Please check out my YouTube video review of Phi Naturals Collagen Peptides:
Though I am not desperately reliant on a daily cup of joe to get me through each morning, I thoroughly enjoy a delicious, aromatic cup of high quality coffee. When it comes to undoubtedly the most well-known coffee store chain (you know, the ones with the telltale green logo on the storefront?), I honestly can’t drink their blends, because they are harsh, bitter, and lack the flavor nuances I want from a truly top-notch coffee.
Enter the coffees which are offered by Trade. Established in 2018, Trade offers a unique, customized experience which I totally dig. Trade unites the nation’s top roasters directly with coffee lovers, and includes over 400 roasted-to-order coffees in their selections. It’s like a dating site, but with coffee! You get matched by answering questions about your level of coffee knowledge, roasting method (coffee maker, French press, pour over, cold brew, Chemex), flavor preferences, and they will make a suggestion for you. If you don’t like your very first match, they will find you one you love. You get to rate coffees as you go along, you’ll get 15% off bags as long as you have a subscription, and you will always get free shipping.
The other thing I love about Trade is that they only offer specialty coffee, a term which refers to any coffee that receives a quality grading score of 80 percent or higher. I guess I might have to consider myself a coffee snob, since I prefer to drink higher quality, tasty coffees over bitter, low grade coffees.
When I ordered my first bag of coffee from Trade, I sort of went by feel for the flavor notes I would like in a coffee selection, and because Trade has taken the guesswork out of shopping by grouping coffees based on “popular taste types”, the process was pretty easy. If you don’t want to browse the selections like I did, you can let Trade match you with a coffee which they think you’ll love.
As I scrolled down the screen, “Comforting and Rich” and “Chocolaty and Sweet” both caught my eye, since I like a rich, flavorful, inviting coffee over something fruity or bright. My eyes alighted on “Eclipse” by Onyx Coffee Lab, which is described as:
“Dark and sultry, subtly smoky, this coffee absolutely smolders with rich, chocolaty depth and vanilla sweetness. Perfect sipped solo, but works beautifully with your milk of choice.”
After reading that description, my immediate thought was, oh yes, I’m in! So I ordered it without hesitation.
When the coffee arrived, the aromas which emanated from the box were so deep, rich, chocolaty and smoky that I had to restrain myself from making a cup right then and there, since it was about 11 pm and I needed to get some sleep! So I tucked that bag of coffee in a safe spot (I live with coffee lovers and didn’t want my new gem to be attacked by them) and went off to sleep. A couple of days later, I opened the bag, and was rewarded with the most delectable wave of chocolaty goodness, and it just smelled so FRESH! I looked at the bag and saw the roasting date and roaster’s initials on one panel, which proved right there how fresh it truly was.
I brewed a large cup, refrained from adding any creamer so I could get the true taste of the coffee, and took a sip. Oh. My. Goodness. The tasting notes for me were mostly deep, smoky, and chocolaty, which I loved. There was no bitterness to this coffee, which is a big plus for me because I can’t stand bitterness in my brews. The sweetness level in this selection is very subtle, which is fine for me. So now my biggest concern is where I can hide these awesome grinds so no one ever finds them before I finish the bag!
What is even more exciting than experiencing my first coffee selection from Trade is knowing that I can look forward to other delicious and aromatic coffees in the ensuing months which will be delivered to my home. I highly recommend Trade for anyone who loves coffee and wants to try different superior quality coffees from top roasters across the United States.
To subscribe to Trade, go to this link:
Check out these lovely artisan wines in clever packaging which I got to sample!
DISCLAIMER: I was provided with product in exchange for posting a review. I am also a brand ambassador.
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I love beautiful fragrances, but I have to be careful with what I wear because I don’t want to set off a patient’s allergic response. Enter Skylar, a wonderful fragrance company based in Los Angeles, California. Skylar fragrances are all hypoallergenic, made from real flowers, fruits, and botanicals, resulting in fragrance mixtures which are fresh and natural. There are no harsh chemicals in these mixtures, no synthetic dyes, no phthalates or parabens, and Skylar fragrances are never tested on animals.
Skylar’s Sample Palette is a fantastic way to try all six of their featured scents. This way, you don’t have to commit to a full bottle of one fragrance until you are absolutely sure which one is your favorite. There’s plenty in the sample bottles to experiment quite a bit. What’s even better is that you can create new fragrance experiences by layering the scents.
The 6 scents included in the Skylar Sample Palette are:
Arrow – Spicy, warm, and seductive
Capri – Sparkling, zesty, and sweet
Coral – Fruity, floral, and flirty
Isle – Clean, dewy, and fresh
Meadow – Floral, elegant, and beautiful
Willow – Woodsy, lush, and cool
Arrow has this rich, exotic vibe which is just gorgeous. Skylar calls Arrow its most seductive scent, and I would have to agree. This scent blends jasmine, one of my absolute favorites, with rose, another personal favorite. Arrow also features neroli flower and labdanum flower, and brings in more “foodie”, enveloping elements like vanilla and tonka bean, while the tarry quality of birch tar, the musky sweetness of patchouli, and the spicy sweetness of schinus molle add a deepness which rounds out the blend.
Capri is the scent to turn to if you want a delicate floral. I’m a big fan of bergamot and use the essential oil in my bathroom to freshen it, so I am thrilled that it is featured in this fragrance. The lovely lightness of neroli balances the crisp bergamot beautifully. It’s a simpler blend than the other fragrance blends in this sampler collection, but it certainly stands its ground with its understated, refreshing scent which is perfect for cool spring days. It’s beautiful.
Coral is described by Skylar as a “very clean, fresh citrus fragrance”. However, the sandalwood, patchouli, and benzoin resin come through very prominently on the top notes for me, and only hints of black currant and apple blossom peek through in the middle. It’s definitely heavier than Capri, more complex, and it doesn’t read like a fresh citrus fragrance. That said, I love this mixture as well.
Isle is definitely reminiscent of an ocean breeze, fresh, gentle, and clean. The sharpness of the bergamot is balanced out beautifully by the mellow spiciness of cardamom and the exotic woodiness of sandalwood. This is like summer in a bottle, very nice. If you like crisp, summery, clean fragrances, then Isle is a great choice. I do like this alone, but it transforms when into fairy tale dreams when it is layered with Meadow. More on that later.
Meadow is a very elegant, almost lofty fragrance which reminds me of teatime on a temperate day. This blend features soft tuberose, rose, baie rose, and cistus flower, so it is definitely a more floral fragrance, yet the patchouli complements the florals nicely and tones them down somehow. I could definitely see wearing this by itself for more formal affairs, but with Allure, it’s phenomenal.
Willow is definitely a woody, earthy fragrance, yet it isn’t too heavy like other members of this scent category. It features the woodiness of cedarwood and the green quality of galbanum, balanced by the cozy aroma of the benzoin tree. I personally am not a big fan of earthy scents, so Willow wasn’t my favorite in this set. But if you like earthy fragrances, you’ll love this one. I will say that the combination of Meadow with Isle (the Daydream Duo) is utterly divine.
So then I began experimenting with combinations, starting with a combo which a reviewer on the Skylar website suggested. I spritzed Isle + Capri and experienced a very light, fresh fragrance combo, reminiscent of a spring breeze. It was lovely.
Then I tried the Getaway Duo (Isle + Coral). If Isle alone is the ocean breeze, the Getaway Duo is a tropical trade wind, carrying hints of the local flora with it. Just delicious. I even love the description of this combo on the Skylar website:
“A luminescent combination of fruity and fresh will whisk you away to white sand beaches. The soft sandalwood of Isle pairs beautifully with the hints of apple blossom in Coral.”
Next was the Enliven Duo (Capri + Willow). I personally was not fond of this combo because it was too crisp for me, and it ended up smelling more like a men’s fragrance when it mixed with my body chemistry. Again, though, if you like woody, earthy fragrances, then this is great for you.
“Brighten any day with this playful and cheerful layering combo. The fresh, citrusy notes of Capri aligns with the green woodiness of Willow. Playful yet grounded, this is the perfect pairing to rejuvenate and refresh.”
When I tried the Allure Duo (Arrow + Meadow), I fell onto a bed of lush-smelling blooms. This duo is definitely very floral, which I usually don’t like, but this combo is so tempting, so inviting, that I can’t get enough of it.
“This layering combination will lure you into a world of glamour and temptation. Our full bodied floral scent, Meadow pairs beautifully with the spicy and warm notes of our most seductive scent, Arrow.”
The last combo I tried was the Daydream Duo (Isle + Meadow). I love how lush and intoxicating this blend is, yet it somehow manages to be undeniably light and fresh at the same time, and so very feminine. For me, it’s a toss up between the Allure Duo and the Daydream Duo, but since I love Arrow so much on its own, I may end up with Arrow and Meadow.
“Let your mind wander. The dreamy layering combination of heady white flowers in Meadow blend with the dewy, sheerness of Isle to create an exotic floral scent.”
I’ve got nothing but love for Skylar, and I love the fact that they are nestled in my hometown of Los Angeles. From the small batches they mix, to the packaging which features original hand-painted watercolor artwork made exclusively for Skylar Body, this company pays attention to the details.
Oh, and by the way, Skylar also makes candles with their featured scents!
I also think that the Scent Club is an amazing opportunity to try new fragrances. If you join, Skylar will send a different new, limited-edition, travel-sized roller fragrance each month. Right now they are having a promotion, so you can sign up for $20 per month (instead of $29 per month). Shipping is free, and you can “Change, skip, swap or cancel anytime”. How awesome is that? It was so irresistible that I signed up for the Scent Club while writing this blog post!
Here’s a link to Skylar’s website: