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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Summer Superlatives

Hey, hi, hello there. As sleepy summer days have slipped swiftly by, it’s been a bit quiet around here. August concluded quietly, but not quite peacefully. Of course, I’m referring to the recent national instability, in which the hateful actions of some Americans have been baffling and upsetting. Most recently, watching the hurricane devastation occurring in Houston has been heartbreaking. Yet, I’m also referring to an unspecified feeling of personal imbalance. Unwelcome changes, restlessness and throbbing earaches don’t make for a happy read. Even less so as these sentiments coincided with a few blog-related stumbling blocks. Blogging can be a perfect escape and outlet for expression, but at times it feels frivolous when so much seriousness is going on in life.

Still, it’s been a summer of simple pleasures and small celebrations I want to remember and here we are.

Most memorable:

Waking up daily to a mug of morning coffee (and contemplation) served bedside; ahh so spoiled when my husband’s on summer break.

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Listening to Ella, Bing, Frank, Judy, Nat, Louie and Rosemary on a radio station we found out of Bainbridge, OH. It provided an old school soundtrack to our summer.

Eating cheesecake at THE Rue La Rue Cafe surrounded by all things Golden Girls, with my personal golden girls counterparts.

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Photo R.H.

Working in the garden side-by-side.

Watching my dog, Johnny, soak up the sun with many long naps on the deck.

Picking the first ripe tomato and cucumber.

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Watching my dad hit the tidal waves alongside his grandchildren in the wave pool at Zoombezi Bay.

Cheering on my summer heroes, the Cleveland Indians, during spirited comeback wins while listening on the radio or sitting beside family behind the home dugout.

Floating along in my sister’s swimming pool.20170712_184334Smelling my first custom made wax creations, courtesy of Sniff My Tarts wax.

Attending quality theater productions be they Broadway, the Playhouse or Summer Stock.

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Planning recipes and feeling inspired to cook a little again.

Walking outside to grab handfuls of fresh herbs to add to dishes.

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Overhead shot of my rosemary. Hope to replant soon for a perennial bush.

Most Bittersweet:

Finishing our ballroom dance program. I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would, especially learning together with my husband, as partners. As school began, both cost and lack of time made it unfeasible to continue. I already miss having that goal to work toward every week as we learned new steps, along with the patience and skill of our wonderful instructor.

Exploring New York City with some of my favorite people in the world. Bittersweet for many reasons…turning forty, being apart from my husband and yearning to return soon after I left. Such a special time spent with friends, though I haven’t seen them nearly enough since June, soon though I hope.

Left feeling breathless after nearly every Game of Thrones episode this season, then reading it won’t return until summer of 2019.

Witnessing my nephew, soon-to-be a senior in high school, pursue his dream and attend a journalism camp at a University. Excited for him, but it felt so far away and like a forerunner of things to come.

Of these experiences, I’ll miss the dancing and the sunshine the most as fall approaches. Well, maybe being handed that morning cup. The sentiment that August is the Sunday of summer has never felt truer for my husband and myself as it has this year.

For now, we’re occupied with band nights, Friday football games, short cool-weather evenings, adjusting routines and shaking off summer’s ease. I’ve rested up my typing fingers as there’s lots to plan and look forward to in the coming weeks. The Fall Fun bloggers are kicking off another Fall series this Saturday and I hope you’ll join us. Until then, what have been your most memorable or bittersweet moments this summer?

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Gratuitous Johnny Funtime photos, we’ll miss our summer walks.

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!

June Best & Worst: I’m still learning

“I am still learning”-Michelangelo

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I had a visceral reaction to reading this featured quote while at the New York Public Library. Unable to explain why exactly, but those four simple words feel so meaningful. Maybe it’s because if one is still learning, they are still willing, still striving, still living. There’s a freedom in admitting you don’t know it all. An admittance I’ve struggled with in the past, but am letting my need to know and be prepared for everything go, little by little, and it feels good. 

I’ve learned a lot this June. I also wrote my 100th post!

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Best: Turning forty. I never take a birthday for granted, but celebrating this one in New York City was a special experience I’m so grateful I had. The city was thrilling and the company and support of my friends helped make it memorable. Their friendship is so important to me and I’m still learning, each day, how to be a better friend; many thanks for their patience.

Also Best: Spending time with my husband and family on a short getaway. Visiting relatives I don’t get to see often and racking up two fun sunny days with my niece and nephews is quality time I will cherish.

Worst: My knees feel more like I’m seventy. They went kaput the day I turned forty, literally, as I sat on the wide stone steps of the NYPL and felt the cramped bus ride and endless walks through the city express itself through grinding pain. I’ve now learned what many others experience but I never understood; what it feels like to have major knee discomfort any time I bend or rise. As my friend so succinctly put it, “Welcome to forty!”

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Best: Featuring my favorite wax vendor with an in-depth post. Casey at House of Phoebe Wax is wonderful, in both blending ability and customer service relationships. I’m excited that I could spend a little time raving about her beautiful products and spreading the word.

Worst: I noticed some of my blog photos were being used on a wax vendor’s page without any notification or acknowledgement to me. Surely, it’s frowned upon to use someone’s personal photos without asking permission, even if they occur with a flattering review. That act itself wouldn’t have been too bad, if, the brand’s owner had been anywhere near apologetic when contacted. Initially surprised, yet flattered, I politely asked for photo credit. The response to my request was somewhat flippant and amounted to being told I needed to provide a photo with my name or else other photos that were sent to her would be used instead. Later, one photo was taken down and another was credited with my first name.

This was an eye-opening experience on how to handle improper conduct, personal photo violation and basic small business-customer relations. As a blogger, I’m still learning, but as a customer what is becoming clear is that I prefer vendors with integrity. No matter how large or small a company is, straightforward sincerity will always get my endorsement. There will be no more product photos forthcoming for this vendor to use in the future.

Best: Winning a candle blogger award by FeedSpot. Along with The Meltdown blog and two candle bloggers who helped inspire me to start fragrance blogging, Andy’s Yankees and Yankee Candle Sisters. I felt a little guilty over this award at first because I rarely post candle reviews any more. I do love to discuss candles anytime, however, and give many glimpses of my collection and candle accessories. With my current project wax candle depletion, I’ve been burning more than ever. Maybe this will inspire more candle content. The top 60 candle blog awards list can be viewed here.

Worst: Being out of town often this month means I’ve been unable to melt much. I feel as if I hardly got through any of my wax, but July brings a lighter schedule with more time at home. It also brings my No-Buy July, which I’ve already started last month with a wax ban. I’ll be making an extra effort to shop my stash and melt through a good portion (to make room for more of course).

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Best: My husband and I started a little vegetable garden in a plot where our swimming pool used to be. It is the first time we have tried our hands at it and I thought it would be blind luck if anything bore fruit. It might be luck, but some little tomatoes and a few soon-to-be red peppers have sprouted. What a satisfying feeling and I can’t wait to make my first salad using our own summer vegetables along with the garlic I planted last fall that’s ready to harvest soon.

Be it in blogging, gardening or life, I’m embracing the learning. I know I’m not the only one, what have you learned about yourself lately that you’re willing to share? Any new hobbies, projects or products you’ve been cultivating?

 

Book Challenge updates/ Mind-blowing edition

It’s beyond time to update my 2017 Redolent Mermaid reading challenge. Books have been doubled, but as my GoodReads challenge tracker glaringly reminds me, I’m still behind. Scent pairing suggestions follow.


Reading challenge #22. A book to make you belly laugh, guffaw or snort and chuckle along the way.

“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders

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Getting this one right outta the way (Because after you’ve read LitB, you’ll really want to discuss it). LitB is the most peculiar, thought-provoking and likely best written novel I’ve ever read, yet I would never read it again.

I actually listened to most of the audiobook while driving 5 hrs. round trip to a memorial service for a friend’s father. What a strange trip it made. My personal reactions to Lincoln in the Bardo were more extreme than belly laughs:

At first I questioned, chuckled, pondered, brooded, startled, despaired, staggered, felt unsettled, strangely uplifted, and finally hopeful? I’m not sure there’s a descriptive term for the post-read feel other than, more connected to humankind.

It’s a simple premise, just one man’s interpretation of what occurs after death. What if dead souls lingered about the cemetery as if they were alive? How would they appear, what would they think about? What occupied and pre-occupied their existence? What if, into this world a newly bereaved gentleman came to dwell and mourn? What effect would his presence have on the Bardo dwellers? AND what if that gentleman was Abraham Lincoln? Freaking genius, also freakish nightmare!

This book held more gravity than I’m used to, but pirouetted gracefully between characters, moments, dialogue, even historical footnotes with such skill that I never felt weighed down by it. A searing and profound meditation on the human condition. I must provide a ‘recommended for’ note, one cannot go into this novel blindly. I wouldn’t bother with the print edition, the audio features 166 contributing narrators who bring such life to the words. It is a story to hear, rather than read.

Recommended for: audiobook readers, Nick Offerman fans, librarians, those looking to read harder, existential seekers, Abe Lincoln admirers who don’t wish to read masses of nonfiction AL bios (me), history and historical fiction fans.

Not recommended for: first-time audiobook readers, those queasy about death or ?s surrounding death, those easily offended by cursing-a couple characters swore like virtuosos, readers who struggle with unconventional dialogue or storytelling (characters constantly interrupt, ramble, trail off mid-sentence, etc.) People who hate footnotes (expect a lot).

Scent pairing: damp moss, dusty crypts, decay-nothing I want to smell.


Challenge #3. Magic

“The Paper Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg

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The premise is promising: enchanting paper leads to unexpected adventures. 

Unfortunately, the writing never lived up to its premise. Lacking depth especially in character. Ceony, the heroine, expresses shallow emotional naivete; said to be around 21, but felt more like a 12 year-old. Holmberg, a debut author, wasn’t adept at world building and immediately suffers by comparison to J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Tagis Praff School of Magic, where students don’t even learn Dark Magic defense training, puts practicing magic in a mundane light.

The plot’s pacing wasn’t much better. Just when I started to consider the main characters’ burgeoning relationship endearing, a shocking (though somewhat predictable) act occurs, disrupting the flow. The said shocking event is the turning point of the story, but I believe it happens too early. No time for exposition after that, however, because readers are whisked off on a kooky adventure. Exciting at first, Ceony gets stuck in an endless scenario in which she needs to navigate her way out, causing the reader to feel stuck as well.

Low lights: Throughout the story, metaphors became increasingly clunky and nonsensical, for example, “The smell of sodden meat, fresh and spoiled, wafted like a cold song over her.” p.162 Wha? Um, okay.
Highlights: The dapper paper magician, himself, was intriguing. Ceony’s paper animal companion provided sweetness. It’s possible the series could get better, two more books follow.

Scent pairing: Dragon’s Blood from Sniff My Tarts. There were no dragons but there was an awful lot of blood for this light fantasy.


#17 A tale that takes place during war.

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“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, audio version. Some readers don’t care for stories about Nazis, and I get that. This story is so much more though, it’s about human beings and their varying abilities for compassion.

Two young protagonists, one French, one German, frozen at a single point in time. Their lives unknowingly influenced by each other’s pasts, in a desperate, simultaneous fight for their lives. The story centers around how they got to that moment and the tension building climax as they reach out to each other.

The best thing about this novel, what elevates and makes it deserving of it’s Pulitzer Prize: the plot fits together as perfectly as one of Marie Laure’s wooden puzzle boxes. Tightly woven, flawlessly edited and expertly composed. I learned a lot about French resistance activities and the cultural worldwide significance radios played in history. The only criticism being; with such detailed storytelling, the ending felt stretched out and could have resolved sooner.

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A library case display we did featuring AtLWCS

Scent pairing: salty sea air, ozone, driftwood and freshly baked bread.


#18 Female heroine triumphant.

“Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo

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The first in a sort of high fantasy-adventure hybrid series known as the Grishaverse, due to the presence of magical Grisha. Similar to wizards with a single special ability to conjure power from an element surrounding them. Featuring the pseudo-Russian country of Ravka where two orphans grow up to serve in an army, fight velociraptor-esque creatures, and traverse seas of darkness, all while harboring a secret crush. The Shadow fold, as it’s known, was actually the best part of the story; it had much potential and reminded me of the setting from the film, Pitch Black.

Of course, one can’t hang for long in the Shadow fold, especially when the heroine realizes she can harness the power of the sun. The rest of the story slides downhill as the newly empowered Grisha must decide if she can live with the price of power, or escape her fate as a pawn in a darker wizard’s game.

The story suffers from a more compelling villain than its snarky heroes, making their plight less exciting than intended. I didn’t like any of the characters enough to want read the sequel.

Scent pairings: 100% Sunshine by The Bathing Garden vs. Vendetta by House of Phoebe.


#1 Re-read a beloved book or series. I got halfway through last summer, but pushed myself to reread and supplement with the audiobook, in order to finish the series this summer.

“The Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling

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I’m not going to attempt a proper review with such a beloved childhood classic. But, suffice it to say, somebody was up to no good. I do agree with Finger Candy’s assessment that Harry was being a bit cavalier about nearly flaying young Draco to death. In fact, I felt he and his fellow Gryffindors were acting generally priggish throughout their 6th year. In hindsight, maybe they’re allowed some self-indulgent teen angst considering the term would soon end in upheaval, chaos and death. The penultimate book effectively resulting in an end to the safety and security of not only Hogwarts, but their childhoods.

Highlights: Dumbledore and Harry finally having a satisfying relationship. Glimpses into a young Tom Riddle’s history. Glimpses of a young Dumbledore, turned Hogwarts recruiter. (I think there’s prequel material in spades on the early life of Dumbledore). That emotional finale. And Luna.

Specific to the audio-narrator, Jim Dale’s voicing every character, but especially Peeves and singing Celestina’s cheesy love songs. Another favorite, Kreacher’s Christmas present!

Low lights: Harry’s attitude, especially as Quidditch capt., Quidditch in general, Ron’s attitude, Ginny’s attitude, Ginny and Harry, Ginny.

Scent pairing: nearly every candle/wax vendor has an HP collection. I prefer Draco and Harry from Super Tarts.


Challenge #9. A story that takes you to another place and time, real or imagined. 

“The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater  

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Digging my bookbeau for protecting my cherished books.

One place, overlapping lines of time. As demonstrated above, I don’t get caught up in great young adult novels till everybody else seems to have read them, but I do regret not picking this up sooner.

Synopsis from the author’s website:

“An unlikely group stumbles across ancient magic in Virginia: Blue, the daughter of the town psychic…has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. Gansey, who seeks the Welsh magic he believes saved his life. Adam, who searches for a way out of the circumstances he was born into. Ronan, who seeks to recover the magic of his childhood.”

Originality in the young-adult genre can be hard to come by, but The Raven Boys feels unique even as it relies on classic archetypes, such as, a band of misfits setting out on a magical quest. Crisp pacing, well structured with quirky, lovable characters. The boys’ friendship had echoes of Stand By Me, completely endearing. Also enviable, the friendship and reliance upon each other by the psychic women of the story.

I prefer even my fantasy genre reads to be somewhat believable, and TRB is that. It’s a series I expect to continue this year.

Scent pairing: incense, old-growth forest, mint leaves.

Summer to-be-read list commences. After so much YA and mind-blowing fiction, I’m yearning for some weighty nonfiction. Any reads that you’re particularly loving? I’d love to hear in the comments.

May’s monthly highlights and NYC itinerary

Hello friends, I hope nobody minds an early recap this month. I’ll be too busy with last minute travel plans to push it back any farther, as this Memorial Day holiday provides a perfect opportunity to whip up a quick post.

Screenshot_2017-05-29-09-36-28-1May was full of many lovely melting and blog-related moments. I received generous gift packages, including gorgeous Rosegirls pie slices I plan to show off from Sandra, at Finger Candy, and an amazing mixed bag of melts from Jessica, at The Meltdown blog, who continually feeds my Super Tarts addiction. Thanks to my blogger buddies, my upcoming summer-long wax ban won’t mean I’m starved for great melts.

Last month, I forgot to include the slightly startling experience of meeting a few blog readers I didn’t know previously, in the flesh. My sister held a party I attended with lots of her friends and co-workers. After introductions, a few ladies kindly told me that they enjoyed reading my blog! I was flabbergasted (thanks for sharing sis) and humbled that these women would take the time to read. They even shared that they loved my scent descriptions, so here’s a shout out to them, thank you so much for your readership!

Onto the month’s melts:

Rosegirl’s wax: Rockstar/Olive Branch, gifted.

Somehow, between wishing the Lush dupe scent trend would end while trying more and more of them, I fell in love with the Olive Branch scent. Never having experienced the inspiration body product, or any Lush product, I can’t say whether it’s spot on. But, this Rosegirls version is a gentle kiss of the bergamot, mandarin and leafy vine infusion of the serene musk, enhanced with comforting vanilla absolute of the Rockstar dupe. If this combo shows up in pre-order, I’m dead.

The Bathing Garden Caterpillar Mischief: Apricot and lemon jam, caramel cake bites, and coconut vanilla buttercream, a spring sample.

Very enjoyable, the sweetness is light and non-pervasive as the swirled fruit mingles with the bakery confections. The very last hint of scent is the lemon jam, a note I might stay away from singly, but added here is the perfect refreshing finish. 

Candles from the Keeping Room Pink Sugar and Strawberry, gifted. Okay, I may have found a strawberry I can handle. I wouldn’t order it on it’s own and still can’t help smelling an artificial tone, but I WOULD get more of this lucious PS/strawberry blend, it just conjures spring beautifully.

The Purple Fox Wax, 29 Palms: baja cactus blossom, green kelp, sea spray, blue sugar. I snagged my first geo bar on a whim when I saw they were still available hours after a PFW opening, one shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all that. The geo has to be my favorite wax design, but the scent was a little too light on first melt, especially for blue sugar, so I’m curing for a few months to see if it develops.

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Along with generous waxmail and the excitement of my super sized first Sniff My Tarts custom order, another blogging highlight arrived in the above melts from Bonjour Wax Co. I was surprised and humbled to receive this little package one day about a month after I posted a vendor review on Bonjour. Unbeknownst to me, Mandi read it and wanted to rectify the unsatisfying throw I experienced from one of her melts. She sent me the new stronger version of that one to try along with some samples. I was wowed by the lengths taken to ensure customer service. I’m letting the melt cure a bit, however, I feel this unsolicited generosity made a lifetime customer of me. Mandi is creating some inventive new wax samplers and has become a favorite vendor of both my friend and sister, she’s quite an impressive girlboss.

Calypso by The Bathing Garden: sea salt, vetiver, driftwood, jasmine, and coconut.

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I can’t believe it has only been one year, this week, since I received my first vendor wax order, and if you saw the size of the stash I’ve amassed in that time, you wouldn’t believe it either. The Bathing Garden scent is proof of how far my tastes have grown and changed since my first order. I received Calypso last July, but didn’t like it, so I set it in a box and forgot about it. While hopping on to my sister’s summer TBG order, I pulled it out again for a sniff and realized it’s a winner.

The salty mix of fragrance merges with the aged driftwood capturing a true marine quality my fresh scent-loving heart adores. Milky coconut softens the saltwater tang perfectly. Maybe it needed nearly a year’s cure time to develop? All I know is I have ordered more.

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio

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When I think of Akron, Ohio, I think of an aging industrial city of concrete walls lining the highways. Not much reason for me to visit until this Mother’s Day when I was fortunate to spend time with my mom and sisters on a tour of the Tudor castle style estate and gardens. Akron is the rubber city and this is the former home of rubber baron, F.A. Seiberling and his clan. It’s the 6th largest historic home in America and the 65 rooms were incredibly appointed with 95% of the original furnishings.

But the gardens were some of the best I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to quite a few. I had to share photos of our lovely day.

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English gardens resplendent along the grounds with gorgeous sculptures dotting the landscape in unexpected nooks and pathways.

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Perfect Japanese gardens woven along the back of the estate. There were also spectacular birch tree allee`s, budding tree and rose gardens, grape arbors, rolling lawns, meadows and greenhouses. It was such a gem to behold.

I’ll be leaving soon for the trip mentioned above. The next time I have a (pre-scheduled) post I will be enjoying New York City on my first visit!

A portion of our New York City itinerary:

Icons/landmarks

  • The Empire State Building
  • The Met Cloisters
  • The Guggenheim
  • Broadway 
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Times Square
  • 9/11 memorial

Shopping/sites

  • SoHo shopping
  • 230-fifth rooftop garden
  • Chelsea Market

Outdoor features

  • Central Park
  • The Highline
  • Washington Square Park arch

Bookish

  • BookCon 2017
  • The Strand bookstore
  • J.P. Morgan library/museum
  • New York Public Library

Can it be done in 3.5 days/4 nights? Probably not, but I’m hoping to try for most of it. I am aiming to be present in the moment and enjoy myself no matter what we are able to fit in during our stay. Also, we only have a few restaurants locked in, so I’m still taking suggestions if anyone has a can’t miss venue.

I’ll be excited to share our adventures when I return, until then, I wish you a beautiful start to summer.

Band of Bloggers-April

It’s that time of year again! As the warmer weather soothes stiff joints and brushes off the last vestiges of winter, homes beg for the same fresh start everyone promised themselves at the beginning of the year. Clothes are donated, rooms are scrubbed, and yards are tended. While the fauna leave their winter dens or return from long migrations, the world blooms with new growth in vibrant splashes of color.
 
For April’s Band of Bloggers post, we will answer a few questions about Spring and the ever-loved Spring Cleaning. Feel free to join in and answer these questions in the comments below!
Speaking of fauna, we’ve had a woodpecker visit a tree in our front yard every morning for the last week or two. I don’t mind him too much as the pecking only lasts about 5 minutes and it’s an arousing reminder of spring. I’m looking forward to longer days and getting outside more often. Though, it’s been rather rainy of late, hopefully our weather will cooperate.
Do you decorate for Spring? 
Barely, it’s my least decorated season. However, I grabbed a few more items this year, including the moss bunny below. Love that little woodland creature. I gravitate to
pastel blue-greens and aqua tones during spring. I also love earthy, mossy green tones.
 
Are there any products you find yourself reaching for as the weather warms? This can be anything; food, clothing, bath and body, wax, you name it!
Honestly, without a blog record of what home fragrance I melted last year, I’d have no recollection of the spring scents that I’ve reached for in the past. I can’t remember any before then either, but I know I’ve really only gotten into lavender scents through vendor wax. Citrus fragrance always seems to brighten things up around springtime.
This year, I’ve reached for numerous pink sugar blends, and will continue to do so as I’m expecting more. Two new-to-me categories I recently enjoyed melting are fizzy and laundry scents. I’m interested if anyone has a nice laundry type recommendation, nothing too starchy. I’ve also received some florals I will review soon. The Yankee jar candle is a gift from a friend in the retired scent Water Garden. An absolute pleasure to burn, as cool and soothing as an actual water garden.
I’ll be reaching for my Rose scented natural deodorant from The Dirty Goat, my festive one seemed to last much longer than the drug store brands. The antiperspirant property is holding up well so far. We’ll see if I enjoy smelling of roses.
Food-wise, it’s bring on the spring bounty! I crave nearly every type of salad one can imagine. I always use more herbs in the warmer months when they’re more readily available.
 
Do you participate in the Spring Cleaning craze?
Hahaha! (That’s the sound of my dust bunnies laughing).
I’m more of a summer cleaner, I need longer days and my husband’s help to tackle larger projects. This summer it will be cleaning the garage, but he doesn’t know that yet;) The only spring-oriented cleaning I have on the horizon is switching over my closets this weekend.
Don’t forget to visit these fellow participants in the Band of Bloggers and help support the blogging community!
Liz at Furianne
Sandra at Finger Candy
If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.