It is most definitely summer up in here and whoooo boy it’s hot, scorched earth for days, which must mean it’s July in the Midwest (don’t ask where June went, I’m still searchin for it). Early July brings the first stand of daises in the front yard reaching for the sun, ballgames on the radio late into the evening, early morning deck reading, afternoons in air-conditioned stupor, iced tea and cold brew, a lounge about in my sis’s pool, a weekday off work and my mid-year recap!
Candles: Did I even review any this year? Let’s see…
Best: White Woods-Bath and Body Works/White Barn. Creamy, spiced sandalwood, finespun vanilla, and strapping white oak. My favorite semi-sale purchase and if it makes a return appearance, I’m snapping it up.Most Disappointing: Warm Cashmere– Yankee Candle. This candle was downright boring! With nothing against cozy linen types, this over-hyped UK exclusive lacked warmth, coziness and pretty much any scent other than the most generic powdered musk. Utter snooze-fest, and not the good kind.
Best non-reviewed: Geez, I don’t think I burned any stragglers without reviewing. In fact, I started posting mini-candle reviews on Instagram Stories too to keep my favorites readily available.
Oops! I’m wrong. Forgot about my bathroom candle, Cooling Eucalyptus by DW Home candles. Eucalyptus is notoriously sharp and weird smelling to me, but DW’s fresh picked Eucalyptus leaf, wild herbs and blond woods is nice, with just a touch of refreshing green.
Favorite Haul: A surprise even to me, but it goes to Candy Panda Wax (made by My Candy Panda). On reflection, I liked or loved 12 of the 13 fresh scents, even some of the florals. The Springtime sampler was a sophisticated, cohesive, well-done and affordable haul. The extra attention and customer service added the cherry on top of a lovely scent treat.
Least Favorite Haul: I will probably have to dodge used wax pucks over this and it’s in no way a reflection of the company or the esteemed owner, but my least satisfying purchase was Candles From the Keeping Room‘s large March haul. Maybe I built it up too much in my mind because it had been so long between orders, all I know is I’d only repurchase 2 of 12 and the same for the samples; Bergamot & Myrhh and Blackberry Santal Spice and Salty Mariner and Greek Isles, respectively. Carol has a huge scent list and I got lost in it. I also lost out on scents I tried for and grabbed a few substitutes in a rush. This was my 2nd in a short history of two lackluster CFTKR orders. I seem to have a handicap when purchasing as I’ve seen many wonderful scents mentioned and been gifted stellar ones too. Perhaps I should enlist Julie as my personal CFTKR shopper…
Best Custom blends: I’ve been bitten by the custom bug and can’t get enough of creating my own blends, what could be better?
- Salty Sea Air/Coconut Coast/Vanilla Oak-L3 Waxy Wonders bakery bag. Salty marine notes, buoyed by delicate beachy floral. Strewn petals and drifting wood carried on salty ocean current before a rush of coconut breeze. I thought this light strength, but was impatient. Remelted after 2-3 months total cure and it provided a beastly throw.
- Buttercream Sprinkles overpour/Peppermint Swizzle Sticks/Cream Soda– Sniff My Tarts. I love how this tested my blending skills and it just works. Buttercream sprinkles is a gourmand blend of ‘sweet’ sugared frosting that carries the minty vanilla cream of peppermint swizzle sticks to the next level. Icy cool perfection with a touch of frothiness brought out by the cream soda. Yum.
- Twilight + Buttercream bakery bag-Gio & Turner. Sweet and tangy with a richness keeping it from being saccharine compliments Twilight’s deep herbal pull of furry lavender buds laced with tonka bean and musk. Creamy, dreamy lavender and an excellent melt.
Failed Custom blends: There’s always one rogue scent that doesn’t turn out the way I’d hoped.
- Cabin in the Woods/Fir trees: Mallo fireside, earl grey tea, vanilla buttercream/Fraser fir- L3 Waxy Wonders. Buttercream doesn’t go with everything, and I think L3’s earl grey threw this off. 100% fail.
- Pie crust overpour, Fallen leaves, Marshmallow noel-Sniff My Tarts. A bizarre bready oil that morphed into a banana bread scent, with the metallic floral tinge of leaves. Imagine a homemade banana bread/perfumed soap.
- Black Sea + Shaving Cream– Gio & Turner. Black Sea, salty ocean ozone with an undercurrent of amber and vanilla, leans too much toward a contemporary ozonic cologne, harsher than I expected.Hidden gems: Always (Super Tarts)- Predominately spa green with a touch of soothing lavender underlying to finish it off. Finally melted this after hesitating due to a strange cold throw and mixed reviews. Turns out a lovely, fresh creamy experience and strong lavender.
New fragrance obsessions: Tea scents are my rising favorite. Earl Grey, chamomile, green, hibiscus or matcha, scents as varied as there are leaf varieties. Beautiful deep earthiness, perfect any time of year equals my cuppa tea.
Palo Santo- I’m in need of more burning sticks and the candle version, but Yankee’s Haunted Hollow wall plug-in is a great substitute!
Scent I wish would go away: Last year, I lamented the Fruit Loops craze which hasn’t gone anywhere, however, I’ve learned my tastes are changing. I’m not converted to a loopy lover (heck no) but some types I enjoyed have become an offense to my nose: Coconut Milks are super sour to me (an exception is Gypsy Monroe’s Dream Weaver) and I wish the ultra powdery lavenders would disappear, so I wouldn’t accidentally choose them hoping for the herbal kind.
Wax low-buy: Orders- January 2, February 1, March 2, April 0, May 1, June 2.5 (splitting one) ugh. No-Buy July officially in effect.
Indie Body Care
A major increase in body care purchases and posts this year. These vendors are leagues better and more innovative than comparable store bought stuff.
Fave vendor: I’ve said it before and I will again, Salted Rock Bath Co. has every handcrafted body product you’d need in a pleasing variety of scents, with consistent stock, occasional sales and an all-natural line. Try this brand. Oh, and new customers receive 15% off w/code ENJOY15
Fave shower scrub: So much greatness, but Wonderberry’s whipped scrub wins out, as does the Aloe lotion in the pump.
Fave soap: Tie: Handmade in Florida and Old Whaling Soap Co. ♥
Lavender-Mint Lip Balm, $3- Harbor View Nursery and Lavender Farm. I love this fragrance free balm that leaves my lips tingly with a pretty sheen. Thanks for introducing me, Rach:)
Fave Detangler: Candy Panda Wax- Olive Balm
Fave new hair product: Blend Sea Salt spray by Keune A salon brand, but it can be sprayed directly on my scalp w/o causing greasiness and still add beachy waves. Woohoo-no hairdryer for me this summer!
Books: Here’s to embracing my inner bookworm; a natural fit in my library environment, loving my reading co-challenge and finding reading fun again.
13 read, slightly behind the 15 needed to keep pace with the Bookish Jay and Reading Mermaid Challenge. Not a shocker, but I’m currently reading two more.
Best Non-fiction reads, so far:
- I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer | Michelle McNamara
- Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks | Annie Spence
- I Am Malala | Malala Youfsazi and Christina Lamb
Worst Non-fiction reads:
- Dodie, Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons
Best Fiction reads, so far:
- The Last Child | John Hart
- Scythe | Neal Shusterman
- Circe | Madeline Miller
Worst Fiction reads:
- The Alice Network | Kate Quinn
Most looking forward to:
- Living the rest of the summer to the fullest. June had it’s troubles, but I’m focusing on letting go and trying not to worry about the future. Ha, we’ll see.
- Continuing the Reading Co-challenge. Shout out to the followers who’ve joined us and thanks for the recommendations.
- A waxie collaboration with fellow bloggers is likely soon…
- *More wax on the way*: 1 new vendor, 1 new-to-me vendor, and a beloved brand I haven’t ordered from in a year should all make an appearance this month.
How about you, lovely readers? What are your current faves, in wax, bodycare, books, tea? I appreciate all of your comments and feedback.