December 13, 2010
December 7, 2010
We will be shipping every day until December 23rd, and will resume as of the 29th. Processing times will remain the same - parcels will ship out by the next day, barring circumstances beyond our control. If you get your order in before noon EST, we'll usually be able to ship the same day.
For US orders, getting an order in time for the holidays is iffy as of right now. Normal transit times for packages crossing the border range from a few days to about 2 weeks, so bear in mind that there is an element of risk if you are hoping to receive something by the 24th.
For Canadian orders, we are shipping via Expedited service, which translates to:
Local – 1 day
Regional – 1 up to 3 days
National – 2 up to 7 days
That usually means about 2-5 business days, and 6-7 if you're in the territories, or in a more rural area of BC or the Prairies.
We are happy to combine orders as well, just e-mail us before placing a second order, as it simpler to invoice than to issue refunds for shipping.
November 25, 2010
November 11, 2010
November 5, 2010
October 31, 2010
Which brings me to the this collection - two lovely soaps and three perfumes, evoking the bittersweet nature of the last days of the Summer season, and the dawn of Fall.
1816 - Shivery peppermint, Madagascar vanilla, white sugar, creamed butterscotch, snowy fondant, fog, sleet, hail, and a tiny bite of silvery fir.
Scathach - Highland grass, green apples, almonds, fir needles, and honey-speared citrus.
1816 is beautifully brisk and refreshing, not quite chilly. Scathach is a distant cousin to my beloved Avalon, which doubles as an autumn fragrance for me.
Danced to Pieces - Blushing candy sweetness and an angelic tangle of strawberry, raspberry, red currant, pink grapefruit, and white sugar weave a spell above a flagrantly destructive, self-indulgent base of dark peppery musk, resinous amber, heady cognac, opiate-laced cassis cordial, and the faint remains of a silver leaf.
The Sunflower's Lament - Tears on the warmest, brightest day: apricot, chamomile, opoponax resin, petitgrain, peach, lavender, green cognac, heather, heliotrope, sweet clove, sticky benzoin, and iron-distilled patchouli.
The Moonflower’s Bliss - Happiness under a starless sky: moon vine, heartleaf milkweed, Calla lily, white tuberose, gardenia, and Madagascar bridal veil with creamy butter CO2 extract, pearl musk, white pepper, and a trace of incense.
Three very different perfumes.
Danced to Pieces has an astringent opening, nose-tickling even, as the tart berries and sharp cassis mix with the sugared booze. This phase did not do well on me, but after a bit it begins to mellow, warm and deepen until it becomes a gorgeous, deeply spiced amber. A surprise win.
The Sunflower’s Lament is the perfect resin for folks who tend to prefer foody notes and shy away from heavier blends. Tons of earth notes and resins, yet what comes across is a bright, golden fragrance, juicy and sweet, that softens gently into a musky, lightly powdered finish.
The Moonflower’s Bliss. Oh. OH. A wonderfully luxurious yet utterly wearable tropical floral. Voluptous white blooms with sheer, light counterpoints, and a gentle, creamy drydown. I really hope this one is brought into the general catalogue.
Actually, I hope all of them are folded into the permanent line. In the meantime, indulge in these last bits of early Fall before we’re blanketed by snow.
October 14, 2010
Canada Post is many things, but inexpensive isn't one of them. We're always looking to bring you guys wonderful, unique products at affordable prices, and working out the shipping has been challenging, to say the least. (Never mind the irony that it's less expensive to ship very light packages to the States, than it is to our neighboring province.)
Please check out the new rates here.
For international orders, please e-mail us for a quote.
In other news, we finally have the fall collections from both Villainess and Arcana! Returning favorites and some new yumminess to indulge in. =)
My personal favorites?
Arcana's Holy Terror (soap and perfume) for its beautiful, heavy resins and beeswax sweetness. EDIT: Wow, we're officially out of Holy Terror soap!
Cobwebs from Villainess - possibly the most gorgeous-looking and seasonally apropos soap ever. It's also available in some experimental sizes and formats - a 2ml corked dram bottle of perfume, and a ceramic candle. This is not a sweet, foody fragrance (which abound in both collections), but rather something that encapsulates the darker aspects of the season.
October 4, 2010
Free shipping for purchases of 60$ and more! Good until 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, Oct. 5th.
The promo good for both Canadian and US orders! US orders will ship on Friday via priority mail, from the States, as we will be traveling.
Livraison gratuite pour les achats de 60 $ et plus! Bon jusqu'à 23h59, le mardi 5 octobre.
La promotion s'applique aux commandes canadiennes et américaines! Les commandes américaines seront envoyé le vendredi par courrier prioritaire, en provenance des États.
September 30, 2010
We have a whole lot of wonderful goodies on the way from Arcana and Villainess! They should be here within a couple of weeks, in time for Halloween.
And if you're still clinging to the last bits of summer, have a look on our Limited Editions page for some lovely reminders.
September 24, 2010
S'il vous plaît n'hésitez pas à nous visiter, et profitez de notre offre spéciale de lancement - 10% de réduction avec le code sept10, valable jusqu'au dernier jour de Septembre.
August 25, 2010
The website is steadily coming along. I have a few days of work left on product cataloguing and photography. But I'm very excited by the prospect of going live towards the end of next week, quite probably.
I also just got a preview of what Arcana has planned for the Early Autumn release and it sounds delicious! Definitely original, but still very much in the spirit of classic Arcana.
Le site Web achève! J'ai encore quelques jours de travail pour cataloguer et photographier certains produits. Mais je pense être prête pour la fin de la semaine prochaine.
J'ai également vu ce que Arcana a prévu pour la collection de "Early Autumn" et cela semble délicieux ! Original, mais toujours dans l'esprit des Arcana classiques.
August 15, 2010
I've been involved in the online beauty world for several years now - both as an avid consumer and occasional hobbyist (a brief and dubious run of soap-making). I discovered artists and brands that I knew nothing about 5 years ago, and had the pleasure of becoming friends with some of these artisans and entrepreneurs, while also having the equal delight of seeing friends become business-owners and creators in their own right.
Some time ago I thought about putting together a little online boutique for the things I was most passionate about. As a concept, it struck me as a little bit presumptuous - I mean, can I really base a store around just the things I like? But then again, that's the beauty of an online store - it really can be whatever you want it to be, indentity-wise. Why not a carefully audited selection of things that really resonate with me, and will hopefully appeal to other people? At the very least whoever buys from me will know that I'm not just pandering - if I sell it, it's because I love it.
I put together this blog (on a different site originally) a few months back, pulling out from my old review blog just the things that made me truly excited. That gave me a solid base to start with - these are the brands, I realized, I would be happy to enable people to. So this blog will continue in that vein. It will feature what I'm personally 100% into, whether it winds up as something in the shop or not.
Speaking of shop - it's almost ready! The final design is done, and now I'm just adding the product listings. Soon, very soon. =)
August 14, 2010
June 14, 2010
Once upon a time, many years ago, Beth from BPAL made her own soaps. Being the prolific, highly inventive lady that she was, and soaps being the time-consuming creature that they are, eventually the BPAL soaps passed on into the mist to make way for other enticements - though they were much missed. A few years ago, BPAL teamed with a local soapmaker to produce a small line of soaps. As lovely as these were, they were not meant to be, and once again we suffered a dearth of BPAL-infused suds.
Enter Villainess. With years of soapmaking under her belt, Brooke is a master of her craft (as I have drooled over in a previous post). Her soaps are not just aromatic and cleansing - they works of art in and of themselves, complex riffs on olfactory concepts, and lushly lathersome to boot.
For these two ladies to team up was only natural, though the result has been nothing short of sublime.
Bear witness to The Most Perfect Soap Ever Made:
First, a quick shout out for the label-design. It's not an easy thing to combine two very established aesthetics, as both BPAL and Villainess have, and come up with something that stands so beautifully on its own. Kudos extended to the lady behind Elixireleven for the gorgeousness.
Scented with BPAL's Shub-Niggurath perfume (a blend that was once a limited edition, with original bottles that fetched high sums on ebay), it is a soap unlike most people have likely experienced. It is smooth, spicy incense that once lathered up lingers deliciously in the bathroom and on your skin - it is so persistent, that you almost don't need perfume for several hours later. And of course the soap itself is a Villainess standard - that fabulous, slice-of-fudge texture, and a soft, silky lather that leaves the skin satiny-clean.
This is not the kind of soap that you toss in the shower for a quick, refreshing boost in the morning. This is the kind of soap that invites you to luxuriate, to marvel at the sheer voluptuous potential in an act as basic as bathing.
It is, simply put, smexy soap. And I officially need several hundred bars to stockpile.*
*And it is conserves very well over time. Soap does not, of course, have an infinite shelf-life, but Villainess soaps store very well - up to year, easily.
May 24, 2010
May 14, 2010
Since this is brand that also caters to the professional, they also have a few products geared specifically to the HD market - their Blue-Ray line. Despite their pro applications, the items in this line are supremely user-friendly and would be key in anyone's on-the-go makeup bag.
I especially adore the blush.
This is not an attention-getting blush. It's not bright or vivid - when applied correctly, you shouldn't even be able to tell you're wearing any. And that's the charm. This is easily one of the most finely-milled blushes I have ever tried - it applies seamlessly and flawlessly, blending naturally with your skin. The effect is subtle and luminous, making look lit from within, not spackled with color. This is not the blush to select if you want drama, but for no-fuss application and a softly beautiful effect, this is perfect.
I do hope Cargo comes out with more shades, because the only downside to this blush is that it suits fair to medium complexions only. It is also 28$ CAD (27$ USD), which can seem like quite the investment, but it also weighs in at 8 grams. By comparison, a Nars blush is 4.5 grams, and costs 30$ CAD (26$ USD).
They also get compliments like crazy. On any given day I wear these, I get at least one for every two people I speak with. They are unfussy, but just so lovely.
April 30, 2010
These are fabulous soaps with a smooth, creamy lather, though the individual properties of each vary with the specific oils used in the individual recipe (i.e.: macadamia, black cocoa butter, etc.). They feel heavy in your hand and look beautiful stacked on your vanity or arranged in a pretty bowl. (I keep them in a pretty hatbox to conserve the scent, but then again I'm a soap freak and need to hoard a stash to last me through the Apocalypse.) The labels are all unique and reflect the concept of the scent blend, and are so pretty that I often hesitate in breaking one open.
Then there are the scrubs, which are generally only made during the cooler months of the year, in order to preserve the luscious texture during shipping.
The scent is strong and beautiful in the shower, but doesn't stay too long on the skin afterward, which I prefer as it doesn't interfere with my scent selection for the day.
And then we come to, of course, the perfumes. Hand-blended from both natural and synthtic essences , they range from the straightforward to the subtle and textured. They also, more than any other perfume oil I've tried, improve markedly with aging. Frequently it's only after a year that they become utterly seamless and more complex, as notes mature and meld together in beautiful ways.
The labels are also darling, both for more limited creations and ones in the regular line-up. This is a small example:
Arcana also offers a small selection of facial care, which I have yet to try.
April 25, 2010
The Inquisition is a BPAL/BPTP tradition where sets of products (usually a perfume and a corresponding shirt) are available for sale, but the trick is that you have to submit a plea for which version you want and the Trading Post 'imps' decide which one you will receive. (Though of course they will honor outright requests. They're not mean, those imps.) In the case of the Four Seasons Inquisition, the sets included a perfume, an atmosphere spray and a bath oil - by far my favorite out of all the combinations.
The labels were all absolutely gorgeous and of course the scents themselves were divine. They were not identical across the pray, bath oil and perfume versions, but rather each set contained scent blends that were truly evocative of the season and suited to their medium.
ATMOSPHERIC SPRAY - Tuberose, linden blossom, jasmine, rosehip, oakmoss, pink heather, white rose, and sugar cane, with plum, lemon tree, and orange blossoms.
BATH OIL - Lemon peel, tuberose, sugar cane, plum blossom, white gardenia, dandelion, violet leaf, jonquil, iris, sandalwood, Damascus rose, white grapefruit, mint, and sweet orange.
PERFUME - Plum blossom, tuberose, oakmoss, violet leaf, jasmine, ylang ylang, lemon peel, orange blossom, and lemon peel.
ATMOSPHERIC SPRAY - Nepalese amber, vanilla infused amber, golden musk,
sandalwood, orange rind, ginger, frankincense, and cardamom.
BATH OIL - Carnation, golden amber, honey myrtle, beeswax absolute, summer peach,
cardamom, and vanilla orchid.
PERFUME - Nepalese amber, vanilla infused amber, golden musk, sandalwood, golden lily, sunflower, and honey myrtle.
ATMOSPHERIC SPRAY - Fig leaf, patchouli, black tea, and bonfire smoke.
BATH OIL - Sage, myrrh, patchouli, molasses, sweetgrass, cedar, and cinnamon sugar.
PERFUME - Hawthorn, fig, myrrh, carnation, toasted almond, red and green apple, patchouli, wood smoke, and Indian musk.
ATMOSPHERIC SPRAY - Snow-laden pine boughs, sleet, white sandalwood, cedar, winter orchid, and honeysuckle.
BATH OIL - Stargazer lily, white musk, winter orchid, white grapefruit, fir needle, star jasmine, citron, and mint.
PERFUME - White musk, winter plum, pine wood, benzoin, orchid, and stargazer lily.
L'Estate are all sensual, languid scents. They are evocative of sultry summer evening, the air hot and humid, the light deeply golden. Ambers and resins dominate these blends, with the perfume having the most mellow character, the spray and oil spicier in nature. I think some people would be fearful of wearing such heavy, oriental-style scents in the summer, but I think they deserve to be appreciated in their full glory, as they expand in the deep, permeating heat. These are very sexual scents, and I greatly favor wearing the bath oil to bed as a post-shower moisturizer.
L'Autunno sound like more masculine-friendly blends, and indeed they can be appreciated most readily by menfolk for their smoky, earthy character. But unless you aggressively dislike wood notes or patchouli, I think they are universal fragrances. They are all balanced very well between the sweeter notes we associate with fall (be it the harvest fruit notes of the perfume, or the molasses and cinnamon sugar of the bath oil) and those deeper, darker notes that are so central to a season that sees the light dwindle and the earth fall into repose. They smell like the best pies, the best walks in the woods, the best gleeful leaps into leaf piles you can remember from childhood.
L'Inverno features some of the most delicately pretty and ephemeral scents yet, with pale musks, dainty florals and cool notes of pine and snow. I don't know how a blend with pine can smell so feminine and lovely, but there you go. The atmosphere spray is perhaps the heaviest on those wintry wood notes, green and crackly and perfect for my home at the Holidays, since I can't have a real tree.
I absolutely adore these blends, and only regret not getting doubles.
April 20, 2010
The style is frothy retro, with just enough animal-print to balance out the pink, and a sleeker look than the kitsch evinced by a brand like Benefit.
The product that sucked me into the brand was the Shady Lady palette. Priced at just about 40$ at the time, it's a collection of nine absolutely gorgeous eyeshadows that represent a very practical range of shades. Nothing too flashy or bright, but a great selection of mid to deep colors that can create both a daytime-appropriate and more intense looks.
The texture of all of them is both dense and silky, though not too creamy, and they wear beautifully.
If I were to voice any criticism, it would be that I wish there were more light colors for highlight purposes, and that this palette is unfortunately no longer available.
However! The Balm did recently come out with Shady Lady 2.0, which does indeed feature more light colors, as well as a few more vivid shades. Each of the eyeshadows in the original palette are also still available in individual form, so all is not lost. (In fact, that's a great way of offering customers a chance to try the range - smaller pans, very reasonable price - and then still have them available for purchase in single form.)
April 14, 2010
Her soaps are absolutely to die for. Take Krakatoa:
Or in other words: NOMNOMNOM.
It is succulent and refreshing and sweet and brisk. It's neither saccharine nor cloying, just perfectly juicy, the faint wood and musk notes keep this from being a tropical fruit punch nightmare. It's great in the summer, and then again in the winter, to remind you of summer.
Like all Villainess soaps, the lather is silky-soft and as emollient as you're likely to get in bar soap, without sacrificing that 'clean' feeling. (Very emollient soaps often feel like they're leaving an ooky layer behind on my skin. With these, my skin just feels soft, not slick or overly squeaky.)
Or try Chloroform:
Of course, the perfumes are equally amazing. As evocative as the scent-blends are in soap form, they are doubly so as actual 'fumes. And also, the CUTEST BOTTLES EVER.
Of course, I didn't even get to the wonderful scrubs! I'll save that for Part Two.