Sunday Scents

Rosegirls Collage

During my end-of-year State of the Sandra assessment (yes, this is a thing) it came to my attention that during 2017, I spent far, far too much on myself.  “Well, no durr, you went to Disney World twice,” you may be saying to yourself.  Except I’m not talking about the back-to-back Disney vacations we enjoyed in 2017; those were incredible experiences, and worth every penny.

No, I’m talking more about all of stuff I purchased.  The largely unaccounted-for stuff that ate up every bit of discretionary income I had, and then some.  And the really depressing part is that for the most part, I hardly remember how I spent it.  Wax, for sure; my stores are fit to bursting.  Soap; eight bars’ worth of a product I ultimately wound up binning.  Video games that went nowhere, movies that have languished on to-be-watched lists, and a revolving door of clothes, none of which ever seem to fit my always-changing figure.  Mr. Finger Candy suffers from a similar spending problem with respect to video game DLC and Apple TV purchases.

And as it turns out, amassing stuff, particularly stuff you can’t even remember purchasing, is an excellent way to feel deeply unfulfilled, and possibly a little ashamed that you were such a fool with your money in the first place.

So hot on the heels of two excellent trips to Disney, Mr. Finger Candy and I are setting limits on our mostly mindless discretionary spending, with an eye to another (longer, just as blowout-y) Disney/Universal vacation in 2018.  At this point in our lives, we’ve just decided to prioritize experiences (particularly those of an amusement park nature) above things.  We have enough things.  What we are lacking is living.

And so this may be one of the last wax posts you’ll see for a while; this Rosegirls haul from before Christmas is one of two orders that were waiting for me when I returned home from Florida, and I’m actively avoiding all of my favourite vendors in an effort to curb my over-spending in the new year.  Don’t call it a no buy; it’s really more a low buy, or a moderated buy.  I’m not turning off the tap entirely, just slowing things to a dribble.  I’ll keep you updated on how I do. 🙂

But back in December, when I was spending pre-vacation money with reckless abandon, I placed a rather large order with Rosegirls for a number of replacement Mini Melters, as well as some cute traditional chunks and nearly all of the holiday Mario blends on offer.  I did not exercise much restraint!

Mini Melters Up Close

I’ve shared no photos of the replacement Mini Melters, because for the most part, it was just a whole lot of beige and brown (all of my favourite bakery blenders, from Waffle Cone and Vanilla Bean Noel, to Marshmallow Smoothie and Royal Sugar Cookie) with a tiny bit of Raspberry Sauce red thrown in for good measure.

But of the new blends on offer before the holidays, I snapped up two bags of Holy Cannoli Twinkies (left) and Christmas Wish Peeps Cake (right.)  Christmas Wish, a festive blend of pine trees and iced sugar cookies, is an odd favourite of mine; blended with sugary sweet marshmallow Peeps, it’s positively scrumptious.  And Holy Cannoli Twinkies, a classic Rosegirls Raspberry Sauce blend, is fan-freakin-tastic – a little sweet, a little tart, a little cakey and a whole lot fruity, it was love at first sniff.

Chunks

I love creating my own blends with Mini Melters, but there’s always something to be said for Rosegirls’ classic chunks, and in such charmingly pretty colours, too!  Of the many scents on offer, I grabbed three bags in Crazy Pants Wackadoodle (left), a super potent blend of juicy apples and rich sugar cookies, Strawberry Mango Peeps Cake (centre), a Peeps-enhanced blend of one of my favourite fruity duos, and Dunk My Donut Cuppa Cake Noel (right), a disappointingly light combination of cinnamon sugar donuts, cupcakes and Vanilla Bean Noel.  I get that distinctive VBN note and not much else.  I’m going to tuck this scent away for a bit and see if it comes around with time.

Snowflake Wreath

Saving the biggies for last, these jumbo snowflakes (a bit bigger than my palm and twice as thick) came in an assortment of Rosegirls’ popular Super Mario-inspired scent blends.  It’s been my fun little holiday tradition for three years now to grab whatever’s available in these festive scents; I don’t think it would have felt like Christmas without them. 🙂

Starting with the topmost snowflake in purple, we have Up on the Castle Top, a favourite fruity-bakery blend featuring Berry Creme Brulee and Rice Krispie Treats.  I think this smells like old school berry Bubbalicious bubble gum, the super smackery kind.  Going clockwise, the green snowflake is Go Tell it on DK’s Mountain, a bracingly strong blend of cologne-y Sweater Weather, pine and Vanilla Bean Noel.  I’ve no idea why I like this scent; it’s entirely unlike any of my usual scent preferences.

Continuing on clockwise, the dusty rose snowflake is in the blend that sold me on all things Raspberry Sauce, Yoshi the Red Nosed Dino, a nose-tinglingly tart combination of my beloved Raspberry Sauce and pistachio smoothie.  Yes, pistachio; I stand beside you in your shock!  But wow, this scent is wonderful.  I look forward to melting it all year.  Down in the 6 pm position, the pale pink snowflake is in Koopa Troopa Assault, another bracingly strong blend of pomegranate, lemon, Raspberry Sauce and Marshmallow Smoothie.  With both of these ultra strong blends, I should get a solid six or more melts out of each snowflake.

The turquoise snowflake is in Koopa Klaus is Coming to Town, a warm and cozy blend of zucchini bread, coconut and sugar cookies.  Rich and sweet, this delightful scent smells like the very best kind of Christmas baking.  Finally, closing out the wreath with the rose red snowflake, we have Manic Mario Madness, a new-to-me blend of Mac apple, blueberry and vanilla ice cream.  Apples and blueberries – can’t ever go wrong with that combo.  The three Christmas lights are samples in Up on the Castle Top.

So there we have it, the fragrances that will be scenting my home for what I hope is many, many months to come.  Low buy no buys are so much more satisfying when you have a stash to work through, and boy, do I have a stash!  So I’ll be working through that, all while studiously ignoring all but the most tantalizing of wax offerings.  Gotta keep my eye on that Disney prize. 😉

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Summer Solstice Scents

Summer Solstice Main

While the rest of North America swelters under a record-breaking heatwave (no climate change to see here, nosiree!) here in Ontario it’s pretty much summer business as usual. That means it rains a lot, especially on important milestone holidays (can’t wait to see the hurricane that will accompany Canada’s upcoming 150th) alternating with periods of crap heat and brutal humidity.  It’s absolutely nothing compared to the conditions that Phoenix is experiencing today, but then again, what is?

So I feel quite fortunate that the heat and humidity in my neck of the global woods is not so oppressive that I can’t enjoy this recently-acquired quartet of Solstice Scents fragrances – and on the Summer Solstice, no less. 😉  No finer time to delightfully delve into a handful of beautiful bakeries, fine florals and one apple-jacked pick for Fall.

As it was with my first Solstice order, I had zero issues with this purchase – it was remarkable only in its unremarkableness.  Oh!  Except that Solstice quite generously refunded nearly $9.00 in shipping overages, a lovely little treat I discovered only after noticing that a refund had gone through my account; I had had no idea one was coming to me in the first place.  It would have been pretty easy for Solstice to not inform me of a potential refund or to simply not issue one at all.  But they did, and in the most low-key, efficient and friendliest manner possible.  Customer for life with that kind of service, really.

Also?  This is a nice little personalized thank-you, and beside it, a thoughtful compendium of perfume-sampling tips (such as the important reminder to let your perfume sit a bit before passing final judgement; like a great stew or a fantastic soup, perfumes need a bit of time to settle and develop after bottling and shipping.)

Summer Solstice Cards

I picked up four 5 ml perfume oils this time around, with each blue cobalt rollerball retailing for $15.00 US.

Summer Solstice Main Up Close

And while my heart truly belongs to that most cherished of peppermint-vanillas, Snowmint Mallow, I think I can find a little room in there for these lovely and light summer scents, and that one autumnal outlier.

Summer Solstice Collage

Starting with the Fall favourite, Corvin’s Apple Fest is a scent I chose so I could layer it with another Solstice fragrance I own, Vanilla Pipe Tobacco.  By itself, Vanilla Pipe Tobacco is a sweet and sticky herbal fragrance – heady, like steamy night air rising from a sun-warmed cornfield.  I bought it because my grandfather smoked a pipe, and he always smelled a bit like the pouches of pipe tobacco he kept rolled up in the pockets of his Arnold Palmers.  Being a farmer, he also often smelled like sweet corn.

But my grandfather smoked highly aromatic cherry tobacco, and what Vanilla Pipe Tobacco was missing was the tart and tangy element only a touch of fruit could provide. So I picked up Corvin’s Apple Fest with the hopes that it would be lovely both on its own and as a blender, and indeed, it’s both of those things.  This is a really beautiful apple fragrance – fresh and sweet and juicy, with the barest hint of something tarty, cobbler-y or crisp-y.  A great season-jumping addition to my fragrance collection.

Corvin's Apple Fest

An unexpected favourite was Lemon Ginger Creams, a tart and tangy hit of lightly-spiced citrus.  This smells exactly like a lemon-glazed gingersnap, if there is such a thing, and if there isn’t, there should be one now! Like, right here with me right now, on a plate, waiting to be eaten.

Lemon Ginger Creams

A more traditional pick for my scent palette was Chantilly Cream, a sumptuous blend of fuzzy peaches, juicy mandarins, lightly-spiced vanilla and whipped cream.  This is a gorgeous gourmand fragrance that effortlessly tows the line between lip-smacking dessert and sweet scent, a lovely choice for those not spun by anything with “cake” in its title.  Ooh, I love this fragrance – soft and mild and sweet, perfect for those sultry summer evenings.

Chantilly Cream

And finally – as according to the tenants of Beauty Retail Law, there must be at least one per order – we come to the fragrance I am the least jazzed about, Blossom Jam Tea Cakes.  Oh, how I wanted to love this scent!  It was the first one into my basket, and I also seriously debated picking up a burnishing glace in the same fragrance.  But as always, I’m glad I ultimately held off, as there’s just a little something here in this lilac-tinged, lemon tea-and-cake blend that, to my nose, errs awfully close to something approaching powdery baby wipes.

Oddly, though, I don’t dislike this scent.  In fact, I find myself returning to my wrists to sniff it time and time again, marveling with each pull at the ever-changing kaleidoscope of fruity, floral and barely bakery notes.  It’s kind of delicious, and in hindsight, I might sort of love it.  I clearly have some conflicted feelings on the subject of this perfume.

But given that I’m so deeply undecided on Blossom Jam Tea Cakes, I’m going to take Solstice’s fragrance-testing advice and tuck it away for a bit, see how its scent develops in a few months’ time.  Provided I don’t, you know, drain the bottle this summer taking undecided whiffs off my wrists (reminder to self: don’t do this in public, it’s weird!)

Blossom Jam Tea Cakes

Once again, just a beautiful, beautiful order from Solstice Scents.  It wasn’t my first and it shan’t be my last. Shan’t!  I’m just so impressed with their scent offerings and presentation, and their customer service is second to none.  A very happy – and deliciously-scented – camper, indeed.

Customs Crazy: A Sniff My Tarts Custom Wax Haul

smt-main-collage

Apart from nabbing items from one or two nearly-impossible-to-get-your-hands-on indie brands, the holy grail of the wax world is landing on your favourite vendor’s customs list.  Getting a chance to play amateur candle maker is always so much fun, while providing a great opportunity to indulge in the creative side of the process.  Plus, who doesn’t like saying, “Yeah, that amazing smelling thing?  My idea.”  With all humility, of course!

But as you can imagine, creating thousands of custom wax creations for hundreds of customers can be a rather daunting task, and so these kinds of openings don’t happen very often.  So when a vendor does open for custom orders, you jump on it, because who knows when and if it will ever happen again.

Which is the reasoning that led me to place a customs order with Sniff My Tarts, an entirely new-to-me vendor popular with some wise blogger friends.  Sniff My Tarts actually operates on a mostly-customs model, opening up just a couple of times a year for orders before closing down to then fulfill those orders.  In between, they offer up the occasional sampler or mystery box, and they’ve somewhat recently begun offering ready-to-ship items on their website from the customs over-pours.

I placed my order within five minutes of opening on December 1st, 2016.  The specific time is actually somewhat important, as placement on the production list is determined on a first come, first serve basis.  So if you got your order in quickly, it would be made and you would receive it well before the person who placed their order after, say, 45 minutes (who may receive theirs months later; further impetus to order fast, order early.)

Unless of course your order is being shipped internationally, in which case, get ready for it to take a three-week odyssey through the (Canadian) postal system, landing on your doorstep, cold and a little bit damaged, nearly three months after you placed it.  And that’s despite being quite high up the customs list.  And paying an absolutely ridiculous sum in shipping that I will not disclose to you, because if I did, you’d correctly assume I was a complete fool.  All I’ll say about that is if you’re an international customer (and this applies to any product, not just scented wax) pay very close attention to the shipping details.  As always, that’s where you’ll find the devil, and man, oh man, does he like his postal tariffs.

Anyhow, I really jumped in the deep end on this one, friends, and I’m pleased to report that for the most part, outrageous shipping shenanigans notwithstanding (and I’ll take most of the blame on that one for not seeking clarification on the exact details) my first customs order with Sniff My Tarts was a deliciously-scented leap worth making.  Let’s take a closer look at some of my creations.

smt-mango-coconut-waffle-cone-custom-collage

Starting off with the big guns, this is a decorated sheet cake in Mango Sorbet, Vanilla Waffle Cone and Coconut Cream Pie.  Apart from being just absolutely gorgeous (how am I supposed to ever cut into that adorable little glazed cone?) this cake smells incredible – as good as I had hoped (and I had pretty high hopes) or maybe even better.  I’d purchase this exact blend again in a heartbeat.  It actually smells just like the inside of a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, all tart, fruity creams and sugary waffle cones.  Yummy!

smt-strawberry-mango-twinkie-custom-collage

The second of my decorated sheet cakes, a blend of Mango, Fresh Strawberry and Twinkies, is equally beautiful, but less successful in terms of execution.  My choice of Mango here, as opposed to Mango Sorbet, lends a floral note to the already quite flowery Fresh Strawberry, which is then amplified by the powdery Twinkies.  A real shame of a misfire, as this cake is so pretty and I now have so much of it (each cake is about one pound, eight ounces.)  But it regrettably smells like cheap little girl perfume – Strawberry Love’s Baby Soft?

smt-large-cookie-collage

The smallest blending option available were these large frosted cookies.  Each cookie weighs between four and four and a half ounces and spans my palm.  Available with the same number of blending options as the cakes (up to three), these substantial cookies are a popular choice if you’re looking to try out some unconventional blends on a smaller scale than the large pies and cakes on offer.  Let’s take a closer look at these adorable blended cookies, which also happen to smell pretty darn terrific.

smt-large-cookies

Starting with the top row and going from left to right, we have Blueberry Grunt Cake and Vanilla Marshmallow Smoothie (purple), a sweet and juicy confection that smells exactly like Strawberry Shortcake’s buddy, Blueberry Muffin.  I’ve only heard great things about Sniff My Tart’s blueberry, and this little cookie bears out the praise.  Incredibly delicious.

Next up is Pink Sands and Salt Water Taffy (pink), a soft, beachy floral roughened up with salty, rip-out-your-fillings taffy.  A pretty scent totally unlike my usual.

After that we have Danish Butter Cookie, Creme Brulee and Vanilla Butter Fudge (yellow), or as I like to call it, “Diabetes in a Wax Melt.”  So this one sounds a bit repulsive – I even thought as much myself when creating it for Mr. Finger Candy, who likes his scents far more cloying than I – but in reality, it’s a comforting delight of creamy vanilla bakery, sweet and buttery without being butter-oid.  A splendid blend.

Moving down a row, we have Pomegranate, Mango Sorbet and Celtic Moon Spice (brown), a sweet and slightly spicy blend that has me going back and forth on the “I Love It/I Hate It”-o-meter.  I was attempting to recreate a favourite cocktail with this one, forgetting that the drink itself contains a hefty dose of super sour raspberry to balance out all the SWEET!  As blended, I think this cookie is not quite tart enough, with a powdered sugar kind of lean to it that just doesn’t agree with my nose.  Thankfully, I think I have a way of literally tarting this up a bit, so all is not lost with this conflicting blend.

Finally, we come to Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake and Lemon Cake Pops (also purple), a beautiful, bright and fresh blend that smells like springtime.  Lavender and lemon are scents I like in the smallest of doses only, but they’re wonderful together in this pairing, with the light gourmand notes softening the steely, almost soapy astringency of both.  A decorated sheet cake in this would have been so lovely!

smt-no-fuss-chunks

Continuing on with my custom picks, I also chose three bags of no-fuss chunks, tiny little petit four-shaped wax melts that remind me of the “Eat Me” cakes Alice scarfs down on her journey through Wonderland. Available with the same number of options as all the other blendables (up to three), these little no-fuss melts really live up to their moniker – just drop one in your melter and you’re good to go.

Starting at the top, we have a blend of Pizzelle, Blackberry and Vanilla Marshmallow Smoothie.  I was a little hesitant about the Blackberry in this one, confusing it initially for Blackberry Jam Butter Cookies, a popular fragrance oil that I really, really dislike.  But Sniff My Tart’s Blackberry is straight-up fruit and juice, and in combination with the crisp, waffle cone-like notes of the Pizzelle and the creamy Marshmallow Smoothie, the whole thing comes off smelling like fruity tea and cakes.  It’s really not at all what I was expecting – it’s better.

Moving down, we have another Blackberry blend, this time Blackberry, Mango and Twinkies.  This is another unexpectedly delicious blend – fresh, fruity and a tiny bit floral – that works in spite of its components, which simply don’t mesh very well.  Going forward, I think both the Mango and Twinkies scents will be off my customs menu.  But I like this blend very much – in combination, the Blackberry and Mango notes remind me of an old school Party Lite fragrance.

Finally, we have the blend I thought was going to be a total slam dunk, a combination of Strawberry, Vanilla Waffle Cone and Cream Cheese Frosting. These chunks actually don’t smell like anything at all, an effect I’m chalking up to the fact that this bag was savaged at Customs – sliced open and then left to freely rattle around the bottom of the box.  Never stop taking pride in the service you provide, Canada Post. 😦 I’ve since rebagged them, in the hopes that they somehow reconstitute themselves.  Fingers crossed.

smt-piped-hearts-collage

Moving away from my custom blends, I also chose four piped hearts in single scents (or scent blends) in Marshmallow Noel & Candy (white), a crisp, nose-tinglingly yummy vanilla-mint, Apricot Vanilla (yellow), a close recreation of Sally Hansen’s ultra sweet and fruity apricot cuticle cream, Blueberry Grunt Cake (purple), a luscious blueberry tinged with the barest hint of crunchy bakery, and Carrot Cake (brown), which I actually don’t care for at all.  Nutty, so nutty.  Carrots and nuts.  My wedding cake?  Yes!  But as a home fragrance?  Not so much.

smt-small-cookies

Finally, for my husband, who loves coffee scents, I purchased three bags of small frosted cookies (four cookies per bag), one in Sprinkled Sugar Cookie Latte (light brown) and two in Starbucks Vanilla Latte (darker brown.) Coffee scents are not really my thing, but Mr. Finger Candy assures me that these two scents are legit, and who am I to argue with that?

smt-samples

These are the samples I received with my order, a small grubby tart (love that term, “grubby tart”) in Sticky Pink Marshmallow, a popular, Pink Sugar-based blend, a small frosted cookie in the improbably delicious combination of Blackberry Latte (fruit and coffee, whaaaaa?) and two cubes of Red Macintosh Apple, a super strong apple that, despite being securely wrapped, permeated the entire package and most of my condo’s mail room.

Finally, a quick word on Sniff My Tart’s customer service, of which providing tantalizing samples is indeed a nice part – it was wicked prompt and super friendly.  Upon learning that my package had gone MIA (an event well beyond their control by that point) they assured me that virtually none of their shipments had ever gone missing for good, but that if it didn’t show itself soon, they wouldn’t leave me hanging.  It was a deeply considerate gesture – one that turned out to be rather unnecessary given that my order finally showed itself a couple of days later, but appreciated all the same.  My order was also nicely packed, with each item wrapped snugly and securely in bubble wrap.  Or at least it was before it hit Customs. You can’t tell from these pictures, but my strawberry sheet cake is in four jagged pieces.  I think it, too, may have been savaged by the same handsy agent that worked over my strawberry no-fuss chunks.  Why the berry bias, Canada Post?!

Most importantly, though, my order smells bloody fantastic, and absent one or two scent choice SNAFUs and some stupid postal tomfoolery, I’m overwhelmingly pleased with my order.  I’ll definitely be back for a second round of customs (only next time I’ll try to find a way to maximize that shipping charge.)