Fall Fun Fridays: The Failing Grade Edition

Tree Collage

Good morning, friends, and welcome to another beautiful autumn Friday!  As of late, the weather around my neck of the global woods has been quite uneven – one moment it’s so cold, we’re all breaking out our toques and parkas, and the next it’s so dank and humid, we’re firing up the air conditioners for one last summery go-round.  But there’s only one way this all ends, and that’s with snow.  I suppose that’ll be here soon enough.

So being the end of the work week and all, it’s time for another edition of Fall Fun Fridays, the casual little blogging challenge I’ve been, let’s face it, whiffing hardcore with my friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid, who are decidedly not whiffing it.  Excuses, excuses, but my Fall has been rather disrupted by ongoing renovations to our apartment.  They’re not going super well, I keep injuring myself (I’m looking down at a throbbing cut on my thumb right now for which I probably should have sought stitches) and I haven’t been able to put out any of my usual decorations, including my beloved Halloween town.  Here, let’s take a peek at it from two seasons ago; that’ll make me feel peppier.

Halloween Town

Anyhow, all that to say I haven’t exactly been feeling the Fall this year, as the kids might say.  Looks like it’ll take another emergency infusion of Disney’s absolutely bonkers approach to the season to set things right – fortunate, since we’ll be back in about two weeks’ time. 🙂

This week’s prompt contemplated hands-on activities – your favourite Fall recipe, craft or some other DIY-able.  I’m actually right in the midst of putting together some fortifying chicken stew for dinner tonight with my parents – that seems like a very autumn dish.  But it won’t be ready for – *checks time* – oh, another five or so hours!  So until the timer goes off, I’d kindly direct you on over to my friends’ blogs, where they’re sure to have pulled out all the seasonal stops.  Happy weekend, friends; hope you get a few moments to get out there and enjoy all it has to offer.

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Pests Be Pestin’

“Sandra,” you are most likely not thinking, “it has been an eternity since you’ve yammered in our faces about Disney.  Why so taciturn?”  Or something to that effect. 😉 Well, that’s because I’ve moved the majority of my Disney blindness over to both Instagram (find me at park_or_perish, or click on the IG link in my sidebar) and YouTube.

I’m particularly proud of our little YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, because I am notoriously tech-unfriendly.  I have accidentally destroyed more expensive electronics than my parents definitely would have preferred (on our wedding day, my dad pulled Mr. Finger Candy aside and, in his usual droll manner, said, “Well, she’s “yours” now.  But you do know she destroys electronics, right?”) and in university an emergency infusion of McDonalds was the only thing that held off a complete breakdown during the Online Editing Session From Hell, 1999 edition.  Holy crap I’m old.  Anyhow, I’m bad with tech.  Basically, if it deals with “stuff,” I will find a way of accidentally trashing that stuff and, I dunno, stapling it to myself or something.  I’m really kind of an incredible klutz for someone who took dance lessons for 20 years.

But I digress.  As always.  What I was trying to say is for someone so inept at the “business” side of blogging, and just generally anything having to do with tech, I’m super proud of myself for learning a little video editing program so I could launch our YouTube channel.  I’ve pulled off some not totally unfortunate edits, and I love to edit sound – it’s nitpicky work, but so satisfying when your timing finally snugs into place seamlessly.  YouTube also represents its very own particular little publishing quagmire; it took me more than a couple of test runs to work out the bugs.  None of this stuff comes naturally to me, so I’m really quite pleased that I’ve been able to jump in with both feet regardless.

So that’s where the Disney has scampered off to – it went off to seek adventure in the great wide somewhere known as Instagram and YouTube!  I made this video this weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s all about the Disney nevers you know we’ll probably never actually respect; Disney has a particular knack for dulling one’s sense and reason, or at least our sense and reason.  I hope you’ll check it out, and thanks so much for being a great virtual neighbour!

Fall Fun Fridays: Autumn Dreamer

Another Mansion Collage

Today’s prompt in the blogging series I’m doing with my friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid is to discuss how we’d  put together our perfect Fall event or vacation.  For our dreamer purposes, the real fun in this hypothetical planning process comes from the fact that we are unencumbered by any real world concerns – money (or a lack thereof), professional and personal schedules, ANY of the usual obligations.  So please do check out both Jay and Julie’s blogs to see what sort of autumn shenanigans they’d get up to completely off the chain!

As for me, come on, you know it all begins and ends with Disney’s Haunted Mansion!  A wedding – hmm, a Halloween vow renewal for two Disney nerds coming up on their 14th? –  the actual ceremony of which takes place in the lobby, in front of the fireplace, beneath the changing portrait of Master Gracey.  Afterwards, guests (and did I mention I have a team of makeup artists and costumers on hand to garb our guests in the finest of the Mansion’s moldering fashions?) will pass through the Stretching Room before boarding Doom Buggies draped in swags of jet black roses.  Upon reaching the diningroom reception, guests will disembark (please don’t ask me how they’re going to climb down, particularly encumbered by dusty, gothic fashions; this is my crazy, impractical dream!) and enjoy a sumptuous feast of, well, this (this being a strip loin steak topped with balsamic shallot butter on a bed of four cheese pancetta and arugula pasta from Mama Melrose’s in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.)

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And for my husband and our other vegetarian guests, there will be a plant-based option that tastes EXACTLY like a steak.  Actually, come to think of it, if that were an option, the entire meal would be veggie.  I ultimately kind of hope that if such a thing actually existed, the entire world would be veggie, but I digress.  No one will drop even a crumb of food down their fronts, and everyone will remain on the responsible, pleasant side of intoxication.  Because there be margaritas a-plenty!

Tequila!

After dessert (my mom’s homemade apple pie, 13 tiers of it and miraculously calorie-free) my new-old husband will waltz me around the dance floor, weaving in and out among the ghosts, to the strains of twenty one pilots, who are there because we’re personal friends and I can just call them up like that.  Josh will NOT be wearing a shirt with sleeves.

This actually reminds me of the ever-so-hopeful exploratory phone call Mr. Finger Candy placed to Disney event services when we were planning our wedding nearly 14 years ago.  He had asked me at one point shortly after we got engaged what my dream wedding looked like, and I gave him pretty well all of the details I laid out above (minus the twenty one pilots stuff, although then – and now – I’d also accept Green Day.  Mike Dirnt’s got nice arms for a bassist.)  So one day he rang them up and asked real casual-like how much it would cost to actually rent out the Mansion, or a portion thereof, for a private event.

Later on that evening we both nearly laughed ourselves into asthma attacks as he recounted the very pleasant and also very delusional Disney rep who quoted him a figure just north of 50K, including a whole host of guarantees we had to make regarding room, food and alcohol sales.  And that was for a two or three-hour event, at best, held in the dead of night after park close, and without any access to the actual ride itself.  I suppose if you had REAL money, you could close the entire ride down just for yourself (hell, close the entire park down just for yourself) but for us regular plebs “just” looking to shut down a small portion of a beloved ride in the most popular theme park in the world (!!) we were looking at a solid $75,000 investment.

So it might have taken 13 years to get there, but I’m feeling really quite positive about our decision last year, on our Halloween anniversary, to ride the Haunted Mansion 13 times in one day.  It’s the most fun we’ve ever had on our anniversary, a total bucket list item, and it didn’t cost us 75 grand!

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Finally, just to keep it wax-relevant, here’s a bit of the Melting Duck’s Foolish Mortal, a Haunted Mansion-inspired blend I picked up some weeks back.  It smells like peppermint-vanilla gum, herbal and a little bit tingly, and the shapes and colours are perfection!  Love everything about this ghostly lovely.

Foolish Mortals Collage

Flashy ‘n’ Foggy

Futterwacken 2

Today started off Indian Summer foggy and ended Victorian London bleak.  That’s what happens when the temperature plummets 30 degrees in the span of a few hours and you live on the edge of a river.  Or at least I swear there’s usually a river back there somewhere. 😉

Foggy 2

Foggy 1

After staring into the mist (just not, you know, THE Mist) for hours on end, I thought I’d perk myself up with an ultra flashy manicure, but even this lacquer, Glam Polish’s The Best Futterwacken in All of Witzend (just rolls off the tongue, don’t it?) proved to be no match for all the glum.  Shame, because this polish is essentially a Rockette costume ground up and stuffed into a bottle.  That sounded more attractive in my head.

Futterwacken 1

Here’s hoping those grey skies are gonna clear up in time for the weekend; it would be nice to actually get out and enjoy the leaves while they’re at their autumn peak.  Definitely not foggy on that.

Literary Inspiration: Christine

Christine Collage

I’m a huge Stephen King fan (Pet Sematary is my favourite novel, although I think I like his shorts best) but I haven’t read many of his earliest works – Carrie, Cujo, Firestarter, and until very recently, Christine.  Never been much of a car person, so I think I was a little frightened off by the subject matter.

But continuing to play along with my friends’ reading challenge, and with the theme of a library find or a gifted book calling out to me (indeed, Christine is a book I gifted to myself out of my condo’s library!) I thought it was time to pull Christine out of the garage and really see what she could do out on the open road.

Christine 1

Without giving too much away regarding the plot of this 35-year-old novel, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t strictly geared towards gearheads.  The events of the novel actually surround 17-year-old Arnie Cunningham.  Arnie’s smart, bright and funny, a hard worker and a great student, but he’s also tragically unpopular and run over roughshod by every single person in his life – his teachers, his overbearing mother and father, even his everydude best friend, Dennis.  That all changes the day he meets Christine, a rundown hunk of Plymouth junk rusting to death on a nasty old man’s lawn.  Arnie HAS to have her, won’t actually listen to a word of Dennis’s reasonable counsel regarding her poor condition, her vile, greedy owner or the total shit fit his parents are sure to have if he attempts to bring her home.  But bring her home he does, wildly overpaying for the red and white, 1958 Fury that will come to tear his tidy suburban life – as well as a good number of people! – to bits.

Thirty-five-year-old spoilers or no, we all know by now what Christine does – she’s the murder car!  I think it’s one of those terms that just might be part of the pop culture lexicon by now.  Even the back of the book jacket hammers home the elegantly horrific nightmare fuel that “Christine is no lady.  She is Stephen King’s ultimate, blackly evil vehicle of horror.”

Christine 4

But Christine is about so much more than a homicidal car.  I think it’s really a story about growing up, whether you’re an unpopular 17-year-old dork, that dork’s parents or the wretched old bastard who sold the dork a murder car.  It’s a quest for independence, a love story, a tale of obsession.  I liked it, even if I think King whiffed the ending.  Good to know that literary quirk of his started early. 😉

If you’ve been following along with this Literary Inspiration series, you know I like to do a manicure to accompany whatever book I’ve recently finished reading.  Here I was inspired by Petunia, a hot pink sanitation truck (her name is spelled out in giant gothic letters across her potbellied side) who gives Christine a run for her money.  That’ll do, Petunia. 🙂

Christine 2

Having a Ducking Meltdown

March on Ducks 2

To make the joke that’s been made time and time again, no, Autocorrect, no one has ever in the history of smart phone keyboards ever intended to say, “ducking.”  No one. 😉

Hey, so remember how, in an effort to save a bit of money and go to Disney many, many times in one year, I stopped mindlessly buying stuff like tons of clothes and housewares and nail polish and scented wax?  And how I swore I’d use up that which I already had before making any new purchases?  Well, that all actually happened!

It took no small amount of financial prioritization and, yes, some sacrifice, but indeed, this year my husband and I saved a bit of money, we went to Disney many, many times and we both stopped mindlessly buying stuff.  We also used that which we already had (Mr. Finger Candy diving into older, unplayed games, me melting through a larger-than-I-thought wax collection) before making any new purchases.  Interestingly enough, we’ve both been playing the long game when it comes to the items most atop our wish list, with my husband on years-long pins and needles for the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 (end of the month, and lord help my sanity if they push the date back) and me confining my wax purchases to two absolute must-haves in the past couple of months, a custom order with Sniff My Tarts, and this fabulous order from the Melting Duck!

So is it everything I hoped it would be?  Yes, it is – all that and the proverbial bag of (tortilla) chips (with queso blanco and maybe a margarita on the side from the Mexico pavilion, with a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour after, AND a character meet-and-greet with Donald, because I’m pretty sure the Melting Duck girls are ducking Disney fans!)

Consisting primarily of Fall and Halloween-type scents, this colourful, sweetly scented collection of wax (new, fresh wax – it feels like such a novelty!) includes – *takes deep, steadying breath* – Haunted Mansion wax.  Wax!  Of the Haunted Mansion!  You guys know how I feel about the Haunted Mansion! (*huffs into a nearby paper bag*)

Mansion Collage

Okay, I’m back now, slightly more in control of my faculties and ready to show off the wax I suspect the Melting Duck gals may have made purely to humour me, because I asked for it literally every single time they solicited scent ideas for their upcoming releases.  If that was indeed the case, thank you, Kristin and Lauren, I love Foolish Mortal and next time (!) I’ll be happy to buy sacks of the stuff!

Foolish Mortal, named after the gently needling nickname the Ghost Host imparts on visitors to the Haunted Mansion, is a blend of Candy Cane Cupcakes and Toasted Marshmallow.  I thankfully don’t get too much of the toasted off the marshmallow, which is good, because I’m not overly fond of that ersatz “baked” note in my home or personal fragrances.  The Haunted Mansion actually doesn’t have much of a scent itself (hmm, perhaps that pleasant background scent of high efficiency air conditioning and meticulously maintained dust) but I imagine if ghosts had a scent (notice how I’m not disputing the existence of ghosts, merely their smell) this would be it – a quick, tingly blast of icy sweet peppermint.  And the colours are perfection, the very hues of the Grim Grinning Ghosts in the ride’s big graveyard showpiece scene.

Foolish Mortal 1

Next up we have a blend of Duckin Donuts (described as “a house blend of fresh coffee and fresh baked goodies”) and Pumpkin.  So basically Fall’s ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice Latte!  Once again, the colours are perfect; I particularly love the little candy corn-striped ducks.

Duckin Donuts and Pumpkin 1

Next up we have the sleeper hit of my last order, Ghost Stories by the Fire, a “Sandra shouldn’t like this” blend of Marshmallow Fireside, Earl Grey and Vanilla Ice Cream.  But it turns out Sandra likes Ghost Stories very much (so much, in fact, I actually only melted through my final piece the day this order arrived on my doorstep, finally secure in the knowledge that there were backups!)  Typically I’m not much for Marshmallow Fireside blended with other scents; I prefer it straight up, in candle format preferably.  But there’s something really nice about the Melting Duck’s Marshmallow Fireside; it’s sweet and mellow, bearing none of the objectionable acridness common to fire-imitating scents.  And once again, the colours and the shapes?  So creative!  Half the fun of this order was examining the cute little shapes, from sprinkled donuts, winged bats and sparkly macarons, to plump pumpkins, ornate sugar skulls and many, many little duckies.

Ghost Stories by the Fire 1

Next we have the sleeper hit of this order, Death of the Party, a rich, delectable bakery blend of Grave Mistakes (Zucchini Bread and Sugar Milk) and Marshmallow Fireside.  At first glance, none of those scents look as though they’d play nicely together (cloying, acrid, corn chip) but as a whole, it smells like…smokey sexy man muffin!  I just adore it (another Marshmallow Fireside blend, wouldn’t you know it?) and I’m smitten with the little pink rose shapes in this blend and that one gigantic chocolate chip cookie.  My husband loves this one, and that’s really saying something, because he is traditionally un-fond, shall we say, of Marshmallow Fireside, claiming “it smells like some douchebag hitting on a disinterested co-worker at a holiday party.”  Well, okay then!  There you go, folks, descriptive fireworks courtesy of Mr. Finger Candy. 😉

Death of the Party 1

Finally, we have the non-seasonal outlier of this order, a bag of my beloved Pink Sands, neat.  This Yankee dupe is a very nice one, bright and fresh and clean, and I’m looking forward to melting through the wide assortment of plucky little pink duckies (so many ducks in this bag!)

Pink Sands

Oh!  Actually finally-finally, I ordered a trio of cups in Ghost Stories by the Fire so I can send them on to friends, as well as three cups of Spider Cider, a blend of Cinnamon Sugar Donuts and Apple Cider.  I’m glad I only purchased the three cups of Spider Cider, because out of the entire order, it’s the only scent I’m not wildly thrilled about.  It’s nice, and I’m going to wait to see what it does given a bit of time to settle, but I’m not in love with it like I am, say, Foolish Mortal or Death of the Party.  Still, those wee little embedded spiders are quite creepy-cute.

Cups Collage

And I’d be remiss in failing to show off this dinged dude, one of the Melting Duck’s Studs in a Tub, which I received as a little freebie with my order.  I had a great laugh when I pulled this guy out of the box, because the Studs, well…they normally have attached heads!

Beheaded Stud 1

The Melting Duck actually created some intentionally beheaded Studs for the Halloween season, with splashes of red dotting the bubbles, but this little wax man is not one of those pieces, just the unfortunate victim of the ever-handsy postal service!  All the same, he smells wonderful (like Lemon Cupcakes and Satsuma.)

Beheaded Stud 2

I’m so thrilled with this order!  It really feels like a special treat, which I suppose is exactly what it is.  I’ve talked with a number of people this year who, like me, but for their own individual reasons, chose to cut back on their discretionary spending, and one of the reasons that I’ve heard over and over again is because endless purchases arriving on your doorstep grows to become quite boring, that these little (and not so little) treats cease feeling special.  I quite like the return to that little acquisition rush, although I’ll continue to respect the healthy distance we’ve put between one another. 🙂

So there we have it, the scented, waxy rewards I finally reaped after a solid year of cutting back, using up and re-prioritizing.  Very glad I waited to blow it out with the Melting Duck, because this order was a ducking treat to receive, and very soon to melt.  If you’re interested in checking out the Melting Duck’s super cool and great-smelling wares for yourself, join up with their Facebook group, where they post notifications about their upcoming releases (conducted on a mixed bag basis of pre-orders, ready-to-ship sales and the occasional custom.)  Happy ducking shopping!

Fall Fun Fridays: Favourite Autumn Polishes

Fall Polish Collage 1

This Friday’s theme in the little blogging collaboration I’ve been doing with my friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid is one near and dear to my lacquer-loving heart – those beauty items, accessories or fashionable finds that only see the light of day come Fall.  Living in a place that sees its predominately cool-to-frigid weather interrupted only by bursts of sweaty summer humidity, I have an absolute ton of cold weather-only clothing – my closet is a veritable tribute to black sweaters and many, many fingerless mittens.  So nothing too special there.

I do, however, have quite a few autumn-only nail polishes.  I suppose it’s a little weird to segregate your beauty items into seasonal appropriateness, but here we are (hey, those “Find Your Colours!” makeup-matching programs that were so popular in the ’80s – I was just talking about this with a friend the other day! – made an entire industry out of it.)  Here’s my pick for my favourite mostly Fall polishes. 😉

Leaf of Faith – KB Shimmer

Leaf of Faith Collage

Straight up cranberry jelly, right, extra lumpy? 😉  I used this polish years ago to create one of my all time favourite manicures – cranberry sauce from the can, still in a solid log and bearing its all-important rings.  This is a staple on Canadian Thanksgiving tables, FYI.  The television show Corner Gas had an entire episode about Brett Butt’s quest for a solid log of ringed cranberry jelly; his holiday meal could NOT begin without it!

Road to Awe – ILNP (I Love Nail Polish)

Road to Awe Collage

Dusky Halloween purples tinged with the barest hint of autumn’s crunchy golden leaves.

Brains & Boo-ty – Painted Polish

Brains & Boo-ty Collage

Halloween in a bottle!  Beware, though, this polish is an absolute beast to remove; just snaggy glitter for days.

Lava – Sally Hansen Lustre Shine

Lava Collage

This gorgeous, tequila sunrise-hued polish is one of the oldest in my collection.  It is so, so flattering; I think it looks just like a maple leaf on the cusp of its big yellow-to-red colour change.

What are your favourite Fall-onlys, friends?  Anything I really ought to be adding to my collection?  Please do hit me up, and a wonderful weekend to you all. 🙂

Fall Polish Collage 2