Fall Fun Series II: The End

Fall End Collage

So, Fall Fun Series year two final grade for one Miss Finger Candy?  C minus.  You know, if she could just buckle down and stop talking to everyone and everything she’s seated beside, she could really turn this year around (nothing my parents ever heard during parent-teacher conferences, nosiree!)

Okay, so I whiffed the Fall Fun Series.  With the exception of series MVP Michelle of Melting With Michelle (who continued posting even during the lead-up to her end-of-October wedding!) we all dropped the ball a little as work and family obligations and unfortunate, unexpected problems with both derailed some of our best blogging intentions.  And while I can’t speak for the other participants, I simply wasn’t feeling the autumn spirit this year (at least not until my spur-of-the-moment Halloween trip to Disney World; funny that it took leaving my cool weather, leaf-strewn home for Florida’s “faux” Fall for me to regain that spark.)

But I also have much to be thankful for as the autumn draws to a close.  Great friends, close family, neato husband, snuggly cat, a roof over my head, comfort and safety.  Also an arse that no longer requires its own postal stamp.  And without trying to sound too conceited (but probably failing) I like to think I have at least some of those good things in my life because I worked hard to achieve them.  Luck always plays a role, but so does effort and determination.

And so the second-to-last Fall Fun Series prompt was to thank yourself for something good you’ve done for you, yourself and I.  For me, that was taking a hard, critical look at my lifestyle choices and realizing that if I didn’t turn things around, I was going to wind up the very definition of a life unfinished.  My world had petrified, and I was in dire need of a swift kick in the pants.

Working It

So I kicked those pants, really kicked ’em into high gear, and many months later I’m feeling healthier, wealthier and more wise than I have in about a decade (well, maybe not wealthier; increased activity does not always come cheaply, particularly if your activity of choice is visiting Disney.)

And so today I’m thankful for having seen the diabetes forest for the trees, for having pulled back what was barreling towards irrevocable and for putting me first.  Sounds selfish, but by not taking care of myself, I was relegating absolutely everyone else in my life to the bottom of the list.  Actions speak louder than words and all that not-so trite stuff, and what my actions were saying was that nobody else mattered, because I hardly mattered.  I’m thankful for having rejoined the human race so I can share this weird, maddening world with you all. 🙂

Au revoir, Fall.

Fall Fun Series II: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Happiest of Thanksgivings to my American friends, particularly the other participants in the Fall Fun Series.  I hope you all have the most wonderful of weekends!  Here in Ontario we’re supposedly due for a bit of very un-Fall-like wonder – a wonderland of snow, as the song goes.  Also freezing rain and probably hail.  Oh, it’s a bloody wonderland, alright!

But for those of you still enjoying autumn’s delights, here’s a delicious trio of scrumptious scents from my recent Sniff My Tarts order – I guarantee you they’ll keep everyone in the Fall spirit, long after the leftovers have been packed away.

Piped Hearts Fall Labelled

Honey Gingerbread – Homey, sweetly spiced and bearing absolutely no trace of that unpleasant sulfuric note common to honey scents, this comforting fragrance would play equally well in the winter holiday months.

Apple Cider Latte – Holy crow, I LOVE this scent!  That fruit-and-coffee combo that I initially thought I hated strikes once again!  Coffee haters, fret not, the latte note in this blend is virtually undetectable, working its slightly astringent, slightly creamy magic behind the scenes to bolster the juicy sweetness of the tart apple cider.  Next time I place a custom order with Sniff My Tarts, I will absolutely get a decorated sheet cake in this stupendous scent (it actually smells pretty fantastic alongside Honey Gingerbread, and I think pairing it with Ice Cream Scoop Bread or Vanilla Waffle Cone would also do some pretty outstanding things for this juicy cider scent.)

Pumpkin Marshmallow Latte – A complaint that comes up over and over again regarding pumpkin (latte/pie/milkshake/muffin) scents is that they rarely smell like actual pumpkin.  Most of them invariably smell like the spices we use to dress up the humble orange gourd.  But this lovely fragrance smells just like sticking your face over a steaming Pumpkin Spice Latte – that fresh, almost vegetable-like note mingling with mounds of creamy, dreamy fluff, tied together with a ribbon of smooth-as-silk spiced coffee.  Another great latte scent; Sniff My Tarts does them very well.

Fall Fun Series II: Can You Keep a Secret?

Kissing Pictures are Tacky

I hope you can, because I certainly can’t – I *had* thought about keeping this one totally to myself, but I’m too excited not to spill!  Also, I offer this up in explanation of where this week’s Halloween-centric Fall Fun Series is not.  As in I don’t have any cool Halloween plans to share with you this week, although I certainly will next week, because we’re goin’ to Disney!!!  To celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary, actually, which falls on the 31st itself.  We will mark that particular milestone by (hopefully!) riding the Haunted Mansion 13 times in a row – one of those lifetime bucket list items I can’t wait to cross off the list!  I’m really looking forward to sharing the fun with you next week. 🙂  Until then, happy Halloween from these two nerds.

Fall Fun Series II: Exsquashted

Exsquashted Main

Perhaps it’s because every single pumpkin fragrance gives me wretched headaches (even those I previously had no problem with) but I am not feeling the pumpkin love this autumn.  Typically I’m drowning in all manner of pumpkin spice-scented candles and bath and beauty products, not to mention a boatload of pumpkin spice lattes, but this year?  Precious few pumpkins.

First, it seems that my body’s aversion to pumpkin scents (if not my sense of smell, because I really do like them) is not vendor-specific.  These pumpkin-based scents from Super Tarts give me just as bad a headache as any other wax I’ve encountered this year.  Unfortunate, as they’re pretty yummy fragrances, all (Elm Street, a maybe-too-bready blend of pumpkin creme brulee, toasted marshmallow and sweet cornbread, Psycho, a tart, slightly spicy blend of warm pumpkin bread, sweet raspberries and spiced sour cream cake, Addam’s Family, a rich blend of salted caramel, pie crust and pumpkin cupcakes and 28 Days Later, a sweet bakery blend featuring Blueberry Pumpkin Patch, cake batter, vanilla ice cream and cranberry preserves.)

Pumpkin Basket

Here’s my Yankee kitty, Sophie, holding a couple of cubes of Elm Street over her pumpkin cauldron.  I’ve never cared for the Elm Street movies (undead child molester – uh, neat?) but I always thought Freddy had style, and so does this slashed-up, two-toned tart (red and dark brown stripes, of course.)

Sophie the Cat

Finally, here’s a beer my husband grabbed yesterday on a run out to the grocery store – local Ottawa brewery Big Rig‘s Tales From the Patch, a spiced pumpkin porter.  And what precisely is a spiced pumpkin porter, you may be asking?  Well, an alcoholic beverage I can’t quite wrap my head around, for one.  Spiced pumpkin beer soda.  Creamy pumpkin soda beer.  Carbonated pumpkin beer drink.  You know, I’m not really doing Big Rig or Tales From the Patch any favours here with my not-so-descriptive abilities, but I actually am underselling this one – it’s not that offensive, with the flavours all coming at you in separate, but equal, measures.  Also, the can glows in the dark!  Ooh, shiny! *runs away in distracted glee*

Beer Collage

Leafly

Leafly Fingers

Here’s a pretty, autumn-appropriate polish to add a bit of subtle sparkle to your seasonal soirees, ILNP’s chromatic flakie, The Road to Awe (as in “Oooo!” not “Awww!”)  Despite being released two or three years ago, this polish is still available on ILNP’s site, a testament to its beauty and popularity – it’s just a gorgeous polish.  And a fantastic pick for the Fall, too, with its colour-shifting chromatic flakies in a range of plummy purples, bronzey oranges and leafy yellows (here over a basic black creme, always the best base on which to show off any of these kind of chromatic polishes; classic bedfellows, if you will.)  I also love the smattering of hyacinth blue flakes – they’re the perfect hit of neon to liven up The Road to Awe’s crunchy, glittery “leaves.”  Perfect and perfectly pretty.

Leafly Bottle 2

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.

Sudsy Fandom Fun

Fall Fandom Closeup

Or a Hobbit sandwich on Harry Potter bread. 😉

Here’s a cute trio of fandom-minded soaps from Dreaming Tree Soapworks inspired by the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies and books.  I nabbed these luscious, olive oil-infused soaps from The Rhinestone Housewife, who deal in Dreaming Tree Soapworks’ large collection of beautifully made, gorgeously themed soaps.  I picked up quite a few selections from their Halloween release; I’ll share those with you as we get a little closer to the haunting season.  But of the remainder, I just knew I had to try the fabulously foodie trio of LOTR’s Hobbiton Banana Bread paired with Harry Potter’s Butterbeer and Cauldron Cakes.

Of the three, I’ve only had a chance to try Cauldron Cakes.  On its site, The Rhinestone Housewife describes Cauldron Cakes as smelling like “Devils Food chocolate glazed cakes stuffed with buttercream toasted marshmallow filling.”  Which, holy lord, sounds just frickin’ amazing; can I get some right now?!  After using my bar of Cauldron Cakes for about a week or so now, I can’t say whether it smells like all those delicious things – I mainly get a rich, true chocolate scent, which is really quite scrumptious and pleasing; I ain’t gonna kick it out of the bath.

Fall Fandom Soaps

However, Cauldron Cakes – the dark brown bar – contains unrefined cocoa butter.  I’m going to assume that because the ingredient list does not include any sort of dye, the chocolate brown colour and gorgeous, true-to-life chocolate scent are coming from the unrefined cocoa butter.  And so I think because of its natural ingredients, Cauldron Cakes is not colourfast (if a bar of soap could be said to be such a thing.)  As such, its rich brown hue “runs” when wet; it suds up into a pale mocha hue and leaves rusty-looking water droplets all over your soap dish, counters and towels.  And like all bars of soap, it leaves bits of itself behind in the dish in between every use.  Gummy soap build-up is kind of gross; I submit it’s extra gross when your soap sheds oily shards of brown gunge with every pass, even if that gunge smells like sharp, slightly boozy chocolate.  It just looks like a wet log of poo sitting there in my soap dish, for real.  NOW I’m kicking it out of the bath.

I really hope the other two don’t succumb to Cauldron Cakes’ problem of too-much-hue, although neither Hobbiton Banana Bread (a slightly spiced and lightly fruity bakery blend) nor Butterbeer (fizzy cream soda) contain much pigment, so we shall see.  Fingers crossed, because they both smell so lovely, and overall, I just adore the consistency and formula of Dreaming Tree’s soaps; my skin feels so lovely and moisturized, without the need for additional lotion, and they suds up so satisfyingly.  I just wish those suds weren’t the colour of (wait for it, Jessica!) cat poo.

Fall Fandom Pumpkin

Fall Fun Series II: Fashionably Whiffing It

Fall Fun Series II Photo

There’s at least one posting prompt I whiff every year in whatever blogging challenge I’m participating in at the time, and it looks as though 2017’s will be today’s theme of fashion in the Fall Fun Series.  I’m just not a very fashionable person.  Oh, I can turn it on – and out – when the occasion arises, but I’m a real jeans and t-shirt kind of lady, and I’ve got zero problems if those jeans and t-shirts come from Target.  Or Torrid, because I apparently have the fashion sense of a 13-year-old girl.

More than that, though, this year in particular, as I continue down this path of increased exercise, weight loss and general health betterment, I’ve found that I can barely keep a handle on my sizing from week to week, let alone season to season.  On average, I’ve dropped about five sizes in seven months, but there are aggravating outfit outliers (among them the American-made swing dress I purchased for a special Halloween event, only to heartbreakingly discover that I could lose another 50 pounds and still not fit into the damn thing.)  Clothing sizes are a giant crap shoot under the very best of circumstances; when you factor in weight loss that drops your boobs two cup sizes in a month while your tummy resolutely remains the size and shape of the Pillsbury Doughboy’s, you question the utility of trying to maintain a nice wardrobe in the midst of such bodily chaos.

Well, okay, I may have something to show you, an ensemble I sport when I want to take awkward arabesque gym selfies – neon accessories (shoes, iPhone case blocking out my face) and my favourite black and white (and red, and grey, and blue) striped leggings.  I think they look like Tim Burton workout wear (hmm, interesting collaboration possibility there.)  I spend time down in my building’s gym every day, and I at least attempt to look cute while I’m there (admittedly difficult when you’re sweating like some sort of livestock.)

Gym Selfie

Anyhow, for those two reasons, I have no (real) Fall fashion to share with you today.  No fashion for me, so NO FASHION FOR YOU!  But my fellow blogger friends will undoubtedly have some fun looks to show you; please do check out their posts by clicking on the links below. 🙂

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 (although I clearly have nothing to say on this subject!)

Fall Fun Series II: My Apple is By Far the Most Crumblest

Apple Nails

This post will be a bit on the shorter side on account of the fact that during last year’s Fall Fun Series, I completely blew myself out on apple scents.  Caramel apple, toffee apple, green apple, crab apple – if it was flavoured or scented comme une pomme, I (over)enjoyed it.  As such, I have very few apple-scented products to share with you, even during this heady autumnal time.  More on them in a second.  But I DO have some very cute apple nail art to show you this morning, a simple, lightly sponged manicure inspired by an array of autumn’s awesome agriculture.

But as for bushels of bath and beauty and baskets brimming with wax?  Hmm, not so much.  That’s probably for the best – put a year or so between harvests. 🙂  But I still enjoy a lovely apple scent from time to time – one of my favourite candles, Bath & Body Works’ Pink Apple Punch, is very pomme-dominant.  But like everything, best enjoyed in moderation.  So, what crispy sweet goodies will be scenting my life this Fall?

Fall Goodies Pick

Rosegirls’ Mini Melters in Macintosh Swizzle Sticks (these three remaining chunks are over two years old; it’s a testament to the strength of apple scents that this wax is still quite potent.  I like blending this scent with Mango Sorbet and Marshmallow Smoothie for a lively, sweet and creamy fragrance.)

Luscious handmade soaps in Fruit Fool (blue/green) and Poisoned Apple (green/red) from Dreaming Tree Soapworks.  Fruit Fool smells like a freshly baked apple-blueberry pie, and Poisoned Apple smells like sharp, caramel-coated crab apples.  I’ll have a bit more to say on the subject of these soaps a little later on (spoiler alert: they’re awesome!) but in short, like the ellipses said, they’re awesome.  That’s why I now own enough soap to take me and mine well into the year 2019.

The Lost Boys wax clamshell from Super Tarts.  It’s The Lost Boys, and we all know how I feel about The Lost Boys.  I actually talk about it so much, my friend Jaybird had NO choice but to call off my dogs (Nanook and Thorn, of course) with this sweet waxy gift.  Basically, this wax could be scented like cat poo and Victorian London sewer sludge and I’d still want it.  But thankfully it smells MUCH better – like sweet pomegranate, spiced apple cider and toasted marshmallow (on a tangential note, if I were making a Lost Boys-inspired wax, I’d blend salty sea air and spilled bong water notes.  Guaranteed that’s what David & Crew smell like.  Grandpa, too.)

Fragrance oil rollerball from Solstice Scents in Corvin’s Apple Fest.  Juicy sweet and lightly spiced, this fragrance will make a lovely bridging scent between the crisp and cozy days of autumn and the frosty holiday months.

The Bathing Garden’s wax bundt in Nights at the Circus.  A friend-approved favourite, Nights at the Circus is a sweet and spicy pumpkin-apple scent that reminds me of the smell of the craft barn at your local farmer’s market – it even has that slightly woody note to it, like barn planks still damp from the morning’s mist.

Glazed caramel apple wax tarts from The Bathing Garden in Vintage Circus (red) and Victorian Midway (purple.)  Both scents feature a base of Winter Candy Apple, a popular holiday scent from Bath & Body Works – I particularly like the cinnamon note of Vintage Circus.  It smells like Red Hots!

Salted Caramel Yumminess

Salted Caramel Apricot Basket

Whenever I find a scent I really like from Bath & Body Works – a bit of a rarity, but when it happens, it’s usually a love affair for life – I almost hesitate to tell other people about it, lest they run off to the store, smell its fabulousness and then snatch up every single item in the shop that smells like, say, this fantastic new Fall fragrance, Salted Caramel Apricot. But I’m generous like that, and stealth is clearly not my thing – I just told you right in that first sentence there that I love this stuff!  Although I suspect I am not alone – on a field trip today to pick up a few reinforcements (something I never, ever do – I’m a real one-and-done-er) I found just a handful of Salted Caramel Apricot products to the dozens of other Fall releases.  Bit of a bummer, that, especially this early in the season.  Also a drag in that Bath & Body Works is somewhat notorious for discontinuing fan favourites, so Salted Caramel Apricot’s apparent popularity is no assurance that it will stick around. Bottom line: If you find any bath and body products in Salted Caramel Apricot, jump on ’em (particularly if they’re subject to one of those ridiculous “Buy 6, Get 9 Free” deals.)

Salted Caramel Apricot Basket Closeup

So what does Salted Caramel Apricot smell like?  Well, to me, it smells a bit like Bath and Body Works’ stores themselves – that pleasant, unidentifiably yummy bath and beauty shop scent.  Salted Caramel Apricot is a lot more than the sum of its parts, though – it’s a little bit fruity, a little bit warm, and the honey in the products themselves lends the fragrance a mild sort of floral note that I positively love in combination with all of the above.  It actually reminds me quite a bit of a favourite discontinued shampoo, Timotei’s Honey and Chamomile; both share that sort of sweet-fruity-grassy scent profile.

Salted Caramel Apricot Products

The Salted Caramel Apricot fragrance is available only in the body care line; no candles this time around. Sometimes that’s for the best – what works well on your skin does not necessarily translate to wax.  I nabbed a potent sugar scrub, creamy body wash and luscious lotion while the going was good, although I hope to nip back soon for doubles on all of the above, and maybe one of those cute fragrance sprays as well.  Wish me luck, I may have to fight someone for it (I shouldn’t joke; I’ve never seen such a thing myself, but to paraphrase Elton John, Bath and Body Works’ Semi-Annual Sale is Alright for Fighting!)