Fall Fun Finale

Top 10 melts of the Fall Fun series:

10.Autumn Soda FloatSweetwagon Scents. From the Autumn macaron sampler: pomegranate soda with a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

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I thought I didn’t like fizzy soda scents so I melted this downstairs in my husband’s hangout. Turned out incredible–creamy and frothy with a pleasing amount of fruity sweetness. More of a cream soda than a sharp fizzy cocktail. I have plans to recreate this scent with some single-oil wax I’m expecting, but I hope Sweetwagon offers this surprise hit again next year.

9.Pomegranate Cider-MaryColette Candles, Fresh summery pomegranate combines with fall cider to blend notes of apple, sugar, and cloves for a scent that is tart, tangy and sweet. You can find my scent review here.

8.Crackling Fire-The Scented Squirrel scent shot: pine, balsam, bergamot, white flowers, sandalwoood, patchouli and violet. 

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This is just my style-fresh, woodsy and fragrant right to the thorny edge of sharpness without going over. I haven’t been disappointed in the throw from this brand yet. I met the owner/creator at a craft show and got to sample a lot of her scents, good stuff. Currently releasing revolving stock twice a month, Crackling Fire may not come round again for awhile. I know that I grabbed the last one in early November so I’ll be on the lookout for a restock of it in the new year. It has definite year-round appeal.

7. Ghost Ship- Save Your Scentses, small scent shot from the Halloween “Just Tricks” sampler: Lavender & chamomile give way to myrrh & olibanum finished with a touch of sweet sugar [Inspired by Lush’s The Black Pearl] 20161028_194411

My favorite of the sampler, this scent was popular enough to be re-released after Halloween as an individual scent shot, but has since sold out. Save Your Scentses kills it with the Lush dupes so I’m sure Denise will bring it back under a repackaged melt. The cups may be smaller than average but this had a whopping throw that I enjoyed for 3 days.

6.Crimson-ScentSationals wax cube, Cranberry & Oak. My foray into Wal-Mart wax did result in a winner. Crimson is as potent as a masculine fragrance should be but not overbearing. I love that only one cube is needed to fragrance my living room, but hate that the dye imparted ugly brown stains on my white warmer. It’s darker warmers or empty melt cups for the rest of this wax.

While you can find a multitude of reviews for this scent online, it’s safe to say if you like Cranberry Woods by Bath and Body Works, you’ll love Crimson. Woodsy, musky perfection.

5.Fall Fireside-Pour Girl’s, 5 pack scent shot. Roasted Marshmallows + Warm Vanilla Sugar.

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Hallelujah! A toasted marshmallow that throws. Luscious, creamy mallow for days. I typically don’t purchase 5 packs of untested scents because I like variety and don’t want to get stuck with unlikeables. Now I regret that I only ordered one set of this comforting fall treasure. I’m impressed with this brand, and you can bet you’ll see more of them from me in the near future.

4.Homemade Cranberry Bars- a sample melt from Sugar Blossom Candles. A unique, delicately spiced fragrance with a hint of bakery I reviewed in September. By melting this wax, one could surely trick her household into thinking there’s some homemade goodness baking in the oven. It’s that realistic, use wisely. Check out Sugar Blossom’s 50% off sale at the Etsy shop right now through Sunday, Nov. 28th. I’ve tried several scents and I’d recommend this brand wholeheartedly.

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3.Pumpkin Wreath-Yankee Candle: Oh, Pumpkin Wreath you’ll always be my first fall love. Is it the warmth, the comfort, the Tonka bean? Whatever essence this scent provides, I can’t imagine not wanting it in my home. Retired in 2014, this medium strength fragrance is perfect for me; whenever I find it, I buy back-ups. Originally reviewed here.

2.Ygritte- House of Phoebe Wax soy melt cup. Damn, I love this scent. This brand’s entire line-up has me enamored; while Ygritte is currently available I’m patiently awaiting a restock for more beloved blends. Inspired by a Game of Thrones character, this scent nearly has it all: Earth and foliage, spruce, and a hint of crackling firewood. Like walking in a forest on a winter day. 

A quintessential outdoorsy fragrance. There’s a natural quality to it but also an in-your-face throw that’s front and center in the room. I melted the entire scent shot just fine, but a friend thought half a shot was slightly too strong. I believe most people would find using an entire melt agreeable, especially in a larger space. And that vivid wax pool…

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Ygritte was close, but there can only be one best of fall melt, so I chose the most well-rounded scent experience:

1.The Pumpkin King –by House of Usher Wax Museum. It’s fitting that this wax was the king of my melts this season, and that’s coming from someone who isn’t crazy about the pumpkin scent category.

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The cold throw of this huge wax shape didn’t hint at anything special, so I was happily surprised when this big boy released its wondrous aroma. Top notes-apple cinnamon, clove Middle-caramel, rum, barley  Bottom-woody, musk, vanilla, pumpkin pie and spiced apple cider. Delicious blend in which one note doesn’t overpower the others. Not too spicy, or overly sweet, it’s the baby bear of fall scents. It had a great long lasting throw, though I admittedly used half a pumpkin, probably 1.5 oz. of wax in my Scenterpiece warmer. The rest of it is squirreled away till next fall. Looking forward to the treat of melting it, too.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and got to connect with friends and loved ones in some way. My black Friday plans involve going to work, hopefully recovering from a cold, a little bit of online shopping and a lot of leftovers eating once my taste buds return.

That’s a wrap on the Fall Fun blog sharing series. Thank you to my lovely fellow bloggers. It’s been cool getting to know you over the last three months and I hope our relationships continue. Don’t hesitate to reach out or comment, I get way too much of a kick out of your responses.

To my new readers and followers, thank you and welcome! I’ve linked to my top three favorite fall fun posts which provide insight into what I’ve been up to this season. I’ve also updated my fall fail-craft post and beauty feature.

Fall Leaves

Reflections in Nature

Color collage

What were your favorite fall activities this year? Any scents I missed out on? Please share those fab black Friday deals too!

– jaybird

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving week plans-Fall Fun melts

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Turkey time is almost here. Which means a much needed holiday break for us. The past week was affectionately known as ‘hell week’ due to no less than three fundraising obligations scheduled the same week as a high-stakes speech competition on Saturday. As an added bonus, my husband stayed late so many hours at practice that he was barely home and came down with a cold. After putting in a 15 hour day Saturday, I’m a mighty proud but very tired coach. Our team’s had 1 or 2 greater individual successes but we had our best team results, yet. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, but my more immediate anticipation is in having a short week with a blissfully duty free weekend.

Now I can finalize Thanksgiving plans. For the large afternoon gathering my husband’s family requested desserts. This wouldn’t be strange if it hadn’t been at least ten years since I’ve made any for a holiday. The problem, be it a yummy one, is that grandma and all of the aunts make so many main dishes and sides so well, that there are few unclaimed dishes left to bring. If I had my choice I’d make a baked vegetable side, my loaded twice-baked cauliflower or brussel sprout gruyere mac and cheese. I believe they aren’t sure what signature dish I’d like to make and figure everyone likes desserts, so that’s what I got assigned. Honestly, my in-laws and extended family are the loveliest group of people who would generously give me the shirts off their backs, so I shouldn’t complain. It’s just that I’ve been a part of the family for 15 years, when will they learn that I don’t bake?

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I’m tempted to bring this turkey cake from Baskin Robbins and call it a holiday! What I’m sure I’ll do instead is bring an assortment of pies and cookies; some I already have from fundraiser purchases, the rest I’ll be heading out into the fray to scrounge up on Wednesday. I did coax my holiday hosting sister into letting me bring whatever I wish to her evening gathering. A big batch of roasted veggies it is! With a little bit of chopping and only one dish to make, it should be a leisurely Thanksgiving morning.

My day will be filled with family, food, football, and fun. I hope yours will be too. Cheers to a happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Recent wax melts:

Autumn Soda-Sweet Wagon scents

Candied Pecans-Yankee Candle

Celtic Moonspice- Candles from the Keeping Room

Crackling Fire-The Scented Squirrel

Fall Fireside-Pour Girl’s wax

Harvest-Handmade Prim

Sandalwood/Very Vanilla- Fifty Scents mix

Spiced Pumpkin Pudding-The Bathing Garden  

 

A little sneak peek of some of my favorite melts/vendors this season.

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Join me Friday for the Fall Fun finale and top ten wax melt countdown:)

-jaybird

Fall Fun-Fall candles feature

 

The day the Candle Enthusiast has eagerly awaited is here, a Fall Fun prompt all about candles:)

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Brief highlights and low lights of my seasonal candles below:

Amber Moon– a Yankee Candle, UK exclusive. I’m in love with amber fragrance. To the lavender fanatics out there, amber is my lavender. So now you know. I can’t explain the reasons for my intense amber addiction, but it must be in part due to it’s ancient, timeless perfume quality. I know there’s no actual gemstone essence in a modern interpretation of amber but it is the richest – smelling scent to my palate.

It may have been the perfume of royalty, but I’m in the minority with my love for this type of fragrance. Not surprisingly,  Amber Moon is on the retirement list this year. That means because Yankee’s no longer making it as a UK exclusive it’s unlikely to show up in the outlets where I found this med-size, a baby jar and some tarts. I’ve decided to save it for special autumn burns. Times when I need a little extra touch of golden grace in my evening. (This has been a perfect week for it) The scent notes are sublime:

Top: Sugared Mandarin, Bergamot, Orange
Mid: Vanilla Petals, Jasmine Satin, Violet

Base: Golden Amber, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla

There have been other amber candles by Yankee, Amber Sunset and Amber Glow, but they are overly sweet or too harsh compared to the smoothness of Amber Moon. It has a clarity and purity that makes me want to drape myself in it (much like George Costanza with velvet!) With a soothing medium strength performance, it will be tough to find a replacement for this gem. I’ll just have to get my powdery, leathery, honey-like golden goodness elsewhere. I hear B&BW’s has an Amber candle…

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Pumpkin Fireside- One of my few B&BW candle purchases. Most people are drawn in with the pumpkin, but I purchased for the fireside. I must have liked this scent on cold throw to have bought it, but my hopes of feeling as though sitting round a cozy fire were mistaken.

Quite disappointed in this; according to the scent notes of pumpkin, nutmeg, vanilla bean and smoky cinnamon, I should love it, but when burning I get a weird graham cracker, nearly chocolate scent. I don’t like chocolate fragrance unless it’s well blended in peppermint. I think the nutmeg is where it went wrong. Just as too much nutmeg overpowers a dish or dessert, it kills a fragrance if overdone.

It possesses a strong 3-wick throw and was part of the popular early fall ‘pumpkin everything under the sun’ release, but I’m not sure if Bath & Body Works will bring this back. If it’s graham crackers you want, go with the super sugary Toasted Graham Latte White Barn candle. I’ll be watching for a truer cozy fireside fragrance to come along.

Nature’s Paintbrush – Yankee Candle treasure/returning favorite large jar. Scent notes:
Top: fresh notes, aromatics, citrus
Middle: green moss, thyme, sandalwoood

Base: blonde woods, amber, musk

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My favorite photo label
This candle is intensively scented, it’s camphorous aroma builds from a pleasantly stimulating tone to a wall of verdant green potency. Some may find it too forceful upon the senses because its the type of scent that doesn’t just fill the nose, it lingers in the back of the throat. I relish the clean air, tinged with a healthy dose of musky masculine aroma. I also appreciate that it isn’t a typical outdoorsy cologne fragrance, but it’s grounded by the mossy woodsy accords and amber bottom notes.
My love for Nature’s Paintbrush first bloomed upon its release in 2011, and I’m happy for its return this fall. I just checked my local store’s stock to see if I can hold out for semi-sale prices. For a candle of this rare beauty I’d be willing to pay a little bit more if I had to, though.
Cranberry Woods- B&BWs single-wick mason jar. This was my freebie with purchase from two other candles and it’s my favorite new fall scent this year!
I believe my thoughts on syrupy berry scents are well-documented but this is all cran and nearly no berry, and just how I like it. Scent notes of: tart cranberry, cinnamon bark, forest cedar and golden amber make it reminiscent of my beloved Red Berry & Cedar by Yankee but less sweet. Similar in tone to Scentsationals Crimson wax but less woodsy and complex. Cranberry Woods is simple, uplifting and oh so tart. Walking up to this fragrance makes my lips pucker and my mouth water in the best way.
A lighter throw’s expected for these mason jars, but Cran Woods has done well in my spare bedroom and bathroom. The wallflower plug-in was highly potent in my bathroom and hallway too, the woodsy notes seem to dominate more in that format than in the wax. This fragrance makes me happy so I know I’ll be happy to see it return next year when I can stock up.
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Autumn Air-Yankee Pure Radiance crackling wick medium vase. Did you know that Yankee has a marshmallow candle again? Of course not, hardly anyone knows of the Pure Radiance line. One reason for this is because most of the scents are dupes or repackages of the house warmer jars, another reason is due to YC’s laughable marketing of the PR line. In my opinion it would serve them to market these better because they’re the only exclusive product left to the company stores. One can find everything else from YC anywhere from Hallmark to a grocery store. My apologies for the tangent, I suppose the company has bigger problems* to worry about nowadays.
Now then, is Autumn Air the toasty marshmallow blend my nose has been seeking? Probably not. It’s a decent substitute for the retired Campfire Treats, a side-by-side reveals more pink sugar notes of Cotton Candy blended in. Too bad the performance is too underwhelming to get excited about. The only time I experienced this cool airy sweetness was when my heater kicked on across the room, sending a sugary blast of warm candle air my way.
 
*A bit of interesting news for Yankee fandles: Jarden corp, the previous owners of Yankee Candle since 2014, sold the company to Newell Rubbermaid Brands for 13.2 billion in cash/stock, according to the Associated Press. The change went into effect this past summer. Will this switch help resolve the current identify crisis or more likely add to the spiral? Time will tell in 2017.
 -jaybird
P.S. Did I say brief highlights? Ah well, you know I do go on about candles. Can’t believe there’s only one week left of the fall fun blogshare. Join us next week for Thanksgiving dreams and goodies!

Fall Fun-New Etsy vendor

An Etsy vendor highlight is on the agenda today. In my search for a new-to-me vendor I found several that caught my eye, but I wanted to try a business that checked a few boxes. Scent variety, value and ingredients were the top three criteria in my selection.

20161110_093354MaryColette Candles is a small vendor, established in 2015, out of Indianapolis, Indiana and I like the idea of supporting a fellow mid-westerner. MaryColette boasts a nice variety of scents, with 50+ choices in the shop. The cost is a reasonable $3.75-3.95 per individual clamshell, although I’m not sure why the .20 difference for certain scents. The best part of this order was the Pick 5 sampler option, in which I selected 5 scents from the shop for a discounted price of $16.95. Score!

I received a response to an email question about shipping within two minutes of submitting it, on a Sunday. I’d rate the customer service supremely high in this regard. The shipping time wasn’t as fast or accurate as expected based on reviews, so I queried the company. The immediate response was a delay in the receipt of the order from Etsy.

The ingredients: poured in small batches with all natural soy wax and are dye and phthalate free. I couldn’t find weight in ounces in the product info but compared to other clamshells I own, these are filled smoothly and uniformly to the top, with deep wells. The wax slides out of the container ultra-smoothly too.

 

Ginger saffron- MaryColette’s description: Fresh saffron, ginger, and cardamom combine with notes of cedarwood, geranium and patchouli. My personal favorite! I feel that if a vendor puts a favorite house blend out there, it’s worth a try. 20161113_134930

Fragrance: In a word, invigorating. I’m partial to ginger but it can be too much of a good thing. An intense gingery cold throw warmed to a pleasant fresh ginger root with added depth from the patchouli. Not a sweet candied ginger, a bright spicy one. I have plans for mixology  with this scent.

Performance: Two cubes in a Scenterpiece melt cup warmer wafted through our entire first floor. A robust throw without being overwhelming.

20161113_141410.jpgKentucky bourbona lighter, sweeter version of our Whiskey scent with notes of bourbon, rum, rose and cedar that combine for a sweet aroma with a background of alcohol. I ordered this one for my husband, the bourbon enthusiast!

Fragrance: In a word, boozy. I’d call it a foreground of alcohol. I’m not surprised that I didn’t care for it because I don’t like bourbon, either. This scent cloaks the room in a rich molasses liquor. Too besotted for me, like a bourbon straight up.

Performance:  One cube was medium strength in my bedroom Scentsy wall warmer. I’ll try combining this with the Caramel tobacco below, and concoct a bourbon and cream, more my taste.

Caramel tobacco– This melt got rave reviews, so I thought I’d give it a chance; however, it bothers me that caramel is misspelled on the label! Usually, I skip past caramel anyway for fear of too much sweetness, but the description didn’t specify actual caramel in the fragrance notes. Warm, oaky tobacco and vanilla tones combine with hints of orange, lavender and musk sounded too lovely to pass up, even a spelling mistake couldn’t deter me from giving it a shot.

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Fragrance: In a word, creamy. My favorite on cold turned out to be mighty similar to my recent ScentSationals wax in Cashmere Cream. I may not have placed the fragrance had I not melted Cashmere Cream the day prior, but they are pretty much a match. If you’ve tried it, you’d recognize the soft vanilla cream that swirls into an airy sigh of comforting scent. Caramel tobacco may be slightly fresher. I wish there was a hint of the oaky tobacco mentioned in the description, however, because I didn’t pick up on it and it was the reason I chose this fragrance.

At least this wax is dye-free, so it won’t stain my melt warmers like the ScentSationals brand already has, value lesson learned.

Performance: Unfortunately, Caramel tobacco falls victim to a common vanilla scent issue: too light. Vanilla creams always leave me yearning for a stronger throw. I think I’ll try using 3 wax cubes in my larger warmer to see if the performance improves.

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Fireside- Fireside blends smoke, wood, cloves, amber and sandalwood notes for a spicy, masculine scent. Smoky and masculine unceasingly catches my attention, a must try.

Fragrance: In a word, marshmallows? After melting, I double-checked the description but didn’t find mention of mallow. I have a weakness for marshmallow scents, so it was a welcome discovery. The unmistakable intoxicating aroma of sugary marshmallow curled with light woodsmoke is always beguiling.

Performance: A delicate airiness of marshmallows prevails, but dissipates quickly. Melted one cube in the Scentsy wall warmer but it wasn’t enough. Two-three cubes are required for the maximum toasty campfire scent.

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Pomegranate cider- Fresh summery pomegranate combines with fall cider to blend notes of apple, sugar, and cloves for a scent that is tart, tangy and sweet. Perpetually on the search for a wax substitute to Yankee Candle’s hard to find, retired Pomegranate Cider, I scooped this up.

Fragrance: In a word, tangy. In another word, yummy. MaryColette’s description perfectly depicts this fragrance. Layers of juicy sweetness come forth blending with delicately spiced fresh cider. I just delight in a blend that pulls off several scent categories, I think I’ve found my Yankee substitute.

Performance: 2 cubes in a tealight warmer resulted in a medium strength throw in my kitchen. *I may have lost track using so many different waxes in separate warmers but I believe I got 5 hours of fragrance from these melts.

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Final thoughts: I would repurchase Pomegranate cider and Ginger saffron. These were all well-balanced blends created by a vendor who knows what she’s doing. Not the most distinctive types, but something appealing for everyone.

I appreciated the quick reply to my email contact, the available sampler options, the 2-cube sample I received (sugar cookie) and a ten percent discount coupon for my next order. I extol the quality of the ingredients, especially the dye-free wax. The only drawback being the lighter throw of the milder scents. Try MaryColette candles if you’re looking for comforting new combinations.

-jaybird

 

 

 

Fall Fun- Beauty Item: Nubian Heritage & Pacifica

Today’s beauty post may be notably less glamorous than the other Fall Fun bloggers’ line-ups. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the deeper hues of lip, eye and nail products this time of year as much as the next girl, I just haven’t shopped for any lately. My current beauty routine is, well, downright routine. I rotate between the same three eye looks, I keep my lip colors much too long, and my nails need some major tlc! (hello stress) 

What am I featuring today then? A small item that’s a consummate part of everybody’s daily routine. About a month ago, I made the switch to natural deodorant. That’s right, I’m talking about the product you glide under your arms at least once a day, probably without giving it a second thought. I’ve abandoned my drugstore deodorants and decided to try a natural, less chemical-laden route to underarm freshness. Admittedly not much beauty, or any fall in this item, but it is the daily personal care change that I’ve embraced this season. 

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My reasons:

  • As a cancer survivor, I make an effort to be more aware of what I put into/onto my body without driving myself into a crazy paranoid state in the process.
  • I follow the “Chemical Free Me” on Instagram which has heightened my awareness about the amount of potentially harmful chemicals we come in contact with day-to-day. (I haven’t purchased any products from their website, but it’s a great resource.)
  • The main ingredient used in antiperspirant to block the pores in the armpit from perspiring, is aluminum. It rang alarm bells to read, it’s not a good idea to apply this to one of the largest lymph node locations – the armpit. Another alarming question: Would you apply aluminum to the pores on your face? I think not.
  • Last spring, I began noticing that my underarm area all the way down the inner arm was itching frequently. I bought eczema creams and medicated lotions, which numbed the area for a short time, but didn’t eliminate the itch.
  • It took six months before I made the connection to my antiperspirant. That’s how ingrained I was to spend such little thought on my product choice, other than picking powder or shower fresh.

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I didn’t go into this decision blindly, I did some research.** I also poured through purchase reviews on natural deodorant effectiveness. But once I made this decision, I wanted to proceed with the switch that same day.

Nubian Heritage

Fortunately for me, Ulta had a buy 2 get 1 free sale on any Nubian Heritage products. All certified organic, non-GMO ingredients, designed in NY, made in Canada. They have a sizable collection of natural products including fizzy bath bombs, with exotic fragrances. The price is $8.00 for 2.25 oz., but these were 3 for $16 with the sale price.

Fragrances: Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver-The combination is a little bit out there for me, but it made the top 3 of 4 scents I smelled. Very fresh and grassy, it may be too bracing. Saving this one for spring.

Abyssianian Oil & Chia Seed- a lighter floral, fresh air and a hint of perfume.

Patchouli & Buriti-this isn’t a typical Patchouli oil scent. A calming tone made with rose hips. There’s a distinct creamy almond note to it. This is the only scent I’ve tried thus far.

Performance: The package states it’s a 24 hour deodorant, but it does not last that long. I don’t know of any drugstore brands that last 24 hours for me either. It lasts a typical 8 hr work day. I’d reapply if I was going out afterwards.

It has a glossy texture, from vegetable glycerin, without the talcum quality of previous solids I’ve used. It’s sheer so it doesn’t leave behind residue, but is a little greasy to apply. A slightly sticky feel remains a few minutes after. * I read a tip to warm natural deodorant under the arm for a bit to help it glide on. I find this helps for a smoother application.

Performance is mid-level in keeping me dry; as an odor blocker, I’d rate it slightly higher.

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** In my research I came across several references to “detoxifying” the armpits before switching to natural deodorants. This practice makes sense to avoid irritation if one has sensitive skin, especially a baking soda sensitivity. I didn’t want to go through the homemade bentonite armpit pastes recommended for this issue. They seemed too high-maintenance, so I tried my own “detox” schedule and it proved successful.

For one entire week, I didn’t apply any deodorant sticks. I used these deodorant wipes instead:

Pacifica 100% vegan and cruelty free company. I was already a fan of their roll-on perfumes, it’s a brand I trust. The wipes are pricey, $9.00 for 30 pre-moistened towelettes. Pacifica has a lot of buy one, get one 50% off sales, though. These ended up 2 for 13.50, plus I used some Ulta rewards points.

Fragrance: Coconut and essential oils-this was a winner! Refreshing coconut fragrance that did not make me smell like a tropical drink all day. Definite repurchase.

Kale extract and coconut milk-a very woodsy scent, as in fresh cedar. Not as pleasant, would not repurchase.

Performance: I scoffed at how effective a wipe could be at stemming wetness, but it really was! These lasted 8-10 hours and my underarms were bone dry. They’re a nice refresher after yoga or exercise too.

I used them during lifting and cleaning with decent results. Another impromptu tester agreed on the quality when I lent some to one of my speech competitors who had forgotten deodorant. (Kids forget everything) If these can keep someone semi-dry at a speech competition, I’m impressed.

However, I did experience irritation with the Kale Extract wipe during one application. I also noticed the wipes aren’t as effective at odor blocking as the solid deodorants are. In combination, the two products complement each other and I’m happy with the results.

A friend of mine has also successfully switched to natural with the Native brand. They are $12.oo, but offer free shipping from their website. I’m planning to try Schmidt’s  as well, because it gets top user reviews.

If you’ve hung in there this far, you deserve to view more alluring fall beauty. Do check out these Fall Fun bloggers, sure to have beautiful products for your ogling pleasure.

UPDATE: Within 2 days of posting my review, I developed serious underarm irritation and discomfort. I’m not sure why it took so long to feel these effects, but I had to stop using either product for 2 days to heal.

After a week of experimenting, I currently use the Nubian sticks one day, then two days of wipes to keep itching/redness to a minimun. I’ve ordered different products to try that I’ll review after some use. Essentially, the search continues.

Fall fun-Color Collage

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Glorious golden color displayed on a perfect little tree in the village park near the library where I work. With brightly hued foliage so resplendent this tree deserves a place in the setting of a classic tale by Washington Irving, Edith Wharton or Nathaniel Hawthorne. At least the subject of a stanza or two in a Frost, Emerson or Longfellow poem would be appropriate for such a distinguished tree.

As much as I’ve enjoyed driving past the maple? on my way to work, no inspiration to compose a verse in its honor has struck me yet. On second thought, I’ve now featured the golden beauty in a blog. Not bad for this modest tree. Less distinguished are the coated-metal reindeer silhouettes you can just make out climbing into the bottom right corner. The village powers-that-be like to get an early start on the Christmas display. Photo taken on Halloween!

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My lunchtime view in good weather.

One perk of working in a slightly country area is that there aren’t many houses near the public library and village office property. This means I can sneak out for a peaceful lunch break at the picnic table and observe the colors of fall without much noise or distraction. I’ve been told deer have even been spotted in the woods behind the building, but all I’ve seen is Chipper, our chipmunk, scurrying around:)

I am fortunate to have a short scenic drive to work everyday, with two different five to ten minute stretches of gorgeous fall color that I’d love to capture. However, I’m a failure at videotaping while driving. Guess I shouldn’t push my luck, unless I used a go pro or some contraption. Maybe next year.

As dazzling as fall foliage is while still on the trees, it’s prominent in a different way once it hits the ground. Just looking at the blanket of leaves near, in, and around my yard overwhelms me. While he enjoys sniffing and crunching the leaves as much as I do, Johnny Funtime isn’t much help in the leaf gathering department.

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At least the burnt amber of the tree across the road is beautiful to behold as it’s leaves fly over to mingle with ours. I wonder if certain color leaves hold on longer, because it seems there is a lack of red foliage around the neighborhood. Although my favorite hue is the coral color that develops as a green tree goes from yellow to orange, that combo seems to have fallen already too. I do love the intensity of the auburn red on these leaves in my sister’s backyard last month.20161019_101819

Speaking of divine fall color, I snapped plenty of inspiration from my friend’s garden when we visited in mid-October. A landscape designer by trade, she has a legitimate flower/shrub garden all year long.

Isn’t that a perfect garden path, picket fence and all? Her long-growing cosmos show off striking color and I love the strategic placing of the maiden grasses tucked in the corners for privacy.

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Such vibrant orange cosmo flowers! Being the generous friend that she is, my buddy gifted some seeds for me to plant next year. I’m hoping they’re hardy enough to withstand my gardening inadequacy. Thanks, R, for answering my botanical questions after 11 pm!

Clockwise from left is lovely beepalm, blanket flower, and a sort of rainbow hued chrysanthemum.

Fall Colors swirl jar:

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Of course, if you know my blog then you know I have the perfect candle for a fall color collage theme. It’s retired Fall Colors, by Yankee Candle, a rare swirl jar in my collection. Yankee stopped producing the swirls of two different scents and colors not long after Jarden Corp took over. I still get excited when I spot them in the outlet stores.

This is a blend of Autumn Leaves and November Rain, perfect for this month. It’s true that I don’t like November Rain on its own, but paired with crisp, bold Autumn Leaves and I’m wowed by it. The November Rain gets toned down while Autumn Leaves is enhanced by more variety. Even though the swirl jars are no longer produced, this combo can be easily reproduced by breaking up two wax tarts and mixing them together in a warmer.

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Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

When a perfect fall collage exists in book form, especially a children’s book, then I must feature it, too. I restrained myself from posting every page, but if you get a chance to read this or share with a little one, the illustrations are delightful.

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A basket of mini pumpkins and gourds should always be shared too when one comes across it.

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I bought my first Better Homes and Gardens and Scentsationals wax a few weeks ago. Better late than never because I’m loving them all. These four represent many of my fall faves: woods and crisp masculine notes in my number one, Crimson, yummy fall foods in the limited edition A Thankful Harvest, earthy, sweet and spicy Vanilla Caramel Spice, and soft and cozy Cashmere Cream. If these were the breadth of my fall wax, I think I’d be satisfied!

Lastly, I picked up just a few autumnal home decor items when I thrifted at Ohio Buckeye Thrift in Columbus. Some great finds included the metal pumpkin candle tray that I’ll get tons of use out of, a heavy iron acorn finial paperweight, a woven owl that I adore even if she’s a hot-glued mess, and a melamine bowl which I’m sure I’ll use summer and fall. These four items totaled only $7 bucks. True enjoyment in finding, new-to-me, decor without breaking the bank.

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When putting up Halloween decor, I set my glass beaded garland upon my copper tray for a convenient resting spot until I could roll it up. As happenstance, I absolutely loved the way it looked!  I’ve kept it there for the rest of the season, carefully adjusting the baubled vine out of flame’s way. I’ve already melted a bead, oops.

Continue counting down more fall fun with us until after Thanksgiving.

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-jaybird

Fall fun-Cranberry Apple Cider Punch

With Pumpkin Spice Latte season in full-swing…I try to avoid Starbucks and Dunkin completely. I’m just not into those syrupy, whipped-cream topped, furry-teeth beverages like I used to be; therefore I don’t actually have a fave fall drink, per se. (Well, I do love my Oktoberfest craft brews this time of year, but I wanted to feature a festive drink that required fall-centric ingredients) A friend saved this Pinterest recipe a while back and it looked very appealing, so off I went searching for the source. Because it requires fresh-pressed cider, autumn is likely the best time of year to find the ingredients. I enjoy regular apple cider, but the cranberry and soda make it holiday worthy!

I have high hopes of making (or at least drinking) this punch during Thanksgiving this year.

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photo credit: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.com

Sparkling Cranberry Apple Cider Punch Recipe:

Yield: Makes about 2 quarts

“The flavor of this punch is best using apple cider that is fresh-pressed, meaning, not the kind that is clear like apple juice – it should look slightly cloudy (but you could use the kind in the juice aisle in a pinch). Also if you can’t find 100% cranberry juice, you can try using a blend but you might want to cut down on the sugar in the recipe.”

*Mel’s Kitchen recommends Vernor’s ginger ale, but I find it too sharp. I prefer good ole Canada Dry, I might try this with Diet if I can find it.

If you want to make some of this ahead of time, combine everything but the ginger ale in the pitcher and refrigerate for several hours. Add the chilled ginger ale when ready to serve.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar*
  • 4 cups apple cider (see note above), chilled
  • 2 cups ginger ale, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice, chilled
  • Crushed ice

*Too much sugar for me, I’d go to 1/3 cup

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries and water and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the cranberries pop and split. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let cool to room temperature (or chill in the refrigerator).
  2. In a 2-quart pitcher, pour in the cranberry mixture. Add the apple cider, ginger ale, lemon juice and cranberry juice. Mix.
  3. Serve in cups with crushed ice.

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/sparkling-cranberry-apple-cider-punch/

If punch isn’t your thing, my sister makes an incredibly addicting recipe using whole cranberries rolled in sugar-I’ll save that for my Thanksgiving week post:)

**I’d certainly try this recipe with vodka or even ginger beer, and I actually know someone whose parents make it…hmm, this could be coming together sooner than the holidays!

Beverage inspired melts:

While reviewing Yankee Candle’s new festive collection, I realized that I have quite a few beverage-inspired fragrances, here is a rundown of a few favorites.

Vendor wax:

The Great Gatsby– by House of Phoebe wax, a sophisticated fizzy champagne

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Gin+tonic is the light green sun shape, also loving my cute apple and sage melt

Gin and Tonic- Candles from the Keeping Room. Received as a sample from my October order, I thought this fragrance was really different-so refreshing and I must say smells just like a gin and tonic. Must be the juniper berries. I enjoyed it, but the melt only threw for 4 hrs, I got nearly nothing the second day. Should I be curing Carol’s wax?

Yankee Candle:

Hot Buttered Rum- such yummy, buttery goodness! One of my favorite warming winter candles too.

Vanilla Bourbon- Yankee’s biggest fall hit in 2015, it’s an interesting combo of coffee and cream with a wee dram of thick, rich bourbon.

Vanilla Chai– a smooth/spicy retired scent. For some reason this fragrance reminds me of being at my grandma’s house as a child, which is strange because she never made anything similiar…it must be my olfactory memory playing tricks on me.

Apple Cider & Cranberry Twist– I like Yankee’s Apple Cider, but not the Cranberry Twist on its own. Together I thought they’d make a wax blend version of the Cranberry Apple Cider Punch, especially combined with the fizziness of the Great Gatsby🙂

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The Great Gatsby’s the sparkly golden yellow cup

Plenty more fall fun on the way next week-until then, Cheers!

-jaybird

P.S. This is my 50th blog post! Thanks to all of my lovely followers and friends for reading and sharing.