Super Tarts

Super Tarts Order Full

Straight off the top, I’m of two minds about this rather large order of scented wax from Super Tarts, a pop culture-minded vendor out of the United States.  On the one hand, I’m delighted with the absolutely gigantic selection of themed scents, from The Walking Dead and Ghostbusters, to Harry Potter and the Ninja Turtles.  I had a total blast perusing their 26-page-strong product list in search of waxes, soaps and scrubs in scents inspired by Egon, Hagrid or CORAL!!!  Coincidentally, that’s also how I wound up placing a maybe-too-large order (okay, definitely too large) for my first time at Super Tarts bat – I was just dazzled by all that fun choice.  And any vendor that offers products themed to Beetlejuice and The Lost Boys is more than all right with me.

But on the other hand, this order arrived on my doorstep absolutely thrashed.  Shipping was obscene – I’m too ashamed to share the amount with you – and the packaging slight.  The clamshells, packed tightly together, had just a handful of packing peanuts tossed on top of them, which offered zero protection from the X-Men who vetted my package at customs (fairly certain Wolverine had a go at this poor box.)  When I opened the parcel, this is the sight that greeted me.  I spent half an hour picking tiny, shredded flakes of packing peanuts off my clamshells, and in some cases, from INSIDE my clamshells (never let it be said the postal system is not thorough(ly useless.)

Busted All to Crap

And while I recognize that postal snafus are outside of the purview of a vendor, there was an evident lack of care in the packaging of this box; over half of my clamshells arrived broken, gouged or otherwise.  Made me wonder precisely what that exorbitant shipping fee had bought me.

Super Tarts TWD Collage

And I was also dismayed to find that for the most part, that lack of care extended to the products themselves – most of the seams of my clamshells were smeared with bits of dried wax, the labels were wonky, and in a few distressing cases, the clamshells themselves seemed to be disintegrating beneath the wax.  It wasn’t much of a first impression.  In fact, it will most likely be my only impression; this was not a good enough retail experience to warrant a repeat visit (with absolutely no shade directed towards my friends who love Super Tarts and suggested I try them out; you don’t know until you try, and everybody’s experience is just a little bit different.)

Super Tarts Harry Potter Collage

But on the other-other hand (lot of hands here) – the one that’s attempting to make lemonade out of very expensive, very damaged lemons – I’ve been having a lot of fun melting through this wide assortment of scents.  There’s a little bit of everything here – Super Tarts touches on so many different fandoms – and so far I’ve really enjoyed their scented take on superheros, Harry Potter and favourite horror movies of my childhood.  Many of the unique scent blends are delightfully unexpected successes, and wonder of wonders, Super Tarts’ pumpkin is one that does NOT set my head a-thumpin’.  The delicate little overlays on top of some of the clamshells are also quite cute.  You know, the ones that aren’t smashed all to crap. 😦  I particularly like the horror movie blends – Day of the Dead, a non-cloying blend of pecan pie, creme brulee and waffle cone, and Psycho, an unexpectedly delicious blend of pumpkin bread, sour cream coffee cake and raspberries, are real standouts.

Super Tarts Scary Tarts Collage

Anyhow, focusing on the positives here and trying to learn from this lesson – as in, don’t go big until you know precisely what you’re dealing with.  Expect the postal service to savage your parcel.  And if a shipping fee seems too high, that’s because it is.  So maybe heed that sensible voice inside telling you to approach a first-time transaction with some degree of caution, yeah?  I stumble so that you may learn and all that good stuff.

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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. 🙂

The Secret Bathing Garden: A Haul Post

TBG Main Photo

Or not-so-secret, as here it is, in all its deliciously-scented glory. 🙂

So it would appear that my previous protestations that I am not a beauty product person were weak efforts made in total vain, because you guys, look at all the pretty beauty products!  I bought so much!  Not one demonstrable ounce of willpower on display, not a one.  Birthday mad money very well spent.

This is the part where I’m supposed to scold myself for glorifying capitalism and mindless retail expenditures. Except it wasn’t mindless!  For that you’ll have to check out this fun story of the time I narcotics-shopped my way into a $200 bounty of shimmery unicorn makeup. 😉

But regardless of where you stand on the “My, that was a silly purchase” spectrum, I think we can all agree that these Bathing Garden items, a lovely treat facilitated by one of my sweet online friends, are absolutely beautiful and well-deserving of a SHOWING OF THE STUFF.  So let’s show it!

TBG Scrubs Collage

First up, we have four lovely sugar scrubs in, from left to right, Sugared Pie Crust, Tea Party with Alice, Fried Candy Donut and Parisian Strawberry Fields.  Shannon, the mistress of all things Bathing Garden, makes the most gorgeous scrubs – they’re finely textured, beautifully scented and not too oily, perfect for everyday use.  I tore through the two scrubs I purchased some months ago with great haste – not too surprising given that I used them (and continue to use them) to buff my tired tootsies every day as a nice little post-workout treat.  I’m really the sweetest smelling, most well-exfoliated lass in the land. 🙂  These 8 oz. scrubs were $9.00 US each.

TBG Pie Time

Next up, I spy with my little eye something that is…pie!  Regrettably non-edible, but that may be a blessing in disguise when you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, and also when the items in question smell as delicious as this bundle of Sugared Pie Crust sweets.  Not to get all rapturous on you or anything, but these items – the sugar scrub we saw before, a light lotion, a wax clamshell and that adorable little lattice-topped pie slice – smell like sex on stilts.  Sugared Pie Crust, you incredible bakery beast, where have you been all my life?!

Here’s the part where I killjoy all over your piqued interest by noting that this scent is no longer available. Offered as part of The Bathing Garden’s monthly featured scent bundle, Sugared Pie Crust was a bit of a one-and-done (or a one-and-done…for now; these popular scents tend to make annual reappearances.)  The items in each bundle vary slightly from month to month (May’s featured the most adorable little popsicle-shaped wax tarts and a lush whipped soap) but this particular assortment of goodies retailed for $18.50.

TBG Tea Collage

Then following pie time comes tea time – a playing card-shaped wax tart and a tri-layered sugar scrub in Tea Party with Alice, a honeyed tea, clotted cream and strawberry jam fragrance.  Both items are beautiful (even the scrub, with its sadly melted rosebud embellishment) but I’m quite undecided on the scent.  To my nose, the honeyed cream and tea layers combine to create something unpleasantly sour and astringent – it’s an odd combination somewhat redeemed by the rich strawberry jam scent.  The sugar scrub, which we saw above with its yummy sisters, was $9.00, and the gorgeous tri-layered tart, sprinkled with beautiful eye-catching embellishments, was $3.00.

And since no Bathing Garden order would be complete without at least a few clamshells, I picked up some of those.  Plus, you know, nine or 10 others. 😉  These clamshells were $3.75 each.

TBG Clamshells 1 LabelBare Collage

Representing Team Brown, we have Fried Candy Donut, a favourite wildberry donut scent, Eat Me, a complex, beguiling blend of what I swear is chocolate and wood shavings, and that glorious Sugared Pie Crust fragrance, on whose many delicious-smelling qualities I have already expounded.

TBG Clamshells 2 LabelBare Collage

From the recently-retired Spring Collection, we have Sweet Green, a bracingly strong blend of mint, clover and other grassy things, Pomegranate Lime Sweet Tarte, a delightfully yummy fragrance that smells exactly like all four of those descriptors, and Spring Fling, a mild blend of citrus and cupcakes.

TBG Clamshells 3 LabelBare Collage

Next, we have three delicious new favourites, Cheshire Cat, a fun and fruity combination of lemon, raspberry and vanilla, Happy Un-Birthday, a not-so-basic blend of yellow cake topped with mounds of cotton candy icing, and Parisian Strawberry Fields, a super fresh and sweet-tart blend of strawberries and mangoes. Fantastic, all!

TBG Clamshells 4 LabelBare Collage

Finally, we have my three favourite clamshells of this order, both in terms of fragrance and aesthetics, Clowning Around, an I-shouldn’t-like-this blend of popcorn, candy apples and cotton candy, Knave of Hearts, a candy sweet blend of fresh strawberries and brown sugar coconut cake, and Caterpillar Mischief, a sweet and creamy combination of mild coconut cream and apricot. Mushroom-induced fissure notwithstanding, just look at this gorgeous tart!  It’s stupendously beautiful, even a tiny wee bit roughed-up. Tiny wax works of art.

Caterpillar Mischief

Finally-finally, we come to my favourite part of any Bathing Garden order, the free samples and fun little extras.  I suspect I am not alone in my outright awe of Shannon’s generosity, which is second to none – at least one full size item of her choice comes with any order over $90.00, and that’s in addition to the many, many, many sample size items that routinely come with each order as delightful little enablers. 😉

As this order was a little bit mine and a little bit my friend’s, we split the freebies roughly 50/50.  There were, however, a number of scents that simply didn’t speak to me – that happens when 3/4 of the scents you like have the word “cookie” somewhere in their name.  So I left those in the possession of my friend, who I know will sniff and suss out their hidden depths and glories far better than I.  So this bounty, which includes one of the full size sugar scrubs we saw before, represents just my half of the extras, and then just a fraction of those (wow, seriously, so many unintentional fractions in that last paragraph!)

TBG Freebies

Generously-provided freebies, clockwise from left to right, include a full size sugar scrub in Parisian Strawberry Fields, a small tri-layered bundt in Cheshire Cat, a sample size sugar scrub in Knave of Hearts (ooh, this one is so delicious in a scrub, and that red velvet hue is to die for!), a small blue and purple bundt in Summer Twilight, a calming berry-lavender blend, a small green rosette in Summer Melon and Mint, a nose-tinglingly yummy combination of watery melons and mint, a large yellow coin in Bee Smitten, a light, honeyed floral, a small yellow rosette in Happy Un-Birthday, a small pink star in Guava Berry Gelato, a popular blend of creamy vanillas and sweet berries, a large pink coin in Sweet Madi, which regrettably smells a bit like plastic disposable diapers (which is pretty rank, but I suppose you can’t win ’em all) and a small blue rosette in Mid-Summer Song, which smells like a memory from my past that I can’t quite put my finger on right now, but which will undoubtedly come to me in the dead of night or some other thoroughly inconvenient moment.

So there we have it, another lovely Bathing Garden order that more than tickles my fancy – it also exfoliates, moisturizes and leaves my fancy smelling just divine, thank you! Secret no more. 😉

Spring Scents: Another Rosegirls Haul

Rosegirls Haulage

This much-anticipated order showed up on my doorstep at pretty much the exact moment I succumbed to a (now) week-long bout of illness that has robbed me of both my sense of taste and smell, so I can’t say it’s made much of an impression on me beyond, “Hey, look at this stuff that arrived.”  Lots of stating-of-the-obvious when I’m not feeling well.

But for those still curious as to my fever-induced thoughts on these Rosegirls goodies, here they are!

RG Spring Collage

In the adorable little two-pack muffin shapes ($7.00 US), I chose Rosegirls Garden, Raspberry Sauce and Vanilla Bean Noel, a blend created by my friend Julie of The Redolent Mermaid during one of Rosegirls’ last rounds of custom orders.  This was a real wildcard pick for me because I don’t generally care for floral scents, particularly rose scents, but I adore Rosegirls’ Raspberry Sauce, a super tart berry that overpowers just about everything it touches, and I’m warming up on the subject of Bath & Body Works’ ubiquitous Vanilla Bean Noel. And surprisingly, I really like this blend!  I especially like the way each of the three notes is present in equal measure, despite my belief that the Raspberry Sauce would blight any (not-the-least-bit) icky rose notes from the face of the earth.  It reminds me of a delicate, rosewater-infused pastry from a Middle Eastern bakery. Very nice, Julie!

Rosegirls Garden Raspberry Sauce Vanilla Bean Noel

The other scent I chose in the muffins was Cookie Dough, Waffle Cone and Wackadoodle (oh, those names) which smells exactly like the air in an ice cream shop – all warm sugars and unidentifiably delightful cookie smells.  It’s so delicious, I want to eat it (always a sure sign that it smells great, no?)

Cookie Dough Wackadoodle

There were a number of scents offered this go-round in half pies, but none really spoke to me, and so I satisfied myself with these smaller chunk bags instead ($10.50 for roughly 11 oz. of wax.)

Starting off with one of my favourite Rosegirls scents, I nabbed two bags of Hotline Bling, a gorgeous, parrot-hued blend of Watermelon Slush, Raspberry Sauce, Lemon Biscotti and Cotton Candy Frosting.  Sounds like a godawful mess, smells like a fruity dream! This is about as close to a punchy scent as I like to get (seeing as actual punchy scents – anything that could be described as “drink,” really – give me terrible headaches.)

Hotline Bling

Another favourite from this order is Cotton Candy Frosting Smoothie, a simple, comforting blend of Cotton Candy Frosting and Marshmallow Smoothie.  Pillowy, creamy dreamy cotton candy – sounds delicious, smells even better.

Cotton Candy Frosting Smoothie

Finally, we have the dud, because there has to be one in every order.  It’s Newton’s First Law of Wax.  The misfire would be Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, an ambitious blend of Strawberry Raspberry Guava, Mango Sorbet and Lollipops.  Being a sucker for all things Mango Sorbet, I added this guy to my cart, forgetting that that lollipop note shares quite a lot in common with the headache-inducing punch note I spoke about before.  As it’s the most prominent note in this blend, I’ll be taking a pass.  Eh, you can’t win ’em all, even if you win most of ’em. 😉

Sunshine Rainbow and Lollipops

Treating Myself: A Bathing Garden Haul

TBG Main Order Photo 190

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.)