10A Alabama Handmade Arts & Crafts Fair

Last Saturday, after watching Sa Wakas at the PETA Theater, Nikko and I decided to drop by 10A Alabama’s Handmade Arts and Crafts Fair. As I am a sucker for arts and crafts, I wanted to go and see if I could pick up something.

The place was crafts heaven. There were people selling lovely accessories (one even made them from yarn), tote bags, paper wallets, and Adventure Time dolls. We came when it was about to close so I was flitting from one booth to another, quickly skimming the items to make sure I covered everything. It was a shame, really, because I saw a lot of great stuff worth checking out – like this one that had gorgeous notebooks and another that sold them in sets and had architecture on its covers.

One of the booths that caught my attention was Aromerateria. They sell these fragrant solid perfumes that come in tubes the size of lip balm. It’s like Lush’s solid perfumes, but these are locally-made. It is also alcohol-free, pthalate-free, paraben-free, and are 70% organic. Aside from the really delicious scents – which come in unique combinations like sea spray and sugar and patchouli and pepper and vetiver – they have fascinating names with literary references. There’s Austen, Veruca Salt, Hermione, Trese, Rudyard, and Sherlock. I got to chat with owner Shari Tan, and I feel like she could be my best friend. We’re both into books, soaps, and fragrances.

She says she gets her inspiration when she wonders what literary characters would smell like in real life. And she makes them herself!

I ended up getting Sherlock, a masculine scent that contains notes of bergamot, patchouli, oakmoss, basil, and sugarwood. It’s a scent I imagine the Sherlock Holmes of olden days to smell like. It smells of danger and mystery.

I always believe that it is important to buy scents in a good mood. The sense of smell is very powerful and if you buy perfume in a bad mood, you tend to remember the memories every time you spray it. Fortunately, I was still on a high from watching Sa Wakas and chatting with Fredison Lo, so it gives me positive energy whenever I rub it on my pulse points.

You can buy Aromateria from Firma and AC+632, but it’s a joy to meet Shari in bazaars. She’s such a character.

I also stayed at Lotus Bloom’s booth inside. I met Joanne Quintana, who makes these luxurious soap with the most amazing scents. It was quite overwhelming to select one because of the choices, but I zeroed in on the lavender-infused soaps. Lately, I’ve developed an obsession with the scent so I was glad that Lotus Bloom carried three with lavender. I bought Sulis, or French Lavender, which was mixed with crushed lavender blossoms and a blend of essential oils of lavender and peppermint. It was really fragrant, and showers became affairs to look forward to. Unlike the last soaps I used – ylang-ylang and mangosteen bars from Bangkok – the scent of lavender really stuck to my skin and made me smell like an earth mother. The best thing was, Lotus Bloom soaps are handmade and made with natural ingredients.

The other variants are just as tempting to buy. Some of the ones that piqued my curiosity were a combination of jasmine, ylang-ylang, and saffron, a combination of sampaguita and moringa, a combination of mandarin, patchouli, and sea kelp, a combination of rosemary and mint, a combination of basil and thyme, a combination of coffee, cocoa, and mint, and a combination of chocolate and mint.

Sulis was a great soap and I loved it, but my issue was that it melted so easily. It was generously-sized when I purchased it, but after five days, the size was 1/8 of when I bought it, and by the time a week passed, it was so thin that it broke apart. After another day, it was already unusable. I blame the summer heat, but I’ve never had this issue with any of the soaps that I used. My friend Melvin said it was because there were no preservatives and while I’m glad that Lotus Bloom is really organic, I don’t think I’m willing to shell out P150 for a bar of soap that will only last for 8 days.

I did see some lavender-scented from Healthy Options so I might pick a bar up as soon as I get the chance.

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