Mimosa Glow

Mimosa - 05, originally uploaded by Marie-Poppy2.

Early evening yesterday, I stepped into the drugstore to check my mail, and swept by the $19.99 shelf to find the tall frosted JLo Glow awaiting redemption from its place of non-glory. I thought I’d snatch it as a gift for my friend Tina, who loves spraying it on her hair and clothes (and it always makes her smell like she just washed her hair when she does). And right than and there, I decided to give it another try.

When Glow came out, I dismissed it as too sharp, too synthetic and too soapy to my taste. While this remains true for the first few minutes, I became pleasantly surprised when trying it on my skin for the first time in 8 years. In a world that sees a rapid life cycle for celebrity scents, JLo’s Glow is probably considered a classic by now, rivaled only by Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.

What awaited me after the initial rash of synthetic orange blossom was something I did not expect. Although familiar, it took me a few minutes to figure it out… Provence! Shimmering mimosas, honeycombs and good old French milled soap. And a little bit of freesia too, which gives it just a touch of peppery greenness. And than a sweetness crept in, vanilla against mimosa, and I was in heaven for a few hours. By bedtime most of what I could smell was musk though, and that was the song I woke up to the next morning.

If Narcisso Rodriguez’s dry down resembles laundry detergent musk, Glow resembles whatever musk they like to put in milled soaps to keep your skin fragrantly “clean” for hours after washing. In that regard, the scent really is true to what it always claimed to be, starting from the ad copy, frosted glass that is reminiscent of a shower cell’s sliding doors and shaped like a yuppie shampoo bottle, to the image of Jennifer Lopez herself scrubbing all the ghetto-dirt from her perfectly carved abs and curves.

Tea in Gastown

I dropped by the new experimental Gastown Farmers' Market this morning. This market is a first in this neighborhood, which has very few grocery stores. So I hope it goes well and continues to happen throughout the summer – because if the starving artists in the lofts who live there have some food money to spend, they better get something local, freshly picker and/or organically grown.

And like any Farmers’ Markets, there is more than just fresh produce (even though that on its own is pretty darn exciting if you ask me!). There are some bakers and hand made soaps and cosmetics

We have a Farmers’ Market in the West End, just a few blocks away by Nelson Park every Saturday. But the purpose for my visit to the Gastown one was to pick up more Moonbeam Glory tea from Inner Alchemy's tent. From there the plan was to continue on to Powell Street Festival (the Japanese-Canadian cultural celebration that happens every year on the BC Day weekend).

Dawna's display was as lovely as could be, simple and elegant. And of course there is nothing better than hearing from her in person what is in each tea, how it tastes when warm or chilled, and see the passion and the glint in her eye as she tells the tale of each tea blend.

I also picked another favourite: Verdant Jewel, which I'm sipping now as I write this: a gorgeous melange of green tea and silver needle white teas with just a hint of refreshing mint leaves and crystalized ginger. It makes a stunning chilled tea and is a good, interesting substitute to more traditional green teas.

I also decided to be adventurous and buy to new teas that I've never tasted before: Little Star, which is a Puerh with hand-picked Chrysanthemum flowers; and Chartreuse Eau de Vie, an aperitif/digestive tea or cordial with French tarragon, fennel, chamomile and osmanthus. I am still waiting for my friend Tina who is a die-hard Chrysanthemum lover to try Little Star. But I have brewed the Chartreuse Eau de Vie several times since the market and will tell you more about its licorice-floral wonders on a separate post.

There were other artisans and vendors in the market that caught my eye, including this French Clay and Vetivert soap from Royal Herbs. They sell several other soaps and herbal preparations (i.e.: infused oils and various cosmetics and lotions) as well as some essential oils and synergies. But this grabbed my attention immediately because I’m suck a sucker for anything with vetiver, and recently I’ve been trying various vetiver soaps. This hand made soap bar smelled so nice and simple. The soap is a little sofat and has a nice rich lather, is not drying at all, and the best of all – has an incredibly nutty vetiver aroma, all natural.

And last but not least: Say See Bon Pattisserie, which makes the only macarons worth eating in Vancouver. The chocolate ones were served at my Tropical Tea Party. I tried Charlene’s matcha macarons this time, which she said have a new recipe for the filling, incorporating a white chocolate ganache. They were fantastic! I like them just as much as the chocolate – they are both perfect in flavour and texture, which is very challenging to achieve with French macarons.

And speaking of green tea - after that we went to the Powell Street Festival finding refuge from the heat in the shade and enjoying some summery Japanese street food, such as this shaved ice with green tea and azuki beans. It does not come with a cherry on the top - that was just part of the picnic I picked up at the farmers' market.

Soap de Jour: Spirulina's Milk, Honey & Cinnamon

On my last day in Tel Aviv, I found this astonishing Milk, Honey & Cinnamon Soap by Spirulina in the infamous health food store in Tel Aviv "Nitzat Ha Duvdevan" (Cherry Blossom) on Iben Gevirol 58, Tel. +972-3-6965174 (very close to Rabin's Square, for those who are unfamiliar with the city).

What first caught my nose's attention was a glycerin and honey soap from the same brand. After many whiffs and procrastination, both me and my brother Noam who was with me for the adventure*, we decided that this by far had the best scent of all the line. Plus it looked unusual with its pink hue and marbled effect of the cinnamon (and vanilla?) specks.

What can I tell you, this soap truly makes me look forward to my daily scrub even more than usual. Unlike most bar soaps, it does not dry my skin AT ALL. It has the most creamy texture on the skin, lather magnificently, and smells amazing: like warm milke with honey, vanilla and cinnamon. And to top it all off, it is all natural, with no synthetic dyes or fragrance. The ingredient list is as follows:
Vegetbale Oils, Olive Oil, Cinnamon Essential Oil, Milk, Honey, Vanilla and Cinnamon essences.
The ground cinnamon gives an extra exfoliating benefit and leaves the skin soft and smelly... Yum!

Spirulina does not have a website, but they have two telephone numbers, so perhaps if you don't live in Israel, you can bug them and beg them to send you some and start selling them online...
Moblie: +972-50-540-4034

*We stepped in the abovementioned health food store in order to stock up on dried fruit & nut power bars, because I promised myself to not eat any airplane food that flight! Lufthanza has just the worst food I've tried in airplanes yet and I was not prepared to suffer the culinary and digestive torture eating this food again would mean). I felt significantly better living on these power bars and Granny's sandwiches on the way back. It was worth it!

Gift from Eie Flud

Lavender Moon, originally uploaded by ObedientMuse.

Lavender is beautiful. As simple as that. It’s simple, complex, clean, warm, floral, herbal, musky, enchanting, pure, bright, powdery, sensual, anything you can think of except for boring. In fact it’s one of the most versatile notes on the perfumer’s palette.

I had just received in the mail a fragrant surprise - a lovely gift from Heather of Eie Flud (I was fortunate enough to win her Mother’s Day contest as part of the Benevolent Blogging project we both participated in, along with may other talented and community-conscious bloggers).

Lavender Shea Body Balm
This rich, buttery and nourishing body balm is a real treat of a scent - and also a treatment for the skin with its luxurious texture. I’d use it whenever my skin needs intense moisture and protection. But really I would use it whenever I want to smell its heavenly lavender all around me. Unlike many other lavender scented body products that I smelled before – Eie Flud’s lavender balm has a substantial scent. It really reminds me of my own powdery-vanillic soliflore, just in a solid and moisturizing form... I just love this pure lavender, with all its complexity and richness, and that simple rejuvenating, centering effect.

Lavender Sachet
This came in the prettiest white muslin drawstring-bag, just like you would expect any self-respectable English lady to have in her wardrobe in order to keep all linens and clothes fresh. If you think you already know everything about lavender and don’t need it in your life, just try one of those sachets of fine English lavender in your closet for a couple of hours. Than open the closet, and if you don’t notice something different right than and there - inhale deeply into one of the garments, and you will be pleasantly surprised…

In the package was also a charity soap for Unique, with oak leaves and lemon balm, and a lovely embroidered pure-white handkerchief.

Thank you, Heather!

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