Fall Fun Fridays: Autumn Dreamer

Another Mansion Collage

Today’s prompt in the blogging series I’m doing with my friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid is to discuss how we’d  put together our perfect Fall event or vacation.  For our dreamer purposes, the real fun in this hypothetical planning process comes from the fact that we are unencumbered by any real world concerns – money (or a lack thereof), professional and personal schedules, ANY of the usual obligations.  So please do check out both Jay and Julie’s blogs to see what sort of autumn shenanigans they’d get up to completely off the chain!

As for me, come on, you know it all begins and ends with Disney’s Haunted Mansion!  A wedding – hmm, a Halloween vow renewal for two Disney nerds coming up on their 14th? –  the actual ceremony of which takes place in the lobby, in front of the fireplace, beneath the changing portrait of Master Gracey.  Afterwards, guests (and did I mention I have a team of makeup artists and costumers on hand to garb our guests in the finest of the Mansion’s moldering fashions?) will pass through the Stretching Room before boarding Doom Buggies draped in swags of jet black roses.  Upon reaching the diningroom reception, guests will disembark (please don’t ask me how they’re going to climb down, particularly encumbered by dusty, gothic fashions; this is my crazy, impractical dream!) and enjoy a sumptuous feast of, well, this (this being a strip loin steak topped with balsamic shallot butter on a bed of four cheese pancetta and arugula pasta from Mama Melrose’s in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.)

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And for my husband and our other vegetarian guests, there will be a plant-based option that tastes EXACTLY like a steak.  Actually, come to think of it, if that were an option, the entire meal would be veggie.  I ultimately kind of hope that if such a thing actually existed, the entire world would be veggie, but I digress.  No one will drop even a crumb of food down their fronts, and everyone will remain on the responsible, pleasant side of intoxication.  Because there be margaritas a-plenty!

Tequila!

After dessert (my mom’s homemade apple pie, 13 tiers of it and miraculously calorie-free) my new-old husband will waltz me around the dance floor, weaving in and out among the ghosts, to the strains of twenty one pilots, who are there because we’re personal friends and I can just call them up like that.  Josh will NOT be wearing a shirt with sleeves.

This actually reminds me of the ever-so-hopeful exploratory phone call Mr. Finger Candy placed to Disney event services when we were planning our wedding nearly 14 years ago.  He had asked me at one point shortly after we got engaged what my dream wedding looked like, and I gave him pretty well all of the details I laid out above (minus the twenty one pilots stuff, although then – and now – I’d also accept Green Day.  Mike Dirnt’s got nice arms for a bassist.)  So one day he rang them up and asked real casual-like how much it would cost to actually rent out the Mansion, or a portion thereof, for a private event.

Later on that evening we both nearly laughed ourselves into asthma attacks as he recounted the very pleasant and also very delusional Disney rep who quoted him a figure just north of 50K, including a whole host of guarantees we had to make regarding room, food and alcohol sales.  And that was for a two or three-hour event, at best, held in the dead of night after park close, and without any access to the actual ride itself.  I suppose if you had REAL money, you could close the entire ride down just for yourself (hell, close the entire park down just for yourself) but for us regular plebs “just” looking to shut down a small portion of a beloved ride in the most popular theme park in the world (!!) we were looking at a solid $75,000 investment.

So it might have taken 13 years to get there, but I’m feeling really quite positive about our decision last year, on our Halloween anniversary, to ride the Haunted Mansion 13 times in one day.  It’s the most fun we’ve ever had on our anniversary, a total bucket list item, and it didn’t cost us 75 grand!

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Finally, just to keep it wax-relevant, here’s a bit of the Melting Duck’s Foolish Mortal, a Haunted Mansion-inspired blend I picked up some weeks back.  It smells like peppermint-vanilla gum, herbal and a little bit tingly, and the shapes and colours are perfection!  Love everything about this ghostly lovely.

Foolish Mortals Collage

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Having a Ducking Meltdown

March on Ducks 2

To make the joke that’s been made time and time again, no, Autocorrect, no one has ever in the history of smart phone keyboards ever intended to say, “ducking.”  No one. 😉

Hey, so remember how, in an effort to save a bit of money and go to Disney many, many times in one year, I stopped mindlessly buying stuff like tons of clothes and housewares and nail polish and scented wax?  And how I swore I’d use up that which I already had before making any new purchases?  Well, that all actually happened!

It took no small amount of financial prioritization and, yes, some sacrifice, but indeed, this year my husband and I saved a bit of money, we went to Disney many, many times and we both stopped mindlessly buying stuff.  We also used that which we already had (Mr. Finger Candy diving into older, unplayed games, me melting through a larger-than-I-thought wax collection) before making any new purchases.  Interestingly enough, we’ve both been playing the long game when it comes to the items most atop our wish list, with my husband on years-long pins and needles for the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 (end of the month, and lord help my sanity if they push the date back) and me confining my wax purchases to two absolute must-haves in the past couple of months, a custom order with Sniff My Tarts, and this fabulous order from the Melting Duck!

So is it everything I hoped it would be?  Yes, it is – all that and the proverbial bag of (tortilla) chips (with queso blanco and maybe a margarita on the side from the Mexico pavilion, with a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour after, AND a character meet-and-greet with Donald, because I’m pretty sure the Melting Duck girls are ducking Disney fans!)

Consisting primarily of Fall and Halloween-type scents, this colourful, sweetly scented collection of wax (new, fresh wax – it feels like such a novelty!) includes – *takes deep, steadying breath* – Haunted Mansion wax.  Wax!  Of the Haunted Mansion!  You guys know how I feel about the Haunted Mansion! (*huffs into a nearby paper bag*)

Mansion Collage

Okay, I’m back now, slightly more in control of my faculties and ready to show off the wax I suspect the Melting Duck gals may have made purely to humour me, because I asked for it literally every single time they solicited scent ideas for their upcoming releases.  If that was indeed the case, thank you, Kristin and Lauren, I love Foolish Mortal and next time (!) I’ll be happy to buy sacks of the stuff!

Foolish Mortal, named after the gently needling nickname the Ghost Host imparts on visitors to the Haunted Mansion, is a blend of Candy Cane Cupcakes and Toasted Marshmallow.  I thankfully don’t get too much of the toasted off the marshmallow, which is good, because I’m not overly fond of that ersatz “baked” note in my home or personal fragrances.  The Haunted Mansion actually doesn’t have much of a scent itself (hmm, perhaps that pleasant background scent of high efficiency air conditioning and meticulously maintained dust) but I imagine if ghosts had a scent (notice how I’m not disputing the existence of ghosts, merely their smell) this would be it – a quick, tingly blast of icy sweet peppermint.  And the colours are perfection, the very hues of the Grim Grinning Ghosts in the ride’s big graveyard showpiece scene.

Foolish Mortal 1

Next up we have a blend of Duckin Donuts (described as “a house blend of fresh coffee and fresh baked goodies”) and Pumpkin.  So basically Fall’s ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice Latte!  Once again, the colours are perfect; I particularly love the little candy corn-striped ducks.

Duckin Donuts and Pumpkin 1

Next up we have the sleeper hit of my last order, Ghost Stories by the Fire, a “Sandra shouldn’t like this” blend of Marshmallow Fireside, Earl Grey and Vanilla Ice Cream.  But it turns out Sandra likes Ghost Stories very much (so much, in fact, I actually only melted through my final piece the day this order arrived on my doorstep, finally secure in the knowledge that there were backups!)  Typically I’m not much for Marshmallow Fireside blended with other scents; I prefer it straight up, in candle format preferably.  But there’s something really nice about the Melting Duck’s Marshmallow Fireside; it’s sweet and mellow, bearing none of the objectionable acridness common to fire-imitating scents.  And once again, the colours and the shapes?  So creative!  Half the fun of this order was examining the cute little shapes, from sprinkled donuts, winged bats and sparkly macarons, to plump pumpkins, ornate sugar skulls and many, many little duckies.

Ghost Stories by the Fire 1

Next we have the sleeper hit of this order, Death of the Party, a rich, delectable bakery blend of Grave Mistakes (Zucchini Bread and Sugar Milk) and Marshmallow Fireside.  At first glance, none of those scents look as though they’d play nicely together (cloying, acrid, corn chip) but as a whole, it smells like…smokey sexy man muffin!  I just adore it (another Marshmallow Fireside blend, wouldn’t you know it?) and I’m smitten with the little pink rose shapes in this blend and that one gigantic chocolate chip cookie.  My husband loves this one, and that’s really saying something, because he is traditionally un-fond, shall we say, of Marshmallow Fireside, claiming “it smells like some douchebag hitting on a disinterested co-worker at a holiday party.”  Well, okay then!  There you go, folks, descriptive fireworks courtesy of Mr. Finger Candy. 😉

Death of the Party 1

Finally, we have the non-seasonal outlier of this order, a bag of my beloved Pink Sands, neat.  This Yankee dupe is a very nice one, bright and fresh and clean, and I’m looking forward to melting through the wide assortment of plucky little pink duckies (so many ducks in this bag!)

Pink Sands

Oh!  Actually finally-finally, I ordered a trio of cups in Ghost Stories by the Fire so I can send them on to friends, as well as three cups of Spider Cider, a blend of Cinnamon Sugar Donuts and Apple Cider.  I’m glad I only purchased the three cups of Spider Cider, because out of the entire order, it’s the only scent I’m not wildly thrilled about.  It’s nice, and I’m going to wait to see what it does given a bit of time to settle, but I’m not in love with it like I am, say, Foolish Mortal or Death of the Party.  Still, those wee little embedded spiders are quite creepy-cute.

Cups Collage

And I’d be remiss in failing to show off this dinged dude, one of the Melting Duck’s Studs in a Tub, which I received as a little freebie with my order.  I had a great laugh when I pulled this guy out of the box, because the Studs, well…they normally have attached heads!

Beheaded Stud 1

The Melting Duck actually created some intentionally beheaded Studs for the Halloween season, with splashes of red dotting the bubbles, but this little wax man is not one of those pieces, just the unfortunate victim of the ever-handsy postal service!  All the same, he smells wonderful (like Lemon Cupcakes and Satsuma.)

Beheaded Stud 2

I’m so thrilled with this order!  It really feels like a special treat, which I suppose is exactly what it is.  I’ve talked with a number of people this year who, like me, but for their own individual reasons, chose to cut back on their discretionary spending, and one of the reasons that I’ve heard over and over again is because endless purchases arriving on your doorstep grows to become quite boring, that these little (and not so little) treats cease feeling special.  I quite like the return to that little acquisition rush, although I’ll continue to respect the healthy distance we’ve put between one another. 🙂

So there we have it, the scented, waxy rewards I finally reaped after a solid year of cutting back, using up and re-prioritizing.  Very glad I waited to blow it out with the Melting Duck, because this order was a ducking treat to receive, and very soon to melt.  If you’re interested in checking out the Melting Duck’s super cool and great-smelling wares for yourself, join up with their Facebook group, where they post notifications about their upcoming releases (conducted on a mixed bag basis of pre-orders, ready-to-ship sales and the occasional custom.)  Happy ducking shopping!

Fall Fun Fridays: Something’s Smelling Good

Fall Wax Dregs

My favourite scene in Ghostbusters is an early one in the library in which Dan Aykroyd’s Dr. Raymond Stantz furiously shushes his partners-in-busting, and then cries out, “Listen!” before excitedly asking, “Do you smell that?!”  It’s a weird (and very funny) sensory disconnect, and one I always think of when I’m trying to describe in words how something smells.  It’s a writing skill – make no mistake, it is a skill – I do not possess.

But my blogging friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid do possess that skill (come to me when you need 2,500 words on a cat’s toe tufts) which is why we’ve partnered up to bring you a few fun Fall posts, starting with our favourite Fall scents.  Both Jay and Julie have impeccable taste in home and personal fragrance, and a real flair for describing scents in rich, evocative terms without ever once invoking the word “cupcakey.”  So I would direct you over to their wonderful blogs to see what sort of festive Fall scents are sweetly perfuming their lives as we kick off what I hope will be a lovely autumn.

Jay at The Scented Library

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

As for me, I’m down to the utter dregs of my once-grand wax collection (balsam, hot chocolate and kiwi are totally compatible scent notes, right?!) with virtually nothing remaining but for this small handful of scents I held back in the event of just such an autumnal blogging eventuality.  This tiny bounty actually represents a solid third of my remaining wax collection – I have been nothing this year but utterly dedicated to reining in my discretionary spending, and this is where my efforts have really come home to roost.  It’s kind of one of those good-for-life, bad-for-blogging sort of situations!

Ah, but all is not completely lost; I still have a few Fall favourites, and here they are:

Moving from left to right, we have a rather shabby looking Demented Duck from The Melting Duck in Heads Will Roll, a pumpkin cupcake and candy corn blend.  You would not know that this dingy little duck started out life in lush, vibrant shades of jungle green, tomato red and marigold yellow, would you?  Well, he did!  But thankfully, colourfastness (or a lack thereof) does not typically impact a wax melt’s scent, and this one still smells great – very much like carnival snacks, all unidentifiably yummy glazes and crunchy, sugary sweets.

Fresh Duck

Beside my sole remaining Demented Duck we have a Rosegirls Scoopable in Paul Bunyan’s French Toast.  At three years old, this half-finished jar of wax is the oldest in my collection and smells not one bit different than it did the very first day I cracked it open – like brown-sugar dusted sweets and wood shavings.  I swear it’s a nicer scent than I’m implying; it just doesn’t see a lot of action because no matter the scent, the Scoopable formulations give my husband terrible headaches and a frantic case of the sneezes.

To the right of the Scoopable we have my one remaining chunk of a custom Sniff My Tarts blend I like to call Miss Apple Fritter after Cars 3’s derby-racing school bus, Miss Fritter.  Also because I think this blend of Apple Cider Latte, Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone – perhaps the best blend I have ever created – smells just like a warm, cakey apple fritter.  Sometimes the naming thing is really just that simple, folks. 😉

Sniff My Tarts Custom 2 - Apple Cider Latte Pie 1

Finally, dotted along the bottom we have the final five pieces of The Melting Duck’s All Hallow’s Eve, another sugar smackery blend of candy corn, pumpkin cupcakes, buttercream crunch cake and caramel corn.  These shapes are so stinkin’ cute, and I just adore The Melting Duck’s heavy-handed approach to mica – it always creates the most amazingly beautiful, shimmery pools of wax.  I’ll freely admit that that’s a weird thing to derive enjoyment from, but whatever floats your boat on the first Friday of the Fall, right?!  To an excellent autumn, and more fun blogging adventures. 🙂

Sugar Skulls

Wax Pool

Ducking Debt

Duck 1

I indicated at the end of January that in an effort to continue some positive, newly developed financial habits, I’d be aiming to do an assessment of my progress at the end of each month.  So here I am, ready and waiting, eagerly awaiting my grade!  Such a little brown-noser, I know (I noted the other day that I’m a J-school grad; you never seen ANYONE grade grub in your life like a journalism student, trust.)

And I know I’m far from the most unbiased moderator on the subject, but I’ll go ahead and give myself an A++, because we killin’ it.  February was another unintended no buy of a low buy for both my husband and I.  Once again, we probably spent just $100 on the non-essentials of life between the two of us.  We’ve actually kind of turned it into a game – how long can you go without spending money?  No, really, how long can you go without purchasing something?  I think you’d be surprised at how quickly just a wee something every day adds up.  Or the problem I think we all encounter, which is we’re out picking up that wee something, and oh! while we’re out and about, we might as well stop in here, and while we’re in here, we should really grab this thing, and while we’re getting this thing, we should add this and…it’s seriously so much easier just to stay in and use that which you already have at hand!

Speaking of, another part of my accountability report was to make note of any already-owned items I finally used and enjoyed.  I made good progress melting through my wax stash this month, and by not adding to it (not hard; there actually wasn’t a single release that called to me in February) I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.  Or the bottom of the drawer in the wax cupboard.

Duck 3

The wax hit of February was this pre-decapitation duck from The Melting Duck in Briarcliff, a very Fall-friendly blend of pumpkin, vanilla and marshmallow.  Demented Ducks, I think they’re actually called, but this one was insolent and kept leering at me with that one purple eye, so I off’d his head.  Still didn’t stop him from staring unnervingly at me from the bottom of my warmer as he melted into a pumpkin-scented puddle.  Like, ever get that feeling you’re being watched by your wax?  No, just me?

Duck 2

Please join me next month when I will hopefully continue to have good news for you on the spend less, use more front.  To our continued strength in the face of so much inviting temptation. 🙂

Plucky Duckies

Plucky Duckies Collage 4

Today’s little wax haul comes to you courtesy of The Melting Duck, fine indie purveyors of rainbow-splashed, mica-dusted mini shapes and gigantic wax duckies.  I’ve been smitten with their huge assortment of adorable shapes, unusual colour combinations and pop culture-influenced scent blends for some time now; Halloween seemed the perfect time to test these duck-filled waters (shame my order didn’t actually arrive until the week after Halloween.  Shamer still that at least part of my order was to be a Halloween gift for friends.  Still, knowing my pals, I think they’ll have no problem tucking these guys away until next Fall should they feel that strongly about the very serious issue of seasonal melting. 😉  Me?  I’m jumping in straight away!)

This was such a fun package to open; this was my first order with The Melting Duck, and everything I pulled out of the box (“Whhhaaaattt’s in the booooooooxxxxxx?”) made me grin with delight.  Such detail, such whimsy!  First, let’s examine those plucky little duckies a little further.

Plucky Duckies Collage 3

Except these duckies – The Melting Duck calls them Demented Ducks – are really not so little.  Weighing in at just a little under eight ounces per duck, there’s quite a bit of waxy goodness here.  And look at the mindful little details – the swirls and layers of colour, the very demented-looking googly eyes, the tiny Jack-o-Lantern glitter embedded in the middle duck’s wing.  Adorable!  Because you can’t get a good sense of the scale of these massive shapes as measured against each other, here I’ve set a Demented Duck in Heads Will Roll, a pumpkin cupcakes and candy corn blend, beside a favourite 60 ml bottle of perfume from Solstice Scents.  They’re so big, it’s totally quackers (wah-waaaahhhhhh.)

Plucky Duckies 3

I actually chose just two scents in ducky format, Heads Will Roll and Briarcliff, a pumpkin, vanilla and marshmallow blend.  But a few days before my order went out, The Melting Duck said that owing to a bit of a pouring snafu, a scent I had chosen in the mini shapes – Duckin Donuts, a coffee-and-pastries blend – would no longer be offered in those shapes; would I be at all interested in some Demented Duckin Donuts?  I was, and so that’s how this charming little coffee brown duck (and a couple of his melt-mates) wound up rounding out my trio of fabulously fragranced foul.  I’m so glad I nabbed this one, too – had contemplated the refund The Melting Duck nicely offered, but chose to move ahead for my husband, who would mainline coffee in all its various forms if only he could.  He loves his mocha scents, and he’s going to love this one, too, because it’s a goody – smells JUST like the inside of a chain coffee shop, right down to the pleasant, comforting fragrance of fresh brewed coffee and glazed, yeasty pastries.  On an ounce per ounce basis, this very plump duck and the three cups (already melted one) worked out to more wax than I would have received in the bakery bags of mini shapes; an appreciated little bit of overage for the manufacturing goof.  Twas a nice touch.

Plucky Duckies 5

I also picked up two bakery bags of mini shapes (plus a couple for friends, which I had to hold myself back from photographing, because they’re not mine!)  I chose a couple of very unlike me scents, All Hallow’s Eve (the purple, black and orange shapes, a sweet and creamy blend of candy corn, pumpkin cupcakes, buttercream crunch cake and caramel corn) and Ghost Stories By the Fire (the orange and grey shapes, a candy-sweet, almost floral blend of Marshmallow Fireside, Earl Grey tea and vanilla ice cream) – unlike me in that I’ve had quite a bit of trouble with pumpkin scents this season (headaches) and also because both fragrances contain scent notes that typically send me fleeing (candy corn, Earl Grey tea, Marshmallow Fireside in anything aside from all by its lonesome.)  But I really like both of these blends – actually, I like all the scents I chose, even the ones I gave away – probably precisely because they’re not my usual.  It’s good to change things up every now and then. 🙂

Plucky Duckies Collage 1

Ugh, and how stinkin’ cute are these little shapes?  I die for the wee little duckies in both blends, but the Dia de los Muertos skulls, baby broom and grinning Jack-o-Lanterns of All Hallow’s Eve are outstanding.  Such lovely design work, it almost seems a shame to melt them.  But melt them I will – I’ll just try not to stare directly at the duckies while it’s happening.

Plucky Duckies Collage 2

If you’re interested in getting in on all this sweetly scented ducky action, you can join The Melting Duck’s Facebook group to stay up-to-date on future pre-orders and new releases.  They actually just held the final pre-order of the year for a number of holiday-themed blends, although I managed to abstain; I’m pretty flush with wax at the moment.  But no doubt they’ll be back and raring to go in the new year with all sorts of adorably fun shapes and colours and scents, and we’ll be there then!