Vendor Feature-House of Phoebe Wax

This kaleidoscope of color represents one of my absolutely adored vendors. I named HoP my favorite find of 2016 in my year-end recap. Recently celebrating six months in business, House of Phoebe excels in my favorite scent types-earthy, woodsy, masculine, smoky and citrus. The store re-opened last week after a hiatus and I’m eager to check out the new fragrances Casey whips up.

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Each carefully wrapped black & cream package with gleaming golden touches presents a gift befitting of royalty, the 1.5 oz. cups inside resemble precious sparkling jewels.

The scent list is extensive and I’ve tried dozens. Because reviewing them all would be impossible, I shared a few of my favorite gems below. The melts run $1.35 and are sprinkled with shimmering glitter. Full-size samples included with every order. The categories featured on the HoP website are organized a bit differently, I grouped mine for broader simplicity.

Incense/Resins/Earthy:

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Baron La Croix-Cuban tobacco, earthy woods, musky sweetness.

Daenerys-Dragons blood, incense, bonfire, and blood orange. There is a quality spectrum of Dragon’s Blood oils, from rich smoky spice to sharper flowery notes. This falls on the good end, with an edge.  Imagine descending to the rocky depths of cool cavern air, rivulets run down the walls, when a sharp tinge of smoke creeps up…there be dragons ahead. A burnt offering of incense, fire and blood orange must be made.

Melisandre-Firewood, amber, currant, patchouli. Establishes it’s scent before you realize it, then it’s there, permeating the room with spice and sweet smoke. As beguiling and mysterious as it’s namesake inspiration.

Rebel Rebel-Lord of Misrule type (patchouli, sandalwood, citrus, black pepper) mixed with cedar, earthy moss, woody myrrh, and musky florals.

Third Eye-Saffron, sandalwood, leather, frankincense, and a touch of violets. Feathery wisps of sandalwood lighten rich, resinous frankincense. Aged leather provides a backbone to the powdery essence yet remains supple and tender, so as not to overpower. This fragrance soothed my inner savage beasts as I sought needed solitude to dwell in my own mind’s eye, to speculate on life, growth, change. I need to repurchase this peaceful, calming blend.

Vendetta-Smoky myrrh, scorched earth, a touch of citrus and light florals. The only bitter quarrel I’ll have is with myself if I don’t acquire more of this moody, musky, myrrh-soaked blend. Thank you Casey for fulfilling my sample request on this one, well done!

Citrus:

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Bless Her Heart-Sweet iced tea and lemon bars.

Bungalow-A tropical mix of pineapple, citrus fruits, and pomegranate over subtle tones of vanilla.

Mina-White tea leaves and lemon over earthy woods, rose petals, and a mixture of green florals.

Stars Chase the Sun-Orange citrus, bergamot, ginger, cypress, and rosewood.

Sansa-Sweet lemon cakes over notes of cedar and spruce. This was House of Phoebe’s first scent creation, inspired by Game of Thrones. (Character inspired scents related to the character are a must). 

Sugared lemon petit fours layered with chiffon cream and laced with delicate fondant served on a gilded tray. If cakes aren’t enough to send a young maiden into rapture in order to gain her secrets, then the clever nuance of stately blue spruce and sturdy cedarwood should do the trick.

On the lighter side, but I’m glad for it as both lemon sugar and cedar oils can be too much in heavy doses. I first received Sansa as a sample last August and adored it ever since. I try to grab it when available because I need this scent in my life.

Woody/Earthy:

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Forest Fairy-French lavender, lush green earth, sage, and eucalyptus. In love and admittedly confused by this one. I know I smelled a strong green minty tone when melting, and don’t believe I’m confusing eucalyptus with mint because they often pair together. Maybe it’s a more of an herb garden fairy? Either way, it’s fresh and strong.

Frau Holle-A blend of roasted pinecones and fir balsam with hints of apple and vanilla sweetness. A true-to-life fir tree essence enhanced by pinecones crunching underfoot.

Ygritte-Earth and foliage, spruce, and a hint of crackling firewood. Crisp, woody, smoky, warm, it holds every element I love about being outdoors on late fall days. Strong enough throw to melt half a cup.

*Better Call Saul-Cocobolo wood and boozy tobacco. (not pictured) An eye-opening experience, as if relaxing in a zen spa setting, a steam room outfitted in coastal cocobolo wood and tropical teak. My first cocobolo scent, but hopefully not my last. A HoP favorite, must repurchase.

Masculine:

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Arya-Freshly fallen snow, warm hay, leather

Asha-Driftwood, sage, aquatic florals, sea moss, and rum.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair: Brienne (Clean citrus, rain water, mountain air) x Penny Dreadful (Herbal tincture of poppy and lavender)

Brienne-Clean citrus, rain water, mountain air. One of HoP’s most popular fragrances. It’s SUPER FRESH. If that’s not your happy scent place, it will likely overwhelm.

I’ll let you in on a secret to why I think this scent is beloved…it smells exactly like a swimming pool. One sniff reminds me of long ago summer moments; padding gingerly across hot concrete, peeking over the edge for that glimpse of crystal clear, shimmering water, first wading, then jumping into the bracing coolness. It also carries the tangy note I enjoy from aquatic plants and greenery.  Not chemical, or crisp, but misty and potent.

Outlaw-Vanilla liqueur, oak, leather, cherry tobacco

Floral:

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Amaterasu-Fresh bamboo, sweet lemongrass, coriander, and sandalwood

Earthling-Lavender and pink sugar.

Margaery-Crisp summer fruits over a bed of roses. My favorite rose scent ever. More rosewatered than fresh rose. Imagine a bowl of stewed fruits and dark berries just leaching their juice, layered with sugar and sprinkled with rose petals. It’s soft, summery, and special.

Penny Dreadful-Herbal tincture of poppy and lavender

Fruity:

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Cersei– Sweet white grapes, bergamot, and myrrh, the perfect mix of sweet and sunny fruits and smoky darkness. Saving this for July’s Game of Thrones season premiere.

Delilah – A mix of vanilla, amber, heliotrope, tuberose, and birch. No explicit fruit notes, but on cold it gave a ripened fruity sweetness. Upon melting, the most decadent vanilla I’ve smelled flowed forth into creamy, gourmand heaven. No floral appears, just divine velvety cream with hints of golden fruits and amber. At risk of repeating myself, I need to repurchase Delilah soon.

Screen Door in a Hurricane-Rich coconut, vanilla absolute, and tiare flower with a touch of lavender

Violet-Sugared lemons and blueberries, jasmine, violets, vanilla and cedar. One of the few HoP misses for me. A very muddled note smelled off immediately, the blueberry was the strange smelling culprit, I think. Wouldn’t repurchase.

Sweet:

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Decadent and Depraved-Candy cigarettes frosted in vanilla buttercream and pink sugar. Who conjures candy cigarettes scents? Maybe I’ll try this when I have the kids visit, as I don’t think candy cigarettes are widely available anymore. 

It’s Good to Be Queen-Rich black tea steeping next to fluffy white cake. Casey represents the classic blends well too, like this tea and cakes.

Outliers: scents which don’t easily fit into a category 

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Aristides-Mint Julep; bourbon and mint with a hint of powdered sugar. Brimming with a cool freshness, but thought it too minty sharp and boozy for my nose. My sister ordered some and raved about it, however. 

Lonely Girl-Tea rose, cardamom, vanilla, currant, and peach

Bastet-A rich blend of Egyptian amber, rich patchouli, jasmine, citrus, and musk. An unexpected surprise due to its subtle cold throw. Bastet, an Egyptian goddess, transports me to a balmy southern clime where smoky smudge pots of incense alight a green orange grove at dusk. The aroma of night blooming jasmine mingles with sacred oils. Misty amber clouds envelop the crisp night air beneath a perfumed veil. Stunning.

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Why do I love House of Phoebe so? The artistic blends ALL created in-house, affordable luxury, courteous customer service and the gorgeously saturated wax pools aren’t bad either. If I could suggest any future endeavors for HoP, I’d love to see clamshells make an appearance. They store easily and I know Casey would decorate them beautifully; it’s high praise, but this brand already shows glimpses of a young The Bathing Garden vibe. I wish House of Phoebe such luck and a long waxy future.

Bonjour Wax Co.- Mini wax haul

A mini-haul because the order was split with my sister, who made me proud by successfully purchasing from her first timed restock (noon EST restocks don’t work for me). She got the “Paris is Always a Good Idea” sampler and received a yummy Gaston melt cup sample too.

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Who is Bonjour Wax Co, if you don’t already know? A small business operated from Florida by a young mom striving to generate a way to stay at home with her little daughter while creating innovative home fragrance with palm wax.* Mandi, the business owner, has such talent; I’m one of many who’s happy to enjoy her products.

Julie over at The Redolent Mermaid featured Mandi’s melts awhile back. But I’d first heard the name (love the inspiration from a Paris trip) when one of my friends introduced me to Bonjour last fall, after purchasing a Create-Your-Own sampler. I was used to introducing her to wax vendors instead, so when I sniffed the earthy, spicy melts from a company I hadn’t heard of, I immediately searched out Bonjour and placed an order shortly afterward.

What Bonjour does best, in my opinion, is create fun, pop-culture inspired samplers. Culled from binge-watched shows on Netflix such as Stranger Things and television icons, like Bob Ross, Mandi is humorously in tune with the masses. Currently featuring a Dr. Who sampler, still available when I last checked.

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Easter Bunny Cakes– 2 oz. 2-pack, $3.75. Another Bonjour strength is the care put into the wax decoration, these bunnies being a sweet example. Toasted coconut, vanilla bean buttercream, sugar & cream cheese frosting make a decadent spring bakery blend.

I don’t always enjoy bakery, but when accented with coconut, it’s usually a hit. The truly stand-out note is the buttercream. It’s rich, creamy layers evoke a confectionery showpiece worthy of the most prestigious Parisienne bakery.

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I suspect I may have enjoyed this scent more than other bakery types because instead of a cake base, it’s all frosting-glorious gourmand frosting. The cream cheese is delicate and fluffy, not at all curdled, like some cream cheese scents. And, seriously, that’s one delicious buttercream oil. The bunny threw a light-medium in my living room.

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3 single melt cups, approx 1.4 oz., $2.25 each:

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Peonies-Peony, orange blossom, musk & vanilla. I recently lamented to some blogger friends that it can be difficult to find non-offensive, non-allergy inducing floral blends in wax. Enter Bonjour Co., offering an impressive list of true to life florals and varieties mixed with fresh, spice, sweet, etc.

Peonies is a straightforward flowery scent. Softer than a pungent rose, yet brighter and greener than violets. As Peonies bloomed upon warming, the floral notes perfumed my home with vines of powdery musk and lush, sunny blossoms. As I opened the windows, I could remember my French grandma’s garden as the air wafted in to mingle with the scent of fragrant petals. A medium-strong thrower that permeated two rooms.

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Electric Loveviolets, vanilla, patchouli & pink sugar. I can’t seem to get enough pink sugar scents lately, but I’d yet to try it with patchouli.

On cold throw, Electric Love is hands-down my favorite Bonjour scent, including the “Bromance” sampler I got in November. Sultry patchouli, cozy pink sugar, comforting vanilla accented by lightly sweetened violets makes a perfectly balanced combination.

Unfortunately, I experienced little warm throw at all. Trying 2 separate rooms, scooping out and retrying 3 different warmers and only capturing fleeting edges of pink sugar and hints of vanilla for my efforts. Disappointed, yet still obsessing over the scent, I’m willing to try it in the wax snaps version Mandi does to see if I can add more oz. and increase throw.

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My pickle wax dream has come true!

Doug’s Dill Fries– part of the Bob’s Burgers sampler, I got excited to see this cup was also offered separately. Described as crispy french fries, dusted with dill seasoning (innovative, or what?). Those who know me, know my love for pickles, especially the garlicky dill variety. A jar of pickles is a standing order on my grocery list and I always get extra on my sandwich, but how would it be in fragrance form?

The dusting of dill is rather light, but does come through. Oddly, so does a hint of coconut, perhaps these taters were fried in coconut oil? I’m keen on this herbaceous, savory scent which could have gone horribly wrong and overly sour. Instead it’s refreshing and somewhat tropical. Again, I wish it were stronger.

*A note on palm wax from Bonjour’s site: “I use sustainably sourced palm wax, phthalate-free fragrance and essential oils, and non-toxic dye. Palm wax is a natural wax free from paraffin and other petroleum by products. It creates beautiful crystallization patterns, holds scent well…”

I know of some Bonjour Wax lovers; what are your thoughts on palm wax and have you had poor performers too? Any strong scents I should be aware of, as I normally don’t have issues with throw? Have you tried her gorgeous wax snaps, or missed out during restocks?

Best & Worst-March

Best:

Month to attend the thea-tah, is March, apparently. From Playhouse Square to the school play, every weekend involved an aspect of attending some performance.

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During the state Speech tournament, I saw some exceptional performances. Judging a state quality competitive Humor round was a highlight. Marveling at the level of talent achieved by these speechies, it was awe-inspiring and fall-out-my-chair funny.

A suspenseful live show of Wait Until Dark was cool and creepy, it’s based off of my mom’s favorite Audrey Hepburn film. My mom enjoys thrillers, who knew? Then there was the Harry Potter CineConcert which was unique and beautiful.

Lastly, we finally saw Beauty & the Beast! Actually, about two weeks after a release is usually when I catch a film. I enjoyed it. Belle was radiant, the Beast could have been beastlier, but there was still a decent transformation of character. I was surprised by the heartfelt and emotional portrayal of Maurice by Kevin Kline, Gaston was the perfectly preening arrogant foil and Lefou, while not my favorite performance (I have a one-sided love/hate with Josh Gad) was well played, if a bit forced.

My only hesitation stopping a full on love fest for it was the CGI in some scenes. During the ballroom scene, the CGI was magical. I don’t think it worked as well in the supporting character transformations and the castle crumbling climax. Still, I’ve been singing the songs ever since.

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The best is yet to come

Best:

Reason to binge watch everything on my DVR- It seems the Mister and I are the last two people of my generation to finally cut the cable cords. From April 1st, it’s the tv streaming life for me. Any favorable recommendations Netflixters and Huluers? I checked out the top 50 currently playing Netflix series and think I’m only interested in a few I haven’t seen. Older series, Firefly and Bloodlines, and original content such as Stranger Things have intrigued me enough to commit, but there has to be more out there.

Melts of note:

While hurriedly binging on the tv seasons stored on our exiting DVR, I subconsciously at first, then purposely paired the shows with fitting fragrances to enhance the occasion.

“Turn:Washington’s Spies” (season 3)

Bonfire Bliss-Candles from the Keeping Room This mysterious melt grew on me with a much improved warm throw. Smoky, woody and dense; a perfect aroma for meeting in the woods to discuss treacherous plots, which the characters are constantly up to.

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Bright Copper Kettles from Yankee also suited the period drama, Paul Revere was a blacksmith and a patriot. It’s my most treasured cinnamon scent.

“The Big Bang Theory” (season I’ve lost count) There were tons of episodes stored up and I got through several but will miss the remaining dozen till I can grab a library copy.

Candied Blackberry Cookie Bread– K’s Kreations A lovely melt, gifted from a lovely person. Tangy, sugar infused blackberry with a crunchy bit of magic that must be the cookie bread. Fruity/bakery goodness in a feel-good scent for watching a feel-good show.

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Key Lime Cupcake w/Mountain Dew overpourSouthern Sisters Wax

This precious piggy mini-loaf was gifted by the Southern Sisters for correctly guessing their next wax sampler theme. (Dirty Dancing!) They are pop culture nuts and amazingly generous.

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I can’t believe how much I love this scent. Some fragrances work with fizzy, some don’t; the effervescence compliments the sweetness without adding to it. The key lime cupcake isn’t even needed but adds a creamy note that takes the edge off the lemon-lime. I don’t drink Mountain Dew but I will require more of this scent, it’s luscious.

“Outlander” (season 2)

Rose Jam SerendipitySniff My Tarts Nothing more serendipitous than Outlander’s plot-lines. Another generously gifted scent, I wasn’t taken with the Rose Jam because I found it watery and not rosy enough. However, the Serendipity note is fruity, creamy and yummy. I’m so smitten that I plan to order it in single scent form when Sniff My Tarts opens.

ClaireL3 Waxy Wonders

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I love an herbal scent that smells of garden herbs! The bergamot is soft, not harsh and the vanilla is tinged with a woody tone. As strong, bright and outdoorsy as it’s namesake.

Worst:

Not following through on my work wellness challenge. I got a few runs in and just restarted my yoga practice, but it was too little, too late for the challenge. On the bright side, nothing gets a butt in healthy gear more than a looming birthday. Mine’s two months away, yikes! Time to recommit to wellness.

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Johnny and I were literally dodging falling trees on this windy trail run in early March.

Worst:

A disappointing wax haul. It’s trivial in the larger picture of life, but still a downer. After a nine week TAT for my Lasting Scent Candles wax order, I was disappointed in much of it and received an incorrect fragrance. Of course mistakes happen and I’m reserving final judgment for when I’ve melted a few, and after hearing back from customer service.

Worst: 

Saying goodbye to the special group of seniors on our Speech team. The final performance fundraiser night is next week and at the thought of those last moments …words fail me.

Was everyone’s March as up and down as the crazy weather? Have you tried any melts that surprised and beguiled lately? More tv series and scent recommendations are appreciated.

Wax Haul-Sassy Girl Aroma

20170322_131342I had a plan, a wax purchasing plan whereby, I was only going to order from one larger and one smaller vendor each month. Fulfilling my desire for irresistible restocks while not going overboard, and allowing me to save extra spending money for my New York City trip in June without feeling deprived.

It started off swimmingly with my spring The Bathing Garden order promptly on March 1st and my fave smaller vendor House of Phoebe restocking mid-month. Then this happened. I was lounging one morning wondering what to do with my Saturdays now that speech season is over, when I caught wind of a Sassy Girl Aroma restock through fellow IG accounts. SGA is a vendor I’ve wanted to order from and whose wax I’d been gifted, but the scent list is of the overwhelming variety and I hadn’t looked up any blends. Telling myself there’s no harm in ‘just perusing’, I remembered reading of her shaving cream scents and used the shop search function to find one. A few choices were sold out just five minutes after the restocking, but when I found a loaf in Blue Sugar Shaving Cream, my wax plan was a distant memory.

Second only to shaving cream is my love of Pink Sugar types. I purchased 2 bakery chunk bags between 9-9.5 oz. based on weight, costing $9.95 each.

Pink Sugar/Serene Waters/Rainforest Sugarcane

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Fragrance: I can say without shame that I’ve deeply sniffed the contents of this bag for over 5 full minutes. One of the most satisfying and interesting fragrances that’s come across my nose. I believe PS/RFS is a popular SGA blend, but I’m not sure if it originated with this shop or elsewhere.

The initial note bursting forth in all it’s spring glory is the wild mint of the Serene Waters, the last note my palate registers is the fresh lime. Everything in between? Lush, dripping rain-soaked vegetation. Exotic blooms, green palm leaves swaying in a warm breeze, dewy water lilies floating in sun-dappled pools; suggesting a dreamy aquatic botanical garden.

This refreshing initial fragrance dissolves into the cotton candy, lemon drops, caramel and raspberry jam sweetness of its Pink Sugar base. The playful pink sugar lingers and envelops the room.

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I’m remarkably taken with this distinctive green sea scent that isn’t grassy, but juicy and succulent.

Performance: medium strength for 4 hours before fading to light. SGA fans recommend curing the wax for a while before enjoying, which I will do, but couldn’t wait to try one of each blend first.

Pink Sugar/Lavender Mist

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Fragrance: Lavender Mist description- calming and clean, smooth with a touch of morning dew and sweet apple blossom, slightly herbal European floral.

I wouldn’t describe this lavender as very herbal in nature. I found it sweet and silky soft. The misty element really makes this a special house blend, soothing and romantic. When swirled with fluffy pink sugar, it’s bound to transmit me into sweet dreams.

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Performance: light-medium but with a two room radius, a perfectly performing background fragrance.

Blue Sugar Shaving Cream  One large 16-17 oz. loaf was $18.75

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My shaving cream adoration is probably well known by now, but I love it best when mixed with other fresh aromas.

Fragrance: combined with Blue Sugar, it may be a perfect match for the tangy, almost mouthwatering zestiness of the crisp bergamot and clean amber talcum of this barbershop blend.

The warmth and resinous woods of the spicy Blue Sugar enhance the already rich manly shaving cream, elevating it to a doubly divine scent. I may have to get my husband some of this Blue Sugar cologne, it’s a sexy beast.

Performance: medium-strong throw.

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Just look at those wax chunks, no skimping whatsoever.*

I will note the texture seemed crumblier than others I’ve tried. That and the amount of chunkage made it a tricky wax cutting job. Numerous chunks got in the way of even slicing, causing the overpour to break apart when cutting through. I probably should have microwaved it for a few seconds, but I’ll have to consider this before purchasing another chunk-filled loaf. For now, I just threw the broken bits back into the sealed bag, it would be a crime to waste a single crumb.

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No regrets for this detour from the plan. Finding three amazing affordably priced new blends was well worth it. I hope that SGA’s growing popularity doesn’t result in continual stress-filled competitive restocks. It would be nice to have an accessible vendor with this level of quality.

Windy City Wicks- Disney Duo

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I couldn’t resist a short Beauty and the Beast related post as I haven’t been this excited for a fandom movie in I don’t even know how long. As much as I’d have liked to attend on opening weekend, there’s some schedule coordination involved amongst my family, but we plan to see it soon. Belle’s story was an overlooked Disney fairy-tale when I was growing up, my favorite was always Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, however, I appreciate Belle’s princess origins much more as an adult. I saw the touring stage production last year and am enthralled by the music and characters’ tragic stories. Not to mention the stellar cast featured in the film; Emma, Dan and Ewan, be still my British-loving heart.

Not a true Disney World devotee, preferring Universal Studios instead, I usually skip past wax vendors who feature all the Disney scent tie-ins. I don’t know what the inside of the Grand Floridian hotel smells like, nor have I had a Dole pineapple whip, I would certainly try one, though.

Windy City Candle Wicks is one such vendor that specializes in Disney themed goods. In anticipation of the BatB movie release, I was gifted some cute merch including melts from this shop which I saved for this weekend.

Main Street Confectionery- Take a walk down Main Street USA at Walt Disney World and stop in the Confectionery, you are sure to be greeted with the delightful aroma of sugar, vanilla and cotton candy.

This was actually my niece’s clamshell, but she didn’t care for the scent so she passed it along to me. (She has a discerning taste which seems to only allow vanilla, strawberry and pumpkin.)

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As I’ve turned into a pink sugar disciple in all it’s forms lately, I happily warmed this up. Strangely, the overriding aroma is a too tart chalky scent. Very much like crushed up baby aspirin and bubble gum. Once warmed awhile the sticky top notes dissipate into a tolerable fruitiness, but without the light sweet spun sugar presence; these strawberries have gone sour.

One cube gave a medium-strong throw, but I soon changed it out. I do appreciate the note the vendor provides stating her wax performs well in Scentsy warmers. I find so few soy brands that do. These are 3 oz. soy wax for $ 4.oo ea.

Be Our Guest-Straight off the dessert menu at Disney’s “Be our Guest” restaurant comes the strawberry cream cheese cupcake. With scents of vanilla sponge cake, strawberry mousse filling and cream cheese icing.

Fruity and bakery are not my favored melts, yet this smells delicious on cold. Swirls of strawberry cream layered on a base of delectable moist, fluffy yellow cake. The cream cheese icing is not sour, providing a richly glazed finish.

Light to medium strength, I added a second cube, enjoying this scent more than the notes gave me reason to predict. It’s not an authentic berry nor a fresh from the oven homemade cake note, however, it’s a decent stand-in. And what I presume a Disney World cupcake might taste like. This melt is currently sold out online, but available in candles.

Fitting for a Beauty and the Beast inspired fragrance, by melting these, I’m reminded that you can’t always judge a scent by its outward description and appearance.

Any favorite Disney fragrances of yours, real or inspired? Which hero/heroine do you admire most?

 

 

 

Spring scents & suds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Spring first edition scents by Yankee Candle:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February-Best & Worst

This week, I may run across a few mentions of how quickly the past month has flown by; however, shortest month or not, I felt February could not have dragged more. This seemingly endless month might have to do with my shopping ban, nothing can make the calendar flip slower, but I’ve also been so busy planning for and looking toward upcoming months that I feel weeks ahead and catch myself saying, oh it’s only the 2oth…

The wacky warm weather has certainly played a part in thinking it’s mid-spring; short sleeved and barefoot is a rarity for February in Ohio!

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Rather than purchasing new wax, I’ve enjoyed gathering lovely themed goodies and ended up with simply gorgeous melts this month.

Of course, shopping bans go by less painfully when dear friends ship you amazing scented packages out of the goodness of their hearts. I received two such generous gifts this month and they are beyond appreciated.

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I plan on wearing the Sonoma Scent Studios Equestrian perfume for luck at the upcoming state speech tournament, but I don’t think I can bring myself to melt the gorgeous piped heart from Sniff My Tarts gifted by The Redolent Mermaid. Instead, I’ll use the herbal spiced and incense Dragon’s Blood blend to inspire me to create future SMT custom orders.

Best melts:

Candles from the Keeping Room

20161228_132834Balsam & Citrus- it should be called Citrus and Balsam because the citrus is the dominant note and most prevalent when melted. I mistakenly gave off the impression I didn’t care for citrus when I picked up on the grapefruit in this. I usually love citrus, especially tart grapefruit, what made me hesitate was mixing it with balsam. Occasionally, balsam is too resinous for my nose. No worries with this scent because its sweet, sweet, sugary juice enhanced by spongy moss and soft woods. It floats through the room rather than throwing it’s presence in your face.

 

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Mugged by an Angel– I’ve found two kinds of powdered musk melts in my experience, those with a stifling “lady of a certain age” perfume quality and those with a reviving softness. Mugged by an Angel is definitely the latter kind. I read somewhere this was reminiscent of Yankee’s Pink Sands and it has the beachy melons and floral femininity but I think it’s so much better.

Mistletoe and Ivy– this comes off more spring feeling than wintry because the ivy gives a wild, fresh grassy aroma to the green tang of the mistletoe. The throw was strong and the fragrance sparkling.

Other beautiful blends this month :

Baby Kisses- Smell Goods Wax (top right above) My favorite version of pink sugar peppermint with lavender chunks is sadly no longer available because the owners closed their shop. I’ll be mining these notes for various custom combos to recreate for a long time to come.

Blush & bashfulSouthern Sisters’ Wax. The sisters call this a Pantene dupe and I’ll take their word for it. Fresh, sweet, enticingly familiar; if I could pipe this scent into my house I would. Perfect blend to fall asleep to and wake up with. Even though I still have 1/2 my cuttable wax pig left, I’m gonna need more.

Cotton OasisPour Girl’s Wax previously reviewed

Star LordSuper Tarts-shaving cream, cream soda and lingonberry jam. A whopping fruity scent that I actually love. Super Tarts has done it again.

Purple sandalwoodTen Digit Creations Now retired, I think this has light floral violets, amber, musk and of course sandalwood. Very soothing.

Best product discovery:

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Stila All Day Matte lipstick in Mon Ami– picked this up with Ulta reward points (there are many ways around a shopping ban) and a 40 % off sale. Judging from the fashionable young women on our speech team, matte lips are in. On me, it means I must pay extra attention to keep them scrubbed and hydrated, but it does have a nice color payoff that lasts when paired with nude liner.

Proudest moment:

We have our speech and debate team’s second National Qualifier! I mentioned in October that we started the year off successfully and I’m ecstatic to report we’ll be ending the season that way too, at the National tourney in Alabama this June. Only our second kid to achieve it and I can’t overstate what a big deal it is for our little program. A sweet and somewhat surprising victory for the deserving young man and the best part is, he’s only a junior; I couldn’t be happier for him.

*As an aside, if you have no idea what I’m talking about; my husband and I started a Speech and Debate team at the high school where he teaches. For the last 9 years it has been our passion and superheroic ability to work with 18-24 teenagers each year, guiding them as they pursue their performance dreams.

We are members of the Ohio HS speech league (our district is one of the most competitive in the country) and the National Forensics League. Forensics, meaning the use of public speaking skills and reasoned discourse. Some of the individual events we coach include, Humorous or Dramatic Interpretation, US or Foreign extemporaneous speaking, Prose poetry oral interp, and Original Oratory. These teens get up in front of their competitors and judges every Saturday from late October to March, and pull off amazing and humbling feats. Sometimes it’s stressful, always a rollercoaster, but I’m grateful and honored to be a part of it.

Worst:

Reading– Okay, reading itself is not the worst (what kind of sabotaging librarian would I be?) specifically, my reading habits have been the worst of late. My material can’t be blamed because I’m loving my choices for the Redolent Mermaid’s reading challenge. The fault lies partly in being busy with speech, family obligations, and pre-planning of my New York trip. The overwhelming culprit has been mis-managing time spent on social media, even blogging. Next month, I’m picking up my phone less and reaching for a book more often.

Worst new product: I’ve had a few unlucky hauls from online vendors and disclosed a recent one in my Fresh Picked Scents review. I had to briefly add what the whipped body butter sample I received did to my hand.

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That’s not the color of veins in my pale skin and I used no filter. That is green dye imparted from rubbing the butter on one leg. I had to scrub it off with a nail brush. How are these dyes skin safe, or am I assuming too much? Only reputable, well tested body care products from now on.

Worst excuse to break a shopping ban– a Bath and Body Work’s soap sale! Only because there will likely be 6 more this year and because I didn’t really need any. Technically, soap is a household necessity and those aren’t banned, technically, I didn’t have any spring scents. Also between the 2.95 sale, a 20% coupon and free small hand cream included, it hardly felt like the ban was broken, just stretched.

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And they’re so pretty…

The second of my wax gifts recently arrived out of the blue from Jessica at The Meltdown Blog. Including non wax presents of plaid tape, a wallflower, a colorful notepad and a variety of new to me vendors’ scents I can’t wait to try. I was so touched by her hand painted OSU canvas, Go Buckeyes! ❤

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Let me hear if your February was filled with hits, I’ll listen to the misses too. Now I’m headed off to curl up and read.