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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Summer in full swing at The Bathing Garden

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If, like me, you secured The Bathing Garden’s summer collections a little late, June instead of May, your package arrived in all it’s vibrant summery glory last week. Evidently, the 6 week turnaround-time for TBG orders will be a thing of the past as Shannon recently announced that she’s transitioning to Ready-to-Ship restocks. More thoughts on that development later, now onto the summer lovin blends. Shannon’s wax is always gorgeous, but her summertime decorations really strike my fancy.

Shannon’s Summer Picks Collection:

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Bee Smitten-sweet lavender, rose, ylang ylang, honey, and citrus. I was hoping for a re-release of Honeyed Toffee, a creamy scent that was part of last summer’s collection, but it didn’t appear, so I substituted with this. Sadly, nowhere near what I hoped. A strange and soapy floral dominates the honey. Beautiful but not for me.

This was a combined order with my sister where we split the samples, got some duplicates and shared the rest. The aqua blue clamshell below is her Pirate’s Punch which I forgot to grab a cube of, whoops, there was a lot of wax exchanging hands.

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Lavender Serenity-Herbal lavender blended with fruity grapes. If I’m going to melt grape wax, it might as well be from The Bathing Garden, at least it’s paired with an authentic herbal lavender. I loathe grape scents. Strike that. I enjoy wine inspired scents, even sparkling white grapes, but the purple ‘grape pop flavor’ is too artificial and never seems to resemble any actual fruit. This is no different, but looks stunning and is pretty inoffensive. Strong thrower, though I desire more fragrant lavender to even out the punchy grape.

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Storybook Mint-Peppermint candies, milk cake, cotton candy, and fluffy spearmint meringue with subtle hints of apple. I love mint chip ice cream and this gives me that same creamy coolness without any of the chocolate or ice. Which I guess would make it more of a custard. Perfect balance of peppermint and spearmint, greatly appreciated as oftentimes, one strong mint overpowers the other. Cotton candy sweetens the pot of syrupy mint and rich milky base. Ladle me up a dish of this and I’d eat it with a spoon. I’ve yet to actually reorder twice from a current TBG collection, but I’m tempted…decisions, decisions.

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Faeire Tears flower tart-Smells of red currant, sandalwood, and vanilla. An unintentional buy, as I realized I still have some from last year. Reminiscent of a less fruity Yankee Candle’s Lake Sunset mashed up with the cherry blossom of Market Blossoms. I liked it before, but my tastes may be changing as I’m finding it a cloying powder. My sis ordered while I was in New York and unfortunately mine got slightly lost in translation-I meant to order another Calypso but she had my original list with this one instead. Wouldn’t you know we received a second one as our free full priced item, a little disappointed to get two of the same product.

Wonderland Collection: (currently unavailable) 

Tea with the Queen of Hearts wax bunnythe Queen of Hearts likes her roses AND her tea red, Roobios Red Tea. Those spangled heart embeds represent my feels for this scent fully. Originally gifted a bunny back in Spring from my friend Finger Candy (who was originally gifted the tart from The Redolent Mermaid-it’s a big, generous wax family) Fresh and mildly fruity with the mouthwatering tang I so enjoy. A tender rosebud appears, but adds to the herbal infusion rather than becoming floral. Not the strongest, I melted the one with months of cure and will likely save my new bunny for next Spring.

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Alice in Lavenderland-French lavender with vanilla extract and marshmallow cream. Bold, stunning and perfect blend of herbal woody lavender and fluffy mallow. I can’t pass up Shannon’s lavender blends and though my sis grabbed Lavender Vanilla Custard, I prefer Alice’s version, less metallic in tone.

It’s Always Tea Time-Sweet black tea, honey crystals, tart lemon, a drop of cardamom. I should love this scent but though I find it a perfectly pleasant and fragrant tea aroma, there are one too many squeezes of lemon (which I rarely add to tea) and as with many TBG scents, a floral aftertone sneaks in.

Take Me to The Sea collection:

20170723_100819Turquoise Loves Coconut-Tart lime, water, and fresh breeze notes blended with tropical coconut. Luscious coconut pulp sends me to creamy nirvana, and just when it appears one-note, zesty lime adds a splash of tangy citrus. The fresh breeze comes through as green leaf, gentle palm fronds waving in the wind, yet adding serious depth. A fresh scent lover’s dream island scent.

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Widow’s Walk-Violet, clove, and cedar wood. I remember Julie at The Redolent Mermaid rhapsodizing over this scent last summer, so I was sure to grab one. Clove is the most unmistakable full-flavored spice, perfumed with delicate ethereal violets and the sturdiness of earthy cedar wood. A haunting aroma, perfect perfume for a widow to wear while pining for her love lost at sea. Dreamy.

Samples:

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Coconut Sugar Ice LolliesFresh shredded coconut is dusted with sugar and topped with candied frozen lollies. Very candy-like, reminiscent of Pixy Sticks, the sugary powder-filled candy in the paper straws. Happily bestowed this sample to our niece, who loves TBG’s sweets, but never melts them because they’re too pretty.

Blackberry Jam Lemon Curd-Tart, ripe blackberry is layered with delicious London Lemon Curd. Powerful lemon but not harsh as some curds are to my nose. Sweet enough to be a fruity marmalade with a kick.

Calyspo- reviewed back in May. I wish for more of this beachy blend.

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Cemetery Keys-Vanilla tonka bean, lime citrus, and sugary sweet white floral. Utterly infatuated by this wicked black pumpkin, but on the fence over the scent. A popular limited edition Lush scent dupe. I’m all for tonka and citrus, but ooh that white floral, possibly ylang-ylang, scares me off.

Haunted Hayride-Tart granny smith apples, caramel, cinnamon, pumpkin, and hints of hay. Simple blend of cinnamon apples elevated by a few hay stalks pitched in. Nice.

Illusions of the Labyrinth-Mandarin, musk, sugar, and a woodsy violet. Fresh, light and airy, I’m not sure this scent reads fall. Still, a pleasant mix of sweetened mandarin and woods to be found in this labyrinth, I’m considering ordering but fear it may be too light.

Pumpkin Pie Spice-With last year’s fall samples, I received a similar spiced pumpkin pudding that I don’t think made it into the scent line-up. This is a unique PPS version, with a deep, dark spice bouquet, it’s rare to find a savory pumpkin scent rather than sweet. No description available, but certainly nutmeg, ginger and a pinch of cinnamon are ingredients.

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Toxic Earth-Coffee, whiskey, caramel, cake, and lightly of beer…sprinkled with candy bones. Hmm, this is a strong Cuban-style coffee with a glug of whiskey to awaken the senses. No beer hops on cold but there’s almost a chocolate note, interesting. I prefer caramely Coffee Sprinkles to this brew however.

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Vampire Blood-Strawberries, persimmon, raspberry jam, pomegranate, cranberry, fig, and crushed vanilla beans with a sprinkle of brown sugar. I usually shy away from wax shaped as vital organs, but this sparkly cortex is perfectly detailed and such a shiny pink that it captures more of a kooky mad scientist vibe than zombie meal. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the queen of elaborate wax design. The scent transmits a muddled fruit, similar to The Sweetest Thing without the floral.

Any thoughts on The Bathing Garden’s planned switch to announced RTS restocks? When I first heard the news, thanks to an IG friend’s posting, my knee-jerk reaction was “Oh please no!” Not a battle for products, a lá Hunger Games style, not with TBG, one of the few vendors one can count on getting what they want. Upon further thought, this could be happy news if it means getting my tarts faster, assuming I can get them. Shannon’s assured she will replenish the stock at least once per collection. It sounds similar to Super Tart’s current releases, with Shannon’s being seasonally based. My hope is the restocks won’t be during the middle of my workday as with so many brands. In a public service job, hanging out on my phone or computer ordering wax is out of the question. Though I don’t like change, I am hoping for the best. What’s your opinion on the news and will you be ordering any summer blends before the change occurs?

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.

April: Best & Best

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This mish mash of fragrant goodness represents some of the best melts I’ve experienced in quite awhile and they couldn’t be more different! Spring has carried lovely scents my way, ergo these melts are a must for April’s recap.

Best fragrances of the month year:

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I only melted the tail if you must know.

Balance and Glow- Candles from the Keeping Room (gifted) Delicate honey blossoms kissed with sunny citrus, infused with lavender and Echinacea blooms. Ribbons of raw vanilla and honeycomb wrap the scent in sheer delight.

Not explicit in the description, but this is an amazing tea scent. When melted, my husband searched me out just to tell me how good it was. Not dripping with honey, but lightly sweet and invigorating. Imagine sipping a green tea Starbucks refresher, but better with added herbal essence. No tea scent I’ve tried comes close to this uplifting brew.

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Fresh cucumber and Pink sugarRosegirls chunks.

Though I’ve melted this beloved vendor before, I made my first official Rosegirls pre-order last month. Honestly, they all rocked my world, but this simple blend became a fast favorite. Cotton candy perfumed berries and carmelized sugar twines with crisp, crunchy garden cucumber. Though cucumbers may not be for everyone, this blend works. And I’m not the only one who thinks it, as I’ve read others rave about it’s distinctive scent. Fresh, identifiable, sweet and relaxing.

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The Golden EggThe Bathing Garden reviewed here. Sugared marzipan atop dainty almond pastry filled with vanilla bean rose cream. I doled these eggs out like a wax easter bunny. They were such a hit with my entire family and melt like a dream.

Speaking of The Bathing Garden…

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Sugared Pie Crust- The Bathing Garden

This exquisite pie-shaped sample didn’t last 24 hours in my house before I had to try it. My nose was rewarded with warm flaky dough, baked to golden perfection, sprinkled with a dusting of sugar crystals. The blue-ribbon worthy top note is a dash of salt, just like in an authentic pie crust. SPC is the current scent of the month bundle for TBG and the first I’ve had to strrrugggle to resist.

Spunky Monkey Bread- Lasting Scent Candles reviewed here, SPM was the winning scent from my not totally successful LSC haul. And yes, I have no shame in admitting I’d snap this up in a loaf if I ever got the chance. Pure peach perfection.

White Gardenia fragrance plug-in-Yankee Candle Peach, Berry, Clove top notes, with Gardenia, Jasmine, Lily, Freesia and a base of musk.

I’ve never touted a fragrance plug-in before, but this performs too well not to. Diffusing near the garbage bin in my kitchen and every time I walk by I think, who gathered the bouquet of fresh flowers? Dizzy, intoxicating botanical perfume tones.

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Water Garden- Yankee Candle (gifted) water flowers, melon and musk. This takes me back to the floating water gardens of Jardin Botanique in Montreal. Green pools, misty droplets of hothouse air, water lillies, aquatic hyacinths and delicate fern fronds. The epitome of a fresh spring scent. I can’t say how long it’s been since I was excited about a candle from Yankee.

Best:

Way to chisel my heart of stone:

At our annual Speech Night fundraiser held in early April, our graduating seniors surprised us. Whereas, typically after the performances my husband, the coach, gives a few closing remarks on the individual seniors and their accomplishments. This year, the seniors delivered brief letters to both of us, acknowledging how speech has changed their lives, what they’ve gained and how they will miss it, us, each other.

I can’t express how it touched my heart to hear those heartfelt words of admiration and gratitude for the commitment we make to our team. I’ve spoken an awful lot of them because they are so special to us. Painful as it is to see these students go, I’m honored and grateful to be a part of their successes, their failures and a cherished piece of their teenaged lives.

New method of Easter egg decorating: Using shaving or whipped cream, who knew? 

My niece did (those are her hands) and suggested using as an alternative method for dyeing eggs. It takes food coloring, some practice and a lot of cool whip! All worth it to create these artistic eggs. Tip: for a marbled pattern, skim the egg across the swirls, don’t over blend. For a soft watercolor effect, submerge the egg in well-blended colors.

Read: “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. Listening to the audio of this tightly woven book kept my mind focused on the workday commutes. I plan to review sometime soon if I can do it justice.

Throwback to the early days of dating:

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After striking a deal to fix up his old acoustic guitar, my husband’s been breaking out in impromptu serenades. Not since the days of early wooing, ages ago, have I been treated to 90’s classic renditions of “Glycerine,” “I’m Free” and “Please Do Not Go” by Bush, Oasis and the Violent Femmes respectively. It’s been sweet, mood-boosting nostalgia and I think it’s kinda cool.

I’ve already touched on the lows of this month and sense a slow shift towards feeling more like myself. It’s been a hard climb, but I’ll take it because I have to. 

What have you treasured lately? Any new beginnings or bittersweet endings on the horizon?

The Bathing Garden-spring collection haul

As I witnessed all of the beautiful spring Bathing Garden orders roll in on social media the last couple weeks, I had far-fetched aspirations that mine might sneak a 5 week TAT instead of the usual 6. Alas, it was not meant to be, but when you’ve already waited 6 weeks, what’s a few more days?

I had more than my usual The Bathing Garden splendor to look forward to with this order; it was my largest one yet and there were one or two waxie Easter gifts inside. Not to mention, I’ve nearly finished my last sugar scrub and was craving a new shower scent. Luckily, it arrived in time, and in all it’s gorgeous spring glory. Initial impressions below, but will gladly update upon melting. Featuring a few of my great Aunt Jay’s Pysanky eggs.

Easter Basket-Fresh orange, cake, & vanilla layered with sugar crystals. 

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A pastel pink and orange dream which smells exactly like those creamy sherbet pushpops my siblings and I would run to our neighborhood ice cream truck to buy. A perfect scent for my sis, a Dreamsicle conniseur, who’s fallen hard for TBG. She’s generously shared some melts in the past, therefore, I might procure another cube or two. A few orange creamsicle types give me a headache, but I would sniff this vanilla clad Easter Basket all day.

Frolic-Blood orange patchouli fizz

Question asked of myself when ordering: Would I like blood orange patchouli fizz? Answer: Yes, yes I would!

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Frolic dreamily carries me off to an opulent ballroom. Gilded chandeliers sparkle as sultry, exotic-smelling entertainers cavort to fervent music. A tangy punch of succulent blood oranges is spiked with bubbly champagne adding to the dizzy air of the couples gliding round. A scent that dances with fiery depth and sparkly effervescence makes a special occasion melt.

Gardenia Coconut Cream-White gardenia, shredded coconut, and creamy vanilla

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Gardenias always sing of spring renewel. These blooms are bursting with aroma right off the bush, but the creamy coconut note is hiding. Holding the ornate clamshell at a particular angle to the nose reveals the delicate coconut flesh sprinkled on top. A sweet tropical perfume enhances the gardenia which I hope isn’t overpowered by the heady floral notes when warmed.

Marshmallow Frosted Mango Tangerine-Mango and tangerine are frosted with yummy marshmallow fluff. 

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Fruity/bakery blends may not cause a stir in my world, but marshmallow scents are another beast altogether. Mallow fragrance carries a tang that fills my nose and throat in the most mouthwatering manner, and my hopes are for this marshmallow cream to capture my senses the same way. Zesty tangerine is softened by swirls of mango puree creating a uniquely balanced scent. Not too tart, a splash of juice and a hint of cream produce sweet, yummy goodness. One of my favorites from this order.

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Neroli Orange Blossom-A beautiful true Mediterranean Orange Blossom scent.

I took an admitted risk with this fragrance, hoping for a breezy refreshing blend. Contrary to that is one of the most intense oils I’ve encountered thus far. Bitter neroli mixes with the cloying floral to conjure a pungent cloud that had me gulping for fresh air. If I was surrounded by this full-bodied scent, I’d hyperventilate and pass out. Not a repurchase, but eye-catching to look upon.

Ooh La La Wax Tart-Vanilla cream, white floral, and rich Tonka beans

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As much as the previous scent pushed me away, this one drew me in. An authentic vanilla is difficult to capture unless it’s directly from the bean pods. A nod to that bean is present in the wax decoration and a hint obtained from the intial fragrance notes.

Being vanilla, it’s subtle to get much on cold sniff, but I know Shannon’s multi-layered blends flourish upon melting. I’m looking forward to those heart notes of Tonka bean to develop into a gourmand treat.

Parisian Strawberry Fields-Ripe strawberries blended with vanilla, mango, and peaches.

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If you’re thinking, Jay ordered a strawberry scent, is she feeling alright? You would be right to wonder. My tastes have changed slightly this year, but not that much. Strawberry is one of my mom’s favorites, throw in the addition of Parisian anything and it’s a gift of gold. One I’m delighted to bestow to her this Easter.

The berry isn’t jammy or plummy, but clear and bright. Peach nectar adds refreshing frosty notes resulting in a smooth ‘pink drink’ concoction. Much more palatable than the gelatinous strawberry pie glaze present in many a berry scent.

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The Golden Egg Shaped Tarts-Marzipan, Cassia, almond, and lemon; with hints of benzoin and rose candy.

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Apprehensive over how this scent would turn out (I don’t even know what benzoin is) but very pleasantly surprised. How could I go wrong with Shannon’s artistic, vintage style packaging? I haven’t been this enthusiastic over colored eggs since I wore a frilly Easter dress with my hair in pigtails, and mine never looked this pretty.

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Slightly off-smelling on cold throw, melting a chunk of Golden Egg determines it’s greatness. The sugared candy dough fondant melts away into radiant liquid magic. Delicate as almond puff pastry, laced with dark vanilla and golden honey. Gentle spices whisked with warming Cassia oil make an intoxicating brew. A bed of cream roses lingers on the air. It’s vibrant throw persisted several hours as I typed this post.

 

This fragrance offered in a lotion, would be perfection. Also, I sure hope someone is making puff pastry for Easter dessert because it’s all I can think about now.

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Spring Fling Coconut Butter Sugar Scrub-A bright and sunny citrus blend with coconut frosted cupcakes.

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My favorite purchase is this shower scrub. I plan to scrub myself into happy submission with all 8 oz. of this pillowy coconut butter balm. I’ve also sniffed the lid for at least an hour. Airy sponge cake, luscious coconut fruit whipped into cocobutter and that sweet, tangy pop of lemon in the base? Divine. Shoulda gotten Spring Fling in a clamshell, or six.

Samples:

Let’s peruse this sample menagerie, shall we?

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Rainbow Candy Cream Soda– Sadly, this full-sized rabbit didn’t make it unscathed, but with his head melting in one warmer and sweet hindquarters in another, it will feel just as festive. 

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A 3-D mini-egg in fruity Caterpillar Mischief. Bunnies in Alice in Lavenderland (could be worth breaking a wax ban for) and Looking Glass.

2-D eggs in Lavender Custard, an herbal flavor I’ve ‘heard tell’ about, and an unlabeled strawberry blend similar to the Parisian one. Perhaps I’ll melt this egg to give berry a go, probably not.

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Three larger shapes: Scandalously Talking Floral Bomb, a cherry Bunny Whiskers peep and a heart in Old-Fashioned Valentine, which confused me a moment because I also received it as a sample with a November order.

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These minis are just the darndest things! A chocolate ganache covered bundt in Eat Me, a raspberry pink swirled bonbon in Poppet’s Coaster Ride, and a teensy perfectly latticed pie-crust in…Sugared Pie Crust! Worth the whole 6 week, 3 day wait right there, folks.

My third ever TBG order exceeded expectations. I have a plan to dip my toes into both rumored summer collections if I can create an alliance with a fellow TBG lover or two. I should just about have half of these samples used up by then.

Scrub down-shower scrub review

A scrub down, like a throw down except with shower scrubs, and it sounds nicer than a scrub-off. Why review scrubs from two of the most sought after indie body care vendors you ask? Observing their huge social media fan following has piqued my curiosity. What is at the heart of the intense popularity behind these brands? Is it because their wax is so beloved that it spills over into their respective body care lines? Or are these shower scrubs hoard worthy in their own right? Because judging by the online stash photos, shower scrubs are definitely being hoarded. I don’t know what apocalypse scenario the hoarders are preparing for, but as long as there’s a supply of water, they’re going to have well-exfoliated skin at the ready.

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I recently tried both brands, first purchasing wax melts from The Bathing Garden then venturing into bath products. With Candy Panda, I went straight for the scrub, once I could get my hands on it. Is one superior over the other, how do they compare, and most pressing, do they live up to the hype?

 

The Bathing GardenEver Night Shea Butter scrub

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Fragrance:  “Lavender and lilac are highlighted with a touch of eucalyptus and blended with soft woods, white musk, and sugary vanilla.” Topped off with a smattering of buds and a decorative flower, it’s a classic herbal lavender, very floral and woody smelling. This is a rather sharp scent; straight up lilac petals and lavender buds can be. But it’s also stimulating, romantic and feminine. The scent I’d reach for when readying for a date night or special occasion when I want to feel ladylike.

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I do admit that although encouraged by good word-of-mouth, what put this scent choice over the top may have been the elegant label featuring a chandelier and spooky little owl.

Feels: Texture wise, this shea scrub is the coarser of the two. The plumper grains make for a scrubbier experience. Ultra skin-sloughing when applied dry, it lathers smoothly when rubbed in with a few extra swirls upon wet skin.

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It rinses off cleanly and truly leaves my skin feeling polished. Due to the coarse grains, I wouldn’t use this every day. Because of its exfoliating capacity for dry skin, however, I wouldn’t need to.

Pros:

  • Special packaging and ingredients provide an elegant product
  • Ease of access from The Bathing Garden website because they’re made to order. This means no worrying about trying to catch an opening or a product selling out.
  • A hearty exfoliation that leaves my body feeling hydrated, also, a little can go a long way once worked into the skin as a soapy lather.
  • Several scrub options are available with each of TBG’s rotating scent line-ups, including; aloe butter, avacado oil, borage oil and coconut oil scrubs and parfaits which are a split product of sugar scrub and whipped soap.
  • Only costs $9.00 for 8 oz. and Shannon sends a couple generously sized scrub samples!

Cons:

  • Turn around time of 6 weeks is a deterrent for many people. In this case, made to order can be a major con.
  • Wide diameter jar takes a lot of shelf space in a typical shower.
  • Though moisturizing, not so much so that I can forego lotion afterwards.

Candy PandaComfortably Numb whipped body scrub

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Fragrance: The description reads, notes of musk, molasses and vanilla. A pronounced floral tone to the musk keeps this scent from being manly or unisex really. The sugary molasses makes for a unique and inviting creaminess. Opening the jar and inhaling it creates a delicious and sensual showertime ritual. Comfortably Numb is aptly named because the blend provides an instant mellow mood for my morning routine.

It’s not fruity, fizzy or bakery, which could explain why it was still available 2 hours after a restock when I had a chance to check during my lunch break. This is how being an atypical scent lover has its benefits, it was the one scent I wanted to try for and I was tickled it was still there. Very sweet and unique, I think many Candy Panda fans would love the scent if they tried it.

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Feels: A smoother, finer grain than the previous scrub, however, still fairly scrubby. When slathered on wet skin, it forms a brightly colorful paste. The thick consistency melted into the rough outer layer of my dry skin, then evaporated quickly after a rinse.

Pros:

  • An extensive fragrance list that can appeal to all scent lovers.
  • Smaller, taller jar footprint makes it easier to store in the shower. Candy Panda just announced a switch to flip-up lids which will be more convenient to use.
  • Once purchased, shipping is within a week.
  • Fun happy colors make a fetching product display, especially for those with stacks of jars.
  • Costs $12.00 for 10.5 oz. I did score 2 wax melt cups as a surprise with my order.

Cons:

  • Restocks can be a frustrating shopping frenzy in which you may lose an item in your cart as you attempt to pay, if you aren’t quick enough.
  • Also requires lotion after use. Slightly less exfoliating.

The scrubby results:

Both got the scrub job done! I’d recommend either brand because each gave a satisfying amount of exfoliation* and left my skin with a similar feel. I believe I’ll try an avacado oil scrub from The Bathing Garden next, and maybe go fresh rather than floral. The Candy Panda also has whipped shaving soaps to try for and a new line-up of scrub scents each month.

*If you’re looking for a lotion-optional scrub I recommend The Dirty Goat.

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Two superior quality scrubs well worth the hype. Hoard worthy? Hmm, I’m more of a buy one as I need one scrubber, but I may indulge in a back-up of a favorite. Would I repurchase? I’d like to see somebody try and stop me:)

Fireside Chat

It’s about that time of the season when all I want to do is hibernate at home. I love the idea of snuggling up indoors against the keen bite of winter, the snow falling outside as a roaring fire crackles in the fireplace. Ruddy cheeks from the heat of the blaze, toasting my hands and feet, hypnotized as the flickering flames cast dancing shadows upon the glowing hearthstone. The only sounds…the crackle of logs, pop of sparks and perhaps the clink of ice cubes in a glass of warming spirits.

Unfortunately, we don’t use our gas stove fireplace anymore because it’s a soot-churning monster. How does one evoke this fireside feeling without it? Fortunately, the wax world has an answer for that.

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In lieu of a real working fireplace, we use a Duraflame electric stove heater. It has all the bells + whistles, adds ambiance and heats our rec room nicely.

Though I no longer strictly adhere to a theme of one scent/one post, I occasionally like to spotlight a single fragrance category and compare a variety of wax from it. Being a natural analyzer and cataloger, I can’t help but comply to my nature.

Today is my one year blogiversary, a perfect time to return to a comparison style post from my early blogging days. With cozy firesides in mind, I gathered up my various hearth melts and got to melting.

The Bathing GardenFaerie Bonfire A complex bonfire scent with notes of leaves, vanilla, sandalwood, and brown sugar.

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This scent sounded too mesmerizing to pass up with my winter order, but upon receipt, I found there to be a strange note that sent it to the bottom of my box, forgotten. Something rotten with a tang to it, maybe the leaves, or bonfire aspect?

Starting with one cube, adding a second and ending up very happy I decided to melt it. Whatever note didn’t jive on cold, melded harmoniously when warmed. A humble fireside scent made hazy by the crystalline sugar. Vanilla adds an almost cooling, creamy touch to the smokiness, before it takes a slight dark twist from the damp leaves.

Even as a lighter performing scent, I could see myself repurchasing. I’ve learned to trust in Shannon and her blending skills.

Handmade PrimFireside 3/4 oz. sample size, no scent description available.

Pure burley tobacco leaf combines with wispy smoke and sweet resins to create a lively fireplace scent. A multi-faceted aroma of charred embers, warmed cloth, and plumes of herbaceous woodsmoke mingled with exotic incense.

Consistent and fragrant throw that captured the toasty bonfire that I was after. I will purchase if it reappears in the etsy shop.

Candles from the Keeping RoomOld colonial hearth The aroma of a roaring fire burning old age wood..this is an earthy smokey type aroma.

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CFTKR uses sweetly detailed molds that make me happy.

Put this in an electric warmer before taking our dog on a walk, and returned home to a scent that had completely changed the tone of our house. It was interesting, but started to overwhelm my senses quickly. An exhale of intense bitter smoke, as if from a cast-iron stove curled acridly through the room swallowing up the atmosphere. An authentic aroma to be sure, but that includes the sooty residue and black ash that lingers in the air when the coals have died down. We also got an off-putting note of burnt plastic .

Old Colonial Hearth achieved it’s purpose in recreating a fireplace fragrance, however, I think it would only work in a much larger open space. In my smallish rooms, it was akin to dwelling in an ashtray. Won’t repurchase or use the remaining melts.

Party LiteBy the Fire –The romantic, smoky scents of smoldering wood, warmed by a sweet touch of honey & sugared maple.

Partylite, that candle-selling/networking business has wax melts, who knew? I was gifted these by a friend and intrigued by the cold throw. Two chunky wedges were used in my Scenterpiece.

Once warmed, a floral tone emerged, then it fizzled. A charcoal note, reminiscent of The Bathing Garden’s Bah Humbug settled into the background, but never became more prominent. Smouldering, but not catching fire. If there were honey and maple, I couldn’t tell. Such a shame that the best of the cold throws amounted to so little when warmed. Maybe one needs 3-4 wedges of the softer partylite melts, but I probably won’t be purchasing to find out.

Ten Digit Creations– Santa’s Pipe*

Part of my TDC clearance close-out order, I didn’t have high hopes for this one on cold sniff. Not helping matters was the waxident that occurred with my cute, but poorly designed Yankee tealight warmer. The bowl kept slipping off and spilling wax, before the sticky melt released any scent.

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Undaunted, I used the remaining half of my 2 oz. cup in my trusty owl warmer. Twenty minutes went by without much happening and I was ready to write this one off, when I noticed a faint fragrance drifting by. Sweet, almost sugary tobacco smoke wound it’s way through, filling up my living room.

Not really a fireside scent, it had the essence of a mild gentle heat. I enjoyed the soft fruity tobacco character for three days as a morning melt ritual that reassured my senses with comforting warmth. I would repurchase.

*Sandra, this could be the grandpa’s pipe scent you’re after. Let me know if you want me to pick some up:)

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The best, and by that I mean smokiest of the smoky melts: Handmade Prim’s Fireside. That little cup held a life-like substitute for the crackling embers and fragrant smoke of a welcoming fire in the hearth, straight out of a tale by Dickens.