Sunday, March 31, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Vanilla Crunch Cupcake

Vanilla Crunch Cupcake - ‘(SF Blend) Buttery toffee topped with crunch cuts
and baked into freshly made cake.’

Oh.Em.Gee ... this scent is amazing.  LOVE it!  Nothing new or unique, but just a wonderful cake scent.  You get a warm and sweet cake note, like a white cake, and you get what seems like the buttercream frosting note even though the description doesn't mention anything like that.  It could just be such a true fresh baked cake scent that your mind it tricked into thinking the frosting is there too.  It's a happy, comforting scent.  

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had perfect scent and throw throughout the house.  It was plenty strong enough to to know there was something melting, and it was easily recognizable as cake so it was well received.  I had this one going while I was making supper last night and it totally seemed like there was a cake in the oven.  The scent stayed strong from beginning to end of one tea light melt (4 hours) so I know there is plenty more life in it.  I could still smell light traces of it well into the night, long after it had stopped melting.  Just a super, super tart.

I will absolutely be ordering more of this one!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats - ‘(SF Blend) Vanilla, marshmallow, and butter.’

Marshmallow scents are notorious for being light so I knew I was taking a chance when I ordered this one.  Maybe I'd found renewed faith after experiencing the strength of Front Porch's marshmallow scents?  This IS a yummy scent, very marshmallow-y and buttery.  It's not a deep, warm, salty type butter scent.  It's actually rather pretty and bright.  It's also kind of just ... blah.  Nothing really jumps out at you.

And it's very light, as feared.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and while this little bugger did throw its scent to all corners of the house, it was light.  I could smell it because I knew I had a tart going, but I think in general most people wouldn't even notice anything.  It's sort of like those subtle scents that seem to clean the air of usual house smells, but don't really add an obvious perfume.  Sometimes those are nice, like if you have company coming but don't know if they'll like strong fragrances.  My mom, for example ... I can never burn candles or melt tarts when she's visiting because she's so sensitive to them.  But I think I could totally get away with this one.  It's light, bright, and oddly pretty.

While I do like this scent, I don't know if I'll order it again.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Yellow Polka Dot Bikini - ‘(SF Blend) Great summer blend of creamy coconut and lemon.

(I've had this one before and even posted about it - HERE - but thought I'd go ahead and post again because not everyone who reads now may know the old one is there.)

Since I've been on such a lemon kick lately, I was thrilled to find I had this in my Sweet Fixations stash.  I know there are other lemon scents in there but I'd forgotten about this one.  I love lemon and I love coconut.  Can't really go wrong mixing them together then, huh?  This is so cheerful and yummy!  There is a sort of tartness to the lemon, but the sweetness of the coconut softens it.  Lemon is the slightly stronger note, but not by much.  You really do get both notes easily in this one.

Melting this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer, I got a nice strong scent throw.  It has creeped to all corners of the house and I could even smell it first thing upon coming in the back door after being outside to get the mail.  The scent itself though is a very decent medium strength.  It is not heavy and cloying in the air, but very definitely makes its presence known.

An excellent scent that I won't hesitate to order again.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Honeyed Almond

Honeyed Almond - 'Peaches, coconut, and warm vanilla, with notes of nuts and musk
and just a touch of raspberries.'

I've always wondered if this is the correct description for this tart.  I'm not quite sure why something called Honeyed Almond would have all those other things in it.  *shrugs*  Whether that description is the right one or not, this is a very nice scent.  It is a pretty scent but not in a perfume type way.  This is another that would be amazing in bath and body products.  There is a light nutty note, slightly cherry-like from the almond, and then just lots of bright sweetness.  Part of me wants to say it is a typical honey-sweet note because that's what the name implies, but part of me wants to say that I do get traces of the vanilla and coconut and fruits that the description includes.  I know this probably isn't really helping anyone so we'll just say that it is a very, very nice, bright and sweet scent.  (But not sickly sweet like candy.)

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and was sadly disappointed to find this beautiful scent is just too light.  It does put a very subtle note of something into the air, which is fine sometimes if you just want to freshen things and not really scent it.  In a smaller room, bathroom maybe, this is probably fabulous.  In my large rooms though, it just wasn't enough.

I do love the scent but if I were to get it again I would get two or three and melt them in various rooms.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Read - Emblaze

Emblaze
by Jessica Shirvington
2012
445 pages

When you're hanging off the edge of a volcano, how do you make the most important decision of your life? For Violet Eden the decisions between right and wrong are getting harder and harder. Because apparently being a half-angel Grigori doesn't always make you right.

Where is the good in having to choose between the life of her best friend and saving humanity? How does she balance a soul-crushing need for her Grigori partner, Lincoln, and the desire to keep him safe at all costs? And what if the darkest exiled angel of all, Phoenix, isn't as bad as she thought?

Both sides—Angels vs. Exiles—are racing to decipher an ancient scripture that would allow anyone banished to the Underworld to return. And at the very center: Violet. She only has one chance to make the right choice...


*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

I struggled with this third book of the Embrace series. One of the things that I loved about this series in the beginning was that it kept a quick pace and stayed on track. This one seemed to have a lot of weak spots and filler. The huge deal made out of exchanging the scriptures seemed over the top. Spending a day wandering around the volcano island seemed pointless. Endless meetings to review the translations, when really they just kept repeating the same things, was redundant. Violet being 'asleep' for four days with Phoenix seemed pointless, even though it was brief in actual description. I don't know, this one just seemed really off course.

The relationship between Violet and Lincoln is in danger of failing for me. Something needs to change SOON or the author is going to have let a potentially great thing use itself up. Let them be together! Let Phoenix be the thing that troubles their relationship more than the silly shattering of souls storyline that is just annoyingly dragging its feet.

I love Phoenix. I'm to the point that I'm somehow hoping it's HIM she's *meant* to be with. I loved the Violet-Lincoln pairing early on but he is becoming increasingly annoying in his broad dramatic statements about dying for her and killing anyone who tries to hurt her, and yet he cowers and hides and avoids being around her. Yeah, because that's helping anyone? I hate when authors use that tactic ... Oooh We're Meant To Be Together And The Whole World Knows It But For Stupidly Weak Reasons We're Going To Fight Against It And Cause Each Other Pain By Trying To Deny It.

Still, there were moments in this book that had me crying.  There was something near the end that had me pretty much sobbing, but then I realized the way I was understanding the events was wrong and the incredibly beautiful thing I thought was happening had really just been an accident.  Doh! 

This third installment of the series has the Phoenix and the Grigori agreeing to trade the scriptures that they'd fought for at the end of the second book.  The Grigori had actually come away with the scripture that Phoenix desperately wanted, which is why they needed to strike a deal for the trade in this third book.  The Grigori have figured out what Phoenix needs his for ... he wants to release Lilith from Hell.  Even though they do trade with him, they also know they must stop him.  So the race is on once again.  Can Violet reason with him?  Or if it comes down to it, kill him?

As disappointed as I was with this book, I'm looking forward to the next one and I'm hoping like crazy the author will let Violet and Lincoln be together and find some happiness! If she drags this We Can't Be Together out through one more book I don't know if I'll have any interest left.

*FINGERS CROSSED*

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Pancakes & Syrup

Pancakes & Syrup - ‘(SF Blend) Buttermilk pancakes topped with warm maple syrup and berries.’

Seems to be a breakfast scent trend in the house today.  Nothing wrong with that!  And this one is yummy enough to be welcome any time.  It's mainly sweet from the maple syrup but not in any way a sickly sweet type scent.  The sort of bread note from the pancake part of it really warms it, and the two blend together nicely.  Then there is an extra little bit of sweetness that I did not realize was from berries until I looked up the description to do this post.  That was interesting because you really do get just enough berry-sweetness to know that there is something more in the mix.  It's a really nice homey scent.

I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a medium scent and throw.  It did travel into adjacent rooms but it stayed at a very pleasant scent strength ... enough to know it's there but not overpowering at all.  Very nice.

Although I would have liked it just a smidge stronger, I would indeed order this one again.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Banana French Toast

Banana French Toast - ‘(SF Blend) French toast stuffed with bananas
and topped with cinnamon streusel.

I *love* French toast.  One of the things hubby and I love to do is go to IHOP every now and then on a Sunday morning, where I always get the same French Toast selection.  Mmmm!  And this scent is equally delish!  Banana and cinnamon are the strongest notes but they only slightly beat out that base note of bread, and it is by no means a spicy scent.  The banana is soft and mellow, and the cinnamon warms it instead of spices it.  The bread note, you don't always realize is there but then you stop and realize that yes it is indeed very much there after all.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and the only downfall to this supper yummy scent is that it is on the lighter end of the scent throw spectrum.  It did travel to adjacent rooms but it is light, more of a subtle pleasantness in the air than a heavy foodie scent.  It's like someone made banana French toast hours ago for breakfast and the smell is still lingering.  Very nice.

I would definitely order this one again.  I might even try melting two next time, in different areas of the house to see if I can get a stronger scent throughout.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Honey I Washed The Kids

Honey I Washed The Kids - ‘Top notes of honey drizzled over toffee with a soft white musk background. Lush type.'

I don't know why I keep trying this scent.  I must keep thinking that the toffee will make everything better, but there really isn't much of a toffee note at all.  The honey makes it like a sweet floral, and combining it with musk makes it perfume-y.  I'm just not a fan of this type of scent.

Melting this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer gave a medium scent and throw.  Even so, because it was a scent I just didn't prefer, even the medium amount was too much and I blew out the candle after about an hour.  It did travel lightly into adjacent rooms in that time, so I'm sure if you like this scent, this tart would be great for you.

While this scent might be okay in bath and body products, I just don't like it for home fragrance.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Butter Brickle Crunch

Butter Brickle Crunch - ‘Vermont maple, toffee bits, and creamy butter.
 
I've had this one before and it's one of my favorites.  It reminds me of Butterscotch Maple Cream (from Better Homes & Gardens/Walmart) but is a bit more warm and creamy.  This is not a maple syrup scent ... I know there a lot of people who stay far away from maple scents.  No, this is much more toffee-like, almost butterscotch-y.  It's sweet and yummy and fun!
 
I melted the entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and was greeted with immediate strong scent and throw.  This is another one that seems to drift to all corners of my big old farmhouse.  After the initial burst of really strong scent it settles down to a very nice medium-strong scent.  Because it is quite sweet, the somewhat lighter scent is pleasant.  And as I'm consistently finding, melting just half of this tart probably would have been enough.  Someday I'll learn!
 
I would definitely order this one again.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii - ‘Tropical fruity drink with juicy orange, pineapple, lemon, cherries, rum, and coconut.

I’ve had this one before and love it. It’s very tropical, heavy on the coconut. The sweetness of the other fruits add a sort of brightness but I don’t really detect any one of them specifically. The cherry and rum make themselves known but in the end I’d say this falls mainly into a coconut scent category.

I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and it was STRONG!!  Casey's room is upstairs and he said he could smell it up there even with the door closed.  The scent did not fade at all by the end of one tea light (4 hours) so this will easily get another melt, possibly even two.  Melting only half at a time probably would have been just fine.

This is a fun scent that I would definitely order again.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake - ‘Sweet pineapples, baked cake, butter, brown sugar, and cherries.

A nice bakery scent, but heavy on the cherry note. I kept thinking I was getting a rum note but looking at the description, it must be the butter and brown sugar. I do get a nice cake note. There is a sweetness of pineapple but the cherry often overwhelms it.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a strong scent in the area around the warmer.  It was almost too much at times.  There was something about it, almost too sweet but not in a candy-like way.  Maybe it was that strong cherry note, the sort of tartness from that?  In areas farther away from the warmer the scent was much lighter and much more smooth/warm.

Not sure if I would order this one again.  If I ever do, I will try putting the warmer in another room.

**UPDATE**
It was funny because when I went to bed much later after this one had melted, I could smell a really nice cake scent in the bedroom, which is upstairs and not where I melt tarts.  At first I wondered what the heck it was from and then I realized it was what had drifted up from the tart and THIS was a nice warm and sweet version of the scent that I would have loved to have while it was melting.  lol

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Lemon Drizzle Bread

Lemon Drizzle Bread - ‘(SF Blend) Fresh baked butter bread drizzled with lemon.

I'm FINALLY dipping into my large Sweet Fixations order that was placed right at the end of 2012, before Cut Spending mode kicked in.  I'd been trying to use up most of my other tarts before starting on these because I just wanted to immerse myself in Sweet Fixations goodness and let that be my main vendor this year.  So yesterday was a happy day when I finally allowed myself to dip my hand into that box and pull out a random tart.  Wheeee!

This is a warm, cozy, bakery scent.  It is about equal on the lemon and the bread, although the bread part reminds me almost more of a cake note.  After the whole thing with Front Porch using zucchini bread scent as ALL of their bread scents, I was worried and had contacted Tia (Sweet Fixations owner) and asked about HER bread scents.  She told me unless it states specifically that it is zucchini bread, it is just a regular bread scent.  *phew*  (I hate zucchini bread scents.)  Anyway, you definitely get the lemon in this, sweet and bright, but at times that rich bread scent seems to be stronger.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a good strong scent here in the room that the warmer is in.  It didn't throw quite as strong or as far as I would have liked, but it was still light to medium in adjacent rooms.  There was plenty of scent left after one tea light burn (4 hours) so I'm sure I'd get another good melt out of this.

This was an interesting, yummy scent that I would buy again.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Made Some Soap Again

In September of last year I made soap for the first time in over a year.  (There is a post HERE with more information and background on my whole soap story.)  I've been talking about handcrafted soap with a couple people recently and had another urge to make soap, so last weekend I made three batches.

Vanilla Bombs (left) - 'Rich, sweet vanilla blended with brown sugar and sweet cream.'  There is a guy at work who always wants vanilla scents so I used to always be sure to have them in stock.  This is one I had not tried before and DANG is it nice!  It's almost like a butterscotch scent.  I need to find this scent in tart form!

Black Raspberry Vanilla (center) - '. . . our version of the popular B&BWs Black Raspberry Vanilla. Top notes blend black currant, grapefruit and mandarin. Middle notes of jasmine, apple and violet laid on a creamy vanilla base.'  This is hubby's favorite soap scent, going all the way back to the first time I ever made it.  This time the fragrance oil is from a different vendor but it's still basically the same Black Raspberry Vanilla we all know.

Coconut Lime Verbena (right) - '. . . our interpretation of the B&BWs type fragrance of the same name. Fresh coconut, lime and verbena softened by beautiful notes of fresh vanilla.'  Probably my sister's favorite, I used to sprinkle coconut on top but didn't have any on hand when I made this.  Again, not the same oil vendor I was using 'back in the day,' but still the typical Coconut Lime Verbena scent.

These soaps are cold process goat milk soaps.  All use the same recipe, and it is only the effects the fragrance oils have that alter the colors.  My recipe is very basic.  It's sometimes referred to as 'grocery store soap' because all of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery stores as opposed to more 'high end' soap makers who order specialty ingredients online.  I don't do fancy colors or swirls either.  I often feel self-conscious about it, that my soaps are cheap and boring ... it's part of the reason I quit back in 2011.  But then again, I don't plan on diving back into the business so I guess it doesn't bother me quite as much as it used to.

Back in my early soaping days I did a lot more experimenting with foodie type soaps like the honey-carrot one I made last fall.  I'd like to do some of those again, unscented but with things like real avocado, cucumber, mint, honey.  There are brown sugar soaps, and coffee soaps.  I've never done soap with aloe but would like to try.

There are millions of handcrafted soap vendors out there.  I have no intention of trying to get back into the business and trying to compete with them, but if you're ever interested in any of my soaps, just send me a message and we can work something out.

(Slightly blurry.  Ooops!)

As for the batches I made last weekend, it will be a minimum of four weeks before they are ready to use.  That is one of the downfalls of cold process soap . . . the long cure time.  Hot process soap is ready to use pretty much as soon as you've made it.  I've never made hot process myself but I have used some and have loved them.  They seem to lather better, which I love.  One of these days I might just try making some.

The far back row in the pic above is the last six bars from what I made last fall.  Those scents include Hansel & Gretel's House, Comforter (Lush dupe), and Christmas Morning.  Maybe you can see that they are smaller than the fresh bars?  That's because as they cure they actually shrink as moisture is evaporating out of them.  My ready to use bars are on the small end, only about 3.5 oz.

So anyway, just thought I'd share some soapy natterings.

Soap Stash

I've been talking about handcrafted soaps with a couple people lately and it got me wondering just what I had left in my soap stash.  Back in 2011, I was as crazy about buying soaps as I've more recently been about buying tarts.  One thing about buying tarts is that you definitely go through them faster than soap, so it's easier to buy a lot.  But if you're into handcrafted soaps, you can get sucked into the 'Gotta have 'em all!' thrill of shopping there too.  The craziest thing about my soap shopping was that I was still making my own soaps at the time.  Doh!

Time has passed, I gave away a lot of the soaps I'd accumulated, and I'd pretty much lost interest in the whole handmade bath and body products world for some time.  Hubby still uses them and prefers them, but I've switched back to commercial body washes out of laziness and convenience.  But as I mentioned, I've been talking to some people about soaps lately and my interest is slowly starting to rekindle.

So just what IS left in my soap stash?

Petals Bath Boutique
- Hatter
- Milk & Sweet Nectar
- #9 Memory Lane
- Honey Mint Vanilla
- Snow White

Nature's Art
- Black Magic (2 bars) - I threw these out after looking at them this morning.  They hadn't held up over time.  Too bad because at the time I'd gotten them they were my absolute favorite scent and I'd raved all over about it, only to find out later it was the very popular Country Bumpkin scent.

Beguile
- Ritual - LOVE Beguile's soaps but because it is an Australian vendor it can be pricey.

Missouri River Soap
- Snow
- Montana Memories

Goat Milk Stuff
- Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
Ah yes, Goat Milk Stuff . . . the first handcrafted soap I ever tried, the one the inspired me to make my own, and the one that opened my eyes to the whole crazy world of handmade soaps and Etsy and all sorts of crazy related fun.  And the first soap I tried from GMS was Oatmeal, Milk & Honey.  That is probably why I love that scent so much.  It just brings back so many memories.  I really should order from these guys again.  If you're not familiar with Goat Milk Stuff, you really should check them out ( HERE ) because their story is so cute.

My stash is dwindling.  Finally!  But since hubby is the only one using them right now these will still last a long time.  Who knows, I might switch back to them as my renewed interest grows.  Heck, just looking at them for this post is making me want to jump back into that crazy world.

That would not be good for our Cut Spending Mode.  LOL!

So what soapie goodies are in YOUR stash?  Any vendors you're looking forward to trying?  Have you found any favorites?

Mini Book Haul

These are the last two books from my big Amazon back at the end of 2012, before we went into Cut Spending Mode.  These were pre-orders at that time, which explains why I'm just getting them now.

Emblaze, by Jessica Shirvington

NO GOOD CHOICES
When you're hanging off the edge of a volcano, how do you make the most important decision of your life? For Violet Eden the decisions between right and wrong are getting harder and harder. Because apparently being a half-angel Grigori doesn't always make you right.

Where is the good in having to choose between the life of her best friend and saving humanity? How does she balance a soul-crushing need for her Grigori partner, Lincoln, and the desire to keep him safe at all costs? And what if the darkest exiled angel of all, Phoenix, isn't as bad as she thought?

Both sides—Angels vs. Exiles—are racing to decipher an ancient scripture that would allow anyone banished to the Underworld to return. And at the very center: Violet. She only has one chance to make the right choice...
 
This is the third book in the Embrace series.  I've been wanting to do a nattering post about this series because I think it's the first time since Twilight that I've been so excited.  Sadly, the start of this book just isn't grabbing me like the first two did.  I hope things turn around soon.  I'd seen some hints online about some things coming up but I don't know if they're in this book or the next one.  I guess I'll find out!
 
Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare

THE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING
A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
 
This is the third book in the Infernal Devices series, which is the prequel series to the Mortal Devices series (City of Bones, etc.).  Before I'd started reading the MD books, I was actually more interested in this series because it's set back 1800's England.  So I was quite bummed when I finally started reading the first of these books and just couldn't get into it.  I think a huge part of that though, was that I knew I'd have Emblaze coming soon and it was THAT one that I was really wanting to read.  I'm still very much looking forward to reading this series though!

I noticed the cover of this says 'Collector's First Edition' and was all intrigued.  I think it's because of this . . .
. . . the inside of the dust jacket has an archive looking family tree.  I've heard there are spoilers in this little 'gift' so I have not looked at it any more than I had to to take the picture.  LOL

And that is my mini haul.  Once I finish reading Emblaze, I have this Infernal Devices series, but I also have that Beautiful Creatures series.  I'm not sure which one I want to dive into first?!  There are soooooooooo many books on my Amazon wish list that I want to read, that I can't wait to be able to order, but I'm determined to get through what I have first.  If I was *really* sticking to that plan, there are tons more books already on my shelves that still need to be read but they are books that just don't interest me as much as the ones I don't have.  Isn't that how it always works?

Have YOU read anything good lately?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Walmart Wax Mini-Haul

In a previous post I mentioned that has a new Lemon Cake scented candle that I was pretty sure I would eventually have to get.  Well, I got it.  I also noticed a large display at the end of one of the aisles, featuring all Scentsationals tarts and warmers . . . and when I saw Lemon Chiffon, I had to have that too.

The candle is from the Mainstays brand, which has surprised me in the past with the amount of scent and throw they have.  This is a 6 oz. one, a new style/size that I haven't noticed there before.  It only cost $2.00.

The scent is soooo yummy on this little guy!  You get the sort of sweet, Lemonheads type lemon, but you also get the slightly warm and soft cake note.

I hope this things burns decently.  The wick is quite short and as you can see, quite off center.  Maybe I should have looked for a more centered one.  Oh well, we'll light it and hope for the best.

Lemon Chiffon is super yummy too, but is definitely more tart and inyerface.  This reminds me a lot of the Front Porch Lemon Marshmallow and Lemon Cookies that I've been melting lately.  There is a sort of cookie or bakery note laying quietly behind the more bold candy lemon.  And it's strong!  I haven't melted any of this yet but I'm thinking I'll be able to get away with using just one cube at a time.  (I usually use two.)

Love love love both of these scents!

Speaking of Scentsationals tarts, I'll do a quick list of the others I saw in that end display.  I don't think these are really 'new' but some of them are new to my store.  I sniffed those that I'd not seen before, but did not take any thorough notes or anything.  I think the Walmart people think I'm weird for all the time I spent sniffing and jotting down tart names.  LOL!

Anyway, the list . . .
  • Cupcake
  • Rise & Shine (sort of a warm spiced orange, not a bright zippy orange)
  • Rhubarb Crumble
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Tropical Fiesta (passionfruit and guava)
  • Fireside
  • Fresh Air
  • Sweet Pea
  • Mandarin Mango Madness
  • Coffee Cake Swirl (sugary cinnamon first, with cake note in background)
  • Black Raspberry Vanilla
  • Zen
  • Strawberries & Cream
  • Calypso Sands (floral, honeydew, and "light breeze")
  • Faded Denim (sort of a soft musk and cotton or laundry scent)
  • Lemon Chiffon (LOVE!)
  • Sunlit Meadows (citrus, florals, musk - sort of sweet and musky, nice)
  • Coconut Macaroon (super yummy coconut and cake notes)
  • Rain Kissed
  • Ginger Peach
  • Vanilla Woods (oak leaves, vanilla - interesting, might try this one)
  • Citrus Cilantro
  • Raspberry Fizz
This is where I'd like to go on a little rant about those who deem me unworthy to participate in the wax world because I enjoy the dreaded "Walmart wax," but after thinking about it . . . nah.  We'll just say that I am aware and that I don't like you much either.

So anyway, I'm obvious all into lemon scents these days.  What are YOU into at the moment?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Read - Entice

Entice
by Jessica Shirvington
2011
438 pages

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.


*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

When I read the first book in this series, Embrace, last April, I loved it.  Since these books had already been out for a year or two in other parts of the world I had to keep myself from looking up too much about them online.  I didn't want to find spoilers.  I wanted to keep my brain thinking these were brand new books.  So yeah, I'd been anxiously awaiting this sequel to Embrace for quite some time!  Then once I got it there was a small problem because I was already in the middle of the Mortal Instrument series.  THEN, when I finished that, I'd wanted to go back and read Embrace before diving into Entice, just to sort of refresh my memory.  In the end I decided not to, and just jumped right into the sequel.

I was immediately loving this book.  I camped out on the couch on my day off work and whipped through the first 220+ pages (over half the book!) in the first day.  That's crazy for a poky reader like me.  But the writing style of this one was such a breath of fresh air from the style of the Mortal Instruments series, which I'd been laboring through by the end.  Author Jessica Shirvington keeps things more blunt and too the point, keeps things moving.  There is not the endless grand sweeping statements meant for emotional benefit that seem to be a requirement of young adult fiction.  There is not a lot of fluff or nonsense.  There is not a lot of extra stuff going on to try and keep readers on their toes, or to try and set up future books.  It stays on course and I appreciate that.

Once again, I love the relationship between Violet and Lincoln.  There were a couple times when he was in danger of becoming a whiny drama queen but the author reeled him back in and all was good.  I love his bluntness, also his quiet caring through simple gestures.  I love how he and Violet read each other and know when to step up or back off.  Just like in the first book when Violet revealed a deep, disturbing secret and he responded with a silent 'You'll be ok' arm around her shoulders instead of making a big deal about it, there is a situation again in this second book that just makes me love him.  Their group has arrived in an important place and as they are leaving the plane Violet's 'senses' kick into overdrive all at once and she's completely overwhelmed.  Instantly, before anyone else probably even noticed a problem, Lincoln had his arms around her and was pulling her back into the plane, whispering into her ear, "Violet.  It's me.  I'm here," in a calming way that centered and grounded her.

*SWOON*

I also love that Violet comes with emotional baggage.  Something traumatic happened to her in her childhood and it sticks with.  It keeps coming back to her in times of crisis, and it has sort of defined who she is, the rules she's made for herself.  Few people know about what happened.  Even Lincoln, who she's known for years, has only just recently been told about it.  While a lot of the YA novels I've read in the past year or so all try to have some such 'problem' that the character struggles with, they always seem to come across as inconsistent in their feelings, or things are too easily wrapped up and dismissed at some point.  Not so with Violet.  And again, I appreciate the author's work on this.

I was a little disappointed that the book description seems to imply that Phoenix is back in a bigger way than he was.  The description almost makes it seem like the Violet-Phoenix romance from the first book might be revisited.  Even though I love Lincoln, I loved the hotness of Phoenix in the first book.  While he is back in this sequel, it's not nearly like the description teases us with.

There are new characters in this book, as well as many returning characters from the first one.  As I was reading I found myself wishing I had indeed gone back and reread the first book just so I could remember more of the details.  A lot of times a sequel book will have a lot of brief recapping of things that happened previously.  This one didn't.  It was like it just went from one book into the next.  I mean, ok, there are brief mentions of things from the first book where they need to be but sometimes I found it wasn't enough.  Then again, I often don't like when sequels spend too much time reminding us of things, so I guess I can't complain much.  I do think I will go back and read both books before I read the third, which comes out soon.  WOOT!

The story itself is a typical good guys vs bad guys, impending doom, race to find the thing that can save us all YA story.  I'm getting used to this format now that I've read it so many times.  While it can still be really cheesy and predictable, as I said before this one keeps to a more streamlined plot and at a decent pace without all the usual sappy melodramatics.  It's becoming interesting now to see so many different takes on the whole fallen angel thing.  It's interesting to see some of the same names popping up, in this case, the demon Lilith.  It used to be that I'd always find myself comparing stories and dismissing them for being unoriginal, but now I'm becoming more tolerant and 'Ok, how is this one going to do it?'

One curious thing is that for as much as I love Lincoln, I don't yet have a picture of him in my head.  Of course my vague image of him is dark haired and dark eyed because that's just my dream guy, but it's mentioned that he has brown hair with natural golden highlights, and green eyes.  My mental picture just won't settle down when it comes to him.  I try to run through actors or people I know just to give him a face, and no one seems to fit.  If this series is ever made into a movie, I'm very curious . . . and afraid! . . .  to see who would play Lincoln!

Melted - Front Porch Candle Co. / Country Cinnamon

Country Cinnamon - 'A warm blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices
with a buttery undertone.'
 
On cold sniff, I really liked this one.  I like cinnamon scents and this one reminded me of Christmas, of being in the holiday section of a store, where all the scented pine cones and candles are creating a blended holiday scent.  Warmed though, it becomes a softer, more bakery type cinnamon scent.  It's not a harsh, sharp spicy scent but there really was quite a lot of the 'other spices' coming through.  I think the 'buttery undertone' played a big role too.  Still mainly cinnamon, but lost all of the 'holiday' factor when warmed.
 
And it was rather weak.  I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a very light scent and throw at best.  If the furnace kicked in or someone walked by, something to stir up the air, I would catch a whiff of this but it was always light.  It's something that sits very subtly in the air.  I did get very faint hints of it in other rooms but only because I was aware of it.  For small areas, or if you just want something light in the air, this would be nice.  I prefer my scents to be bolder though.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Tulip


Tulip- 'Very lovely strong scent, not overly floral.'
 
Sweet Fixations is probably my favorite vendor these days.  I've been sitting on my big year end order, saving them until I've melted through everything else I have, and I'm looking forward to spending time with those little gems soon.  Until then, this is one of the floral scents hubby had wanted in that more recent, and smaller order.  He is the floral fan in this house.  I usually stay far away from such scents.  There are the occasional florals that surprise me though, and this is one of them.
Tulips are my favorite flower but I'd never be able to recognize them by scent.  I don't even really know if this scent smells like actual tulips?!  I guess I'll have to go out and smell my flowers this spring, huh?  Anyway, there was almost something lightly spicy in this scent.  It was not at all chokingly perfumey as some florals can be.  There was a bit of a greenery note, and that sort of 'spice' note, and the bulk of it was a 'dark' sweet floral.

The strength and staying power of this tart were amazing.  Hubby melted the entire 1 oz. tart in a tea light warmer in the living room.  The first day he melted it, I had been at work and when I came home, as soon as I opened the back door I could smell this.  It scented the whole dang house but it still wasn't overwhelming.  I was impressed with this tart right away on that first day.  But then it continued to impress me when hubby remelted it . . . over and over again.  I'm usually too impatient and toss my tarts before their scent is gone.  Hubby is not that way at all.  He just kept remelting this one, and it always had decent scent.  He got at least six tea light burns (at least 24 hours) over several days before the scent was finally limited to just the living room.  He was willing to melt it a couple more times but I was the one who finally dumped it just to move on to something else.  Makes me wonder though if the tart was uber or the location of the warmer played a factor.  Hmmm.
 
While I did not love this scent because florals just aren't my thing, it was a nice enough scent to get away from my usual bakery types for a change, and the staying power was amazing.  If hubby ever wants to order more spring/floral scents, I will definitely get this one again.