Mixin’ it up

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Inspired by a conversation with Kari, one of the sweet Yankee Candle Sisters, I’m showing off some mixology I’ve been melting this month. My endless stash of Yankee Candle tarts have nearly been forgotten since discovering vendor wax, but what else is a girl to do when she’s on a wax ban and isn’t sure when her customs and pre-orders are arriving? She returns to her wax roots, in my case, Yankee Candle. Kari mentioned experimenting with mostly bakery blends, while I gravitate to the fresher end of the spectrum. I aimed to challenge myself with a few and am mostly happy with the results.

Fails: Of course, not every combo is a winner.

Coconut Beach + Coastal Breeze

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I wish I’d tried Coconut Beach before mixing to judge it’s throw, combined with this, I only got a hint of perfumed coconut. The Coastal Breeze was a little old and may have lost it’s aroma, making this combo as pale in scent as it looked. My hoped for combo of Salty sea air/Coconut was a dud.

Black Sand Beach+Oceanside=Midnight Beach (Did I mention I love naming my creations?)

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I enjoy both of these especially having a patchouli heavy summer option with an added driftwood note in Black Sand Beach. This combo failed because the BSB simply overpowered my beloved Oceanside. Though, a watery marine note did enhance the patchouli, there wasn’t enough of a balance to be a proper mix. I think I’ll take the remaining half of Oceanside and mix with the leftover Coconut Beach and see what happens instead.

Successes:

Macintosh+Juicy Peach=Summer Jam. Inspired by Yankee’s retired MacIntosh & Peach candle which I never got a chance to try.

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Macintosh is a most beloved scent but doesn’t do anything for me on it’s own. Mixed with a summer fruit, it creates a punch of tart tangy apple and golden sweet peaches. Sugary, but not overly so, the combo becomes reminiscent of a fruit jam. It is a winner. Unfortunately, I don’t think Yankee offers a straight peach scent in their current lineup, but I believe this would also work with Mango Peach Salsa. I love this enough to get the candle if it ever makes a return appearance.

Lavender Vanilla+Stormwatch=The Calm before the Storm

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I’m not sure how often I’d mix these two but the lavender brought out the floral note in Stormwatch and the rich vanilla softened it’s somewhat soapy aspect. As they’re both singly wonderful I was surprised to find they were improved upon when combined. The result is a strong fresh floral perfume.

Dreamy Summer Nights+Golden Sands+Beachwood=I dream of summer

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Beach Wood dominates and is enhanced by the powdery vanilla of DSN and cool musk of Golden Sands. The GS is honestly too subtle and gets lost, but the triple blend makes for a more exciting beach fragrance as I’ve always found the woody note to be on the bland side. A soft, soothing blend for a cool summer night.

Peach Cobbler+White Gardenia=Southern Charm*

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Here’s an example of two scents I wouldn’t melt in wax on their own, the gardenia being too strong of a floral and the cobbler too sweet of a bakery fragrance. However, put together the combo is a revelation. Intoxicating gardenia blossoms become toned down by the syrupy nectar of brown sugar, peach juice and crumbly crust. This would make a stunning perfume or body mist.

*I’ve had success melting votives in my Yankee Scenterpiece warmer, but when using tarts, which have harder wax, it takes much longer to liquefy. I recommend using a few small bite-size tart pieces, but votives are better yet.

Fresh Mint+Juicy Grapefruit=Pink Julep

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Oooh, I adore this blend. The tangy grapefruit carries an earthy tone which blended with mint leaf becomes a vibrant cocktail of mouthwatering refreshment. Sparkling citrus and crisp mint make a crowd-pleasing combo. Yankee should create this fragrance!

Granny Smith+Sugar and Spice=Granny’s Pantry

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My goal with this blend was to find a complementary scent for green apple that didn’t involve caramel. I don’t care for overly caramel scents, but am also dreaming up combos for my green-apple-scent-loving niece, who is very finicky with her preferences. She likes apple, buttercream, vanilla, marshmallow, watermelon and pumpkin. I almost grabbed my French Vanilla or Merry Marshmallow until spotting S+S. Succulent green apples are drizzled with golden butter, warm tonka bean, brown sugar and spices of nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom. Not your standard spice mix, there is an additional toasted nutty flavor in which I can almost taste the crunchy note. I’m pleased as punch that I gave this combo a try and can’t wait to share it with her this fall.

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Now, I’ll spill a secret…I used to dream up scent combos all the time as a YC employee. We were tasked with offering a ‘complementary scent’ with customers’ candle choices and I favored matching a fragrance with a companion. I even kept scent pairing lists. It’s been fun trying out some ideas with the stash I have, not quite as many as offered in store, but close. As a vendor wax customer I’m much more inspired nowadays, thanks to the innovative blends vendors are brewing up. I plan to return to my YC roots again with a festive mixology version later this year.

Do you practice mixology? Are there any appealing combos above, or some favorite blends of your own? Nothing’s too far out there for me to pair up.

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!

186th Day Recap (aka Midyear)

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Am I the only one who keeps used wax for way too long?

If the 186th day of the year is meaningless to you, that’s because it should be. It is not the midway point of the calendar year, that was July 2nd, the 183rd day. I wished to post my annual mid-year recap then, but was out of town a lot in June, pushing back my monthly Best/Worst to the 2nd. Then there’s a Band of Bloggers post to think about and…you get the idea. All in all, its been a much better year so far than 2016.

Favorite Candle:

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Water Garden-Yankee Candle 

Most Disappointing:

Black Chamomile-BBW Stress Relief. Loved on cold, zero throw.

Best non-reviewed candle:

Black Tea Rose-Bath and Body Works. Cedarwood love.

Top 10 favorite melts (so far):

10.Wine Cellar-BBW. Semi-sale pickup reviewed in January, still holding as a favorite. I’ll be getting this in a candle.
9. Melisandre-House of Phoebe.
8. Blue sugar/Shave cream-Sassy Girl Aroma.                                 
7. Rock Star/Olive Branch-Rosegirl’s (gift). Look, a Lush dupe fave! 
6. Balance+Glow-Candles From the Keeping Room (gift).
5. Briarcliff/Rosemary’s Baby-Super Tarts. I put these 2 together because they were both surprise hits. Briarcliff has an ST mac apple note I can handle and shaving cream I love. Rosemary’s Baby is the first rosemary mint scent to have me enamored. Also, they are good melted together!
4. Delilah-House of Phoebe. I’ve never tried a creamier vanilla.

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3. Sugared Pie Crust-The Bathing Garden. As much as I love TBG, it almost didn’t make the list. Then I remembered this amazing sample. To die for.

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2. Bad Romance-Pour Girl’s Wax. One of the first Vanilla Lace/Shaving Cream blends I’ve heard about back in February. Team fresh heaven!

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1. Fresh Cucumber/Pink Sugar– Rosegirls. This #1 surprised even me because I tend to like more complex blends. So simple, fresh and realistic, but unique and perfect.

Current favorite scent notes: Shaving Cream, Pink Sugar, Cedarwood.

Future favorite prediction: It could be Vanilla Lace, though like nearly everybody else, I’m into Salty Sea Air blends too.

Scent note I’d like to see retired: Fruit Loops, loopy’s, fruity pebbles. Yuck! Cereal seems endlessly popular, however, so not likely.

Top 3 vendors:

Rosegirls-No arguments here as RG is one of the most beloved vendors ever. Availability was the only obstacle compared to my 1+2, but for now, at least mini-melters are open for a few months. I’m hoping with the updated website, and consistent pre-orders, RG will be more accessible from now on.

House of Phoebe-complex house blends in my favorite types, combined with personal customer service and accessibility. Only open less than a year, some growing pains are bound to occur, but it’s a small business vendor I’m proud to support.

Super Tarts-innovative, consistent and constant. Best fandoms and comprehensive scent list. If only Brandy would update on Instagram as well as Facebook. I’d also prefer less broken clamshells, but ST has the strongest throwing stuff around, pushing it to the top.

Favorite Indie body care: Just starting to dip my toes into the body care product pool, I tend to get one or two items from a vendor rather than a full body regimen.

Best product: The Dirty Goat’s natural deodorant. Faster production and newly shorter turnaround time makes it even better. Relieved to be restocked for awhile, I’m going to try for some of the hair products next time.

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Scents: Tonka, Coconut Milk, Mermaid

Best shower scrub: The Bathing Garden’s Shea Butter sugar scrub in Evernight. I aim to try all of TBG’s scrub formulations.

Best lotion: Soak + Unwind’s aloe lotion sample. Many more of these wonder lotions on the way, very excited to have found this brand.

Worst vendor haul: Fresh Picked Scents. Every body product had issues, also my least favorite wax scents this year.

Favorite Wax haul: Pour Girl’s WaxI’m out of nearly all of my PG scents and I’m really missing them, hope to hear of a restocking soon.

What I’m looking forward to for the second half of 2017:

  • The arrival of my Sniff My Tarts custom orders. The waiting is said to be the hardest part.
  • Testing more body care products. I just hauled items from Salted Rock Bath Co.
  • My first Fakery Bakery Wax haul coming sometime in July.
  • Picking up several Rosegirl’s mini-melters after my wax ban ends in August.
  • There are about 15 new-to-me vendors I’d like to try, I think I’ll do a poll to gauge which ones I should order from and review. 

That’s half a year gone. Am I getting old, or are they starting to pass by faster? Any scents or vendors above that you favor too? Surprises? Scents I’ve missed out on, what’s on your best/worst list?

 

Project Wax-candle countdown

In May’s BoB post, Lauren, of Lolo Loves Scents, posed the project wax question; essentially asking if we’ve ever had so much wax product that we felt a purge was needed before acquiring more. My answer is~oh yes, yes I have. It’s been ongoing at a snail’s pace since January and I’ve finally acquired enough ’empties’ to update.

Note that I don’t normally post my empties because I don’t like to see them myself. Something about viewing all of those empty plastic bags, cups and jars makes me cringe at the conspicuous consumption. Inevitably, I start to wonder if all of that plastic is getting recycled, which leads to worry about the environment, which leads to overwrought visions of apocalyptic doom, and honestly, people don’t need to hear about my neuroses. I recognize the benefits of posting photos of one’s empties though, it absolutely holds you accountable, as it’s hard to deny visual proof.

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I started off with a 5:1 ratio of using up jars to adding new, the baby steps approach. With only one semi-sale purchase from Bath and Body Works, I was feeling good. My winter candles lasted through most of spring, but at least I burned my quota. Then one night in March, I got an email for a random $9.50 B&BW’s candle sale and ended up with 3 unintended additions. Major impulse buys that I’m mostly happy with. At least the 3-wicks can be used quickly, compared to the single wick jars from Yankee which take FOREVER.

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I can’t really explain these last two buys, except I got all squealy when I spotted retired, masculine Evening Air for $13 at TJMAXX and this DW home scent is the first Eucalyptus I’ve enjoyed. I didn’t want to chance passing up that lightning in a bottle (jar).

I’m pretty satisfied with this progress actually, because many of these are retired scents that would be hard to repurchase. The old Jay would have burned these 2 or 3 times and packed ’em up for next year. The old Jay foolishly thought she could keep buying candles without finishing them and it would cause no storage/hoarding issues whatsoever.

Tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with so much wax, be it melts or candles, that a “project wax depletion” is required. I’ve since graduated to 10:1 ratio. I declare I won’t get another jar till I’ve used up 10 older ones. 10, I say!

Band of Bloggers-May

 May, May, May. Welcome back, ol’ friend! May is a turning point in the year for a lot of people. The school year is almost over, summer is coming soon, and those mild months will soon become scorchers. The birthstone of May is the emerald, which symbolizes love and success. This month, we’re focusing on those two things!



We all love something with all our hearts, so tell us what you love the most. It could be the story of how you met your spouse/significant other, where you got your pet, or a nod to your parental units.

~*Yeah, so, this was a challenging prompt. In a way, I already share what I love the most by writing this blog, particularly in my monthly Best/Worst posts. Of course, I love my husband, family and friends and write of them often.

I decided instead of focusing on the ONE thing I love the most, I’d dedicate a credo poem to my loves. This provides a rounder picture, still creates a challenge and avoids having to choose only one. I adapted a credo, or “I Believe” poem to an “I love” poem:

I love…

I love fighting for the underdog,
Browsing through my library’s catalog.
I love the rhyming poetry of Ogden Nash,
Pulling out my winter coat to find a pocket of forgotten cash.

I love receiving a package from a distant friend,
Stimulating conversation you never want to end,

Guacamole,

ice cream,

craft brews,
Smiles on the faces of my niece and nephews.
The sound of my grandparents’ old hall clock when it used to chime,
But never the feeling that I’m wasting my time.

I love watching a live production on the stage, A book that stays with you long after the final page.

 Ballgames,

leisurely morns,

the sound of summer thunderstorms.

I love the soft snores of my sleeping pup,
Pouring myself that morning cup.
I love the emotion of laughter through tears,
And the feeling of conquering my fears.*~


In terms of success, and keeping it blog related, have you ever participated in and/or completed a successful “project wax” or spring wax/perfume/makeup/scented product purge? Have you ever had so much product you felt the need to use it all up before you bought again?

*~I’m not a hoarder, but I’m not a purger either. I’m guilty of keeping make-up past it’s expiration, clothes past their prime and accumulating stashes of candles and wax larger than I could ever use.

In January, I claimed I would burn more candles than I would buy and I plan to update the status of that claim soon. Spoiler alert, I’m failing horribly. Letting stuff I love, or loved, go, can be a struggle for me.~*

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Spring Candles
 This month I plan to redouble and triple my efforts to get through some of my spring candles. 
Please, feel free to answer these questions in the comments section below!

I’m looking forward to reading what my blogging friends love today.
We hope you’ll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!

 

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

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?

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.