to the mix but I'm not amping them! Really, I'm getting all of the heavier notes, but that amber lavender in the back is keeping things fresh and not too dark. This is kind of a dark red blend, saved from being too dark with an interesting cool feel. I'm obsessing over this! Oh man. One of the most perfect dragon's blood blends I've ever smelled.
I want to add - forgot to say this, this is quite strong. A little goes a very long way. So even though I'm a slatherer, I just put a tiny bit on my wrists and it lasts ... into the next day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Journey to the Indies

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I haven't really felt up to snuff  and it's taken me a little while to get back into a mode where I could. I've been taking notes and photographing stuff for reviews, and a couple of other articles too I have in mind. But I'm getting there! Today though, today is something different and I thought before we go too much further down the rabbit hole, I'd post this up. I had a request to write this, and it's kind of an interesting for me to put to words, as I hadn't really thought about it, but we got to talking about this topic in one of my favorite FB groups and the idea for the article was given to me by my very lovely friend Sue, so here we go! 

So, how did Niki get into indies, huh? That's a pretty good question. I was born in the early seventies, in Long Beach, California. My first home was in Seal Beach. My parents were part of the hippie movement. Can you see my dad's car through the window? Yeah! Anyway.
So when my parents separated, and eventually divorced, my mother moved us back across the country to Maine, where she was born. Maine is really home for me, that's my early memories, my heart lives there still. Mom was really into the hippie movement. She had us living in communes. She was vegetarian for quite a while, she made my clothes, she grew her own vegetables - the woman was always cooking and always had a garden. She had quite the green thumb, which she inherited from her own mother, who was a farmer.
So in addition to all of these, there was music and scent. Both of these things are firmly attached to my early memories of my mother. Music and scent kind of go hand in hand to me, they are both essential for me and my well being, I feel. I remember mom and her scent was always some sort of hippie scent, patchouli, dragon's blood, sandalwoods galore - mom really liked sandalwood, I believe, and dragon's blood. It seems I've always liked the darker resins and patchouli and woods. Of course, the childhood in Maine heavily influenced me also, I like clean, fresh scents, aquatics, pine, woodsy scents. If you'll recall one of my favorite NAVAs is Cecilia and she kind of evokes hard core memories for me, a very evocative scent.


So wow, isn't that beautiful? Sure, I miss home, but home is here too. Anyway, continuing on. in my twenties, I moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I was exploring, expanding my horizons. I'd been stuck for a while and felt like I needed to know more about the world. I stumbled on lots of little, interesting shops there, shops that sold incense and interesting jewelry and books to expand your mind. My first metaphysical shops! Scent once again reigned dominant. 


So I started to burn incense, and I found a gorgeous incense that I would regret not grabbing tubfulls of - it was called Egyptian Sandalwood. I was in love! I thought it was perhaps the most beautiful thing I'd ever smelled. I ended up moving away, to North Carolina, after that year, but I've never forgotten my time in that area, it was the beginning of me, really, becoming myself.
And then in North Carolina, I went exploring again, and discovered a pretty neat metaphysical shop located in a little house in downtown Raleigh. Very close to the NC State campus, and Hillsboro Street, where there was a hub of activity and really nifty little shops everywhere. There I discovered AIRS incense, and a unique take on dragon's blood I'd never found before or since. 
Fast forward a few years, and being online became a thing. I was kind of stumbling around forums back then, and someone mentioned people making soaps and perfume oils that were only available online. I was intrigued. I remembered my time in MSP and the shops where they were mixing soap and shampoo to your own scent requests, so I looked up a few. I found Wylde Ivy. Started buying lotions, scrubs and stuff. It was different. Then I found BPAL. I was hooked. The rest, my friends, is history. I've been buying indie as much as possible ever since. I found Villainess and Haus of Gloi quite a while ago...did some blog posts on scents, but at the time, I was mostly blogging about nail polish, and it didn't seem like anyone had much of an interest in my scent journey then. There were some closer friends who were interested, but I decided to just keep on buying my goodies, and supporting indie. I did get away from the perfume oil scene for a bit, until last year. That was when my obsession with NAVA began! I also discovered Valhalla at that time, which I have a link to in the sidebar and is a really great indie bath and body company. 
I think it's kind of interesting how the things you were exposed to in your childhood can impact you. My mother and I don't speak, but I was pretty profoundly influenced by her, and a certain smell will take me right back to childhood. She always encouraged me to expand my mind and taught by doing about supporting small business owners. I wish I had her talent in the garden, but unfortunately, I've a black thumb. Hah! Anyway. That's my little story. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

NAVA "Unboxing"


So I got my Nocturne Alchemy update order on Friday from the last release! I was pretty excited. Lots of goodies in here. I thought I'd post an unboxing. Kind of fun! This showed up in a small flat rate box, by the way. All of my pretties are packed into that pink bubble wrap. Sometimes, for special releases like NAlloween, they'll come in fun decorative bags!



And I only took one picture of the other side. Sigh. Of course this is blurry! This beautifully designed sticker is on the other side, sealing up the pink bubble wrap.


All of my babies out of the bubble wrap, and there's a little special pack off to the side. GOODIES!


Unrolled the little goodie pack and there's a special skarab of oil and an Egyptian scarab bead. SQUEE. I love these little guys. I ordered three recently, and they're in each of my boxes, watching over my babies while I'm gone. Or, at least that's what I tell them their job is. (I'm so silly. I actually did say that.) So this one I've decided to call Monde, which is French for world. I don't know, it fit for the moment.


Ooookay! So left to right, we have Dream Bottles: Blue Egypt, A Dream Within A Dream, Tibetan Crystalline, Ophelia, Hylas and the Nymphs, Enigma, Anticipation, Under the Moon, Adele, and Pandora.  The skarab is Seth's Secret Very Vanilla Crystalline Angel Food Cake.
Dream Bottle: Blue Egypt and Adele I bought and asked them to hold for me until I did my update order, as obviously those are gone from the site, and Anticipation is a backup. Of all of these, I've tried Blue Egypt, Ophelia, and Enigma. The rest are blind buys, and highly successful ones! I fell victim to sniffing them after they'd had about 12 hours to sit. Sigh. I could't hold off any longer. There were a lot of instances of eye rolls to the back of the head in ecstasy. I immediately decided I was going to need more backups. Hah.


So above is a photo of what your perfume oils come wrapped in, and sealed with tape. I save mine so I can recycle them for shipping out packages of swaps or sales in the Marketplace. They come in handy!
And after I got all of this done, I went to put away the new oils, and discovered I have a problem. I'm going to need another box! So yesterday evening I went out and found a beautiful box. This one is a bit deeper than my other one, so I may be able to stand Kadmium Amber up in it.


Yeah, pretty full. I got my new smaller labels in this week so that'll be a project I need to work on when I have time. They fit perfectly on the lid!
By the way, if you'd like to get yourself an Egyptian scarab bead, you can find them here. When browsing the site, from the home page, you would click on Nocturne Alchemy, and then Bazaar.
What did you get from the update? What's your favorite? Myself, I'm not sure I can choose.
Happy Easter, folks.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pretty Serious Cosmetics "Unboxing"




So...I'm a slacker of epic proportions. Even though Pretty Serious Cosmetics has been open four years (HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN SERIOUSLY WHAT EVEN IS TIME), I have never. Ever. Ordered from Kaz yet. I finally managed to get around to that two months ago, I snapped up a bunch of her nail care items when they were on sale and am currently testing them all out so I can do a proper review.
Post Apocalyptic Princess released not too much after this, and I dived right in head first. I actually received my order in two parts, but more on that and epic customer service - because everything about this is epic, I say!  - but neglected to photograph the first box opening, so as a first kind of nail related blog post on this blog, I figured I'd do a box opening. Plus, my nails are epically bad. For real though they are, hence the nail care testing. I'm almost at the point where I could swatch again. I had such the series of bad breaks. I was living in nubbinsville for about three months. Ugh.
Anyway. So the first picture, at the top of the page, are the business/postcards that come with your orders. I'll be collecting these. So cute! I absolutely love the PS girl, Daphne. The graphics are so well done, I even love the font she chose. But I have always liked the vintage brush script fonts.
Next up, pretties in a box:


Breathless, Wicked Wasteland, Toxic Tiara, Eye of Copernicus (!!!), and An Uzi For Daddy. All wrapped up in pretty tissue paper for the ride.


I absolutely love the boxes and am storing mine in the boxes. Kaz had an incident with the boxes getting to her in time for the release, so she gave us the option to wait for the Post Apocalyptic Princess boxes, or have our new release polishes in the original boxes so they could be shipped right off. I chose to wait.
So here they all are together:


Shyeah! Nice. And Daphne shows up on the sides of the boxes like so:


I ended up with Liquid Leprechan, Eye of Copernicus, Breathless, Forbidden Zone, Wicked Wasteland, An Uzi From Daddy, Toxic Tiara, and Princess Plutonium. Dang. I meant to grab Bump-Dee-Bump! How did I miss that? Ah well, a perfect excuse for another order, right?
So my experience with ordering from Pretty Serious was pretty amazing. Epic, that's right, that was the word of the day. First of all, Kaz thought she had enough polish stocked for her release, and she was absolutely shocked to discover we cleaned her out pretty quickly. She's said that every release keeps getting bigger and bigger - this makes me ridiculously happy for her. Because of this, and the box incident, she announced she was going to honor release pricing since she didn't want anyone to miss out. She kept everyone updated about the situation regarding the boxes right as it was happening. As a first time customer, regardless if I knew her outside of this or not, it's impressive and wins customer loyalty when an owner is so generous of spirit, not to mention the clarity that she showed us with the box incident and the options she gave us.
Pretty Serious is based in Australia, but Kaz has a US stockist, so you don't have to pay for international shipping.
Am I impressed? You bet. It's the big details, and the small ones too, like the beautiful boxes and the postcards you can collect, The polishes themselves are beautiful and often very unique. I am glad I hopped on this little train of happy.
Who else has ordered from Pretty Serious? Did you have an amazing experience? I was also able to email and add on a few extra goodies! It was well worth it.
You can shop Pretty Serious here, or by clicking the graphic in the sidebar. I have to get my graphics to open links in a new window. I was a bit lazy about writing the code. Anyway. I'm falling asleep at my computer, it's been a very long day. Take care folks!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Cecilia



Cecilia came out right when I was getting into NAVA for the first time and had discovered decants. I knew nothing of decanting circles at all, and so Laura, who runs the previously mentioned Salixnoir livejournal, very kindly helped me figure out what everything was. Hah. I'm so clueless sometimes. Cecilia was from one of my very first decant rounds. I used my precious vial a few times, dithered around trying to decide whether I needed a full size. Actually this story has happened to me several times, I apparently am not good at living and learning. While I was dithering, she left the site. Well. Of course that was when I decided I needed a bottle. Enigma, coming home to me shortly, went the same way. Well, I was able to nab a partial from Laura's leftover list a few months back. As you can see in the second photo, my partial was down to bare bones and I was starting to panic when the Resurgence showed up last month and Cecilia was among them. Hah. I didn't waste any time putting that bottle in my cart!
So the notes for Cecilia are as follows:
Hungarian Pine Needle E/O, Fresh Summer Rain accord, Blood Crimson (richer Crimson), Dragon's Blood essence and Bastet's Amber with a kiss of Crystalline.
So, an aquatic. I actually have heard quite a few folks say they don't like aquatics, but I generally do. There are a few I haven't, but for the most part it falls in line with the fresh, clean category and I like fresh and clean scents. However...this is a very unusual aquatic, yeah? Pine needle and dragon's blood. How's that going to work?
Fantastic, I tell you. In the bottle, I'm getting pine and rain. Seriously, it does smell like rain. Wow. How do they DO that? It's completely and totally reminiscent of rain and it's beautiful with the pine. I keep sniffing, but that's really all I get from the bottle. Onto the skin it goes. Hah.
Wet on the skin, I catch a bit of the amber and very slightly in the background some red musk and dragon's blood. Just a slight whiff though, still primarily rain and it's well mingled with the pine. I want to talk for a minute about NAVA and wood. I got hooked early on by snagging a bottle of SL Diamond from a destash and I wasn't sure what to expect. It's SO beautiful. I need to do a full review of it, but briefly I will just tell you that it's not what you think - this doesn't smell like pencil shavings. So I knew to keep an open mind with the pine. It's very evocative for me, I get the sweet scent of pine wood and a bit of the needles and sap even, so the whole package, and so lovely. The pine and rain are already well melded in the bottle and they continue to do the same on drydown, so you've got a wet, rainy day near a forest. The amber is moving along now, adding more to the mixture, and it's a very clean amber like you get in Eternal Egypt.
Full drydown and this is mind blowingly evocative for me. This takes me right back to my childhood growing up in Maine.The dragon's blood has shown up along with the amber and red musk, and the vanilla in the background just kind of mellows everything out. How. Stunning.   My mother was a bit of a hippie and she used to wear a blend with dragon's blood. We used to go to the beach so often, rain or shine. I'm on the beach in Maine, pine trees at the back of us, we're facing the ocean. It's foggy and rainy. Mom smells like her hippie self and despite the rain it's a beautiful day, there's so much to see, there are little tide pools with critters for me to look at, I'm collecting stones and sea glass and seashells...I'm home. I live in Florida these days, but Maine is still very much home to me, and this just brings me right there. It's comforting and in a way bittersweet because it creates a wave of homesickness.
So. Whew, that was a bit long winded but I'm pretty passionate about Cecilia. Even if you think you don't like aquatics, I think she'd be worth a try - it's not typical in any way.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that this makes me think of the Simon and Garfunkel song, if that doesn't age me even more. But seriously! I know it wasn't named for that - as a matter of fact, it was named after the Waterhouse painting. Hah.
Up next, I'm going to do my little journey into the world of indie. I've had some requests, so I need to get it done.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Anticipation


Oh my. I missed out on Anticipation the first time it came around.  I was surely not going to do it again!  When it popped up in the Resurgences and I read the raves, I knew it was for me.  One of our beloved Tent moderators, Erica,  said it was a "fruit-chouli". Well twist my arm! NAVA lists the notes as:

African Musk-infused-Patchouli, Caramelized Cedar, Blue Musk, Black Fig, Sandalwood Absolute, Blue Egyptian Sugar, French Vanilla, Tallulah Musk (VA accord) and Apricot Skin Musk.

Okay. So when you open the bottle and take a sniff, you get a hit of musky patchouli. Um, yum. Yes please! This is so smooth smelling, not a dirty patchouli. As a matter of fact, let me back up and wax poetic about NAVA's patchouli for a minute. I think it's the best patchouli I have ever smelled and I am kind of a fiend for it. It's one of my favorite notes. It's so clean, delightful. I actually have a bottle of SL Hessonite and for a little while I was intimidated by the thought of it, but I have long since gotten past that and wear it regularly layered with other oils. It's such a delight. I'm still sniffing here, and I'm getting hints of wood - the cedar and sandalwood. Even though this has notes that maybe could go in the direction of foodie - their French Vanilla was kind of foodie for me, and there's sugar along with the carmelization of the cedar. I think that bit just makes the wood a little sweeter. I get a bit of fruit too here but nothing is standing out and I love their fig, so I can usually spot it. Hmm. Time for the skin!
This blend is a bit thin. I am a fan of slathering it, so it's okay with me that it comes out slightly faster than some of the other blends, but it's something to note. Wet on the skin I am not getting any fruit yet, but the musks and patchouli are dominating everything and I'm okay with that. Hah. I do love my musks and patchouli, obviously.
Okay, on drydown we've got that nice fruit I caught in the bottle coming through. The sugar is making it a bit sweet, which is nice with the woods that are peeping out too. Fully dry, this flops into the most delightful musky fruit patchouli - the individual notes are all melded together and what heaven is this? 
This lasts all day on me. All. Day. Long. It's following me everywhere and I'm obsessed. I nabbed a second bottle because I knew this needed to stay in my life, and I've already gotten below the shoulder on my first bottle. Made me panic a little bit, I don't mind saying it out loud. 
Oh! I got a ton of compliments on this when I was out and about. I was surprised actually, I think it got more compliments than Kashmir, and usually nothing beats Kashmir in that department. 
This is going to be perfect in the summer too, I think. I'm so glad I was able to get it. Definitely one of my favorites. 
(By the way, this was accidentally published while I was trying to work out my newly installed Blogger app on my phone, so it was obviously incomplete. I have NO idea why it won't let me revert to draft, or why none of my editing options are there. I'll have to do further research with this before I try to play with another post. Sorry folks!)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Ember Vanilla



I can't get my ish together, I swear. I've been meaning to post a review for DAYS but I have so much going on lately I'm behind! Haha. Anyway, I had a request recently, a couple of days back, to do a review of NAVA's Studio Limited (SL, for future reference - I should make a glossary page) Ember Vanilla, so let's jump right into that.
This is one of their most recent Studio Limited releases, and instantly it became a classic. I haven't run across a single person saying, this is not for me. I haven't seen anyone selling theirs, for that matter! That's usually pretty indicative of a fantastic perfume, y'know? I waited a while before I purchased mine. The notes had me worried this might be foodie.
Here are the notes from NAVA's description: 
A haunting Vanilla cream with accents of caramel and a sweet kiss of brown sugar, in which we mean, the vanilla is underneath teasing and sweetening the woods of exotic Indian Sandalwood, American Cedar, California Redwood and the haunting decadence of our ICON Egyptian Oudh as part of this blend. A vision of smoked vanilla but only by using the finest of NAVA SL ingredients. Can be layered with more of any of our SL Sandalwood perfumes, more SL Vanilla, SL Diamond or SL Amethyst. A log fire with vanilla accented in the smoldering wood.
 At first I thought, oh boy. Caramel and brown sugar. Sigh. I love them, but they really don't love my skin, and foodies generally don't work for me. I should know better by now!  NAVA are magicians, and what you see isn't always what you get. I read many reviews and nobody seemed to get a foodie vibe from this. I asked a dear friend of mine her opinion and her response? NIKI JUST GET IT. So. I took the plunge needless to say, because she convinced me it was a must have!
Right out of the gate, in the bottle, you get a bit of a sweet, carmelized vanilla. Scary for me. But then on further sniffing (huffing like a madwoman, read) the smoke comes out to play. Oh boy. This is AMAZING. GET ON MAH SKIN.
Wet on the skin it's much the same as you get from the bottle sniff. So, I back off, give it some time to settle. Whoooaaa. Holy bats. This is sexy. You may remember from my introduction to NAVA post that my guy hates vanillas. Hates with a passion. Says they stink. This, when it's dry, I find him nuzzling my neck. It's so good! Smoky. Rich. The vanilla has a hint of carmelization, but it's in no way foodie. This is sexy, grown up. The drydown brings out the woods in it more, and they are all melding into something crazy good. This is the magic of NAVA. It's like on drydown their blends kind of flop onto a perfumed pillow of delight. It's very different from OP Pakhet but for me? They're sisters. They are not a typical vanilla. The smoke, the wood in this definitely pairs with the more woody Pakhet, although she's got that base of incense behind her. Also, Ember Vanilla is great straight out of the gate. You don't have to let it age to have it completely become glorious - it's glorious already. However, I've had mine a couple of months, and I can tell you it keeps getting better. It's also delightful layered - try pairing it with Kashmir, for instance. I can't word enough for that description, but my Gods, is that amazing. They're both so rich and interesting alone, but paired they are a killer combination that garners quite a bit of compliments when you step out into the world.
How's the staying power, you might ask? I've worn this without showering at night, and the next day I'm still getting wafts of it when I get up. This one is strong with the force, I tell you. Hah.
So in conclusion? You should just go ahead and throw your money at Ember Vanilla, I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Nocturne Alchemy Spring 2016 Limited Collection




The new Nocturne Alchemy Spring Limited collection is now live! I've posted the new video below as well - I actually really enjoy watching the videos and the music is always so enchanting. So, what's catching your eye? I'm over here flailing. This is an absolutely astounding update. There are literally SO MANY of these I want to try, I can't narrow things down! Decants will be my friend. What are y'all looking at? I know that Tibetan Crystalline is coming home with me immediately. Other than that, from the Resurgences, I feel like I need A Dream Within A Dream and Under the Moon immediately, the new Art of Love: Love and Egyptology: 1922 seem like must haves for me, and I ... AHH I DON'T KNOW I WANT EVERYTHING SYNDROME. Hah!
So, here's the video, enjoy...love and light, folks! I haven't words. The NAVA crew have outdone themselves.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

NAVA for Newbies


I was recently asked to do a little write up, an introduction to NAVA if you will. I was incredibly flattered, and incredibly nervous. But it kickstarted me to start working on this blog, as I've been meaning to do for quite some time now. This was originally a piece for a Facebook group and has been adapted a bit for a broader audience.
I want to preface this by saying I am NOT an expert in any way, shape or form. My nose has developed quite a lot over the last year, but I still use fantastic, lovely, amazing, delightful as adjectives. Haha! I can pick out quite a few things though. And I'm also not a NAVA expert. I'm just a fan and an enthusiast. Also, if anyone would like to jump in, via the comments, please by all means - I would value contributions.
Also, let me first extend anyone an invitation to join the NAVA Tent: https://www.facebook.com/groups/736914953065807/
And there is a Marketplace as well: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1622364791318661/
You can now also follow NAVA on instagram: @nocturnealchemy
So almost a year ago, I started playing with my indie bath and body again. It had been quite a while, so I was a little out of the loop, but I remember following the original Facebook account and I never did get my feet wet, as I really wasn't sure where to start and I didn't know there was a forum at the time! Sadface. I did a little looking here on Facebook, and discovered the Tent. I quietly joined, browsed posts for a while, and just followed along. I had some small idea based on postings and perusing the site what I might like, but I knew I needed input. I worked up the nerve and finally asked for some help. Samantha and Erica, two lovely, lovely women who moderate the Tent, jumped right in, and graciously offered me advice, along with several other kind people. I never looked back. I started small, with a skarab sample set and two bottles: The Daydream and Myrrh Ombre. The Daydream has actually been brought back as an LC again!
So, let's start with a little terminology, basic but maybe helpful, from a recent post in the Tent by Seth, one of the NAVA crew members. Here's the other thing: they're pretty active in the Tent also! Being able to interact with such a popular perfume house's crew? Pretty fun and informative, I'll tell you what!
NAVA: What our customers call us - it is the combination of Nocturne Alchemy & VApothecary
NAVAlchemy : when one blends NAVA with NAVA on the skin and the NAVA Alchemy of scent occurs
Skarab: Nocturne Alchemy samples
Vile: VApothecary samples
PC: Permanent Collection
LC: Limited Collection
SL: Studio Limited
Okay! So almost every month, there is a new Limited Collection, or LC. As a matter of fact this month is a tad behind, and we are all super excited, as Friday is the new release! I can't wait to see what will pop up with this one. The LCs usually stay up around two months, giving you a bit of time to get decants in if you like to decide what you want, or to decide exactly how much of your paycheck you should just go ahead and sign over. LOL.
Studio Limited collection is a special set of perfume oils. These are limited in quantity. When they sell out, they are gone for good - but they have more of these in stock than they do the LC perfumes. Some SLs have been around quite a while and some have been out of stock and are brought back in. When I first started I got a sample of Crystalline SL and wanted to buy it but had to wait a few months, and then they were able to bring it back.
Tied in with the SL line - the link is at the very top of that section, is the Osirian Purnima, or we've been calling them the OP line for short. These are INCENSE PERFUMES, y'all. And these are high quality ingredients. All of the OP line start with the OP base and then other ingredients are added - for instance, OP Pakhet is Samar Oudh, smoke, and vanilla. Mmmmm. I think I have seven of these and they are each distinct and amazing. I cannot rave enough about them. I should mention, a word of advice if you are interested in trying these - let them rest. Let them rest at least a week when you get them before you even crack them open, as they take a little more time to recover than most other perfume oils do from travelling. And then, when you've let them rest, and you've tried them out a bit - this is even harder I know! - put them AWAY. Let them age a bit. They really benefit from aging, they kind of start to blossom into their own right. This was a big lesson I had to learn, as I actually had this experience with a PC perfume oil as well.
So, PC is the permanent collection. This is a very extensive range! Florals. Ambers. Vapothecary's Gothic toned perfumes. I have a pretty large PC wishlist and try to add at least one or two of these to my orders, which seem to coincide with the LC releases. I'll get say 3 or 4 that I determine I can't live without on the LC and buy one or two off my PC wishlist. At least, that's my goal to try to narrow that wishlist down! It's hard. There are so many lovely perfumes and in going through my decants/skarabs/viles I come across more and more I have to have.
What made me such a fangirl? Here's the thing. I'd tried amber before. IT NEVER WORKED ON ME. Turned to baby powder. Like, ew. So I thought, well that's one note I'll never be able to wear. Can I tell you a little secret? If you have though the same thing, please let NAVA work their alchemy on you. You will be surprised and amazed and you will hear this story in the tent over and over again. Notes people say NEVER work on them, they have found NAVA somehow manages to change for them. I have my very first ever full bottle of a lavender blend, Dead Can Sleep. I can't wear lavender. I don't even DO florals, come on. I'm a hippie child. But here I am, huffing my wrist. Granted I grabbed the LC version with the addition of oudh, but I like their dirt and patchouli so it only sealed the deal. I own florals. Blue Lotus is amaaaazing. Hah, who would have ever thought? I am all about dark, gothic, moody, hippie stuff too like patchouli and nag champa. And here I am with florals. It's not just their magical alchemy with scents either. It's the attention to detail, the high quality ingredients, the work that they put into each blend and the LOVE they put into each blend - it's obvious. The community in the Tent - I can go there after having a bad day and feel instantly better, instantly at home. The fact that the creators spend time with us in the Tent, when they are able obviously. They're generous with their knowledge and their spirits. It shows.
NAVA are kind of "famous" for their vanillas. With good reason - they have a rather extensive vanilla offering for every kind of taste. My guy, he HATES vanilla. His only explanation is that "they stink". However, I find I can wear Kobalt Dark, Ember Vanilla, and OP Pakhet and he actually LIKES them on me. I wish he liked more. I wear Crystalline at work, but that's okay, he likes the stuff most guys usually don't like so I can't complain too much - patchouli, red musk, OUDH - my man is a nut for some oudh! Anyway, digressing. You guys knew this post would be a book right?
So yeah, they're famous for their vanillas, and actually also their amber blends. Seriously, they make some amazing ambers, and such a variety that the PC actually has a whole section devoted to just ambers.
They SHOULD be famous for their patchouli and red musk. They make some of the cleanest, most amazing patchouli I've ever smelled. I should own stock in Hessonite, the SL patchouli note. Also, Kashmir is probably my most complimented perfume, hands down. Oh, and sandalwood, they are wizards with sandalwood also. Santal Ombre is seriously backup bottle worthy. Drooool.
Oh my goodness. I wish it were still around, but they did a very limited run of a special oudh collection, the ICONIC collection. I got an empty from a friend recently and my guy literally grabbed it out of my hands, took a huff, his eyes rolled back in his head and he said THAT IS THE BEST SMELLING PERFUME YOU HAVE. I wish I were kidding. I could have cried. I have to hunt it down, obviously!  So, I adore the smell of their oudh. It's something else. I got two bottles of the very limited Horus Haven 2 because OUDH and VANILLA - I mean geez, it must be magical right? And it was. Unfh. I can smell oudh following me all day. You can get a few blends with oudh right now, and don't have to wait for a limited release though! A few of the OP line have oudh, like Pakhet, and if you like florals, Carnation Santalum Gold. Also Dragon: Helios has oudh! Currently in the LC collection, go nab a bottle of Overseer, it's honey oudh and apparently amazing.
Some of my favorite readily available blends are: Eternal Egypt - clean, bright amber and one of their most popular fragrances. Let it age if at first it doesn't suit you, it's delightful with about a month on it! Bastet Halloween 2016 in the VA section. Spicy, yet clean, yet incense-y somehow. It's magic and it seriously calms me when I'm having anxiety attacks. Black Crow - patchouliiiii. Mmm. Sekhmet Amber - patchouli and amberrrr. Yum. SLs - Kashmir, Hessonite, Ember Vanilla, the Ombres, Kobalt Dark, Santalum, Crystalline... the OPs - oh hey, get them all. Just kidding. My absolute favorites are Baba, Tawaret, Hathor, Thoth, and Pakhet.
A little hint if you are feeling overwhelmed looking at the website: First of all, everyone is happy to help in the Tent with recommendations. Secondly, if you're looking for particular notes, the search bar is actually very helpful! Things on my immediate radar: Egyptian Peach Blossom, Ember from the SL line, Mists of Arcacia. OH. I do love NAVA dragon's blood. I've forgotten to mention it but it is lovely, spicy, warm. Should go hand in hand with Kashmir.
Also, if you want to try the LCs, but you're not sure if you're ready to commit to full sized bottles, you can go the route of decants.  Angie Towne runs the Facebook group Ajevie, and she also has a web store. Similarly, Laura Wierzbicki runs Salixnoir on Livejournal and also runs the NAVA Circles group on Facebook.  A great way to give the new scents a try. Plus, you can pick up great deals often in the Marketplace.
I wanted to make mention of another fun (in my opinion!) thing - with every update, NAVA creates a preview video. I like to sit down with a cup of coffee, flip my computer on, and view the video in full screen with the volume up to set the atmosphere, and enjoy my first view of the new collection. I get so excited, and the images and music used are always absolutely beautiful.
Edited to add: I neglected to mention a huge labor of love, the NAVA Wiki. Here, you can find scent notes for NAVA's perfume oils dating back to the very beginning, as well as many reviews. You can even add reviews yourself! (I've been sorely slacking on this as I often feel like I can't "word" enough aaand I'm forgetful!)
Whew. I don't know if this helps. I surely hope so!
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