Sunday, September 30, 2012
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! :)
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.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
They have hayrides here, and a big play area for kids. There is a craft barn, where you go up a ramp to the former hay mow that has been cleaned out and turned into a craft fair type place. Downstairs in the barn is where the caramel apples are made and sold, and the line here is always long.
There is another building that is called The Apple House. I think it might have been another barn in old days. Inside you can buy more craft fair type things, but this one is mainly food items. There are jams, syrups, salsas, butters, preserves, sauces. There are soup mixes, cake mixes, cookies mixes, candies, recipe books, kitchen items. I found some candles and even some soaps in there. And this is where you can buy their homemade pies and muffins, fresh and frozen. Yep, this building is verrrrrrry popular.
They also have animals there, like this Highland something-or-other cattle. (There was another one laying behind the trough to the right.)
There are peacocks that stroll about the grounds.
There are a bunch of goats and sheep that kids love to feed.
One of the funniest things is a series of ramps set up along one barn, that lead up to a second story platform where a pulley contraption is. The lower end of this pulley is down at the fence and kids love to put a food pellet in the cup, crank the handle so the belt carries the cup up and dumps it in a tray. Quite often there is an adventurous goat that will journey up the ramps to claim that treat reward. There was one up there today. Silly goat!
I love this picture! In the background is the historic family house. I don't remember the details offhand, but this place is gorgeous. We noticed that it was open to the public this year. Apparently they had coffee and a gift shop inside, but we didn't go in because we already had our hands full from the Apple House shop.
The Little Farmer is obviously located out in the country. It is in the hilly, gorgeous area along the east side of Lake Winnebago (Wisconsin). I took this pic from the parking lot, just to show the fall colors we're already getting here. This view is actually less colorful that most places in the area. And if the picture went a hair more to the left you'd be able to actually see the lake not too far back.
There was one damper to this visit . . . the fact that we almost freakin' died while leaving. Seriously! It's a busy highway and right as we were pulling out, heading to the right, a line of cars was approaching in the other lane and some dickhead, flying about 60mph, decides to pull out and pass, which brought him into our lane! Hubby had to floor it and jerk the truck back over to the shoulder and the guy that was being passed had to swerve to his shoulder, and the dumbfuck was swerving everywhere, unsure what to do. GEEZ!!!!
We then headed over to another of our favorite local places . . . Kelley Country Creamery. This is a family owned ice cream shop and dairy farm that we discovered three years ago, and now love to make a traditional fall visit.
Some cute fall decorations at our rustic wooden table.
Hubby had a Slow Moving Vehicle sundae (typical vanilla, fudge, nuts), and I had my usual Pumpkin Pecan w/caramel sundae. We just got small size this year because the regular ones are huge. We usually bring some ice cream home too but didn't this time because we'd just spent so much at the Little Farmer.
After our ice cream we just went cruising around on country roads, looking at the fall colored scenery. We had fun just wondering into areas we don't normally go to, and then eventually found our way back to familiar roads and headed home.
So that was our fun little adventure for today. I do have older posts about both of these places, but don't have time at the moment to look back for the links. I think doing a search of the blog should get you to them. Also, you can see a ton more pics from today in the Facebook album located HERE if you're interested.
Do you have a special local favorite? What do you love about it? I'd love to hear.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
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 marsmallows....to 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.
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.
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
Do you have a brand that you love? Have you tried Organix? If so, which one? I'm open to suggestions on this topic.
(By the way, the ribbon looked way cuter originally. I had opened it to examine everything and then retied it to take pictures. Doh!)
It is in Winter Porridge scent and some old info I found online describes it as '...hot steaming oats with cream, butter and saffron infused honey...' and also mentions brown sugar. The ingredients do not mention any fragrance though. Sniffing it, this is a very nice scent but does not remind me of my beloved Oatmeal, Milk & Honey at all. This is a sweet, slightly warm/comforting scent, with something almost perfume-y about it. Really nice. Looking forward to using this!
And how gorgeous is that label??
I was shocked to see these two products were Moonalisa brand. Moonalisa is one of those shops that I refuse to bother with, like Haunt, because there is never anything available and the big special event restock sales are chaotic wastes of time for most people who try to nab something. But now that I have my hands on some, I admit I'm kind of excited. I had to ask Jean how the heck she got these. Turns out she got them through a third party's destash sale and had them sent to me. That's why the face mask is from Arcana Soaps and not something from Moonalisa. Ahh ha. I was so confused when looking through this package. LOL!
So yes, many huge "Thank you!!!"s go out to Jean for such a unique (to me) and surprising gift. You certainly didn't have to do that. :)
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.
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!
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 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. :)
Ah well, just wanted to share that.
Friday, September 21, 2012
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.
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.
Sitting here at the computer last night and noticed something outside out of the corner of my eye. Turned to look and froze in shock. Ok, yeah, we DO live out in the country and we have seen deer in the yard often enough but rarely THIS close to the house.
We've lived here 16 years now and this kind of thing is still thrilling to me. They're showing up more often, and coming closer now that we have no dogs to bark and scare them away.
Just wish I had a better camera for times such as this.