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: 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.

endless-sky-leaves

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

leaves-at-the-theatre

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

leafy-tree

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!

pumpkin-spice-collage

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)? 🙂

pumpkin-spice-sugar-scrub

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