Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!


Another year, another Christmas already!

Thank you so much to all my subscribers, and to everyone who has watched my videos, whether just this year or for a long time! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and an amazing year in 2016!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

"Happy Merry Christmas"
Original music and lyrics: kuibel (

Vocals: Kyttyee (
Artwork/Animation: Kyttyee // Papillon de Nuit (


Wednesday, December 16, 2015



Sunset is beautiful to watch over the lake, but I think I actually like seeing the moonrise even more. It's especially lovely when the moon is full (or nearly full) because it's more prominent in the sky.  When photographing the moon, I am always surprised by how small it actually is. The moon illusion is an amazing thing indeed.

The child's wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
She points her finger
To the far silent yellow thing
Shining through the branches
Filtering on the leaves a golden sand,
Crying with her little tongue, “See the moon!”
And in her bed fading to sleep
With babblings of the moon on her little mouth. 

"Child Moon" ~ Carl Sandburg


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Loony Lake


During the autumn as birds start migrating south, many flocks of loons and geese make pit stops in the various lakes near Madison. The one near my apartment particularly tends to fill with loons from early autumn even into winter when it's partially frozen.

A+ and I took a short jaunt to go loon-watching, when the first little flocks started to arrive. They look a bit more sparse in the photo somehow than they did in real life, but there's still quite a high density of loons!

My favorite part about them is the hilarious sounds they make. If you've never heard a loon, at least these particular ones, they sound to me kind of like plugged ducks. It sounds like are trying to quack, but they get stuffed up halfway, so it comes out as a super short, high-pitched, slightly quacky peep. "Peep peep peep." And they constantly make sounds, so it's just a chorus of hilarious peeping anytime you get close to a bunch of loons.

Unlike ducks, the loons are definitely not accustomed to people approaching, so as soon as you walk near the waterline, they all turn around and frantically paddle away. Come back loons, I just want to get a picture!

These ducks, though, are definitely ruling the roost. That branch is theirs and they're not moving for anybody. I actually didn't notice the female duck when I was taking the photos. It was only afterwards when A+ said something about two ducks that I realized there was a second one. I guess camouflage works on me ^_^

We also encountered a woolly bear caterpillar on the walking path next to the lake. This one had made its way mostly across the path by the time we saw it, but there were a lot of other ones trying to cross the road. They look so cuddly and cute!

On the way back, I noticed this beautiful tree that had turned completely red. It's such a lovely symbol of autumn! On a follow-up note, this same tree was completely bald the next time I saw it (about a week later). I found that surprising and a bit hilarious, but so it goes.

The view of autumn trees from across the lake makes such a nice landscape. It's almost like being inside a Bob Ross painting.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holiday LUSH Haul


I went into LUSH recently intending to get a block of the "Figs and Leaves" soap, as I mentioned in my previous haul/review. When I got to their soap display, however, I realized that they already had all of their special holiday items in, and ended up getting distracted by those. I figured "Figs and Leaves" could wait while I explored the holiday soaps.

I had noticed from browsing their website that a large proportion of their holiday soaps don't contain SLS, which I was really pleased about. I'm hoping that means they might be willing to make more year-round soaps that are also SLS-free. If not, at least I get to try a lot of their yummy-smelling holiday ones.

I ended up walking out with bits of "Baked Alaska," "Yog Nog," and "Icing on the Cake." I spotted two other soaps there that I didn't end up getting because they do contain SLS - "Reindeer Rock" and "Snowcake." I was actually quite sad about "Snowcake" because it looks so very pretty with gold glitter on white, and it smells lightly of vanilla/white cake batter.

I'm still finishing up my Sultana soap, so I probably won't be getting to any of these too soon, but here are my first visual and scent impressions for those who might not be able to get to a store but are curious.


Baked Alaska

This one is extremely eye-catching on display. The whole shape from the outside is supposed to be a snowball, hence the white outer rind. Much like the eponymous dessert! Then the inside is like an explosion of greens, blues, yellows, and oranges. It reminds me of what an aurora might look like contained inside a ball. The piece I got is mostly green and blue, but there were definitely bits with bright orange and yellow in them on display.

Scent-wise, it's exactly as advertised. It smells like a generic citrus scent. To me it leans more towards lemon, and less orange, if that is a distinction you make in your citrus scents. It smells quite strong if you hold it up to your nose, but the scent doesn't linger long or have a wide radius of dispersion, so it probably won't make your entire bathroom smell like citrus.

I think this one will be a really refreshing soap to use, because it doesn't seem overly creamy or melty, and the citrus gives it a wake-up type of scent.

Yog Nog

This soap was the one I really wanted to try when I saw it go up online. The giant block looks like a caramel flan with light brown powder dusting on top. It's molded with little stars and other holiday-ish shapes on the top, but that's not really apparent in individual pieces unless you get really lucky and/or get a really large chunk. The powder does sort of go everywhere when you unwrap it, so I wonder how it will look after dousing in the shower for the first time.

The smell is exactly like spiced eggnog. It's got a primarily vanilla flavor, with hint of cinnamon or clove. It's quite a strong scent, and this one definitely does linger and expand to fill the room. It's sitting on my bathroom shelf and about a 1.5-foot spherical radius around it smells like eggnog.

The texture of the soap feels a bit more creamy in the hands than "Baked Alaska," so I think this one is perfect for something a bit more luxurious and getting in the Christmas spirit.

Icing on the Cake

This one was designed to trap me. It is pink, glittery, and just beautiful. The large-form shape of it is like a big pink roll cake or Buch de Noel, with a dusting of gold glitter across the top. Inside, you can see the spiral of pinks and golds. So so pretty, I almost don't want to use it!

This one actually has quite a light scent. I have to hold it up against my nose and really inhale deeply (coating my lungs with glitter, of course), to actually smell it. I can't really identify what it smells like beyond a generic "sweet" scent. Because it's so light, it doesn't have a sickly or cloying feel to it, but based on the name I guess they wanted it to be a cakey sort of sweetness. To me, it just smells slightly sweet, a bit powdery, and almost a floral type of sweetness. Maybe it will be more clear once it comes into contact with water, but I actually quite appreciate that it's a light scent.

The soap itself feels extremely melty, just holding onto it with my hands. It is advertised as being softening, so that does make sense. I think this one will be really lovely on days when my skin is super dry and irritated. And anyone who likes pretty pink things will probably get a kick out of it too!

In addition to the two soaps I decided not to try, they also have special holiday bath bombs and bubble bar things, but because I'm not a big bath person, I didn't get any of those. There are some shower jellies and body washes as well, but all of those are high in SLS, so no go for me either. But many people love those, so definitely give them a try if you're interested!