Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Decorations - 2014

Decorating for Halloween was a struggle for me this year.  I hauled all my stuff out, started decorating, hated it all, and packed it back up.  People told me to get it out again, leave it out, and see how I felt after a day or two.  So I got it all back out again, put most of it out, and tried to leave it for a day.  I still hated it, and put about 80% of back into storage.  I don't know if I'm just tired of seeing the same old things I've had for years, or if my tastes have changed, or maybe a little of both.  The only things I really wanted to keep out were things that were new this year.  In the end, I did a minimal job of decorating.  We didn't do anything outside this year, for various reasons.  We've all been so busy with work and life changes and tons of stress this fall that we've neglected the yard work and are just plain old tuckered out most days.

Oh well, I'll show what I *did* do for decorations.

The picture above is the display on our buffet.  This is the main display area for most holiday decorations.  The room, our former dining room, is the center of the house.  All traffic goes through here, with the living room on one side, the kitchen on the other.  Years ago, we put our antique dining table and chairs into storage and moved our three computers into this room.  (Yeah, we were gamer geeks for many years.)  Where my computer is, where I spend most of my time it seems, is across the room from this buffet, so this is what I see the most.  That's why I like to make this the main display.

Enough rambling!  The fake flowers are new this year.  The pumpkin wall hanging is new this year.  The little black Happy Halloween sign is new this year.

On the coffee table in the living room I have a small, simple felt pumpkin as a sort of placemat for the candles we burn in there.  Julie's beautiful Halloween coasters are next to that.  One the shelf below are the three jars I painted, and the one (dark, hard to see) that hubby did.  We have little fake tea lights to put in these but we'll wait till Halloween night to actually light them up.

We also have these spooky frosted glass tea light/votive holders that I got on sale from the Claire Burke website.  We really enjoyed them with the tea lights that came with them, so I bought a pack of pumpkin pie scented tea lights for next time.

Over in a corner in the living room I have these on an end table.  The skull and pumpkin totems do light up and flicker but I don't bother plugging them in any more.  The basket sits on this table most of the year but for Halloween I have this cute Halloween-y liner.  The basket holds votive candles and holders that aren't in use.

On the other side of the living room is the usual display of these ancient McDonalds Happy Meal buckets.  We got these when Ty was a baby/toddler, so they're over 20 years old.

This little pillow is new this year.  Found it for $3.00 in Target's dollar bins at the front of the store.  Looks cute just sitting in the chair that no one really uses.

If I'm ambitious for any given holiday I will pack up all these old family pictures and load up the shelves with decorations.  As we know now, this year was not one of those years so I just set these two squishy pumpkins among my ancestors instead.

Cute little display on top of the fridge.

Cute little display on the kitchen table.

The Halloween-y welcome sign is new this year, sitting on a little shelf in the kitchen.

And that's pretty much it.  I do have my two pumpkin soap dispensers from last year out, and some Halloween dish towels and one Halloween potholder, but I think that's it.

Do you decorate big or small or not at all for Halloween?  I'd love to hear about it!

Oh, and Halloween decor is not complete without a black cat.....

Rosegirls Store Haul

I paid the Rosegirls store a visit today.  I've had some credit waiting to be used up and it was really starting to nag at the back of my brain so I decided I'd go now and finally use it.  I didn't give my waxy friends much advance notice this time.  I'd considered not even telling them!  But then I thought nah, maybe they're itching for something in particular that I could pick up for them.  So while I did end up going with a small list for other people, my main goal was to get MY stuff.  *evil giggle*

The store was quite well stocked today.  There has been some trouble recently, with personal shoppers constantly buying so much that there is nothing left for locals.  I think that absolutely sucks, but that is a whole 'nother rant.  Anyway, today was quite well stocked but the scents I really wanted still were not there.  I debated just using part of my credit and trying again next time.  I wondered if Jenny would have found that annoying though, so I just went ahead and picked things to use it up today.

And what did I end up getting?

Watermelon Peppermint Smoothie
Grabbed this sucker as soon as I saw it, which was pretty much as soon as I walked into the store.  We had this in our first round of Muffin Club and I loved it.  I think I got a chunk of it in my sampler order, but now I have a whole bag.  This is a blend of watermelon and Snowflake.  It's a softly sweet peppermint scent with just a hint of watermelon.
Dunk My Donut Cuppa Cake Noel
I think I got this for a waxy friend last time I went shopping for them, and I think I loved it when I sniffed hers.  Two of the people I was shopping for today wanted a bag of this so when I saw a whole row of it, I grabbed one for myself too.  It's bakery, with a bit of spicy kick.

Windmill Cookies
Pretty sure I got this for a waxy friend last time too.  Because I wasn't finding a whole lot of scents I really wanted today, I grabbed a back of this.  It's a nice, crisp almond scent, like extract.

Bananas Foster Ooey Gooey Caramel Waffle Cone
I kept coming back to this one while trying to pick things for myself.  I love Banana Caramel Cupcake scents, and I've had and loved Bananas Foster scent from another vendor, so I figured why not.  That waffle cone note does come through, like a nice bakery bed for the sweet and gooey caramel-bananas.  Yum!

Cinnamon Glazed Oranged
I had a chunk of this earlier this fall and once I'd melted I seem to remember thinking it would be a better Christmas scent than a fall scent.  So I went ahead and got this.  Just like the name implies, it's a spiced orange scent.

Blueberry Buckle Cake
There were two berry/cake scents that I kept re-sniffing and I ended up getting this one.  It's a nice, creamy blueberry bakery scent.  It's not like a blueberry muffin scent.  It's creamier and sweeter than that.

Wacky Candy Doodle
I asked Jenny what was in this and now I absolutely can't remember anything except maybe Cotton Candy Frosting.  Oh oh oh, sniffing it, I think I remember her saying Monster Cookie.  But what is the other thing?  I can't remember!  The third ingredient is sort of fruity, maybe berry something.  The scent as whole is more of a sweet Monster Cookie.

Bird of Paradise Raspberry Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream
I saw this lonely little muffin sitting in the carousel rack over in the corner and decided to get it mainly because these muffins are usually unique blends.  Whoever placed an order with this blend, I'm letting you know they must have finished it.  LOL!  Another creamy scent, softly fruity, with a coconut kick.  It's almost like a toasted coconut, more than a sweet tropical coconut.  Interesting blend.

There was quite a variety there today.  Several Christmas scents but none really grabbed me.  There were some scents that sounded interesting but when I sniffed them they were kinda blah to me.  There were a lot of things I'm pretty sure my waxy friends would have loved.  I wish it was easier to relay info to them while I'm there.  Is conference calling possible on cellphones?  lol

What Rosegirls scents are YOU itching to get?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Haul - Front Porch Candle Co.

It's been quite some time since I've ordered from Front Porch.  With the crazy way wax vendors are choosing to do business these days (brief openings, long TATs) I'm wanting more and more to find one or two reliable and convenient places to get my wax smellies.  Front Porch used to be one of the frustrating ones back before frustrating was common.  It's very funny to me that I'm now considering them to be one of my main sources.

Front Porch adds new stock five or six days a week.  An email is sent each day that there is stock added, listing what scents are new that day.  I see these emails and almost always see a couple that I'd love to get.  Well, one day a couple weeks ago I decided I'd just go ahead and place small orders.  What the heck?  Why do I feel I need to put together enough to be worth it?  Front Porch doesn't charge for shipping.  Prices of the tarts a wee bit higher because of that free shipping.  And I think the owner still combines orders so you can go ahead and order one or two this day, and one or two more new ones the next day, etc. and she will combine your orders into one.  I think she waits five days or so to see if you'll order more.  I don't know exactly how she does it, so I'll just stop nattering about that part.  But anyway, that is why I decided I should go ahead and start ordering from there again.  The shop is always open, TAT is reasonable, she offers single tarts among many other options, and there is not a shipping fee with each tiny order I might place.

Of course, once I decided to start doing this I stopped receiving the emails for some reason.  Go figure!

This is my first teeny weeny order . . .

Sinus Relief - 'Similar to Vapor Rub, blend of camphor, eucalyptus and mint.'
Verrrry Vicks-y.  I've had other sinus relief tarts that were a bit sweeter.  This is strong on the camphor.

 Marshmallow Peppermint Twist - '(In House Blend)- One of our best sellers, this strong peppermint blended with creamy marshmallow undertones. '
There is something so wonderful about Front Porch's marshmallow scent.  It's so rich and creamy!  The peppermint is sweet, and softened a bit by the marshmallow.  Ohhh, such a fabulous scent for Christmas.

Warm Vanilla Pine Noel - [no scent description]
I can't find this one the site now so it must be sold out, and I don't see it in the scent list.  I was intrigued when I saw it in the email that day so I decided to go ahead and grab one.  I don't think I like it.  A powdery perfume-y pine is the strongest note.  When I first sniffed it, I thought I'd accidentally grabbed the sinus relief one again.  There is a slightly sweet and creamy background note, but not enough to save this for me.

Christmas Memories - 'Begins with cranberry, orange, cinnamon and cloves topped with pine cone and evergreen pine. Strong and wonderful Christmas aroma!'
I think I might have had this one before.  I'll have to look back through old blog posts.  If I did have it, I'm curious about what I thought of this, because I'm not liking it much now.  I get struggling hints of the cranberry and orange, and a smaller hint of spice, but once again I think the pine note is killing it.  I think I should just stay away from pine scents!  lol

 Cranberry Peppermint - [no scent description]
I wasn't sure what to expect with this one but something about it just called to me.  I love spiced cranberry scents around Thanksgiving, and I love mint scents for Christmas.  This is definitely interesting.  Peppermint is the stronger note.  It's a sweet peppermint.  And then there is just enough of the cranberry with it to know something else is going on, but not really enough to recognize it as cranberry.  I'm really curious how this will be when warm.
That is my teeny weeny haul.  I placed this order on October 8 and received the package on October 18.  I think I heard somewhere that if you leave a comment during the checkout process, saying that you won't be ordering more and to go ahead and sent the order, I think it comes within days.  I'm not sure if that's true any more because, as I said, it's been quite a while since I've ordered.  I'm looking forward to ordering more though!

Are you a Front Porch fan?  Have you discovered and new favorites recently?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Haul - Candles From The Keeping Room

I had not planned on ordering from Candles From The Keeping Room during her recent opening but heck, it's so dang fun to get that bag of freebies!  Waxmaster Carol is probably THE most generous when it comes to including 'samples.'  This order would have been larger if I'd been faster, and more prepared.  The site was only open for a short time and this was all I had in my cart at the time it closed.  Oh well, I shouldn't be ordering more wax anyway.

Caramel Perfect Autumn - 'Rich creamy caramel toffee mixed with creamy sweet vanilla - makes a sweet tempting treat.'
It says this is a Bath & Body Works dupe.  For what, I'm not sure.  Unless it's something they don't have anymore?  Well anyway, when I ordered there was no scent description on the site.  I thought a caramel autumn scent would have to be good so I went for it.  On cold sniff, the scent is kinda light.  It also seems like there is something more than just caramel and vanilla in there.  It's very sweet.  Definitely not a salty caramel type scent.

 Caramelized Banana Cake - 'A blend of our sweet banana, caramelized pralines and a hint of a sweet cake..this is one of our signature scents.'
 I took a chance on this one, hoping it would be like the Banana Caramel Cupcake scents that I've had and loved.  It's been a while since I've had one of those but this does seem to be darn close.  And it is soooo good and strong!  The banana is strong.  Some would poo-poo it as fake and candy-like.  I'm not so picky.  The caramel adds sweetness and a bit of warmth, and there is a nice cake note weaving throughout the overall scent.  Mmm!

Cinnamon Spruce - 'A classic blend of pines and spice opening with notes of stately Northern pine, Douglas fir, and Blue Spruce complemented with notes of spicy cinnamon & clove, rosemary and woody cedar.'
There is a space during the CFTKR checkout process where you can request specific scents for your samples.  You don't have to pick, and I usually don't because it's fun to be surprised.  With this order I think I asked for any Christmas samples she might have.  I was thrilled to find that all five of my freebies are indeed Christmas scents.  And I was super excited when this was the first one I pulled out of the bag.  Cinnamon and spruce?  Have I ever had something like this?  I don't know but it sounds intriguing!  It is an awesome Christmas tree scent, slightly warmed by the cinnamon, but the cinnamon doesn't come through to make it a spicy scent.  This is goooooood, especially since pine scents can get overwhelming for me.

'Tis The Season - 'This scent is composed of boughs of holly, pine and fresh berries..a great holiday scent.'
Another one I think will be great for around Christmas, but sort of having those overwhelming tendencies that I mentioned above.  This is a very bright, almost juicy pine scent.

Christmas Song - [no scent description]
Piney Christmas blend again.  This is like walking into a craft store during the holiday season.  There is something like orange in here, something sweet and juicy.  Another nice one.

Holiday Hodgepodge - 'A cornucopia filled with an array of fresh oranges , spices, cinnamon and hints of clove.'
This one is not at all a Christmas tree scent, but goes to the other side of generic Christmas blends with spiced fruits.  This reminds me of those spice gum drops, but more of the fruitier ones and not the black ones.  This will be a nice change from all the pine and mint scents I have accumulated for the winter.

Deck The Halls - 'Holly and berries, a little spice and a hint of balsam that make this scent a holiday scent.'
While this sounds similar to the others I received (holly, pine, fruit), I absolutely do not like this one.  It is sooo not like the others.  I don't even know how to describe it.  There is a hint of something piney in the very first part that hits your nose but then something perfume-y, almost powdery, races in to shove it out of the way, and then as you pull your nose away from it there is some weird tickle-the-back-of-the-throat after 'taste' completes the downfall.  I can't even pinpoint what it is . . . the holly??  
Do not like!

That is my humble little CFTKR haul.  I don't order from there often, and I don't know when I will again.  They are one of the vendors who open briefly and close, and you need to be part of their Facebook group to catch info on these openings.  I only knew about this opening because I was online at the time and some waxy friends were talking about it.  At least turnaround time is still quick with this one!

Have you ordered any goodies from Candles From The Keeping Room lately?

Glade 2014 Winter Scents

I stumbled across a display of Glade's winter scent products this morning.  At first I was ridiculously excited because I've anxious to see what they'd have this year, but then I was kinda bummed when I saw that three of the four might be repeats from last year.  Of course when I got home I had to check the Glade site to see if these four were really the whole line.  Not only was I excited to see that there are actually eight scents, but also that some of them sound pretty darn interesting!

So let's take a look at the 2014 Glade winter lineup.

(Pics and scent descriptions from the Glade website.)

Apple Cinnamon Cheer - 'Nothing warms the soul quite like the inviting scent of hot apple cider, vanilla and cream. Add a hint of nutmeg and clove for a fragrance with just the right amount of holiday spirit.'
  • apple cider, mixed fruits, berries
  • nutmeg, cinnamon, clove
  • vanilla, cream, woods
(This is a repeat from last year.  Same name, description, and notes.)
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Sparkling Spruce - 'The crisp fragrance of fresh-cut pine needles, eucalyptus and fir join hints of lavender and cedar for a scent as magical as a thousand twinkling lights.'
  • green pine needle
  • green pine needle, spruce, eucalyptus, lavender, cedar leaf, fir blossom
  • fir balsam, cypress, cedar, patchouli
(This is also a repeat from last year.  Same name, description, and notes.)
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 Frosted Cookie Party - 'Treat your inner child to the uplifting scent of layered cake, vanilla bean and toasted marshmallows. Top with hints of whipped icing and spice for a fresh-baked fragrance you’re sure to love.'

  • vanilla bean, whipped icing
  • toasted marshmallow
  • layered cake, spice
 (This appears to be their everyday scent known as Pure Vanilla Joy, but I noticed apple has been removed from the scent notes.)
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Merry Citrus Melody - 'The treats table overflows with scents of sparkling mandarin and candied apples, while faint hints of frankincense and myrrh fill the background of this splendid holiday blend.'

  • mandarin, aldehyde snowflakes, candy apple
  • red clove, musk, fruits
  • golden amber, frankincense, myrrh
(New this year.  I took a quick sniff and noted slightly zesty citrus.  Seeing all the other notes, I'll have to get it better sniff next time.)
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 Gingerbread Jingle - 'Open the oven and let the aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon and fresh gingerbread dance through your kitchen. The sweet home-baked treats of the holidays are here, and you’re ready to indulge and to share.'
  •  candied ginger, nutmeg, black cardamom
  • cinnamon, marzipan, hazelnut
  • brown sugar, gingerbread, warm molasses
(The name is the same as one they had last year but the description and scent are different.  It also says 'limited retailers' on the website so this might be a Target exclusive.  Or maybe a Dollar Store exclusive again, since that's where it was last year.  Also, this is only available in candle form, according to the website.)
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 Mocha & Chestnuts - 'A rich mocha fragrance blends beautifully with caramel toffee and holiday spice, as the aroma of roasted nuts and bread pudding mingles with bustling market crowds. A true holiday delight.'

  • mocha, cardamom, buttermilk
  • caramel toffee, almond, nutmeg, gingerbread
  • powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, bread pudding
(Another 'limited retailer' one, this is also new this year.)
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 Under The Mistletoe - 'Bright, fresh red fruit notes energize your tour of winter wonders, while berries, aromatic woods and evergreen garland provide the perfect holiday base.'

  • sugared strawberries, cherry, pink grapefruit
  • gooseberry, cranberry, raspberry
  • fir balsom, cedarwood, garland greens
(New this year, another 'limited retailer' one.)
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 Hot Cocoa & Mint - 'Top notes of mint create a cool, wintry sensation to start. Rich, warm cocoa notes wait to welcome you with a layer of sweet marshmallow, stirred and served with a candy cane.'
  • peppermint, crisp ozone, spearmint
  • cocoa, pine, marshmallow
  • dark chocolate, coconut, sugar, candy cane
(New this year, a 'limited retailer' one.)
UPDATE - I saw this at Walmart today, and it is a Walmart exclusive.
----------------------------------------------------

What do you think?  See any you think you'll be hunting for?  I think I'm most excited about the Hot Cocoa & Mint.  I will gather my coupons (there are always some online for Glade) and I will be grabbing several of these scents.

If you see any of the 'limited retailer' ones anywhere, could you leave a comment here and let me know where you spotted them?  Thanks!

Oh yeah, I have the candles pictured here but most of the scents are available in wax melt form and all the other products (like sprays and oils).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Haul - Sweet Fixations

For a long time, Sweet Fixations was my favorite wax vendor.  It's been a while since I've ordered from there, what with me getting into Rosegirls and my stash being overfilled from the generosity of my waxy bloggy friends.  Things seem to have changed over at Sweet Fixations in my absence.  I'm not sure what's going on . . . if she's getting crazy popular or if she's scaling back . . . but turnaround time has increased.  It was mentioned on the Facebook page that TAT would be about 15 days.  I waited nearly two months for mine, and when I emailed to ask about it, the response was very generic.  I am one of those people who do not like long TATs and shops that open and close.  If this is the way Sweet Fixations has gone, I probably won't be ordering from there anymore.

There was also a problem with my order and two scents were substituted.  This would probably have been fine if she'd notified me and asked me what I wanted to do about it.  But no, there was no mention.  I found this out when I pulled the invoice out of my package and saw the note attached.  Apparently two scents had gone missing and she replaced them with two of her choice.  Was this done to speed up delivery?  Why wouldn't she have shot me an email or private message and asked me?  Maybe I would have been willing to wait, or had the missing ones sent later?  VERY disappointed in that situation.

So let's look at what I did get.  Despite the problems, I'm still pretty darn excited to have most of these.

 All Hallows Eve- 'Spicy mulled grapefruit with a citrus orange note, and a sweet cinnamon vanilla twist.'
I've never had this one so it's fun to finally have it.  Interesting, sort of a 'moist' scent.  Bright citrus, toned down by the hint of vanilla.  Not a lot of spice, just enough to add some warmth.

 Bobbing for Apples- 'Crunchy toffee chips and apples dripping with buttery caramel.'
I've had this one before, loved it and knew I wanted it again.  It's a really nice caramel apple scent, a little heavier on the sweet, juicy apples.
Apple Harvest- 'Apple mixed with fruity notes and touches of spice.'
I've had this one too.  Excellent fall scent, gentle spiced cider notes.
 Harvest- 'Cinnamon bark and clove bud on a dry down of musk. (Yankee Type)'
Another repurchase, a nice spicy musky scent that I wanted to try again because the one I had last year seemed light.  Hopefully this one is stronger.
 Trick or Treat- 'Great Halloween scent of pumpkin, apples, berries, orange and cinnamon. With notes of sugar cane and vanilla.'
Had this one before and loved it.  Loved the one I had from another vendor recently, and am glad to have it again.  Sort of a sweet pumpkin scent.
 Hayride- 'Fresh hay with notes of sweet balsam combined with cedarwood. Simply that fresh outdoor country air aroma.'
My first time trying this and I'm not really sure why I picked it because this type of scent usually isn't for me.  Maybe I was just trying to add some fall variety?  Not sure what to think on cold sniff.  It's light, but what I am getting is the hay, and the sort of dust note that comes with it, or maybe like sawdust.

Cozy Home- 'Housewarming spices with slices of juicy apples. Perfect for fall!'
Had this before and my notes about it say 'AWESOME!'  Well then, better get more, huh?  To me it smell like more than just spice and apples.  There is an almost bakery note to it.  Love it!
 Cranberry Orange Spice- 'Tart cranberries, orange zests, and spiced apples.'
Have had this one too and noted it as a 'holiday mood setter.'  Ohh my gooshness, I just love this one.  There is tartness, and juiciness, and spice, and warmth.  This one will be melting on Thanksgiving Day.
 Pumpkin Patch- 'Sweet and creamy pumpkin pie with butter, pecans, and a hint of spice.'
 Another that I've already and loved.  An excellent pumpkin scent, without much spice.
 Pumpkin Souffle- 'Butter, sugar, spices, vanilla cream and pumpkin.'
  Repurchase.  This is a much heavier, richer pumpkin scent.  Much more bakery type than Pumpkin Patch.

Sweet Potato Pie- 'The delicious aroma of candied yams, melted marshmallows, sugar and spice on a buttery crunchy crust.'
This became an instant favorite and an absolute fall must-have when I first had it three (four?) years ago.  Although the cranberry-orange one is battling for Thanksgiving Day supremacy now, it is still a tradition to have this one.

Sugar & Spice- 'A sweet, strong cinnamon mixed with holiday fruits and spice.'
This is one of the replacement scents that was included.  I had not ever tried this one.  Looks like a Christmas tart but I think it would be okay for fall too, maybe late fall.  Definitely a cinnamon scent.  Mixed with the fruit notes (smells like orange in there), it's almost like a spiced punch drink.
 Blackberry Pie- 'Buttery crust bursting with juicy wild blackberries with sugar, vanilla, and a touch of spice.'
This is the other replacement scent.  I have not had this before.  It's not a bad scent, but I don't think I'd ever have picked it if given the chance.  It's a dark berry scent, almost with a bit of tartness, and soft bakery notes in the backgound.

Gingerbread- 'Richly spiced gingerbread, nutmeg, and clove with just the right hint of sweetness.'
This was a freebie in my order.  I'm not too sure about this though.  I've had Gingerbread from Sweet Fixations before but I don't remember if it was blue.  And why would it be blue?  I don't know if the color is throwing me, but it doesn't really smell like gingerbread either.  It also looks like it has seen better days.  I'm not sure what to make of this one.
 Cherry Melons - (SF Blend) - 'Watermelon and Cherry! Super sweet blend!'
Another freebie, this is about as far away from a fall scent as you can get.  It's super yummy though!  Very bright and fruity and sweet.  The cherry and watermelon are battling in this one.  Sniff it once, you think it's cherry.  Sniff it again, you think it's watermelon.  This one will be put away for summer.
 
Raspberry Macaroon- 'Toasted coconut, caramelized sugar, and raspberry.'
And finally, this free sample. It took me forever to figure out that this is probably a finger shape. The details are all smoothed over. I have had this scent before but I'm glad to have it again because last time I loved it but found it to be too light. Hopefully this time it's strong.

And that is my order.  I really hope things settle down and turn back around for Sweet Fixations.  I don't want to stop ordering from there but I also have no patience for sporadic ordering opportunities and ridiculously long turnaround times.  I will enjoy these tarts that I have and we'll see what happens down the road.