It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas

big-wax-collage

I’ve never been much of a seasonal melter when it comes to candles and other scented homestuffs; if I feel like scenting my home like a sunny citrus cupcake in the screaming depths of winter, then that’s precisely what I’m going to do!  And no one’s going to tell me I can’t melt peppermint in the middle of the summer (pro tip: peppermint scents are great for clearing up stuffed-up sinuses, as are any fragrances containing eucalyptus or rosemary or camphor.)

But this year, in an effort to melt through my not-inconsiderable wax collection, and perhaps make room for one or two *quite* large pending orders, I pulled all of the candles and wax from my stash that even remotely remind me of the holidays – lots of chocolates and peppermints and spicy cranberries to be melted this season.  And a few honest-to-goodness candles, too, which I don’t actually burn very often, but is there a season more suited to the gorgeous warm glow of gently flickering candlelight?  I suppose perhaps Arbor Day.

So how yummy will my home smell this Christmas?  Very!  Very yummy – and here’s some of the great scents I’ll be melting.

wax-1

Rosegirls’ pie slice in Eggnog Caramel Ice Cream.  I have a real love-hate relationship with eggnog, the beverage, in that it seems like something I should love (sweet n’ spicy, creamy and alcoholic?  Sounds like breakfast!) and yet I hate it with the fire of 1,000 suns (homemade or commercial, it all tastes like bubblegum to me.)  High hopes for this sweet and creamy confection.

ScentSationals clamshells in, top to bottom, Cranapple Poundcake, Perfectly Pine, Cashmere Cream (I normally shy away from linen-type scents, but this one smells like a lighter version of one of my very favourite fragrances, French Bourbon Vanille from Voluspa) and Spice it Up.

K’s Kreations’ tarts in Minty Fluff Cookies (cream) and Who Flakes (green), a cocoa, cookies and pine blend that should not work, but somehow does.  Wax is funny that way.  Then you get a blend that should be a slam dunk, and suddenly you’re wondering how it is that vanilla mocha could wind up smelling like beef jerky.  No, just me?

Most of a Rosegirls’ pie slice in Go Tell It on DK Mountain, a selection from last year’s Super Mario sampler.  This super strong scent is a blend of Pine, Sweater Weather (a cologne-y fragrance from Bath and Body Works) and Vanilla Bean Noel (another BBW fan favourite.)

wax-2

Rosegirls’ ice cream scoop in Marshmallow Spearmint (green) and Frosted Graham Crackers (cream.)

A small scent shot from Sassy Girl Aroma in Sparkling Berry Punch, a bright, fruity fragrance perfect for the New Years Eve countdown.

Rosegirls’ chunks in Peppermint Noel (cream) and Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes and Rice Krispie Treats (green.)

Bath and Body Works’ wax melts in, top to bottom, Spiced Apple Toddy, Vanilla Bean Noel and Frosted Cranberry.  Despite the fact that I really love all three of these fragrances, I wouldn’t recommend Bath and Body Works’ sectional wax melts.  The wax is incredibly soft and very difficult to handle, and all but the Frosted Cranberry shattered to bits when I popped them out of their round clamshells.  Look for the candle or body care variations on these fragrances if you really love them, because the wax melts are a messy miss.

One tiny little chunk of Rosegirls’ Have Yourself a Very Merry Mario Christmas, another holdover from last year’s holiday sampler.  This blend smells like Peppermint Mocha Cookies and Dunk My Donut, a sugared cinnamon donut scent.

wax-3

K’s Kreations’ tarts in Gram’s Maple Fluff, a custom blend I made for my husband inspired by the peanut butter, maple syrup and marshmallow fluff sandwiches his late grandmother used to make him as a kid.  Christmas is nothing if not a time for family, and invoking these kind of scent memories can be its own sweet holiday gift.

Rosegirls’ Mini Melters in Serendipity.  Serendipity is a super popular blend combining coconut, cherries, almond and confectioners sugar.  To me, it smells exactly like my late aunt’s outstanding Christmas fruitcake, a buttery slab of rich, dense poundcake studded with coconut, glace cherries, almonds and only-the-good dried fruit (mangoes, cranberries and pineapple; get the hell out of here, vile peel, you disgust me.)

christmas-candles-pic

A trio of candles from Bath and Body Works (and a sparkly new stand in which to display them) in Twisted Peppermint, Peppermint Marshmallow and Hot Cocoa & Cream, which is the least objectionable chocolate fragrance I’ve ever smelled.  It’s very mild and creamy – none of that Tootsie Roll scent from this guy.  And such pretty labels and jars this year, too.

Group shot!

melts-and-candles-pic

Fall Fun Series: Waxing and Waning in Canada

wax-collage-for-ffs

Today’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series is, deliciously, really no prompt at all – nothing set in stone, simply an open-ended call for any old thing you’d like to gab about.  But seeing as the majority of the participants in the Fall Fun Series are wax bloggers (with the occasional diversion into beauty, decorating and personal care) I thought I’d keep things firmly in the wax wheelhouse and talk about my mostly pretty positive experiences as a Canadian (or international) waxie.

First, reconcile yourself to the fact that most vendors will not ship to you.  For those not familiar with the wax world, there’s two types of vendors, commercial (Yankee Candle, Bath and Body Works, the ScentSationals line sold at Walmart) and indie (Rosegirls, Candles From the Keeping Room, numerous Etsy sellers.)  Simply by virtue of being larger business entities, the Yankees and ScentSationals of the world are able to move their products at fairly reasonable and consistent shipping rates, whereas the indies (many of which are part-time, home-based endeavors) are held hostage to the ever-changing vagaries of the postal (and courier) system. International shipping rates already tend to be appallingly high; I can’t blame these small business owners for steering clear of that nonsense.  Others will ship to Canada, but they’ll charge you exorbitant rates to do so.

Unfortunately, that means there’s a number of highly sought-after indie vendors that are simply off the radar for us Canucks (and no, the stupidity of Canada being considered an international country to the United States when we share the same damn continent is not the least bit lost on me!)

But there’s also a few favourite indie vendors I’ve had lots of success with – they all have extensive scent lists, creative branding and quality products, they provide across-the-board great customer service and, best of all, they all ship to Canada, and at not-too ridiculous prices either!  Here are a few of the indie vendors I’d recommend to any Canuck looking to expand their wax collection.

K’s Kreations

new-ks-picture

Based out of southern Indiana, K’s Kreations is the first indie vendor I ever placed an order with.  Owner Kathy Newman Turza offers her holy-wow-is-it-ever-going-to-end scent list in a number of different forms (traditional candles, wax tarts, rainbow brittle) and even offers an all-the-time custom blending option that I can’t help but think no one knows about, because if they did, the place would be swamped and you’d never be able to get an order in (oops…)  In the year or so that I’ve been a K’s customer, I’ve placed two custom orders, including one for this stupendous blend of Mango Sorbet and Raspberry Zinger that I dubbed Mango SnoBall because I forgot that Zingers and SnoBalls, while sharing a manufacturer (Hostess) and an exterior colour palette (white frosting, pink coconut) are not the same animal.  No matter, this blend is WONDERFUL.  I’m beyond pleased and shall be back for more (next time with the proper nomenclature!)

new-mango-snoball-collage

Unlike many wax vendors, who operate on an announced-event kind of schedule, K’s Kreations is open all the time, and Kathy’s turnaround time (the time between ordering and shipping) is typically only a few days. International customers are asked to contact K’s before placing an order, mostly in an effort to minimize or streamline those often outrageous shipping costs.  Kathy also provides some pretty outstanding customer service – one time a single tart was checked off on my shipping manifest, but absent from the mailed package. I contacted Kathy just to let her know, not really expecting any sort of action, and within about two and a half minutes she had written me an apology e-mail and credited my PayPal account for the lone missing item.  Just a tiny little thing that’s indicative of stellar business values.  If you’re interested in checking out K’s Kreations for yourself, you can find their website here.

Rosegirls

rosegirls-stack

I understand that Rosegirls, a very well regarded wax vendor out of Wisconsin, used to be some of the hardest wax to get your hands on – blink-and-you’ll-miss-them flash openings, bogged-down customs lists and long turnaround times were a barrier for most to Rosegirls’ rich, artfully composed blends.  I certainly did not fare very well my first (and only) custom opening.  Then a year or so ago owner Jenny Oaks overhauled the business model, shelving the things that were eating up too much time (the customs list) while streamlining others (monthly samplers, pre-orders and Mini Melters.)  Now it’s almost criminal how easy it is to get your mitts on some Rosegirls wax; it’s why nearly three-quarters of my wax collection comes direct from Oshkosh, WI!

Well, that and the fact that their wax is really quite terrific, with a signature sort of creaminess to even non-creamy blends that sets them well apart from other vendors.  I’d say that rich, multi-layered bakery blends are the thing Rosegirls is best known for, although they offer a wealth of gorgeous, super unique blends in all sorts of scent profiles, from earthy, to fresh, to floral.  And while I love Rosegirls’ adorable little blended chunks, I’m really quite partial to their Mini Melters, single scents you can melt as one or blend as you see fit.  Like, say, in this no-way-that-worked combo (oh, but it did) of Pomegranate, Mango Sorbet, Lemon Poppyseed Cake, Swizzle Sticks and two colours of Cotton Candy Frosting.

party-in-my-cotton-candy-bungalow

The one pain to dealing with Rosegirls is their wax is available almost exclusively via pre-order, which means you pay now but only receive your items two to eight weeks down the road. I really don’t mind waiting, particularly if it means I don’t have to engage in any silly online retail antics, but I also like the convenience of, say, K’s ready-to-ship model. Rosegirls announces the times for their monthly pre-orders and other openings via their super active Facebook page; if you’re interested in their terrific wax, you can find a link to that page here.

Sassy Girl Aroma

sassy-stack

Sassy Girl is a vendor I’ve only purchased from a handful of times, but I’m super impressed with their quality, complex scent blends and within-the-week turnaround times. Like Rosegirls, Sassy’s wax is available in little blended chunks, as well as about six bajillion other forms (medallions, loafs, sheet cakes and shapes, to name just a few.) Sassy’s wax is a bit harder than, say, Rosegirls in terms of actual composition, although in my experience, that makes for a super long-lasting and incredibly strong product.  My favourite Sassy scent is Blueberry Meringue Cinnamon Crunch Torte, an ungodly sounding combo that is pure, this-shouldn’t-work deliciousness – blueberry bakery, not too sweet, dusted with cinnamon and lemon zest. Yum.

Like K’s, Sassy Girl Aroma operates on an open nearly all the time, ready to ship model, with restocks approximately every three weeks.  If you’d like to check out Sassy’s extensive catalog of products, you can find them here.

I’m sure there are other indie vendors out there that ship to Canada, or might ship to Canada if you were to ask nicely enough (you’d be surprised; some of these small business owners have been tremendously accommodating) but these are the ones who have earned my business, and who I will return to time and again (or until I run out of storage space, which could be quite soon!)

There are also a couple of vendors that do ship to Canada that I declined to discuss here, as their shipping costs are just too prohibitively high (like, $50 US – so about $75 Canadian – to ship two pounds of wax.  As IF.) So an incomplete list.  But a good start for any Canadian waxie looking for a bit of guidance on working your way around the Canuck-friendly wax world.  I hope some of this information helps. 🙂

Pink(berry) Bath

Pink(berry) Bath

While my American friends are off observing Memorial Day in all the usual fashions (I hear beer, beaches and BBQ factor prominently) it’s just another hot and sweaty start to the week everywhere else.  So what better time to highlight the berrylicious bath I took last night; add some more hot and sweaty to this Monday afternoon, whether you’re hanging with friends and family or just trying to make it through the workday without collapsing. Both groups sound like they could use a relaxing bath at the end of the day regardless – here’s some fun suggestions for making it a sweet one.

Pink and fruity was the name of this bath game, with two Comforting Lush products taking centre stage, The Comforter shower cream, a silky, black currant-scented body wash, and its complimentary bubble bar.  This plump bubble bar retails for a whopping $11.95 on Lush.ca; like many of Lush’s products, that’s quite enough to give the average shopper a bit of pause.  But as noted, this bubble bar is a bruiser, weighing in at a solid 200 grams.  I’ll get four to six generously bubble’d baths out of this guy, particularly if I continue to cut off the pieces as I use them and run them under the tap in a strainer, comme ca (far less waste this way; also, I find whole bars don’t hold up well to repeated direct use, taking on an odd, grainy kind of texture):

Comforter Collage

Ambiance and additional fruity smells were provided by a new-to-me wax vendor, Sassy Girl Aroma, and their – wait for this word (fruit) salad – Mango Pomegranate Strawberry Raspberry Guava wax chunks.  This is pretty much the best smelling stuff on earth, crazy name notwithstanding – sweet and tart and super, deliciously fruity.  So good.

The final touch was another Lush product, this time another new-to-me item, a Razzle Dazzle bath oil…bomb?  I’m actually not sure how to categorize this super emollient, neon pink butterball except to say it’s exactly like holding a super emollient, neon pink butterball.  A melt!  It’s a bath melt.  Which means when you drop it into your tub, it floats around, melting down into a little puddle of berry pink oils and other moisturizing stuff.

I can’t say this is an item I’d purchase again.  Retailing for $3.50 a piece, I found this bath melt to be pretty pointless, providing little of the moisturization you’d expect from a 20 gram ball of essential oils (on the plus side, it was delightful to scoop it out of the water and let it run down my hands and arms.)  It also smelled nothing like a raspberry, and was incredibly messy to handle.  Like trying to hold a pat of pink mica-dusted butter.  I’ll also note here that some months back a young woman got into trouble with this exact bath melt after she mistook it for something other than what it was and rubbed it all over her face and body.  You may remember her skin turned an angry neon pink – I believe it, because today I see that in between my fingers, there’s lots of hot pink smudgy bits, and that was with very little direct contact.  So a bit more effort than payoff on this one, unfortunately.

Razzle Dazzle Collage

So there you have it, a fruity refresher fit for the workday warrior seeking relaxation, or the happy holiday-er washing the last bits of sand off the long weekend.  I hope you enjoy it, no matter the day’s activities. 🙂