Treating Myself: A Bathing Garden Haul

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I’ve noted in the past that despite all indications to the contrary here on this nail and beauty blog where I talk about such things all the ding dang time, I’m not much of a product person. I never use intensive hair treatments, I rarely slap on a mask and body moisturizer is an only-if-I-remember-I-actually-own-any kind of thing.  Come to think of it, I’ve been using the same brand and make of face wash for the past 22 years (Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser, in case you were wondering.)

But with an upcoming milestone birthday (the one accompanied by all those obnoxious black balloons) and the gentle nudging of some dear blogger friends (lovely people, but terrible enablers with their gorgeously photographed blog posts!) and a completely bare beauty cupboard, I thought it was high time to treat myself to some beautiful bath and body care, Bathing Garden-style.

The Bathing Garden, an indie bath, body care and home fragrance vendor popular with the waxie set, does steady, year-round business turning out rotating themed collections of beautifully crafted scented wax and other bath and beauty products.  I have ogled their hoard-worthy wares for years.  Alas, with shipping restricted to the United States, this Canuck has been crap out of luck.  No Bathing Garden for me, eh?

No Bathing Garden, that is, until one of those dear blogger enfriendablers (rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?) allowed me to piggyback on her order, a random enough act of kindness before she also picked up the outrageous shipping as a sweet little pre-birthday treat.  I was so touched.  There are some truly lovely people online.  If your Internet activity centres around Twitter or Reddit or YouTube comment boards, that statement will absolutely not compute, but kindness on the Internet can occasionally happen!

Anyway, enough with feeling all hashtag-blessed. 😉  Onward haul, right?!  Let’s do this thing.

TBG Body 60

Starting off with the body care, you might be asking yourself what a not-a-product person is going to do with so much, uh, product.  Well, I’m going to use it!  Because I’m also one of those “if you’ve got it, use it” kind of people – it irks me when beauty products sit unused in drawers for years.  That’s not going to be a problem with these goodies, though – I’ve already used up nice handfuls of both the sugar scrub and the lotion, and I’ve only had these items in my possession for a few days!  Thank goodness reinforcements are now on the way. 😉

TBG Sugar Scrub Collage

The scrubs I chose were both from the soon-to-be-rotated-out Circus Collection, Poppet’s Coaster Ride (actually a scrub/soap hybrid), a blend of strawberry peach jam, raspberry cake bites and lemon curd (ugh, I want to eat that, it sounds so delicious; it also helps not one bit that the lemon curd side actually looks like lemon curd!) and Clowning Around, a carny-approved blend of toffee apples, cotton candy, popcorn and layer cake.

I’m so in love with these scrubs, they’re beyond gorgeous.  And that’s just the labels!  The scrubs themselves feature a beautifully plush texture – like slightly damp Magic Sand – buff on gently and rinse away cleanly, leaving behind no oily residue.  Best of all, despite sporting such lush, vibrant hues, they don’t stain your hide 12 different shades of turquoise!  Victory!  Clowning Around, the sugar scrub, was $8.00 US for an 8 oz. jar and Poppet’s Coaster Ride, the split parfait, was $12.50 for an 8 oz. jar.

TBG Soap and Lotion Collage

Suds and saturation came in the form of two more picks from the Circus Collection and one from the recently-retired Valentine’s Day Collection, Candy Carousel lotion, a sugary sweet blend of candy floss, apples and cake, Fried Candy Donut whipped soap, a lip-smackingly delectable wildberry bakery blend, and Coconut Crystal Cake whipped soap, which, to paraphrase my friend Julie, smells like a coconut if it didn’t know whether to be dessert or suntan lotion.

I haven’t cracked into the whipped soaps just yet, so I can’t speak to their sudsing power or their scrubbing bubbles, but the texture, which you can see in the above photos, is just divine – thick and rich, like buttercream frosting whipped into stiff peaks (there we go with that “do I eat it or wash with it?” thing again!) Coconut Crystal Cake’s delicate fragrance is unfortunately somewhat obscured by the soap blend used here; Fried Candy Donut’s robust berry bakery holds up much better.  I really wouldn’t kick either out of bed, though.  Each soap was $8.00 per 4 oz. jar.

The light lotion, here in Candy Carousel, looks deceptively thin and maybe even a bit watery.  Looks aren’t everything, though, as beneath the surface lies a powerhouse moisturizer that soaks in quickly and dries down to a soft, touchable finish.  This lotion was $8.50 for a 4 oz. container.

TBG Clamshells Collage

Ah, but did you really think I was going to stop with body care and 799 words? 😉 Not when there’s wax to be had, and certainly not when it’s this beautiful!  Because this, this is what lured me in to The Bathing Garden in the first place – the gorgeous little details on these clamshells, to say nothing of the deliciously complex scent blends.  These feel like such sweet little luxuries, I love them.

From left to right we once again have Poppet’s Coaster Ride, the wax version of the lemonberry curd scent featured in the parfait, Fried Candy Donut, also once again, which smells even more scrumptious in a scented wax, and Raspberry Hearts, a soft raspberry-vanilla that smells exactly like this skate shop I used to frequent as a teenager because that’s where all the cute and floppy boys hung out.  Each clamshell was $3.75.  And worth every penny when they’re as gorgeous as this:

TBG Poppet's Clamshell 132

In addition to their fantastic clamshells, The Bathing Garden also offers a number of their scents in adorable little shapes.  Many of these shapes are pressed into service as super generous samples (more on that shortly) but a number are available for purchase. And in my world, if there’s something donut-shaped on offer, you just don’t say no!

TBG Shaped Tarts 140

From left to right we have two frosted donuts in Fried Candy Donut ($1.25 per .8 oz. tart), a glitter-embedded bundt in one of Julie’s favourite scents, Victorian Midway, a sweet, pumpkin-apple cake blend ($2.00 per 1.5 – 2 oz. tart) and a wee little dipped caramel apple in Nights at the Circus, a dupe of one of my mother’s favourite scents, Bath & Body Works’ Winter Candy Apple ($2.50 per 1.8 oz. tart.)  I will never be able to melt any of these because they are just too darn cute.

TBG Samples Collage

Finally, let’s close this beast of a bathing beauty bonanza out with what we all came here to see – the free stuff! Of which, I don’t believe it can be denied, The Bathing Garden goes way, way above and beyond in providing. They are crazy generous, often providing dozens of samples, in addition to full size products.  And this bounty – save one or two extras my friend snuck into the package – represents just my choice of items!  We split the freebies (and the three full size samples) roughly 50/50.  Perhaps I should upgrade that to wicked generous.  So what freebies did I score?

In the top left-hand corner we have a beautiful little bunny tart studded with glittery hearts in Tea with the Queen of Hearts and a wee chocolate gateau in Eat Me.

In the top right-hand corner we have a pair of bedazzled and undoubtedly surgically enhanced lips in Kiss Me Silly and two swirly, twirly hard candies in Big Top Lemonade (top) and Tunnel of Love (bottom.)

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In the bottom left-hand corner we have, from left to right, a microbead-embedded Peep in Looking Glass, a speckled robin’s egg in Blackberry Fudge (actually a little gift from Julie), a pale-and-pastel Peep in Keep Your Temper, a grape-hued Easter egg in Lavender Vanilla Custard, an absolutely delectable little mica-dusted egg in Caterpillar Mischief (it came in that cute little chick cup!) and a ruby red Easter egg in Strawberry Nonsense.

Finally, in the bottom right-hand corner we have the body care items I chose, a full size body lotion in Cranberry Fig (I’m hoping the scent on this one blooms a bit, because right now all I smell is lotion) and a sample size scrub in Lemon Cheesecake (another one of those scents and consistencies that is seriously testing my “is this food?” boundaries.)

Phew!  So there we have it, my first Bathing Garden order.  Also, as of this afternoon, not my last – I went back for seconds on a few new favourites, and stocked up on a sweet stack of those wonderfully scrubby scrubs.  I’ll be sure to share that gorgeous bounty with you when it arrives, though hopefully this time in fewer than 1450 words!  And I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my conspicuous consumerism! 😉

New Scents From MooScents

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MooScents, wax offshoot of indie bath and beauty maker MoonaLisa, has been creating a bit of a stir among some of my blogger friends lately, enough that I thought I should perhaps check out their waxy wares for myself.  And so that’s precisely what I did, checking out a loaded virtual cart stuffed with delicious-sounding goodies when MooScents opened for orders in mid-March.

Bearing a small, yet comprehensive, scent list and a relatively quiet online presence, MooScents doesn’t seem to inspire the same kind of slavish devotion in its fans as some of the other indie wax makers. This means you can actually roll up to their site any old time you’d like, place an order without worrying about everything immediately running out of stock, and then have the beautifully wrapped package in your hot little (international) hands about two weeks later. I suspect that may change, though, as more and more wax lovers come to familiarize themselves with MooScents’ lovely products.  For now, though, it feels like a fun little discovery that’s mine, all mine (and one or two chosen friends.) 😉

But before we get to the really good (smelly) stuff, first some administrative details. Problems?  I got 99 of ’em, but MooScents ain’t one! This truly was one of the most efficient, friendly and easy online retail experiences I’ve ever had.  It was completely unremarkable, actually, save the fact that MooScents (through the e-commerce platform Shopify, which is based out of my hometown) followed up with a confirmation e-mail, my receipt and a thank you note within about 45 seconds of placing my order.  Turnaround time was a very decent three days, with the entire transaction (from Moo to you, if you will, or I guess from Moo to me) taking just 10 days.  That is quite impressive when you’re talking international shipping (which was a little over $14 for seven tarts.)

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My package was also exquisitely wrapped.  It sounds silly to get all rapturous about packing materials, but savaged parcels are the bane of any online shopper’s existence.  Nobody wants to take possession of a box that looks like it’s been mauled by a pack of terriers.  But my MooScents order saw no terriers, arriving in pristine condition, the little clamshells securely nestled among layers of tissue paper, bubble wrap and a smattering of whimsical decorative glitter.  Each clamshell was also wrapped in its own small plastic bag, a wonderful, “Why hasn’t someone thought of this before?” touch that kept the saturated fragrances from intermingling while en route.  This was the first wax package I’ve ever opened that hasn’t immediately assaulted my nose with the mingled fragrance of nine different Lush dupe scent blends. And whether it’s an intentional move or not, I think it’s a deeply considerate one, taking into account a customer’s neighbours AND postal carrier, both of whom bear the headache-inducing brunt of poorly-wrapped wax parcels.  Very nice.

MooScents Bagged LavenderShortbread

The price point on these clamshells, $5.49 for 3.25 ounces, is on the higher end of the spectrum, a small nit to pick when the other details are so luxurious – a gorgeously textured soy/beeswax wax blend, strong, true fragrances and pretty, eye-catching branding and graphic design.  I will absolutely be back for a second order. But first let’s take a look at my, um, first!

Starting off with my favourite, we have Lavender Shortbread, a scrumptious springtime blend of buttery shortbread generously sprinkled with steely lavender buds.  A luscious gourmand treat with no trace of artifice – love it!

MooScents LavenderShortbread

Next we have Blueberry Black Tea, a wicked strong blend of black tea and juicy blueberries.  I don’t get a lot of the blueberry note on cold, such is the nearly overwhelming power of the astringent tea, but we’ll see how she performs once warmed.  This is another true-to-life scent; it smells exactly like a freshly brewed pot of tea.

MooScents BlueberryTea

For my husband, who loves caffeine in all its varied forms, here’s Mocha Marshmallow Fluff, a delicious coffee shop blend of creamy marshmallow fluff, rich, dark chocolate and sweet, life-sustaining coffee.  This is another hella strong, super realistic scent, with the sharpness of the chocolate and the tanginess of the coffee softened by mounds of creamy, dreamy marshmallow fluff.  Mr. Finger Candy approves.

MooScents MochaMarshFluff

At the halfway mark we have an unexpected favourite, The Rumpkin, another gourmand blend of sweet-and-spicy lavender and pumpkin (scents that are supposedly male aphrodisiacs, no?)  There’s something vaguely soap-ish (but not soapy) about this intriguing scent, with its delicious, spicy-sweet herbal notes.  I love the colour of the wax – exactly the sort of pale, mauve-y coral you’d get if you mixed pumpkin and lavender – and I adore The Rumpkin’s label.  Think I’m going to tuck this guy away until Halloween, where it will join…absolutely nothing else, because I have no other Halloween-themed wax!

MooScents TheRumpkin

Next up we have another contender for order MVP, Mango Lime Smoothie, a lush blend of succulent mangoes and zesty limes, splashed with just a hint of coconut rum.  This scent is not as in-your-face as most mango fragrances, but I like its tropical softness very much – another nicely realistic blend.

MooScents MangoLimeSmoothie

Second from last we have another fine chocolate fragrance, this time Chocolate Dipped Shortbread.  Featuring the same beautifully buttery cookie note as the Lavender Shortbread, the chocolate in this sublimely delicious blend is rich and smooth and not the least bit Tootsie Roll-ish.  A chocolate fragrance for chocolate haters.

MooScents ChocoShortbread

Finally, we have Strawberry Sugar Shortcake, a super girly blend of sweet strawberries, fluffy whipped cream and flaky biscuits.  This is probably my least favourite scent; to my nose, it smells quite artificial.  I have noticed that I’m quite off strawberry scents lately; I don’t really seem to care for them from any vendor.  Love to eat the delectable little buggers, but I’m really not much for the fragrance any more, or the artificial interpretation thereof.

MooScents StrawSugarShortcake

So there we have it, order one from a terrific, new-ish vendor that deserves every bit of praise it receives for having its act together.  So many online businesses don’t, or they excel in one area while majorly bombing in another; MooScents doesn’t suffer from this problem, getting it right straight out the gates on both the product and customer service fronts.  I look forward to seeing what other delicious scents they come up with in the future, as I’ll definitely be back.

Customs Crazy: A Sniff My Tarts Custom Wax Haul

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Apart from nabbing items from one or two nearly-impossible-to-get-your-hands-on indie brands, the holy grail of the wax world is landing on your favourite vendor’s customs list.  Getting a chance to play amateur candle maker is always so much fun, while providing a great opportunity to indulge in the creative side of the process.  Plus, who doesn’t like saying, “Yeah, that amazing smelling thing?  My idea.”  With all humility, of course!

But as you can imagine, creating thousands of custom wax creations for hundreds of customers can be a rather daunting task, and so these kinds of openings don’t happen very often.  So when a vendor does open for custom orders, you jump on it, because who knows when and if it will ever happen again.

Which is the reasoning that led me to place a customs order with Sniff My Tarts, an entirely new-to-me vendor popular with some wise blogger friends.  Sniff My Tarts actually operates on a mostly-customs model, opening up just a couple of times a year for orders before closing down to then fulfill those orders.  In between, they offer up the occasional sampler or mystery box, and they’ve somewhat recently begun offering ready-to-ship items on their website from the customs over-pours.

I placed my order within five minutes of opening on December 1st, 2016.  The specific time is actually somewhat important, as placement on the production list is determined on a first come, first serve basis.  So if you got your order in quickly, it would be made and you would receive it well before the person who placed their order after, say, 45 minutes (who may receive theirs months later; further impetus to order fast, order early.)

Unless of course your order is being shipped internationally, in which case, get ready for it to take a three-week odyssey through the (Canadian) postal system, landing on your doorstep, cold and a little bit damaged, nearly three months after you placed it.  And that’s despite being quite high up the customs list.  And paying an absolutely ridiculous sum in shipping that I will not disclose to you, because if I did, you’d correctly assume I was a complete fool.  All I’ll say about that is if you’re an international customer (and this applies to any product, not just scented wax) pay very close attention to the shipping details.  As always, that’s where you’ll find the devil, and man, oh man, does he like his postal tariffs.

Anyhow, I really jumped in the deep end on this one, friends, and I’m pleased to report that for the most part, outrageous shipping shenanigans notwithstanding (and I’ll take most of the blame on that one for not seeking clarification on the exact details) my first customs order with Sniff My Tarts was a deliciously-scented leap worth making.  Let’s take a closer look at some of my creations.

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Starting off with the big guns, this is a decorated sheet cake in Mango Sorbet, Vanilla Waffle Cone and Coconut Cream Pie.  Apart from being just absolutely gorgeous (how am I supposed to ever cut into that adorable little glazed cone?) this cake smells incredible – as good as I had hoped (and I had pretty high hopes) or maybe even better.  I’d purchase this exact blend again in a heartbeat.  It actually smells just like the inside of a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop, all tart, fruity creams and sugary waffle cones.  Yummy!

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The second of my decorated sheet cakes, a blend of Mango, Fresh Strawberry and Twinkies, is equally beautiful, but less successful in terms of execution.  My choice of Mango here, as opposed to Mango Sorbet, lends a floral note to the already quite flowery Fresh Strawberry, which is then amplified by the powdery Twinkies.  A real shame of a misfire, as this cake is so pretty and I now have so much of it (each cake is about one pound, eight ounces.)  But it regrettably smells like cheap little girl perfume – Strawberry Love’s Baby Soft?

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The smallest blending option available were these large frosted cookies.  Each cookie weighs between four and four and a half ounces and spans my palm.  Available with the same number of blending options as the cakes (up to three), these substantial cookies are a popular choice if you’re looking to try out some unconventional blends on a smaller scale than the large pies and cakes on offer.  Let’s take a closer look at these adorable blended cookies, which also happen to smell pretty darn terrific.

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Starting with the top row and going from left to right, we have Blueberry Grunt Cake and Vanilla Marshmallow Smoothie (purple), a sweet and juicy confection that smells exactly like Strawberry Shortcake’s buddy, Blueberry Muffin.  I’ve only heard great things about Sniff My Tart’s blueberry, and this little cookie bears out the praise.  Incredibly delicious.

Next up is Pink Sands and Salt Water Taffy (pink), a soft, beachy floral roughened up with salty, rip-out-your-fillings taffy.  A pretty scent totally unlike my usual.

After that we have Danish Butter Cookie, Creme Brulee and Vanilla Butter Fudge (yellow), or as I like to call it, “Diabetes in a Wax Melt.”  So this one sounds a bit repulsive – I even thought as much myself when creating it for Mr. Finger Candy, who likes his scents far more cloying than I – but in reality, it’s a comforting delight of creamy vanilla bakery, sweet and buttery without being butter-oid.  A splendid blend.

Moving down a row, we have Pomegranate, Mango Sorbet and Celtic Moon Spice (brown), a sweet and slightly spicy blend that has me going back and forth on the “I Love It/I Hate It”-o-meter.  I was attempting to recreate a favourite cocktail with this one, forgetting that the drink itself contains a hefty dose of super sour raspberry to balance out all the SWEET!  As blended, I think this cookie is not quite tart enough, with a powdered sugar kind of lean to it that just doesn’t agree with my nose.  Thankfully, I think I have a way of literally tarting this up a bit, so all is not lost with this conflicting blend.

Finally, we come to Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake and Lemon Cake Pops (also purple), a beautiful, bright and fresh blend that smells like springtime.  Lavender and lemon are scents I like in the smallest of doses only, but they’re wonderful together in this pairing, with the light gourmand notes softening the steely, almost soapy astringency of both.  A decorated sheet cake in this would have been so lovely!

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Continuing on with my custom picks, I also chose three bags of no-fuss chunks, tiny little petit four-shaped wax melts that remind me of the “Eat Me” cakes Alice scarfs down on her journey through Wonderland. Available with the same number of options as all the other blendables (up to three), these little no-fuss melts really live up to their moniker – just drop one in your melter and you’re good to go.

Starting at the top, we have a blend of Pizzelle, Blackberry and Vanilla Marshmallow Smoothie.  I was a little hesitant about the Blackberry in this one, confusing it initially for Blackberry Jam Butter Cookies, a popular fragrance oil that I really, really dislike.  But Sniff My Tart’s Blackberry is straight-up fruit and juice, and in combination with the crisp, waffle cone-like notes of the Pizzelle and the creamy Marshmallow Smoothie, the whole thing comes off smelling like fruity tea and cakes.  It’s really not at all what I was expecting – it’s better.

Moving down, we have another Blackberry blend, this time Blackberry, Mango and Twinkies.  This is another unexpectedly delicious blend – fresh, fruity and a tiny bit floral – that works in spite of its components, which simply don’t mesh very well.  Going forward, I think both the Mango and Twinkies scents will be off my customs menu.  But I like this blend very much – in combination, the Blackberry and Mango notes remind me of an old school Party Lite fragrance.

Finally, we have the blend I thought was going to be a total slam dunk, a combination of Strawberry, Vanilla Waffle Cone and Cream Cheese Frosting. These chunks actually don’t smell like anything at all, an effect I’m chalking up to the fact that this bag was savaged at Customs – sliced open and then left to freely rattle around the bottom of the box.  Never stop taking pride in the service you provide, Canada Post. 😦 I’ve since rebagged them, in the hopes that they somehow reconstitute themselves.  Fingers crossed.

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Moving away from my custom blends, I also chose four piped hearts in single scents (or scent blends) in Marshmallow Noel & Candy (white), a crisp, nose-tinglingly yummy vanilla-mint, Apricot Vanilla (yellow), a close recreation of Sally Hansen’s ultra sweet and fruity apricot cuticle cream, Blueberry Grunt Cake (purple), a luscious blueberry tinged with the barest hint of crunchy bakery, and Carrot Cake (brown), which I actually don’t care for at all.  Nutty, so nutty.  Carrots and nuts.  My wedding cake?  Yes!  But as a home fragrance?  Not so much.

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Finally, for my husband, who loves coffee scents, I purchased three bags of small frosted cookies (four cookies per bag), one in Sprinkled Sugar Cookie Latte (light brown) and two in Starbucks Vanilla Latte (darker brown.) Coffee scents are not really my thing, but Mr. Finger Candy assures me that these two scents are legit, and who am I to argue with that?

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These are the samples I received with my order, a small grubby tart (love that term, “grubby tart”) in Sticky Pink Marshmallow, a popular, Pink Sugar-based blend, a small frosted cookie in the improbably delicious combination of Blackberry Latte (fruit and coffee, whaaaaa?) and two cubes of Red Macintosh Apple, a super strong apple that, despite being securely wrapped, permeated the entire package and most of my condo’s mail room.

Finally, a quick word on Sniff My Tart’s customer service, of which providing tantalizing samples is indeed a nice part – it was wicked prompt and super friendly.  Upon learning that my package had gone MIA (an event well beyond their control by that point) they assured me that virtually none of their shipments had ever gone missing for good, but that if it didn’t show itself soon, they wouldn’t leave me hanging.  It was a deeply considerate gesture – one that turned out to be rather unnecessary given that my order finally showed itself a couple of days later, but appreciated all the same.  My order was also nicely packed, with each item wrapped snugly and securely in bubble wrap.  Or at least it was before it hit Customs. You can’t tell from these pictures, but my strawberry sheet cake is in four jagged pieces.  I think it, too, may have been savaged by the same handsy agent that worked over my strawberry no-fuss chunks.  Why the berry bias, Canada Post?!

Most importantly, though, my order smells bloody fantastic, and absent one or two scent choice SNAFUs and some stupid postal tomfoolery, I’m overwhelmingly pleased with my order.  I’ll definitely be back for a second round of customs (only next time I’ll try to find a way to maximize that shipping charge.)

Mega Mario Rosegirls Haul

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Because we all succumb to the lure of a haul post eventually, particularly when we’ve got loads of fun, pretty and delicious-smelling goodies to share, like this awesome assortment of scented wax I received from Rosegirls a few days before Christmas.

Around about the middle of November of last year Rosegirls opened for pre-orders of a number of terrifically popular holiday scents, the majority of them Super Mario-themed (Rosegirls owner Jenny Oaks is a fan; many of their scent blends bear Mario-inspired names.)  I purchased a few of these blends last year when they were first offered, and a couple remain all-time favourites – lovely to see them back and making the rounds again this holiday season.  So without further delay, let’s see what yumminess will be scenting my home in the coming months, shall we?

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Starting with the big guns, I purchased an entire pie of Peppermint Coconut Mallow, which is not a Mario-inspired scent, but definitely one of Rosegirls’ most popular scent blends. It never ceases to amaze me that peppermint, coconut and marshmallow are compatible scent notes (peppermint and marshmallow, yes, marshmallow and coconut, sure, but peppermint and coconut?  Egads, said I, before I knew better.)  The coconut in this one is mild, very mild – more fresh coconut than either floral, coconut milk-type scents or buttery suntan lotion.  Its presence seems to round off the icier edges of the marshmallow-sweetened peppermint, lending the whole blend a creamy dreaminess lightly tinged with mint.  Delicious!  And a nifty little sinus-buster, too, if you prefer mints to higher intensity eucalyptus and herb blends.  I love it enough that despite the fact that I’ll be years in melting through these eight slices, I purchased an entire pie at a cost of $20.00 (US) per one-pound half.  How much my mailman must have loved me that particular delivery day!

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Next up we have another half pie in Koopa Troopa Assault (remember those nasty little Koopas?), a tart and creamy blend of Raspberry Sauce, Pomegranate, Sweet Lemon Confection (a candied lemon scent) and Marshmallow Smoothie.  I am a complete sucker for Rosegirls’ phenomenal Raspberry Sauce, Pomegranate and Marshmallow Smoothie scents, and with the addition of mouthwateringly tart lemon, this blend is pretty much perfection in a half pie.

In addition to the half pies, Rosegirls also offered a number of scent blends in their traditional chunk and muffin formats.

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I snapped up a few favourites from last year, including Up On The Castle Top, a blend of Rice Krispie Treats and Berry Creme Brulee that smells exactly like berry Bubbalicious gum, Christmas Wish Fluff Puffs, a festive cookies-and-pine blend, and Star of Wonder, Star of Night, a blend of Serendipity (itself a blend of cherries, vanilla, citrus, coconut and powdered sugar) and Strawberry Euphoria (all strawberry, all the time.)

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I also nabbed bags in my all-time favourite wax blend, Yoshi the Red-Nosed Dino, a combination of Raspberry Sauce, Pistachio and Marshmallow Smoothie (sounds weird, smells delicious), Koopa Klaus is Coming to Town, a “Woah, bakery!” blend of Coconut, Sugar Cookies and Zucchini Bread (please stay with me here, I swear this all smells so much better than these descriptions might otherwise imply) and Birdo’s Magical Cupcake Land, a sweet blend of Raspberry Sauce (are we detecting a pattern here?), Strawberry Jam and Birthday Cake.

Weighing in at just a shade over 8 ounces, the chunk bags were $10.00 each.  The muffins, sold in 5.5 ounce two-packs, were $7.00 each.  Some customers reported broken and torn bags.  I suffered no problems like that, although the wax in my bag of Star of Wonder, Star of Night came in shards, an issue I attribute to getting hoofed in the side whilst sitting on a cold delivery truck in the dead of Canadian winter.  Scent-wise, its appearance makes absolutely no appreciable difference, although it did make finding enough pieces to photograph a bit of a challenge.  Blogging problems, man.

Rosegirls very rarely has ready-to-ship stock.  Instead, they offer a number of ever-changing blends (usually anywhere from 15 to 20) on a once-a-month pre-order basis (January’s pre-order is actually this weekend, starting today, the 7th, and closing the morning of the 9th.)  The wax is then made-to-order, typically shipping out around the six-week mark.  I really like Rosegirls’ system, as I don’t care to fight someone online in what’s often distastefully called the Wax Hunger Games, but I can also see how antsier types might be put off by the longer turnaround time.  But if you’re cool with a bit of a wait and you like the assurance of knowing that your order is in the bag and good to go, no funny business, you’d do well to join Rosegirls’ Facebook group, where Jenny Oaks and Co. announce sale details, host giveaways and post fan pictures of their fabulously scented creations.  So what are you waiting for?  Go get you some!

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.)

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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!

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Saturday Morning Cartoons

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Never having been one for ultra sugary, rainbow-hued cereals, MY complete breakfasts – even ones accompanying Saturday morning cartoon-a-thons – have never included anything bearing the suffix -ebbles, -arms or ix.  I was totally that kid that willingly ate – and really enjoyed! – Grape Nuts and Fruit ‘N Fiber (miss you, Blueberry F’NF.)

But that hasn’t precluded me from scenting my home like those cereals.  Although…sense of scent and sense of taste being so closely linked, I’m not surprised that I’m really not all that fond of cereal scents.  To me, there’s an irritating note – literally; it kind of tickles my nose – that I presume is meant to mimic the sugary crunch of those high fructose cereals, and it’s not my absolute favourite.  But I received a number of cereal-scented wax chunks in some Rosegirls samplers I purchased this year, and even if they’re not my particular bag, they still smell pretty great.  Particularly when you tart ’em up a bit with the addition of some Mini Melters, for the ultimate in scent customization.

So what creations did I cobble together?  And did I actually overflow that one melter?  I did not, but hoo baby, it was close!

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Top left: Fruity Pebbles blended with Strawberry Jam.  This one was pretty darn delicious, even before the addition of half of one of Rosegirls’ precious Strawberry Jam berries. It’s really just a whole lot of delicious citrus, with that tingly note well buried under layers of luscious lemon.

Top right: Strawberry Frankenberry, straight up.  Mr. Finger Candy, an actual Frankenberry-lover, asked me to leave this guy un-modded.  It was a pretty pleasant strawberry scent; quite true to the cereal in both scent and alarming pink hue.

Bottom left: Boo’s Spooky Castle blended with Berry Creme Brulee.  Boo’s Spooky Castle, a blend of Boo Berry, Vanilla Crunch Donuts and Monster Cookie (oh, I know with these names, right?) is a favourite of seemingly everyone but me.  I find it overwhelmingly cereal-y.  So I added a couple of Mini Melters in Berry Creme Brulee, a super strong, rich, warm, berry bubblegum kind of scent, and just about overflowed the melter.  But oh, it would have been a dee-licious-smelling calamity – the two went together really quite well, the butteriness of the berry brulee sweetly smothering the crunchy Boo (that was like some weird, Dada-esque poetry.)

Bottom right: Are You Cereal? blended with Raspberry Sauce.  I could pair Rosegirls’ sweet-tart Raspberry Sauce with just about anything.  And I often do, such as here alongside Are You Cereal?, a blend of lemony Froot Loops and Crunch Berries.  The wax pool here is so cool, and the Raspberry Sauce really punched up the mild lemon of the Loops.

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Ha, Batman crouched protectively over the slice of Strawberry Frankenberry – seems he’s a fan!

But on that note, with regards to the header photo, MY childhood Saturday morning cartoon ritual never included The Simpsons, Hello Kitty OR any Arkham-oriented version of the Dark Knight, but kids these days, amirite?!  Also, I didn’t have my Care Bears figurines or big box o’ My Little Ponys immediately at hand, although they were definitely more my particular cartoon speed (and yet I, a woman of a certain age, DO have a can of Buzz Cola, a plush Hello Kitty and an Arkham Batman figurine right in my apartment, go figure.)

Fall Fun Series: Waxing on About Pumpkins

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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