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: Forest Floor

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A number of blogger friends participating in the Fall Fun Series live in Florida, which is currently being lashed by Hurricane Matthew.  Being roughly 1,600 miles from the action, there’s little I can do but wish for my friends’ continued safety and a speedy resolution to the storm.  But while they’re all hunkered down, I thought it might be a nice little diversion to take a peek at the softer side of Mother Nature with both this very leafy manicure, and some of the changing leaves I’ve recently spotted around my neighbourhood.  And not for nothing, Florida friends, but when this coming winter rolls around and I’m up to my Canadian eyeballs in freezing rain, you will have it allllll over me!

This simple, sponged-on manicure was a total breeze and so much fun – I love nail art that calls for you to just play around with a whole mess of colours.  It also reminds me of the crisp blanket of multi-coloured leaves that fall to the ground of a maple forest floor.  And nothing more exciting here than red, green, orange and brown polishes randomly sponged over a light tan base and topped with ILNP’s very leafy-looking The Road to Awe multi-chrome flakie.

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But looking up from my nails for half a second, one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about participating in the Fall Fun Series is that it has forced me to stop, slow down and really appreciate the beauty of my surroundings at this time of year.  Living on the bend of a tree-lined river, with the leafy Gatineau Hills visible from every one of my windows, I suffer an embarrassing amount of leaf riches.  And yet, every year when the final burnished leaf hits the ground, I’m surprised that Fall came and went so quickly, and I hardly even noticed its presence. No wonder Ma Nature’s so pissed come wintertime.

But this Fall I’m finding myself present, to use an obnoxious term, in ways I’ve simply not been in years past. And if that comes at the behest of a blogging challenge, well, that’s just fine with me.

I can’t just lay down some lacquered leaves, though, and leave (wah-wah) it at that.  So how about the real deal? Like these leafy trees (against an endless-looking sky) along the Ottawa River that are just beginning to turn.

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Or these vibrant trees edging the parking lot of a local theatre (where I recently watched Bridget Jones’s Baby, which I quite liked.)

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Or this tree that stands to the side of a path directly below my balcony.

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There’s so much beauty out there – you just have to pull your head up every now and then and actually enjoy it. Stay safe, and happy Fall, friends.

Fall Fun Series: Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub

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Sugar scrubs are typically the secret weapon behind any super soft, sweetly scented hands and feet, but the actual secret behind the secret weapon is that they’re ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make at home, using nothing more than completely edible ingredients mixed together and stuffed into a sealed container.  It really doesn’t get any easier than that, with the nice little bonus being total customization; the basic proportions of the sugar “recipe” stay the same, while allowing you lots of wiggle room to scent your sweet concoction exactly as you wish. Heck, you can even tinker with the proportions of the sugar/oil recipe should you prefer a grainier scrub to a more oily one.  This is one very forgiving DIY beauty product, so feel free to play around!

I typically make my sugar scrubs with white, fine grain sugar, but I thought brown sugar, with its extra hit of rich molasses, would make a nice – and definitely more traditional – base for the pumpkin pie spices.   So would you like to make some of your own?  Here’s how!

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 a cup of white sugar1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to personal taste, should you prefer your scrub spi-cay), 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg.  Add 1/3 a cup of coconut oil and mix well.  You want the finished product to look like damp sand.  And that’s seriously all there is to it!

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Lidded plastic containers are the best method for storing your DIY sugar scrubs, because you can lug them into the shower or the bath with you without the fear of too much water damage, but should you be unable to stop yourself from crafting together a cute little Halloween-hued label and stuffing the whole works into a mostly decorative rubber-mouthed glass container, well, who am I to stop you (or myself)? 🙂

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With all of the other participants in the Fall Fun Series similarly up to their (now well-buffed) elbows in craft projects, there’s lots of that fun DIY spirit kicking around the collective today.  Should you wish to check out the projects that are either delighting them or driving them absolutely mad (that’s sort of the nature of homemade craft goods, though, right?) you can find a list of their blogs below.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished
Ashley at The Bohemian Sassenach
Hayley at Polished At Heart
Jessica at The Meltdown Blog
Julie at The Redolent Mermaid
Lauren at LoloLovesScents
Liz at Furianne
Stephanie at Imperfectly Painted
Sunnee at Our Sunny Life

Fall Fun Series: An Apple a Day

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Pretty sure that old saying applies to the fruit, not delicious-smelling, but completely non-edible, scented wax. But I have an absolute bounty of the latter, and seeing as apples are the theme of today’s installment of the Fall Fun Series (actually yesterday’s), I thought I’d melt through a few of my apple scents.  I’m now completely apple’d out; I can’t take any more!  Because while I really love apple baked goods – my mom’s fluffy, flaky, buttery pie is life – it turns out I’m not so fond of artificial apple scents.  They all tend to be very, very strong and need to be handled in small doses, particularly if you’re prone to environmentally-induced headaches, like moi.

Therein lies one of the not-a-problem problems for people with a love of home fragrance, particularly those that lie within the “you could eat this” category – do you actually think that, say, toffee apple ice cream will smell great, or do you just want to eat it?  The answer often lies somewhere in the middle, but occasionally there’s a bit of a disconnect, and that’s what I seem to be experiencing with my apple scents this Fall.

But if I practice moderation with my apples and mix them with other, softer scents to round off the harsh, sometimes even acidic edges, we’re sound as a pound!  So what sort of yummy apple scents have been perfuming my home this week?

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These scrumptious chunks are from Rosegirls, in Crazy Pants Fluff Puffs, left, and Toffee Apple Ice Cream, right.  Crazy Pants Fluff Puffs (that name, right?) is a blend of green apple, strawberry jam and Rosegirls’ Fluff Puffs scent blend, which itself is a blend of their Monster Cookie and Marshmallow Smoothie scents (sometimes I feel like a crazy fragrance Venn diagram would be quite useful in these situations!)  CPFP is wicked strong, a thick, warm bakery freshened up with bright green apples and strawberries.

Toffee Apple Ice Cream, with its less enigmatic – but infinitely more descriptive – name, is just that – caramel apples bobbing in a sea of melted vanilla ice cream.  I found this particular apple scent to be a little too cloying for my taste, particularly when paired with the vanilla ice cream note, which I either tolerate or loathe depending on the vendor. Rosegirls’ is better than most, but I find it just far too one-note when paired with the sweet toffee apples.  But my loss is someone else’s fruitful gain; I’ll find ‘er a good home.

I melted a lot of other apple scents this week – Rosegirls’ Apple Eclipse (very nice; a mild, “adult” apple, sweetly spiked with vanilla and bourbon), Apple Colada (banana?) and Apple Puff Pumpkin Pie (Apple Jack and Peel is hard at work in this one) and Simple Gals’ Enchanted Apple (a perfumey sort of apple scent that I think may be a dupe of Lush’s So White) – but their pictures all turned out quite terribly.  I think that’s because, with the exception of the Apple Eclipse, I didn’t really care for any of these scents too much.  My camera just KNEW!  But again, apple biased.

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Unless, of course, I have the ultimate say in just how that apple note is deployed, which is why I like Rosegirls’ Mini Melters so much – just a touch of RG’s Macintosh Swizzle Sticks, a lightly candied apple scent, nestled among other creamy, fruity scents brings out the best in the often powerfully-scented pomme.

For these two favourite blending experiments, I mixed Macintosh Swizzle Sticks with, left, Mango Sorbet and Marshmallow Smoothie, to create a delectable version of Disney’s LeFou’s Brew, an apple-and-mango juice slushie topped with marshmallow fluff (so it looks like a big, sudsy flagon of ale, see) and, right, Pie Crust and Dunk My Donut, a cinnamon-dusted cake donut scent, for a delightful, gas station apple pie kind of scent.  I love these two blends very much, but that’s no surprise, because I made them!

Now off to stick my face directly over a steaming pot of coffee – that should right the ol’ sniffer in no time!

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.