June Band of Bloggers

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Toes in the water, sunshine on the skin, evenings spent watching blinking fireflies or brilliant fireworks, all the little indulgences that only summer can bring.  As it’s arriving soon (in the northern hemisphere), for June we want to know the special ways you indulge during the summer months.  Any activities you look forward to?  For some, it involves dodging bugs, to searching for respite from soaring temps.  But for everyone, it means longer daylight hours.  What is your summer indulgence?

I’m not sure how much of an indulgence something can be if it cost 75 cents at the secondhand bookstore, but one of my favourite things to do in the summer is bury myself in a stack of Christopher Pike young adult thrillers and pretend I’m 12 years old again.  I was just discussing this with a friend the other day, but those beloved books (all published in the late ’80s and ’90s, for those not familiar with Pike’s work) really hold up quite well.  You know, provided you’re into Egyptology, time travel, teen cannibalism, lizard people from Mars, mild drug use, vampires, devastating childhood trauma and a hell of a lot of female characters named Ann.  Last summer, whilst in the midst of a major Pike-a-thon, I created this manicure.  I may have also rhapsodized a fair bit about my deep, abiding love for the 1980s YA teen thriller; you can find that post here.

Christopher Pike Collage

Continuing with gratification, what’s the most indulgent fragrance purchase you have ever made or been gifted?  A special bottle of perfume, exclusive wax opening, or pricey, fancy pants candle?

Every Christmas my parents gift me with a two-wick Voluspa candle in one of my favourite fragrances, French Bourbon Vanille.  This candle is a real luxury item – silky smooth, clean-burning coconut wax, a lush, gourmand fragrance, that beautiful mercury glass container – and it’s got the price tag to go along with it – $38 Canadian.

That my parents willingly – I’d say even gleefully – purchase this for me every year is nothing short of amazing, as they are not the type to splash out on something as banal as a candle.  My parents have always been exceedingly financially responsible.  It’s what has allowed them to enjoy a comfortable life, all while continuing to be quite generous with their only daughter (come on, you knew I was an only child!)

Having said that, my parents are still a long way off from Dickensian tightwads.  They spend their money on the things that matter to them; luxury candles simply aren’t one of those things.  Dollar Store firestarters will do just fine, thanks!  But my, do they love purchasing this candle every year.  I think it gives them a weirdly illicit little jolt – “Wayne!  We’re buying a $40 candle for our kid.  Is she bonkers or are we?”

Voluspa In the Dark

Lastly, how would you indulge if $ was no object?  It could be a luxe fragrance you desire, a pampering spa package, a legendary retired scent, etc.  What is your dream way to treat yo’self?

If finances and environmental impact were of no concern, I’d enjoy freshly laundered linens every day, and fresh cut flowers thrice weekly.  Thrice!  I love bedding down in clean sheets (bolted downstairs at 9:30 pm on New Years Eve, actually, to throw a load in the machine so I could begin 2017 unencumbered by 2016’s scuzzy sheets) and fresh flowers are simple sunshine in a vase.  Love the little luxuries associated with both.

Luxurious Photo

Please feel free to answer these questions for yourself in the comment section below.

And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Jessica at The Meltdown Blog

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

May Band of Bloggers

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May, May, May.  Welcome back ‘ol friend!  May is a turning point in the year for a lot of people.  The school year is almost over, summer is coming soon, and those mild months will still become scorchers.  The birthstone of May is the emerald, which symbolizes love and success.  This month, we’re focusing on these two things!

We all love something with all our hearts, so tell us what you love the most.  It could be the story of how you met your spouse/significant other, where you got your pet, or a nod to your parental units.

Had this prompt arrived in my inbox this time last week, I probably would have gleefully – and loudly – proclaimed COLD MEDS!!! to be my most favourite thing ever.  When you’re ill, they can be *just* the thing to get you up and on your feet (or partially hunched over and swaying, if you don’t overdo it.)  But I REALLY overdid it last weekend, optimistically snarfing down half a box of something that promised to banish my flu to the Land of Tissues and Cough Suppressant.  It, of course, did no such thing!  I just kept sneezing and coughing, sneezing and coughing.  The only difference was now?  I was LOADED.  Higher than I’ve ever been in my life, and not in a pleasant way – more in the “I can’t feel my tongue/Why are these neon fish swimming outside my window?” sort of way.  Can’t say I loved that very much, particularly as I’m now side-eyeing any and all cold meds like they’re pure poison.

But you know what I did love about my lost weekend?  The order confirmation that showed up from Sephora on Sunday morning informing me that at some point on Saturday night, I placed a not-insubstantial order for, well, a lot of shimmery blue makeup!  Items I had once placed on my wishlist as a bit of a lark (the aforementioned shimmery blue lipstick, a holographic powder palette, colour-shifting liquid metal-type eye shadow) were now speeding their way across Canada, directly into my hot (still so hot) little hands, and I had ZERO memory of having sat down and even made the order in the first place.

Sephora 1

I’ve never shopped whilst intoxicated before, so this was definitely a new one for me.  Well, there was that time just out of university that my friend and I got (let’s not mince words) tanked and then went to the mall to see a movie, only for me to get completely waylaid by a catastrophically ugly $3,000 dress in the window of a nearby shop that I apparently needed to have RIGHT THEN.  But I certainly didn’t buy that dress, nor did I sneak back in the dead of night and surreptitiously purchase it under cover of hungover darkness.  Can’t say the same about my blue makeup bonanza!

Lipstick Collage

Actually, there’s not much I can say about it at all, having apparently lost that bit of institutional shopping knowledge to the ever-shifting sands of accidental inebriation.  But unlike the $3,000 dress, I’ve got a use and a purpose for all these pie-in-the-sky goodies, and the story alone – hell, just the visual of me sitting there, eyes two tiny, watery slits, congested gob wide open, chin three inches off the keyboard – is a great one that I’m compelled to share!  My incredible weirdness is your entertainment gain!

Palette Collage 1

Ultimately, though, there was really no harm done here, and no foul either, this accidental bounty covered by some leftover birthday mad money.  I might not be chuckling quite so heartily if I had blown through actual budgeted funds, but as a one-off, I love it.  It is the thing I love the most right now. 🙂

Stila Collage

In terms of success and keeping it blog-related, have you ever participated in and/or completed a “project wax” or spring wax/perfume/makeup/scented product purge?  Have you ever bought so much product you felt the need to use it all up before you bought again?

No to all of the above, an odd little bit of responsible adulting I chalk up to a couple of different factors – an overall lack of storage space in my apartment condo and my own deep, abiding desire to NOT have my death certificate read “Crushed to death by expired Lush shit.”  So I only ever tend to have on hand that which I can and do use.

We hope you visit these Band of Bloggers blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Jessica at The Meltdown Blog

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please feel free to contact us!

April Band of Bloggers

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It’s that time of year again!  As the warmer weather soothes stiff joints and brushes off the last vestiges of winter, homes beg for the same fresh start everyone promised themselves at the beginning of the year.  Clothes are donated, rooms are scrubbed, and yards are tended.  While the fauna leave their winter dens or return from long migrations, the world blooms with new growth in vibrant splashes of colour.

For April’s Band of Bloggers post, we will answer a few questions about Spring and the ever-loved Spring cleaning.  Feel free to join in and answer these questions in the comments below!

Do you decorate for Spring?

Save some specific Easter decorations that I pull out around the end of March, it’s ALWAYS Spring in my apartment – lots of raspberry red, robin’s egg blue and a pink I like to refer to as “Strawberry Fluff.”  This spattered egg wreath actually sits on a little decorative shelf above the second bedroom bed year-round.  My best friend once commented that I have the perfectly decorated single girl’s apartment – remarkable, as I live with a man, and a pretty messy one at that!

Wreath Pic

Are there any products you find yourself reaching for as the weather warms?  This can be anything; food, clothing, bath and body, wax, you name it!

I suppose like most people shrugging off the final frosty bits of winter, I start to lean towards fresh, fruity and floral scents for both my person and my home.  After finishing off a bottle of hand soap the other day, I reached into my extras drawer and pulled out two choices – some fruity berry thing, bursting with Springtime freshness, and a beautiful Bath & Body Works scent by the name of Winter White Woods, an unexpected favourite of mine that smells like a still copse of snow-laden birch trees.  Glancing outside, I saw that the actual birch trees surrounding my building were laden with snow themselves, so back into the drawer Winter White Woods went – perhaps best to put a bit of distance between winter and Winter, yes?

Do you participate in the Spring cleaning craze?

Living in a condo apartment building, I thankfully have very few Spring maintenance duties to attend to.  But before the summer spiders arrive and drive me back indoors, I sweep down the balconies, wash the windows and frames, maybe set out a few pots of pansies (which I haven’t in years; my dear, late kitty, Porky, LOVED to nibble on freshly potted pansies – would actually race me to the balcony door so she could rip off their little lion’s heads like the savage predator she was – and I haven’t had the heart to buy any since her passing.  Maybe this year.  Miss you, Pork Chop.)

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Don’t forget to visit these fellow participants in the Band of Bloggers and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

March Band of Bloggers

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Welcome to the March edition of Band of Bloggers!  Hopefully this month begins to bring more temperate weather and the first signs of spring!  In my neck of the woods, conditions have been alternating between crazy heavy rain/high winds and beautiful sunshine and blooming flowers.  I hope the weather will stabilize a bit this month.  Since the month of March usually holds the first signs of spring, that begs the question:

What scents are your favourite scents to melt and wear for spring?

Are you a fan of traditional spring scents such as florals, fresh/clean, earthy, herbal, etc.?

Do you consider yourself a seasonal melter (melting scents traditionally associated with a particular season)?

I wouldn’t consider myself a seasonal melter, if only because every time I try to really immerse myself in the hallmark scents of a season (pumpkin and apple in the fall, mint and trees in the winter) I go into complete olfactory overload and swear that if I ever smell another (apple, it’s usually apple) scent, I’m hurling all my warmers off the balcony.  Bit dramatic, that, but I think we’ve all been there.

 So no, not a seasonal melter, but as we move into the warmer spring months (how funny that we’re now talking about the spring – after two weeks of way-above-normal winter temperatures, the mercury plummeted overnight to -20) I do tend to gravitate towards some of the lighter, fresher and cleaner scents in my wax collection (said collection still being 99 percent fruity-bakery, so take that with a large grain of, um, sugar.)

Here I pulled two favourite new fragrances from my recent Sniff My Tarts order, a large frosted sugar cookie in Lavender Marshmallow Cake and Lemon Cake Pops, and a bag of no-fuss chunks (adorable little petit four-shaped confections) in Mango, Blackberry and Twinkies.  Customs both, they’re fruity, fresh and beautifully layered – perfect AND perfectly unassuming background scents, the kind of fragrances that make you think, “I don’t know what that is, but it smells flippin’ GREAT in here.”  Definitely my kind of spring scents. 🙂

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We hope you’ll join the fun and leave your own answer in the comments below!  And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join us for our monthly posts, please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us.

February Band of Bloggers

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Back in the Fall I reached out to a group of ladies whose blogs I had been lurking about for quite some time. Nail stuff, smelly waxy stuff, sparkly stuff, makeup stuff, and then occasionally that annoying old thing we call day-to-day life, it was all on display, and with some kind, funny and thoughtful voices backing it up, to boot.  It was through this group that I joined up with the Fall Fun Series, and then through that series that I’ve now joined up with the Band of Bloggers, a fun, friendly and supportive group of mostly wax and fragrance bloggers who get together once a month to talk about all things deliciously scented.  Below you’ll find my thoughts on this month’s question, as well as links to the other participating blogs – please do check them out!

Welcome to the February edition of Band of Bloggers!  You’re probably getting tired of winter already as we start this new month.  Maybe your thoughts are already turning towards spring, or maybe you’re all about Valentine’s at the moment.  Hearts and roses, chocolates and cards, and special someones making you smile…with all that love floating around, our question this month is quite simple.

What scent are you *loving* at the moment?  It can be anything from wax, to perfume, to body care, to…whatever!

Mango!  Mango, mango, mango.  Huh, funny how words lose all meaning the more you say them.  Mmmmmmmmango!

But truly, after once again burning myself out (heh) on seasonal scents (tree! mint! cookies!) I’m now all about tart and fruity bakery blends.  I’m particularly fond of the Mango Sorbet fragrance oil that most vendors seem to use, which is good, as I’ve two custom orders coming my way in the next few weeks, and mango features prominently in both.  Sweet and juicy, with a nice little kick of tartness to keep them from becoming completely saccharine, mango scents lean tropical, but without the floral notes that can nudge tropical fruits into pina colada territory (a place I don’t ever care to visit; pina coladas are a waste of alcohol, and virgin pina coladas are a waste of ice!)  One of my favourite mango scents is Rosegirls’ Mango Coconut Waffle Cone, and it smells exactly as delicious as it sounds – crisp, sugary, fresh-from-the-oven waffle cones heaped with tart, cool and creamy mango sorbet, sprinkled with a dusting of shredded coconut.  It’s friggin’ fantastic.

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We hope you’ll join the fun and leave your own answer in the comments below.

And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

And if you’d like to join in on the Band of Bloggers fun, please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us!

Fall Fun Series: The End

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Well, here we are, friends, right at the finish line of the Fall Fun Series, the casual blogging collective I joined up with at the beginning of September.  For the final prompt, we’ve been tasked with wrapping up our experience, and not just the series, but the Fall as a whole.

And mine?  Pretty darn fantastic, actually, because for the first time in many years, I felt compelled to engage with my favourite season.  In years past, I’d look around somewhere about the end of October and realize that without intending to, I had missed it all – the changing leaves, the beautiful, crisp temperatures, the spooky movies and cider and farmers’ markets. The past few years I haven’t even bothered putting up my much-loved Halloween Town, such has been my seasonal malaise (although truly, that’s more a function of the fact that it’s a total pain in the arse to store, assemble and display.)

But that all changed this year (not the Halloween Town thing; it’s still a total pain in my arse.)  And if that’s because of the series, then I’m so glad it happened, because I had a wonderful Fall, engaged in some very enjoyable activities and made a bunch of cool new blogger friends.  So what were some of the neat discoveries I made this Fall, the fun things I took part in?

For one, I apparently really like arranging my wax on cake plates.  I can’t help it; the cute little shapes look like wee pastries!

cake-stand-wax-collage

Then, for the first time in years, I pulled my beloved – but incredibly delicate – Nightmare Before Christmas musical snow globe off the shelf where it normally lives and cleaned it to within an inch of its life (a bit of maintenance I really need to attend to more often.)  The residents of Halloween Town now positively gleam!

nbc-collage

Speaking of, I put out MY Halloween Town for the first time in two or three years. Then at the end of the season, thanks to some lovely weather that made puttering around on my balcony not quite the windswept nightmare it normally is, I was able to very carefully box up my little lighted buildings and pack them snugly away for the winter where they won’t get dirty or damaged or worse.  Having the town out, blinking away creepily from the diningroom table, was such a pleasure this year, but I think I’m enjoying the sense of satisfaction that comes from an organizing job well done even more.

halloween-town-1

In the midst of the Fall Fun Series I also decided to participate in the annual 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, which turned out…totally fine.  I was expecting just complete blogging lunacy, but things worked out rather well, another little feat of organization I’m quite proud of. These Beetlejuice nails were my favourites of the challenge – actually, one of my favourite manicures, period.

beetlejuice-fingers

Outside of my nail art activities, I got a little crafty with it this Fall, mixing together a super easy – and very popular – pumpkin spice sugar scrub, and then a decidedly less popular take on Disney’s LeFou’s Brew, a frozen apple juice beverage topped with marshmallow foam so it looks like a sudsy flagon of ale (it was disgusting, full stop.  Turns out cold marshmallow is a big culinary no-no!)

Then, inspired by the enthusiasm of my Floridian blogging friends who never get to experience the beauty of a cold climate Fall, I made an effort to really appreciate the ever-changing riot of colour going off around me every day, including a stunning blue sky day trip to the Gatineau Hills for a little drive with my parents.

leaf-collage-again

I also melted an absolute ton of wax.  Apple wax, pumpkin wax, apple-pumpkin wax…and these are just the blends I thought to take a photo of!  On the plus side, my apartment smells divine.

super-wax-collage

Then in between the wax and the leaves and the undrinkable marshmallow beverages, I celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary, enjoyed a delicious seasonal bath and spent a fantastic morning out in the country with my husband visiting the little town I grew up in. It was a very good day.

north-gower-collage

And a very good challenge!  If the Fall Fun Series could be called a challenge, which in some respects, it very much was.  Abiding by a set blogging schedule is actually quite challenging, a delicate balancing act between generating content (also known as “living life”) and then writing about it.  It’s not for everybody, but I had a great time, and I’m thankful for the little motivational kick in the pants the series gave me to get out there and enjoy my city during my very favourite time of the year.  To next year’s series (except next time, maybe let’s try winter.  If I smell another apple or pumpkin-scented wax product, I’m gonna keel over!)

Fall Fun Series: The Beginning

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Good afternoon, friends!  Heading into this beautiful early Fall weekend with something a little different.  For the next couple of months, I’ll be participating in a bi-weekly blogger round-up with a bunch of other fun folks as we explore our various Fall favourites and traditions.  Not to fret if you’re here purely for the nail art; there will still be LOTS of that, as I’m also participating this month in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge.  But!  Aside from a seemingly never-ending series of Stranger Things manicures, I’ll also be joining in with some other bloggers every Monday and Friday as we gab about our favourite Fall decorating tips, smelly things, yummy things, leafy things, spooky things and everything in between.  I hope you’ll swing by and join us, should the Fall spirit move you.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished
Ashley at The Bohemian Sassenach
Jessica at The Meltdown Blog
Julie at The Redolent Mermaid
Lauren at LoloLovesScents
Lindsey at Little Bit of Lindsey
Liz at Furianne
Stephanie at Imperfectly Painted
Sunnee at Our Sunny Life

Some of these bloggers have been in and out of each other’s lives for years now, while others – like me! – are brand new interlopers. 😉  As such, Julie, the planning mastermind behind this series, has designated the first day’s post as a getting to know you, getting to know all about you tag (or at least getting to know all about your Fall traditions, likes and dislikes and just what is up with football already.)  Happy reading, and I’ll see you on Monday with more leafy fun.

1. What is your favourite thing about the Fall?

That oddly melancholy sense of opposing forces hard at work – new beginnings (school, jobs, hobbies, relationships) butting heads with final farewells (changing leaves, falling temperatures, things settling down for a long winter’s rest.)

2. Do you get Fall colours where you live?

Tons!  Like these seen here in shots snapped off my balcony (you would never know it from these photos from three different days and two different years, but I don’t actually live in the midst of a tornado. Fall in Ontario tends to be quite blustery and rainy.)

Leaf Collage

3. Favourite Fall scent (wax, or anything)?

The slightly sooty, almost cooked scent of lit Jack-o-Lanterns.

4. Favourite Fall food or drink?

I used to think it was Starbucks’ ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte, but in recent years I’ve discovered that I actually don’t care for them very much.  So sweet!  Plus they make my teeth feel all furry. So I’ll say a crisp Macintosh apple, straight from the farmer’s market.

5. Football…yay or nay?

Nay.  I’m not a sports fan of any description, however.

6. Do you rake, jump in or burn piles of leaves?

I live in a condo apartment where those sorts of things are taken care of for me, but I would if I could!  And when I was a kid living in a 100-year-old farmhouse surrounded by tall maples, I did all the time!

7. Haunted house or corn maze?

Haunted house.  Specifically, THE Haunted Mansion in Disney World, Orlando.

8. Have you ever gone on a hayride?

Yes, at least every few years at Saunders Farm, a hobby farm in Munster, Ontario that goes all-in on Halloween every Fall.  The farm, a huge seasonal operation that employs tons of local kids, features two haunted houses, two or three different stage productions, a bunch of corn and hedge mazes and the haunted hayride, an occasionally quite scary and super fun ride through the supernaturally-charged Munster woods. Bumping along in the back of a wooden flatbed trailer with 20 other nervously giggling people, my mitten’d hands clamped down on an apple cider to keep it from flying out the back of the truck, while teenagers in scary masks lunge at the sides of the vehicle, setting off a flurry of shrieks, is one of my favourite Fall activities.

9. Cider or hot chocolate?

Cider.  Mulling spices are the best.

10. Carve a pumpkin or eat pumpkin pie?

Pie me.

11. Do you dress up for Halloween?

I haven’t in years.  This year I may play around with a bit of theatrical makeup, but I haven’t gone the full costume in well over a decade.

12. Candy corn…yay or nay?

Candy corn is the devil’s glucose-ridden pocket candy.  I just loathe it.

13. Favourite Halloween movie?

No word of a lie – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this to anyone other than my best friends, who are likewise incredulous – but Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows.  Judge me all you want, but it’s awesome/terrible and I love it!

14. Scariest movie?

The Descent.  If you are even marginally claustrophobic, this movie will send you into a complete panic.

15. Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Why can’t we have Halloween with Thanksgiving food?  Too much of a good thing all at once?  I will ultimately say Halloween, though, because October 31st is my wedding anniversary.

16. Do you watch the Macy’s Parade?

Despite being Canadian, I certainly could, although I never have.

17. Apple pie or pumpkin pie?

Always apple pie, but only my mom’s.  I’m incredibly pie-ist that way.  Otherwise, I’m Team Pumpkin.

18. White or dark meat?

White.  And a Tofurkey for my husband.  While wearing this hat.

Turkey Hat

19. Jellied or real cranberry sauce?

I actually prefer lingonberry sauce, but jellied cranberry sauce (with the rings) is a staple of any good holiday dinner table.

20. Will you host or travel for Thanksgiving this year?

Yeah, travel about six blocks to my parents’!  My mom is a great cook and she always does Thanksgiving up right.