Small Flame Candle Co. vendor review

These items were sent to me in exchange for an honest review.20171008_125939 (1)Back from a short hiatus and rather excited to share a new vendor discovery. Occasionally, I receive blog requests to review a product, which is how I came in contact with the owner of Small Flame Candle Co. Selective over which products to review, when I looked up the brand I was pleased to find the candle creator, Michael, is a U.S. veteran who donates portions of his profits to veteran charities. There was no doubt this brand deserves a shoutout. 

Also an opportunity to continue this year’s blog goal to feature more “little guy” vendors and the chance to review actual candles, which I’ve been lax on and uninspired with lately. These cute 4 oz. tins hold an approximate burn time of 20 hours, are 2.5″ diameter, 1.75″ in height.

Michael sent some of his top selling scents and personal faves:
20171008_131325Pumpkin Crunch Cake-The aroma of creamy pumpkin pie filling surrounded by freshly baked yellow cake, melted butter, pecans, and hints of spice. One of Small Flame’s best selling scents and I can smell why, so cozy and inviting. Cinnamon blooms in the creamy cake batter as it rises concocting a warm and toasty atmosphere. Pumpkin spice mingles with golden pats of butter melted into liquid pools, creating a gourmand twist to the heart of the scent. Pleasantly surprised by the medium strength throw in my living room. 20171008_131229Peanut Butter Cookierich, buttery, freshly baked aroma, make everyone in the house mad when they find out there are no real peanut butter cookies. PBC is the vendor’s favorite and I love the unique scent profile. A savory balanced blend of salty and sweet. Yummy aromas of freshly roasted nuts, vended piping hot in their crinkly paper bag. Crunchy peanut shells, lightly salted to perfection combine with velvety smooth peanut butter and dollops of rich buttery dough. The best part is true to life notes of sugary browned and toasted cookie bottoms. Strong throw in my living room, I also burned this in my sister’s large open floor plan and it performed well. This cookie delivers a classic crowd pleasing fragrance, definite repurchase. And now I’m craving a nutter butter.20171008_131009Black Raspberry Vanilla- a scent favorite of the vendor’s wife, Katie, and as it turns out, my husband’s too. Bright berry top notes bursting into a tartly sweet and sour combination. Luscious raspberries intertwined with sweet honeyed vanilla, more so rich honey than cream. Nuances of musk and wood provide surprising depth, almost a blackberry wine rather than a dessert. The lightest strength of the tins, however.

Formula Onehits you with the scent of exhaust from high performance engines, delivering a wonderful smoked petroleum scent. Some readers might be surprised to learn I used to be a zealous racing fan; traveling hours to catch qualifying races, standing in long autograph queues, touring garages and cheering on pit crews, final laps, and racers shutting the door. I know, doesn’t seem like me, but it was a fun period of time around ’05-’10 when I followed the sport. My interest has since waned and nowadays, I can’t watch a race without taking a nice long nap, but I still love the sounds and smells of being at the track. I requested this fragrance and I’m happy I did.
20171018_124301Formula One is inspired by open-wheel racing and I was into stock cars but this candle captures all motor sports. The penumbra of flame dancing above the black wax looks like a glistening oil slick. Deep and dark with smoke, leather, petrol, oily metallic notes and hints of burned rubber and woods. Surprisingly sophisticated, better warmed than on cold, medium throw. 20171008_130043Butterfly Gardens-summer dandelion, refreshing verbena, and soft heliotrope; followed by middle notes of spring meadows, lily of the valley, and weeping willow; all sitting on base notes of sweet pea blossoms and Kentucky blue grass. Unfortunately, fresh cut grass scents are not for me. Clusters of robust white flowers provide a base without soapy notes, soft tones of verbena and spring breezes come forth when warmed, strong throw.

Fresh Brewed CoffeeThe aroma of strong black fresh brewed Arabica coffee beans. Can’t imagine starting my day without a steaming mug of joe, but I prefer mine Cuban strength and this is more diluted in scent. Aromatic coffee beans appear, weakly reminiscent of a flat-bodied decaf. Nothing offensive here, just neutral, not the full-bodied bite I crave in coffee aromas. I plan to use the rest as a blender.20171008_130246

Downsides:

Started in 2017, there’s limited wax melt fragrance availability and no house blend offerings as of yet.

The wax melt texture is extremely sticky making removal of the cubes difficult.

Couldn’t find any international shipping, but Canada is an available option. 

Upsides:

The scent list is expanding, including a fall candle bundle of 4 for $20 with adorable festive fall photo labels found here.

Affordable. Candle tins are $6 a piece and there’s a large selection of 12oz. jar candles for only $13. Wholesale discounts offered too.

Soy wax and phthalate-free fragrance which is becoming rarer in the vendor world.

Unique scent offerings like Craft Brew, Fireplace, Motor Oil and Drag Strip. I’m thinking stocking stuffers for dudes, done.

*Feel-good company* 10% of all sales go to Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes for severely injured post 9/11 Veterans.

Thank you, Michael, for giving me the opportunity to try your products, I love that Small Flame Candles has a big heart.

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A Very Harry Shelfie Part 2: Additions and Conclusions

Some books are special due to the life circumstances in which they are read, other books are special due to the life affirming circumstances created by reading them; rather than being ‘of a time’, they are books of all time. 20170927_110835To millions, the Harry Potter series are such books. To me, they are both. I didn’t read my first Harry Potter book until I turned 34*. I was a few months out of cancer treatment and scarcely able to refocus my attention enough to enjoy reading fiction. Life and my future were uncertain. I’d always thought I’d get around to reading them but I remember literally thinking, I guess I should start these, just in case I don’t make it. I read The Sorcerer’s Stone in two days while on vacation, but rather than binge the entire series, I pledged, to myself, to read one every summer for the next 7 summers, finishing the year of my 40th birthday. Reading each one became a small reward and private acknowledgement to surviving another year. There were a few setbacks, in reading and life, but my 40th summer has passed, my health is stable and I’m finally finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Of course, who knew 7 years ago there would be a continuation of the series in an 8th book?)

So yes, it’s another Harry Potter focused post. In celebration of the conclusion, because life is short and it helps to surround yourself with possessions which bring joy and meaning, I’ve picked up a few more Harry Potter items since my first shelfie post in March. Unfortunately, Funko Pop Fred is still George-less, as I focused on more portable, practical(?) merchandise to exhibit my HP love.

Starting with the stunning piece of miniature art in this enamel Wizard School pin by Happy Hello Co. I showed off my HP-inspired bookmarks from this etsy shop last time and when this pin debuted, I knew immediately it was needed. Only 1.5 inches round, the crisply detailed enamel and gold plating create a scene filled with dimension, beauty, scale and movement. I adore the polish, the crescent moon and tower spire peeking over the top edge, and especially the perfectly captured owl in flight (did everybody tear up over the loss of darling Hedwig, or just me?). This pin is in stock for $12.39 US and ships in about 2 weeks from Canada. 

J.K. Rowling brought such richness to her novel world and I appreciated the merging of magical facets to the classic boarding school story line. Hogwarts classroom settings are a favorite aspect from the books, making this 6 class sticker set a must. Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes based in Glasgow, Scotland, is the whimsical little shop behind these stickers and the Auror Office notepad in the flat lay photo above. HOYFC specializes in patches, pins, jewelry and stationary sporting geeky, retro and always colorful designs.

The attention to detail in the stickers grabbed me and I’m delighted with them. Each vignette is saturated in color and features objects significant to that course of Hogwarts study. Defense Against the Dark Arts (a story point favorite) depicts animal relics under glass, a mirror, skeletal hand and stag patronus. Potions portrays a bubbling cauldron, half-filled beakers, toadstool specimens, bright vials of liquid and a splattering spill. Astronomy illustrates stars, scrolls, telescopic instruments and glowing armillary with the shadow of Hogwarts spires in the distance.

Herbology, another favorite from the novels, houses terrariums, curling vines, mortar and pestle, spiky and dangerous looking flora and every student’s must for handling mandrakes, pink fuzzy earmuffs. Care of Magical Creatures warms the heart with glowing lantern, peering snowy owl, pumpkins, feathers, colored eggs and curious critters. 20170927_130823If you caught the mention of 6 classes in the set but notice only 5 stickers, that’s because my husband chose Transfiguration and made haste in applying it to his laptop before I could photograph it! It’s shown in the top left corner above, adhered to the back. I can’t blame him, it is cool with its perched raven, slinking cat and glowing globe. (I always wished for more story time in Professor McGonagall’s classes). These were £10 and shipped with the notepad for £5. Sally, the designer, also offers Hogwarts class notebooks.20171004_104532I prefer non-house specific merchandise but have my character favorites. No collection would be complete without an ode to hero/anti-hero Professor Snape. The pattern above is featured on a book sleeve by Book Beau. Book sleeves are designed to protect your books from damage and wear when transporting them. Working in a library, I’m a constant book borrower and have paid for a few due to clumsiness. I protect them in ziploc bags but these fabric beaus are much more fun.

20171004_105024The doe patronus pattern was actually my substitute choice. I supported Book Beau’s Kickstarter campaign in April with a $22 pledge originally selecting the design in Quirky Wizards (cute cartoonish versions of HP characters/symbols). There was an email at some point during the campaign that the Wizards pattern was no longer available and this Always doe was being offered instead. Disappointed at first, I’m now satisfied with this elegant tribute pattern. Two issues to consider if ordering a book beau: the manufactured versions have some fabric wrinkling which I attempted to iron out, but  returned when sliding the book inside. The indie size is too small to fit most hardback books. Ironically, no Harry Potter novels fit inside except The Cursed Child. (Not sure if that counts, I have mixed feelings on reading that one). The Book Beau on the right is the hand sewn version, also indie sized, which is smoother. If I reorder, it will be in the XL size.

I met Benita at Book Con in NYC this summer and she was cool and smiley. I’m excited she’s put her dream to work and successfully launched her BB website.

When it comes to bookish merchandise, bookmarks are irresistible. The selection and materials are mind-boggling. Marked by Mary has achieved positive fame with her wood-burned designs. I liked the idea of a more permanent showpiece bookmark to commemorate the series conclusion. It arrived smartly packaged with two stick supports wrapped in tissue paper, packed inside a sturdy padded envelope.20171004_105840Regularly $19, on sale for $17.10 with free shipping, Mary’s shop restocks every Tuesday at 6 pm. Other than the Kickstarter, this bookmark took the longest to ship after ordering, about a month. As much as I enjoy its stark graphics and iconic symbols, I’m a little hesitant to use it because I’m afraid the balsa wood could break. Currently sitting in a place of honor on my HP shelf.20171004_105942 (1).jpgMy Hogwarts house watercolor print was ordered several months ago from Lucy in the Sky Creations. Lucy’s etsy shop features literary gifts of unique art. I admire her artistic watercolor renditions of classic characters, authors and quotes. My only complaint being, it was packaged in a thin manila envelope without any cardboard backed protection, therefore, the corner was bent in transit.20171008_174953Recently, articles in the Huffington Post and other publications reported some research questioning the impact Harry Potter has had on encouraging reading. “For instance, research by the National Endowment for the Arts in the US has found no increase in children’s reading levels in correlation to Harry Potter.” I’ve read arguments posing rather than reading more books, children keep reading the same 7 books over and over. 

Trends can be measured, but impact upon individual readers cannot. I know what Harry Potter means to me as a reader and to those I come in contact with daily in the library. As I’m sure I’ll go on to re-read the series in time, it’s a wonderful feeling to think Hogwarts will always be there to welcome me home.

*A dear friend did read some of The Deathly Hallows to me during a week long stay for treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. I believe it was the story of the three brothers, but my memory is foggy.

Share any collection additions, Hogwarts or otherwise, and your thoughts on HP’s legacy below.

October-Band of Bloggers


Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, it was a dark and stormy night. So dark and stormy, in fact, the power had gone out, and you had naught but a handful of scented three-wick candles with which to light your way. As you crept down the darkened hallway of the cabin in the woods along the picturesque shores of Crystal Lake that you and your randy teenage friends rented from the eerily helpful maintenance man back at the abandoned service station with all the weird pelts hanging outside, you caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of your eye. Whirling madly about, you brandished your glass jar of Pumpkin Cupcake Crunch, set to square off against any number of undead, masked killers with nothing but the three-wick in your hand and your own blazing moxie. Then, with a chuckle of embarrassed relief, you realized it was just your lucky Chucky Doll figurine – must have fallen off the shelf when that puzzle doodad covered in all the bizarre symbols you found in the basement behind the walled-up root cellar tipped over. Pressing a hand to your fluttering heart, you shook your head as you contemplated the massive, flammable waxcident that nearly was – heavens, THAT certainly could have been messy!

And then THAT’S when one of your friends came banging through the swinging door of the kitchen, catching you square in the back, throwing you forward and the candle up, and out, and then eventually down, where it exploded in a geyser of molten wax, covering everything in the livingroom with burnt orange pumpkin spice, including the creepy two-way mirror and the snarling wolf head affixed to the wall. Congratulations; now you’re really in a horror movie!

Oh, we’ve all been there, and not just waxies, but anyone who enjoys a hobby that occasionally errs towards the messy and dangerous (jest not, glitter glue burns are a real thing!) So this month, in honour of Halloween, we’re taking a look at our most monstrous pastime nightmares – the waxcidents and beauty blunders and crafting calamities that haunt our hobby dreams. What’s the worst hobby hazard you’ve ever suffered? And do you have any magical tips for cleaning Pumpkin Cupcake Crunch out of carpet fibers (or wolf fur)?

How I wish I had a corresponding tale to the brilliant send-up of at least 6 (?) horror movies in the above prompt written by Sandra, the story-spinning virtuoso of Finger Candy blog, and fellow BoB. However, I don’t have enough crafting experience under my belt to rack up many calamities. Up until last December, I can remember having done zero crafts; though surely as a child? Nope, coming up empty. The crafts I’ve since done on visits with my niece have gone fairly well. I even shared one, the little mason jar snow globe scenes we did last Christmas, on the blog. Of course, they’re sweetly flawed in a handmade way and there may have been 1 or 2 minor glue gun burns, but nothing qualifying a hobby hazard. I’ll be featuring another quick and cool craft we completed in an upcoming post, but no big blunders then either, though there was a lot of flying wax…

20171005_083838Like any waxie worth her salt, I’ve suffered a few waxidents over the years. I remember  knocking over a cooling red candle onto the griege carpet of our first newlywed apartment causing wax splatter, but I also have a vague memory of my husband cleaning it up for me. It must have been okay, because we were refunded our security deposit. Sorry, not much help there. This past July, I did break my wax burner dish as I dropped it while removing from the freezer (is that everybody’s go-to method?). I substituted with the hanging bowl from a tealight warmer for a bit. It worked, but the thinner curved bottom got extremely hot and burned the scented oils from the wax so quickly, I felt I was wasting my melts, especially my lovely longed-for custom blends from Sniff My Tarts. I finally bought a replacement warmer just for the bowl because I’m really attached to my little Yankee owl warmer.

I’ll be sure to wax on and craft on in the future and post the inevitable mishaps.20170708_185109-1

If you have a story to share about the worst hobby-related catastrophe you’ve ever suffered, please leave a cringe-worthy comment in the section below! And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Bloggers blogs and help support the blogger community.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join us for our monthly Band of Bloggers posts, please feel free to contact us.

 

One Lovely Blog Award

one-loveley-blogger

Hi there. Katie, the sweetie from Katie’s Cottage Books nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award a little while back and although sometimes I grow embarrassed by bloggy attention, I’m giving it a go. I do appreciate it, thank you so much Katie ♥ I’ve mentioned her blog before, https://katiescottagebooks.wordpress.com a cozy spot for teasers, hauls, and book and classic movie recommendations.

Rules ~

~Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.

~Post about the award.

~Share seven (7) facts about yourself.

~Nominate up to fifteen people.

~Let your nominees know you’ve nominated them.

7 Facts About Me ~ (I think it’s supposed to be info I haven’t already revealed)

1.) I may be the biggest klutz in the world. Not a day goes by without me spilling something, while I break something every other day and accidentally injure myself once a week. Soon I’ll need to be put in a padded room for my own protection.

2.) Katie mentioned her love of the film Casablanca, and although my favorite classics are musicals, I too love Casablanca and make it a tradition to watch it after Christmas every year.

3.) It’s probably unwise to engage me in conversation before I’ve had my first cup of coffee, but…

4.) My Starbucks drink is a London Fog Tea latte and I’m drinking one as I type this post, so soothing.

5.) I’m a dog person. Okay, not exactly new information but I also mean I’m not a cat person, though they aren’t always mutually exclusive. Most cats I meet are strange, untrusting and skittish with the exception of a stray, named Spike, my family adopted when I was a teen. Spike was cool. (Hope I don’t lose any friends over that one, I think kittens are cute.)

6.) My heroes are my dad, my husband’s grandmother and late grandfather, and victim rights advocate, John Walsh. 

7.) Night owl (aka insomniac)

Now for some WordPress blogs I follow, enjoy and nominate. Give them a look-see.

https://angelazen.wordpress.com/

https://beautybyadutchgirl.com/

https://fingercandy.wordpress.com/

https://forevermyjoy.com/

https://ifmermaidsworesuspenders.com/

https://themeltdownblog.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

Halloween Candle collection + Yankee outlet trip

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The ghostly white halos around the candles is caused by light reflection coming from the window, no filter used, but I thought it was fitting.

Top, l-r: Two swirl jars of Pumpkin Patch (Harvest and Spiced Pumpkin), a cauldron candle filled with Witch’s Brew. 2nd row, l-r: Halloween trio of Ghostly Treats (toasted mallow), Candy Corn and Happy Halloween (licorice), tealights in Witch’s Brew and Ghostly Treats, Black Magic pillar (similar to Autumn Lodge, smoky with leaves) 3rd row l-r: Fright Night (Midsummer’s Night), Cider Web (Apple Cider), swirl in Moon Pie (Buttercream and Whoopie Pie) Bottom: Candy Corn topped with Bloody Drips tapers.

Halloween is the only holiday for which I’ve purchased candles with the intention of display rather than use. Mostly because I wanted the festive packaging, but also because I don’t like a lot of the scents chosen, such as licorice or candy corn. I have burned and enjoyed both Pumpkin Patch and Black Magic though they’re light throwers. My Halloween white whale is a Ghostly Treats full-size jar because it came out during my Yankee employment, but our store only received 4 which sold out before I was able to buy one. They were under-produced and for some reason I never understood, Yankee Candle hasn’t brought them back, nor any marshmallow scents, since.

Missing above is Forbidden Apple, first released last year, which I reviewed here for FFS. Literally missing is another Halloween candle, Toxic Tonic swirl (Forbidden Apple and Spiced Pumpkin) which I misplaced last year and it hasn’t turned up yet (a tell-tale sign of owning too many candles). My goal for October burning is to use up the halfsies, the rest remain display fodder for my Halloween themed holders. Do you have any candles purchased solely on packaging and not for burning?

Project Wax update: minimal progress 4-5 since July20170813_161146.jpgThought I was in good shape by avoiding the Semi Sales, then Yankee Candle released some fall treasures I’d hoped would return for years, Be Thankful and Pomegranate Cider. Also, their National Park candles went down to $10 and I loved the Great Smoky Mountains in theory and scent, how could I resist, I ask you? I suppose if I got really serious about not buying I’d unsubscribe from the email lists, which I had not done when a 30% off Outlet coupon came up this weekend-here’s what I hauled and a few new items I thought photo-worthy:20171001_113743My Halloween collection is evident that I can be a sucker for labels. Upon spotting these bird with branch snapshots, my heart melted. My family loves birds, especially my dad who got into bird-feeding when he retired from full time work. My parents have a few feeders and a picture window to view the birdie to-ing and fro-ing. These scents didn’t quite stand out, though Autumn Rain was a pleasant misty ozonic scent. I’m already regretting not picking one up for a Christmas present.20171001_110626 (1)The outlet used to be a sneaky spot to get some Halloween merchandise, but it’s dwindled. I’m proud of myself for not getting Boo Nilla just for the label, it’s an oldie but an unexciting vanilla. Of the “Velvet Pumpkin” candles, the white velvet cream pumpkin smelled the yummiest, similar to this year’s Sugared Pumpkin Swirl. The frosted Raven Gate tealight hurricane from 2015 was much harder to resist, it was half off with another 30% off from the coupon making $10.50 too good to pass up.20171001_111941-COLLAGEThe best part of an outlet trip is searching for new World Journeys candles, though I’ve never been a collector. I believe these 3 are new. Kyoto Autumn Leaves was spotted by Kari from Yankee candle sisters blog and yep, was totally scentless. Italian Tiramisu smelled fairly realistic but not my style. Siberian Fir, however, gorgeous uplifting frozen forest aroma with depth and nuance. There used to be a Siberian Silver Fir in the regular Yankee line, but I’ve never smelled it.20171001_112215 (1)Plenty of the now discontinued Pure Radiance jars lined the shelves, these two are pretty and reminded me I own a small Lavender Chiffon crackle wick somewhere…20171001_111648Wild Blackberrries smelled mouthwatering and I have just recently thought that Yankee has never done a proper blackberry scent. The closest being Black Raspberry.20171001_111151.jpgI have been known to collect UK exclusive candles when I can find them. These are part of Yankee UK’s 2017 fall release. Autumn Glow has a stunning label, but a disappointing feminine perfume scent. Vibrant Saffron is a unique, but muddled floral spice.20171001_112324These two UK exclusives were lovely. A sparkly orange with holiday spice mix and the subtly fresh Warm Cashmere. Okay, so I did walk out with one candle. Warm Cashmere has received great word-of-mouth and I’m looking forward to using it in the bedroom this winter. At least using it rather than saving it will be progress, baby steps.

Fall Fun Series II: Scented discoveries

Fall Fun Series II PhotoMaple may be having 2017’s pumpkin spice latte moment but there’s only one scent that’s captured my heart this fall, hay. What? That’s right I said hay. Specifically the sweet scents of hay, dew, leaves and breeze. The Autumn day photo above courtesy of the talented Sandra of Finger Candy.

Hay is not to be confused with grass scents, dune, meadow or freshly cut. Those fragrance oils always wreak havoc with my sinuses and give me a headache. Hay is crisp fall air, warm dry earth and sweet straw. If fresh grass notes can be a punch to the nose, hay is a gentle caress of the senses. Second only to my hay fever :p, is my growing infatuation to cedar wood which started last spring. Today’s fall fave just happens to feature both notes prominently.

Cold Barn Mornings by Dessa’s Homespun Scents20170927_124707.jpgDessa’s description: “Step into the barn on a cold dewy morning in the fall. Surround yourself with the aroma of fresh bales of hay, rich cedar wood and the damp morning air after the rain.” A homespun house blend.

Smelling the inside of a barn may not sound incredible, but this is so much more: Stepping off the weathered porch steps of the farmhouse, glowing lantern light swinging in hand, pulling your jacket tight against the chill. Puffs of crystalline breath briefly hang in exhalation, as the pitched gambrel roof of the barn becomes barely visible through dense foggy mist. Treading the worn earthen path of long grasses, dewey leaves and sod cling to thick boot soles. 

A moment of stillness before the heavy latch releases and the wooden bay door swings aside. When damp fresh outdoor air meets the hidden warmth of the barn, it’s aroma is received like an old friend; moist earth, warm hay tucked in overhead lofts, leather tack, dry timbers of roughly-hewn cedar rafters, hint of scattered citrus peels and dried oats. Soft sounds of whinnying animals precede their animalic musk as wet musty air pervades all. Metallic tools gleam with oil, when the first amber rays of sunlight appear through cracks casting long shadows. Sweet summer hay wafts in as its pitched afresh into the stalls, the work of a cold barn morning begins.

Utterly unique, medium strength, I consider it a breakthrough fragrance discovery. However, it’s not for everyone. In fact, I acquired these little mason jar melts from a friend who didn’t care for it. But I enjoy dry scents and wet marshy scents, somehow this is both, the field and the marsh. Dessa captured the moment when night gives way to morning. I sent one to a friend and not surprisingly she fell for it too, though I am surprised my husband liked it as much. Dessa’s Homespun Scents opens the scent shop for about 3 weeks a month, around the 1st to the 20th. I plan to make a November holiday order and I will be stocking up. 

Harvest Hayride-Willow Wax Craft and Haunted Hayride-The Bathing Garden20170929_180509I’m still glowing from my lovely Willow Wax Craft haul earlier this month and Harvest Hayride was my favorite. Take a hayride to the patch and pick that ideal pumpkin-crunchy leaves, crisp apple cider, pumpkin, and salty-sweet kettle corn. Pure autumnal bliss.

The Bathing Garden’s version, Haunted Hayride, is much spicier. Bushels of various apple slices, sprinkled with fiery cinnamon on a bed of golden hay. Strong and long lasting, currently available in the Scare collection.

Least favorite:

Since my new fall favorite is determined, it seems only right to play devil’s advocate and disclose a newly discovered least favorite fall scent. Look no further than the one named at the top, maple. I’ve never been much of a fan of the syrup but hadn’t realized I’d become opposed to it’s sticky melted sugar sweetness until this year. I own the retired Maple Pancakes fragrance from my Yankee Candle days and will attempt to finish off the jar this year, but I probably won’t enjoy it. Maple may be having it’s moment, or possible renaissance, yet I think it’s trendiness will quickly fade. Whether it makes a return resurgence next year or not, it’s a trend I won’t be consuming.

What are your fall loves and loathes this year? Chat me up, I’m always interested.20170927_123246

September Superlatives

My monthly bests/worsts recap with a new name (thank you, Jimmy Fallon). I’m saving my favorite scents from the past month for tomorrow’s Fall Fun post, so look for it Saturday morning. September’s been another strange month, but not as dream like as August felt…

Saltiest: That’s me, after my first salt spa experience, treated to by a friend.20170909_130921We ventured to a spa which uses Himalayan sea salt rooms for salt therapy. The purpose is to “simulate a microclimate of therapeutic air found deep in Salt Caves in Europe & Asia.” I’m sure I’ll never visit an actual salt cave to compare, but the spa was pretty salty-walls covered in huge salt rocks above, tons of sea salt raked into zen patterns on the floor, salt lamps glowing everywhere. And the most reputed aspect: Himalayan salt pumped into the room through the air using these Halogenerators.

The mineral-rich salt has many supposed benefits: breathing in dry-salt aerosol clears the respiratory system absorbing mucus, reducing inflammation, and killing bacteria.  Having skin exposed to salt improves micro-circulation and rejuvenates the skin’s surface (lots of exfoliation properties) and the calming atmosphere is relaxing and helps reduce stress and fatigue.

Of these claims, I can confirm it to be a relaxing experience that did boost my mood. There were scenes of flowing waterfalls projected on the walls and meditative music playing. My friend and I had the room to ourselves, after chilling in the lounge chairs with the heated massage balls, we got right down onto the floor and played in the stuff. Imagine a sandbox filled with pink salt. Ultimately, my friend enjoyed it more than I did, she claimed it made her feel more awake. What I enjoyed most was hanging out and chatting in a calming space for 45 minutes. The air took some getting used to, it tasted of salt. I felt like it lined my nasal passages and irritated an earache I’ve been dealing with most of the month (that’s related to a jaw issue which has no easy remedy). The best way to describe the experience is like being in the ocean, surrounded by the marine air without being wet. Interesting and mostly positive, but I don’t know if I’ll do it again. The cost was $35 ea., but she used a half off deal making ours $17 for 45 minutes.

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My feet covered in the protective caps. If you plan to try a salt room, beware of open cuts on your hands, yee-ouch!

Most Riveting: The Vietnam War documentary series by Ken Burns. Rarely do I consider a show to be event television, especially in this age of subscription services when one can simply download on demand, or binge watch an entire season in a weekend. PBS advertised Ken Burns’ documentary series for a year and this history nerd has been excited for it just as long. Last week it premiered on PBS for four consecutive nights and returned this week for the final four. I was riveted. Set my phone and computer down and became absorbed into the storytelling for those eight evenings.

You see, I thought I knew a lot about the Vietnam War. I took a semester class on it in college, read many books, created units for lessons surrounding the topic, interviewed veterans, including my Dad who served two tours. Knowing about Vietnam was my thing. As it turns out, what I knew could fit on the head of a pin. What Ken Burns captured left me speechless. So many individual story threads woven together to make a tapestry of the war, and its impact on America and Vietnam. I’m so grateful to Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for it, I don’t think I’ll find anything more thought-provoking for a long time to come, highly recommended.

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Most likely to become a new addiction: collecting handmade pottery, especially mugs. Somehow, I’ve acquired three pottery pieces during recent months. One sweet little incense burner by CBE Ceramics and 2 Mountain mugs from Pitch Pine Pottery. I used to set alarms for wax restocks, now though, it’s pottery shops.

Less Conflicted: At the end of August I mentioned it was weighing on me to continually post wax hauls, meanwhile, many people in the country affected by the hurricanes just lost everything they owned. I needed to find a way to resolve my feelings and continue to do what I love doing. Here’s what I came up with so far:

  • We donated to four charities directly helping communities in Houston and one in Puerto Rico. Any money I would have spent on wax since Sept. 1st was contributed too.
  • We recently withdrew many children’s dvds at my library, I’m buying them and searching for schools/preschools/daycare centers in Houston who will need them.
  • Craving more involvement than sending donations, I’ve contributed to local charities I care about too. Running in two 5Ks, one benefitting a dog resue and scholarship memorial for a coworker struck and killed by a drunk driver, and the local Pink Ribbon Run, which I was so happy to get back to after missing a few years. Tomorrow, I’ll be walking (not running again, thank goodness) in my valley’s American Heart Association Healthy for Good Heart Walk.
  • October’s wax budget will also go to a good cause. I’m not depriving myself, just making myself prioritize and feel better about doing it. 

What have you been up to this month friends?