Handmade in Florida: Wax Sampler

20171105_134528This is the wax preorder that led me to break my July shopping ban. I’d heard tantalizing word-of-mouth from Julie at The Redolent Mermaid but when I checked out the shop a few times, it seemed Handmade in Florida was infrequently open. Widely known for creating beautiful signature soap, and although I’m becoming a frequent user of handmade soaps, it was the wax I yearned to try. When I saw the preorder sampler announcement on the ‘gram, it didn’t take much convincing to suspend the shopping ban. Further checking revealed a choice of categories were available for customer selection, including earthy, bakery, fruity, etc., and all my remaining resolve was gone. My Earthy ‘surprise-me’ sampler included 10 scents and 2 samples, approx. 25 oz. of wax for $30, plus $7 shipping. 

From the packaging to the wax decoration, this has been the most elegantly designed wax I’ve received yet. I sincerely appreciate the inclusion of scent notes, pour dates and weight. Also love the distinct styles offered from shapes to cups. 20171029_113345Cosmic Caramel-a medley of sweet and spice starring warm caramel and clove. An unpretentious combination that was simply delicious. Note, I don’t say that lightly. It is a rarity for me to recommend any caramel scent, usually finding them too sweet. In fact, I questioned the inclusion of caramel in an earthy sampler, wondering if a bakery melt accidentally slipped in. Happily, Cosmic Caramel was included and it’s the favorite I’ve tried so far.20171029_114121Warm golden glaze, thickly scented with butter and toffee. I could actually smell the sugar crystals caramelizing as if melting on the stovetop in front of me. By no means cloying, nor overly spicy, as the clove appears as a smattering of buds dropped into the simmering caramel adding small bursts of aromatic depth. Strong, long-lasting throw, however I did use the entire 1.5 oz melt cup.

Coconut Curry-an enticing blend of freshly picked curry leaf, warm ginger, lime, vanilla, creamy coconut milk. A fan of curry and spiced foods, but not always of it’s appearance in fragrance. (I loathe some curry spices found in Yankee’s ginger scents) This is a savory version but is natural without feeling like you are eating takeout food. Brittle, pungent curry leaves bloom in velvety coconut cream, well-balanced between the two top notes, punched up by the zesty hit of lime. Whopping throw on cold, will update after melting.20171029_120935Meditate-warm notes of incense, amber and sweet vanilla. These notes embody a divine trinity of my favorite scents. Pearls of vanilla form a glossy bed of fragrance cloaked in dusky sweet smoke, crowned by delicate golden amber. A mellow dream of a scent prevails. 

Pretty Patch-a blend of sweet vanilla, dark-aged patchouli, amber and musk. Excited for this on cold, unfortunately it didn’t work for me. This patchouli appears more harshly than in the others (is dark-aged much different?) It melts very floral heavy with a touch of oiliness to it. Deeply layered, I wish the sweetness of the vanilla and fresh musk would outshine the sharp flowery patch. Half a cup threw medium strength.  

Sensual Suede-warm blend of soft suede, vanilla, sandalwood. I’m grateful this earthy sampler doesn’t contain a lot of cologne types. Not even sure how the connection between ‘earthy’ and cologne came to be, never have I walked through the woods and run into a cloud of unisex fragrance. The suede exhibits a feminine floral character, but isn’t perfumey either, perhaps light iris and dulcet green tones. A soft and tender nuanced feel, similar to donning a cashmere cardigan on a cool cloudy day. As with all of these blends, I only wish the sandalwood was more prominent.20171029_110630Ritual Lavender-lavender, sage, rosemary and woodsy smoke billowing from the sacred ritual of smudging. In the words of a friend, this lavender curls the toes and makes the eyes roll back in the head. That may be dramatic, but it is incredibly different from any other lavenders I’ve had. Not too woody; powerful, yet green and herbal with a confident blend of sage and rosemary, truly spicy herbs, leaning slightly peppery and cinnamon dusted. Ritual Lavender elicits feelings of majestic forests, endless Autumn days and woodland ceremonies surrounded by smoke and mystery. In contention for my favorite melt this fall, and one of this year’s best, but will reserve that judgement for after melting, if I can bring myself to use the one and only cup. 

These intricately designed wax medallions weigh 3.2 ounces and are nearly too pretty to slice. Upon seeing a photo I posted, an online friend commented they remind one of beautiful vintage pendants, and pondered how incredible-smelling they’d be adorning the neck. I must agree. 20171029_112450French Vanilla & Oak-sensuous blend of oak, sandalwood, benzoin, French vanilla. Zahida, the wax creator, must have read my mind with this scent. Any time a brand holds a blend contest, I include oak and vanilla in the mix. I find the notes comforting but unique, which is this blend exactly. The balsamic benzoin resin adds an exotic touch complimenting the creamy French vanilla. A freshness found in expensive body care lends a soap-like aspect grounded by the bitter woodiness of oak. Light-moderate throw. 

Tea for Two-green tea, bergamot, patchouli, amber, vanilla, jasmine, musk and smooth woods. There’s no cake to this unexpected tea blend. Cool as a glass of iced tea brewed from a sophisticated loose leaf mix. Bergamot imparts a light citrus note, not as overwhelming as lemon, but containing that characteristic sharp green tea edge. The tannins just rounded out by the soft vanilla and honeyed amber. I like this scent, I’d probably drink it as a tea, too.

Third Eye-exotic blend of incense, teakwood, sandalwood, patchouli, and cardamom. I haven’t enjoyed powdered scents as much lately, however this is an exception. Light, feathery powder tickles the nose, while herbal patchouli and peppery cardamom spice uplift the mood, teak and sandalwood relax the senses. A perfectly pleasant incense blend. Medium throw. 20171105_115603Enchanted Woodssultry blend of dark-aged patchouli, musk, sandalwood, myrrh. This scent sounds incredible but sniffing the package clued me in that it wouldn’t offer much aroma. The only disappointment in the bunch. I did get something upon melting two cubes, but it reminded me of the scent of my vinyl baby dolls from childhood, so not horrible, but not what I want in a woodsy melt. I removed it from the strong plastic clamshell and placed in a bag to cure awhile. Will update if it improves.  

Samples: Two full cups bedecked in Halloween trimmings. Rarely do I like all the samples I receive, but I adore these.20171105_102449Sweet Serenity-a touch of confectioner’s sugar, blended with lavender, eucalyptus, mint essential oils. Mint essential oil? Sign me up! Cool, frosty spearmint refreshes as the powdered sugar is infused with abundant herbs, producing a concentrated sugar rim to the spirited combination.20171105_102936Pistachio Cake-a fragrant cake scented with rosewater, pistachio, cardamom, and freshly whipped cake. Pistachio can be a love it/hate it scent for some, I think, but it’s a take it or leave it to me. I would take this wax cake version three tiers tall if possible. Moist and fluffy pastry covered in sugar-coated fondant, dressed in rose petals and dusted richly with cardamom. If pretty had a scent, this would be it.

No regrets over my broken shopping ban, I’d say this preorder was worth the wait and every penny. Looking forward to Handmade in Florida’s next opening.

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Bonjour Wax Co. Stranger Things sampler

What you should know about Bonjour Wax Co.: An order from Bonjour is more than wax, it’s an experience. Mandi cultivates a treasure trove of cool ideas that she turns into reality. Especially winning are her pop culture-themed samplers, everything is spot on, from the scent interpretation to the packaging. Mandi also considers her customers’ feedback, reworking and fine tuning her formulas and recipes, not to mention, constantly planning and sharing her process with us. It’s these details which stand out as special and make Bonjour Wax very popular with a loyal customer base. 

  • Mandi assures that she uses sustainably sourced palm wax w/o petroleum by-products, which releases easier from melt warmers.
  • Shipping is a flat rate of $7.50 (awesome) though International doesn’t appear available.
  • Restocks are typically every other Friday at 12 pm EST, and many products will sell out. That time doesn’t work for me, luckily she also offers occasional preorders such as the one below:

The World is turning Upside Down sampler

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I mean come on, the packaging alone is reason enough to purchase, AND a free bookmark? Be still my geeky heart. Containing 9 Stranger Things inspired scents for $20 of major wax melt eye candy.20171008_141646There is a sweetness to the show due to the characters’ interrelationships, but also an undercurrent of brokenness, an edge of pain and pang of misery to their lives, even Steve’s (who redeemed himself, yet I still can’t help thinking a return to douchey behavior is imminent. UPDATE: or maybe Steve will become a wounded but hilarious sidekick). These scents are sweet and edgy, based on iconic moments from season one and previews of the upcoming season two, premiering tomorrow night. 20171008_141158.jpgEleven-vanilla crunch waffles covered in maple syrup. Representing the mysterious interdimensional traveler, El, whose powerful telekinetic abilities are equally useful for helping locate missing children and procuring Eggo waffles. Light, buttery batter swirled with vanilla extract topped off with pools of maple syrup floating inside all the little ridges. Not into maple scents this season, I melted one, recommend two for light-medium throw. Evenly composed of maple and vanilla, not overly sweet. 

Mornings are for Coffee and Contemplation-coffee beans & cinnamon sugared donuts. A straightforward coffee scent with a light spicy note. Based on the morning motto of haunted Hawkins’ Chief Hopper, who I’m not gonna lie, is my favorite character and this, my favorite quote from season oneI literally live by this motto. Not as potent as dark roast but still a comforting cup of familiar warmth. A crunchiness comes out reminiscent more of graham crackers than donuts. Smooth, balanced classic American coffee that one can swig (or sniff) all day. This medium scent had major longevity, I used 3 mornings in a row for around 8 total hours.20171025_134355The Pumpkin Patch- pumpkin, ginger, brown sugar, patchouli & clove. Featured in a preview of a season 2 episode, there’s more going on than pumpkin picking. Patchouli introduces an earthy tone and musky finish underlying the sweetly spiced fragrance. The hidden creamy pumpkin just peeks out, or was that a pollywog? Light throw. 

One of the most clever and cult follower generating aspects of Stranger Things is it’s homage to pure geekiness. The young foursome at the show’s heart are unapologetically geeky; AV club members into strategy gaming, ham radios, and electromagnetism. Their curiosity and conspiracy theories provide comic relief and nostalgic innocence. The following scents are unapologetically sugary and brightly colored. They’d surely be eaten up as the boys gamed away their weekend.20171008_142724Demogorgon-blood orange & patchouli. This scent is as powerful a mix as the demonic Demogorgon is a monster. Wickedly bright and juicy orange with a hint of grapefruit, actually more sweet and tangy than tart. Effervescence emanates, creating a fizzy backdrop to the pungent patchouli highlighting the radiant citrus. This is a stunning combo that has grown on me more and more. 

When I asked my husband if the Demogorgon was a creation of the show or actually appeared in the Dungeons and Dragons game, he answered with “It’s real (in D&D) and it’s alignment is chaotic evil.” So there’s that.

The Flea and the Acrobat-black licorice, mandarin orange, sugar cane and fizzy soda. Intrigued by the blood orange above, however, this is similar to opening a fizzing orange soda, gulping it down and grimacing as the bubbles travel up the nostrils and the tang burns the throat. It’s akin to Mentos candy popped into a bottle of Coke, maybe crushed Smarties in Fanta, either way, too much for me.20171008_142853Dragon’s Lair-Creme soda, Skittles, sweet and salty popcorn. I cannot wait for the arcade scenes this season, such a perfect 80’s homage interlaced with seriously scary footage brewing outside. Careful fellas, those video games may just lead to real danger. As spot on as this scent is capturing junk food offerings at arcade snack counters, Dragon’s Lair may cause a toothache. Fruity grape soda and buttered popcorn, totally gag me with a spoon;)

The Upside Down (netherworld, Vale of Shadows) Guess which are my favorite scents? These embrace the darkness of the show, the lurking horrors, spooky goings on in the woods, the shed, and, gulp, the swimming pool.20171008_144335 (1)The Vanishing of Will Byers-autumn leaves, patchouli, balsam, vetiver. Fall in Hawkins, Indiana is a spooky, atmospheric place. This scent captures crisp autumn nights, crackling twigs and leaves, resinous balsam fir. Stillness descends on the woods bestowing a sleepy stupor of cooling calm. A creamy sweetness comes through when melting, just wish the woody notes were stronger. 

Thessalyhydra-dark amber, exotic guaicwood, cedarwood, cinnamon, burnt sugar maple. The biggest, baddest shadow monster happens to be my favorite, who knew? A complex blend of as many scents as the creature has legs. Here the maple has crystallized from syrup to a yummy burnt sugar glaze atop the crisp cedarwood. The spicy guaiac wood carries sacred oud and incense, alight with sharp cinnamon bark and warm fiery amber resin. Saving this one to melt for the premiere. 

The Upside Down-smoky woods, patchouli, a pop of effervescence. Darkness closes in around like a veil with no escape from the thick musky patchouli. Heady, disorienting, the fragrance almost reaches out and takes a bite. Perfect. 20171008_145925Mandi always delivers in the little extras and the sampler was no exception. Thanks for the candy and sugar skull samples!20171008_140422When pre-ordering, I  had to take an opportunity to grab a few cups from the 80’s nostalgia single scents. No show pays tribute to the iconic movies from the 80’s more than Stranger Things.20171008_132433I’ll Be Right Here-Moon shadows, cedar, oak, amber, vanilla and musk. Admittedly, E.T. was never my fave, my 6 year-old brain couldn’t relate. I relate to these scent notes though. On cold, an ethereal musk is all that appears. I’ll update after melting,  and maybe rewatching.

This House is Clean-Cleansing white sage & fallen leaves. Spoiler alert: my house will never smell this fresh and clean. Fortunately, Bonjour Wax does spa scents so well, it will never need too. I admit to getting this for the name and label, but totally love it. Crisp, clean and uplifting, the white sage oil has a subtle cooling musk and is the fresher version of the smudge sticks. Must get more.

Cabin in the Woods-fresh air, cinnamon, nutmeg, amber, sandalwood, white cedar, and vanilla. This Sprucey, woody blend is amazing, verdantly herbal, possessing beautiful depth when warmed.20171008_132942 As the 24 hour countdown begins for Stranger Things’ 2nd season, I have high hopes it delivers as superbly as the first. I love to discuss, but won’t be binging the entire season, we might have time to catch 2 episodes this weekend. No spoilers!

If these scents caught your eye, Bonjour Wax is restocking this Friday, the 27th noon EST and is rereleasing many from this sampler. Also, there’s a new minty Barb inspired scent! #neverforget

 

 

 

October-Band of Bloggers


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra at Finger Candy

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

 

Fall Fun Series II: Scented discoveries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Least favorite:

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

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

Willow Wax Craft Haul

To my fellow fragrance lovers; have you ever felt as if you met your kindred wax making spirit? You know, the vendor, wax or candle, large or small, with the scents and style that you would create as a vendor yourself? My recent order from Willow Wax Craft is the closest I’ve come to that experience. In need of a new favorite, as one of mine recently closed shop, which makes this a happy haul indeed.

Perusing the fragrance list at Willow Wax Craft‘s Etsy shop elicited a smile from ear-to-ear. The scents are inspired by literary and pop culture references. Two of my favorite subjects combined with my home fragrance obsession and I’ve struck gold. 

Samantha, the wax creator, reveals, “I build fragrance that reconstructs what the inspiration means to me.” “My interests are too varied and ever-evolving to commit to any kind of formal “fandom” collections, but if you get any of my references as a fellow fan, we’ll share a knowing wink and a nod, yes?…” Well, a sly wink, furtive nod and secret knock back at ya’ from this fan. She offers a mix of traditional fragrance inspiration too.

Autumn classics with a twist:
20170918_100739 (1)Pumpkin Spice Latte– “It’s officially the season of that omnipresent autumnal coffee drink- sweet pumpkin, rich coffee, fall spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and clove), all topped with mounds of whipped cream and drizzled with caramel. Cozy up.”  

Bold, but natural smelling roasted beans waft in like aromatic gold. Deep spices, fruit and foodie notes that sing through the coffee, of caramel, nuts and custardy cream. One cube threw strong in the kitchen, also melted alongside Anarchy’s Child, creating a delicious duo. Is it possible I’m turning around on PSL scents? Now that would be buzz-worthy.

Harvest Hayride– “A perfect fall day for the Pumpkin Festival- bright cornflower blue skies, lots of sunshine, and just cool enough for your favorite sweater!” Take a hayride to the patch and pick that ideal pumpkin-crunchy leaves, crisp apple cider, pumpkin, and salty-sweet kettle corn.

I wish I had tried this for the Fall Fun series apple post because I lamented that many apples are overly sweet and artificial, yet here is a perfectly unique blend. Crisp skins and juicy flesh meld with mulling spices of cinnamon, clove, lemon, orange and nutmeg brewing a heavenly cider. Soft hay, light leaves, caramel-kissed woods, both spicy and complex, this is in the running for a favorite fall melt. One cube gave medium strength.

The melancholy mood of Poe’s prose captured in wax melts:20170918_093850 (1)Ghoul-Haunted Woodland-“A dreamy walk through gloomy woods one lonesome October night-propelled by spirits or demons-where?” Cool shadowy conifers, hint of rain, withering leaves, apples and lavender.

Night unrolls, beckoning soft steps upon a moss carpeted forest floor, what will be found in this dark wood? It turns out, nothing too scary. A light bright green fragrance thanks to the apple addition. I love all classes of cedars, cypresses, firs, and pines and this carries an airy blend of such. A soothing scent, with a touch of woody lavender and patches of damp woods, very pretty. Unfortunately, it’s the lightest of the WWC melts I’ve tried. Two cubes threw lightly in the living room.
20170918_094937Ulalume’s Tomb-“At the end of your wandering you arrive at the legended crypt of your lost love.” Haunting blend of rich vanilla, white pepper, black tea, cold stone coated in dust and a whisper of funeral lilies. 

Upon opening the tomb bestrewn with wilted bouquets, a gasp of faded perfume emerges. Apprehensive it might be too floral, but not so. Alight with the aromatic spice of incense, the floral heart is shrouded by vanilla. A mellow, relaxing fragrant oil blend that leaves an air of tranquil repose. One cube threw light-medium in my kitchen.20170919_071922.jpg

Fragrance celebrating rebellious misfits? Heck yes!20170920_101849 (2)Anarchy’s Child- a Halloween scene for all the freaks and geeks. Not too young to raise hell and not too old to canvas the neighborhood for candy.” A blend of nougat-y candy stuffed into a pillowcase, smashed pumpkins 😉 and fall leaves.

My inner late 90s fangirl almost lost it finding this ode to Freaks and Geeks, but I told myself, “Slow down, cool breeze.” Just as Lindsay professed, “Not all good looking people are cool,” not all cool looking wax melts are good, so how is Anarchy’s Child? Like every yummy treat from Halloweens of youth, wrapped in scent. Honeyed toffee marshmallow candy layered with a savory sweet spice mix, reminiscent of carrot cake. Freshly carved pumpkin, cool night air and fallen leaves crunching under Doc Marten boots brought about a jumble of nostalgic 90s feels. One cube was light, two threw medium strength. GOOD STUFF.20170920_102532Legend of the Lost Inferno-“Hey you guys! Go on a treasure hunt for the rich stuff with your best misfit friends, and be sure to watch out for booby traps! The scent of a long lost pirate ship: bay rum, a twist of lime, spicy ginger ale, the memory of musk, murky water, and wet wood planks. It’s your time down here.”

Playful and bubbly, I enjoy the thought put into the interpretation, but fizzy scents are hit-or-miss for me. Those mica-dusted sunken gold bouillons are perfect, however, and what child of the 80s could pass up a Goonies-inspired scent? I’m hoping the musk and wood notes are released upon melting.

The above clamshells are the Fall Duo collection, each pair costs $10 with 15% off Labor Day sale making the duos $8.50. I also grabbed a 4-clamshell sampler bundle, regularly $20 on sale for $17. The scents are choose your own, a scent shot sampler is available too.20170920_093533Walnut Creek Orchard-“By the bushels and pecks-apples everywhere!” Fresh pressed cider, gooey caramel apples, spiced apple butter, cider donuts, and flaky apple strudels.

Reading these notes, I must have been blinded by the description to order something so bakery. Freshly dipped caramel apple notes dominate, yes it’s juicy, but too sticky sweet for me. Can’t do it, but all Cider Lane fans should love it.20170920_094901Liber Arcana-“Peruse dusty wooden shelves and ancient tomes of forbidden knowledge-the library has the answers you seek!” Old leather-bound books, rare herbs, and hints of cauldron smoke, all with a refreshing pumpkin beverage in hand for a long night of studying (or mischief!)

There must be some magic afoot in this library because this is the first leather-focused scent I really like. The leather is sweet and supple, not aged and brittle. Crackling logs lend an atmospheric mood along with sensual musk, smoke and suede, creating a comforting blend. There’s even a creamy note that’s quite unexpected, the pumpkin? A toasted nuttiness exists too, I’m genuinely impressed with the blending skills present in Liber Arcana. One cube is all you’ll need.20170920_104114.jpgSleepy Hollow Day-“The kind of day where the sun never seems to rise, with grey skies and a chill that creeps into your bones.”  Petrichor, moss and vines, distant woodsmoke, wet wood, and a damp persistent drizzle.

Ooh petrichor, that refreshing earth after rain smell when the grass is still warm and wet. A distinctive scent that awakens childhood memories; running back onto the softball fields after a needed cloudburst, exploring the backyard, drawing with sticks in warm clay, scrambling up wet woodpiles, smoke drifting as a neighbor burns green wood and wet leaves, something sweet and wild has been unearthed in the loam. One of the most unique blends I’ve tried, only earthy scent lovers should apply.  P.S. This happens to be inspired by my favorite scary story of all time, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Bonfire Stories-“Caramelized marshmallows, crackling fire, sweet woodsmoke, all the tales they weave.”

The smoky edge in the forefront reveals more than the typical marshmallow fireside fragrance, and I love that! Resinous woods intrigue as campfire smoke curls, the flames have licked the edges but the marshmallow centers remain gooey. With all mallow oils, but this one especially, I detect a jug of spirits has been passed around to help ease the fright of dark and spooky bonfire tales.20170920_103018Samples were tucked inside a darling linen string bag with a bit of candy.20170920_103358 (2)Stay Golden- Sea spray and shady pines, mimosas on the lanai, and a complementary blend of sultry magnolia, gentle tea rose, and bright orange blossom.

The Golden Girls are beloved, but it’s too vegetal for my liking. No, I wasn’t expecting cheesecake, but orange blossom is slightly bitter to me and magnolia cloying. A clean soap appears upon melting and a fizziness. Sparkling, uplifting and slightly bitter? Why, this is The Golden Girls.

Cabana Cake- A taste of the tropics anytime. Brown sugar, pineapple, and yellow cake, all topped with flaked, sweetened coconut. A tropical coconut cake is one I can do, yum!

Samantha showed quality customer service as I raised a shipping question in an Etsy conversation to ask if it was correct. She responded quickly that Etsy’s calculated shipping isn’t always accurate and she refunds shipping costs over $1.00. I’m glad I reached out, she not only put me at ease, but provided a free shipping code if I wanted to combine another order.

I can’t express enough how much I’m delighted by this wax haul (clearly, I can. See above). Did I mention Willow Wax Craft is based in Ohio, and created by a librarian? The packaging, descriptions, inspiration and most importantly, blending abilities, make WWC a stand-out. I’m already plotting another order, Mechanical Heart (Edward Scissorhands)… Espero (The Shawshank Redemption) and many more…

Any brand expressing your wax heart’s desire recently?

The Fakery Bakery Wax-summer preorder

Such is this batty, in-between time of year, I’m posting a Summer preorder after a Halloween preview. This is the Fakery Bakery preorder placed in mid-May which arrived the Friday before Labor Day. Still feeling conflicted over posting about wax hauls in the face of such devastation and loss experienced by so many this month, however, I think I found a solution that makes me feel better about it, more on that at the end of September.

As I was getting into vendor wax in a hard core way last Spring/Summer, I noticed the adorably eye-catching products of The Fakery Bakery Wax. This happened to be around the time Athena, the maker, was slowing down on store openings because she was expecting a baby. I missed a Spring restock this year, so when I heard she was offering her first preorder, I jumped at the chance to try these darling creations.

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Around mid-July, Athena began updating with information that preorders wouldn’t be ready to go for the stated turn around time of 8 weeks. She was waiting on additional wax and expressed the amount of orders were more than initially planned for; communication through Instagram updates continued. She expressed her gratitude to everyone for their patience and even poured extra ‘Thank You Gift’ melts for her customers. I appreciated this level of communication and awareness that some people might be disappointed. Then I just had to sit back and wait for my shipping notice and rejoice when my happy melts arrived.

Para-soy Wax cup duos:

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Mango Milk– mango sorbet/sugar milk. Hearing good things on this scent I couldn’t wait to try it. Upon opening the cup, I was hit by a powerful plastic odor. Slightly nauseating, as my nose adjusted, the bright  fruit came out and assured me I’d be able to melt it. I believe the plastic smell comes from the mix of oils, NOT the plastic containers for 2 reasons: the other scent in the cups didn’t contain the smell and I’ve received this same blend as a gift, from a different vendor, with the exact same plastic note.  

You can never go too wrong with Mango Sorbet, if you like that orange sherbety goodness. Happy to say once melted, the strong plastic mostly dissipated and the punchy mango took over. Succulent and juicy fruit, while already creamy from the sorbet, is enhanced by sugar milk elevating the creamy factor immensely. As cooling and appetizing as a frothy Mango Lassi, ooh, gonna have to get one of those soon. Strong performer in the living room using only half a melt.

Mermaid Dreams- peppermint/salty sea air/lavender. An intense peppermint topped with a few lavender sprigs. My husband really liked it, but I’ve yet to find a Salty Sea Air blend that can stand up to stronger scented oils and this is no exception. The mint is sharp and acquires an astringent note from the lavender, giving the blend a medicinal finish. Another powerful throw from half a cup in my 18 watt warmer.

Souffle cups $6.75 ea.

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Cake By the Ocean- pink sugar/shaving cream/ocean breeze. A hugely popular scent by FBW, I was happy to get the opportunity to try. The caramelized sugar present in Pink Sugar is the star of this blend, freshened up by distinctive shaving cream. Ocean Breeze contains sea water, ozone and lily of the valley, but is undetectable thus far. Popping in my warmer produced a sweet musky aroma with a light throw.

Triton- blue sugar/shaving cream/sea salt blossom/lavender. A highly fresh scent that actually smells like the sea shore, huzzah! A perfectly composed fragrance for a hot summer day; salty sea water, sheer green floral, fresh marine spray without any suntan oil. Made more invigorating by bracing Blue Sugar cologne and cooling shave cream. Fresh and floral scent lovers should be elated by this balmy fragrance with a light-medium throw. I recently enjoyed a Himalayan salt spa and Triton has got a similar relaxing aura going on.

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Twirl- mango sorbet/coconut cream pie/waffle cone. A friend sent a similar blend from a custom order, so I already knew it to be good, but holy moly, this combo is heavenly. Coconut cream pie transforms mango into a decadent dessert and the waffle cone completes the ice cream experience missing from Mango Milk above. Luscious sweet coconut with hints of creamy vanilla, crumbly graham cracker crust and sugar crusted waffle cone poured over the rich mango fruit chunks. My favorite facets of this scent are warm toasty notes of coconut and baked wafers atop cool, refreshing sorbet. Those decorative sprinkles are enough to make me twirl like a kid wrapping my fingers around a swirled ice cream filled cornetto.

Extra “thank you” cubes:

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You’re sweet- salt water taffy. So good, you can almost taste it. These are as delicious-smelling as they are adorable. Thank you!

Samples:

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I sent Gran on with a friend’s order. It smelled like a yummy fall mix of apples, spice, and graham crackers. A crowd pleasing melt. The bundt shape in Do Bad Things melted  golden pools of butter with heavy handfuls of clove and cinnamon. It lasted for 3 days!

Because the wax cups outperformed the souffles and were poured in May compared to August, I think cure time is necessary for this wax. Only a tad disappointed that I received my scents near summer’s end and because I was splitting a few with a friend, I hoped for her to get them sooner. Our weather forecast is hot and sunny this weekend though, and I’ll delight in melting these as a summer send-off. Soaking up a little more summer is never a problem for me. 

What’s your philosophy on preorders? Are reviews helpful when the scents are no longer available and the season is past? Do you prefer restocks instead?

Halloween Mystery Sampler- The Bathing Garden

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About a month ago, I was hanging out with my sister when she casually mentioned that The Bathing Garden was making a Halloween sampler. Not a member of the facebook group, I had no knowledge of the announcement, but when asked if I wanted to split one, I surely wasn’t turning down the offer. Incorrectly assuming it was a preorder, I left the ordering up to her. Unaware of the rush to purchase samplers, limited amounts, or rounds of restocking until I caught up on social media the next day. Whew, there seemed to be a little fallout over availability, but she managed to nab it at the later restock.

After a few delays including a mid-vacation evacuation from the Florida Keys, my sis received our sampler and passed it on to me for the following preview. 20 scents were included with a fragrance card plus one sample scent. Cost $17.00, shipped for $7.50. 

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 *new scents

Gourmand:

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*Banshee Dreams– Frosted pumpkin cupcakes, dark espresso, crystallized coconut shavings, vanilla marshmallow. Very much a coffee scent with added pumpkin spice topped with marshmallow whipped cream. Extra creaminess from the coconut but it’s fruity, not milky.

Black Magic Laboratory– Orange chiffon, black velvet cake, chocolate shavings, crème filled cookie bites. I don’t normally go for orange scents and never chocolates, yet this is delightful. Warm bakery notes with sweet chords of orange spice, not sharp or tangy. Well balanced, this hint of chocolate shouldn’t put anyone off, it’s delicious.

Colossal Pumpkin Lantern- Chocolate frosted brownies with vanilla cream pumpkin brulee. Unfortunately, for me, this chocolate is more prevalent. Not rich and cakey, more of a chewy nougat center wrapped inside marshmallow cream with caramelized sugar coating. Negligible pumpkin scent on cold.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Waffles- Sweet pumpkin waffles swirled with butterscotch chips. Bakery fresh and fluffy. Classic pumpkin spiced waffle scent substituting the caramel note for sticky butterscotch toffee bits, improving it nicely. Creamy bakery lovers should enjoy this, my niece already called it for herself.

Potions: (beverages, tea/coffee, cider)

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Eye of Newt– Fresh frozen water, clean air and crystallized peppermint candy. Strange to my nose. These scents are in my wheelhouse, but frozen water isn’t the same as sparkling snow type I enjoy, it’s well, more watery. The peppermint is subdued, like mellow ribbon candy and doesn’t merge well either, this one’s a miss.

*Phantom Queen-Black citrus tea, cinnamon coffee and a bag full of Halloween candy. I’m in lust over this scent. Pairing tea and coffee is a revelation. Uplifting and soothing as a mug of warm spiced brewed tea. Sugary lumps of hard candy flavors tucked inside, sweetening the pot. 

Poisoned Apothecary-hot mulled apple cider with a woody undertone. Ooh, PA got a little woodier than I remember when melted last year. Dry cedar and cypress crackles as the heat of the mulling spices creates a bold aroma. This scent spreads a tingly warmth throughout the room.

*White Magic-shaved cinnamon, orange tea, hints of spicy patchouli. Beautiful tea leaf essence with a decadent bouquet of spices. The citrus is sheer, but highly fresh and sweet. I enjoy this even more than Tea with the Queen of Hearts, but is does have a similar profile, substituting the floral with spice. My sis may have to arm wrestle me for this.

Earthy:

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Faerie Bonfire- complex bonfire scent with notes of leaves, vanilla, sandalwood, and brown sugar. Reviewed here in January.

Haunted Hayride- tart granny smith apples, caramel, cinnamon, pumpkin, hints of hay. Grassy hay is dominant, slightly bitter. Crisp apples accented by cinnamon bark makes a mouthwatering melt. Combinations of earthy, sweet and spice create a pleasing outdoorsy fall fragrance. My sister’s favorite.

Netherworld Zombie- freshly shoveled graveyard dirt, espresso, lime essential oils, scotch whiskey, chocolate shavings. Can’t get much earthier than this, an indelicate scent but not unrefined, once your nose gets used to sniffing dirt and lime at once that is. Similar notes to TBG’s Toxic Earth, but not heavy on coffee. I understand the graveyard/Halloween connection, but this is one of the perkiest fragrances I’ve come across, more of a Spring garden, fresh-tilled soil vibe. I surprisingly love it, even the rustic, less decorated look to the pumpkin fits.

Lush-inspired:

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Cemetery Keys– vanilla tonka bean, lime citrus, and sugary sweet white floral. Received as a sample and reviewed here. I like nearly everything about this except for TBG’s white floral, it causes a headache. Very tart lime softened with powdery-sweet tonka bean.

Charm & Ruin– Lush vanilla citrus swirled with fruity pomegranate base. I constantly mistake this for a floral scent because it opens with a creamy rose note. Reminiscent of fruity floral bubble bath. A creamy, luxurious bubble bath but still not a fruit scent to me.

Hades & Persephone– citrus, cognac, musk, hints of patchouli. Not a specific Lush dupe, but similar to soapy, floral lush notes. Heady spice from the potent patchouli, with a slight boozy character. Pretty and powdery finish, I enjoyed this sensual fragrance more than I thought I would.

Hoarfrost Tonic- a refreshing scent with lime, cypress, mellow pine and cool air notes. Unique and astringent. Strongly soap-like, with an icy crisp laundered finish. Due to the drink reference on the label, I expected fizziness, however I didn’t notice any. Another headache inducer unfortunately.

Fruit:

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Pagan Moon– an apple and pear grove under blood red strawberry moon, kissed by fall leaves. Subtle complexity from the leaves, a juicy fruit blend with light strawberries. No single fruit dominates, making a muddled compote. Classically fall, I have to melt a crisp tart fruit at least once this season and I adore this scarlet and gray combination

*Season of the Witch– spicy pumpkin, cinnamon apples, ripe berries, sugar dipped oranges. There is an off note right from the top but I can’t identify it. Strawberry leaf is a wild guess, something green and twiggy that has a bitterness, could just as likely be a harsh spice. It doesn’t work for me, but others may like it.

Tombstone Dust– green apple cinnamon cupcakes, with marshmallow brown sugar caramel glaze. Caramel apple lovers might rejoice, but it’s not sticky as some can be. Cinnamon sprinkled lightly on top of delicate meringue. Sweet, though lacking heavy cloying bakery notes. Enjoyable, even with my aversion to bakery scents. 

Candy/Sweet:

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Death Becomes Her- spun sugar, white vanilla buttercream, peppermint cookies, and a sprinkle of rock candy chipsCotton candy creates an airiness out of what could be a heavy buttercream frosting. Cooling peppermint cuts through the sweetness creating a refreshing top note with an extra creamy base. Divine.

Mummy Mademoiselle– candied rose jam, sweet sticky saltwater taffy, creamy white vanilla. The first note to surface is the saltiness. Lush rose jam is present but holds more depth than others I’ve tried, a sour note appears giving the blend a sweet/sour candy-like cream fragrance. Since I can’t stop sniffing it, yummy Mummy may be my favorite.

Monster Candy- the 2-D pumpkin cutout sample. A very sweet pink berry blend. Sticky strawberries, candy corn possibly, but no chocolate. Updated notes: watermelon candy, sugar dipped orange slices, and kiwi cherry mimosas.

These melts are all gorgeous to the eyes with a muted pastel color palette. Most of them make the nose happy too. My sister pointed out the lack of a true pumpkin scent, without coffee or chocolate, and I would have preferred that to the numerous Lush scents. However, the range is impressive and thankfully without too many floral tones. I’m excited to see what else Shannon has in store if this is a preview of what’s to come.  A Christmas sampler would be a joyful thing too!

Favorites and surprises from each category:

  • Black Magic Laboratory
  • White Magic
  • Netherworld Zombie
  • Hades & Persephone
  • Pagan Moon
  • Mummy Mademoiselle/Death Becomes Her *tied

Good luck to those ordering this week and let me know what you like!

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