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

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!

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Fall Fun Series: The End

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Well, here we are, friends, right at the finish line of the Fall Fun Series, the casual blogging collective I joined up with at the beginning of September.  For the final prompt, we’ve been tasked with wrapping up our experience, and not just the series, but the Fall as a whole.

And mine?  Pretty darn fantastic, actually, because for the first time in many years, I felt compelled to engage with my favourite season.  In years past, I’d look around somewhere about the end of October and realize that without intending to, I had missed it all – the changing leaves, the beautiful, crisp temperatures, the spooky movies and cider and farmers’ markets. The past few years I haven’t even bothered putting up my much-loved Halloween Town, such has been my seasonal malaise (although truly, that’s more a function of the fact that it’s a total pain in the arse to store, assemble and display.)

But that all changed this year (not the Halloween Town thing; it’s still a total pain in my arse.)  And if that’s because of the series, then I’m so glad it happened, because I had a wonderful Fall, engaged in some very enjoyable activities and made a bunch of cool new blogger friends.  So what were some of the neat discoveries I made this Fall, the fun things I took part in?

For one, I apparently really like arranging my wax on cake plates.  I can’t help it; the cute little shapes look like wee pastries!

cake-stand-wax-collage

Then, for the first time in years, I pulled my beloved – but incredibly delicate – Nightmare Before Christmas musical snow globe off the shelf where it normally lives and cleaned it to within an inch of its life (a bit of maintenance I really need to attend to more often.)  The residents of Halloween Town now positively gleam!

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Speaking of, I put out MY Halloween Town for the first time in two or three years. Then at the end of the season, thanks to some lovely weather that made puttering around on my balcony not quite the windswept nightmare it normally is, I was able to very carefully box up my little lighted buildings and pack them snugly away for the winter where they won’t get dirty or damaged or worse.  Having the town out, blinking away creepily from the diningroom table, was such a pleasure this year, but I think I’m enjoying the sense of satisfaction that comes from an organizing job well done even more.

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In the midst of the Fall Fun Series I also decided to participate in the annual 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, which turned out…totally fine.  I was expecting just complete blogging lunacy, but things worked out rather well, another little feat of organization I’m quite proud of. These Beetlejuice nails were my favourites of the challenge – actually, one of my favourite manicures, period.

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Outside of my nail art activities, I got a little crafty with it this Fall, mixing together a super easy – and very popular – pumpkin spice sugar scrub, and then a decidedly less popular take on Disney’s LeFou’s Brew, a frozen apple juice beverage topped with marshmallow foam so it looks like a sudsy flagon of ale (it was disgusting, full stop.  Turns out cold marshmallow is a big culinary no-no!)

Then, inspired by the enthusiasm of my Floridian blogging friends who never get to experience the beauty of a cold climate Fall, I made an effort to really appreciate the ever-changing riot of colour going off around me every day, including a stunning blue sky day trip to the Gatineau Hills for a little drive with my parents.

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I also melted an absolute ton of wax.  Apple wax, pumpkin wax, apple-pumpkin wax…and these are just the blends I thought to take a photo of!  On the plus side, my apartment smells divine.

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Then in between the wax and the leaves and the undrinkable marshmallow beverages, I celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary, enjoyed a delicious seasonal bath and spent a fantastic morning out in the country with my husband visiting the little town I grew up in. It was a very good day.

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And a very good challenge!  If the Fall Fun Series could be called a challenge, which in some respects, it very much was.  Abiding by a set blogging schedule is actually quite challenging, a delicate balancing act between generating content (also known as “living life”) and then writing about it.  It’s not for everybody, but I had a great time, and I’m thankful for the little motivational kick in the pants the series gave me to get out there and enjoy my city during my very favourite time of the year.  To next year’s series (except next time, maybe let’s try winter.  If I smell another apple or pumpkin-scented wax product, I’m gonna keel over!)

Fall Fun Series: Thanksgiving Ham

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Today’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series calls for the participants to share their Thanksgiving plans.  But I have a triple whammy going against my particular Thanksgiving plans in that 1) I’m Canadian, so my Thanksgiving is long since past, 2) I’m Canadian, so my Thanksgivings are more functional than traditional and 3) I’m Canadian, so this morning I woke up to THIS:

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Which means that Fall is now naught but a memory, and we are firmly in the winter of our discontent (oh no, run!)

But to my American blogger friends, I wish you a wonderful week in the lead-up to the big day, and Thanksgivings free of family drama, travel woes and salmonella.

Which is actually NEVER an issue when you limit your Thanksgiving meats to your manicures!  And no, I’m not going the Full Gaga on you here – just making a super awkward transition to talking about this polish, Hawaiian Ham, a homemade creation I widgeted together years ago specifically with those unidentifiable Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or Easter) ham casseroles in mind.  You know the casserole I’m talking about – the one your father’s great-great aunt has been making since the late 1950s, an abomination of a Good Housekeeping throwback containing ham, pineapple, maraschino cherries and three kinds of processed cheese?  Still, it’s gotta beat Aunt Bethany’s lime-and-cat food Jello mold!

And so on this Thanksgiving, American friends, this Ham (manicure) is for you.  I hope you have wonderful holidays, all.

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Fall Fun Series: Light My Fire

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I’m combining this week’s two Fall Fun Series prompts – Monday’s to highlight a new or little known vendor and today’s to talk about good, old fashioned candles – into one with this post featuring my favourite wicked wonder, Volupsa’s French Bourbon Vanille.  Made with crushed, distilled vanilla beans, this gorgeous fragrance satisfies the side of me that prefers her scents to be a little less cotton candy cupcake and a lot more gourmand.  If you’ve ever used vanilla bean paste in baking, you’re familiar with the heady, floral, slightly boozy scent of pure vanilla – it’s one of life’s most beautiful fragrances, and this candle captures it perfectly. French Bourbon Vanille is also one of those universal fragrances that bridges seasons – I think this scent would be just as pretty in the spring, with its light floral undertones, as it would be in the fall and winter, with its rich, more complex vanilla notes.

Voluspa, being on the higher end of both the price and availability spectrums, is not a name I ever see being bandied about the wax world.  Available via a number of independent perfumeries, but for a Canadian like me, primarily through the Chapters/Indigo chain of bookstores, Voluspa’s products – lidded glass candles, tiny, travel-size tins, reed diffusers and more – are not easy to come by, nor are they inexpensive.  This two-wick glass jar candle, an annual Christmas gift from my parents, retails for $38 Canadian.

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Fortunately, French Bourbon Vanille has the pedigree befitting a $38 candle – 60 hours of burn time, silky smooth, clean-burning coconut wax, cotton wicks and a gorgeous glass container with an embossed lid that, if you’re very careful in cleaning, you can reuse as a beautiful box for tiny treasures.  This candle feels like a Very Special Item, and I look forward to receiving one every year (my parents always mock-protest the price, but I can tell they’re secretly kind of thrilled in a mildly illicit way to be buying a $40 candle!)

If this gorgeous French Bourbon Vanille candle sounds like something you might be interested in, you can peruse it and other Voluspa products at Indigo.com, Canadian home to all sorts of fun ways to part with your money, and of course, through Voluspa itself.

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Fall Fun Series: Hand and Nail Care

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I’ve mentioned on previous occasions that, quite oddly for a nail blogger or just, you know, a human, I’m not much for beauty stuff on my hands.  Lotions?  Hardly use ’em.  Masks and treatments?  Only every now and then.  Hand creams?  Whazzat?  So when the most recent prompt in the Fall Fun Series called for the participants to highlight a favourite body care item, I was flummoxed – my hands-off approach to nail, skin and body care effectively means I have none!

Then I remembered that I still have a number of seasonally-scented items from a themed box I purchased from Sunny’s Body Products two years ago, and best of all, they’re all in perfect condition – the fragrance oils haven’t gone skunky, the creams bear no discolouration and a patch test raised no red, bumpy alarms.  I’d say these oldies, but goodies, are all cleared for takeoff, to slightly muddle my metaphors.

Fall Box

If you’d like to see what I had to say about the Fall box in its original form, you can find that post here.  Of the remaining items – intensive cuticle oil in Caramel Apple, sugar scrub in Autumn Mums and cuticle balm in Pumpkin Crunch Cake – I’m most excited to press the cuticle balm into action as a super emollient foot cream. And the scent?  Divine. It actually reminds me very much of this white cake my grandmother used to make with hard boiled caramel icing – buttery, pudding-y vanilla.  Oh, yum.  And while I can’t say I loveity love love the scent of the Autumn Mums sugar scrub, it’s pleasant enough and quite tolerable.  And the dabber-topped cuticle oil in Caramel Apple?  A wonderfully-scented version of the only nail product I use with any regularity. A definite keeper.

New-ish this year is a KB Shimmer mani shot in Pumpkin Spice.  Tiny, fizzy bath bombs for your hands, feet and nails, mani shots were a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fad.  I received this little guy as a gift with purchase, which seems about right – I’m not sure I’d lay out money specifically for a mani shot, cute though they may be. But in years past, this is right about the time my hands and nails begin to suffer for my lack of a decent skincare regimen, so I’m willing to give this mani shot a shot, and indeed all of these “lost” Fall items, now on their second lives. 🙂

Fall Fun Series: Colours of Fall

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Those colours coming from Fall leaves, of course, which – wonder of natural wonders that I’d probably have to be a scientist to understand – are still clinging to the trees in my part of the global woods, weeks (and one nasty little snowstorm) beyond when they should have long skipped town. This is probably some evil portend of impending environmental doom, but I’ll take it when the view, both on my nails and off the balcony, is this spectacular.

Still, it’s hard to deny that winter is indeed on its way, especially when you compare today’s view across the Ottawa River with one from two weeks ago (cue The Byrd’s Turn! Turn! Turn!)

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Fall Fun Series: Halloween ’16

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Coming at you dark and early this Halloween morn, friends, with best wishes for a spooktacular ‘Ween ’16.  As for me, I’ll be spending the day with Mr. Finger Candy as we celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary!  Here’s a throwback to the big day.  I think we clean up pretty well. 🙂

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And while we do have some plans, we’re both big time homebodies, and neither one of us is much for the grand anniversary show (if you don’t get married so you can spend your time binge-watching TV on the couch in your jammies together, you’re doing it wrong!) We’ll probably spend the day sticking close to home, where we’ll be surrounded by the creepy-cozy Halloween decorations I finally put up this past weekend.  Better late than never!

You’ve already met my Halloween town, a rundown, way-off-the-highway amusement park mostly populated by bats and skeletons.  It takes up the entire surface of my diningroom table, and compromises the bulk of my seasonal decorating.

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Out in the kitchen we have two ceramic Jack-o-Lantern tealight “bags” that I’ve somehow managed not to destroy over 15-plus years of use, as well as a couple of lovely and thoughtful cards from sweet blogger friends.

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Down in the bathroom we have a cool wire tealight candelabra I purchased from Michael’s I-have-no-idea how long ago (if I don’t destroy them, I tend to hold on to my favourite possessions forever) and my Trick (and) Treat towels, which are actually tea towels and not hand towels – tell no one. 😉

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bathroom-towels

In the second bedroom we have my Book of Spells, a large decorative tome (from Hallmark, I think) meant for holding Halloween sweets, although given the shelf life of Halloween treats around my house (non-existent), it’s doing far greater work safely holding the broken off bits and bobs of my Halloween town.

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Out in the diningroom we have a tombstone fit for a Terminator.  I just think it’s funny. The petrified catnip mice may disagree.

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And finally, out in the diningroom (but in this picture it’s in the kitchen) we have the newest addition to my Halloween haul, a devil kitty wax warmer from Yankee Candle that my husband bought for me a couple of months ago.  Sophia is her name, and in addition to her cute little devil tail and ears, she has a row of adorable little bat markings that run down her back.  Here Sophia is diligently melting my last chunk of Rosegirls’ Boo’s Spooky Castle, a blend of Boo Berry, Vanilla Crunch Donuts and Monster Cookie, and one of only two even remotely Halloween themed waxes in my collection (the other being another cereal blend, Strawberry Frankenberry.)

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And so there we have it, the Halloween decor here at Casa Finger Candy.  And now I’m off to enjoy my anniversary!  I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween, friends – may your candy hauls be back-achingly grand!