Fall Fun Series: The End

fall-collage-again-again

Well, here we are, friends, right at the finish line of the Fall Fun Series, the casual blogging collective I joined up with at the beginning of September.  For the final prompt, we’ve been tasked with wrapping up our experience, and not just the series, but the Fall as a whole.

And mine?  Pretty darn fantastic, actually, because for the first time in many years, I felt compelled to engage with my favourite season.  In years past, I’d look around somewhere about the end of October and realize that without intending to, I had missed it all – the changing leaves, the beautiful, crisp temperatures, the spooky movies and cider and farmers’ markets. The past few years I haven’t even bothered putting up my much-loved Halloween Town, such has been my seasonal malaise (although truly, that’s more a function of the fact that it’s a total pain in the arse to store, assemble and display.)

But that all changed this year (not the Halloween Town thing; it’s still a total pain in my arse.)  And if that’s because of the series, then I’m so glad it happened, because I had a wonderful Fall, engaged in some very enjoyable activities and made a bunch of cool new blogger friends.  So what were some of the neat discoveries I made this Fall, the fun things I took part in?

For one, I apparently really like arranging my wax on cake plates.  I can’t help it; the cute little shapes look like wee pastries!

cake-stand-wax-collage

Then, for the first time in years, I pulled my beloved – but incredibly delicate – Nightmare Before Christmas musical snow globe off the shelf where it normally lives and cleaned it to within an inch of its life (a bit of maintenance I really need to attend to more often.)  The residents of Halloween Town now positively gleam!

nbc-collage

Speaking of, I put out MY Halloween Town for the first time in two or three years. Then at the end of the season, thanks to some lovely weather that made puttering around on my balcony not quite the windswept nightmare it normally is, I was able to very carefully box up my little lighted buildings and pack them snugly away for the winter where they won’t get dirty or damaged or worse.  Having the town out, blinking away creepily from the diningroom table, was such a pleasure this year, but I think I’m enjoying the sense of satisfaction that comes from an organizing job well done even more.

halloween-town-1

In the midst of the Fall Fun Series I also decided to participate in the annual 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, which turned out…totally fine.  I was expecting just complete blogging lunacy, but things worked out rather well, another little feat of organization I’m quite proud of. These Beetlejuice nails were my favourites of the challenge – actually, one of my favourite manicures, period.

beetlejuice-fingers

Outside of my nail art activities, I got a little crafty with it this Fall, mixing together a super easy – and very popular – pumpkin spice sugar scrub, and then a decidedly less popular take on Disney’s LeFou’s Brew, a frozen apple juice beverage topped with marshmallow foam so it looks like a sudsy flagon of ale (it was disgusting, full stop.  Turns out cold marshmallow is a big culinary no-no!)

Then, inspired by the enthusiasm of my Floridian blogging friends who never get to experience the beauty of a cold climate Fall, I made an effort to really appreciate the ever-changing riot of colour going off around me every day, including a stunning blue sky day trip to the Gatineau Hills for a little drive with my parents.

leaf-collage-again

I also melted an absolute ton of wax.  Apple wax, pumpkin wax, apple-pumpkin wax…and these are just the blends I thought to take a photo of!  On the plus side, my apartment smells divine.

super-wax-collage

Then in between the wax and the leaves and the undrinkable marshmallow beverages, I celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary, enjoyed a delicious seasonal bath and spent a fantastic morning out in the country with my husband visiting the little town I grew up in. It was a very good day.

north-gower-collage

And a very good challenge!  If the Fall Fun Series could be called a challenge, which in some respects, it very much was.  Abiding by a set blogging schedule is actually quite challenging, a delicate balancing act between generating content (also known as “living life”) and then writing about it.  It’s not for everybody, but I had a great time, and I’m thankful for the little motivational kick in the pants the series gave me to get out there and enjoy my city during my very favourite time of the year.  To next year’s series (except next time, maybe let’s try winter.  If I smell another apple or pumpkin-scented wax product, I’m gonna keel over!)

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Fall Fun Series: Waxing on About Pumpkins

pumpkin-wax-collage

So I’ve gone totally off script on the Fall Fun Series, writing several posts about one theme (this is my second about pumpkins, for instance) or combining multiple posts into one (that would also be this post, as you’ll see at the end.)  Oh yeah, I’m a blogging rebel!  Or I apparently have a lot to say on the subject of pumpkins?  One or the other.

Let’s start with the pumpkin wax, shall we?  So as it would turn out, pumpkin scents, across multiple vendors, are simply not my jam; I find most of them to be quite sour and a bit headache-inducing.  Other fragrance-philes have probably experienced this, but there’s an odd little thing that happens with home fragrance – particularly complicated, multi-layered bakery blends – where you conflate what sounds yummy to the tummy with what might actually be pleasing to the nose.  So a pumpkin cream cheese smoothie may sound pretty delicious as a snack, but in scent reality, it’s a little less scrumptious.  So that’s how I wound up with a number of pumpkin-based scents that I’m not extraordinarily fond of, although I’ve no doubt there are other people out there for whom pumpkin scents are the axis on which the scent world turns.  Told you – odd!

And so for those folks, here are some of the pumpkin scents I melted this week that I enjoyed, but which unfortunately didn’t set my world on fire (wah-waaaaahhhh.)

The top left-hand photo in the header collage is a scent I melted through rather quickly this year, Rosegirls’ Pumpkin Blueberry Cobbler.  I melted this blend for the Fall bakery prompt some weeks back, and I really like it, as that sour pumpkin note I object to is well buried under sweet, delicious blueberries.

pumpkin-blueberry-cobbler

Going clockwise, the second scent is another Rosegirls blend in Pumpkin Pecan Waffles and Butterbrickle. Butterbrickle, for the blissfully unaware, is a kind of butterscotchy scent – I always think of peanut brittle without the nuts.  To my nose, it has a sort of cooked note to it that I’m not hugely fond of; combined with Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, a ubiquitous Fall scent from Bath and Body Works that I’m also not super keen on, this one was a bit of a dud.  Pretty, though, when melted – it looks a bit like orange pekoe tea.

butterbrickle

Continuing on clockwise, the next scent is another blueberry-pumpkin blend from Rosegirls, this time Pumpkin Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes.  This one has grown on me considerably in the last little while, although that sour pumpkin note, in combination with an occasionally sour-smelling cream cheese note, is just far too powerful a blend-mate for the mild blueberry to overcome.  Bit of a bummer, as I purchased an entire bag based on the very delicious-sounding description (see above re: confusing what sounds delicious and what sounds like it will smell delicious.)

cupcake

Finally, we have the Rosegirls blend I mentioned earlier, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Smoothie.  I had the same problem with this wax as I did the Pumpkin Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes, which is not too surprising, as they have a nearly identical scent profile, minus the saving graces of the blueberry.  I turned this one off rather quickly; not my favourite.

cream-cheese

Finally-finally, to satisfy the Fall-in-nature portion of the Fall Fun Series, here is a photo of my parents standing in front of the stunningly gorgeous Gatineau Hills.

gatineau-hills-mom-and-dad

I can see the Hills from my balconies all the time, but the three of us took a bit of a trip up that way the other day to visit the small family cemetery where my grandparents are buried.  We do this a couple of times a year – tidy up their graves, tend the flowers we’ve planted around their stones, get kind of maudlin and weepy.  It’s all very Irish.  But first, the leaves!  And just THE most perfect blue-skied Fall day.

gatineau-hills-1

 

Eye-Searing Citrus

Citrus Smoothie Fingers

Bright!  So bright!  Just a simple, super vibrant combo here of a couple of unnamed neon jellies topped with Candy Lacquer’s ultra fruity Citrus Smoothie glitter topper.  In real life, this manicure is a touch more yellow and a smidge more pink than it’s showing in these photos – with apologies, neons can do some very strange things to a camera’s colour correctness.

Citrus Smoothie Bottle

Fabulously Flaky

Macro Mani

Getting way up close and personal with this flaked-out manicure that was little more than an excuse for me to muck about with a fun, colour-shifting polish and my neglected macro lenses.  And this flakie, Polish Me Silly’s multi-chromatic Party Hearty, is an excellent candidate for the job – it just looks so cool mega magnified, particularly the larger, slightly raggedy rainbow bits.  Love this fun, experimental look. 🙂

Fabulously Flaky Fingers 1

Another Go at the Flaming Moe (OMD3)

Flaming Moe's Collage

No, you’re not imagining things – this really is the second time I’ve done this exact design in as many days.

Perfectionist types, no matter the creative medium they dabble in, may be familiar with that nagging feeling to DO BETTER that accompanies perceived mis-steps, like crappy nail art that you really wish you hadn’t published to your blog before embarking on a serious do-over. Because the first Simpsons manicure that I did just two days ago has been DRIVING ME BANANAS, and I’ve been plotting its re-boot ever since I hit the “Publish” button. So when a bit of poor weather-related downtime presented itself this weekend, I decided to do precisely that, and I’m so much happier with the results! Behold, Flaming Moe’s 2.0!

So what was driving me so first world nail polish bonkers about my first attempt? For starters, and probably most vexing of all, I painted the first version quite late at night and took my photos in my insufficiently lit bathroom. Every other manicure I’ve done for the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge – indeed, every manicure I’ve done for months, period – has had its photos taken outdoors, which when it comes to nail art photography at least is very nearly always preferable to an artificial light source. Painting my nails in the dim evening light also presented its own set of problems, namely that I didn’t notice any until it was far too late to do anything about them, because I couldn’t clearly see my own work. And to that end, I found the gradient I attempted (which was supposed to look like a multi-layered Flaming Moe) muddy, washed out and ill defined.

I also didn’t care for the way I went about the lettering in “Flaming Moe’s” the first time around. For Moe’s V. 1.0, I painted on the yellow lettering and then outlined each letter in orange, which went about as well as you can imagine. Things got quite messy and I basically wound up painting over the yellow lettering with the orange and then filling it back in with the yellow. Very counter-intuitive and a big waste of time and materials.

So for Version 2.0, I went with a completely different approach, starting with a lighter, simpler gradient in basic creme polishes and ending with the easier lettering technique I eventually adopted during my first go-round. MUCH better, and proof positive that with nail art – and so, so many other things in life – you really can learn from your mistakes, even if it’s a couple of days later. 🙂

Flaming Moe's Hand