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.

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Plucky Duckies

Plucky Duckies Collage 4

Today’s little wax haul comes to you courtesy of The Melting Duck, fine indie purveyors of rainbow-splashed, mica-dusted mini shapes and gigantic wax duckies.  I’ve been smitten with their huge assortment of adorable shapes, unusual colour combinations and pop culture-influenced scent blends for some time now; Halloween seemed the perfect time to test these duck-filled waters (shame my order didn’t actually arrive until the week after Halloween.  Shamer still that at least part of my order was to be a Halloween gift for friends.  Still, knowing my pals, I think they’ll have no problem tucking these guys away until next Fall should they feel that strongly about the very serious issue of seasonal melting. 😉  Me?  I’m jumping in straight away!)

This was such a fun package to open; this was my first order with The Melting Duck, and everything I pulled out of the box (“Whhhaaaattt’s in the booooooooxxxxxx?”) made me grin with delight.  Such detail, such whimsy!  First, let’s examine those plucky little duckies a little further.

Plucky Duckies Collage 3

Except these duckies – The Melting Duck calls them Demented Ducks – are really not so little.  Weighing in at just a little under eight ounces per duck, there’s quite a bit of waxy goodness here.  And look at the mindful little details – the swirls and layers of colour, the very demented-looking googly eyes, the tiny Jack-o-Lantern glitter embedded in the middle duck’s wing.  Adorable!  Because you can’t get a good sense of the scale of these massive shapes as measured against each other, here I’ve set a Demented Duck in Heads Will Roll, a pumpkin cupcakes and candy corn blend, beside a favourite 60 ml bottle of perfume from Solstice Scents.  They’re so big, it’s totally quackers (wah-waaaahhhhhh.)

Plucky Duckies 3

I actually chose just two scents in ducky format, Heads Will Roll and Briarcliff, a pumpkin, vanilla and marshmallow blend.  But a few days before my order went out, The Melting Duck said that owing to a bit of a pouring snafu, a scent I had chosen in the mini shapes – Duckin Donuts, a coffee-and-pastries blend – would no longer be offered in those shapes; would I be at all interested in some Demented Duckin Donuts?  I was, and so that’s how this charming little coffee brown duck (and a couple of his melt-mates) wound up rounding out my trio of fabulously fragranced foul.  I’m so glad I nabbed this one, too – had contemplated the refund The Melting Duck nicely offered, but chose to move ahead for my husband, who would mainline coffee in all its various forms if only he could.  He loves his mocha scents, and he’s going to love this one, too, because it’s a goody – smells JUST like the inside of a chain coffee shop, right down to the pleasant, comforting fragrance of fresh brewed coffee and glazed, yeasty pastries.  On an ounce per ounce basis, this very plump duck and the three cups (already melted one) worked out to more wax than I would have received in the bakery bags of mini shapes; an appreciated little bit of overage for the manufacturing goof.  Twas a nice touch.

Plucky Duckies 5

I also picked up two bakery bags of mini shapes (plus a couple for friends, which I had to hold myself back from photographing, because they’re not mine!)  I chose a couple of very unlike me scents, All Hallow’s Eve (the purple, black and orange shapes, a sweet and creamy blend of candy corn, pumpkin cupcakes, buttercream crunch cake and caramel corn) and Ghost Stories By the Fire (the orange and grey shapes, a candy-sweet, almost floral blend of Marshmallow Fireside, Earl Grey tea and vanilla ice cream) – unlike me in that I’ve had quite a bit of trouble with pumpkin scents this season (headaches) and also because both fragrances contain scent notes that typically send me fleeing (candy corn, Earl Grey tea, Marshmallow Fireside in anything aside from all by its lonesome.)  But I really like both of these blends – actually, I like all the scents I chose, even the ones I gave away – probably precisely because they’re not my usual.  It’s good to change things up every now and then. 🙂

Plucky Duckies Collage 1

Ugh, and how stinkin’ cute are these little shapes?  I die for the wee little duckies in both blends, but the Dia de los Muertos skulls, baby broom and grinning Jack-o-Lanterns of All Hallow’s Eve are outstanding.  Such lovely design work, it almost seems a shame to melt them.  But melt them I will – I’ll just try not to stare directly at the duckies while it’s happening.

Plucky Duckies Collage 2

If you’re interested in getting in on all this sweetly scented ducky action, you can join The Melting Duck’s Facebook group to stay up-to-date on future pre-orders and new releases.  They actually just held the final pre-order of the year for a number of holiday-themed blends, although I managed to abstain; I’m pretty flush with wax at the moment.  But no doubt they’ll be back and raring to go in the new year with all sorts of adorably fun shapes and colours and scents, and we’ll be there then!

Fall Fun Series II: Crazy for Cranberry

Cranberry Collage

Yeah, sometimes the ol’ Alliteration Generator just completely goes on the fritz and starts spitting out the laziest, most common words it can find.  Cranberry Craze?  Sounds like a flavour of Mountain Dew.  Crazed for Cranberry?  Sounds a bit like a mental health concern.  So basically there’s no unique, alliterative way of expressing my love of cranberry except to say I’m – sigh – crazy for it.

Except…am I?  I mean, I like Bath & Body Works’ Frosted Cranberry scent as much as the next person during the holidays, but otherwise, it’s not really my jam.  For that, I actually prefer lingonberry sauce or my mom’s spiced red currant jelly – excellent on all manner of roast beast. 😉 But cranberry scents?  Eh, I guess, for the Fall and Winter months, if you insist.  It’s not a scent I ever gravitate towards outside of the festive season, and even then, not so much.

Which is, I suppose, why I still possess this nearly two-year-old old bag of Cranberry Marmalade-scented Mini Melters from Rosegirls.  Also because – hoo doggy!- she’s STRONG.  Deeply spiced and a whole lot astringent, this cranberry is here to party.  Spice-haters and those with sensitive sniffers need not apply (this includes me; this wax makes my nose itch and tickle quite fiercely.)

But I thought I could turn this scent into something a little more palatable through the judicious use of more Mini Melters, and so that’s precisely what I did, whipping up two yummy blends – one bakery, one fruity-sweet – that let this nice, but bit-too-much, seasonal scent really shine (also, why all the ice and snowflake imagery in this, the Fall Fun Series?  Because late Fall in Canada actually means early Winter; we’ve already had a couple of didn’t-stick snowfalls and many, many mornings of frost.)

Cranberry Vanilla Bean Smoothie Collage

The addition of Rosegirls’ Vanilla Bean Noel and Marshmallow Smoothie scents proved to be the perfect bakery foil for Cranberry Marmalade’s dark spice notes, combining to create a creamy-dreamy, caramel-topped treat studded with tart, lightly spiced dried cranberries.  I basically made a scone without the scone part!  And it’s scrumptious; Vanilla Bean Noel is fast becoming a blending favourite.

Spiced Cran-Apple Punch Collage

As seasonal ciders and punches are my favourite things to see on a holiday party table, I thought it would be nice to create a spiced punch sort of scent.  Except actual punch (or Koolaid) scents and I are no bueno; they provoke headaches and sneezing fits in both my husband and I.  And so I both tempered AND sweetened-up the Cranberry Marmalade scent with a tiny touch of Cotton Candy Frosting, before adding a rather inspired dash of Apple Clove Butter.  I feared the addition of the Apple Clove Butter might push this scent blend into total spice overload, but my worries turned out to be unfounded – Apple Clove Butter is subtly, subtly spiced, with none of the sharpness of Cranberry Marmalade and all of the smoothness of actual apple butter.  It’s a lovely, juicy scent, and paired beautifully with the other two fragrances, creating something that really did smell like a gently wafting crock pot of some festively fruity concoction.  Yum!

Super Tarts

Super Tarts Order Full

Straight off the top, I’m of two minds about this rather large order of scented wax from Super Tarts, a pop culture-minded vendor out of the United States.  On the one hand, I’m delighted with the absolutely gigantic selection of themed scents, from The Walking Dead and Ghostbusters, to Harry Potter and the Ninja Turtles.  I had a total blast perusing their 26-page-strong product list in search of waxes, soaps and scrubs in scents inspired by Egon, Hagrid or CORAL!!!  Coincidentally, that’s also how I wound up placing a maybe-too-large order (okay, definitely too large) for my first time at Super Tarts bat – I was just dazzled by all that fun choice.  And any vendor that offers products themed to Beetlejuice and The Lost Boys is more than all right with me.

But on the other hand, this order arrived on my doorstep absolutely thrashed.  Shipping was obscene – I’m too ashamed to share the amount with you – and the packaging slight.  The clamshells, packed tightly together, had just a handful of packing peanuts tossed on top of them, which offered zero protection from the X-Men who vetted my package at customs (fairly certain Wolverine had a go at this poor box.)  When I opened the parcel, this is the sight that greeted me.  I spent half an hour picking tiny, shredded flakes of packing peanuts off my clamshells, and in some cases, from INSIDE my clamshells (never let it be said the postal system is not thorough(ly useless.)

Busted All to Crap

And while I recognize that postal snafus are outside of the purview of a vendor, there was an evident lack of care in the packaging of this box; over half of my clamshells arrived broken, gouged or otherwise.  Made me wonder precisely what that exorbitant shipping fee had bought me.

Super Tarts TWD Collage

And I was also dismayed to find that for the most part, that lack of care extended to the products themselves – most of the seams of my clamshells were smeared with bits of dried wax, the labels were wonky, and in a few distressing cases, the clamshells themselves seemed to be disintegrating beneath the wax.  It wasn’t much of a first impression.  In fact, it will most likely be my only impression; this was not a good enough retail experience to warrant a repeat visit (with absolutely no shade directed towards my friends who love Super Tarts and suggested I try them out; you don’t know until you try, and everybody’s experience is just a little bit different.)

Super Tarts Harry Potter Collage

But on the other-other hand (lot of hands here) – the one that’s attempting to make lemonade out of very expensive, very damaged lemons – I’ve been having a lot of fun melting through this wide assortment of scents.  There’s a little bit of everything here – Super Tarts touches on so many different fandoms – and so far I’ve really enjoyed their scented take on superheros, Harry Potter and favourite horror movies of my childhood.  Many of the unique scent blends are delightfully unexpected successes, and wonder of wonders, Super Tarts’ pumpkin is one that does NOT set my head a-thumpin’.  The delicate little overlays on top of some of the clamshells are also quite cute.  You know, the ones that aren’t smashed all to crap. 😦  I particularly like the horror movie blends – Day of the Dead, a non-cloying blend of pecan pie, creme brulee and waffle cone, and Psycho, an unexpectedly delicious blend of pumpkin bread, sour cream coffee cake and raspberries, are real standouts.

Super Tarts Scary Tarts Collage

Anyhow, focusing on the positives here and trying to learn from this lesson – as in, don’t go big until you know precisely what you’re dealing with.  Expect the postal service to savage your parcel.  And if a shipping fee seems too high, that’s because it is.  So maybe heed that sensible voice inside telling you to approach a first-time transaction with some degree of caution, yeah?  I stumble so that you may learn and all that good stuff.

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.

Sunny Days: A Little Haul Post

Sunny's Main Photo

I’ve sung the sweetly scented praises of Sunny’s Body Products before – they’re a favourite indie bath and beauty shop, and their cuticle oils are the only product I use on my nails. Seems we’re both low tech AND brand loyal here at Finger Candy HQ!  Then again, Sunny’s has given me no cause to stray – their products agree nicely with my skin, I’ve never received anything less than stellar customer service, and in combination with their absolutely gigantic scent list (over 650 wide-ranging fragrances) securing a new favourite is practically guaranteed.

But with the exception of a limited edition, Fall-themed box of bath and beauty items I bought some years ago, I’d yet to try any of Sunny’s products that weren’t cuticle oils.  So with a hot little discount code burning a hole through the ones and zeroes of my digital wallet, I marched off to Sunny’s aaaannnnnndddddd…promptly bought a dozen mini rollerball cuticle oils!  What can I tell you, you buy what you know. 😉  Also, eight of these are for friends (hence the unsightly hockey tape still snugly securing some of the lids.)

Sunny's Rollerball Lineup

Staying here with me (where I will give them a very good home) are the four rollerballs in the middle, Balsam & Citrus (astringent fir trees and juicy citrus; I’m really looking forward to using this one at Christmas), Poison Pie (an old favourite that smells like blueberries, cinnamon apples and flaky, buttery pastry), Pumpkin Crunch Cake (another oldie-but-goodie that smells like spiced yellow pudding cake) and Vanilla Snowflake (a take-my-money combination of icy peppermint, coconut flakes and sweet sugar cookies.)

The rollerball applicators themselves are lightweight, but sturdy enough you can stand them on their ends without them all toppling over.  Inside, the light combination of almond, jojoba and avocado oils mingle with just the right amount of fragrance oil, creating a skin-nourishing treat that I frequently press into double agent action as an allover fragrance.  As always, though, the best thing about these rollerballs – all of Sunny’s products, actually – are the labels.  I can’t imagine the work that must go into compiling all of these custom orders and then matching up the graphic design to each individual fragrance, but I do know I really appreciate the effort.  Half the fun of opening up a Sunny’s order is guessing what adorable labels will be wrapped around your items. My favourite from this go-round was Poison Pie, and yes, those are martini glasses and mason jars filled with eyeballs. 🙂

Sunny's Poison Pie Rollerball

But I didn’t just stop at the cuticle oils this time, adding a whipped soap and a donut-shaped bar soap to my order as well.  You know, for quality testing purposes!  It simply won’t do to have a control group of nothing but cuticle oils.  Simply won’t.

Sunny's Order Wrapped Donut

Scented with my all time favourite Sunny’s fragrance, Blueberry Cheesecake, both the whipped soap and the donut soap are sublime.  I’ve actually yet to break into the whipped soap (I have quite a backlog of bars to plow through first) although I like the frosting-like consistency of the glycerin-based blend.  And the scent?  Oof, it’s so delicious, and true to both the cuticle oil and the bar soap – the scent thankfully does not change from product to product.

Sunny's Blueberry Whipped Soap

And what of the adorable little donut-shaped bar soap?  About two days from retirement. Plans to go on a round-the-world trip with its wife once it finishes this one. final. JOB! Oh wait, sorry, think I’m getting my bath and beauty and police procedurals all mixed up.  A-gain.  But the soap *is* nearly finished.

Anyhow, if you can consider yourself to be any such thing, I was actually proud of this little donut – perched at the side of the bathroom sink, it lasted for three weeks, sudsed up nicely, moisturized well, remained scent true (and strong, such a rarity in a cold processed soap) and didn’t disintegrate into a soapy, goopy mess as it neared its final days.  Also, Sunny was kind enough to solicit requests for icing colours, so I went with the rainbow sherbet-like hues I use to decorate our apartment.

Sunny's Soap and Towel

So there we have it, another little Sunny’s order to enjoy alone AND share with friends.  I can’t wait until they get their cuticle oils – I’ve no doubt they’re going to love them, maybe enough to seek out some sweet little donuts of their own.  But no matter the recipient, this was another fantastic order from Sunny’s Body Products, and absolutely not my last.

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!