Autumn Inspiration Board

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We’ve entered the second week of the Fall Fun Series II and I can deny it no longer: Summer’s lease has faded, now autumn’s grasp is within reach. No more lengthy evenings spent on the deck listening to the song of unseen crickets, in fact, it’s gotten too chilly and windy for much deck lounging at all. In the Midwest, leaves are just starting to turn and signs of impending autumn ceremony are everywhere.

Fall is the most photogenic of the seasons, therefore inspiration is abundant. Below are photos I captured that evoke Fall feelings, followed by a few Fall wishlist items:

Outdoor elements:

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Hay bales harvested and rolled for the long winter stowed in the barn.

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Cold blue morning skies and once green crops turned into fields of spun-gold.

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A weathered, wooden plank barn sighs as summer recedes, unsure if it will see the spring.

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Knobby, pastel pumpkins hoping to be picked by their curly stems.

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Does a more perfect autumn pairing exist than simple pumpkins and mums?

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Murky moonglow illuminating an eerie night sky.

Indoor comforts:

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Jewel-toned glass and glittery pumpkin scatter among fall hued candles aglow in my copper candlescape tray.

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Sherlock socks by Out of Print

Cozy sock Sundays spent sipping coffee, immersed in classic suspense. (Yep, those are my socks and there’s probably a Sunday football game on in the background too.)

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Countdown calendar from Victorian Trading Co.

Perched on a vintage style sign, a wee witch keeps watch of a Halloween countdown.

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Twilight holder from Yankee Candle 2015

A favorite decor piece houses glowing tealights while bare trees cast spindly shadow silhouettes.

 

September’s candlescape inspiration is owl woods. Leaf magnet and Incense candle-Bath and Body Works, pierced owl light strand-Victorian Trading Co. Owl-head perfume decanter, vintage. The leaf magnet reminded me of the foliage clasps on the capes worn by Hobbits, the mixed media owl box houses the battery compartment and matches. At first too bare and metallic, I tucked in bunches of moss for an earthy texture.

Handmade wishlist

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Photo from TheLittleGreenBean.com

Fabric pumpkins from maker, the Little Green Bean in a variety of patterns and colors. Two of these burlap fall treasures are currently on their way to my home, but didn’t make it in time for a photo shoot. Missy creates all her items handmade to order and I can’t wait for these adorable additions. 

Fall body care desires:

 


Stunning handcrafted cold-processed soaps in Autumn Nights and All Hallows Eve by Euphoria Soap Works, Santa Carla Vampire by Future Primitive (sorry Sandra, I think this has already sold out) and Maple Mocha by Potter Made Soap

 

Or if yummy polishing sugar scrubs are more your thing (and mine), Caramel Candy Apple by Sunbasil Soap and Pumpkin Gingerbread by Salted Rock Bath Co. All product photos from vendors’ websites.

Hope you enjoyed a peek into my Fall inspiration board, all photos are mine (the countryside pics are from the village where I work), except for product photos. We’re also to share a memory or poem that gets us into the seasonal spirit, below is a Fall (ish) poem:

Grandmother Moon

Each day is a journey, a leaving home,

over paths that wind between rocks and bog. 

Behind each rock is a shadow; behind each shadow, a flower,

or a wellspring, or a trembling rabbit, or an unfolding fern.

Only if you look will you find.

Only if you leave will you arrive.

One step, then another, as day unrolls itself along the road toward night.

And at evening, look who welcomes us–

Grandmother moon, waiting in the doorway, 

the stars in her hands–to lead us safely home.

                                                               by Jane Yolen

Lots more Autumn inspiration from my fellow bloggers:

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

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Project Wax Update: Summer candles

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Summer collection

It’s time for a rotation of the summer candles, past time considering it’s July, but I didn’t want to change any out until I finished a few off. I’ve been making stellar progress (for me) on my candle depletion project. Okay, the empties below aren’t super impressive but I wasn’t home much to burn last month. To put it in perspective, my pre-candle depletion numbers totaled 5 empties for the entire year, in a good year. Considering those poor stats, I think I’m doing pretty well.20170709_112454What these finished burns lack in quantity was made up in quality. Early Sunrise and Lake Sunset are two retired favorite Treasures. The Relaxing Rituals line was discontinued years ago. I still have the fragrance oils of this soothing combination of Cardamom, Rose and Cedarwood, but I was sad to say goodbye to the candle. I’ve even finished Black Tea Rose since this photo was taken, giving me a good jump on my next empties post, with my fall collection roll out.

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Bath and Body Works’ Salted Vanilla seemed to take forever to get through for a 3-wick, but it was enjoyable. I’ve heard it reviewed as sour milk smelling, but I got nothing close to that. The vanilla was subtle with a golden brown butter essence and the briny tang of sea salt. Initially, the burn didn’t produce much throw, but by the third go, it threw respectably. Not a repurchase, but not awful. 

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Progress is all jolly-well, but I’m also on a wax and candle buying ban. Early June brought a minor setback when my good friend, who works for Yankee Candle, brought me two Pure Radiance crackle wicks. She knew I loved them and they were being discontinued, I didn’t have the willpower to turn them down! Pumpkin is set aside for fall but Citron smells yummy.

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My seasonal copper tray is the simplest yet: found seashells, a shell guidebook, glass starfish dish from a Charleston, South Carolina honeymoon stop, the nautilus tealight holder was a Yankee Candle clearance item from summer 2015 and retired Sandalwood Vanilla jar with Beachcomber illumilid.

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My mid-to-end of summer burning goal is six candles. I still have spring’s Fresh Cut Herbs going in the kitchen, determined to finish it. My summer stash holds some of my all time favorites, including Mountain Lodge and Campfire Treat. If a candle from my summer collection catches anyone’s eye for a review, let me know, any excuse to burn!

186th Day Recap (aka Midyear)

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Am I the only one who keeps used wax for way too long?

If the 186th day of the year is meaningless to you, that’s because it should be. It is not the midway point of the calendar year, that was July 2nd, the 183rd day. I wished to post my annual mid-year recap then, but was out of town a lot in June, pushing back my monthly Best/Worst to the 2nd. Then there’s a Band of Bloggers post to think about and…you get the idea. All in all, its been a much better year so far than 2016.

Favorite Candle:

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Water Garden-Yankee Candle 

Most Disappointing:

Black Chamomile-BBW Stress Relief. Loved on cold, zero throw.

Best non-reviewed candle:

Black Tea Rose-Bath and Body Works. Cedarwood love.

Top 10 favorite melts (so far):

10.Wine Cellar-BBW. Semi-sale pickup reviewed in January, still holding as a favorite. I’ll be getting this in a candle.
9. Melisandre-House of Phoebe.
8. Blue sugar/Shave cream-Sassy Girl Aroma.                                 
7. Rock Star/Olive Branch-Rosegirl’s (gift). Look, a Lush dupe fave! 
6. Balance+Glow-Candles From the Keeping Room (gift).
5. Briarcliff/Rosemary’s Baby-Super Tarts. I put these 2 together because they were both surprise hits. Briarcliff has an ST mac apple note I can handle and shaving cream I love. Rosemary’s Baby is the first rosemary mint scent to have me enamored. Also, they are good melted together!
4. Delilah-House of Phoebe. I’ve never tried a creamier vanilla.

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3. Sugared Pie Crust-The Bathing Garden. As much as I love TBG, it almost didn’t make the list. Then I remembered this amazing sample. To die for.

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2. Bad Romance-Pour Girl’s Wax. One of the first Vanilla Lace/Shaving Cream blends I’ve heard about back in February. Team fresh heaven!

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1. Fresh Cucumber/Pink Sugar– Rosegirls. This #1 surprised even me because I tend to like more complex blends. So simple, fresh and realistic, but unique and perfect.

Current favorite scent notes: Shaving Cream, Pink Sugar, Cedarwood.

Future favorite prediction: It could be Vanilla Lace, though like nearly everybody else, I’m into Salty Sea Air blends too.

Scent note I’d like to see retired: Fruit Loops, loopy’s, fruity pebbles. Yuck! Cereal seems endlessly popular, however, so not likely.

Top 3 vendors:

Rosegirls-No arguments here as RG is one of the most beloved vendors ever. Availability was the only obstacle compared to my 1+2, but for now, at least mini-melters are open for a few months. I’m hoping with the updated website, and consistent pre-orders, RG will be more accessible from now on.

House of Phoebe-complex house blends in my favorite types, combined with personal customer service and accessibility. Only open less than a year, some growing pains are bound to occur, but it’s a small business vendor I’m proud to support.

Super Tarts-innovative, consistent and constant. Best fandoms and comprehensive scent list. If only Brandy would update on Instagram as well as Facebook. I’d also prefer less broken clamshells, but ST has the strongest throwing stuff around, pushing it to the top.

Favorite Indie body care: Just starting to dip my toes into the body care product pool, I tend to get one or two items from a vendor rather than a full body regimen.

Best product: The Dirty Goat’s natural deodorant. Faster production and newly shorter turnaround time makes it even better. Relieved to be restocked for awhile, I’m going to try for some of the hair products next time.

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Scents: Tonka, Coconut Milk, Mermaid

Best shower scrub: The Bathing Garden’s Shea Butter sugar scrub in Evernight. I aim to try all of TBG’s scrub formulations.

Best lotion: Soak + Unwind’s aloe lotion sample. Many more of these wonder lotions on the way, very excited to have found this brand.

Worst vendor haul: Fresh Picked Scents. Every body product had issues, also my least favorite wax scents this year.

Favorite Wax haul: Pour Girl’s WaxI’m out of nearly all of my PG scents and I’m really missing them, hope to hear of a restocking soon.

What I’m looking forward to for the second half of 2017:

  • The arrival of my Sniff My Tarts custom orders. The waiting is said to be the hardest part.
  • Testing more body care products. I just hauled items from Salted Rock Bath Co.
  • My first Fakery Bakery Wax haul coming sometime in July.
  • Picking up several Rosegirl’s mini-melters after my wax ban ends in August.
  • There are about 15 new-to-me vendors I’d like to try, I think I’ll do a poll to gauge which ones I should order from and review. 

That’s half a year gone. Am I getting old, or are they starting to pass by faster? Any scents or vendors above that you favor too? Surprises? Scents I’ve missed out on, what’s on your best/worst list?

 

Project Wax-candle countdown

In May’s BoB post, Lauren, of Lolo Loves Scents, posed the project wax question; essentially asking if we’ve ever had so much wax product that we felt a purge was needed before acquiring more. My answer is~oh yes, yes I have. It’s been ongoing at a snail’s pace since January and I’ve finally acquired enough ’empties’ to update.

Note that I don’t normally post my empties because I don’t like to see them myself. Something about viewing all of those empty plastic bags, cups and jars makes me cringe at the conspicuous consumption. Inevitably, I start to wonder if all of that plastic is getting recycled, which leads to worry about the environment, which leads to overwrought visions of apocalyptic doom, and honestly, people don’t need to hear about my neuroses. I recognize the benefits of posting photos of one’s empties though, it absolutely holds you accountable, as it’s hard to deny visual proof.

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I started off with a 5:1 ratio of using up jars to adding new, the baby steps approach. With only one semi-sale purchase from Bath and Body Works, I was feeling good. My winter candles lasted through most of spring, but at least I burned my quota. Then one night in March, I got an email for a random $9.50 B&BW’s candle sale and ended up with 3 unintended additions. Major impulse buys that I’m mostly happy with. At least the 3-wicks can be used quickly, compared to the single wick jars from Yankee which take FOREVER.

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I can’t really explain these last two buys, except I got all squealy when I spotted retired, masculine Evening Air for $13 at TJMAXX and this DW home scent is the first Eucalyptus I’ve enjoyed. I didn’t want to chance passing up that lightning in a bottle (jar).

I’m pretty satisfied with this progress actually, because many of these are retired scents that would be hard to repurchase. The old Jay would have burned these 2 or 3 times and packed ’em up for next year. The old Jay foolishly thought she could keep buying candles without finishing them and it would cause no storage/hoarding issues whatsoever.

Tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with so much wax, be it melts or candles, that a “project wax depletion” is required. I’ve since graduated to 10:1 ratio. I declare I won’t get another jar till I’ve used up 10 older ones. 10, I say!

Spring scents & suds

The irony of posting about spring scents today is not lost on me as my area sits blanketed under a half foot of snow that’s been falling since Monday night. It looks more like winter around here than all of January and February put together. Still, what better time to daydream of throwing the windows open and letting in the scents of spring?

I had a request to review recent Bath and Body Works‘ soap purchases that I may or may not have needed. This is my first gentle foaming hand soap review, here goes:

Beautiful Blue Skies– Dewy blossoms, a kiss of citrus & sheer driftwood. Most unique of the bunch that smells sweeter when opening the bottle than it does in use. A pleasing mix of citrus is the forward scent softened by a rain-kissed floral, my kind of bouquet. I detect lemony notes and possibly orange blossom.

While not alcohol fumed, or soapy smelling at all, this scent doesn’t linger on the hands after use except for the gentlest citrus kiss.

French Lavender– a soothing blend of fresh lavender with hints of amber. B&BW’s does lavender well and this is no exception. Smells as realistic as if you’ve crushed lavender buds in your hands. Slightly woody but not overly so, I enjoy the powdery finish from the amber. The longest lasting afterward, it was nice to smell the lavender when lifting my hands to my face 30 minutes later.

Pretty Pink Peony– Blushing peony, jasmine petals & sandalwood. I prefer sweeter peony to headier rose fragrance. This scent carries a strong sugar note in the bottle but has an elegance to it. The most fragrant blooms are present as the lather hits warm water, however, the scent dissipates before the bubbles are down the drain. Wish it lingered a little on the skin.

Cool Coconut Colada– Creamy coconut, lime granita & spun sugar. Yummy! Reminiscent of a frozen Pina Colada, substituting lime rind instead of pineapple. I would love to have this scent in wax, and in a cocktail. Similar to, but not the same as the popsicle label version from last year, due to the addition of lime; perfect for summer. CCC lasted 2nd longest on my skin, with a touch of coconut present a few minutes after.

There was another soap sale this weekend, but I have a little stash going already, so I didn’t partake. I’m still working my way through my Winter bottles, tucking these away for warmer months. My favorite of the festive season scents is hands down VMM:

Very Merry Meringue– Whipped lemon meringue, glazed sugar & a hint of vanilla. Not usually a fan of lemon sugar scents, this one is a perfect balance of sweet cream, tangy crystal citrus and decadent vanilla. It brings me back to a lemon dessert I had in childhood, that I just can’t place. Gorgeous and long lasting fragrance.

 

Spring first edition scents by Yankee Candle:

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Emerald Isle– Top:Fresh Meadow, Mid:Green Tea, Wood Anemone, Base:Musk. For me, these notes don’t represent Emerald Isle’s warmed fragrance well. It’s bursting with juicy grapefruit and a reedy green leaf, the likes found around marshes more than meadows. There is a crispness from the green tea and a complexity to it. Much more than just a fresh, or fruity scent. I’m happy YC broke away from the grassy Lucky Shamrock they’ve done forever, it gave me a headache.

These melt cups have a fragrance life of approximately 24 hours. This throws medium, with alternating notes present.

Honey Lavender Gelato– Top:Blackberry,   Mid:Lavender, Base:Vanilla Cream, Honey. On first impression, a toothy gelato; on second, sweet lavender; but warmed, very, very berry. Like many, I was freaking over this scent when previewed, but it didn’t deliver anything special.

Essentially, it’s berries and cream. At least blackberry is my jam, of the jammy scents. My tart threw medium-strong. A nice berry variant but I wished for so much more.

(Let me know if anyone wants a review of any of the rest.)

Yankee released a second spring edition a month ago which I haven’t yet purchased from, but I’m excited for one that I sniffed, Black Sand Beach. Now I’m waiting for just the right sale.

Which new spring scents are you falling for? Have you tried the new Paradise soaps collection? Hope you’re all well and warm if in this snow storm.

Band of Bloggers

 
Welcome to the March edition of Band of Bloggers!  Hopefully this month begins to bring more temperate weather and the first signs of spring! In my neck of the woods, conditions have been alternating between crazy heavy rain/high winds and beautiful sunshine and blooming flowers. I hope the weather will stabilize a bit this month. Since the month of March usually holds the first signs of spring, that begs the question:
 
What scent are your favorite scents to melt and wear for spring?
Though I wholeheartedly embrace seasonal scents, I’m team fresh all year long. Therefore, I gravitate to those types no matter the season, warmer and earthier versions in fall/ winter, cooler in spring/summer.
There has been no indication of weather stabilizing in Ohio, with thirty-five degree temperature swings within a 24 hour period, no exaggeration. I feel I’m almost ready to jump into spring fragrance, but decided to let it occur more organically; when I’ve used up some of the winter scents and candles I have around, I’ll switch them out.
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I’m still loving The Bathing Garden’s Evernight shea butter scrub, which is rather springy lilac and lavender scented. I have finished my cashmere amber shower gel though, so I switched to the Magic in the Air I was gifted for Christmas. A holiday release, but the notes feel more spring-like to me (“winter” water lily notwithstanding): Top Notes: Sparkling Persimmon, Winter Water Lily, White Iris, Pear Blossom
Mid Notes: Almond Flower, Coconut Crème, Jasmine Petals
Dry Notes: Whipped Vanilla Bourbon, Fluffy Sandalwood, Cloud-Like Musk

Are you a fan of traditional spring scents such as florals, fresh/clean, earthy, herbal, etc?

Light fresh floral violets and orange blossoms work better for me than headier jasmine and freesia. I’ve been loving earthy amber and oak moss lately, but I’m starting to get into herbal scents such as rosemary, aloe vera and chamomile.   

Do you consider yourself a seasonal melter (melting scents traditionally associated with a particular season in that season?)

 A former hard and fast seasonal melter, my preferences are becoming more fluid and mood oriented. I don’t believe you’ll ever find me melting beach scents in winter, but this “in-between” time of year when it’s no longer winter yet not quite spring is more open to interpretation. I’m craving vanilla and coffee fragrances for comfort and woody, lavender and green for freshness.
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My answer to which candle to feature in my coffee table tray falls into the anytime of year category. Yankee Candle’s Silver Birch is a favorite, especially nestled into my birch log filler and silver/rose gold birch hurricane holder.
 
We hope you’ll join the fun and leave your own answer in the comments below.
And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Comfort

For those times when things don’t go as planned, when life twists and turns unexpectedly, your week feels too long and your to-do list longer, when you’re in pain, or as in the words of singer Daniel Powter back in 2005, you’ve had a bad day; what do you turn to for comfort?

Family, caring friends, cuddling pets, escape through reading, binge-watching and gaming can be sources of comfort. When my personal stress level is too high, I seek solace in solitude. In the past, I’ve dabbled with meditation, even taking some classes which I found helpful. Maybe I’ll pursue it again this year, as it’s a skill that requires practice to call upon in times of stress.

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SAS haul from Bath and Body Works. Relax is my only full-sized candle purchase from after Christmas sales.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that home fragrance is a wellspring of comfort for me. It’s also one of the easiest methods I have to de-stress. Sense of smell can be a powerful force. Though I’m no student of aromatherapy, I believe that mental and emotional moods can be influenced by the senses.

I witnessed a fascinating example of this as I was waiting to take my dog into a veterinary exam. A cat with a broken leg was brought in, it expressed a lot of aggression and understandable anxiety in it’s crate. The vet tech sprayed a cloth with a pheromone spray, draped it over the crate and that cat was instantly calmed down. I thought, I’ll take a gallon of that to go!

Lacking access to a spray bottle of instant calm, these are the comforting fragrances that I’ve had on repeat the last few weeks:

Yankee Candles in retired scents, Do-re-mi (vanilla musk) and Sleigh Bells Ring (soft rose). Both are light but worthy examples of calming scents. Yankee used to have an aromatherapy line and I still have some of the single-scent oils. The cardamom oil adds warmth and spice when used as a mix-in with baking soda for carpet powder and is so inviting in an oil warmer.

I’ve tried two of the B&BW‘s wax melts purchased for 50 and 75% off during SAS. At $4.50 for 0.97 oz, I wouldn’t buy any at regular price, but I was happy to try them in some scents I haven’t had in their candles.

Pure White Cotton– extremely relaxing on cold throw, I started with one wedge, but added a second for the best result.

Walking past my warmer felt as if I was greeted by the sweetest spring breeze. There’s no laundry or starch to this. Just a hint of newly cleansed linen that’s been dried in the sunshine, folded into a basket still warm, filled with freshly-picked bouquets of Freesia and notes of white cotton blossom, anjou pear and soft gardenia petals.

Sweet, simple, natural smelling comfort of warm cloth.

Wine Cellar– as sophisticated as Pure White Cotton is simple. Wine Cellar is comprised of warm cedarwood, sugared clementine, red berry, and dark vanilla bean. To me, these four notes form a nearly perfect blend.

The rustic hewn timbers of the wine barrel, the full-bodied plummy fruit, juicy round flavor of citrus, the richness of vanilla bean skimmed from the fleshy pod. This wine has legs too, a beautiful abundant throw. Nearly as much of a creature comfort as an actual glass of red wine and zero calories.

The Relax candle from the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it aromatherapy line is saved for February, but I can tell you the black chamomile is a delicious essence of herbal tea refreshment. So spa-like I’ve almost forgotten the stress of wading through the store to get it the day after Christmas.

Which scents provide a comforting boon to your senses? Is it homey cinnamon or sugar cookie? Possibly lavender or mint soothes your savage beasts? Smoky patchouli send you off to a calm place? Do tell.