Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Read - City of Glass

City of Glass
by Cassandra Clare
2009
541 pages

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.


*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

This is the third book in the Mortal Instrument series and I find I've been liking each book more than the previous one.  This one begins pretty much where the last one ended, and the bulk of it takes place in the Shadowhunters homeland, Idris.  I really wonder if author Cassandra Clare has played World of Warcraft because so much of Idris, of the capital city Alicante, the surrounding countryside . . . all reminded me of the towns and lands in Warcraft.  It's all stone cottages and cobblestone streets, no electricity, horses in the stables, etc.

I don't even know how I want to write these book 'reviews' anymore.  I don't want to give too much away, but I don't want to be so vague that it means nothing.  And to really comment on how I felt about certain things, I have to give some details away.  What to do, what to do??

I once again really liked the whole Valentine-Jace storyline and interactions.  For as evil as Valentine is, I like him.  He might just be my favorite character in the whole dang series.

(I think a lot of that is because of who is playing him in the movie,
and the fact that I so easily 'see' him and his Henry Tudor personality as I'm reading.)

Because this third book was originally meant to be the FINAL book, most of the loose ends were tied up.  Truths about a lot of things were finally learned, mainly whether or not Jace and Clary really are brother-sister.  I think we all pretty much knew that they weren't but I couldn't come up with a reasonable explanation for who Jace really was, and that was a fun and frustrating pondering game like I haven't had since my days of reading Harry Potter or watching Lost.  While I had most of the pieces picked out, I just hadn't been able to fit them together properly.  So yes, I was a bit surprised to learn who was who, and how Jace had come to be raised how he was.  You could say it was a bit farfetched, but once it was finally all revealed it just seemed to work.  And even though it was all Valentine's twisted demented doing, it was still kind of sad.  I felt bad for him!  But I'm being vague . . . 

Not only did I find myself thinking of Warcraft a lot with this book, I also had some mild Lord of the Rings vibes.  Jace goes off alone to try and confront Valentine and put an end to things, to save everyone from a war that is looming.  Meanwhile, the Shadowhunters are trying to form alliances with the Downworlders and build a united army to stand against the demon army Valentine is threatening to unleash on them.  It reminded me of Frodo and Sam trying to get the ring to Mt. Doom while Gandalf and all the rest are trying to hold off the orcs and hang in there.

The main new character in this third book was Sebastian.  Oh what a bucket of trouble he turned out to be.  You know pretty quickly that something is not right with this guy.  I figured it out way before the book finally explains it, but even so there are some things about this guy that you just really hate.  You thought Valentine was the evil one?  And it's funny because once I figured out what was going on, all I could picture this character as was this guy . . . 
. . . the stupidly arrogant and evil Viserys (Khaleesi's brother) from Game of Thrones.  LOL!!!  He is perfect for this role if they continue to make these books into movies!

There are a lot of big dramatic events towards the end of the book.  While I would normally think the whole 'this person died but oh, no wait, this person was saved afterall' tactic is predictable and lame, it seemed to work this time.  And while it might sound cheesy that Jace was pushing himself to the very end with the thought of seeing Clary just one more time driving him, and Clary doing the same in her situation, again, it worked this time.  I liked that there was enough distraction for Jace to get one final act in.  I liked that Clary had to struggle and drag herself and managed one small last act, liked that she didn't come charging in all pretty and heroic to save the day, liked that her struggle was unseen instead of some huge thing in front of her foe.  I can just *see* these scenes as a movie.  Ohhhhh, I almost think I'm more looking forward to this as a movie than the first one!

Since this was originally supposed to be the end of the this series, I'm quite curious to see what will happen in the fourth book.  It will be nice to see how Jace and Clary are as a couple now that all the brother-sister ickiness has been cleared up.  Alec and Magnus finally went public with their relationship.  Simon has TWO girls vying for his attention.  Luke and Jocelyn are finally together.  And evil has been defeated.

Or has it?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Melted - Front Porch Candle Co. / Blackberry Marshmallow Butter Jam Cookies

Blackberry Marshmallow Butter Jam Cookies - [no description available]

Mouthful of a name, huh?  Despite taking all day just to say the name, I really liked this one.  It had that sort of cheesecake note in there that we discussed in the Lemon Cookies post, so I know now that it must be from the 'cookie' part.  This reminded me almost of berry mousse type scents that are out there.  There was a nice dark, rich berry note to this, and it was all wrapped up in a sweet, creamy note that made it slightly warmer, and not so summer-fruity.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had strong scent with medium-strong throw.  You could really tell there was something melting but it wasn't overpowering at all.  I smelled it easily in the room my warmer is in, and a little bit lighter throughout the rest of the downstairs.  It was giving off scent as soon as it hit the warmer, stayed strong right till the end of one tea light burn (about four hours).  I could probably get another melt out of this.

Very nice one!

Melted - Front Porch Candle Co. / Sugary Marshmallow

Sugary Marshmallow - [no description available]

I'm pretty sure the 'Sugary' in this is Warm Vanilla & Sweet Sugar, which is Front Porch's dupe for Warm Vanilla Sugar from Bath & Body Works.  I like that B&BW scent, and I like Front Porch's marshmallow scent, so it's no surprise that I liked this one.  It was a lighter scent, very pretty, with that slight perfume note from the musk in the dupe.  This is a sweet scent, not at all warm and gooey from marshmallow.  It was a light scent too, just something soft and nice in the air.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and while the scent itself was light, the throw was pretty strong.  I detected the shy loveliness of this scent throughout most of the downstairs of the house.  Again, it was one of those subtle scents, where the house smells nice but you don't really know that it's from scented wax.  It would have been nice to smell it a bit more but sometimes lighter is better.

I liked this one.

Melted - Front Porch Candle Co. / Strawberry Marshmallow Bread

Strawberry Marshmallow Bread - [no description available]

Hated this one.  In fact, I didn't even have it in the warmer long enough for it to fully melt.  I knew when I ordered this that I did not like zucchini bread scents, and I knew that Front Porch's bread scents are apparently zucchini bread 99% of the time.  However, I thought I loved their marshmallow scents and I must have thought that would outweigh the icky zucchini bread notes or something.  Not in the least!  On cold sniff I did get a nice, soft strawberry scent, and some of that yummy sweet marshmallow scent, but once this was starting to warm that zucchini charged to the forefront.  There was a bit of sweetness but not distinctly strawberry.

This smelled like Cheerios to me.

Like I said, this was in the warmer maybe five minutes.  There was immediate strong scent, but it just wasn't a scent that I liked.  I suppose I could have stuck with it for a while, see if that strawberry marshmallow would come back, but nah . . . I blew out the tea light and decided to salvage this poor tart, maybe pass it on to someone else.

So while this was a huge fail for me, keep in mind it's because I don't like zucchini bread scents, and not because the scent itself is bad.  I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who think this is a fabulous scent.  I'm just not one of them.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Melted - Front Porch Candle Co. / Lemon Cookies

Lemon Cookies - (In House Blend) Lemon anything is my favorite,
this scent combines lemon with sweet sugary cookies.

I seem to be in love with lemon scents at the moment, and I have a bunch of them in my Front Porch stash.  This one super yummy.  It is most definitely lemon ... bright and sort of tart ... but it's also sweet and a bit soft from the cookie notes.  The cookie in this one isn't as distinct as in the Mrs. Claus' Cookies post from earlier today.  Sometimes there is an almost cheesecake-like note in there.
I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium scent and throw.  It was interesting because sometimes it seemed stronger the farther away from the warmer I got.  It scented the room my warmer is in quite nicely, easily noticeable but not too strong, and then there were hints of creamy lemon loveliness traveling slightly into the adjacent rooms.  It did fade slightly by the end of one tea light burn (about four hours) but I could still smell it lightly in the air.

A winner scent-wise, just wish it had been a smidge stronger.

Melted - Front Porch Candle Co. / Orange Danish & Coffee

Orange Danish & Coffee - (In House Blend) One of our most popular coffee scents.
Sit down with your morning coffee and orange danish and enjoy!

On cold sniff, this is a delicious scent.  I could smell the sweetness from the danish, and even a very light hint of orange ... could just imagine that orange icing drizzling down the sides of a still warm danish.  The coffee note was light on cold sniff.  The scent did a complete flip-flop when warmed.  Coffee was the main note, and while not too harsh it did have a bit of that bitterness that comes with strong black coffee scents.  The yummy, sticky, sweet orange danish scent was gone.  There was a soft sweet note, but nothing I'd recognize as orange or danish.  It was just an ok scent while warm, didn't love it, didn't hate it.

The scent itself was rather light. Melting this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer, I only got a light-medium scent at best, and weak throw. I could smell it easily in the general area of my warmer, but not much if was on the far side of the room. There was a very faint hint of coffee scent in the air in the next room every once in a while. Because it was light in general, I didn't pay much attention to if it faded by the end of a four hour tea light.

An average scent, but I'd probably not choose this one again.

Melted - Front Porch Candle Co. / Mrs. Claus' Cookies

Mrs. Claus' Cookies - (In House Blend) Yummy Christmas Cookies
topped with icing and peppermint chips.

I didn't receive this until after Christmas but wow, I wish I'd had it before. Peppermint is the predominate note but even so, it's not a sharp minty scent.  It is softened and warmed a lot by the cookie notes, which are almost equal in the blend.  When I say 'cookie' I mean baked goods note, not just a generic vanilla note.  It's like a nice warm sugar cookie, all done up in sweet frosting with pretty sprinkles.  Years ago a coworker added crushed candy cane bits and dust to a simple sugar cookie recipe and this scent absolutely makes me think of those cookies.  Makes me hungry, and makes me sad that Christmas has come and gone already.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium-strong scent with a light-medium throw.  It's a near perfect amount of scent in room my warmer is in, but only faint traces can be detected in adjacent rooms.  This is probably fine for people who use multiple warmers, so your scents don't overlap, but I just use one at a time and would have liked a bit more scent to reach farther away.  But still, the subtle hints I pick up in other areas are still very nice with that slight refreshing peppermint note just lightly in the air.  The scent did seem to fade quite a bit by the end of one tea light burn though (about four hours).

Overall, this one is a winner.  (Luckily, I have one more!)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Walmart / Better Homes & Gardens Quickie

I checked Walmart again today for any new 'spring' tarts.  Did not see any yet, but I did take a closer look at the Better Homes & Gardens large jar candles that are on display in the main aisle.  I don't buy these candles but since they seem to often be in the same scents as the tarts, I thought it might be a heads up to what scents will be coming.

Anyway, just a quickie list of the scents I saw in candle form . . .
  • Heirloom Magnolia Blossom
  • Country Sandalwood Vanilla
  • Red Rose Bouquet
  • Freshly Picked Flowers
  • Creamy Tahitian Coconut
  • Iced Raspberry Sangria
  • Soft Cashmere Amber
(I don't know how many of these are *new* because I know for a fact that Soft Cashmere Amber has been a constant in the tart lineup forever.)
I only sniffed one, and I think that was Freshly Picked Flowers.  (It was a purple one.)  Now, I'm not generally a floral fan but that one smelled awesome!  It was a sweet, beautiful scent.  Possibly some lilac in that one.  It will be perfect for spring and summer!  I hope these DO show up in tart form!

Have YOU seen any new scents at your Walmart?

***UPDATE***
I've watched a couple random wax videos and one new scent that's popping up is Pure White Woods.  One woman insists it is a dead-on dupe of the Mahogany Teakwood candle from Bath & Body Works, another woman says it's a dupe of a mens cologne but she couldn't think of which one.  I'm curious about this one now.  Don't know if I'll like it or buy it, but I really want to find it and at least sniff it.

Another that was mentioned was Calming Lavender Sunshine.  I know there are a lot of lavender lovers out there.  I've also seen Chilled Berry Bellini mentioned.  Usually my Walmart is pretty on top of things, but they seem to be lacking in tart trends lately!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Melted - Ollie's Soaps / Vanilla Frosted Grahams

Vanilla Frosted Grahams - [no description available]

I didn't realize when I order this scent from Ollie's Soaps that I already had four cubes of this scent from another vendor, something I'd gotten in a swap or as a gift some time ago.  I also didn't remember that when I melted those other cubes recently, that one of the scents from Ollie's that was sitting in my tart cupboard was the same thing.  LOL - Did you follow that?

This is such a yummy scent, sort of warm and comforting.  I've said it before but who would ever think that a boring ol' graham cracker could smell so interesting and so GOOD?  And then add just a bit more sweetness from the vanilla frosting.  Mmmmm!  This is not spicy, not overly sugary.  It is very much a foodie, bakery scent, plain and simple.  It's one of those scents that makes you think something good is baking, not that you have a candle burning.

I first melted just one of the .6 oz. donut tarts in my tea light warmer.  I got very noticeable scent almost right away, but it only really reached a soft-medium strength and throw.  It was very nice in the room my warmer is in, but not much beyond that general area.  The scent had nearly faded by the time the tea light burned out (about four hours).  Then I took another of my tea light warmers, one with a larger dish, and melted the remaining three donut tarts all in one shot.  Again, there was an initial burst of strong scent, then it settled down to a light/medium throw, and again faded by the end of the tea light.

A very pleasing scent while it lasted, just wish it had hung around longer.

Melted - Ollie's Soaps / Serendipity Noel

Serendipity Noel - [no description available]

This is my first time melting anything from Ollie's Soaps.  I wasn't sure how much to melt, one cute little donut tart, or two.  Usually I like to melt around 1 oz. worth of wax because two cubes of my ever reliable Walmart tarts is about .8 oz, and that has always been a good amount.  So anyway, each of the Ollie's donuts is only about .6 oz.  Hmmmmm, melt one and hope it's strong enough?  Or melt two and not get as much for my money out of the package?  Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.  Well, I decided to just start with one and it worked out fine.  Yay!

I'm confused on how I feel about this scent.  Serendipity is a super popular scent right now, general containing notes of powdered sugar, vanilla, cherry, orange, and coconut.  It's very sweet.  The Noel in this would be the ever popular Vanilla Bean Noel (Bath & Body Works) which consists of vanilla and caramel and hints of musk or something like that.  On cold sniff, I love this Serendipity Noel.  While in the warmer though, I found myself getting sick of it fairly quick.  I get a lot of the Serendipity in this Ollie's blend, quite strong on the coconut.  The deeper sweetness of the Noel is right there with it though, the sort of rich vanilla providing an excellent base for the party of sweetness going on.  It is an awesome scent!  But it just reached its pleasure peak early for me and I was wanting to switch it out after about the first hour.  I didn't though.  Maybe I was just having an off day.

Performance-wise, one little .6 oz. donut tart in my tea light warmer provided almost immediate scent.  There was strong scent and good throw throughout most of the downstairs of my house.  I did notice the scent was very strong very fast, then seemed to taper off to more of a medium scent for the remainder of the tea light.  This is how I've noticed that Candles From The Keeping Room tarts perform for me too.  I didn't think to check if there was any scent left after that first melt . . . which is something I was meaning to add to my reviews this year.  Doh! 

Overall, I'm happy with this first Ollie's Soaps tart experience.  And I have three more of these Serendipity Noel donuts to play around with when I'm in the mood for something uber-sweet.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Haul - Sweet Fixations / Tarts

YAY!  The last of my large, year ending orders is finally here and this time it is from Sweet Fixations.  Towards the end of last year, as I was considering picking just one or two wax vendors and sticking with them, Sweet Fixations was always on my list of possibles.  I've ordered from Tia twice before and as far as I can remember, have enjoyed all of the tarts I've received.

One of the biggest things I like about this vendor is that fact that you can buy single tarts.  I don't need to worry about large bags of a scent I don't like, or sampler packs with some of the scents being things I don't like, or bundle packs where I'm forced to pick five scents when there were only three I wanted to try.  At the Sweet Fixations website you will find 1+ oz. scallop tarts sell for $1.75, and 2 oz. scent shots are $1.50.  Yeah, it would totally make more sense to buy the larger scent shots then, wouldn't it?  I might switch to that in the future but given a choice, I don't like the tarts in cups because I don't like having to cut tarts.  (True, I could use the whole scent shot at once, but when I normally melt around 1 oz. at a time, I'd be getting more bang for my buck by chopping the 2 oz. ones in half.)  You can also find other shapes and options, like hearts, brittle, cake bites, and more.  Eventually I want to try all of these other things too.  There ARE sampler packs, if that's what you're into.  There is also a 'scent creator' section where you can request custom blends.

Shipping is quite reasonable.  Up to $21 is a flat rate of $5.00, $21.01-$49.99 is a flat rate of $6.00, and any order of $50 or more gets you free shipping.  Plus, if you order $40 or more, you will get a free 4-pack and I think you even get to choose the scent(s).  I'm pretty sure she also includes a freebie in smaller orders as well.

Shipping times can vary.  The site currently says 7-10 days, but I've seen it lower than that.  I suppose it depends how busy she is at the moment.  Also, there is a 'ready to ship' section that ships within a day or two, if I'm remembering correctly.  My order was a mix of 'ready to ship' and regular, so it took a while longer.  I ordered on Monday evening (Dec. 31) and received my order the following Friday (Jan. 11).  Everything always comes nicely packaged, and one time there was even candy added to the box.  (*Sweet* Fixations, ya know.)  Tia takes the time to include a handwritten note on both the business card and the invoice.  It may not seem like something important, but it's the personal little touches that make ordering from private vendors fun.

Enough nattering.  You're dying to know what I got, aren't you?!

I ordered 35 tarts (all different scents) and received four freebies.  I'll just do a list of them with a few first impression thoughts, and scent descriptions if available.  Individual pictures and more detailed reviews will come in my Melted series as I melt these.  Most of these are new to me.  Some I've had from other vendors.  A few I've had in my previous orders.

Here we go . . .
  • Raspberry Macaroon - 'Toasted coconut, caramelized sugar, and raspberry.'  Ooh, yummy.  You get the raspberry for sure but there is an almost creamy sweetness from the coconut.
  • Dole Whip - '(SF Blend)- Fresh pineapple and vanilla ice cream.'  A bright, creamy pineapple.
  • Sinus Relief - 'Smells like Vick's vapor rub. Cool, crisp mint fragrance. This seriously works!!'  Wow, yeah, that's a strong Vicks smell.  And it's weirdly comforting.  I've been wanting to try one of these sinus relief tarts for a while now.  I never thought there was anything to them, but people swear they work.
  • Rice Krispie Treats - '(SF Blend)- Vanilla, marshmallow, and butter.'  Kind of waxy smelling right now, strong on the butter.
  • Sweet Cherry Bread - '(SF Blend)- Buttered bread topped with juicy cherries.'  Interesting.  Strong on the bread note (and not yucky zucchini bread!) with subtle hints of the cherry.
  • Hot Buttered Rum - 'A rich and strong warm drink with rum, french vanilla, and butterscotch.'  Yummers, although it smells more candy-like than warm-drink-like.  It smells like butterscotch Lifesavers.
  • Flip Flops - 'Tropical vanilla scent with creamy coconut.'  Creamy coconut, not overly sweet like some can be.
  • Lemon Drizzle Bread - '(SF Blend)- Fresh baked buttery bread drizzled with lemon.'  Oh, love this one.  Nice sweet lemon first, with slight bready undertones.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies - 'The wonderful smell of freshly baked cookies with semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla.'  I've had this one before.  I usually don't like chocolate scents but this is one exception, probably because of the sweetness from the cookie notes.
  • Glazed Donuts - 'Butter, Fried dough, and sweet glaze.'  Light scent right now but yeah, it does smell like opening a box or bag of glazed donuts.  There is that sweet doughy-ness, and something sugary.
  • Serendipity - 'Sweet vanilla, powdered sugars, sweet cherry, orange citrus and yummy coconut. Very sweet and so so good!'  Have had this from other vendors but thought I'd try it from here too.  Some people find it just too darn sweet.  I get the cherry and coconut, with a trace of orange zing, and lots of sugar.  This one doesn't seem AS chokingly sweet as others.
  • Blueberry French Toast - '(SF Blend)- Delicious blueberries and french toast.'  Light right now, but I do get the blueberry note, and some bakery sweetness that I wouldn't know is 'French toast' if I didn't already know what this was.  I might be picking up a faint hint of cinnamon too.
  • Honey I Washed The Kids - 'Top notes of honey drizzled over toffee with a soft white musk background. Lush Type.'  Kind of perfume-y because of the musk, but very nice.  Soft and sweet, and almost floral.
  • Lemon Fluff - '(SF Blend) - Sweet and sour lemons blended with marshmallow.'  Lemon like the Lemonheads candy, with just a touch of creaminess.
  • Yellow Polka Dot Bikini - '(SF Blend)- Great summer blend of creamy coconut and lemon.'  I've had this before too.  Really interesting because you're never quite sure if it's the lemon or the coconut that is stronger.
  • Rockin Vanilla - 'Vanilla and hazelnut.'  Had this one too, and love it because it reminds me of the very first tart I ever melted.  A deep, rich, vanilla with soft hazelnut notes.
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake - 'Sweet pineapples, baked cake, butter, brown sugar and cherries.'  Ohhh myyy, this is fabulous.  Pineapple first but the cherry is quite strong, and a definite cake note.
  • Strawberry French Toast'(SF Blend)- Sweet strawberry jam and french toast.'  This one is more recognizable as what you might think of French toast (without syrup).  The strawberry kinda wraps around it, like you're not sure if that's what you're smelling or not.
  • Banana French Toast - '(SF Blend)- French toast stuffed with bananas and topped with cinnamon streusel.'  Oh yummy!  The banana is soft and sweet along with the 'toast' notes.  Only the very lightest hint of cinnamon.
  • Berry Creme Noel - '(SF Blend)- Sugary berries topped with vanilla caramel glaze and a dash of vanilla bean noel.'  The Vanilla Bean Noel is quite strong, with very sweet berry notes mixed in.
  • Lemon Noel - '(SB Blend)- Refreshing lemons and vanilla bean noel.'  Strong Lemonheads type lemon, and slight notes of creamy vanilla but not recognizable as Vanilla Bean Noel at this point.
  • Almond Rum Cake - 'Yummy cake with chopped almonds, vanilla extract, dark rum, and vanilla.'  Nice!  Strong almond but the cake note is there and I do get the rum.  Yummy.
  • 7Up Pound Cake - 'Lemon-lime, warm cake, vanilla, and sugar.'  I remember when this scent was all the rage, and it was one of the first I'd ever gotten from Kim's Tarts.  Thought I'd get it again just for old times sake.  And I still love it . . . strong cake note first, then the bright lemon-lime notes with some creaminess.
  • Graham Crackers - 'Crispy graham crackers with honey, wheat, sugar, and cinnamon.'  Had this before and couldn't believe how much I fell in love with this scent.  You wouldn't think boring ol' graham crackers could be so lovely!  I don't know how to describe it.  Just warm and comforting.  Not too sweet from the honey.  Not too spicy from the cinnamon.  Not too sugary.  Just GOOD.
  • Vanilla Frosted Grahams - 'Vanilla gram crackers topped with raisins and cinnamon.'  Because I loved the Graham Crackers scent so much I wondered what it would be like in this version.  Funny too, because while waiting for the order to come I had finally melted some sample cubes of The Bathing Garden's version of this and loved it.  Sniffing this one, yep, the delicious graham scent but a bit sweeter this time around.
  • Purple Cow - 'Just like the Popsicles from our childhood. Grape and Vanilla ice cream.'  Quite creamy, not overwhelmingly grape.  It's like candy grape, not full juicy fruity grape.
  • Butterscotch Ice Cream - 'Butterscotch, vanilla ice cream, topped with nutty pecans.'  Yes!  Love butterscotch scents!  This is very rich vanilla-butterscotch,  I don't really get the nuts at this point but I'm just so happy with the butterscotch that I don't care.
  • Honeyed Almond - The description for this one on the site is nowhere near close to honeyed almonds so I'm assuming that is an error.  Wow, I'm surprised that I *don't* like this one.  It's not at all what I was expecting, which would have been something closer to an Oatmeal, Milk & Honey type scent.  This is just weird.  Maybe that incorrect description IS correct?!  I don't even know how to describe this.  It's almost like a bad perfume with a hint of fruit zest at the center.  Weird.
  • Butter Brickle Crunch - 'Vermont maple, toffee bits, and creamy butter.'  I might have had this one before.  It's very yummy, almost butterscotch-y.  It reminds me of the Better Homes & Gardens one I love so much, Butterscotch Maple Cream.
  • Brown Sugar Cake - '(SF Blend)- Sweet brown sugar drizzled over yellow pound cake.'  Kind of light right now but still delish.  A darkly sweet cake scent, if that makes sense.  Got this because another popular vendor refuses to stock brown sugar scents even though they've been requested for weeks and are in her scent list.  We won't name names though . . . 
  • Vanilla Crunch Cupcake - '(SF Blend)- Buttery toffee topped with crunch cuts and baked into freshly made cake.'  Lovely vanilla cupcake scent.
  • Summer Days - '(SF Blend)- Creamy coconut and fresh apple.'  Apple first and foremost, very slight coconut softening it.
  • Blue Hawaii - 'Tropical fruity drink with juicy orange, pineapple, lemon,cherries, rum and coconut.'  Pretty sure I had this one before too.  Mmmm, strongest on the coconut, rum, and pineapple. A little bit of fruity brightness from the other notes.
  • Beach Retreat - '(SF Blend)- Juicy fresh pineapple blended with creamy coconut.'  Creamy pineapple, with hints of coconut.  Sound similar to several others in this list, yet this one is not a fave.  Not bad, but didn't give me the 'Ooh, like!' reaction.
  • Pancakes & Syrup - '(SF Blend)- Buttermilk pancakes topped with warm maple syrup and berries.'  Not a strong maple note, and the berry note is very light.  I do get pancakes out of it though.
  • Cranberry Cobbler - 'Sweet and sour red cranberries baked in sugar and lightly browned pie crust.'  I got two of these as part of my freebies.  Mainly a tart cranberry scent yet sugary sweet.  I don't really get much of the crust note at this point.
  • Grapefruit - 'Sweet, juicy, and freshing grapefuit with a tangy zest.'  Also got two of these as the other part of my freebies.  I didn't choose the free scent, just told her to surprise me.  This is very bright, energizing, but not that pucker-face tartness that can be grapefruit.  This is more of a sugar sweetened grapefruit.  It's quite nice.
Wow, it's taken me forever to write this post.  I guess that's one reason I should only place small orders . . . so the haul posts are quick and easy to do!  LOL  But anyway, that is my mega haul from Sweet Fixations.  I got a variety of scents because this is supposed to tide me over for quite some time.  I want to get back to melting my tarts as long as there is scent, instead of just racing through them so I can move onto the next.  That will also allow me to (hopefully) keep up on my Melted series.

I'm sure most of you are already familiar with Sweet Fixations.  Did you see anything in this list that you think you'd order?  What are some of your favorite Sweet Fixations scents?  Have you tried her other wax options, like the cake bites or brittle?  Let me know what you thought!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Read - City of Ashes

City of Ashes
by Cassandra Clare
2008
453 pages

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.
 
*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
 
This is the second book in the Mortal Instrument series, and I enjoyed it more than the first.  This one jumps around from various characters' perspectives.  Normally I don't like it when stories do that, especially when it's done with more than one character, but in this case it allowed my favorite parts of the book to happen . . . the interactions between Jace and Valentine.  I was almost wishing this could just be Jace's story.  I think a huge part of why I'm so fond of their storyline is because of who is playing them in the first movie from this series.
Jace is being played by Jamie Campbell Bower.

Valentine is being played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

I *loved* Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII in The Tudors.  I haven't seen him in much else, but the one other role, the first one actually, I remember him from was the movie Ride With the Devil.  He was this really skinny, pale, rather homely looking bad guy cowboy, but something about him stuck with me.  Well, the few things I've seen Jamie Campbell Bower in, I have liked him, but he sort of reminds me of . . . JRM in that Devil movie.  Go figure!  The fact they are father and son in this series makes it perfect.

(Or ARE they father and son?  Hmmmm.)

So anyway, in this second book Valentine is causing trouble again.  He has the second of the Mortal Instruments and has a deadly plan.  Now that it's confirmed Valentine is indeed alive and that things are in chaos, more characters from the Clave show up in this book.  Alec and Isabelle's parents and little brother have returned home, along with the hard-nose Inquisitor.  She is there to question Jace about what happened in the first book, and his apparent connections to Valentine.  It's obvious from the start that this Inquisitor woman does not like Jace but it's not until much later in the book that we find out why.  And then there is a twist.  While I didn't see it coming, and they did not actually reveal it in this second book, I do think I know what the hints are meant to mean.  If it's going to be what I think, it will be stupid.  It will be reaching too far to try and bend the story around to something else.  It also makes me sad for Jace because it will once again make him wonder who he really is . . . if my guess is right.  (Even with my spoiler warning, I don't want to say it here.  Sorry!)

Some big events happened with Simon, Clary's best friend and now boyfriend.  At first I thought it was a ridiculous angle to the story, but then I was surprised with how sad it all really was.  It kinda got me in the gut.  There is obviously some plan farther into this series that will heavily involve Simon.  Or at least I hope so, because although what happened to him in this book was interesting, I think it would be a rather large and unneeded twist if there is nothing important for him to come.

The story sticks quite close to one main plot in this book, which is always good.  There were some extra things going on in the first book that, while they did serve a purpose, seemed sometimes distracting.  There was also sort of a detached feeling in this book with the jumping around in perspectives.  Everyone was focused on the task at hand, but it also felt kind of spread out.  They would come and go from the Institute, a place we really got to know in the first book, but it seemed so cold and distant.  After the big battle, as the book wound down, it was actually kind of heartwarming or reassuring or whatever to have Jace and Clary revisit the diner they'd gone to in the first book.  It was like something familiar, something to bring it all back together.

I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to seeing where the next one takes this story.

Haul - Amazon

Love me some Amazon!

As mentioned in a previous post, I placed a fairly large Amazon order on New Year's Eve.  I was needing the third book in the Mortal Instruments series but Santa hadn't brought it and we had no luck finding it in local stores so I knew I'd have to get it from Amazon.  There was a series hubby had been wanting so I decided I might as well order that too.  Then I just decided to get some other things I'd been wanting, instead of putting it off and making scattered small orders.

So let's take a look!

First, and possibly boring to some, are three cds.  I love soundtracks and scores, and I must have complete sets of things.  I never had gotten the last two soundtracks from the TV show Lost.  Yes, I have the soundtrack cds from Lost.  I *LOVED* that show, was obsessed with it like nothing else.  I still can't help crying when I hear the sad piano music from Boone's death, or the music from the first season finale when the raft set sail.  Ohhhhhhmygod, who did not cry when Vincent the dog started swimming after it????

Anyway, finally got the final two seasons and it will be quite trippy to listen to them because I pretty much immediately fell out of Lost-mode after that ripoff of a finale.

I also got the Breaking Dawn, Part 2 score cd.  I got the soundtrack cd for my birthday.  I have not seen the movie yet.  I have not listened to either of these newest cds yet.  But I do have the complete set from all the movies now.

Hubby wanted this Fablehaven series, by Brandon Mull.  We actually already had the first book, but it was way cheaper to get the whole boxed set than try and get each of the other books individually.  A while ago when he had tried to get back into a reading habit, he'd been browsing the books at Walmart with me, and picked this first one.  These books are meant for younger readers, like pre-teens or something, but I think it's like with Harry Potter where adults love to follow the adventures too.  I have not read these, but I might at some point down the road, if I fall into a lull with my own reading list.  I'm not even quite sure what it's about, just know that it's magic and fantasy and kids trying to save the day.  But hubby really enjoyed that first one so if it helps him find his reading groove again, I'm all for it.  Hehe.  (Now if the boys would read more ... )

The war between Exiles and Angels is on — and she's wanted by both sides.

The hotly anticipated follow-up to Embrace, Entice ramps up the captivating combination of angel mythology, forbidden romance and intense action. Seventeen-year-old Violet Eden's whole life changed when she discovered she is Grigori – part angel, part human.

Her destiny is to protect humans from the vengeance of exiled angels. Knowing who to trust is key, but when Grigori reinforcements arrive, it becomes clear everyone is hiding something - even her partner, Lincoln.

And now Violet has to learn to live with her feelings for him while they work together to stay alive and stop the exiles from discovering the key to destroy all Grigori. It isn't easy. Especially when the electricity between her and exile Phoenix ignites, and she discovers his hold over her has become more dangerous than ever.

The race halfway across the world to find the one artifact that could tilt the balance of power between Angels and Exiles brings them to the cradle of civilization, where Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme. And the ultimate betrayal exposed.
 
Entice, by Jessica Shirvington, is the sequel to that beautiful purple covered book, Embrace, that I fell in love with last year . . . the one that kicked off my journey into angel books.  (My thoughts on that book HERE.)  I've been impatiently waiting for this book!  It was supposedly released in October and I was checking stores like crazy but never did see it.  Then I actually forgot about it for a bit until I saw someone mention it in a YouTube book video.  I forgot it again when I was placing my big Amazon order and actually had to go back and quick add a second smaller order.  And now that I have it, I'm kinda wanting to jump right into this one instead of finishing the Mortal Instrument series.  Doh!

I already have the third book in this series pre-ordered.  It comes out in March, according to last reports.

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.
 
This is the book that I needed, the one that made me place the order to begin with.  This is the third in the Mortal Instrument series.  I already have my thoughts about the first book posted ( HERE ), and am hoping to get my thoughts on the second book posted today.   Looking forward to diving into this one.

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
 
This is the first book in the companion series to the Mortal Instruments books.  I guess it's a prequel series.  This series actually caught my interest more because it's set back in 1800s England.  Since I already the first two books of the other series though, I figured I should read those first.  I'm really looking forward to this though!

True love is shrouded in secrets and lies in the #1 New York Times bestselling second book of the Infernal Devices trilogy.

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
 
The second book in the Infernal Devices series.  Also very much looking forward to this one!  Well, I guess if the first one sucks I won't be looking forward to this one, huh?  We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  Hehe.  And they better not suck because I already have the third book pre-ordered!  That one also comes out in March.
 
And that is my glorious Amazon haul.  Usually I only order a book or two at a time.  It was quite fun to get a big ol' boxful like this!  Are you a book nerd like me?  What are some of your favorites?  Oh!  I've also joined Goodreads, so if you are a member there, feel free to look me up/add me.  I'm not too sure what I'm doing there yet.  Had a lot of fun with the scanner app on my iPod though!  Got all my books scanned and onto my 'shelves.'  Woot!

Anyway, yeah, books and tarts and a cup of hot chocolate . . .

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tagged - Top 5 Wax Tart Vendors

Some bloggers have been posting lists of their favorite vendors in response to some newer wax buyers questions about which shops to try.  Lauren, from Lolo Loves Scents, already has her list HERE, and Abby, from SoCalCandleGal, has her list HERE.  Abby then tagged me and a few others to do our own lists, so I'm going to give it go.

Coming up with my Top 5 is going to be hard.  You might not believe it, but I really do not buy nearly as much wax as a lot of others in this crazy wax-addict world.  I seem to do small orders from random vendors, with little return business.  With the start of this new year, I had wanted to pick just one or two vendors and stick with them, but I don't think that's going to work because I'm already itching to order from several other places.  (Oooh, this just gave me an idea for a new tag-post!)

The picture above is not an accurate representation of my list because, well obviously there should be five vendors in there but I only have four.  I don't have any tarts from one of the places I want to mention, and really I don't even know what my Top 5 are anyway.

So let's stop nattering and get down to business.  I'm not going to put these in any order . . .
  • Sweet Fixations - I've placed two orders and am currently waiting for a huge third order.  I *think* this might be me go-to shop from now on.  I love that I can get single scallop tarts, and can order as many or as few as I want, not having to deal with Pick 5 or Pick 10 type bundles.  There is a great scent selection, but it's not so long that it's overwhelming and redundant.  You can find all the popular scents, as well as many in-house custom blends.  Single tarts are $1.25, scent shots (tarts in cups) are $1.50, and there are several other shaped options like little cake bites, hearts, brittle, and others.  Shipping is $5.00 for orders $0-$21, $6.00 for orders $21.01-$49.99, and free for orders of $50.00 or more.  You get a free 4-pk of scallop tarts with orders of $40 or more.  There is a Ready To Ship section, which ships within two days.  And she does include free samples with every order.
  • Front Porch Candle Co. - Maybe this one shouldn't even be on my list because I'm so back and forth about this vendor.  I do love the tarts, absolutely.  I love the grubby style, and the cute packaging.  They've performed well for me in my large, open area rooms.  Ordering and shipping has gotten A LOT better . . . but there are still some problem spots.  While they do have free shipping all the time, their prices are getting quite high for the amount of product you get ($1.75 for single 1 oz. grubby tarts).  It might be time for them to reconsider the free shipping and bring prices down to something more comparably competitive.  It can also be frustrating when you see so many wonderful scents you want to try in their scent list yet it's only the same handful of popular type scents that are continually restocked.  Even so, I am currently hooked on this vendor, as my recent large haul shows.
  • Candles From The Keeping Room - If this vendor would offer single tarts for sale I think they would be my favorite.  But they don't.  They offer 4 oz. and 8 oz. bags, and some other options.  Oh well, the shaped tarts are adorable, strongly scented, and come packaged so cute and country in clear cello bags tied with homespun.  Shipping is fast and they include tons of free samples.  Win, win!!  There is an extensive scent list, all the popular scents and plenty of custom blends.  I just wish they offered single tarts!
  • Walmart tarts (Better Homes & Gardens / Scentsationals) - These might not even qualify to some people but I have always loved these tarts.  Most people who have not tried them, automatically poo poo them because they are from *Walmart* and because they are only $2.00.  Let me tell you though, these have consistently been the strongest and most reliable tarts I have used.  The scent selection is limited but fairly decent.  (Depending on your particular store, the choices may be severely limited.)  They've had some huge seasonal scent releases in fall and winter, and seem to come out with more subtle seasonal types in spring and summer, like lots of fruity things in summer.  They are clamshell style tarts, which means six cubes, and a total weight of about 2.5-3 oz. . . . for just $2.00.  Plus, since you are sniffing them right there in the store, you already know if you like them or not.  I've never done it (yet) but you can order the Better Homes & Gardens tarts through the Walmart website, and the Scentsationals through their own website.  Prices are higher online though.  (Oh my!  I just noticed on the Walmart website that there is a Paula Deen brand of tarts now.  I will have to look for those next time I'm shopping!)  So yeah, not a private vendor but dang good tarts just the same.
  • Scent Appeal Candles - I've placed two orders from here and it was the second one that convinced me.  She went out of her way to try making some scents blends that I'd asked about, and one was so good she added it to her regular line.  She patiently and promptly answered all of my questions, always in a friendly manner.  Her scallop tarts are sold in 3-pks for $1.75, but there is a 6-pk bundle option for $3.25 which lets you choose the six scents you want, so it's then like getting six singles.  She also has clamshells for $3.00, and scent shots for $1.50.  This is an Etsy shop, so it may appear her scent selection isn't as huge as other shops but you can always look back through the 'sales' to see what scents might just be gone for the moment, or you can contact her to see just what else she might have.  Shipping is fast, quality is great, and she does include samples.  I hope she makes the move to her own website one of these days.
These are not my absolute Top 5 though.  I debated putting Kim's Tarts on the list but in reality, it's been so long since I've ordered from there that, well, how could I say it's one of my favorites?  I do know I've enjoyed the tarts I've had from Kim's in the past.  She was always well known for her super affordable price of $1.50 for a 3-pk of scallop tarts.  I see she now has free shipping on orders over $30.  Hmmm!  And there are several other vendors that I've enjoyed but just haven't had enough experience with to know if they're a favorite or not.  But I guess these would be the ones that I favor at the moment.

And since I was tagged, I will pass this tag along to some other blogger friends (some of which were already tagged by Abby) . . .

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Haul - Front Porch Candle Co.

It's heeeeere!  My uber order from Front Porch, thanks to gift certificates I received for my birthday and Christmas.  This is actually three orders, placed over three day, and I did pay for part of this beyond the gift certificates.  I'm certainly not going to post individual pics of each one, but I will go through a quite list of what I got.

(I'm not even going to bother looking for scent descriptions because that is one area of the website that needs huge improvement.)

Singles
  • Blackberry Marshmallow - I don't even know what a blackberry smells like but this is a deep, dark berry smell, almost hints of grape.  Only slight sweet marshmallow note at this point.
  • Mrs. Claus Cookies - Pepperminty with a slight cookie note.  Love it.  Got two of these.
  • Buttercream Drizzled Bread - I think I heard somewhere that all of Front Porch's 'bread' scents are zucchini bread and I'm not a fan of that scent.  My first sniff of this was like -wham!- zucchini bread.  The sweetness of the buttercream is faint, and comes to you much later.  Maybe it will be better when warmed, but I'm not a fan right now.
  • Fresh Baked Bread - Having just said that about the zucchini bread, I ordered this hoping it would be a regular bread scent.  On cold sniff, I'm not sure.  I don't get that immediate zucchini-moist-bread note, so maybe it is just plain old bread.  We'll see when it's warmed.
  • Ultimate Bakery - I know this is supposed to be a mix of a bunch of things like apple and pastry, and I forget what else.  On cold sniff I"m kinda like 'Ugh.'  I think I get a bit of apple and spice, but it just seems like a weird blah mix right now.
  • Raspberry Filled Bread - I'm getting about an equal mix of raspberry and bread right now.  I'm unsure about this one too.  Maybe breads just aren't my thing.
  • Oatmeal, Milk & Honey - Yay!  Please, please, please let it be like the version I love from soap . . .  and it is pretty darn close.  At first I wanted to say it was dead on but then a sort of perfumey note comes chasing at the end.  Still very nice though.  Hope that perfume goes away when warmed.
  • Lemon Bliss - OMG, love this!  Zippy tart lemon right off the bat, but with a creaminess following close behind.  Sort of a Pledge/cleaner type lemon but I'm not too picky about that the way some people are.
  • Lemon Bread - Bleah.  I should have passed on the breads.  There is a candy-like lemon note but the immediate bread note kinda kills it for me.
  • Lemon Cookies - I'm on a lemon kick here, did ya notice?  This one is yummy but I like Lemon Bliss way more.  The lemon is softer in this, sweetened by the cookie  notes.
  • Citrus Explosion - Thought this would be a good pick-me-up for later in winter when we have cabin fever.  Wow this one is zesty.  It almost chokes, sort of tickles the back of your throat.  I think there is a bit of orange in here but it seems lighter, with more zing, like maybe grapefruit or something.  It's an eye opener for sure.
  • Coffee & Cookies - Love me some coffee scents, and ohhh this one is good.  It's a black coffee, with just a trace of that black coffee bitterness, but sweetened overall by the cookie notes.  Nice!!
  • Lemon Orange Pastry - Yummy!  Equal mix of lemon and orange make a bright, perky scent while the pastry lends just enough bakery to warm it slightly.  One sniff, I think there is more lemon.  Another sniff, I think there is more orange.  This one is fun.
  • Blackberry Butter Jam Cookies - Everyone is raving about this scent so I had to try it.  I'm not getting much at the moment, a faint berry scent and very faint sweetness.  Will have to wait till I warm this to see how it is.
  • Cafe Mocha - I can never what all the coffee variations are.  Mocha has chocolate in it?  This one is not nearly as good as Coffee & Cookies.  This one has a bitterness, and if there is chocolate, well that's probably what's killing it for me.  There is something distracting from the coffee, and I'm not a fan of chocolate scents.
  • Strawberry Marshmallow Bread - Quick whiff of strawberry on first sniff, then the bread note takes over.  It's sort of a bright scent in a weird way.  I might like this one.  Or maybe I'll gather up the bread ones and do a Bread Sampler Giveaway.  Hmmm.....
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake - I've heard people talk about this scent from various vendors and I thought I'd give it a try.  Wow, interesting.  Definitely pineapple, which I like.  And then some sweetness and warmth but not a distinct 'cake' scent.
  • Vanilla Noel - I'm assuming this is the traditional dupe of Vanilla Bean Noel from Bath & Body Works, which is yummy vanilla, caramel, rum, and musk . . . or something like that.  Love it.
  • Warm Vanilla & Sweet Sugar - I *think* this is another B&BW dupe, this time for Warm Vanilla Sugar, which I also love.  This has more musk or something, much more of a perfumey scent.
  • Lemonberry Crumble - Yummy!  Bright lemon and something else fruity, and some creaminess, maybe cookie notes.  There is no spice like I would imagine in a 'crumble' topping.
Marshmallow Sampler Pack (8 singles)
  • Sugary Marshmallow - Mix of marshmallow and Warm Vanilla & Sweet Sugar.  The scent is light right now but I get the marshmallow note first, which is quite alright with me.  There is a faint perfume-i-ness surrounding it.
  • Raspberry Marshmallow - Strong on the raspberry, with the marshmallow coming in as an afterthought.
  • Chocolate Marshmallow - The scents that go into sampler packs are preselected.  I wouldn't have chosen a chocolate scent on my own.  And yeah, not liking this one.  Very strong, slightly bitter chocolate scent . . . which now tells me the Cafe Mocha is pretty much just this chocolate scent.  I don't get any marshmallow sweetness in cold sniff.  Bleah.
  • Blackberry Marshmallow Butter Jam Cookies - I get the blackberry note first.  There is something creamy, probably cookie-like in the background, and maybe a slight hint of marshmallow.
  • Lemon Marshmallow - I already have several of these.  Obviously I love this scent.  A sweet, creamy lemon.  Yummy yummers!
  • Blueberry Marshmallow - Light at the moment.  I do get some blueberry scent, which is very nice, and a soft sweetness mixed with it.
  • Purple Marshmallow - I think the 'purple' is from Purple Cow, which I believe is grape and ice cream or something like that.  This is grape right off the bat, with very light sweetness in the background.
  • Cranberry Marshmallow - This one was interesting as soon as I saw it.  The cranberry reminds me of fall, slightly spiced, but the marshmallow sweetens and softens it.  I like this.  Might hang onto it for next fall.
4-packs
  • Cranberries Sprinkled With Sugar - Speaking of cranberries . . . lol . . . I got TWO free packs of this scent.  This one is NICE.  I did look up the description and it says it is spiced cranberries blended with 'Just Sugar,' but of course I can't find 'Just Sugar' listed anywhere so I don't know what that is.  Sniffing this cold, it is a gorgeous spiced cranberry scent but not too harsh or strong on the spice.  There IS something else but I can't figure out what I'm smelling.  It's a gorgeous scent though.  While it does make me think of fall, I'd be willing to melt this anytime.
  • Nana's Banana Pudding - Yummy!  If you like banana, that is.  An inyerface smack of banana, and then something soft and sweet, slightly warm underneath.  I like it, but I know a lot of people do not like banana scents.  This was another free pack.
  • Bird of Paradise - This is supposed to be tropical if I remember correctly.  I get strawberry and some creaminess, and some pineapple maybe?  Coconut?  A sweet, happy scent.
I ordered the Bird of Paradise 4-pack, but the other three were freebies.  The way Front Porch does their free packs has changed as of Jan. 1 but my order(s) were placed before that, and regardless, how I ended up with three free packs doesn't fit the old criteria OR the new so I'm confused.  But HAPPY!  Also, I wasn't sure I'd even get free packs using gift certificates and combined orders, so I had told her to just surprise me with whatever scent if I qualified.  When I saw two packs of the same cranberry scent I was a bit 'Well, poo,' but man, after smelling them, I'm thrilled to have so many of that scent!

Prices have also changed as of Jan. 1, so to tell you what I paid wouldn't matter anymore.  A majority of this haul was made possible by the gift certificates I'd gotten.  Prices might seem a bit high at first but keep in mind that Front Porch has free shipping.  It doesn't matter if you order one little tart or a huge boxful, shipping will always be free.  So the slightly higher price works in the end.

It's getting easier to actually order from Front Porch now.  Stock added each weekday afternoon.  Shipping times have gotten faster too.  She only waits to combine two or three orders now, and from I've heard usually ships within the week now.  She used to wait 7-10 days or something, combining whatever orders you placed in that time, and then it was another week or something to get your order.  I'm glad things are faster now.  I ordered on Dec. 25, 26, and 27, and received my combined package on Jan. 4 (with a holiday in the middle).

I've admitted before that I've changed my tune about this vendor.  I used to be so frustrated and confused and said I'd never give them another moment of my time.  Ha, ok.  Well, I do admit things are getting better there, and I hear there will be even more improvements coming.  But I do still have some sore points.  One that I already mentioned is that I wish someone would update and tend the scent list on the site.  I'm tempted to volunteer myself!  It also irks me that it seems like only the same handful of popular scents are ever added even though stock is added five days a week now AND she asks for requests on the Facebook page.  I've requested the same few things over and over and over.  I've even asked about them in private emails while she worked on a problem with my gift certificates, but still, I've never seen any of them added.  Hopefully one of the changes they're hinting at will be a wider variety of stock.  I mean, why have a list of so many scents if you're not offering them?

Enough of my whining.

So that is my big fat post-holiday haul from Front Porch.  This should last me a while, especially since I want to try getting back to melting them until the scent is gone, instead of one tea light melt and move on to the next.  Actually, I don't even know if these tarts are strong enough to go through a second melting.  (I use tea light warmers.)  We shall see!

I will be keeping an eye one the daily additions but I doubt I will be ordering for a while, unless I see some of the brown sugar scents (or maple, or butterscotch) that I've been requesting.  Or maybe more Lemon Bliss if I see that one.

No, Deb.  No.  You will not order more.

Anyway, I will try to do more detailed descriptions as I melt each one.  If there is anything you'd like me to melt first, let me know!  I'd also love to hear what you think, if you've already tried any of these.

50 Cent Tarts??

Heads up!

I heard that Walmart has the Better Homes & Garden tarts on sale for FIFTY CENTS!  I didn't find out about this until after I was already back from doing my shopping.  Doh!  While in the store this morning, I did pause to look at the huge amount of Christmas scents that are still there, but I didn't get any or bother to check prices.

Another heads up . . . I think most stores still have the price showing at $2.00, but if you find one of those price checker scanners that are located throughout the store, you can find out if they are actually marked down or not.  A couple weeks ago when I heard they'd gone on sale for a $1.00, the display still said $2.00 but the scanner showed they were indeed only $1.00.  Soooooo, if you go and see a big $2.00 price, check into it anyway.  Fifty cents for these tarts is crazy awesome!  

(I've heard some people say the non-Christmas scents are also on sale, but I have not checked on those.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Melted - BeauxSavonsFrais / Oatmeal Honey

Oatmeal Honey - [no description]

I received this as part of a gift.  I've never ordered from this vendor although they did have a recent burst of recognition among the YouTube crowd.  I hadn't considered ordering either since the reviews were so mixed, and mostly unimpressive.  Even so, when I saw how cute this pie tart was, and especially when I saw the scent, I was excited.

I've tried a couple other Oatmeal, Milk & Honey scented tarts but have not found one that is anywhere close the scent I love so much from my soap days.  This one is very close though!  Ohhh, I was so happy!  I'm sure most of you are familiar with the scent.  It's sweet and homey, foodie but not to overly bakery.  This does not have the heavy cereal or grain note that the others have had.  It's just so warm and yummy!

Unfortunately all of that was from cold sniff.  I melted this whole 1+ oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got very little scent and no throw.  I had been warned about this.  It took a while for this tart to even melt, and then it was a while longer before I detected any scent from it.  Then I just forgot I even had a tart going for most of the four hours a tea light lasts.  Only when I happened to walk right past the warmer and stir up the air around it did I notice any scent.

Bummer.