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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And Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Collage

I was saying to a friend the other day that despite all manner of great things in my life at the moment – home renovations that are progressing nicely and this blog’s upcoming fifth anniversary, to say nothing of the mini Disney World break we’ll be taking in just two days’ time!!! – I have been feeling wildly out of sorts.  And while I haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact source of my unease, I think a large part of it stems from the fact that for the first time in very nearly a year, I am doing all of the things I once eschewed in an effort to save my body and soul – spending a lot of discretionary money, not monitoring my diet, neglecting my workouts.  I mean, there’s certainly no Caligula-esque bacchanalia going on here, but it does feel quite outside the norm.

Ah, but it’s the great human conundrum to ruminate over, well, everything, so I can still feel quite guilty about all of the above, despite the fact that I’m doing all three of those things (or neglecting to do two, while overindulging in another) precisely because I cut back on our spending and amped up our self-care in the first place – specifically, to have been circumspect enough with our money that we were able to book four Disney trips in one year, including an unexpected interim trip this coming long weekend.  And then being in good enough physical health to actually go and comfortably enjoy ourselves (don’t laugh, there was definitely a time not that long ago that I absolutely felt too zaftig for Disney.)

But spending begets spending, and in the past few weeks as we’ve been preparing for our trip, I feel like our spending has gotten a bit out of control, and it’s making me quite twitchy.  Of course, “out of control” is an assessment made purely in the mind of the beholder, but if you’ve spent the past year buying virtually nothing but the essentials, purchasing anything that’s not toilet paper or food feels weirdly illicit, and not in a good way.  So lots of guilt there.  I even have guilt over the two and only wax orders I placed earlier this month, and I’ve been waiting for them since November of last year!

Then I’ve just been having a really tough time maintaining my dieting motivation.  Part of that is owing to the many disruptions going on in my life, both fun (Disney!) and not so fun (anything involving concrete filler.)  I thrive on structure and consistency, and neither travel nor renovations aid in either of those things.  And I’ve been slacking hard on my workouts for no good reason other than being just dog tired from the endless up-and-down that is laying new flooring.  I guess I could call those squats?

All that to say I plan on doing better, starting immediately – perhaps even starting with Disney (I have this maybe not so crazy idea to develop a diet and exercise plan around Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.)  But also do better in the sense that I must cut myself some slack and focus on the positives of which I am so proud.  Positives like the fact that we have bought and paid for four Disney vacations in one year.  Positives like the fact that I have spent just $250 on scented wax this year, as opposed to the significantly higher amount I spent the year previous.  Positives like the fact that none of the stuff we’re buying for our trip (rain ponchos, waterproof footwear, basically anything to keep us from drowning in Florida’s swampy humidity) is disposable, and we’ve built some awesome (and awesomely functional) park bags for our vacations going forward.  Positives like the fact that I know both Mr. Finger Candy and I have lost weight since our Christmas 2017 trip, and that this motivational blip too shall pass.  Onwards and upwards.  But maybe not outwards. 😉

Another positive?  Continuing on with my low-buy no-buy.  So true, I did make those two wax purchases, one a custom order with Sniff My Tarts and another a Melting Duck order containing Haunted. Mansion. wax, but neither one will be showing its face around here before Halloween.  And so with nothing new coming in, I’ve continued to diligently melt through the old, whittling my once quite unmanageable stash down to something approaching reasonable.  Actually, more than reasonable; I now have so few Mini Melters, creating complimentary scent blends is becoming something of a dicey chore.  But not undoable – and here’s some of the better scent blends I’ve come up with as I scrape the bottom of the metaphorical wax bucket.

Blackberry/Blueberry Muffin/Cotton Candy Frosting/Raspberry Sauce

Berry Candy Floss 2

This smells like berry-flavoured candy floss.  Very sweet and fruity, with that tart berry kick.  And not a bit of my beloved Marshmallow Smoothie to be found.  Because I used it all up weeks ago. 😦

Gilligan’s Brew/Royal Sugar Cookie/Waffle Cone

Coconut Crunch Cookies 2

I call this one Coconut Cookie Cone, because it smells like all of the above!

Apple Clove Butter/Lambeau Leap/Vanilla Bean Noel

Lambeau Leap Plus 2

Getting a jump on the Fall scent blends with this crisp, Sweater Weather-based fragrance.  Lambeau Leap is a blend of three Bath and Body Works scents, Sweater Weather, a juniper berry scent, Cider Lane, a spicy apple cider blend, and Vanilla Bean Noel, a caramel cookie and musk scent, although I mainly get that bracingly strong Sweater Weather note.  So I amped up the two “missing” scents with this Mini Melter blend of Lambeau Leap, Apple Clove Butter, a warm, slightly spicy apple scent, and Vanilla Bean Noel.  Ahh, much better.

Raspberry Sauce/Vanilla Bean Noel/Waffle Cone

Raspberries and Cream Cone 2

And all will be right in the world so long as I have my beloved Raspberry Sauce.  I think I have maybe six or seven little pieces left, and when that’s done, there will be another order placed immediately.  And I won’t feel the least bit guilty about THAT one. 😉  This scrumptious blend smells like raspberry cream ice cream in a toasted vanilla waffle cone.  Yuh-um!

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!

Wake Up and Smell the Stupidity

Wax Collage

Also the scented wax coffee blends, but more on those in a second.

In my end-of-the-month spending assessment for March, I indicated that I hadn’t yet worked up the nerve to address the spend-a-thon I enthusiastically undertook in 2017 in any real detail.  Frankly, I was scared.  It’s difficult to confront hard and unflattering financial truths, isn’t it?  But Mr. Finger Candy and I recently made some smarter-than-usual financial decisions, and they have paid off in our ability to hopefully very soon book a second, interim Disney vacation between now and our bought-and-paid-for trip at the end of the year.  We’re even looking into becoming annual passholders.  This would have been completely incomprehensible this time last year for a wealth of reasons, including our actual wealth – hard to go on lots of fun Disney vacations when every cent you’ve got (and plenty of those you haven’t) goes into wax or nail polish or streamable media or video games.

So I took the plunge, and the total as represented through my PayPal account alone was startling – over $5,000 Canadian.  Feel free to let your jaw rest there on the floor for a bit – mine certainly took a while to rejoin the rest of my wide open mouth.  Distressingly enough, that $5,000 doesn’t even represent the purchases I made on a credit card, or the almost vulgar amount of shipping and customs fees I paid out of pocket.  Those alone could total in the thousands.

So yes, this was a hugely unflattering look into last year’s apparent total abdication of financial responsibility, a state we’re only now emerging from thanks to a lot of “sacrifice” and daily diligence.  But it was also a necessary peek behind the curtain, where of course there was a wizard furiously pulling the levers, a nasty little gremlin in dinky short pants who encouraged us to replace life with things.  Turns out, neither one of us was particularly enjoying the gremlin’s not-so-sage counsel, which is the moment we decided to really turn things around.

I love my nail polish and my scented wax and Mr. Finger Candy loves his Apple purchases and his GTA DLC, but I think life experiences, as well as the comforting assurance that your finances are not a total clusterbiff, are more important to us now.  God, getting old can be such a drag, suddenly you’ve got to be all responsible and shit. 😉

As always, some of that responsibility is manifested in the mantra of “Don’t buy more; just use what you’ve got.”  I’ve been following this sage advice for a while now, picking up books that have been sitting on the shelf for years, watching movies that have been sitting on the shelf for even longer and melting through my formerly extensive collection of scented wax.  At the beginning of all of this, I estimated that I probably had enough wax on hand to keep me going for eight or nine months.  Nine months may have been a bit of a reach, but eight is looking doable.  I very much hope the end coincides with a really fantastic Rosegirls sale, or a SMT customs opening.  My Mini Melter cupboard is beginning to run bare (not an actual cupboard; I didn’t go that hog wild!)

And the cupboard is running bare because I have been going nuts on the Mini Melter blends, conjuring up all sorts of fun creations in an effort to not deplete any one scent category completely.  Which didn’t stop me from going further nutso on the coffee blends this month – apparently I was really feelin’ the java!  Here are some of the more successful scent blends I came up with, in case you too feel like getting experimental with your scented caffeine.

Absolute Coffee/Marshmallow Smoothie/Monster Cookie/Raspberry Sauce

Wax 3.1

Starting with a tried and true favourite, we have the pleasant bitterness of Absolute Coffee as set against warm brown sugar cookies, fluffy marshmallow cream and tangy, ultra fruity raspberry drizzle.  Egads, this is a yummy blend!  You’ll note that save for one bakery-heavy combination, everything I’ve highlighted here is a fruit-and-coffee combo.  Very strange, as I generally loathe flavoured coffee, particularly the ones that are supposed to smell like fruit (my husband used to love the stuff; I still kept him.) 😉

Blackberry/Vanilla Hazelnut Latte

Wax 2.1

This juicy, fruity treat is equally delicious when paired with scrumptious Marshmallow Smoothie, but I’m down to my last three pieces of my Precious, so I must conserve.  But this blend doesn’t suffer from a lack of creaminess; there’s plenty of that provided by the rich Vanilla Hazelnut Latte, which holds its own nicely against the super juicy Blackberry.

Royal Sugar Cookie/Snickerdoodle Latte/Waffle Cone

Wax 4.1

Next up we have what is probably my least favourite of the four blends, and that’s because I’ve never been fond of Snickerdoodle Latte, the scent that forms the coffee base of this sweet bakery treat.  To me, it’s always smelled very sweet, very powdery and very phony – like Swiss Miss instant coffee mix.  It fared a little better paired alongside buttery Royal Sugar Cookie and toasty, sugary Waffle Cone, but it’ll never be a favourite.

Absolute Coffee/Apple Clove Butter/Marshmallow Smoothie/Monster Cookie

Wax 1.1

Finally, saving perhaps the very best for last, we have what should be an incongruous mix of bracingly strong coffee, warm and creamy bakery and spiced apples?  Sounds abhorrent, smells positively delicious, like a warm, cakey apple fritter.  It’s the closest thing to a total dupe of a favourite Sniff My Tarts custom – very fortunate, as I’m running low on that gem as well.  Fruit and coffee – seriously, who knew?!

Next month/this month?  More of the same financial goodness and cents sensibility, only this time accompanied by slightly fewer coffee-based blends – I’m in danger of running out!  Perhaps an “Anything but Marshmallow” (and Coffee!) challenge would stretch my blending legs, hmm? 🙂

Keep Climbing That Mountain

I experienced both the pros and cons of my low buy-turned-no buy this month when I first found myself feeling unflatteringly resentful about all of the things other people have been buying and I have not, and then wildly proud that because of our commitment to cutting back on unnecessary discretionary spending, we have already been able to pay for half of our now-booked Disney anniversary trip!  I’m so proud of this accomplishment, and it came about at just the right moment, precisely as our joint motivation was really beginning to wane.  Being financially virtuous is kind of a pain in the arse, and it’s no fun abstaining from the fun things in life, even with the promise of even funner things in the future.  So quite literally being able to put my money where my mouth is is a great feeling indeed. 🙂

We're goin back to Disney!

Other positives to this unintended no buy of a low buy?  Learning to identify other poor or lacking financial habits outside of the area of discretionary spending.  That’s one spending foe I thankfully seem to have vanquished – I haven’t made a wax purchase in over three months, and I doubt I’ve spent more than $75 on the non-essentials of life during that time either.  And as for the essentials, I’ve now begun paying a directed mind to them, looking for ways to maximize our hard-earned money.  But man, being virtuous truly sucks, and I miss the little rush that accompanies a new purchase.

However – and this would be another unintended positive – I don’t miss coughing up for exorbitant shipping fees on my online purchases.  International shipping fees are just beastly, and I can’t bring myself, even now with the benefit of hindsight and some gained wisdom, to make a full accounting of the shipping and customs fees I paid in 2017.  I have a feeling the number is terrifying.  And while we’re on the subject, I absolutely do not miss dealing with the always-clumsy postal system, nor do I miss guiltily breaking down reams of cardboard boxes to sneak out in stages so my neighbours don’t think I’m some sort of weird box hoarder (a candle hoarder, sure, but cardboard?  Never!)

And as I have noted the past three months running, a wonderful positive of the no buy-low buy is that I’m actually using up that which I did buy; my once fit-to-bursting stores are now merely bursting. 😉 And as I promised scent highlights, here’s one from this month – Rosegirls’ Mini Melters in the comfortingly cozy blend of Birthday Cake, Marshmallow Smoothie and Vanilla Bean Noel.  I actually used to really dislike Vanilla Bean Noel; there’s a musky note to it that does not always play well with some of the juicy fruit and berry scents I prefer.  But it is so darn scrumptious on its own, and it’s amazing in combination with fluffy marshmallow and rich, frosted cake.  This is a simple, “warm hug” kind of a scent – it just makes you feel cared for and comfortable.  Not bad work from a few hunks of scented wax!

VBN

Next month I really hope to find a bit of balance in my spending habits.  As in, I should not feel absolutely ridden with guilt because we ate out once in the past month.  Life happens and money needs to be spent – now I just need to learn to find a happy medium between the two states.  To another month of continued positive financial growth!

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!

Mixing In and Melting Down: A Rosegirls Haul

Mini Melters Main Collage

Rosegirls somewhat recently began offering all-the-time Mini Melters, delicious little chunks of blendable wax in single scents or more complex scent blends.  With a number of limited edition summer blends on offer tempting my…nosebuds?…I decided to place a large-ish order to replace the mounds of Mini Melters I’ve melted over the last two years (what can I say, I like expeeri-mintin’ with my scents.)  First let’s check out my order, and then we’ll take a peek at some scrumptious wax “recipes” at the bottom of this post. 🙂

It’s Pride Parade Day in my city, so it’s fitting that we’re starting off with the rainbow hues, a mostly fruity mix of citrus, berries and a little bit of bakery.

Rainbow Mini Melters Collage with Bags

Kaelyn’s Coconut Berry Patch – named after Rosegirls proprietess Jenny Oaks’ daughter, this fruity, creamy and coconutty scent features Kaelyn’s Berry Patch, a blend of Raspberry Sauce and I-don’t-know-what-delicious-else (Strawberry Shortcake?) and super smooth and creamy Gilligan’s Brew, a fantastic coconut cream scent.  A should-have-bought-more-than-one-bag-er.

Pink Sands in the Sun – well, there always has to be one misfire per order, that scent you completely overshoot your comfort level on.  Pink Sands in the Sun would be that scent for me, a too-floral, too-tropical, too-grandmotherly blend of a couple of popular Yankee Candle scents, Pink Sands and Sun & Sands.  Pink Sands is a favourite – I particularly like pairing it with sweet-tart fruit scents – but Sun & Sands, which dominates this blend, is no bueno.  This is just a whole lot of fragrance; too much for me.

Raspberry Coconut – Raspberry Zingers, I believe they’re called – this lovely scent smells like Raspberry Zingers.  Fantastic in combination with Mango Sorbet, and the prettiest pale pink hue.

Florida Key Lime Pie – I’m picky about my citrus scents, particularly lemons and limes, which nine times out of 10 wind up smelling like powdery, off-brand cleaning products. But Florida Key Lime Pie is a winner, a not-too-sweet, not-too-tart blend of lime juice and crunchy graham cracker crust, with none of those unpleasant sour notes I always associate with cream pie-type scents.

Blueberry Muffin – mostly blueberry, not much muffin, but always delicious, and a fantastically fruity delight.

Blackberry – all fruit, no floral, and no Jam Butter Cookies business either – this juicy blackberry is the real (and realistic) deal.

Birthday Cake – confetti cake iced with mounds of sweet vanilla frosting.  This is a great birthday cake scent, not the least bit plasticky or margarine-y.

Peeps Cake – speaking of plastic scents, the last Peeps blend I tried (vendor name withheld to protect the yucky) smelled like burnt plastic for the first five minutes of melting, and then like absolutely nothing at all. This Peeps scent (a blend of yellow cake and sweet marshmallow Peeps) is a gooey marshmallow delight, strong and long-lasting. I particularly like the multi-coloured pastel chunks.

Then representing Team Brown we have a wide array of bakery blenders, from strong chocolates and coffees, to creamy marshmallows and sharp mints.

Browns Mini Melters Collage with Bags

Hot Fudge Brownie – no Tootsie Roll to see here; this chocolate scent is rich, strong and true.  In combination with creamy Marshmallow Smoothie, I think it will be a scrumptious dupe of Bath and Body Works’ Hot Cocoa and Cream scent.

Absolute Coffee – for Mr. Finger Candy, who adores caffeine in all its forms.  This is a sharp black coffee scent, with a hint of sweet astringency.  Like actual coffee, best served with cream and sugar (actually, that’s BS; I prefer my brewed coffee black.)

Waffle Cone – a bit crunchy, a little buttery and a whole lot sugary, Waffle Cone is the secret ingredient in all my favourite blends.  Want to make virtually any bakery blend instantly and appreciatively better?  Stick it in a Waffle Cone.

Vanilla Hazelnut Latte – sweet, creamy coffee and nuts.  This actually smells quite a bit like a Swiss Miss blend.  Not my favourite scent, but not unpleasant either.

Monster Cookie – I once heard someone describe this scent as the base from which all other cookies spring – chocolate chip cookies without the chips, oatmeal raisin without the oatmeal and…well, you get the idea! Buttery, sugary and sweet, this one is downright edible-smelling.

Vanilla Bean Noel – a Bath and Body Works standard.  Caramel cookies with a touch of musk, if you can wrap your head around that (delicious) weirdness.  Lends everything it touches a smidge of scented sass.

Royal Sugar Cookies – buttery sugar cookies, little-to-no crunch.  Dee-licious.

Marshmallow Smoothie – that unidentifiably delicious and creamy note common to nearly all Rosegirls blends?  Pretty sure it’s Marshmallow Smoothie, a sweet and luscious blend of rich vanilla and sticky marshmallow fluff.  I’ve gone through (*does some quick mental gymnastics*) five bags of Marshmallow Smoothie in the time I’ve been whipping up my own Mini Melter blends.  So if Marshmallow Smoothie sounds like a scent you might be interested in – and I’d definitely recommend it; I put it in virtually everything – I’d nab multiple bags.

Gilligan’s Brew – a fast new favourite, this sumptuous coconut cream pairs perfectly with absolutely everything (mint, fruit, bakery, fresh, earthy – like Marshmallow Smoothie, Gilligan’s Brew is an equal opportunity perfectionist.)  Another stealthy scent – you don’t know what smells so great, but it’s probably Gilligan’s Brew. 🙂

Peppermint – sinus-clearingly good!  Also a vital component of my favourite mint blend of all time, Rosegirls’ Peppermint Coconut Mallow…which, oh hey, look, I’ve got all the ingredients for right here (Peppermint, Gilligan’s Brew and Marshmallow Smoothie.) Handy, handy.

Speaking of ingredients, here are some fabulous wax recipes I “cooked” up using my Mini Melter acquisitions, new and old.  Sniffer-tested all, I can assure you that if you try these blends yourself, you will not be disappointed!

Mini Melters Collage Summer 2017

Americana Muffin – Mac Apple Swizzle Sticks, Blueberry Muffin and Marshmallow Smoothie.

Named after Rosegirls’ Americana blends (red, white and blue combinations such as Americana Wafers and Americana Smoothie) my patriotic pick involves sweet-tart Mac Apple Swizzle Sticks, fruity Blueberry Muffin and creamy Marshmallow Smoothie.  This smelled so delicious – just a bit bakery-ish, with the two sweet fruits present in equal measure.

Raspberry Mocha Monster Madness – Absolute Coffee, Monster Cookie, Raspberry Sauce and Marshmallow Smoothie.

This fantastic blend was created by my coffee-loving husband, and if I sound a bit astonished at that, it’s because I am, as I’m a) not overly fond of coffee scents (although I tolerate them on his behalf just fine) and b) his taste in blends tends to run toward the – how to put this politely? – batshit insane.

But this. is. so. scrumptious!  Creamy, raspberry-infused lattes, which is not an animal I’d care to either drink or smell.  But geez, this blend is great.  Spread the word now – Raspberry Mocha Monster Madness for all!  It’s just a bit fruity and a lot creamy, with a pleasantly sharp little hit of coffee that will make you a true java wax believer.

Coconut Mango Raspberry Cream – Gilligan’s Brew, Raspberry Coconut and Mango Sorbet.

Years ago Rosegirls offered an absolutely divine Raspberry Coconut and Mango Sorbet blend that punched up the fruity side of things with a delicious hit of tropical fruit.  But for this even more scrumptious-er blend, I went nuts for the coconuts, adding a healthy dose of creamy Gillian’s Brew to the already fantastic and fruity combination of mango and raspberry.  Next time I plan on incorporating a hit of toasted Waffle Cone; I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything other than completely wicked.

Coconut Berry Cream – Raspberry Sauce, Blackberry and Gilligan’s Brew.

Rosegirls’ Blackberry is a relatively new addition to their Mini Melters lineup, and it’s a great one – tart and fruity, with an almost licorice-type lean.  It’s also not to be confused with their popular Blackberry Jam Butter Cookies scent, which I think smells like none of those things – I’m definitely in the minority here, but I find it weirdly musty.

But this blend is far from weird or musty, featuring a punchy – but not punch-oid – combination of rich, tart raspberry and fresh blackberry, with a ribbon of smooth coconut cream tying the entire delicious package together in a lush bow.  This is another amazing blend; totally went four-for-four on these blending experiments, didn’t we?

Mini Melters Collage

A huge part of the appeal with Mini Melters is the ability to just roll on up to the site any time and nab your favourites (and a few limited time offerings.)  So if you’ve been scared away in the past by timed openings or any shopping experience that can be compared to competing in the Hunger Games, rest assured that you need not play that game; simply go here and get shopping!  And hopefully enjoy your smell-goods, too. 🙂