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.

 

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Fall Fun Series II: I Love You, I Hate You

FFS Main

Today’s Fall Fun Series prompt is one designed to expose our essential contrariness by sharing our autumn scent loves and hates.  I’ve already stated that I blew myself out on apple scents last year – too sweet, too cloying.  Then I went and bought about eight apple-based scents, and much to my surprise and delight, they’re all fantastic.  So there’s that contrary business again!  Or is it simply undecided?

Starting with the bad news, one thing I am quite decided on is that pumpkin scents, no matter the vendor or the blend, give me terrible headaches.  There’s just a sour kind of note there that prompts some nauseatingly fierce headaches.  And that’s a new thing this season – I suppose that makes pumpkin the new apple. 😉  Sorry, pumpkin, I’m sure I’ll be back on your tip next year.

But this year I’m back to Apple Acres, or at least *these* particular apples, Rosegirls’ Mini Melters in Apple Clove Butter, Lambeau Leap and Apple Strudel Rice Krispie Treats.  These showed up on my doorstep yesterday just as I was lamenting a lack of pleasing Fall scents; had actually kind of forgotten that I had purchased them?  But talk about great timing, and talk about great scents; I love them all.

FFS Rosegirls MMs

Apple Clove Butter is probably my favourite.  I’m not sure if it’s close to Beezy’s popular Apple Butter scent, but Rosegirls’ is a keeper – crisp, juicy apples shot through with warm mulling spices.  I think it would be fairly spectacular blended with a rich, buttery bakery (such as Pie Crust or Nilla Wafers) although it’s great all on its own.

Lambeau Leap is, I believe, named after a football team.  Green Bay, maybe (almost said Green Day there, whoops.)  I really don’t know sports (GO SPORTS!!!)  This is an odd fave for me, as it contains Sweater Weather, a popular woods-and-juniper blend from Bath & Body Works.  It’s quite cologne-y, and I’ve never been much for woodsy, masculine scents.  But in Lambeau Leap, blended with crisp apple cider and creamy Vanilla Bean Noel, it’s really nice; reminds me quite a bit of another Rosegirls blend that subs out the juicy apple cider for astringent pine.  Very nice.

And finally, Apple Strudel Rice Krispie Treats, a not-too-sweet, not-too-bakery blend of flaky apple strudel and crispy Rice Krispies.  This is the most linear of all the apple scents, and it’s lovely all on its own – I wouldn’t blend its delicious simplicity with another thing.  Great choices, all.

Fall Fun Series II: Pinspiration

Fall Inspiration Board

Good morning, friends!  This Saturday’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series is to compose an inspiration board, a pictogram, a collage or even a simple list of the things that make our hearts sing every autumn.  For me, that means a heck of a lot of gazing at leaves, assembling my Halloween Town, wrestling my cat into goofy costumes and celebrating my wedding anniversary, among many other lovely autumnal things.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the Fall delights that always inspire my soul at this time of year.

Cats in Costumes Collage

Cats in costumes!  Here we have the Weeger as Eeyore, a bee, a centipede and a mylar shark, and our dear, late kitty Porky as Pooh Bear and a deadly little Mewback.  Porky was always deeply intolerant of the five to 10 minutes we would spend every year wrestling her into her costume and then chasing her around the apartment with a camera, but Weegie takes it with some degree of good measure (so long as we lavish her with soft food the second she’s wriggled out of whatever tummy-constricting costume we’ve managed to wrap around her pudge in the first place.)  We don’t have kids; please don’t judge!

Leaf Collage Again

Leaves!  Right outside my door, lining the Ottawa River, or out in the country, edging the highway, or up the Gatineau, where I go with my parents every year to tend my grandparents’ graves.  I’m so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a bounty of leafy beauty every year, it almost makes up for the following six months of snow and ice.  Almost.

stranger-manis-collage

Stranger Things!  The second season starts on October 27th, and I shall be indisposed until such time as I have finished watching it.  I really don’t like binge-watching things – loved parsing out the first season episodes bit by wonderful bit, actually – but I don’t believe any of us will be afforded the luxury of remaining spoiler-free this time around. It’s the best show I’ve ever seen (sorry, Buff) and I am so. unbelievably. excited!  A very dope anniversary present from our Netflix overlords.

Wedding Photo 1

Yes, a fine anniversary present indeed for these two (young, so young!) goobers, who are celebrating their lucky 13th.  My gosh, we are just babies in this photo (but dang if my boobs don’t look SLAMMIN’; bless you, corset gods.)

Halloween Town

My Halloween Town!  A rather large operation that sprawls across my moss-covered diningroom table every Fall.  I had briefly toyed with the idea of letting the town go fallow for the year – setting it up and lugging it out of storage is a major, major pain – but I know I’ll cave in the end.  Gotta let the residents of my spooky little town vent their haunts for the year, yes?

Scary Movie Collage

Scary movies and TV shows.  Although I must note that I haven’t possessed the stomach or temperament for major (or even minor) gore in a long, long time.  Nostalgic picks like the deeply silly Friday the 13th series or my favourite terrible horror movie, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, are about as wild as I get now, and I’m perfectly content with that. Bring on the G and PG-rated spooks!

NBC Fall

Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, a charmingly creepy little stop motion movie that has a place in my heart and home year-round.  I spoke at some length last year about our snow globe, a wonderful wedding gift from friends.  This year we were fortunate enough to find another gorgeous collectible, an anniversary gift to ourselves that I will be positively gagging to share with you just as soon as it’s mounted to the wall!

Wax Header

And, of course, we can’t forget all the delicious smelly things that will be sweetly scenting my home this autumn.  This is a photo of last year’s bounty (with the exception of the scoopable, a pancakes-and-campfire scent, I melted through all of this and then some.) Looking forward to more cozy scents this year.  To the Fall!

September Band of Bloggers

BoB Sept 2017

Welcome back to the September Band of Bloggers! It’s that time of year again. School is starting back up. Trees are starting to turn. North America is recovering from the apocalypse brought on by the eclipse. Wait, what?

The eclipse that visited most of the United States on August 21st has been described as a once in a lifetime experience. The next eclipse to cover the US from coast to coast will not come until 2045.

That brings us to our question this month. What is your once in a lifetime experience?

Fifteen or so years ago (so another lifetime; in the case of my friends with children, many lifetimes) I was floundering.  Fresh off a journalism degree I wasn’t using and wracked with grief over the end of a four-year romantic relationship, I had moved downtown with some dear high school friends for a fresh start.  Except (probably much to the annoyance of my friends) I was having a terrible time starting over, at least for the first couple of months.  I’ve always been one of those serial monogamy types, and this was the first time since I had started dating at 16 that I didn’t have a boyfriend.  That the relationship had never been a grand one was totally besides the point, and despite the best efforts of my too-patient pals and parents, I was determined to be lonely and miserable, and I was obviously going to die alone and then be eaten by wild dogs.  It was all so very Bridget Jones.  I clearly needed to get the hell out of town.

At the time I was working as a court reporter.  Bored, terminally frumpy woman (they’re always women) clacking away in the corner of the courtroom?  That was me (except I liked to think I was fashionably frumpy.)  I worked out of an office that acted as a sort of neutral courtroom for the lawyers and their clients doing pre-trial examinations – that’s the deeply boring, paperwork-intensive side of the law.  They’d also frequently send reporters on out-of-office cases to such exotic locales as three blocks away, but sometimes to places a bit farther flung.

And THAT is how I wound up standing in the pitch black, -25 degree chill of a frozen Iqaluit afternoon three days before Christmas, contemplating the seriousness of the gigantic “DO NOT FEED THE POLAR BEARS!” sign that greeted me on arrival.

Iqaluit, for the unaware (and that would be everybody; Canadians barely know it’s there) is the capital city of Nunavut, a territory in the far north that used to go by the name Frobisher Bay.  It’s Nunavut’s largest city – nay, its ONLY city – and bears a population of about 7,500 people, most of them employees of the Government of Canada (that’s why I was there, to take the testimony of some people involved in a lawsuit with the GOC.) Despite sitting well outside the Arctic Circle, Iqaluit’s climate is a tundra one – lots of snow, little vegetation and no trees (the permafrost won’t allow their roots to take hold.) During the winter months (so everything that’s not June, July and August) it’s not unusual for the temperatures to dip into the -30s or -40s, and when I was there at the end of December, the sun had set to full black by two in the afternoon.  There is an ice road that leads out of town that is literally called The Road to Nowhere.  It is, by virtue of the unforgiving climate and its remoteness, a rather ugly city.  Also, there are apparently polar bears, and we are not to feed them.

Road to Nowhere

So what once-in-a-lifetime things does a fish out of Ontario water do when she’s thrown head-first into the frozen, turquoise waters of the far north?

Well, I did my job, for one, but even that came with its own “Only in Iqaluit” moments, such as when I stood outside the courthouse in the deep, snow-muffled silence of an early Arctic morn, sharing a cup of coffee with the courthouse clerk as he explained how this frozen spit of land had captured his formerly city-dwelling heart.  Or when I glanced out the window of the courtroom later on that day and saw a mangy dog dragging a severed caribou head down the street.

Three photos

In hindsight, the entire trip was an exercise in surrealism.  My flight in was a delight, the likes of which I will probably never enjoy again – totally empty plane, save for maybe nine other passengers, three seats to myself, a really fantastic lunch, nice little post-nosh tipple(s) and a low, low approaching altitude that allowed me to gaze out the window at the wonder of all that neon turquoise water showing through the cracks in the ice and snow.

I walked the town in snowpants and Kodiak boots for three hours until I realized I had already seen everything.  I bought a $9 bag of potato chips at the North Mart (not making light of the very real problem of food deserts in the far north.)  I stood in a 6 a.m., two-person scrum (which itself was considered quite the turnout) as an accused murderer was brought to the courthouse.  I watched the sun rise at 10 am, cutting a weak, low path across the horizon, before setting to pitch blackness again three hours later.  I sat in my hotel room one night, blissfully crunching overpriced chips and watching silly teen movies on cable, and put together a scrapbook gift for a friend.  Every cab ride in the city cost $5, no matter where you were going or how long you were in the vehicle.  I shared a delicious breakfast of Arctic Char eggs benedict with a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in the diningroom of a four-star hotel at 6:30 in the morning.  Later on that day we marched up to the Subway together for lunch; at the time it was the best performing franchise in Canada, and was a top five contender for all of North America.

Hotel

On the day I headed out of town, two days before Christmas, I joined a city-wide exodus of bureaucrats fleeing the frozen north for (barely) warmer holiday climes down south. It seemed like the entire city emptied out in about five hours.  After checking my bags and securing my seat home, I spent those five hours in a nearby coffee shop/karaoke parlour/tanning salon, where I sipped tea, ate a scrumptious blueberry scone and contemplated asking the proprietors if they’d be willing to rename their establishment the Fake ‘n’ Bakery.

On the flight home – no empty plane this time, that’s for sure – through a massive snowstorm, I experienced turbulence so extreme, I really thought my end had come.  I suppose that’s normal when your plane is bucking wildly from side to side and dropping what feels like 20 feet at a time.  Also when the cargo hold is packed full of howling dogs and screaming cats and the flight attendants suspend all food service when your chicken cordon bleu flies up to the ceiling and then just sticks there.

My favourite part of the trip, though?  Like everybody, coming home.  Seeing my parents’ smiling, relieved faces at the airport, and then walking through the door of my apartment late on the evening of the 23rd to find that my friends had prepared an amazing holiday dinner and decorated the molting ficus.  Home really is where the heart is.  No place like it, as Dorothy might say.

Christmas on Cooper

That, coincidentally, was the moment I decided to drop my whole “woe is me” romantic bullshit and rejoin the human race as something other than a mopey dick.  The people I loved were making every effort to boost my fragile self-esteem, and I could certainly do likewise.  Besides, I had just conquered the far north!  Severed caribou heads, man – that kind of thing changes a person!  Four fun-filled, glorious, halcyon months later I met Mr. Finger Candy, and the rest is happy history.

So there we have it, that once-in-a-lifetime event that I was actually fortunate enough to experience firsthand.  Never saw a single polar bear, though. 😉

If you’d like to play along at home, please feel free to answer this question 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

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.

Be Our Guest Blogger!

Tutorial - Main

Happy Sunday, friends!  We’re sailing in completely uncharted waters today (is that right?  I really don’t know my boating metaphors) as the lovely Sarah of Life With Lil Red is playing kind blogging hostess to Finger Candy for my first ever guest post!  I’ve put together three easy, eye-catching manis for the autumn season – dotted leaves, pelting rain and sponged-on foliage – with full, step-by-step tutorials for each, and Sarah has all the deets here.  I hope you’ll pop on by her page to check out my contribution to her call for guest bloggers – it was a lot of fun to write with a slightly different audience in mind, one perhaps not so familiar with the weird world of nail art, and I enjoyed myself a lot. Thanks again, Sarah!

Fall Fun Series II: The Beginning

Fall Fun Series II Photo

Hello friends, and welcome to year two of the Fall Fun Series!  This year we’re kicking things off with a 15-question Fall tag as a bit of a getting-to-know-you (getting to know all about you!)  All you need to know about me is that I proposed the title Fall Fun Series II: The Revenge: This Time It’s Personal: In 3D! and no one took me seriously.  So All About Autumn it is!  Now onto the questions.

Have you ever participated in a Fall blogging series?  What are you most looking forward to this Fall?

Yes, I have, last year with the Fall Fun Series: Original Sauce.  And it was fun enough that I signed up to do it again this year!  And this Fall, I’m looking forward to celebrating my 13th wedding anniversary with this handsome fella. 🙂

us-wedding-1

Crisp Fall mornings or cozy Fall nights?

Fall nights, although there’s always a zen-like calm that steals over me when I’m out in the still, slightly foggy morning air.  But Fall nights are the best.  I love leaving the windows open so I can smell my neighbours’ fires and the crunchy leaves that pile up in drifts beneath the windows.

When do you start decorating for Fall?

I actually don’t have many Fall decorations, as all of my autumn decorating power is tied up in my rather elaborate Halloween Town.  But I recently purchased some adorable pumpkin pieces and a few other autumnal accoutrements with a view to blogging – once they’ve fulfilled that purpose, I think they’ll look pretty fantastic decorating my diningroom.

What is your favourite store to visit for Fall goodies?  Share the link!

Always Marie Antoinette in Ottawa, Ontario.  It’s the most beautifully decorated and stocked store I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

If you had to get one Fall-themed image tattooed on your body, what would it be? For extra points, where?

An elaborate, full colour Nightmare Before Christmas sleeve on my right arm.

Did you trick-or-treat when you were younger?  What was the last costume you wore? What’s your dream costume, whether you actually got to wear it or not?

I always trick-or-treated!  Wasn’t even a question of whether I would (not even the year it poured rain and my mom had pneumonia and my dad was on a business trip and my uncle took me around our 1,500-person village as I dashed in and out of his pickup truck.)

I can’t remember the last costume I wore (I’m ashamed to even think it was a pretty lackluster goth girl ensemble) but my dream costume is Snow White.  So thankfully I’ve checked that one off the old Halloween bucket list.  I’m 20 in this photo – just a wee lass. 🙂

Snow White

Best treat to get in your trick-or-treat bag?  Worse treat to get?

I think the popular answer will be full size chocolate bars, which were indeed quite lovely.  But not having much of a sweet tooth, I preferred bags of chips, which I’d hand off to my parents so they didn’t get crushed to smithereens by the other goodies in my pillow case (oh yeah, I was a pillow case kid, and I’d FILL that mother!) I really dislike licorice, so I’ll say licorice anything is the worst.

Favourite Fall home fragrance?

This is a terrible thing to admit for someone who dabbles moderately to extensively in wax and fragrance blogging, but I don’t have one.  I actually found out last year via the Fall Fun Series that I really don’t care for any of Fall’s traditional scents, particularly pumpkin, which has an unfortunate tendency to give me nasty headaches.

Best body care fragrance for Fall?

Holy cats, it’s this scrumptious scent, Bath and Body Works’ Salted Caramel Apricot. Mmm, this fragrance is great – fruity and warm and rich without being cloying.  I like it very much, wish it came in wax as well.

Salted Caramel Apricot Basket

Must-have nail polish/perfume/makeup for the Fall?

Leaf of Faith from KB Shimmer – it’s autumn’s leaves and pumpkins and cranberry sauce all wrapped up in one bottle.  One of my favourite nail polishes, no matter the season.

KB Shimmer's Be-Leaf: Cranberry Jelly

Favourite Fall month?

September.  The temperatures are just beginning to cool off, the leaves are just starting to fall and everything looks sort of sparkly.  It’s such a fantastic time of year; I wish we could have year-round autumn.

What’s the weather like where you live?

Weather Collage

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?

I was pretty ride-or-die for pumpkin spice lattes there for a while, but I’ve lost my taste for them as I’ve gotten older.  They make my teeth feel furry!

Favourite Thanksgiving food?

Gravy.  I’d eat cardboard if it was smothered in delicious pan gravy.

Briefly describe your idea of the perfect Fall day.

Well, to bastardize a line from the movie Miss Congeniality, I’ll say October 3rd, because it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold – you just need a light jacket! 😉

This year the blogs participating in the Fall Fun Series will be posting every Saturday from now until the end of November.  Please join us as we decorate our homes, talk about our favourite scents, venture about on cool outings and plan for Halloween.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Angela at Angela Kay

Jay at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Michelle at Melting With Michelle

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

The Blogging Mermaid

The Pottery Mermaid Fingers Front

Eons ago – actually more like just four or five weeks ago, but we’re going for dramatic emphasis here – my blogger friend Julie of The Redolent Mermaid asked me if I’d be kind enough to create a manicure on her behalf.  So when Julie, who is really into pottery, posted about a lovely little glazed planter she recently bought, I thought it would make the perfect (partial) inspiration for those long-promised nails.

Full confession: Pottery?  Like, hand-thrown bowls and vases and stuff?  Not really my thing, although I can – and do – admire the hard work and talent that undoubtedly goes into the creation of every charmingly lumpy piece.  I’m just more of a china dishware kind of person.

However, I can always appreciate a gorgeous colour and a beautiful finish, and Julie’s little planter has both of those things in spades – I was particularly taken with the iridescent blue glaze on the inside of the pot and the multi-chromatic plum drips along the rim.

And so I used both colours – Polish Me Silly’s plummy purple multi-chrome, Guilty Pleasure, and A England’s purple-tinged turquoise, Whispering Waves, here alongside A England’s stormy grey Wuthering Heights – in this fun, mermaid-y mani that incorporates some of Julie’s favourite things with my talent for turning total randomness into nail art.  Enjoy!

Blogging Mermaid Nails Angle