Fall Fun Series II: Exsquashted

Exsquashted Main

Perhaps it’s because every single pumpkin fragrance gives me wretched headaches (even those I previously had no problem with) but I am not feeling the pumpkin love this autumn.  Typically I’m drowning in all manner of pumpkin spice-scented candles and bath and beauty products, not to mention a boatload of pumpkin spice lattes, but this year?  Precious few pumpkins.

First, it seems that my body’s aversion to pumpkin scents (if not my sense of smell, because I really do like them) is not vendor-specific.  These pumpkin-based scents from Super Tarts give me just as bad a headache as any other wax I’ve encountered this year.  Unfortunate, as they’re pretty yummy fragrances, all (Elm Street, a maybe-too-bready blend of pumpkin creme brulee, toasted marshmallow and sweet cornbread, Psycho, a tart, slightly spicy blend of warm pumpkin bread, sweet raspberries and spiced sour cream cake, Addam’s Family, a rich blend of salted caramel, pie crust and pumpkin cupcakes and 28 Days Later, a sweet bakery blend featuring Blueberry Pumpkin Patch, cake batter, vanilla ice cream and cranberry preserves.)

Pumpkin Basket

Here’s my Yankee kitty, Sophie, holding a couple of cubes of Elm Street over her pumpkin cauldron.  I’ve never cared for the Elm Street movies (undead child molester – uh, neat?) but I always thought Freddy had style, and so does this slashed-up, two-toned tart (red and dark brown stripes, of course.)

Sophie the Cat

Finally, here’s a beer my husband grabbed yesterday on a run out to the grocery store – local Ottawa brewery Big Rig‘s Tales From the Patch, a spiced pumpkin porter.  And what precisely is a spiced pumpkin porter, you may be asking?  Well, an alcoholic beverage I can’t quite wrap my head around, for one.  Spiced pumpkin beer soda.  Creamy pumpkin soda beer.  Carbonated pumpkin beer drink.  You know, I’m not really doing Big Rig or Tales From the Patch any favours here with my not-so-descriptive abilities, but I actually am underselling this one – it’s not that offensive, with the flavours all coming at you in separate, but equal, measures.  Also, the can glows in the dark!  Ooh, shiny! *runs away in distracted glee*

Beer Collage

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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.

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. 🙂

Tea Time

Tea Time Main

Afternoon high tea is such a deeply civilized and indulgent custom, isn’t it?  I think it’s all those gold-rimmed cups, raised pinkies and tiny, crustless sandwiches.  Or maybe I just love the idea of stopping mid-day to treat yourself, mull over the events of the coming hours, days and weeks from atop a steaming mug of Earl Grey.  I think we’d all be better off – humanity, that is – if we were required to take a one-hour breather every afternoon. Stranger Things’ Chief Hopper may say that mornings are for coffee and contemplation, but I think afternoons are for tea and reflection.  Also crustless cucumber sandwiches with herbed cream cheese, and a couple of those tomato-and-bacon jobbies with the spicy mayo when you get a moment, thank you.

Sitting down with a bracing cuppa, however, is but one way to enjoy the elegant pleasures of tea time.  There’s also plenty of tea-based bath and beauty products, scented waxes and perfumes, as well as a vast assortment of things that just look like they belong on a tiered tray.  Of the latter, I have much!  It really made me realize how much my taste in decorating is rooted in the flouncy tea room aesthetic – so many vintage florals, and everything’s shaped like a petit four.  I also really love it when my bath and beauty items look – and smell! – like wee pastries.  And so what delicious assortment of treats has recently made an appearance on my tea tray of life? 😉

Tea Time Whole Tea Set

Well, for starters, tea time would be no such thing without a proper tea set, of which I somehow had none.  I didn’t even have a teapot, save the deeply unattractive – but wonderfully functional – diffuser pot I use for my day-to-day tea breaks.  I pulled together this beautiful little set from a stunningly gorgeous display of mix-and-match items at Marie Antoinette, a favourite decor shop in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario.  If you turned me loose in there for just 10 unbidden minutes, I could bankrupt myself and probably everyone else I know.  Is it cheating to say, “I’ll just take the entire store”? Because I would.  Twice!

Tea Time Cups Collage

How wonderful are these sweet little cups with their tiny china spoons?  I’m smitten with the not-quite-matching detailing and the vintage floral design on these pastel pretties.

Tea Time Tea Pot

The nicest surprise of all – because it was actually something I neglected to check while I was in the store – was getting this cute little teapot home and discovering that it houses a convenient built-in diffuser basket. Form and function at its prettiest!

Tea Time Bath Bombs

Another sweet find from Marie Antoinette was this tantalizing trio of mini cupcake-shaped Bath Mallows from UK outfit Bomb Cosmetics in, left to right, Cherry Pie, Lavanille and Little Bo Peep.  These tiny treats are so scrumptious (particularly Little Bo Peep, which smells like cake and candied berries) I had to hold myself back from just snatching up mad handfuls of the delicious little buggers.  Oh, that finances and storage space were of no concern!

Tea Time Wax Scrub Perfume

Speaking of mad, here’s a few items that might show up on the edge of the Hatter’s tub, a playing card-shaped wax tart and tri-layered scrub from The Bathing Garden in Tea Party with Alice, a perplexing blend of strawberries, honeyed tea and clotted cream, and a dainty rollerball perfume from Solstice Scents in Blossom Jam Tea Cakes, a beguiling blend of spring florals, almond tea cakes and sweet icing.  Appropriately enough, I’ve been driven sort of mad by both of these scents, as I really don’t care for either.  Or do I? Nah, I definitely don’t like them.  Or maybe I do?  I’m deeply undecided on both, and it’s really messing with my head.  The Hatter would absolutely approve.

Tea Time Yankee Tarts

None of these wax tarts from Yankee Candle smell like tea, but they remind me of tiny fluted tea cakes nonetheless.  They also look pretty fabulous stacked up so sweetly in that header photo. 🙂

Of these five tarts, Strawberry Lemon Ice is a favourite.  It smells exactly like the strawberry sauce my church would serve atop its annual Strawberry Social shortcake, juicy, sweet and tart.  Cafe Al Fresco is an unexpected favourite – smooth and creamy in a way I think none of us ever expect from Yankee Candle. Honey Lavender Gelato was pretty inoffensive, and you already know my feelings on Pink Sands.  Peeps had no scent whatsoever, unfortunately.  It happens, particularly with Yankee’s lighter scents, and you don’t get lighter than a marshmallow Peep.

Tea Time Tray of Sweets

Finally, we have a couple of cake trays laden with tantalizingly yummy wax treats from The Bathing Garden, including (top tray left to right) Summer Melon & Mint, Guava Berry Gelato, Summer Twilight, Sweet Madi and Happy Un-Birthday and (bottom tray left to right) Bee Smitten, Sweet Madi, Cheshire Cat, Sugared Pie Crust and Mid-Summer Song. Delicious little (non-edible) treats fit for an elegantly refined – and well-earned – tea break.

Sweet Carnival Treats

Circus Header with Banner

I sadly can’t remember the last time I was at a carnival or a fair or an exhibition. Probably the last time the actual Exhibition was in town, a travelling carnival (complete with jerky carnies of questionable sobriety) that made the Canadian rounds every summer until I was well into my 20s.  I loved going to the Ex so much; would actually go multiple times over its two-week run with my parents or my friends – ’twas no better place to people-watch, boy-hunt and play out your very dramatic teenage life than the dusty, sweaty and dirty Exhibition.

When I close my eyes, I can still see the flashing neon lights of the Zipper and the Pirate Ship and the godforsaken Tilt-a-Whirl bathing Lansdowne Park with their jaunty artificial glow.  I can smell back bacon on a bun, perogies, miniature powdered donuts and candy apples.  I can picture the trashcan beside the Himalaya where I nearly threw up in front of a boy I liked very much after we challenged each other to what was in retrospect an ill-advised pre-Himalaya milk-chugging competition (nobody won that day.)  These memories are so potent, I can almost hear local punk act Furnaceface (opening for Bryan Adams, yo) drifting (probably more like blaring) over the long-since-gentrified Lansdowne Park stands (it’s actually still a football stadium, now home to the Ottawa Redblacks, but these days it’s surrounded by far more genteel – and infinitely more boring – fare (Whole Foods, a splashy movie theatre and some chain restaurants that won’t be there in two years’ time.)  *Sigh*…might as well just give in to the Grumpy Old Lady within and admit that I miss the Exhibition of my youth. It was dirty, but it was our dirt (to paraphrase The Goonies, “It’s our grime!  It’s our grime down here!”)

Okay, time to step off the nostalgia bus and focus on the real task at hand here, eyeing-up this fun assortment of carnival-themed wax, snacks and bath and beauty items.  As always when putting together one of these themed posts, I’m amazed at the sheer number and variety of items I was able to pull together from just ’round the apartment. Why do I own so much circus and carnival-themed stuff when I haven’t been to either in over a decade?  Who the heck knows!  But it’s fun and pretty, and I had a blast putting together this little still life photo shoot.  MUCH easier working with cotton candy and sugar scrubs than trying to stuff babies dressed like begonias into flower pots, trust. 😉

Circus Lights Photo 1

First, a bit of carnival-themed wax, including clamshells in The Bathing Garden‘s unexpectedly delightful Clowning Around and Poppet’s Coaster Ride, and in the little cup, a few thematically-appropriate scents, Rosegirls‘ Cotton Candy Frosting and Waffle Cone and The Bathing Garden’s Tunnel of Love.

Both Clowning Around and Poppet’s Coaster Ride were favourites from an order I placed with The Bathing Garden earlier this year, and unexpected ones at that, on account of the popcorn note in Clowning Around and the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride – the latter tends to give me headaches and the former is nearly always totally yucky.  But the popcorn note in Clowning Around is completely inoffensive, adding a pleasant, almost grassy tinge to its tri-layered blend of sweet cotton candy, even sweeter candy apples and fragrant kettle corn.  And wonder of wonders, the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride, a dee-licious combination of raspberry cake bites, peach jam and luscious lemon curd, did not give me a headache!  Praise the fragrance gods!  And so I snapped up one of each scent in both the wax and scrub formats.  The sugar scrubs are loooonnnnng gone, having fulfilled their intended purpose in life, but they were too pretty to not share alongside these shots of their stupendously gorgeous clamshell companions.

Circus TBG Wax and Scrub Collage

By now you will have noticed that as ringmistress of this particular blogging circus, I’m focusing on the more pleasantly-scented side of the carnival circuit.  As in the cotton candy and the frozen custard and the caramel apples, and not so much the sweat and the outhouse and the chip grease (and the dust and the pig-on-a-bun and the cheap body spray.)  If that’s your thing, though, Demeter probably has a scent for you!

Circus Lights Photo 2

And if you’ll now direct your attention to the centre ring, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll find a fun assortment of carnival-themed bath and body care, including a festive fragrance from Solstice Scents (Foxcroft Fairgrounds, a beguiling blend of cotton candy, taffy, funnel cakes, crisp Fall air and wood smoke), a candy floss-scented bath bomb from The Goat Milk Soap Store, an Experimenter bath bomb from Lush, and a bottle of one of my favourite indie nail polishes, Candy Lacquer‘s Carnival Games.

Okay, okay, so with its funky old man smell, I’ll concede that The Experimenter is not exactly carnival-inspired.  At least no carnival I ever wish to attend!  But the mad burst of rainbow-hued bubbles it gives off reminds me of the garish, ultra vibrant neon lights of the attractions blinking feverishly in the sultry summer nights.

Circus Experimenter Bath Bomb Photo

And Carnival Games is the gold standard in mega chunky glitter bombs, a bonkers assortment of every shape possible in every colour imaginable.  Bright and whimsical, just like its namesake (though definitely not rigged, and certainly not a waste of money.) 😉

CG Bottle

Finally, we have a mixed bag of carnival-inspired goodies from The Bathing Garden – a bundt-shaped wax tart in Nights at the Circus, a scrumptious pumpkin-apple blend, lotion in Candy Carousel, another “scents of the midway” fragrance, whipped soap in Fried Candy Donut, a favourite of Mr. Finger Candy, dipped candy apple-shaped wax tarts in Victorian Midway (left) and Vintage Circus (right), two blends based off one of my mother’s favourite fragrances, Bath and Body Works’ Winter Candy Apple, another long-since-used sugar scrub in Fried Candy Donut, and a tiny, perfectly-shaped donut wax tart in – once more, with feeling! – Fried Candy Donut.

Circus Lights Photo 3

And with that, dear audience, it’s time to draw this carnival to a close – dismantle the Zipper, pack away the flammable prizes, turn off the cotton candy…blowers?  Sure, we’ll go with blowers.  See you out there in the circus of life, friends. 🙂

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. 😉

Frenching Beetlejuice: A Then and Now Post

Beetlejuice 1

Lordy, that’s a BAD title!  Almost as bad as the nails that went along with it, a messy, dark and smudgy effort not remotely befitting one of my all time favourite movies.  And so I took another stab at turnin’ on the (Beetle)juice to see what shakes loose, tidying and brightening up this black and white striped French mani inspired by the sandworms of Saturn.

Beetlejuice 2

Along for the ride to the Neitherworld is a clamshell of Beetlejuice-inspired scented wax from Super Tarts, a fun and thoughtful gift from one of my cool online friends, Jay of The Candle Enthusiast.  Do I think Beetlejuice smells like the very yummy combination of apple butter, iced oatmeal cookies and buttermilk pancakes that Super Tarts suggests? Probably not, although I do appreciate that they didn’t go for heavy realism with this inspired-by scent – I imagine that Beetlejuice smells pretty rank.  Dude doesn’t look like he bathes very often.  I mean, he does have moss growing on his skin.  Never a good sign. 😉