Fall Fun Series: Forbidden Apple, chocolate drizzle optional


Forbidden Apple, Yankee Candle– “A seductive potion that mixes apple with bergamot, black oak and vanilla noir.”

Not a mac apple fragrance fan, but I do fancy green apple fragrances and find there’s a notable distinction. Whereas, MacIntosh apple can be overwhelmingly sweet to my nose, Granny Smiths are bolder, tarter and tangier. I even have a cherished bottle of DKNY’s Be Delicious eau de parfum, gifted by my brother that I wear when I want to feel brightened up.


This carries the same fresh-picked top note of Yankee’s Granny Smith reviewed in last year’s apple post, crisp green peels. However, the bases are different. Bergamot and oak lend the slightest masculinity to FA, not quite fruit and brut, but not the ultra juicy version in Granny Smith. Forbidden Apple is more sophisticated, without pear notes to sweeten, the woody aspect adds an exotic touch. Softened by vanilla and tonka bean, a tranquil fragrance emerges.

Just as the fragrance is more subdued compared to Granny Smith, so is the throw. I’ve tried all FA formats including melt cups and plug-in oils. The melts give the best performance, but I couldn’t resist the charming spooky artwork displayed on the glass. With mottled leaf green wax, apothecary label and smiling jack-o-lantern black metal lid, this year’s Halloween candle is a well-designed match for my new Raven Night Window tealight holder. Medium jars run $24.99, I used a b1g1 free coupon and split the cost.

Burlap pumpkin by the Little Green Bean

Apples happen to be my favorite fruit. Though I won’t be making many recipes for Fall Fun posts, this one is too good and easy not to share. So easy, I packed up the ingredients and headed to my parents’ house to make them before dinner, enlisting the help of my niece and the recipe taste-testing of my nephews as well. Forgive me for not capturing step-by-step photos, they can be found in the recipe link below.  

Chocolate Drenched Apple Slices: (Recipe from Mom Loves Baking)

The reason these are winners is because they solve the annoying issue of the imbalanced apple-to-coating ratio found with regular caramel apples; too much apple, not enough coating. I only adjusted the recipe based on what I had available, used cranberries and walnuts instead of pecans and vegetable oil rather than coconut. Also added some marshmallow drizzle for color.

About half the amount of caramels called for was needed.


You will end up with uneven slices due to the curvature of the apples. The trickiest part was pre-cutting slits in the peels to insert popsicle sticks for handles.


The left-overs, messy but delicious.


My help, this crew would do anything for a freshly-drizzled chocolate apple. It was a fun and successful recipe I know I’ll be making again, I’ve already gotten requests for more. 

Extra apple sweetness to be found at these Fall Fun bloggers sites:

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Angela at Angela Kay

Jay at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Michelle at Melting With Michelle

Sandra at Finger Candy


Salted Rock Bath Co: Buy one, get one free haul

In the continuing adventure files of trying new indie body care products, I jumped right in on a Buy One Get One Free shower scrub sale advertised by Salted Rock Bath Co. purveyors of handcrafted bath and body products.

I enjoyed perusing their website and poring over their incredible product list. Featuring two large branches, including “100% all natural” products and an “Almost all natural” section that may contain small amount of fragrance or preservative. The B1G1 lured me in, but the ingredients and varied selection kindled the surplus of my order.


My box arrived well-packed with the products neatly secured inside. All items had a plastic over-wrap removed for photos, but was extremely appreciated, both to extend shelf life and avoid spillage during transit.

Shower scrub photos courtesy of my sis’s beautiful newly redesigned master bathroom.

Sugar Whipped Soaps: Net weight 8oz. $12.00 each, 2 for $12.00 on sale.

Nature’s essence-Black Chamomile

The scent: Soft notes of coconut water and chamomile blend with tea leaves, wild lily and tonka bean. This fragrance has infused new life into my morning shower. It is sweet, herbal, and so calming when inhaled with the steamy air. Black Chamomile fragrance has infatuated this year, but this is the best version I’ve smelled yet. It pairs beautifully with my The Dirty Goat Black Chamomile natural deodorant.

The Nature’s Essence line is without colorants and enriched with only “essential oils and fragrances that invoke feelings of well being and a connection to nature.” This formulation is part cleansing soap and part gentle exfoliation.

It’s vegan, and paraben, phthalate and cruelty free, but the texture is my favorite bit about this light scrubber. Whereas, some whipped soaps are like an airy mousse and some sugar scrubs are thickly gritty, this sugar soap is similar to a creamy meringue. The same consistency of a homemade frosting. The sugar is felt, but not sharply and is well distributed. The lather has a cling that provides a soft polish.


Beach House Breeze

The scent: Feminine florals combine with sea salt, ocean mist, sea moss and geranium flower laid on top of a bed of earthy vetiver, water mint and white cedarwood.

Layered shower scrub perfection, but much more floral than I prefer my beach scents. I should know better from my Yankee Candle days that geranium can overpower and I think it does here. An unexpected cucumber melon note appears underneath, also not my favorite. There is an incredible salty finish to Beach House Breeze, combining with the other notes to make a strong scent, just not a blend I find agreeable. The gorgeous layered aesthetic does make it a stunning look on a vanity or shower ledge, however.

Black chamomile topped with chamomile leaves.

Cold processed soap: 4.5-5 oz. $6.00 


My husband recently tried his first indie vendor soap, part of a giveaway prize I’d won. When he ran out of his drugstore version, I pulled my vendor bar soap out of a drawer and said, “Here. Use this.” His reply was akin to, “Well only till I can get to the store.” A few days later he happily reported he loved using it as it smelled so good. Buoyed by his willingness to try a new product, I added a cold-processed soap to my order in hopes he will abandon his packs of Ivory, or basic gold Dial.

Frankincense and Myrrh oils are known throughout history to be valued as healing elements. The royal colored mica swirls atop the crest of the bar give a subtle nod to the richness of the ingredients. A faint resin note comes out, otherwise an understated fragrance. When holding up the bar and breathing deeply, my olfactory memory is jarred with the smoky incense of Sunday worship from my childhood, as the priest would swing the thurible containing the burning oils through the aisle. I find this a very comforting scent.

Mocha Earth face mask

$8.00 Net weight: 1 oz- 2-3 masks per package.


Facial care is a risk for me because I do very little in the way of anti-aging face products, of course I need to do more, I just find it an overwhelming industry.

Said to detox, tighten and exfoliate with natural clay, organic coffee and raw cacao, this was one yummy smelling mix. Coffee is the de-puffing agent with medium-sized granules acting as a gentle exfoliation. Raw cacao is claimed to have antioxidant properties; not something I’m able to prove on my own skin but it smells divinely reminiscent to a creamy hot cocoa with marshmallows. A scent by which one can’t help but feel a little more youthful around. The use of Bentonite Clay is for removing toxins and revitalizing tired skin.

With the exception of a spa facial, I haven’t personally applied a face mask since I was a teen and it was all the rage to whip up homemade egg yolk masks. It made the face as tight as a drum and feel as dry and cracked as…well, as old egg on your face. They’ve become quite the home beauty trend again, with more sophisticated ingredients these days.


Process: The instructions were simple: empty desired amount of powder into a small bowl with 3 TB of water, mix to form a paste. I may have erred on the side of extra water in my ratio, but it applied pretty smoothly. After a few minutes the mask dried and hardened, I washed it off with warm water and applied moisturizer.


Results: With only one application it’s too early to tell what, if any, benefits my skin may derive. Immediately after removal, my face looked faintly blotchy pink, that quickly cleared and the only noticeable difference I felt was ultra hydrated and moisturized. I don’t know if moisturizing plumpness is proclaimed as a benefit, but it is the change I noticed.

After slathering on my entire face, I had some product left over. Storing the rest in a tiny airtight container, I believe I’ll get 4 applications from this mask. 

Under Eye Beauty Serum:

Net weight 7 ML $14.00 Calendula infused Olive Oil, Argan Oil, Avocado Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rose Hip Oil,Vitamin E, Rose Geranium Essential Oil


I’ve tried a few different serums, but none that stuck with me. I liked the ingredients in this version, and I’m always willing to give it a go when it comes to minimizing the serious matching luggage under my baby browns.
Per the website, “this specially formulated serum is 100% all natural and boasts some serious skin loving oils chosen for their hydrating, anti-aging, skin brightening and moisturizing properties. “
The formula is thick and slick, recommended use is twice daily. I found that it left a sheen that was tacky to the touch under my eyes, I’d use at least 30 minutes before applying make-up. With only a few days of intermittent use, I haven’t noticed a change in my skin. I will update if there is anything to report.


Sample soap shard in Spearmint and Clay

The logo stamped into the side is a nice touch, however spearmint is not a fragrance I’m fond of in soap. It is strong. I might add this to our camping supplies or tuck it into a gift. Of course, I can always reserve it for when my husband runs out of his current mega-pack of drugstore soap.

An impressive first order from Salted Rock, and I foresee future purchases from the Nature’s Essence line. With $8 shipping, the soap sale and a 15% new customer coupon, this was a bargain haul as well. I’ll be marking my calendar when the next B1G1 free sale is announced sometime this November, I think the sugar soaps will make amazing holiday gifts.

A Grief Revisited

Not a post I planned to write this week. Nor was it sitting in my drafts with several other unfinished posts, but it’s what I’ve been preoccupied with enough to feel compelled to do. Consider it a grief update, if you like.

It has been six months since I touched on my personal grief, and eighteen months since our loss. That number doesn’t seem real. I was getting by okay for quite awhile. However, like the frozen ground after a warm spring thaw, cracks have begun to appear.


Recently I’d been feeling down and blue, and generally malaised, unable to recognize the source or pinpoint a reason for those feelings. Last week, I came home from work with such little energy, feeling only numbness. I laid on my stomach on the couch for hours. My husband had made a tasty dinner, which I got up to eat. He was excited to listen to the home openers for our major league baseball teams, chilled a few craft beers for the occasion, and set the radio (goodbye, cable tv) to the game; I truly don’t deserve him sometimes. I laid on the couch listening to the ballgame, which at least made it seem like I was doing something, and I stayed there all night. I wanted to lay there for days, months, forever. Want is too strong a word. I felt a lack of want, to do or feel anything ever again.

There are times when emotions bounce off of me without absorbing them, except in a robotic state. There are swings to the other end of the pendulum, too. Occasions where  sadness and pain are immediate and anger is searing, when I wish to scream at the top of my voice that, LIFE IS SO UNFAIR!


In the words of Augustus Waters in John Green’s, The Fault In Our Stars, “That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.” I’m trying to remember that, accept it and let the hurt and sadness come, rather than tamp it down, as I have an urge to do. I try to remind myself life is neither fair, nor unfair, but what you make of it. I remind myself, too, that in many ways I’m lucky. I still have both of my parents, though not in stellar health and dealing with their own grief, while many friends have lost a parent younger than my own. I’m married to a wonderful man, I have meaningful relationships, a job I enjoy doing well…some days these reminders are helpful, others, they make no difference.

A few insights I’ve learned through grief:

It’s well-known that grief is isolating. Many people are oblivious to the struggles and inner turmoil occurring at any given moment to those experiencing grief. This is understandable, it’s difficult to know what another is going through, especially when attempts must be made to ‘put on a brave face.’ Reverting to solitude is natural when one feels no one understands.

Grief drives you to distraction. During this recent rekindled bout, I’ve forgotten my phone, coffee and lunchbag numerous times. Also important essentials, such as, applying deodorant and forgetting my dog outside for an hour one chilly night (until I recognized little scratches on the back door as my shivering pup). Still, not as bad as the time I left the gas burner on the stove turned on, after cooking a meal I dropped off to my parents on my way to work last year. Thank goodness my husband comes home for daily lunch and turned it off before the house burned down.

Grief, short and long-term, causes a loss in focus even when you remember what you should be doing. I haven’t been able to read more than a few pages at a time in months, for example. Staring into space at work, making mistakes on simple tasks, sitting in traffic or arriving somewhere without remembering how I’d gotten there occurs more often than it should.

Grief may cause you to question the value of certain aspects of your life, and life in general. This doubt can lead to uncertainty, anxiety and stagnation. Attempts to reconcile all of these aspects with the rest of living makes grief a daily burden.

Lastly, everyone’s grieving period is different.

What has helped:

I’ve begun following a grief guide page on social media, which provides daily supportive messages to those experiencing grief and/or loss. Not all apply to what I’m feeling, but it has pushed me to pay better attention to what I’m going through. Much is linked to David Kessler’s site Grief.com.


Awareness helps, walking, talking and writing helps. Diversions, healthy escapes, making plans, occasions to look forward to, times when I feel I’m making a difference, all help. As does an occasional day of laying on the couch. Already I feel better today than I did yesterday.


Storm Watch

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“I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds
Have riv’d the knotty oaks; and I have seen
The ambitious ocean swell and rage with foam,
To be exalted with the threatening clouds”
Julius Caesar: Act I, Scene III

I’m taking an in-depth Shakespeare study course online, does it show? (see recommendation below)

Lately, I’ve tried a lot of new and new-to-me scents.  However, I couldn’t write a Stormy Weather fragrance wrap-up without a testimonial for a tried and true classic Yankee candle: Storm Watch. 

Fragrance: This fragrance is special.  It creates a cooling, calming mood in the room, wherever I put it.  It is so atmospheric that I almost feel surrounded by a stormy breeze lifting off the water as it rolls in toward land.  

Storm Watch is a sophisticated scent. Although it has varying levels to the aroma: a tinge of effervescent lemon, the ozone in the air before it rains, and a soft musky finish, it forms an elegant blend in which no single note stands out.

Performance: Strong and steady.  You can smell the throw within minutes and once the wax becomes liquefied, it fills a medium sized room.  Storm Watch never fades into the background, but also never overpowers.  Nearly perfect throw for me.

Recommendation: It’s one of my top-five favorite candles.  It’s a scent that I light when I want to relax, but also use to enhance my mood as I open a few windows during a summer rain.

You can find Storm Watch as an online exclusive and occasionally in large jars or votives in the store during the spring.   I grab some whenever I see it and the tarts usually sell out during the semi-sales.

I also recommend the “Shakespeare and his World” course that I’m taking, for free, from Futurelearn.com.  The site offers lots of interesting topics, taught by professors at British universities, and the best part is that you can learn at your own pace because the weekly lessons are archived.  Check it out!

Stormy weather wrap-up: 

This month, I had mixed results with three of the four scents.  I chose Summer Storm as the loser of the month because its on the same spectrum as Storm Watch in tone, but comes off unnatural and over-the-top.  Also, my husband couldn’t stand it.

Storm Watch is clearly a favorite.  If I could choose a candle to represent myself, it would be my choice.  I love the steel gray-blue wax, the fresh fragrance, and since I am a storm watcher, but I also consider myself a storm weather-er; I even identify with the name.  Until next month…

“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare thee to a summer’s day.


Splash of Rain

After reviewing three new scents in a row, I thought it was time to feature a throwback scent.  Way back!

09 indicates 2009

You can tell the age of a Yankee candle by checking the date code on the bottom of the label.  The first two numbers on the bottom right, listed vertically, show the date the candle was produced.  Splash of Rain was created in 2009.  I haven’t been holding on to this one for 7 years; this candle was returned to a store, I saw it on the shelf last summer and scooped it up in my quest to find retired scents.

Fragrance: On cold throw this is a little off-putting.  I get a sharp alcohol-tinged smell, rather like hairspray.  

When lit, it develops into a perfumed blend of floral notes.  It reminds me of jasmine and daffodils.  There is a gentle freshness to it, possibly some amber notes (which is a favorite of mine) but it lacks the cool, watery note I enjoy in a fresh scent.  It also has a uniquely clean aroma to it that was too fleeting to identify.

Performance: Too weak for my smallish living room.  It never became more than a background scent.  After awhile, I moved it to the bathroom.

The 2009 label highlights the candle name not the picture

Recommendation: With a name like Splash of Rain, I was hoping for a refreshing “just after a spring rain” scent.  Instead, I got an unnatural, slightly chemical fragrance. Maybe it had to do with the age of the oils in the wax, could it have gone bad?  I’ve used jar candles year after year that smelled as good as the first day, so I think they have a long shelf life.  Whatever the reason, this promising retired candle did not deliver in performance or fragrance profile.

Yankee Candle re-released Splash of Rain this past January as a large jar treasure.  It was in and out of the stores and online quickly.  I must be missing the reason for this candle’s appeal.  If you enjoy a light, different type of clean scent, I’d say at least Splash of Rain is unique.  It’s just not for me.

Jar label changes=Brand identity crisis?

There has been growing negative sentiment about the upcoming changes to Yankee Candles’ labels across social media.  I gave my opinion of the branding change in my April Showers post.  This 2009 candle is a good example of a previous label design, smaller-sized with the candle name right in the middle.  It is visually more pleasing to have the name on the bottom, therefore not obscuring the label artwork.

I think the number one complaint I have with the new 2017 label design is the orientation.  A vertical orientation doesn’t suit the jars nor the artwork the way the current layout does. Whether or not Yankee plans to test out the new labels, or go forth with the changes across all of the products remains to be seen.  Feel free to weigh in here, or on Yankee Candle’s website feedback page.

Next up, Stormy Weather fragrance wrap-up…



April Showers

April showers brings Yankee Candle news and maybe a Rainbow’s End?  It’s been confirmed here that Yankee Candle Company plans to change their labels, starting 2017.  I, for one, do not like the new design.  If it’s an attempt to make the jar designs more modern, then it looks like what a 1980s version of modern would look like to me.  I think the current label artwork adds to the design, rather than takes away.  Why even bother with artwork if they’re going to cut it to a sliver of the original size?  The new label font is much more of a presence on the jars and may reflect a change in branding trends.  It remains to be seen whether or not this design change involves a price increase.

On to the scent: April Showers melt cup

I feel slightly oblivious for not realizing that the new spring Carefree scent was a Pure Radiance version of the new house warmer fragrance, April Showers.  They even have the exact same color of wax.

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Scenterpiece #3, love it!

Fragrance: If you’ve read my review a few posts back, you know I loved the Carefree candle I tried.  It’s a spring clean, laundry type scent and it’s my favorite of the year, so far.

April Showers is slightly similar.  It has clean laundry notes mixed with a floral and strong fresh base.  In contrast, I’ve found that I prefer the Carefree version because it smells sweeter.  The April Showers is more bracing and I haven’t gotten any of the lemon citrus note one would expect because of the large lemon pictured on the photo label.

Performance: the product format does make a difference when it comes to enjoying Yankee Candle.  The throw of the candle was strong, but not overwhelming.  The throw of the April Showers melt cup was super strong and too overpowering for my space.* Thankfully, I learned a Scenterpiece melt cup trick awhile back, courtesy of “Andy’s Yankees” vlog.

I popped the melt cup into the freezer for five minutes, tapped out the wax and broke in half.  Put one half back into the cup, saving the other half for later. Then, I set the Scenterpiece near an open window and melted the now half-strength cup.  The resulting throw was lessened, which suited my needs much better.


*This throw was the longest lasting of any melt that I’ve tried.  I set the timer for 3 hours at noon and could still smell it when I got home at 8 pm, having been off for 5 hours!

Recommendation: If you want a clean fragrance with a powerful throw, go for April Showers.  Knowing that the melt cup is extra concentrated, I will likely stick to candles.  This would be great in the small jars and votives format.

Even though I prefer Carefree to this version, at least I can get a similar scent profile in tarts of April Showers.

A Rainbow’s End on the horizon?

Sightings of the highly sought after retired candle, Rainbow’s End, have been made at a few outlet stores around the country.  It’s also made more frequent and less expensive appearances on ebay lately.  That is a sure sign that the candle is in the testing phase and people have been able to get their hands on it.  I was lucky to get a Rainbow’s End tart in a mixed lot of tarts, so with the re-release of the candle, I may actually melt it.  Hopefully, the jars will show up in my area soon, I sure like the idea of a Rainbow’s End to this stormy weather month.


Any thoughts on the upcoming Yankee changes?


Summer Storm

A new month is upon us, which means a new fragrance theme!  Stormy weather seems like an appropriate theme for the crazy roller coaster spring weather we’ve been experiencing around this part of the country.  I have to chuckle at my daily weather app alerts which read, “The temperature will drop 20 degrees tomorrow, or the temperature will rise 19 degrees tomorrow.  Please note the change in temperature!”


Yankee Candle releases their summer line-up into the stores in April, so I’ve been looking forward to trying out some new scents, too.  Summer Storm has been sighted at Bed, Bath and Beyond since January, but I don’t have a BB&B close enough to make it worth the drive.  When it finally reached the retail shop, I was planning on getting a few, but the cold throw made me hesitate.  It seemed really strong and too much like cologne, rather than the fresh scent I was expecting.

I ended up buying just one to test it out.   I couldn’t resist the graphic label art and the fact that a summer storm is my absolute favorite weather phenomenon.  When my siblings and I were little, we would relish summer thunderstorms because we would pile up our sleeping bags and pillows and camp out on the floor of my parents’ bedroom.  From the security of their room we would count the seconds between the lightning strikes and the thunder claps until we fell asleep.  I still get nostalgic for those summer nights from childhood; there was no safer feeling in the world.

Fragrance: Yankee has begun to release their fragrance notes online starting with this summer collection.  The website description reads: “Top: Citrus, Ozonic, Rosemary.  Middle: Eucalyptus oil.  Bottom: Patchouli.”

I’m only picking up two fragrance notes: patchouli and men’s cologne.  I don’t know if it’s cedar wood, the Eucalyptus, or possibly vetiver, but it’s a familiar note typical in masculine products, like aftershave. 

Performance: Lighter than the cold throw indicated, but still room-filling.  If it was even slightly stronger, it would have been headache-inducing.  I’d call it a medium throw that stayed present and didn’t fade into the background.

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Recommendation: If you like Yankee’s masculine signature scent, Midsummer’s Night, or the retired Over the River, you will probably like Summer Storm.  It’s too over-the-top for me, not unpleasant, but nothing to do with the crisp, airy scent of a summer storm.  This may be nice to try in other products, such as the scent plug-ins.  It would actually make a decent cologne, too.