Holiday Gift Sets: Sol de Janeiro

This year Sol de Janeiro has several gift sets that I think are well worth looking into. I will admit i am partial yo the original Brazilian Bum Bum cream over the others. They all work well, it is just a scent thing. The original Bum bum cream smells a bit like buttered popcorn and I personally think it is just fantastic.

The scent does fade but it is prominent. I will say that while my babydoll likes the scent well enough, he is partial to the scent of Beija Flor scent when i use that one. He always tells me he likes my perfume when I have just finished applying the Beija Flor Body lotion. It is a delicate scent that is lovely, but fades pretty quickly when you are using the body lotion. I have not tried the body spray so I can’t speak to that, but if it smells like the cream, I wouldn’t mind having the scent around longer. I find both to be fabulous scents.

In this year’s gift sets, both of these scents feature prominently. The Bum Bum Beats Gift set (Pictured above) is , as the name suggests, focused on the Bum Bum Cream scented products. The Bum Bum Cream is a really good hydrating formula and I have to say even though it is meant to make sure your Bum looks smooth and tight, I have found it works really well to help do a little tightening of the skin on my belly. As I am starting to lose weight there are some stretchmarks. Those I will happily except as the weight goes down. However there is some loose skin that i really don’t care for. When I use this cream on a routine basis, that skin tightens up and there is less loose skin, which I really like. It isn’t magic of course, it is skin care and it does require routine applications (but it doesn’t require a lot so one large size of this cream lasts a really long time.

I know, it is designed for lovely ladies looking fab in bikinis. It also works well for middle aged ladies trying to whittle down their body mass. I know, it makes for a less exciting advertising campaign, but it is a fantastic cream. In addition to the Bum Bum Cream, this set also comes with the body scrub. I tried a small travel size of the body scrub and really enjoyed it. It was an excellent exfoliator and had the same buttered popcorn scent in the shower. The scent faded, but the smooth skin remained. I haven’t tried the other items in the set, but those two are very worth picking up.

If you don’t want the full set there is the Boldly Rio Duo Set to try. It has the super Fab Bum Bum cream and is paired with the perfume Sol Cheirosa ’62 from the brand. I am actually tempted by this set. I haven’t tried the scent but the description sounds like it is right up my alley…

Mouthwatering notes of salted caramel, vanilla bean, and rich almond make for an absolutely unforgettable first impression, while deeper golden sandalwood and pistachio notes round out and intensify the scent for a long-lasting fragrance experience. 

Sol De Jeneiro

Seriously, even if I don’t go for this set, I am pretty sure that scent is going to be in my test out list for the new year. Its the caramel and almond that gets me. And I will never say no to anything with pistachio.

But that is beside the point. The sets look nice.

If the Beija Flor is more in your scent zone, there is a Beija Flor Duo Set for that as well this year. It has the Elasti-cream which uses a vegan collagen and feels fantastic on the skin. It also comes with a matching body spray.

The final gift set Sol de Janeiro has featured this year is the Radiant Rhythm Gift Set. This set features the warm floral Cheirosa 40 fragrance in the products. I have not tried this scent yet. While a part of me wants to pick it us so that I could try it, I will probably gravitate back to the original Bum Bum cream and the Sol perfume to try this year. I just really like that scent and the feel(and use) of the original cream. I do like that the brand has branched out of the original scent though. It means there is more for everyone to try and as much as I do love the original, I will be looking to try out some of the scents i haven’t gotten to use in the upcoming year. It is just a good brand, with a great line of products. I just need to remind myself that they sell more than just the Bum Bum Cream.

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Using the Beekman 1802 Pure Goat Milk Body Serum

I recently signed up for the Beekman 1802 Quarterly subscription box. ($65 per quarter and this link will take you to the review of my first box if you are interested). while I knew of the brand before getting the subscription box, I had not tried any of their products (barring a bar of soap that is). I though the subscription would be a great way to try out a variety of their items and see if they were for me, or which ones might be for me.

However it also means that as the box is a brand box, I will be getting another box of Beekman 1802 products sent to me. So I want to try out as many products in the box as I can to determine if this box is for me. After all if I am going to keep getting their products sent to me, I need to figure out if I like their products, right?

So you’ll be seeing a lot of the items in the next few weeks as I do so. This product is the Pure Goat Milk Body Serum. According to the description on the website…

This phyto-squalane body serum is packed with milk-based probiotic extracts, antioxidants, and plant-based actives. It’s a concentrated, long-lasting moisturizer that sinks in deeply to hydrate dry skin and give it a radiant glow. This dewy moisturizer works well for all skin types, and is especially beneficial for dry, dull, or uneven skin in need of essential nutrients.

oil on

It is essential a body oil, and that is how I have been using it for the past couple of weeks. The glass bottle makes it difficult to see, but I am about halfway through the product (maybe a little more than halfway).

during the past few weeks I have tried it out on my still damp from the shower skin and on dry (as opposed to wet) skin. what I have learned is that a little does go a long way. when applied to dry skin, the skin is shiny for a moment and the serum feels like a dry oil. After a moment it will sink in and the skin no longer looks oily or shiny. On wet skin it absorbs wall also. I tend to take hot showers so perhaps the hot water opens the pores, but it feels like this Body Serum absorbs more quickly on just from the shower skin than on dry skin.

right after application (30 sec)

The rounded curves of the bottle make it easy to grip. When I was applying it post shower, which is the application I prefer actually) I had to transfer the bottle from hand to hand, especially when applying it to my legs and arms. With the size that came in my subscription box (it appears smaller than the one featured on the website) It fit in my hand well with only minor slipping. If the bottle was larger, there is the possibility I would set it on the shelf, pump the product into my hands and use it that way. With this smaller bottle for some reason I didn’t do that but passed it hand to hand. Even after I thought about it, that is still what I did. it is stable enough to pump out without lifting, but something about the size of the bottle made me want to lift it with on hand while I was using it. If one or two grooves were added for texture to the slick bottle surface, I think it would prevent any possible slipping.

But even with wet and oil covered hands the size made cupping it a possibility. So really, it basically boils down to cup the bottle to prevent slipping.

The Pure Goat Milk Body Serum has absolutely no scent to it. I know it is listed as fragrance free, but often that can mean no extra fragrances were added and it just smells like what it is. This has zero scent to it so if you are sensitive to scent that won’t be a problem.

It feels like a dry oil on the skin, absorbs well and leaves the skin moisturized without feeling heavy or greasy. I personally like applying it more right after a shower than I do applying it as I would a body butter just before bed. I just think that my skin absorbs it faster when it is still post shower warm. It is a good product and one I would not mind using again. this Pure Goat Milk Body Serum is a definite tick in the plus column for both the brand and the Beekman 1802 Quarterly Subscription box.

Using the Mitchell and Peach English Leaf Body Oil

This Mitchell and Peach English Leaf Body Oil came to me via a Boxy Charm. To be honest I had never heard of Mitchell and Peach, however it is the season for body oils. At least in my opinion. In the winter I go for heavier creams which my dry winter skin soaks in.

As the temperatures rise, I tend to prefer body oils. For me it feels like they absorb much more rabidly and hydrate really well. I prefer to use them right after my shower when the heat from the shower has opened my pores. I basically towel off and then apply instead of body lotion.

This year the warmer weather snuck up on me. I was prepared for it, then we got snow and I had to hustle back into my winter clothes. Then just as I thought temps were again on the rise, we had another cold snap. So I am late stocking up on my warmer weather products as it seemed that every time I thought about it, the cold would return.

I am pretty sure it won’t be coming back until October at this point.

Having never heard of Mitchell and Peach (or this product) I looked them up. Accoding to the brand this body oil…

The newest addition to the Mitchell and Peach collection, this expertly blended body oil was inspired by the lush, verdant countryside of the Foxbury Farm estate in Kent, England.

The nourishing formulation, containing natural oils and Vitamin E, is delicately scented with a ‘green floral’ fragrance possessing both cut-leaf freshness and intriguing depth.

Mitchell and Peach
the open top

While I have never been to Foxbury Farm and to be honest my visits to Britain haven’t been to Kent either, I can say that this Body Oil has a very green scent to it. I know, it isn’t helpful when I describe scents as colors. Sometimes the wires just get crossed.

It has a fresh scent to the oil that is like the first scent of a green leaf emerging from a tree. If you sniff the branch where the tree is starting to bud out, before it gets the particular scent of the plant type and is still just new growth, that is more or less the scent of the oil.

It is a light scent that is refreshing after a hot shower, the scent feels a bit cooling actually as it reminds me of an early spring morning which is generally cooler than my shower. Applying it produces a delightful mental fission, at least in me anyway.

I love that there is vitamin E in the oil as it is a great softening agent for the skin and my skin really enjoyed it. Thus far this has been a great addition to the body care line up.

However, while I adore the glass bottle, I don’t really like the lid. It is not the easiest to twist off with damp hands (it also has condensation from the humid air of the bath and is wet itself) and post application it is harder to get into place with my then oily hands.

Normally this isn’t too big of an issue, I can set the bottle to the side, wash and dry my hands and then put the cap back on. The issue is that it is an open top under the cap. There is no regulator and I do not have the largest bathroom in the world. I have almost knocked this over a couple of times. And it really world be a shame to waste it.

I also don’t like the open top for dispensing the product. It is better now that I have used a bit and the bottle isn’t full. It is easier to control the pour when then bottle isn’t completely full. The open top means that you really have to watch how you pour it into your hand as it is very easy to use too much. Too much of a body oil makes you feel greasy. Applying a smaller amount that the skin can absorb easily makes the skin soft and hydrated.

Over all, I really did like this Body oil and will continue to use it until it is gone. Would I purchase it on my own? Yes actually I would. I would however replace the cap with one that would let me control the dispensing of the product a little bit better. I a actually fairly certain I have a cap from another bottle that would fit. I will be trying it out as a replacement later. Beyond that one minor detail, this Mitchell and Peach English Leaf Body Oil is a great product and it makes me want to further investigate the Mitchell and Peach Brand.


Setting up your own Home Spa: Five simple tips

A fluffy towel and a few components for my at home spa day

Each year for my birthday I treat myself to a visit to my local day spa. This year, not only was my local day spa closed, but the level of anxiety I would have going to a spa at this point in time would pretty much negate the relaxation aspect of the trip.

So I decided to have an at home spa day.

I knew I wasn’t going to have exactly the same experience, but I was determined to have a fun relaxation event. Let’s face it; we can all use a little less stress at the moment, birthday or not.  So, if you are looking to create your own home spa for the day, here are some lessons I learned.

The first step is proper planning. Figure out what you want to include and then take a good look at the space you are working with. Perhaps you have a spacious bathroom that can be taken over completely for the day for a self-contained spa.

Personally, I live in a house that was built in the 1940s and the bathrooms, while updated, suit the age of the house. Because of this, I knew there was no way I was going to have a self-contained spa.  It was just not physically possible. So I seperated my spa into sections. Part was set up in the bathroom and part was set up in the sunroom. They were spa stations, if you will. By breaking it into stations, I wasn’t trying to pack too much into one room and stressing myself out about making it all fit. I could spread out and make it feel more luxurious.

A part of the planning process is to decide what products you are going to use and if you need equipment or not. I had a small foot spa with a built in foot massager. It was a gift that spent years seeing the light of day once or twice a year. Then I began walking for my main exercise and pampering my feet became a more frequent occurrence to make up for the effort they were putting in. So my planning involved taking it out and making sure it was ready for use. I decided to add a facial steamer to open my pores prior to masking, but alas I did not order it in time and so it did not arrive in time for my spa day. (I made do with a large ceramic mixing bowl filled with hot water and herbs and a towel as an impromptu steamer but hope next time to use the simplicity of the facial steamer.)

Whatever you decide, whether dusting off or purchasing new, make sure to gather your items early. Make sure anything with batteries has them and that anything needing to be plugged in can reach the wall socket. Order any new purchase items early so you aren’t stressing about packages arriving on time or the store running out of stock. This leads us to Step two, product selection.

I’ve found that one way to make your at home spa feel more luxurious is to coordinate the scents of the products.  They don’t have to be identical, but they should be in the same family or at least friendly neighbors. For example, even though I was showering and washing my hair the night before, my spa day included soaking in a bath and before I soak in a bath, I like to make sure I am clean.

For my pre bath shower I used Molton Brown’s Coastal Cypress and Sea Fennel Shower Gel.  It actually came in this month’s Look Fantastic Box.

Because of the scent of the shower gel, I chose Kneipp’s Ancient Sea Mineral Bath soak. 

Well, technically speaking, it was the other way around.  I picked up the Kneipp’s and then decided to use the Molton Brown since it went so well.  It was more of a happy accident than anything else, but I was still in planning mode when it arrived so I’m calling it a planning victory. After I got out of the tub I used the m. greengrass Dry oil Spray in the scent Beach Air.

Now, while all three of those items have differing scents, they all play well together and created a unified oceanic themed feel. And because I had different zones, I could create a scent profile for each of the sections and still have it feel like a singular experience.

I tend to go to my local day spa only a couple of times a year.  While setting it up at home was fun, I don’t anticipate on doing it every week.  Because of this I found that I didn’t need a whole lot of product.  In many instances I used travel sized products rather than picking up a full sized version.

This allowed me to tailor the scents to the occasion, without a lot of left over products, and it also means I am not committed to a scent profile every time I want to do an at home spa day.  I like the thought of changing out the scents based my mood.  I know Molton Brown offers a sampler pack with travel sized bottles of their various scents (both for shower gel and shampoo I believe). I ordered the shower gel one to have on hand and to allow me to try out different scents. By occasionally using travel sized versions instead of full sized ones, I was able to get more luxurious elements without breaking my self-imposed budget which I also appreciated.

I’m big on budgeting by the way. If I am going to treat myself, then knowing how much I can splurge on without interfering with any upcoming bills is a key element to my relaxation process. I know that sounds strange but having the budget and knowing I haven’t over spent keeps me from stressing. I didn’t make this one of my five points, but it is more of a 2.5 point. In addition, somehow I can spend money on other people with no problem, but when it comes to myself I tend to waffle and talk myself out of it. Especially if it is extra. By making my spa day an actual item in my budget and doing the math around it, I feel better able to justify spending the extra on myself. If you have similar issues, perhaps this can help.

And with that little aside, we get back to the main points.

So now that you know what you want and have selected your products, we reach step three, the preliminaries.  A few days before I planned to have my spa day, I went into the spaces I planned to use (the bathroom and sun room) and gave them each a thorough cleaning.  Every tile was scrubbed and every window washed.  Random piles of empty boxes and assorted junk mail (we use the sunroom to remove outer packaging before washing hands and taking items into the house) were sorted and disposed of so that the rooms both sparkled.

I did this a few days in advance because I didn’t want my spa day to smell like disinfectant.  So doing the deep clean a few days earlier, allowed the scent of the cleaners to dissipate. 

The night before my scheduled spa day, I did a second quick clean to deal with anything that accumulated in two days and then I set up everything I planned to use. I set up a chair with my foot soaker and foot massager placed in readiness.  I arranged a table with my manicure kit, polishes and lotions. I washed and dried the fluffy towels, placing them where they were needed and I made a pitcher of cucumber and lemon water to put in the fridge. I arranged everything the night before so that all was in readiness. That way the day I planned to have my spa day I had nothing to think about except enjoying myself.

Step four may or may not be a necessity depending on your living arrangements, but it is explaining to those you live with what you are doing and when you plan to do it. A clear time line is a good idea, especially if those you love are prone to causing interruptions.  In my house notification meant explaining why the space I just cleared of empty boxes and junk mail needed to stay clear for a few days and not be looked at as a place to move things into.

At least until after my spa day. 

I also had to explain that the fancy pitcher of water was not for general use. It turns out my darling dearest really likes infused waters.

Which I did not know until this weekend and really didn’t expect. Mostly because he tends to think of water as the extra ingredient in coffee. A mixer, if you will.

It is also why I had to make up a second pitcher for my spa day.

Which I don’t mind because I now know how to get him to drink more water.

Finally, this leads us to step five and that is embracing the experience.  Chances are, you will not be able to replicate every aspect of the spa in your home. It is even possible that mid masking you will be asked where the thing is. You know the thing with the thing that goes inside that other thing?

That’s okay don’t let it stress you out. Just stare at him until he realizes the clay mask on your face isn’t going to let you answer him and then he’ll look at the candles, the foot bath and remember why the sunroom is temporarily off limits. Possibly.

This isn’t a replication of a spa, it is creating your own unique spa like experience.

Think of it as something special just for you.  Don’t dwell in the impossible perfection, but embrace the fact that each aspect is tailored specifically for you.  You chose everything from the scent of your bath salts to the candles placed just so. The products also were chosen just for you. They are items you find luxurious and that you know you like. In the end, you are enjoying the most exclusive spa experience and it is all tailored just for you. Enjoy it because you are worth it.

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M. Greengrass Dry Oil Spray Review

M. Greengrass Dry Oil Spray

I’ll admit, when the M. Greengrass Dry Oil Spray (retail $36) came in my BoxyCharm Subscription box this month, I wasn’t quite sure what it was or how to use it.  In my defense the description ‘multi-purpose dry oil spray’ didn’t give a lot of direction, it just implied multiple uses. I don’t know, maybe I’m thick.  Luckily, the back of the bottle was much more descriptive and came with basic instructions citing use for both skin and in the hair.

As for the claims, according to the website:

This fast absorbing dry oil spray is formulated with a blend of high quality oils that quickly penetrate delivering superior moisture leaving skin soft and luminous without feeling greasy. 

 Notes:  Bergamot, Citrus, White Jasmine, Brazilian Soft Woods, Heliotrope, and Musk.

Free of parabens, PEGs, artificial colors, petrolatum, gluten, phthalates and mineral oil.  No animal testing ever!!!

I very much liked the free of list, especially as it is intended to more or less cover me from head to toe and some things I really don’t want on my body.  Since I don’t believe gluten can be absorbed through the skin and I don’t really feel like drinking the product, the gluten free is a bit superfluous, but I appreciate the lack of petroleum and mineral oil. Those seem like more practical exclusions, at least to me. I’m sure there are plenty who disagree. which is fine, personal differences make the world a more interesting place.

And we all know I’d hate to be bored.

In addition, all of the scents included are ones I like and when I spritzed the oil I really liked the way it smelled.  I can sort of see why the scent is named ‘Beach Air’ as it does sort of have a scent reminiscent of the beach, or at least it brings thoughts of the beach to me. All it really lacks is a kind of briny back scent for the full beach impact. 

It has a very light aroma with a slight earthiness which I’m guessing is from the musk. It is not as floral as I would expect from the Bergamot, White Jasmine and Heliotrope, which I also appreciate as if it was I think it might be too cloying without the earthy back note. I think the citrus and musk help balance the floral scents well.

As much as I like the scent, it is not billed as a perfume, so I set off to test it as a body oil first. When sprayed onto dry skin, the oil soaks in well and does not leave a greasy residue on either body or face. While the scent lingers for several hours afterwards, I was not leaving greasy fingerprints behind me which I (as well as those around me) appreciate.

I also tried it on wet skin, spraying my body after getting out of the shower instead of using my more customary body lotion.

My fresh from the shower skin absorbed the oil more readily, which isn’t a big shock as damp skin usually absorbs product more readily. I found my skin softer than when I used the oil on dry skin but oddly enough there was less of a scent remaining afterwards. 

On dry skin, the scent remained almost like a perfume.  With the wet skin, the scent was absorbed more and didn’t linger.  I will say though that throughout the rest of the day I did catch faint whiffs of scent, but it was very faint and no where as pronounced as when I used the spray on dry skin. With using the spray on wet skin I still could use a perfume should I so choose, when I used it on dry skin any perfume I wore fought with the scent of the oil.

After trying it on the skin, I used the oil on my hair. I found there to be no real value in using it on damp hair, but when used on dry hair, it helped with fly always and gave me the same powerful scent that it gave on dry skin. I also found that when I used the dry oil spray in my hair I could not wear perfume for fear of clashing scents. It did however not cause my hair to be greasy in any way. My hair did not feel weighed down and the scent and softness remained throughout the day.

As I found the scent quite nice, I think that I might use it on hair and dry skin on days where I am wearing no other perfume, but for the most part, I plan on keeping it in the bathroom for use on my skin just after the shower in lieu of body lotion.  I think it is more effective that way and I like the little teasers of scent that I get throughout the day without having it clash with any other perfume or scented product I may be using that day.  In addition I really like the spray bottle.  Not only is it an attractively packaged product, but the spray is a sturdy one that sprays an even, fine mist. It is also easy to use with wet hands, making it a really nice addition to my post-shower routine.


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