Pre-Christmas Customs with SMT

smt main photo

My big custom wax order from Sniff My Tarts – yeah, the one I placed in early August – finally showed itself a few days before Christmas, sub-zero temps and an off/off postal strike notwithstanding.  But also thanks to what I’m guessing is a bit of both of the above, my box of fragile scented wax arrived pretty well thrashed to pieces, and I do mean that literally – please note the in-bag, as-delivered condition of one of my decorated sheet cakes.  Ouch.

smt smashed

But I’m not going to cry over smashed wax; being in bits like this just makes it easier to share with friends. 😉  However, I’m not sure I can keep buying these random little works of wax creation any more, knowing that at least one of them is going to get damaged beyond all recognition during shipping.  This is the third cake I’ve received in pieces.  And I know looks aren’t everything, but they kind of are in this case – I would have gotten un-decorated sheet cakes otherwise!

But this is scented wax we’re talking about, and it’s the scent blends I came up with that really matter.  And blessedly, with two huge, glaring exceptions – I can’t keep them and I can’t think of a person I dislike enough to bedevil them with – they’re all pretty great; there might even be one or two outstandings in the bunch.  As always, I’m mostly pleased with my order.  So let’s take a peek at the good – and the two way bad – shall we?

Brittle Blends

These fun little shapes are called Brittle Chunks, and they are so stinkin’ adorable!  Each bakery bag contains a nice, large assortment of plain chunks and cute little shapes in your chosen scent blend.  So fun; a nice aesthetic change from the usual.

blackberry marshmallow latte collage

Is that a crueler?!  And a giant purple espresso bean?  Yup, sure looks like it!  This delicious blend is a riff on another favourite of mine you’ll see toward the end of this post that substitutes that blend’s juicy Apple Cider Latte for creamy Blackberry Marshmallow Latte.  The Ice Cream Scoop Bread/Vanilla Waffle Cone base I’ve come up with is a solid one, and it pairs so nicely with fruit and coffee scents, and sometimes – like this time – both fruit and coffee scents at once.

gourmet sugar cookie collage

C is for cookies on cookies on cookies!  This comforting, all-cookie bakery blend (a waffle cone is just a thin, toasted cookie we shove ice cream into) bears a slightly boozy edge that reminds me of the vanilla bean paste I use to make my chocolate chip cookies.  This is just a really outstanding vanilla; basic without being “ya basic.”  Blending job well done, me!

lemon cake pops collage

This strawberry-lemon blend is a little too artificial for my taste.  I think it’s that blasted Fresh Picked Strawberries note, which, come customs time, I always forget I do not like.  We all have those scent blind spots, and this strawberry is apparently mine.  Going way old school here (or maybe just plain old) but it smells like Tinkerbell cosmetics, and the lemon note is practically non-existent.  I do love that gigantic Twinkie shape, though.

peppermint swizzle sticks collage

I was just commenting to a friend the other day that I’m glad I only ordered one blend featuring peppermint during this round of customs, because I’m way off the peppermint scents this season.  I think I might have really overdone it last time with TWO peppermint sheet cakes.  But this is a nice blend – icy, chill and sweet, like a mint Tic Tac.  Also, little baby marshmallows!  I’m seriously so charmed by the assortment of adorable food shapes in these blends.

blackberry cotton candy collage

Finally, we have what is maybe my favourite blend of this order, a hopeful (that it would turn out well!) re-working of a beloved fragrance from another vendor (Candied Blackberry Cookie Bread from K’s Kreations, who sadly went out of business last year.)  K’s had a number of outstanding blends featuring this scrumptious Cookie Bread oil, and I loved them all, so when I saw that SMT had added it to their master scent list, I jumped at the chance to recreate a nearly forgotten favourite.  Okay, so that giant Rice Krispie round is adorable, but how does it smell?  Incredible!  It’s nearly an exact dupe, and I’m so, so happy with how it turned out.  I once made blackberry curd bars with a shortbread crust, and this smells exactly like those yummy treats – sweet-tart berry bakery.  If I conveniently forget my earlier promise to myself to never again buy another decorated sheet cake, I’ll have to get one in this outstanding blend.

Frosted Sugar Cookies

I regrettably didn’t have much luck with my choice of scent blends for these large frosted sugar cookies, the smallest blending option you could choose during customs.  Of the five, one is lovely, one is nice enough, one is pretty much a non, and two are completely wretched.

large frosted cookie collage

Starting off with the very bad, the two blends featuring Salt Water Taffy (blue and red frosting) are terrible.  It is so gross and artificial, overwhelming both blends with a nasty, phony scent that can best be described as “chemical pink.”  It actually reminds me of that cheap neon soap you occasionally find in mall bathrooms.  The very weird part here is I once received a sample from SMT of the Whipped Cream/Salt Water Taffy/Cotton Candy blend; I liked it so much, I decided to recreate it in a slightly larger format during this round of customs.  Whatever I received here smells nothing like that tiny sample; they are night and day apart.  I’ve also used Salt Water Taffy in two previous blends, and once again, it smelled nothing like this chemical nostril assault.  That leads me to believe the oil has either gone off in some fashion, or I’ve got something here other than Salt Water Taffy.  So gross.

Sweet Lavender and Shortbread Cookies, dark purple, is the big eh? of this order.  Lavender scents come in different varieties – herbal, medicinal, floral, gourmand.  Some are quite sweet, while others are steely and astringent, but they all share a fresh, green note that binds them a bit more firmly to the nature from which they’re derived.  This lavender has no fresh note to it whatsoever and it only barely smells like lavender.  It’s unbelievably light; lavender-oid, but not quite lavender.  A real non-starter of a scent.

Black Raspberry Vanilla and Lemon Poppy Seed, pale purple, is a lovely scent, with the Lemon Poppy Seed providing a tart, lemon-glazed backdrop for the slightly fruity, slightly floral Black Raspberry Vanilla.  This is a great lemon oil that I will have to remember for the next round of customs – it’s tart and fresh without venturing into that unfortunate urine-or-lemonade? territory occupied by so many lemon scents.

Honey Gingerbread and Apple Cider Latte, orange, is another lovely, comforting scent – a bit buttery and spicy from the Honey Gingerbread, and a lot juicy from the Apple Cider Latte.  A cozy autumnal scent, for you seasonal melters out there.

Rose Loaf

Yeah, you heard me; rose loaf.  A loaf of roses.  And it was definitely Bon Jovi who said he wanted to lay you down on a loaf of roses – I’m never wrong about these things. 😉

mango rose loaf collage

So pretty, right?  I can’t believe it got here in one piece.  That will make taking it apart significantly more difficult come melting time, but I think I’ll manage – this Mango Sorbet/Vanilla Waffle Cone/Coconut Cream Pie blend is a favourite of mine, and I’ve ordered it every time SMT has opened for customs in one iteration or another.  I think this blend smells like the inside of a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, all crunchy, toasted waffle cones and creamy, icy, fruity things.  A lovely scent, and such beautiful presentation.

Decorated Sheet Cakes

Saving the big guns (and the big, busted guns) for last, here are the two decorated sheet cakes I ordered.

apple cider latte collage

And hey look, I managed to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!  Or at least I did for this photo.  We shan’t discuss the state of my hardwood floors, however, after this ultra crumbly photo shoot.  Wax smears for DAYS.

Really, though, taking a gander at this gigantic thing, an all time favourite blend of Apple Cider Latte, Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone, it’s no wonder it shattered into about a dozen different bits –  it is positively loaded with little wax details, and that heart-shaped waffle in the middle (it’s actually double thick!) acts as a major stress point; all of the fractures in this sheet cake radiate out from that doubled up waffle.  None of that affects the scent, however, which, as always, is wonderful, like a cakey apple fritter.  My husband said after a few hours of burning, it smells like this pipe tobacco he used to smoke in high school (actually in a pipe, because of course he did.)  It really does have that fruity tobacco-type lean to it.  I’ve turned a couple of friends on to this fast favourite, and I absolutely adore it; like the Mango Sorbet blend, above, it has an all-the-time place in my customs cart.

cuppy cake collage

Finally, we have the sheet cake that made it to me mostly in one piece; a number of the little cupcakes on top sprang loose, but I was able to drop them back into place for this photo.  This delightful scent is my attempt at recreating Vintage Chic Scent’s Jackie O blend, a rich, not-too-cloying combination of buttery white cake, fluffy marshmallow cream and musk-tinged caramel.  And that’s very nearly what I got; this is an exceptionally close dupe.  I’m going to put this one away until my birthday, when I’ll finally sacrifice it to the warmer gods by making my birthday wish off its candlelit, mica-dusted top, as I have the last two years running.  That’s a fun little SMT tradition I look forward to every year. 🙂

On the whole, not a bad order, and totally in keeping with the scent success rate I’ve experienced across three other custom orders – it’s mostly all pretty good, if not great, with one or two unfortunate outliers.  Hey, sounds like life, not just wax life. 😉  Now to divvy up some of these goodies among friends and get to melting!

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(Finger) Food for (Blogging) Thought

5th Anniversary Collage

So many ellipses!  But that’s this blog, isn’t it, thoughts within thoughts within thoughts?  With the occasional bit of nail art.  You know, when I’m not yakking on about Disney or The Lost Boys. 😉

This blog recently celebrated its fifth anniversary!  In celebration, I went through just a little over 1,500 published posts and pulled a large assortment of food-related manicures – the candy (and cocktails, and baked goods, and turkey legs) of Finger Candy.

Some things I learned from this forensic examination of my blog?  I REALLY like painting my nails to look like food; 152 chow-related manis bear out that assertion.  Also, while I’m very fond of and actually prefer the free-handed approach to nail art, I have leaned on my food-shaped nail charms time and time again, particularly the multi-coloured lollipop charms.  They were a great investment.  Also-also, the further back you go in my blogging timeline, the dodgier my nail art becomes.  In those early days I just had no idea how to compose or properly light a photo, or even how to hold my hand!  It’s not a problem if I just hold it upside down, right?

Below you’ll find a number of collages I created highlighting many – but not all – of the food-related manicures I’ve done over five years of blogging, divided by theme.  Or in this case, divided by grocery department.  I hope you enjoy this look into a huge, happy part of my life!  And if you’d like to take a closer peek at any of these posts, please just click on the “Food and Candy Designs” tag on the right-hand side of the page.  Now someone break out the cake to celebrate this thing so I can eat it…and then paint it on my nails. 😉  To another five years!

Finger Candy

5th Anniversary Candy Collage

Baked Goods

5th Anniversary Baked Goods Collage

Fresh and Fruity (and Veggie-y)

5th Anniversary Fruit and Veg Collage

Drinky Drinky

5th Anniversary Beverage Collage

Savoury Snacks

5th Anniversary Savoury Collage

Icy Sweets

5th Anniversary Icy Sweets Collage

SMT Scent Summit

SMT - Scent Summit Main Photo

Good morning, friends, and welcome, here in Ontario, to another swelteringly hot summer day.  We’re deep in the heat right now and just coming off a long weekend marred by inconsiderate, unpleasant weather, so everyone should be in a super great mood today!  So what better time to plan out a big scented wax order with Sniff My Tarts, who are opening for customs this coming Saturday?  I’d actually say it’s the perfect time for such an activity (anything that keeps you quiet, seated and three inches off the air conditioner, right?) especially with a couple of cool blogger friends and I guiding you through the madness.

I’ve posted about Sniff My Tarts before; I’ve placed two custom orders with them in the past, and shipping SNAFUs aside, I have always been very pleased with my products.  But jumping into the deep end of the custom wax world, creating scent blends when you’ve no idea what the individual notes even smell like in the first place, can be a confusing, daunting prospect.  Which is why a couple of blogging buddies and I have teamed up to share our custom ordering experiences, including our successful scent blends, in the hopes that you, too, can join in on the fun and mayhem this coming Saturday.

First, the pertinent details.  Sniff My Tarts will open for custom orders twice on Saturday, August 11th, once in the morning between 9 am and 10 am EST, and again in the evening between 7 pm and 8 pm EST.  Custom orders are taken on a first come, first served basis, and turnaround times for this popular ordering event (which SMT only holds twice a year) can be substantial – my last custom order took six months to finally make its way to my doorstep.  An order with SMT is very much a set-it-and-forget-it kind of proposition, as in make your choices, place your order, pay your money and then be utterly surprised and delighted when a gigantic box of wax that you had somehow forgotten about materializes on your doorstep in some months’ time.

If you go over to Sniff My Tart’s website and click on the “Custom” button on the left-hand side of the page, you’ll see the many formats that SMT is making available for customs – everything from multi-scent chunks, loaves and those incredible decorated sheet cakes, to chunky frosted sugar cookies, mini muffins and dainty macaroons.  Note that some forms are only available in individual scents (the macaroons), while others can accommodate blends of up to four different scents (pretty well everything else.)

After choosing the type of wax you’d like (I’m quite partial to those lovely decorated sheet cakes), begin to compose your scent blends.  You can find a comprehensive list (actually two lists) of SMT’s offered scents and their descriptions at the top of their homepage.  Keep in mind that the order in which you choose your scents does affect the outcome of your scent blends – the first scent you choose (sometimes called the overpour) will be the most dominant scent, with the second and third scents pulling up the rear.  So if you’re looking at a blend – say, this Mango Sorbet/Vanilla Waffle Cone/Coconut Cream Pie beaut I created some orders back – and thinking to yourself, “That sounds great, but I’m not sure I want that much Mango Sorbet,” move the scent notes around so the Mango Sorbet is in the third scent slot.  These are your custom creations – do with them what you will!

Birthday Sheet Cake

Having said all that, I’m also all too aware that creating your own delicious-smelling blends is a daunting, somehow needlessly complicated prospect, particularly if you’ve never done it before.  Which is precisely why I’ve composed this handy dandy list of some of my favourite SMT scents to help guide you through the seemingly endless blending possibilities.  Some of these creations are tried and true favourites – the Mango Sorbet blend, the Apple Cider Latte/Ice Cream Scoop Bread/Vanilla Waffle Cone blend, anything involving Marshmallow Noel and Candy – while others are hopeful shots in the dark.  What I do know for certain is if we weren’t talking about wax here, I’d want to eat every single thing on this list!

SMT - Sandra's Picks

If you don’t care for my BAKERY ALL THE THINGS approach to home fragrance, I’d invite you to peruse the infinitely more diversified scent lists of my blogging buddies Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid.  Over on both blogs you’ll find similar charts laying out Jay’s blends (fresh, airy, herbal blends shot through with fresh fruit and the barest bit of bakery) and Julie’s (natural, earthy, herbal scents heaped with mounts of mint and sweet Pink Sugar.)  Both have excellent, deeply varied tastes in fragrance, and they both like to experiment and blend outside the box (whereas seemingly the only requirement to me liking a scent blend is whether it could also possibly be mistaken for some sort of delicious dessert.)  And not for nothing, but they’re both pretty cool people with awesome blogs!  So please do check out Jay and Julie’s blogs for awesome additional scent blends, as well as their thoughts on the SMT custom dance.

As always, if you have any questions or would like a bit of guidance as you navigate the choppy waters of a custom wax sale, please do drop any one of us a comment and we’ll be happy to assist.  Who knows, we might even pick up some heretofore undiscovered scent blends.  Happy planning, friends!