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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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

Fall Fun Fridays: Dropping the Blogging Ball

Leaf Collage

Good morning, friends!  If you’ve followed along with my last couple of posts, you know I started off the week with a power outage, and am now ending it with a cold.  In between I sneezed a lot, and re-bought the entire contents of my refrigerator.  Every part of my body aches today, but my heart aches the most for Ottawa’s small business owners and restaurateurs – anyone who deals in perishable goods, really – who lost tens of thousands of dollars in spoiled stock over the weekend.  Food waste makes me feel punchy; that we were all, to various degrees, subjected to this little (or not so little) indecency is just compounding my poor, sickly mood.  It’s been a weird week.

Today’s Fall Fun Friday prompt – that’s the little blogging collective I’m part of – was to discuss the books, movies and television programs you’re anticipating this Fall.  I’m pretty well ride-or-die for only one show, and that’s The Good Place, which premiered last night (no spoilers, please, it’s sitting on Apple TV waiting for one sneeze-free hour!)  Aside from that, I’m looking forward to Brooklyn 9-9’s move to NBC (their Halloween episodes are wonderful, and build off the previous seasons’ episodes, if you’re into that kind of tightly knit continuity, which I am.)  I’ve got one more episode of Castle Rock to tackle, if I can just get over the “WHAT IN SWEET, FROSTING-COVERED HELL IS GOING ON HERE?” of it all (what’s going on is I could stare at Bill Skarsgard’s cut glass cheekbones and giant, wounded eyes all. day. long, and yes, I’m totally that pervy old lady; my favourite headline about the guy is from a Mashable article titled “It’s not Bill Skarsgard’s fault that he looks like hot Satan,” heh.)

On the cinema side of things, I’m quite pumped for Wreck-It Ralph 2; Vanellope Von Schweetz is a mouthy little heroine of mine.  Hmm, that’s about it for movies, or at least new movies.  If we’re talking the things I watch every Fall and Halloween, we could be here for a while (The Nightmare Before Christmas, of course, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, a weird new obsession with Hocus Pocus because I can’t get away from it at Disney.)

As for books, get back to me when I’ve finished Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, a dense (in terms of writing and subject matter) examination of the collapse and subsequent bailout of the American banking industry in 2008.  I won’t be enjoying anything until I have that craven lot of greedy ghouls out of my head.  It’s been an incredibly frustrating and eye-opening read.

My blogging friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid are sure to have some great recommendations of their own, so I’d implore – implore! – you to pop on over and check out their autumn picks.

And now I’m going back to bed with a box of tissues.

Fall Fun Series II: The End

Fall End Collage

So, Fall Fun Series year two final grade for one Miss Finger Candy?  C minus.  You know, if she could just buckle down and stop talking to everyone and everything she’s seated beside, she could really turn this year around (nothing my parents ever heard during parent-teacher conferences, nosiree!)

Okay, so I whiffed the Fall Fun Series.  With the exception of series MVP Michelle of Melting With Michelle (who continued posting even during the lead-up to her end-of-October wedding!) we all dropped the ball a little as work and family obligations and unfortunate, unexpected problems with both derailed some of our best blogging intentions.  And while I can’t speak for the other participants, I simply wasn’t feeling the autumn spirit this year (at least not until my spur-of-the-moment Halloween trip to Disney World; funny that it took leaving my cool weather, leaf-strewn home for Florida’s “faux” Fall for me to regain that spark.)

But I also have much to be thankful for as the autumn draws to a close.  Great friends, close family, neato husband, snuggly cat, a roof over my head, comfort and safety.  Also an arse that no longer requires its own postal stamp.  And without trying to sound too conceited (but probably failing) I like to think I have at least some of those good things in my life because I worked hard to achieve them.  Luck always plays a role, but so does effort and determination.

And so the second-to-last Fall Fun Series prompt was to thank yourself for something good you’ve done for you, yourself and I.  For me, that was taking a hard, critical look at my lifestyle choices and realizing that if I didn’t turn things around, I was going to wind up the very definition of a life unfinished.  My world had petrified, and I was in dire need of a swift kick in the pants.

Working It

So I kicked those pants, really kicked ’em into high gear, and many months later I’m feeling healthier, wealthier and more wise than I have in about a decade (well, maybe not wealthier; increased activity does not always come cheaply, particularly if your activity of choice is visiting Disney.)

And so today I’m thankful for having seen the diabetes forest for the trees, for having pulled back what was barreling towards irrevocable and for putting me first.  Sounds selfish, but by not taking care of myself, I was relegating absolutely everyone else in my life to the bottom of the list.  Actions speak louder than words and all that not-so trite stuff, and what my actions were saying was that nobody else mattered, because I hardly mattered.  I’m thankful for having rejoined the human race so I can share this weird, maddening world with you all. 🙂

Au revoir, Fall.

Fall Fun Series II: Crazy for Cranberry

Cranberry Collage

Yeah, sometimes the ol’ Alliteration Generator just completely goes on the fritz and starts spitting out the laziest, most common words it can find.  Cranberry Craze?  Sounds like a flavour of Mountain Dew.  Crazed for Cranberry?  Sounds a bit like a mental health concern.  So basically there’s no unique, alliterative way of expressing my love of cranberry except to say I’m – sigh – crazy for it.

Except…am I?  I mean, I like Bath & Body Works’ Frosted Cranberry scent as much as the next person during the holidays, but otherwise, it’s not really my jam.  For that, I actually prefer lingonberry sauce or my mom’s spiced red currant jelly – excellent on all manner of roast beast. 😉 But cranberry scents?  Eh, I guess, for the Fall and Winter months, if you insist.  It’s not a scent I ever gravitate towards outside of the festive season, and even then, not so much.

Which is, I suppose, why I still possess this nearly two-year-old old bag of Cranberry Marmalade-scented Mini Melters from Rosegirls.  Also because – hoo doggy!- she’s STRONG.  Deeply spiced and a whole lot astringent, this cranberry is here to party.  Spice-haters and those with sensitive sniffers need not apply (this includes me; this wax makes my nose itch and tickle quite fiercely.)

But I thought I could turn this scent into something a little more palatable through the judicious use of more Mini Melters, and so that’s precisely what I did, whipping up two yummy blends – one bakery, one fruity-sweet – that let this nice, but bit-too-much, seasonal scent really shine (also, why all the ice and snowflake imagery in this, the Fall Fun Series?  Because late Fall in Canada actually means early Winter; we’ve already had a couple of didn’t-stick snowfalls and many, many mornings of frost.)

Cranberry Vanilla Bean Smoothie Collage

The addition of Rosegirls’ Vanilla Bean Noel and Marshmallow Smoothie scents proved to be the perfect bakery foil for Cranberry Marmalade’s dark spice notes, combining to create a creamy-dreamy, caramel-topped treat studded with tart, lightly spiced dried cranberries.  I basically made a scone without the scone part!  And it’s scrumptious; Vanilla Bean Noel is fast becoming a blending favourite.

Spiced Cran-Apple Punch Collage

As seasonal ciders and punches are my favourite things to see on a holiday party table, I thought it would be nice to create a spiced punch sort of scent.  Except actual punch (or Koolaid) scents and I are no bueno; they provoke headaches and sneezing fits in both my husband and I.  And so I both tempered AND sweetened-up the Cranberry Marmalade scent with a tiny touch of Cotton Candy Frosting, before adding a rather inspired dash of Apple Clove Butter.  I feared the addition of the Apple Clove Butter might push this scent blend into total spice overload, but my worries turned out to be unfounded – Apple Clove Butter is subtly, subtly spiced, with none of the sharpness of Cranberry Marmalade and all of the smoothness of actual apple butter.  It’s a lovely, juicy scent, and paired beautifully with the other two fragrances, creating something that really did smell like a gently wafting crock pot of some festively fruity concoction.  Yum!

Fall Fun Series II: Can You Keep a Secret?

Kissing Pictures are Tacky

I hope you can, because I certainly can’t – I *had* thought about keeping this one totally to myself, but I’m too excited not to spill!  Also, I offer this up in explanation of where this week’s Halloween-centric Fall Fun Series is not.  As in I don’t have any cool Halloween plans to share with you this week, although I certainly will next week, because we’re goin’ to Disney!!!  To celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary, actually, which falls on the 31st itself.  We will mark that particular milestone by (hopefully!) riding the Haunted Mansion 13 times in a row – one of those lifetime bucket list items I can’t wait to cross off the list!  I’m really looking forward to sharing the fun with you next week. 🙂  Until then, happy Halloween from these two nerds.

October Band of Bloggers

Halloween BoB Header Photo WM'd

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, it was a dark and stormy night. So dark and stormy, in fact, the power had gone out, and you had naught but a handful of scented three-wick candles with which to light your way. As you crept down the darkened hallway of the cabin in the woods along the picturesque shores of Crystal Lake that you and your randy teenage friends rented from the eerily helpful maintenance man back at the abandoned service station with all the weird pelts hanging outside, you caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of your eye. Whirling madly about, you brandished your glass jar of Pumpkin Cupcake Crunch, set to square off against any number of undead, masked killers with nothing but the three-wick in your hand and your own blazing moxie. Then, with a chuckle of embarrassed relief, you realized it was just your lucky Chucky Doll figurine – must have fallen off the shelf when that puzzle doodad covered in all the bizarre symbols you found in the basement behind the walled-up root cellar tipped over. Pressing a hand to your fluttering heart, you shook your head as you contemplated the massive, flammable waxcident that nearly was – heavens, THAT certainly could have been messy!

And then THAT’S when one of your friends came banging through the swinging door of the kitchen, catching you square in the back, throwing you forward and the candle up, and out, and then eventually down, where it exploded in a geyser of molten wax, covering everything in the livingroom with burnt orange pumpkin spice, including the creepy two-way mirror and the snarling wolf head affixed to the wall. Congratulations; now you’re really in a horror movie!

Oh, we’ve all been there, and not just waxies, but anyone who enjoys a hobby that occasionally errs towards the messy and dangerous (jest not, glitter glue burns are a real thing!) So this month, in honour of Halloween, we’re taking a look at our most monstrous pastime nightmares – the waxcidents and beauty blunders and crafting calamities that haunt our hobby dreams. What’s the worst hobby hazard you’ve ever suffered? And do you have any magical tips for cleaning Pumpkin Cupcake Crunch out of carpet fibers (or wolf fur)?

To put it bluntly, years ago, my husband and I did not exactly have our acts together.  Both of our jobs were stressful and time consuming, and we each spent about three hours on public transportation every day simply trying to get to and from our jobs.  By the time we’d straggle in the door in the evenings, there was barely anything left in the tank with regards to socialization or non-cheese-based nutrition or basic maintenance of our home.  We were just beat, and it was really starting to show itself, not just in our expanding waistlines and Netflix backlog, but around our apartment, which was beginning to take on the air of an 850 square foot, dust-covered storage space.  We “lost” one of the cats one day; turns out she was just napping under some abandoned construction materials.

All that to say I wasn’t particularly surprised the day my husband, carrying a fully-liquid glass jar of some pumpkin-based scented candle from the livingroom to the front door, tripped over the detritus of our lives, hurling the entirety of the candle directly into the coat closet doors, where it rapidly solidified into a burnt orange waterfall stretched out over about two and a half vertical feet.  Sweet.

Okay, so rust-coloured pumpkin shit happens, that’s life.  But as some sort of testament to our “Everything’s crap; I’m out!” approach to life, we NEVER cleaned it up.  Not then, in the moments after the waxcident, and certainly not over the next TWO YEARS.  So every person who came to our door – the only way in and out of our home – got a gigantic eyeful of what looked like burnt orange vomit running down our cupboard doors.  Our friends are such kind people; they never uttered a peep about their neglectful friends.  We eventually just replaced the doors altogether (you’ll also be glad to know we ditched a number of the bad and stressful habits that were dragging us down, and life is – knock on wood – much calmer now.  Cleaner, too.)  But, you know, as is always the case, that friggin’ candle mess smelled amazing for YEARS.  Talk about throwing power (and I don’t just mean my husband’s overhand lob!)

The Rumpkin

Today, in honour of the now-upon-us haunting season, I’m finally breaking into this clamshell of The Rumpkin, a lavender-pumpkin blend from Moo Scents.  I’ve been saving this sweet and delicious herb and spice blend for ages now because of the spooky label, with that adorable little witch alighting off the cupola roof.  Also because Moo Scents is regrettably no longer in business, so when she’s done, she’s done.  What a great scent, though.  Pumpkin and lavender, who knew?

If you have a story to share about the worst hobby-related catastrophe you’ve ever suffered, please leave a cringe-worthy comment in the section below! And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Bloggers blogs and help support the blogger community.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

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 Band of Bloggers posts, please feel free to contact us.