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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A Bounty of Bath & Body Works

BBW Order 1

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that at the end of last month, I failed to post my as-promised accounting of our new-and-improved actual accounting (with optional scented wax discoveries, should any delicious new scent combinations be discovered as I melt through my once giant, now dwindling collection.)  That’s because I was waiting on the delivery of something very cool and not entirely inexpensive that we were able to purchase precisely because we’ve been so very circumspect with our money this year in the first place.  It’s a financial victory, and I’d love to share it with you!  Which of course means it’s been tied up in the vagaries of both the American and Canadian postal systems now for about five weeks straight.  So perhaps next month?  I really can’t wait to share this one with you; I’m incredibly proud of us!

But as for the end of July, I’ve made outstanding progress on both abstaining from any new purchases of wax or bath and beauty items AND using up that which I’ve already bought.  This month we finally used up the final bar of soap from a large and rather ill-considered purchase I made last year, and I’m getting down to such dregs in my wax collection, I have nothing noteworthy to share with you on that front either!

And so with Bath & Body Works releasing a number of delicious-smelling scents from their upcoming Fall collection, as well as the sudden reappearance of a favourite candle scent that I thought I had missed out on earlier this year (Pink Apple Punch, a sweet, Pink Sands (I swear!) tinged blend of apples and honeydew melon) the time seemed right to place an order for some scented goodies for the first time since November 2017.  Cracking open the box felt like such an indulgence!  It reminded me that shopping can be fun again when you stop compulsively buying and start purchasing because you really need and can accommodate a thing.

I was clearly of a real mind for apples with this order, between the Pink Apple Punch candles (two of them, in the most gorgeous rose red frosted jars) and the foaming hand soaps in Pumpkin Apple (what fruity, lightly spiced, barely bakery-type sorcery is at work here?!), Afternoon Apple Picking (crisp Mac apples warmed from the sun) and Red Apples & Spice (a delicious, Christmasey-smelling blend of sweet apples and rich mulling spices.)  But seeing as the soaps were available on one of those buy-three-get-six-for-free kind of deals (joke; they were actually six for $18) I purchased three more hand soaps in Best Day (a light raspberry sorbet scent), Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte (a perennial Fall favourite) and Life is Sweet (a toasty waffle cone scent.)  Great picks, all, and I guarantee you they’ll see a lot of hand-washing action.

BBW Order 2

Next month I really hope to have something super cool to share with you, the kind of thing that will hopefully remind you (as it did for me) that if you put your mind to what seems like an unreachable financial goal, and make just a few not-so-sacrificial sacrifices to reach that goal, you can make some very good things happen. 🙂

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 the 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. 😉

Candy-Coated Customs: A Haul Post

Pepp Framed SMT main collage

Hey, look what finally showed itself, my MIA Sniff My Tarts custom order!  I placed this order in the summer at the end of June, but through a series of misadventures (some mine, some Sniff My Tarts’, some the doing of the always reliable postal service) it did not come into my possession until two weeks ago.  But it’s here now, and I have some nice blends to share with you, should you share my affinity for sweet, fruity bakery and other candy-coated treats.

But before the pretty, a word to the shopping wise: No matter how you’re shopping – virtually or in the really real world – stay on top of your purchases, particularly if they are of the pre-order or money-down variety.  And if something seems off – say, the order you placed at nearly the same time stamp as a friend, who received her order months earlier? – politely check in with the vendor to see what’s what.  Odds are it’s fallen through the cracks somewhere in the process, and it’s up to you to start hunting it down.

Okay, on with the pretty!  And this order was sooo pretty; colourful, eye-catching and nicely packed so as to preserve all that nice design work.  I was delighted with everything I pulled out of the box, particularly the minty sheet cakes, one of which was broken, true, but that just made it easier to immediately sacrifice it to the wax gods as a sweetly scented offering to the upcoming holidays.  I’ve actually already melted through a solid third of it, and it’s only been two weeks.  Better slow down, Tilly!  There is such a thing as too much mint (NEVER!)

SMT Sheet Cakes Collage

Mmm, and what delicious choices they were, too, although very similar in terms of composition.  What can I say, I clearly was of a mind for mint when I placed this customs order.  On the left we have my attempt at a recreation of Rosegirls’ Peppermint Coconut Mallow, using a blend of Sniff My Tarts’ Peppermint, Sticky Marshmallow and Coconut Cream Pie.  On immediate cold I find the Coconut Cream Pie to be largely absent, although it may be adding an as-yet-undetected creaminess to an otherwise delicious blend of wintery peppermint and whipped marshmallow fluff.  And look at those darn cute little embellishments!

Peppermint Noel Sheet Cake

The second decorated sheet cake I got was a straight-up blend of Marshmallow Noel & Candy (a scrumptious combo of Vanilla Bean Noel and icy peppermint) and Marshmallow Fluff.  This smells quite a bit like perennial Bath & Body Works’ Christmas favourite, Twisted Peppermint.  Or a mint Tic Tac!  I love both, so you’ve got no complaints from me.

Peppermint Mallow Sheet Cake

And no Sniff My Tarts customs order would be complete without at least a handful of delightfully delicious (and absolutely gigantic) frosted sugar cookies.  Each one of these cookies, which span my palm, will give me five or six melts.

Framed Frosted Cookies

The slam dunks of this order were Blackberry, Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone (a tart, almost tea-like fruit blended with toasty vanilla bakery, and oh holy cow is it great), Circus Concession and Blueberry Noel (candy apple-topped funnel cakes enhanced with sweet blueberry cream) and Christmas Wish and Vanilla Butter Fudge (pine, peppermint and vanilla sugar cookies iced with smooth butter fudge.)

Ever so slightly less successful, but still quite good, are Pink Sands and Red Delicious Apple (ooh, this one was nearly perfect, but it needs a slightly tarter, more candied scent than Red Delicious) and Lemon Curd, Marshmallow Fluff and Coconut Cream Pie (the Mystery of the Missing Coconut Cream Pie is once again upon us, leaving us with one super puckery, ultra lemony melt.)

The little frosted baby cookies are in Marshmallow Noel & Candy all by its lonesome.  Because simple is highly underrated.

Finally, I ordered a number of singular scents (or scent blends) in these adorable piped hearts, which came in just the loveliest assortment of Fall hues – the rosy pinks and caramel browns are just so beautiful together.  Each one of these hearts will give me three to four melts, depending on the strength of the blend.

Framed Piped Hearts

The big hit of this order was Apple Cider Latte, on whose many delicious qualities I already expounded here.  Of the others, Honey Gingerbread ranks a close, warmly spiced (but not spicy) second, with Under the Big Top (a creamy blend of Circus Concession and Vanilla Smoothie) joining them on the podium in third.  Pumpkin Marshmallow Latte is scrumptious, and actually smells like sweetened pumpkin puree, and although I think Willow’s Cuppy Cake could benefit from a lot more presence (it’s quite light on cold) I love its beguiling bakery blend of what I swear is white cake, strawberries and peppermint?  Or is that just residual mint from the two sheet cakes?  That only affected this one scent?  Hmm, seems unlikely.  And while I know that Ultimate Bakery is a much-loved favourite, I didn’t quite care for its Pink Sugar-laced blend of cinnamon apples and sugar cookies.  Must be that dastardly Pink Sugar at work again; we’ve tried so many times to be pals, and it just never works out.

So there we have it, my second Sniff My Tarts custom order.  ‘Twasn’t without its difficulties, but now that it’s here in my hot little burners, I’m pleased as punch with my choices.

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.

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.

The Secret Bathing Garden: A Haul Post

TBG Main Photo

Or not-so-secret, as here it is, in all its deliciously-scented glory. 🙂

So it would appear that my previous protestations that I am not a beauty product person were weak efforts made in total vain, because you guys, look at all the pretty beauty products!  I bought so much!  Not one demonstrable ounce of willpower on display, not a one.  Birthday mad money very well spent.

This is the part where I’m supposed to scold myself for glorifying capitalism and mindless retail expenditures. Except it wasn’t mindless!  For that you’ll have to check out this fun story of the time I narcotics-shopped my way into a $200 bounty of shimmery unicorn makeup. 😉

But regardless of where you stand on the “My, that was a silly purchase” spectrum, I think we can all agree that these Bathing Garden items, a lovely treat facilitated by one of my sweet online friends, are absolutely beautiful and well-deserving of a SHOWING OF THE STUFF.  So let’s show it!

TBG Scrubs Collage

First up, we have four lovely sugar scrubs in, from left to right, Sugared Pie Crust, Tea Party with Alice, Fried Candy Donut and Parisian Strawberry Fields.  Shannon, the mistress of all things Bathing Garden, makes the most gorgeous scrubs – they’re finely textured, beautifully scented and not too oily, perfect for everyday use.  I tore through the two scrubs I purchased some months ago with great haste – not too surprising given that I used them (and continue to use them) to buff my tired tootsies every day as a nice little post-workout treat.  I’m really the sweetest smelling, most well-exfoliated lass in the land. 🙂  These 8 oz. scrubs were $9.00 US each.

TBG Pie Time

Next up, I spy with my little eye something that is…pie!  Regrettably non-edible, but that may be a blessing in disguise when you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, and also when the items in question smell as delicious as this bundle of Sugared Pie Crust sweets.  Not to get all rapturous on you or anything, but these items – the sugar scrub we saw before, a light lotion, a wax clamshell and that adorable little lattice-topped pie slice – smell like sex on stilts.  Sugared Pie Crust, you incredible bakery beast, where have you been all my life?!

Here’s the part where I killjoy all over your piqued interest by noting that this scent is no longer available. Offered as part of The Bathing Garden’s monthly featured scent bundle, Sugared Pie Crust was a bit of a one-and-done (or a one-and-done…for now; these popular scents tend to make annual reappearances.)  The items in each bundle vary slightly from month to month (May’s featured the most adorable little popsicle-shaped wax tarts and a lush whipped soap) but this particular assortment of goodies retailed for $18.50.

TBG Tea Collage

Then following pie time comes tea time – a playing card-shaped wax tart and a tri-layered sugar scrub in Tea Party with Alice, a honeyed tea, clotted cream and strawberry jam fragrance.  Both items are beautiful (even the scrub, with its sadly melted rosebud embellishment) but I’m quite undecided on the scent.  To my nose, the honeyed cream and tea layers combine to create something unpleasantly sour and astringent – it’s an odd combination somewhat redeemed by the rich strawberry jam scent.  The sugar scrub, which we saw above with its yummy sisters, was $9.00, and the gorgeous tri-layered tart, sprinkled with beautiful eye-catching embellishments, was $3.00.

And since no Bathing Garden order would be complete without at least a few clamshells, I picked up some of those.  Plus, you know, nine or 10 others. 😉  These clamshells were $3.75 each.

TBG Clamshells 1 LabelBare Collage

Representing Team Brown, we have Fried Candy Donut, a favourite wildberry donut scent, Eat Me, a complex, beguiling blend of what I swear is chocolate and wood shavings, and that glorious Sugared Pie Crust fragrance, on whose many delicious-smelling qualities I have already expounded.

TBG Clamshells 2 LabelBare Collage

From the recently-retired Spring Collection, we have Sweet Green, a bracingly strong blend of mint, clover and other grassy things, Pomegranate Lime Sweet Tarte, a delightfully yummy fragrance that smells exactly like all four of those descriptors, and Spring Fling, a mild blend of citrus and cupcakes.

TBG Clamshells 3 LabelBare Collage

Next, we have three delicious new favourites, Cheshire Cat, a fun and fruity combination of lemon, raspberry and vanilla, Happy Un-Birthday, a not-so-basic blend of yellow cake topped with mounds of cotton candy icing, and Parisian Strawberry Fields, a super fresh and sweet-tart blend of strawberries and mangoes. Fantastic, all!

TBG Clamshells 4 LabelBare Collage

Finally, we have my three favourite clamshells of this order, both in terms of fragrance and aesthetics, Clowning Around, an I-shouldn’t-like-this blend of popcorn, candy apples and cotton candy, Knave of Hearts, a candy sweet blend of fresh strawberries and brown sugar coconut cake, and Caterpillar Mischief, a sweet and creamy combination of mild coconut cream and apricot. Mushroom-induced fissure notwithstanding, just look at this gorgeous tart!  It’s stupendously beautiful, even a tiny wee bit roughed-up. Tiny wax works of art.

Caterpillar Mischief

Finally-finally, we come to my favourite part of any Bathing Garden order, the free samples and fun little extras.  I suspect I am not alone in my outright awe of Shannon’s generosity, which is second to none – at least one full size item of her choice comes with any order over $90.00, and that’s in addition to the many, many, many sample size items that routinely come with each order as delightful little enablers. 😉

As this order was a little bit mine and a little bit my friend’s, we split the freebies roughly 50/50.  There were, however, a number of scents that simply didn’t speak to me – that happens when 3/4 of the scents you like have the word “cookie” somewhere in their name.  So I left those in the possession of my friend, who I know will sniff and suss out their hidden depths and glories far better than I.  So this bounty, which includes one of the full size sugar scrubs we saw before, represents just my half of the extras, and then just a fraction of those (wow, seriously, so many unintentional fractions in that last paragraph!)

TBG Freebies

Generously-provided freebies, clockwise from left to right, include a full size sugar scrub in Parisian Strawberry Fields, a small tri-layered bundt in Cheshire Cat, a sample size sugar scrub in Knave of Hearts (ooh, this one is so delicious in a scrub, and that red velvet hue is to die for!), a small blue and purple bundt in Summer Twilight, a calming berry-lavender blend, a small green rosette in Summer Melon and Mint, a nose-tinglingly yummy combination of watery melons and mint, a large yellow coin in Bee Smitten, a light, honeyed floral, a small yellow rosette in Happy Un-Birthday, a small pink star in Guava Berry Gelato, a popular blend of creamy vanillas and sweet berries, a large pink coin in Sweet Madi, which regrettably smells a bit like plastic disposable diapers (which is pretty rank, but I suppose you can’t win ’em all) and a small blue rosette in Mid-Summer Song, which smells like a memory from my past that I can’t quite put my finger on right now, but which will undoubtedly come to me in the dead of night or some other thoroughly inconvenient moment.

So there we have it, another lovely Bathing Garden order that more than tickles my fancy – it also exfoliates, moisturizes and leaves my fancy smelling just divine, thank you! Secret no more. 😉