Very Versailles

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I suppose it’s not too surprising this manicure turned out as Baroque-n as it did – I have been watching an awful lot of the new live action Beauty and the Beast lately, and its wall-to-wall pastels and gold filigreed adornments speak to that part of me that sometimes likes her surroundings to be flouncy, ultra feminine and possibly way, way, WAY too much.  Not, like, enchanted talking furniture too much, but just a lot of pink and excessively gilded molding. 😉

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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

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.

Easter Weekend

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Loveliest of Easter weekends to you, friends.  Being not so religious, as well as hailing from the kind of small, WASP-y family that does things like vacations in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, my Easter weekends typically involve travel and a whole lot of outlet shopping.  Or they did when I was a kid; my mom and dad and I – “us is the flamily” – passing horse-drawn Amish buggies on the road, catching fireflies in the parking lot of the motel, buying ultra preppy oxblood penny loafers at the Bass outlet and scarfing endless plates of incredible fried chicken at the restaurant where the waitress didn’t even blink when I said I wanted mashed potatoes and gravy as all FOUR of my sides. Those were really great vacations. 🙂

But this Easter weekend I’m home, simply enjoying a few days off from what has so far been a rather busy April.  Quite a few social events and a new-ish exercise regimen that keeps me hoppin’ like a bunny.

Speaking of, here are a few items guaranteed to put a spring – and THE Spring – into the Easter Bunny’s bounce.  Remarkably, these are all things I pulled from around my apartment.  I didn’t have to go rummaging in seasonal storage for anything.  So when I was joking a month or so ago that it’s always Easter in my apartment, I guess I really wasn’t joking?!

My favourite speckled egg wreath makes another appearance here, alongside, on the left, some very cute little cracked egg votive candles, a neat stack of Peeps-scented wax tarts from Yankee Candle, an actual Peeps-shaped wax tart from The Bathing Garden in Keep Your Temper, and KB Shimmer’s Where My Peeps At, which is pure Easter in a bottle.

Easter Photo Left Side

Then over on the right we have a gigantic, three-part Chick ‘N’ Mix bath bomb from Lush (there’s a cute little bicarbonate bunny inside the huge chick), a speckled wax robin’s egg from The Bathing Garden in Blackberry Fudge, a clutch of pastel Reflections markers, a wee little ceramic cupcake perfect for hiding tiny treasures, another Peeps-shaped wax tart from The Bathing Garden in Looking Glass, two frosted sugar cookies from London, Ontario bakery A Couple of Squares and a large glass jar filled with a half dozen hand-painted cardboard eggs.  Hoppy Easter!

Easter Photo Right Side

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

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.

Making Christmas

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With one week to go until the big day and a gargantuan snowstorm due to blow through the area tomorrow, it’s really beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Living in a condo apartment, we don’t have a ton of available space in which to decorate (to say nothing of the storage situation, which is tight) but I always see to setting out my favourites, including my (nearly) all-food ornament tree, a 14-year-old artificial beast that has claimed my sanity on more than one occasion, and very nearly my life the year I loaded it with 2,100 mini twinkle lights, one of which broke and electrocuted me.  For a couple of hours afterwards I swore I could taste the colour purple.  Ah, holiday memories!

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This is also the second year I’m setting out the holiday menagerie, including Fritz the Mouse Doorstop, a Christmastime critter that has been making the rounds in my family for the past 25 years.  In this photo you can also see my first planned renovation project of 2017 – painting those stairs (also ripping out the bathroom, but one step – wah-waaaahhhhhh – at a time, yeah?)

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The diningroom chandelier, a gigantic wrought iron thing that would not look entirely out of place on Game of Thrones (maybe without the twee shades), gets hung with sparkly baubles.

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Speaking of sparkle in the diningroom, in the centre of the table I always place my snowflake tealight holders, this year up on one of my ubiquitous cake trays alongside a super glittery three-wick candle holder from Bath and Body Works.  Candle options vary, but at the moment I’m burning White Barn’s Peppermint Marshmallow, and it smells amazing!

snowflake-candles

And finally, for the first time in too many years, I set up my Christmas Town, a much smaller affair than my Halloween Town that my husband and I have dubbed Electric Gay Discoville on account of all the swirling rainbow fiber optics, and the fact that the only female figurine in town had no head straight out of the box. No, seriously, look at this over on the right of the tree – this is how she came, factory direct, and she’s the only lady in town!  You know, we never did find her head…

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Yup, RGDVille is a total sausage fest, and that’s just how the residents (and I) like it!

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So there we have it, friends, some of the festive decorating that’s lighting up my life.  I hope however you’ve decorated your homes (or not; Festivus is totally a thing) it’s added tons of sparkle and joy to your holidays. 🙂

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas

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I’ve never been much of a seasonal melter when it comes to candles and other scented homestuffs; if I feel like scenting my home like a sunny citrus cupcake in the screaming depths of winter, then that’s precisely what I’m going to do!  And no one’s going to tell me I can’t melt peppermint in the middle of the summer (pro tip: peppermint scents are great for clearing up stuffed-up sinuses, as are any fragrances containing eucalyptus or rosemary or camphor.)

But this year, in an effort to melt through my not-inconsiderable wax collection, and perhaps make room for one or two *quite* large pending orders, I pulled all of the candles and wax from my stash that even remotely remind me of the holidays – lots of chocolates and peppermints and spicy cranberries to be melted this season.  And a few honest-to-goodness candles, too, which I don’t actually burn very often, but is there a season more suited to the gorgeous warm glow of gently flickering candlelight?  I suppose perhaps Arbor Day.

So how yummy will my home smell this Christmas?  Very!  Very yummy – and here’s some of the great scents I’ll be melting.

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Rosegirls’ pie slice in Eggnog Caramel Ice Cream.  I have a real love-hate relationship with eggnog, the beverage, in that it seems like something I should love (sweet n’ spicy, creamy and alcoholic?  Sounds like breakfast!) and yet I hate it with the fire of 1,000 suns (homemade or commercial, it all tastes like bubblegum to me.)  High hopes for this sweet and creamy confection.

ScentSationals clamshells in, top to bottom, Cranapple Poundcake, Perfectly Pine, Cashmere Cream (I normally shy away from linen-type scents, but this one smells like a lighter version of one of my very favourite fragrances, French Bourbon Vanille from Voluspa) and Spice it Up.

K’s Kreations’ tarts in Minty Fluff Cookies (cream) and Who Flakes (green), a cocoa, cookies and pine blend that should not work, but somehow does.  Wax is funny that way.  Then you get a blend that should be a slam dunk, and suddenly you’re wondering how it is that vanilla mocha could wind up smelling like beef jerky.  No, just me?

Most of a Rosegirls’ pie slice in Go Tell It on DK Mountain, a selection from last year’s Super Mario sampler.  This super strong scent is a blend of Pine, Sweater Weather (a cologne-y fragrance from Bath and Body Works) and Vanilla Bean Noel (another BBW fan favourite.)

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Rosegirls’ ice cream scoop in Marshmallow Spearmint (green) and Frosted Graham Crackers (cream.)

A small scent shot from Sassy Girl Aroma in Sparkling Berry Punch, a bright, fruity fragrance perfect for the New Years Eve countdown.

Rosegirls’ chunks in Peppermint Noel (cream) and Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes and Rice Krispie Treats (green.)

Bath and Body Works’ wax melts in, top to bottom, Spiced Apple Toddy, Vanilla Bean Noel and Frosted Cranberry.  Despite the fact that I really love all three of these fragrances, I wouldn’t recommend Bath and Body Works’ sectional wax melts.  The wax is incredibly soft and very difficult to handle, and all but the Frosted Cranberry shattered to bits when I popped them out of their round clamshells.  Look for the candle or body care variations on these fragrances if you really love them, because the wax melts are a messy miss.

One tiny little chunk of Rosegirls’ Have Yourself a Very Merry Mario Christmas, another holdover from last year’s holiday sampler.  This blend smells like Peppermint Mocha Cookies and Dunk My Donut, a sugared cinnamon donut scent.

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K’s Kreations’ tarts in Gram’s Maple Fluff, a custom blend I made for my husband inspired by the peanut butter, maple syrup and marshmallow fluff sandwiches his late grandmother used to make him as a kid.  Christmas is nothing if not a time for family, and invoking these kind of scent memories can be its own sweet holiday gift.

Rosegirls’ Mini Melters in Serendipity.  Serendipity is a super popular blend combining coconut, cherries, almond and confectioners sugar.  To me, it smells exactly like my late aunt’s outstanding Christmas fruitcake, a buttery slab of rich, dense poundcake studded with coconut, glace cherries, almonds and only-the-good dried fruit (mangoes, cranberries and pineapple; get the hell out of here, vile peel, you disgust me.)

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A trio of candles from Bath and Body Works (and a sparkly new stand in which to display them) in Twisted Peppermint, Peppermint Marshmallow and Hot Cocoa & Cream, which is the least objectionable chocolate fragrance I’ve ever smelled.  It’s very mild and creamy – none of that Tootsie Roll scent from this guy.  And such pretty labels and jars this year, too.

Group shot!

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Fall Fun Series: Halloween Town

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Not to be confused with Jack Skellington’s Halloween Town, this is MY Halloween town, a little cluster of much-loved Department 56 lighted buildings and accessories that I’ve been collecting since my mid-20s.  Last Friday’s call-to-action in the Fall Fun Series was to show off our Halloween decorations – clearly running a bit behind on that one, but my creepy little off-the-highway amusement park takes some time to set up, and pretty well encompasses the totality of my Halloween decorations – and I thought it would be fun to share my seasonal setup with you all.  So pay your admissions – the ticket-taker is dead excited to receive your business – and join me on a little jaunt through the haunts of my Halloween town, won’t you?

First stop is the Dead End Motel, which, burnt-out lights, rickety porch and general disrepair aside, is still moving ahead with its plans to host the Gravely wedding party. I hope they’re cool with accidental skylights and the very good possibility that the handsome bachelor innkeeper will creep on them through a peephole in the wall while they’re undressing.

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Swinging clear across to the other side of town, we have Gravely Manor, a once-proud, now-haunted Victorian badly in need of some tender loving care.  Actually, that could be said about everything in town (regrettably, nearly every single one of these incredibly fragile pieces is damaged in some fashion, despite my better efforts to store them soundly. I guess I’m fortunate in that burnt-out lights, snapped tree limbs and a carousel that won’t actually turn go with the general aesthetic of a creepy amusement park, but of course I’d prefer it if they weren’t damaged in the first place.)

Speaking of damaged, I don’t know WHAT this child’s damage is, but every year she takes great delight in standing outside Gravely Manor and pointing at this poor skeleton dude taking his final nature break.  Jeez, a little privacy, please!

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Once again swinging back to the other side of town, we have the Black Cat Diner, my favourite.  Actually, the diner was an anniversary gift from Mr. Finger Candy one year. And then behind the diner we have the haunted carriage house, which has been burning steadily for over 15 years.  It’s also the first building I ever bought, so I suppose we can blame it for touching off this madness!

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To the right of the diner we have the now-defunct Spinning Pumpkins ride, out of operation pretty well from the moment I took it out of the box.  So no five-star rating for that Ebay vendor.  Nor for the vendor through which we bought the Haunted Carousel, which has likewise stopped turning.  Actually, that one chaps my hide pretty badly – the carousel is the largest and most expensive item in the Halloween series, but very poorly constructed. All the same, as long as its lights are still on, it remains the creepy caramel centre – look at the gorgeous bat detailing along the roof! – of my little haunted amusement park.

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Just behind and to the right of the carousel lies the Scaredy Cat Ferris Wheel, the Haunted Fun House and – in a blur – the Swinging Ghoulies swing ride.  I love roller coasters, thrill rides and other amusement park attractions, but yikes, I can’t handle swing rides at all – it’s a one-way ticket to Nausea Town.  Even just watching these guys zip back and forth is making me feel a bit ill!

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Finally, we have the lone residence in my Halloween Town – the kind of place I’ve always figured a Halloween-loving person like myself would call home (you know, should she find herself living in a rundown, way off-the-highway haunted amusement park.  Hmm, sounds like I just wrote my first Stephen King novel.) 😉

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We’ll now conclude this tour with one final shot of the town all lit up (save and except one or two broken stalwarts) in the mid-day gloom of an unexpected October snowstorm.  Ooh pretty (and so very flashing orange!)  I hope you enjoyed this little tour through my town. I know I did – it’s been a couple of years since I last laid out the whole shebang, and I’ve really relished the opportunity to share it with you through the Fall Fun Series.

P.S. Have your hand stamped at the gate for reanimation.  I mean readmission. 😉

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