Sunday, September 30, 2012

Walmart / Better Homes & Gardens Fall Tarts (Again)

While shopping yesterday, I was so happy to see Walmart had restocked the fall tarts that I practically ran down the aisle like a crazy lady.  They had restocked, yeah, but not as fully as I'd hoped.  I didn't see any Warm Autumn Welcome, but I did grab the last two A Thankful Harvest.  There were still plenty of the S'mores one, and the fruitier ones, a bunch of the Warm Baking Spice, and candied apple, and the shortbread one, and one lonely Evergreen Forest.  But I only got the harvest ones.

There is never a scent description with these Better Homes & Garden tarts.  The picture shows those little gourd-looking pumpkins and not much else, and the wax is orange, so you'd assume it's probably a pumpkin scent, right?  And sure enough, it smells like pumpkin.  On cold throw, there is a teeny tiny bit of spice, and perhaps a smidge of creaminess, but there is also something fresh about it.  This one is not quite like the typical pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice scents.  It's not that heavy and warm.  I think this one might be closer to plain pumpkin, for those who are looking for a clean pumpkin patch or jack-o-lantern scent.

It will be interesting to smell this one warm.  When I sniff the pack from the top of the bar, it smells much brighter and fresh, but when I take the bar out and sniff the bottom I get those hints of spice and warmth. 

Can't wait to melt this one!  And I have extras to share!  :)

Melted - Rincon Scents / Country Bakery

Country Bakery - [no description available]

It's really frustrating when vendors don't have descriptions of the scents, so I'll have to wing this one.  Obviously it is a bakery scent.  There was spice in it, but on a warmer level . . . not harsh and sharp.  I also picked up a cake type note, or maybe cookies.  I'm pretty sure there was more to it because it was both warm and sweet, along with that spice.  Maple?  Caramel?  I really liked this one.  I melted the whole tart (about 1 oz.) and it had one of those amusing throws where you can't really smell it around the warmer but it's super strong in other parts of the house.  After one tea light length melt (around 4 hours) the scent was starting to fade.  I think there is probably enough scent left to get another melt out of it, although lighter, but I'm not going to try, just because I'm anxious to move on to other scents.

Overall, I really like this one.  Just wish there was a scent description available.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Country Home Scents - September Tart Haul

After a frustrating string of bad luck with tarts recently, I went back to a shop I knew I could trust . . . Country Home Scents.  I got more fall scents, even though I already have tons of those.  I didn't want to jump ahead to Christmas scents yet because I already have some, and figured I have plenty of time to place another order when we get closer to winter.  That's one of the things I love about Country Home Scents, you know you'll be able to get the scents you want.  I'm getting so tired and frustrated by the shops that have a constantly revolving inventory, where you have to check daily and hope what you want is available.  I also love that Country Home Scents tarts are ready-to-ship, so turn around time is amazingly fast.

I'll just do a quick run through of what I got.  More detailed scent reviews will come later, individually, as I melt each tart.  So, from left to right in the picture, starting at the top . . .

  • Bewitching - 'A haunting scent perfect for Halloween! A blend of sweet dark spices, patchouli and cinnamon sticks.'  Got two of these.  This one is interesting!  Spicy, but not overly sharp.
  • Crazy Candy Corn - 'Smells just like the sweet scent of our Halloween favorite! A touch of honey and caramel...a must have!'  Stronger on the honey, but hints are caramel are indeed lurking.
  • Pumpkin Caramel Latte - 'Smells like autumn bliss! A creamy blend of pumpkin pie spices with sweet caramel latte goodness.'  Soooo so good.  Strong on pumpkin, just enough coffee.
  • Pumpkin Marshmallows - 'Pumpkin pie and gooey die for! The perfect blend of spicy pumpkin pie and creamy warm toasted marshmallows...yummy!'  Stronger on the marshmallow.
  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Bread - 'A rich, warm pumpkin bread aroma with a blend of grated spices of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.'  Heavy on the cinnamon, with a slight bread note, and then the pumpkin.  Yummy.
  • Boo! - 'A spooky fragrance that will make you get into the "spirit" of Halloween! A musky scent with a touch of grapefruit and plums.'  Like Bewitching, this one is quite interesting.  Just enough fruitiness, perfectly blended with that musk.
  • Trick or Treat - 'The aroma begins with a blend of pumpkin and apple; ending with a touch of orange, cinnamon and vanilla!'  I don't really get the pumpkin on cold throw, but I do get a nice spiced fruit note.  This will be interesting when warm.
  • Honey Butter - 'Rich butter cream and the sweetness of golden honey are combined to create this luscious aroma!'  Smells like honey right now just on cold throw.
  • Frosted Cranberries - 'A fragrant blend of rich cranberries and warm sweet spices! Not too tart and not too sweet ...just right!'  Gorgeous cranberry scent, with light spice.
  • Pumpkin Crunch Cake - 'The aroma of creamy pumpkin pie filling with freshly baked yellow cake, melted butter, pecans, and a hint of spice.'  Yummy mix of cake and spiced pumpkin, heavier on the pumpkin.
  • Applesauce Cake - 'A CHS custom blend! We have blended our super popular Mulled Cider and our YUMMY Snickerdoodle Cookies to create a scent that smells just like freshly made applesauce cake! It smells like fall.'  Oooh, spice cake with traces of apple cider. 
  • Pink Raspberry Lemonade - 'A Country Home Scent custom blend of fresh ripe raspberries and sweet tangy lemonade! Smells just like your favorite pink lemonade you loved as a child on those warm summer days!'  This was a freebie in my order, and it's bright and fun and very lemonade-y.
What do you think?  See anything interesting in there?  I'm really looking forward to melting these.

Cravebox - September 2012

My Cravebox arrived yesterday.  Wheee!  This is my third box, and this time it is Tasty Favorites themed.  So let's see what I got . . . 

As always, there is the information card and several other papers, coupons, etc.

Pull the reading material away and it looks like a box of yumminess.

Out of the box, the yumminess is mostly unfamiliar to me.  Hmm, this will be interesting.

Mystic Harvest - Purple Corn - Authentic Tortilla Chips (with sea salt).  These are all natural, gluten free chips.  I've seen colored chips before but not this particular brand, and I've never eaten them.  Guess I'll have to get some salsa or something and give them a try.  I suspect it will be hubby who devours these.
This is a full 7 oz. bag.

Enjoy Life - Plentils (Crunchy Lentil Chips) in Margherita Pizza flavor.  They are dairy-free, gluten-free, all natural chips.  I've never heard of these.  I'm a bit leery because I like good ol' chips in normal flavors.  Hubby likes to try crazy flavors though.  It's looking like this Cravebox is right up his alley!  lol
This is a .8 oz. snack pack.

Crum Creek Mills - Soy Nut Mix.  I wasn't even sure what this was so I had to check the info card included in the box.  According to that, it's like a trail mix type snack.  It apparently contains sea-salted soy nuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.  I'm not big on trail mixes but I guess I'll take this to work and try it, and if I don't like it, there is always someone there who will finish it.
This is a 1 oz. snack pack.

Balance - mini energy bars.  Oooh, yummy.  I like snack bars but don't normally eat energy bars.  I don't pay attention to anything in the 'energy' section of the store.  These are minis though, so I'll probably toss them in with my lunch for work and give them a try.  One is Cookie Dough flavor, and the other is Double Chocolate Brownie.  They are about the size of 'fun size' candy bars.

Werther's Original - Caramel Apple Filled hard candies.  Finally, a brand I recognize!  But this is a new flavor, and I'm not sure how I'm going to like the hard outer shell with a gooey apple flavored filling.  Again, will try them and get rid of them at work if I don't like them.  (I'm pretty sure my menfolk don't like this kind of candy.)  This is a 2.65 oz. package.

And then, of course, the reading material.  There are coupons for most of the products in this month's box, along with a lot of information about them.  The pamphlet on the right has a ton of information about gluten, celiac disease, food allergens, diet & autism, and other things.

If you're not familiar with Cravebox it is a monthly subscription box that has a wide range of product areas.  Where some monthly services are beauty based, this is more of an everyday living based type thing.  I think it's $10 a month, and the things your get are often full sized products so you are getting more than your money's worth.  And you never know what you're going to get!

I have enjoyed the three boxes I've gotten so far but I'm not sure if I'm going to continue my subscription.  I know that sounds crazy after how long I waited to get a spot, and all the whining I did along the way.  These are supposed to come every six weeks instead of monthly like most other boxes.  It seems to take forever in between though, and in the meantime they keep releasing tons of 'special edition' boxes.  It's a bit frustrating.  I checked the calendar and if it really is every six weeks, we should be getting two more boxes this year.  Yet I can't help but feel they'll just send one somewhere between the holidays and that will be it.  And while I'm really curious about the holiday box, I just don't know if I care enough anymore to stick with it.  It's only $10 or whatever, but that's $10 I could be using elsewhere.  So, I don't know yet . . . haven't made up my mind whether to cancel or not.

Organix . . . Again

A couple months ago I was asked to participate in a survey about Organix.  They sent me a bottle of 'Renewing' Moroccan Aragn Oil shampoo, wanted me to use it several times, and then complete their survey about the product.  If the survey was completed by the deadline, they would then send a complimentary shampoo/conditioner set afterwards.

I had already tried Organix earlier this year (post can be seen HERE) and had mixed thoughts about it.  But sure, I'd try it again.  Heck, I wasn't paying for it.  So I used it several times and completed my survey on time . . . and never heard anything after that.  Guess I'm not getting my free set.  :(

So anyway, when I first used this shampoo I'd received, my hair was quite long (for me) and I imagine it was not very healthy.  I remembered from the previous time that it seemed like I'd had to use so much to get a good lather, so this time I went ahead and squirted a very generous amount into my hand.  It is a really thick consistency, almost difficult to squeeze out of the bottle.  I loved the pumpkin-orange color of it though!  There is a generic shampoo scent about it, but it is pleasant.  And I was surprised to find I really didn't need to use tons of product.  I did not have any Organix conditioner to use with this, so I just used the old cheap bottle of Suave conditioner that sits in the cabinet under the sink.

As mentioned, my hair was much longer when I tested this product.  After completing the survey, I set this bottle aside because I knew I wanted to get my hair cut once the heat of summer had passed and I wouldn't need to be putting my hair up in a ponytail anymore.  I also thought I'd have my free set by the time I got my hair cut . . .  *sigh*

I finally did get my hair cut early last week and have gone back to using this shampoo.  I've noticed it doesn't really take a lot of product to get a good lather, but it takes a lot of water added to it.  It doesn't seem to want to spread around very easy until you get that extra water in there and get a good lather going.  It rinses away easily.  I've still been using the cheap conditioner with it, but even with that, I have noticed a definite difference in my hair.  It's softer, for sure, and I don't have the dry fly-away or static that I'd been noticing now that the weather is getting cooler and dryer.  I keep forgetting to buy a bottle of Organix conditioner when I'm shopping.  And now I'm very curious to see how my surprise gift of Moonlisa conditioner will work with this.  Yay! 

I've never really been too concerned with my hair.  I'm a total wash-n-go girl.  I usually use cheap 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner combos.  I've never had my hair colored or highlighted or treated, and I don't curl or straighten or blow dry or do anything to it.  Maybe it's just my old age boredom these days, but I'd decided that after this latest haircut I was going to step up my hair care.  I was really looking forward to that free set of Organix, but since I'm apparently not getting it I'm going to go ahead and start trying some other higher end shampoos and conditioners.  Someday I might even get my gray wisdom hairs colored.

Do you have a brand that you love?  Have you tried Organix?  If so, which one?  I'm open to suggestions on this topic.

Target Tarts!

Target has tarts now!  I don't know how long they've been there because I don't go there often, but one of the things that always bummed me out about that store was that they didn't have tarts.  Imagine my surprise when I decided to pop in for a browse this morning and saw them there now.  Woot!

The scent selection was small . . . maybe ten different ones, tops . . . but they had two sizes of packages.  The smaller packs were $3.99, and contained just one scent.  The larger packs are interesting because they have a mix of three scents.  These sell for $6.99.

This is obviously the larger pack.  It contains nine cubes, three of each scent.  (The smaller packs contain five cubes, if I'm remembering correctly.)  The pack I chose contains Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Pumpkin, and Cinnamon Streusel.  YUM!!!

Each cube has an individual wrap, and weighs .8 oz, which is about what two cubes of Walmart tarts equals.  They are a very hard wax.  The cold scent throw is quite strong.  Can't wait to try these!

The brand name must be Home Scents . . . or Homescents?  I'm not sure if this is a Target brand or what?  The fine print on the back of the package says they are part of the Chesapeake Bay Candle Company.  The package mentions companion electric warmers but I didn't even think to look and see if they had any of these in the store.  I would imagine they'll work in any warmer, as most tarts do.

So, have you tried these Target tarts?  Did you even know they were there now?  Maybe I'm just slow.  I haven't seen anyone talking about these.  Although these won't be my regular tarts by any means, I'm excited to have found something new!

Dabbling In Soap Again . . .

This is what started it all this time.  This inexpensive Halloween themed silicone mold I saw at Walmart.  Darn you, super cute thing!!

Alright, let me back up a bit.  I used to make cold process, goat milk soap.  I had my own Etsy shop and had soooo much fun . . . for a while.  Then it just got to be too much.  I work full-time outside of the home, and the more the soap business took off, the more I had no time for anything else.  Making soap became a chore.  I was churning out mindless batches that were becoming sloppy.  I never felt my 'basic' soaps could compare to the fancier soaps I see all over the internet.  And, I wasn't even using my own soaps.  I was making endless batches to sell but I was buying all the pretty things I saw from all the other shops.  Why was I doing any of this??

Last summer I made the decision to close my shop and quit making soap.  At first I was so happy and relieved, totally at peace with my decision.  I had sold or gotten rid of almost all of my tools and things.  It was like wiping the slate clean, making a clean break, slamming the door on that part of my life.  I had a blast being able to shop guilt-free from other shops.  Had time to just sit and do nothing.  It was great!

For a while.

After several moths the urge to make soap returned.  I easily talked myself out of it.  Some time later it came back again.  Those early urges were easily pushed aside, but more recently when these urges have struck they have been a lot stronger.  A couple months ago I almost came back into it full force.  I even contacted Etsy about reopening my shop.  I managed to remind myself of all the reasons I had quit, and eventually managed to quiet that urge again, but I think it's my increasing boredom in general that is making this soaping urge come back more often, and stronger each time.  I thought I'd just switch my creative energies to other things but after a year I haven't found anything to take the place.  All along I have come across things in stores and thought 'Oooh, that would be so cute for soaping!'

People had told me all along to just take a break or scale back how much I was doing.  Several people suggested I just do it when I felt like it, a few batches here and there as needed.  But I was always like, ohhhh no, I need to be all or nothing.  Whenever I would think about coming back to it I would tell myself I know what to expect now, and I'll know how to handle it this time.  But the thought of this crazy hobby taking over my kitchen again wasn't thrilling to me.  And dealing with the whole tax part of it was depressing and nervewracking.

But last week Friday I saw that Halloween mold and was absolutely overwhelmed by feelings of 'I'm going back to soaping, dammit!'  It was so funny and weird.  I actually had the mold in my cart for a bit, then talked myself out of it and put it back on the shelf.  And laughed at how easy the urge had been silenced this time.  Until later that same day when hubby and I met his parents at a local place for Friday night fish dinner.  Out of the blue, my father-in-law asked if I had any last bars still laying around, and that he'd really liked my soap and could really use another bar.  I told them the story of the Halloween mold and everyone laughed, saying it was all a sign that I need to make soap.  Ha, yeah, right.

When we got home I asked hubby if he'd put his dad up to that . . . ??  Hubby has wanted me to make soap all along.  He was surprised and assured me that no, that was just his dad.  Well, dammit.  I wrestled with pro and con thoughts all weekend and eventually decided to just do it.  Gah!  So yesterday I made a quick trip to town to buy some basics to get me restarted and . . .

. . . I made soap for the fist time in a year.  I was so nervous!  LOL!  And then, as it all started coming back to me, it felt GOOD.

I don't have any fragrance oils yet so this batch was just an all natural honey-carrots recipe.  I never even got any the last time I made this soap because demand was so high it flew off the shelf.  Most of this batch went into the Halloween mold, so the leftovers in the wooden mold will just be cut up into chunks.

As of right now I don't plan on reopening my Etsy shop or doing any heavy selling.  Since I've been out of the soap buying urge for quite some time now, I'm thinking it will be easier this time around to just use my own soaps.  There are a couple people that I will probably make soap for regularly, but other than that I don't really want to get into like I was and have to worry about taxes and advertising and shipping and work work work work.  I feel like this time I'm more open to playing around with formulas and trying different things.  And I think I might still be able to satisfy the pretty packaging urges by giving gifts or doing swaps or things like that.  So I guess we'll just see how it goes!

I'm actually quite happy and excited to be back at it.  :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Melted - Better Homes & Gardens / Mulberry Plum Spice

This one is such a nice scent.  It's not really spicy at all.  It's much more of a deep, rich, dark berry type scent.  There was something almost creamy about it too, sort of reminding me of a wildberry cheesecake or mousse scent.  It's not a bright, cheerful, summery type of fruit scent even though it is very berry-filled.  I don't really think of fall with it either though, but it is definitely a warmer type scent than a simple fruity one would usually be.

I melted two cubes because that's my usual amount with clamshell style tarts.  The scent throw with two cubes was nearly perfect for my large rooms.  It was another one that scented the whole dang house but on a much more subtle level.  Even coming in from outside, just opening the door gave soft hints of scent.  So nice! 

Too bad my Walmart is completely sold out of these already, because I would have gotten more.

Melted - Better Homes & Gardens / Crisp Fall Leaves

I've had such crappy luck with tarts lately that when I was looking for something to melt this morning I decided to go to something I knew would work and be strong.  The "cheap" Walmart tarts to the rescue once again! 

I popped two cubes of this Crisp Fall Leaves scent into my tea light warmer but I think one cube would have been enough.  This one is strong.  This is one of those that you can smell when you're coming in from outside, as soon as you open the door.  It's also scenting the whole darn house, because Casey yelled from his room upstairs "This one smells gross!"  LOL

If you remember from my Walmart fall tarts post not long ago, I couldn't figure out what the familiar main note in this was.  I'd later seen someone on YouTube say it was pine, and now that's all I think of when I smell this.  I'm pretty sure there is something else mixed in though, something like a slight smoky note, or maybe even some musk or amber . . . ?  I'm back and forth on this one.  At times I think I don't like it, and that it's too strong and 'sharp.'  But other times I do like it because that crispness does indeed remind me of outdoors. 

After one tea light length melt (about 4 hours?), there is still plenty of strength left in this one.  Maybe the next melt will be a bit weaker, and a bit easier on the senses.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Partylite Tarts

A coworker who knows I'm a tart junkie gave me a couple samples of Partylite tarts she'd recently gotten.  I don't know much about Partylite but it appears to be very similar to Scentsy.  My coworker's cousin had hosted her very first Partylite party, and Coworker felt obligated to buy something.  lol

As you can see in the picture (a quickie cellphone pic from said coworker), there are nine 'cubes' in these clamshell style packages.  The weight per package is 3.2 oz. and I think she said they cost $5.00 each.  She gave me one 'cube' of the yellow one on the right, which is Hocus Pocus scent and is described as 'Coconut and praline add an unexpected twist to this mysterious blend of sugar berries, grapefruit and floral notes. It's a magical Halloween surprise!'  Ohhhhh my, I love this scent.  At work, we didn't have the description available and were sniffing, trying to figure it out.  Two of us thought there was lemon and vanilla, one thought there was grapefruit, and then later at home hubby thought it was floral.  Now that I have the descrption, I can tell that it's coconut, and I do pick up the slight citrus of the grapefruit.  I also get the soft floral notes that hubby was picking up on but don't know specifically what type of flowers are involved.  The pralines add just enough warmth to keep if from being a summery fruit scent.  I melted this one this morning and loved it.  There is warm sweetness, none of the notes really overpowering the others.  The throw on just one cube was surprisingly strong.  I doubt that I'll buy Partylite products but I will now be on the hunt for a dupe of this scent.

The other cube she gave me is from the package on the left, which is orange wax in Halloween Night scent, described as 'Rich butterscotch, vanilla and spices are slowly stirred into a batch of warm, sugary caramel. It's a gooey, creamy, sinfully sweet treat.'  This one is funny because we all thought we were smelling pumpkin, with butterscotch notes behind it.  Reading the description, there is no pumpkin in here.  LOL!  I guess the color really can play tricks on the mind.  On cold throw this was a super yummy scent, a warm, sweet bakery scent.  With only one cube to melt though, I'm only getting the faintest of scent throw, and it's smelling pumpkin-y again. I suspect having more cubes to melt would give a stronger scent throw, but I guess we'll never know, because I don't plan on buying any.

I'm thrilled my coworker was kind enough to let this tartaholic try some of her goodies.  I think everyone should send me tarts to try!  Don't you???  (Well, ok, maybe not everybody . . . )

Have YOU tried Partylite tarts?

Snow White & the Huntsman

From the producer of Alice in Wonderland comes a new vision that turns a legendary tale into an action-adventure epic.  The evil Queen Ravenna will rule forever if she can take the life of Snow White, so she dispatches the Huntsman to track her down.  But the wicked ruler never imagined the Huntsman would train the girl to become a brave warrior, skilled in the art of war.  Filled with intense battles and spectacular visual effects, Snow White & the Huntsman is a thrilling experience that "shouldn't be missed" - Shawn Edwards, Fox-TV.

I was excited way back when I first heard about this movie, and anxious to see it once it finally hit theaters.  We ended up not seeing it the theater though, and then the whole Kristen Stewart cheating scandal happened before the DVD came out.  It shouldn't matter, but I think that "momentary indiscretion" (ha, right) might have ruined how I feel about this movie.  Then again, there were plenty of non-Kristen things that I didn't like about the movie.

I did not like this movie.  I couldn't get into it.  I almost gave up on it but managed to stick it out to the end.

I'm realizing I don't like Charlize Theron.  The Huntsman's voice was weird, almost comical, and I don't know if that's the actor's real voice or if he was trying to do some character thing.  I did not like how they did the dwarves.  The dialogue was often lame and weird, and the big pep talk by Snow White near the end was just ... what?  

I hate the over-use of yelling and screaming in dialogue, and especially hate long drawn out words in that yelling.  Things like "GEEEEETTTTTTT OOOUUUUUTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!"  This movie uses both.  A lot.

And I've always known Kristen Stewart was a rather monotone actress but I always kinda still liked her.  I remember reading interviews before this movie came out, where she was saying Snow White was nothing like Bella and she'd tried to make them very different and she didn't think people would see Bella in this.  Ha.  Well, it was all Bella in a medieval dress, with a fake accent.  Her tone (mono) was the same, her mannerisms, movements, actions, looks were all Bella.  The scene with the poison apple, with Snow White moaning and writhing in the snow, might as well have been a replay of the Twilight scene after Bella is bitten by James.  (Yes, I *have* seen Kristen Stewart in other movies.)

The only part I really, really liked was when the Huntsman comes back to the burning village, wracked with guilt for leaving, and kicks some major ass with his sword or axe or whatever his weapon was.

Overall, I was very disappointed with this movie.  Bummer.

Have you seen it?  What did you think?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mainstays (Walmart) Layered Jar Candles

Not so long ago I was talking about the three scented/layered candles by Mainstays at Walmart.  They are 18 oz. jars that sell for $5.98.  I debated about getting the pumpkin and apple ones, and in the end it was hubby that decided we should just go ahead and get them, that he would like them in the living room.  (He prefers candles.)

So I had bought one of the pumpkin scents and one of the apple scents, and couldn't wait for September to start because that was when I was going to allow myself to start using fall scents.  We decided to start with the apple one, wanting to have the pumpkin scents later, between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

As you can see, we've been burning that apple one quite a lot.  In this pic it looks like we're almost to that bottom layer, but actually while it was burning last night the wax pool was indeed down into that layer.

The scents in this were Mulled Cider, Caramel Apple, and Apple Butter.

We've had nothing but trouble with this dang candle.  *GRRRR*  It has reminded me time and time again why I prefer tarts.  From the very first burn we had problems . . . uneven melting, tunneling, crappy wick, iffy scent throw.  You can see how crappy the sides of the jar look, from all the wax and soot residue.  Sometimes we would try to correct it while it was lit.  Sometimes we just scooped wax out when it was cool, to try and give it a new even start.  Yesterday I was even holding the lighter on the outside of the glass to try and melt that outer ring that refused to melt otherwise.  I don't smell anything but a sort of generic wax scent anymore when it's lit.  I'm ready to just call this one done, but hubby still wants to keep going through that bottom layer.

Because of all that, I've totally lost interest in the pumpkin candle that's still waiting.  This one has Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Maple, and Pumpkin Bread layers.  The top does smell delicious, and strong.  I don't know though.  We have other fall scented candles that are smaller and I'm pretty sure will be less of a hassle.  I suggested we just give this one to someone else.  But he wants to keep it, and still has hope that it will work better.  Ugh . . . I hope so.

What a bummer!  If you've had these candles, how did they work for you?

Awesome Sale At Scentsationals!

If you're familiar with the $2.00 tarts at Walmart you are probably familiar with the Scentsationals brand.  They are having an awesome sale right now on their website . . . an Autumn Harvest Fragrance Pack of six different scents for only $6.99!  That comes out to about $1.16 for each 6-cube clamshell pack of tarts!

The scents included are . . .
  • Autumn Breeze - 'Fresh fall scent of autumn leaves, and pine wood.'
  • Autumn Walk - 'Breathe in the crisp autumn air as fresh apples baked in spices beckon you with their sweet aroma and leaves crunch beneath your feet.'
  • Cornucopia - 'Warm, rich scent of harvest fruits, clove, spice, and crisp apples.'
  • Country Cider - 'Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed cider on a cool autumn day with this spirited fall fragrance of cinnamon, allspice, crisp apples, cloves and a hint of orange peel.'
  • Harvest Moon - 'Exotic woods release their warm bouquet, mixing with the smell of aromatic tobacco, dark licorice and a kiss of mint.'
  • Witch's Cauldron - 'Double, double toil and trouble! Hear the cackle of an evil witch as she stirs her holiday brew, filling the air with the scent of black licorice root, brown sugar-dipped bats’ wings, scary star anise and frightful fennel seed.'
I've not ordered directly from the site but I have always loved the Scentsationals tarts I've been able to get at Walmart.  I've *browsed* the site many many times.  There are bajillions more scents available there than I've ever seen in the store.  And yeah, there are TONS that I want to try.  I hope they have other holiday packs on sale like this because it just might be the nudge I need to finally get me to order.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Melted - Starlight Chandling / Lemon Blush

Lemon Blush - 'This bright fragrance is a wonderful concoction of true tart lemons sweetened with a blend of vanilla, sparkling raspberry, cotton candy and a touch of downy musk.'

I said in my haul post that my first impression of this was that it reminded my of Lemonheads candies.  Well, in melting it, that still holds true.  It's a very lemony scent, but there is that little bit of something else to it.  I did not detect anything specific other than the lemon, but you can tell there is something more.  Sometimes it seems like a cleaner, or a Pledge type lemon scent.  Other times it seems sweeter, with just faint traces of the vanilla warmth.  But overall, it is a candy-sweet lemon scent.  I started with melting only half of the tart but when that only gave me a light scent throw I tossed in the other half too.  It was still on the lighter side.   

 This was not a bad scent, but I don't think I would buy it again.  The throw was too light, and there was something too sharp, or too overly sweet.

Blackberry Creek Soap - Mini Haul

In early fall of 2009 I stumbled across a blog post that lead me into the wonderful world of handcrafted soaps.  I'd never heard of goat milk soap, and had no idea SO many people were making their own soap?!  I immediately ordered from that company that opened my eyes, and while I waited those few anxious days for my order to arrive I spent a lot of time browsing online and discovering more about this craft.  My first area of interest was whether there were people local to me (here in Wisconsin) who were making and selling soap and the very first website I came across was Blackberry Creek Soaps.

Now here we are, three years later, and I've finally ordered from them.  It's funny too, because I've sooo fallen out of the soap addiction this year because it's too easy to get carried away buying from everyone, and my stash is still large enough that I really don't need to buy any.  Even so, when I went back to this site, just looking at it brought back all those warm-fuzzy feelings, those butterflies of excitement in my belly, those wonderful feelings of three years ago when I just getting into handcrafted soap.  Sounds corny to some people, I know, but it was a hugely exciting thing for me in my otherwise boring life.

I don't know why I never ordered in the three years that have passed.  I know at first I was only wanting goat milk soap, but even after I started being more accepting of non-milk soaps I would look at this site and then move on.  That all changed when CurlyQ730, one of the girls I watch on YouTube, who tries to focus on Wisconsin handmade soaps, did a review of Blackberry Creek soaps.  I went back to the site, that old excited feeling came back, and I decided I was going to finally order.

Pumpkin Patch - 'After your guests use Pumpkin Patch Soap it will take Dad and Uncle Charlie to restrain them from attacking the pumpkin pie! Pumpkin Patch Soap really does smell like a fresh baked pumpkin pie and has great pumpkin colors as well.'  

I knew I wanted to order a fall scent soap, so when I saw Pumpkin Patch, I knew this was the one.  It's a typical pumpkin pie scent, not too heavy on the spice, and a bit of the warm crust note.  It smells so good just sitting here on the desk while I write this.

Cranberry Spice - 'One of my personal favorites. The smell of cranberries is fantastic. It reminds me of Thanksgiving, but I like it all year long. The soap contains cranberry seeds and colloidal oatmeal for gentle exfoliation.'  

When I also so this Cranberry Spice soap, I knew my order had just gotten a bit bigger.  I remember making a Cranberry Spice soap in my own soapmaking days and *loved* that scent.  This bar that I received looks so much better than the picture on the site.  Look at it!  That bar is gorgeous!  And the scent is just as beautiful . . . a slight berry juiciness but that tartness reminds you it is cranberry, and then just enough of a spice kick to warm it up for fall.  When I had both bars sitting on the desk the other day, it really did smell like Thanksgiving Day in the room.  MMMMMMM!!

This is the bar I chose to use first.  I had to work a bit to get a lather going, but sometimes you just have to do that with a new bar of soap.  Once the lather was there is was a thick, creamy type that lasted and lasted.  It was luxurious and wonderful.  Although I do see the specks of cranberry seeds and oatmeal, I did not feel anything scratchy.  The scent was perfect, enough to pleasantly smell it while in the shower but not lingering on your skin afterwards.  Some people like the smell to linger, but I like to use different lotions or body mists so I'm totally ok if that soap scent doesn't stay.  My skin felt fabulous afterwards, no dryness or tightness.  I even used it on my face and had no problems.

I love the look of these Blackberry Creek soaps.  They have that homemade, rustic feel that I love.  These are thick chunks, a perfect size to hold onto in the shower.  The 3.5 oz. bars sell for $4.97 on the website, and there is an option to try 1 oz. bars for $2.97.  I also love the packaging . . . a crisp clean cigar band type label wrapped around a corrugated cardboard sleeve.

They also have lip balms available so I decided to try one of those too.  I picked Chai scent.  It's hard to see in this picture but it's just a waxy-white colored balm.  I was a bit disappointed that the product did not start anywhere near the top of the tube.  Some balms will have a little dip where the balm has settled, but it's still usually at the top or just a smidge under.  This one was almost a quarter inch down!  And then had very high, thin sides that were uncomfortable in getting started.  The first day I used this I was again very disappointed.  It didn't seem to last more than a few minutes and, in fact, seemed to make my lips peel like crazy.  I stuck with it though and after I think that first full layer of crap skin peeled off my lips, everything seems quite nice now.  The spicy chai scent is not overpowering.  I will stick with this a while longer and see if the peeling stays away, but overall, I don't think I'll buy their balms again.  A normal size tube sells for $2.97 on the website.

 Autumn - 'A fantastic way to decorate you home for the fall season. Autumn Soap from Blackberry Creek perfectly captures the colors and smells of autumn. Everyone will appreciate it.  This is a seasonal soap available in August.' 

I also received this sample in my order.  I wish they had a better scent description on the site because I'm having a hard time trying to figure out just what it is I'm smelling.  It's definitely an outdoorsy scent, reminding me of the typical Leaves type scent I've been coming across in fall tarts lately.  It's somewhat spicy, somewhat 'wood'y.  It's interesting, just wish I knew what it was.

There are several other products available at Blackberry Creek, such as lotions, scrubs, deodorants, and other body care products.  They also have some home fragrance products, some gift baskets and gift ideas, and some wonderful looking soap dishes.  Although disappointed with my first lip balm, I do still want to try their other products.  And I definitely love the soap!  And I love that it is a Wisconsin company.  I'm so glad I finally gave them a try.

Have YOU tried Blackberry Creek Soaps?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Walmart Fall Mini-Haul

Went to Walmart this morning to do my regular shopping and was anxious to get some of the fall tarts I had passed on the first time I saw them.  I couldn't believe how picked through and cleared out the whole selection was!!!  Seriously, there were a bunch of Country Kettle Corn and one of the cinnamon-spice ones, and then just a few of some of the others.  I had wanted to get Warm Autumn Welcome and A Thankful Harvest but there were none to be found.  My next two choices were going to be Sparkling Cranberry Zest and Mulberry Plum Spice.  I did manage to find a cranberry one in the mess but when I smelled it this time I didn't like it enough to get it.
So in the end, I only got this one . . . which I was lucky enough to even be able to find.  It's funny, because it reminds me of a cranberry scent.  There is not a lot of spice in this, just enough to warm up the fruitiness.  I think it will be nice around Thanksgiving.  Bummed that I didn't get the others I'd wanted though.  I'll have to keep an eye on it, see if they restock.  Even the warmers were practically cleared out.  I had to laugh though, because the much sought after white owl warmer was still there. 

While still in the fall/seasonal section, I noticed these towels and potholders.  There were tons of different designs with leaves or pumpkins or turkeys, all in various styles and colors.  Then I noticed this design with apples and was like "YESSSSS!!!"  I think I've mentioned before that I would like to get more 'early' fall decorations, things with apples instead of pumpkins and turkeys.  This is a start!  I got two dish towels and one potholder.  These are the cheapie ones, only $ .98 each.  Wish there would have been matching placemats or something.  Ah well, it's a start.  I'm happy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Melted - Rincon Scents / Cinnamon Apple Berry

Cinnamon Apple Berry - 'All three scents come alive when mixed together to make
a sweet scent with just a hint of kick.'

I did not like this one.  It's spicy and fruity but there is something sort of 'suffocating' about it.  That sounds weird, I know, but it's like your breath sort of catches when you take a big sniff of it.  Geez, I don't know how to explain it.  The spicy part of it is softened somewhat by the fruity notes, and the berries outweigh the apple, but then overall it's just sort of like when you walk by someone who is wearing too much perfume.  You know that sort of nanosecond of 'Mmm, nice' before the mild choking 'ohmygawd' moment kicks in.

LOL - review of the year, I know.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Starlight Chandling - Tart Haul #2

This is my second order from Starlight Chandling, a shop I found on Etsy recently.  I certainly didn't need more tarts but as I was sorting through the many fall scents I already had in my stash, I realized I didn't have any plain ol' Apple-Cinnamon.  How could that have happened??  I wanted to make a small, quick order and since Starlight Chandling has such affordable tarts I decided that's where I would go.  Except I didn't see any Apple-Cinnamon in her shop.


Not to worry though.  Shop owner Donna is quick to reply to questions and always willing to help.  She said she did indeed have that scent, and got them listed right away.  She was also having a Labor Day sale, and she reminded me I would still get the returning customer discount on top of that, so the cost of tarts was right around $ .50 each.  Well, heck yeah, I'm getting a few more!  I'd also been wanting to try a sinus relief (Vicks) type tart because I'd heard people talking about them recently, and because I seem to be having a lot of stuffy nose and sinus problems lately.  And once again, Donna was very generous with extras.  (Thank you, Donna!!)

So I'll just do a quick list here, and will do more detailed individual reviews later as I melt each one.
  • Apple Cinnamon - 'A wonderful blend of crisp red Mac apples and swirls of cinnamon added throughout. Very clean and crisp and strong.'  Smells great cold, not too spicy.
  • Vicks Vapor Rub - 'This sinus relief fragrance is a cool, crisp blend of camphor, eucalyptus and mint. Great for snuffed up noses!'  How funny that I'm super excited to try this one???  Actually, I got two!  LOL
  • Apple Jack and Peel - 'Warm aromatic spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger are blended with the irresistible scents of apples and oranges to create an unforgettable strong, spicy fragrance.'  I remember this from my soap making days and had to have it.
  • Nutty Taffee Apple - 'A wonderful sweet, crisp red mac apple dunked in a thick, rich caramel taffy coated in nuts.'  Had ordered this before I found that amazing Walmart one.  Whee!
  • Cranberry Chutney - 'A sweet tangy blend of cranberries, raisins and apples.'   I might have also made soap in this scent, it seems familiar.  And it smells great so far in cold throw.
  • Maple Nut Crunch - 'Buttery maple mixed with nutty undertones.'  Kinda strong on the nutty part.  Hope it gets sweeter when it's warm.
  • Lemon Blush - 'This bright fragrance is a wonderful concoction of true tart lemons sweetened with a blend of vanilla, sparkling raspberry, cotton candy and a touch of downy musk.'  My very first thought when I sniffed this was of those Lemonhead candies, but sniffing it again reveals much more.  Can't wait to melt this one!
  • Butter Rum Cappuccino - Can't find this in the shop at the moment. It's stronger on the butter rum than on the cappuccino.  I don't get any coffee type note at all on cold throw.
  • Gembertaarts (Swedish Cupcakes) - 'Swedish Gingerbread cupcake with spices, molasses and buttery notes.'  Had to have this because of hubby's Scandinavian ancestry . . . and because it just sounds so yummy.  A lot of molasses right now on cold throw.
  • Kickin' Caramel - 'Creamy, chewy, smooth, sweet caramel.'  She knew I liked caramel scents so this was a freebie.  It *does* smell pretty dang good!
  • Oatmeal Scotchies - Can't find this one in the shop either.  I think Jordan had gotten this one and I'd made a comment on her blog about it.  I wonder if Donna saw that and added one as a freebie for me?  lol
  • Red Velvet Cake - 'This fragrance begins with top notes of dark chocolate, strawberry syrup and red currant; followed by middle notes of cocoa powder, buttermilk and sugar cane; while sitting on base notes of creamy sandalwood, tonka bean and vanilla extract.'  I'm not a fan of chocolate scents in home fragrance and this is very much a chocolate scent.  Another of the freebies, this one might go into a swap box or something.
  • Home Sweet Home - '(Yankee Duplicate) "A strong house-warming spicy cinnamon.'  Last of the free extras, it's very spicy but seems like there is something more than just cinnamon.
There was a bit of delay in shipping because of Labor Day, and because I added to my original order, but it still got here in ten days.  Everything looks great.  These tarts are so affordable at just $ .80 each, and they weigh right around 1.2 oz. each.  I've cut some from my first order in half and had plenty strong scent throw, even on a second melt in a tea light warmer.  There are a TON of scents to choose from and if you don't see what you're looking for, just send Donna a private message and she will probably have it available in no time.  I'm pretty sure I'll be heading back later in the fall to get some winter/holiday scents!

If you haven't tried Starlight Chandling yet, what are you waiting for?  And if you have tried, what are your favorites??

Melted - Better Homes & Gardens / Candied Caramel Apple

Candied Caramel Apple - [no description available]

I *love* this one!  After my two previous so-so caramel apple scents, I was greatly surprised with how yummy this was.  The caramel in this is a rich and warm, with a hint of saltiness.  I think I'm even detecting a bit of a nutty note.  And I can't decide if the apple is tart or sweet . . . or maybe a blend?  The caramel and apple are about equally balanced.  With two cubes in a tea light warmer, I had plenty of scent for the whole downstairs of my house.  Even much later in the night, well after the tea light had burned out and the wax had cooled, I could still detect the warm, sweet tones lightly throughout the house.  This is a definite winner!

Melted - Better Homes & Gardens / Baked Apple Strudel

Baked  Apple Strudel - [no description available]

I've had this one for a while, maybe even since last winter . . . ?  I know it's been sitting in my little tart cupboard for quite some time, waiting for fall.  Finally used some of it this morning.  This is a nice bakery scent.  Not sure why I was waiting, because it's heavier on the pastry notes than on the apple, so it's not really very fall-like after all.  You do get apple, sweet and juicy, but it's under the warmer notes of the buttery, baked dough and the sugar and spices of the filling.  It is not like an apple pie scent.  There is quite a strong brown sugar note or something sweet and heavy like syrup, at times almost reminding me of caramel.  But overall, yeah, a nice cozy bakery scent.

Melted - Scentsationals / Word's Best Chef

My Mom Is . . . The World's Best Chef! - 'Baked apple and pastry, just like Mom's kitchen!'

Ty had gotten this for me way back on Mother's Day and I'd been saving it for fall because it was a spiced apple scent.  I liked the scent of it cold, but once I finally melted it, wow . . . I pretty much hated it.  There is a tart green apple note, and there is a faint hint of pastry, but it is overwhelmingly strong on the spice.  It's a really strong scent too, so after it was warmed for a while that spice got to be too much, like headache inducing sharpness.  I usually melt two cubes when I use Walmart tarts, but maybe just one cube would have been better for this one.

Melted - Tiffany Candles / Caramel Apple Cinnabon

Caramel Apple Cinnabon - 'Cinnabon blended with caramel apple. (A Tiffany Candles Blend)'

This was a freebie in my order and I was so excited about it, couldn't wait for fall to get here so I could melt it with my other fall scents.  The Cinnabon part of this is described on the site as 'Sweet maple w/ cinnamon & a hint of vanilla.'  Again, I melted the whole tart because cold throw seemed light, and again the warm through was ok but I had hoped for more.  This was sort of a warmer, richer version of Caramel Apple because of those added Cinnabon notes, but after a while I got that odd note again.  I still don't know if it's tart from the apple or what, but there was just something that bothered me after a while.  I'm thinking it was something related to the Caramel Apple part of the fragrance because I noticed in one of my plain ol' Caramel Apple tarts from Tiffany too.

Melted - Tiffany Candle / Caramel Apple

Caramel Apple - 'A juicy apple covered in soft gooey caramel.'

This was my very first time melting anything from Tiffany Candles.  I melted a whole tart in my tea light warmer . . . chose to use a whole tart because the cold throw was light.  Warm throw was ok, but I'd hoped it would be stronger.  The scent itself was nice, a little heavier on the apple but the caramel is  definitely there.  There is something about it though, like an odd note that eventually stood out to me.  I don't know if it was a tart note in the apple, or if the caramel was just not as 'warm' and gooey as I would prefer, but after a while I just wasn't thrilled with this one.

Melted - Starlight Chandling / Granny's Zucchini Bread

Granny's Zucchini Bread - 'Hot sweet zucchini bread, with a hint of spice and pumpkin chunks
all blended together in this traditional holiday bread.'

Melted only half of the tart and it was plenty strong. It's a typical warm, bread scent, with that sort of deep tangy sweet note from what I'm guessing is the zucchini. (I don't have a clue what zucchini smells like.) There is also a salty note deep in the richness that makes the core of this scent. It was ok, but as I've said, I'm just not into the zucchini blend phase.

Melted - Starlight Chandling / Peach Grove and Citrus Blossom

Peach Grove and Citrus Blossom - 'A wonderful blend of ripe peaches and citrus. A hint of lemon leaf with fresh lemon peel and grapefruit zest. Peach tones are present with a creamy base of vanilla.'

Melted half of the tart. This was on the lighter side. It's heavy on the peach and there is a sort of fizzy note to it . . . you know how some have that carbonated 'note'? The fizzy part has the zing of the citrus mentioned in the description. I didn't really notice vanilla. Mainly a fizzy peach scent.

Melted - Starlight Chandling / Passion Mango

Passion Melon - 'This fragrance is the essence of passion melons combined with ripe figs
and the berries of a Myrtle bush. It is a vibrant scent that is clean and natural.'

Was not a fan of this one. Melted just half the tart and again it was plenty strong, but I just didn't care for it. There was the recognizable 'melon' note, but the blend of whatever is in there seemed like a heavy mango type scent, and there was something almost salty about it. Did not like this one.

Melted - Starlight Chandling / Coconut Lime Verbena

Coconut Lime Verbena - 'Fresh coconuts, limes and fragrant verbena,
warmed by vanilla and musk. BBW type.'

I melted half of this and had a decent scent throw, a bit light but still noticeable. If you're not already familiar with this scent, it's more lime and verbena than it is coconut. It's bright and fun and summery.

Melted - Starlight Chandling / Mango and Tangerine

Mango and Tangerine - 'An exotic fusion of fresh mango and ripe tangerine. Subtle tropical notes of papaya, peach and creamy coconut create an awesome summer fragrance.'

Melted half of this one and it is very strong. Even on the second melt in a tea light warmer, there is just as much scent as the first time around. I mainly get the mango, and I think the peach is coming through along with a bit of zing from the tangerine. I don't notice any coconut. It's a very happy, summery scent.