Monday, September 30, 2013

A Glade Christmas Scent Heads Up!

 (Apologies for the slightly blurry pic.  I hadn't realized I was so rushed!)

I came across this totally unexpected find this morning.  I'd stopped at Dollar General to get something totally unrelated to wax or scented things, so I wasn't even looking for this.  I rarely go to any of the various 'dollar stores' but sometimes you can find things there you can't find other places.  This is one of those times!

As I was looking for Lysol spray and cheap toilet bleach tabs, I came across a small display in the aisle near the air freshener products.  It was for Glade's Gingerbread Jingle scent.  At first I dismissed it as them just hauling out last year's leftovers but then I thought no, they didn't have this scent last year . . . did they?!  Then I got excited that this might be the first of *this* year's scents and I grabbed one to sniff it.  Mmmm!  I made a mental note to pick this one up closer to winter.  And then, as I turned to leave, I noticed that it said on the display stand that Gingerbread Jingle is a "Dollar General Exclusive!"  Since I rarely go there and didn't know if I'd be back closer to Christmas, I went ahead and grabbed one of these candles now.  It's also on sale right now, only $2.50.  Wish I would have had my $1.00 off 2 coupon with me!

The description for Gingerbread Jingle is 'Roll up your sleeves as you decorate the jolliest of gingerbread houses, all while basking in the warm, rich scent of mocha, nutmeg, and sweet vanilla icing.'  It's deep and rich and cozy, just a hint of spice, hint of chocolate, all wrapped up in a gingerbread-coffee type scent.

So if you have any interest in this one, looks like you'll have to head over to your local Dollar General to get it.  And now I will tuck this away at the back of my little candle cupboard until after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Melted - Back Home Scents / Chai Tea

Chai Tea - 'Traditional chai tea is made with black tea leaves steeped with spices like whole peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves.'

I have to keep in mind that it's chai latte type scents that I'm looking for when it comes to chai.  I like the creamier, warmer version of the scent.  This particular version from Back Home Scents is very nice, but is just the straight spiced tea version.  Strong on the tea notes, it's actually quite refreshing and bright.  There is a lot of spice in this but even so, it's still not harsh or 'sharp' as spicy scents can sometimes be.  This is a pretty scent.

This is my first ever tart from Back Home Scents so I wasn't sure how strong it would be.  I considered cutting it in half since some of us waxy people are experimenting with using smaller amounts of wax, but in the end I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer.  I was so happy that this was nice and STRONG!  I love my scents strong!  I could smell it very easily all over the house, and it still had plenty of scent left for a second melt.  (One tea light candle lasts four hours.)

If all my other Back Home Scents tarts perform this well, I will be heading back to start ordering some Christmas scents.

Melted - Sea Breeze Scents & Things / Fall Festival

Fall Festival - A Sea Breeze customer blend! Mixture of pumpkin, maple, and some secrets!
This is a really yummy fall scent.  I wish I knew what those 'secrets' in the description were!  The pumpkin is there but it wouldn't strike you as a pumpkin scent.  The maple is there but it doesn't scream 'Pancake syrup!'  Together, with whatever else is in this, it becomes a deep, rich, sweet but warm and cozy type scents.  I guess it kinda makes me think of pumpkin pie but without the spice, and makes me think about when I was a kid and my mom was making the pies for Thanksgiving.  The more I smelled this, the more I thought there might even be hint of crust in it, and that made me wonder if it was a graham cracker crust I was possibly picking up on, and THAT made me wonder if Pumpkin Cheesecake is one of the scents used to blend this.  Whatever it is, it's nice.
I melted this .7 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a medium scent and throw.  This seems to be the norm for Sea Breeze Scents & Things.  The scents are awesome, but for my big rooms and my tastes, I wish these were stronger.  I could smell this easily in area of my warmer but still not strong enough for me, and slightly lighter in adjacent rooms.  People with smaller rooms or who like lighter scents would probably love Sea Breeze Scents & Things.  (She's closed to tart orders at the moment due to some family matters.)

Again, another great scent, just wish it was stronger.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Haul - Back Home Scents / Tarts

 Back Home Scents is an Etsy shop I've had marked for a while, but am only now just ordering from.  I like to browse Etsy for new (to me) shops, and I like venturing off the beaten path of vendors that are considered 'acceptable' by a certain internet crowd.  So yeah, it was time to finally try this shop out.

I only placed a small order, as I do when first trying a new vendor.  Back Home Scents has single scallop tarts for $1.15, 3-packs (same scent) for $3.33, 8-packs (same scent) for $8.00, and clamshells for $3.00.  I ordered five single tarts so I could try a few different scents.  They are the typical 1 oz. size.

There is slightly conflicting information about shipping costs in the shop's info.  One spot says a flat rate of $7.95 but overages of a dollar or more are refunded.  A different section says shipping is a flat rate $6.95.  I went into thinking that with my tiny order I'd get the partial refund.  I don't remember getting one so the $6.95 must be the current rule, and I'm a little bummed about that.  On the other hand, the turn-around time was super fast.  I placed my order on a Friday morning and had my shipping notice on Saturday morning.  The package itself ended up going to Florida before finding it's way back to Wisconsin (no fault of the vendor) and I eventually received it on Thursday, which was still less than a week since ordering.  Love that!

So what did I get???

Chai Tea - 'Traditional chai tea is made with black tea leaves steeped with spices like whole peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves.'

This doesn't have any kind of creamy note like a chai latte would and I should have thought of that when I ordered.  This is just straight tea and spice notes.  It's still nice though.

Vanilla Noel - 'A sweet, creamy buttercream and fluffy white marshmallows with hints of crisp cookies, crushed vanilla beans and a light kiss of musk. This is not a BBW duplication but I would say a close cousin to their popular Vanilla Bean Noel.'

I'm not familiar enough with the B&BW scent to know how close this is, but I can say it's very sweet, almost caramel-y, and the hint of musk makes itself known.

Sugar Plum - 'A juicy, sugary plum with mulled notes of fig, apricot and cherry with spicy hints of cinnamon, clove and a touch of sugary vanilla. 

I wanted to start getting some Christmas scents since I am well stocked with fall scents at this point.  This is candy-sweet with just enough hint of spice to warm it up a smidge.  I don't know that it reminds me of Christmas in particular but it is a nice scent.

Twisted Peppermint - 'A different twist on candy cane! Sweet peppermint candies twisted with sugary vanilla & cotton candy!' 

Again, not sure how close this is to the popular B&BW version, but wow, I do love this!  The mint is the main note but is softened a bit by the vanilla and sweetened by the cotton candy (although I don't detect any cotton candy specifically).  Love this!

Candy Cane - 'Sweet sugary candy with vanilla and peppermint. This isn't a straight peppermint. Just like a real candy cane, sweet and yummy!'

Gotta have candy cane scent for Christmas!  This is much mintier than the Twisted Peppermint, but still not quite a full, sharp peppermint.  Very nice, but I'll have to melt it when hubby's at work because he doesn't like mint.  What's wrong with him?!

Witch's Brew - 'A bewitching combination of sweet dark spices tossed generously with clove and lots of earthy dark patchouli. Add to the pot a pinch of cedarwood, cinnamon and sweet violets.

This was a freebie in my order.  This one might get passed on to someone else because it's just not my thing.  I'm not a patchouli fan or a wood fan, and the cedar is quite strong in this.  But I do love when vendors add a freebie or a sample to orders.  Thank you, Rhonda!!

And that is my little first-timer order.  I'm quite impressed so far.  Everything is so clean and well presented.  The scents on cold sniff are very strong, so I'm feeling good that the warm scent and throw will be decent.  The scent list at Back Home Scents is not overwhelmingly long but there are quite a few, certainly enough to find plenty of goodies to try.  If these smell strong enough when I melt them, I can easily see myself ordering again.

Have YOU tried Back Home Scents?

Tried - Sugar Sugar Scrubs / Coffee Scrub

Coffee Body Scrub - ' . . . actual ground coffee with a hint of vanilla & topped with cinnamon!'
When I placed my recent order with Sugar Sugar Scrubs for some whipped soaps and whipped sugar scrubs, I decided to go ahead and try her coffee scrub too.  I got the small 2 oz. size because I just wasn't sure how I'd like it.  I know from my own soap making days that coffee grounds can be quite harsh on the skin.
Well, I tried this and immediately hated it.  The coffee was not as harsh as I feared it might be, but it was messy from the moment I tried to use it.  This is a very dry scrub, not nearly the amount of oils or moisture in the mix as with most scrubs.  I have had this more dry type of sugar scrub before from another vendor and did not like it.  As soon as I tried to spread this around on my arm I had coffee grounds falling all over the tub, and my arm was turning a dark brown.  I soldiered on, working it across my skin like it was any other scrub, but I already knew I did not like this and would not be using it again.  I slopped some on my other arm just to feel even, and added to the brown mess everywhere.  Quickly giving up, I went to rinse it off and found little coffee grounds specks sticking to me and found I had to put extra effort into rinsing/pushing these off my skin.  The water was brown, splashes of brown dripped down the shower wall and curtain, and the grounds quickly clogged the little drain screen.  Ohhhh, it was not fun.

I want to be very clear on something . . . I am not saying this particular vendor's product was horrible.  I have not ever tried a coffee scrub so I did not know what to expect.  What I'm saying in this review is that I don't think coffee scrubs are something for me.  If you are a coffee scrub fan, maybe you'd find this vendor's product lovely.

I briefly considered letting hubby use the remainder of this as a hand scrub.  He is a machinist and his hands get pretty darn black and grimy from work.  The scrubby factor in this scrub would probably cut right through that for him.  But then I started wondering if the coffee grounds would eventually clog the sink drain.  I decided to just dump the remainder into the garbage.  I did save the little jar though, as I often do.  I like to reuse them to put smaller amounts of favorite lotions into so I can take them to work or have it sit on my desk.

Overall, I have learned that coffee scrubs are NOT for me.  I will stick with sugar, thank you.

Have YOU ever tried them?  What did you think?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Burned - Glade / Toasted Marshmallow

Toasted Marshmallow - Bring the ones you love even closer with the sweetly woodsy aroma of this toasted treat. 
I surprised myself when I bought this candle.  I already had the Fall Hayride scent, a gift from my sister, but I knew that these Glade candles tend to burn unevenly and have severe tunneling issues.  Also, I don't usually go for woodsy, bonfire type scents.  But, while shopping with my mom one day, I gave this one a sniff while she was taking forever looking at something else, and was completely wow-ed.  I bought it without another thought.  
There is no woodsy or bonfire note in this.  There is a very light 'toasted' note but mainly this is just a really sweet, creamy, warm, yummy scent.  It smells just like gooey marshmallow.  And it's strong, which marshmallow scents often are not.

We have not finished this candle yet but have burned it a few times now, and are about halfway through it.  As always, there was severe tunneling right from the get-go.  We don't worry about too much anymore, just burn it a few times then help it along by pushing down the edges to eventually even it out.  Usually tunneling and having to tend a candle would be a complete turnoff for us, but we've come to know that the Glade scents are strong and carry well throughout the whole house.  And this one is no different.  I could smell this in all areas of the house on a very pleasant level, easily noticeable but never overwhelming.

Even with Glade's tunneling issues, I'm becoming a fan of these 4 oz., very affordable candles!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Burned - Glade / Fall Hayride

Fall Hayride - Capture the bouncy autumn spirit of a crisp harvest hayride. 
I probably would not have ever chosen this scent on my own because I usually just don't go for grass or hay type scents.  My sister bought it for me though, and it's always funny how gifts open your eyes to new things.  Turns out I really liked this scent!  I really wish there was a better scent description, because this is going to be difficult to explain.  While there is a sort of hay or grass note, it's not strong or that 'dry harsh' that I associate with such scents.  There is something bright in this, an almost sweet note that I wondered might be apple but when I close my eyes and try to detect apple, I don't find it.  This is definitely and 'outdoor' scent, but I don't know how to describe it.
This is a 4 oz. candle and as we found with Glade's winter candles last Christmas, they smell great but don't burn evenly.  After burning this a couple times we did have to play with it, push some edges down to help it achieve a more even burn.  There was a lot of tunneling right off the bat.  I was surprised how strong the scent throw was though!  I came home from work Saturday evening and could smell this immediately upon coming in the back door, and that's the opposite end of the house from where hubby had this burning.  I found the whole house was bathed in this lovely fall scent.  For as far as it traveled, it was not overwhelming.  It was like a perfect strength, easily  noticeable but not at all overwhelming.

I do wish Glade could work out the tunneling issue in these candles though.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus- A magical spicy blend of freshly ground cinnamon, and herbal notes of bergamot, jasmine, black tea, and patchouli.
It seems like I get this scent from some vendor every year, and every year I end up not liking it, and every year I tell myself that my tastes are different now and I'll like it so I get it again, and every year I still end up not liking it.  Isn't that the definition of insanity?  To do something over and over and expect different results?  Wow . . . 

So yeah, here we are again with this scent and I just don't like it.  I know I'm not a fan of bergamot or patchouli, and I'm not a fan of floral so why would I think the jasmine is ok?  Ohhh but there is cinnamon and black tea so that has to make everything okay.  Ha.  I'm sure there are people out there who love this type of scent, but I am just not one of them.  I don't even know how to describe it.  It's sort of a very incense-y type scent.  There is some sweetness.  At times I think it's slightly cologne-y.  It is a very drastic change from the warm and cozy bakery scents I love so much.  It's just not for me.

I cut this tart and melted half of it (.7 oz.) in my tea light warmer.  It is strong!  Keeping in mind that I don't like this scent, it was head-achingly strong in the room my warmer is in, and plenty strong in adjacent rooms.  I couldn't even let it continue past the first half hour or so.  Again, nothing wrong with the scent . . . it's just not for me.

I will pass the other half of this along to someone who will love it, and I will try to remember not to put myself through this again next year.

Melted - Sea Breeze Scents & Things / Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake - Creamy pumpkin, vanilla, and a hint of spice with just a tiny bit of graham cracker.
I'd been trying to hold off on pumpkin scents until at least October, hopefully closer to Halloween, but once again I find myself with a ton of pumpkin scents this year and decided to dive into them early.  This is really nice one!  Strong on pumpkin but not the usual strong spicy note.  There is just a soft spice in this one, warming things up but not making it 'sharp.'  The vanilla is also on the soft side, more just adding some creamy sweetness.  Without knowing there is supposed to be graham cracker in here, I didn't notice any while it was melting.  If I'd remembered it was in there maybe my brain would have picked up on it.  So if it's there, it's light.
I melted this .7 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got a medium scent but strong throw.  This was one of those crazy ones that you seem to smell a lot more the farther away from the warmer you are.  I would have liked it to be a lot stronger in general but I'm finding most tarts from Sea Breeze Scents & Things to be on the lighter side.

Still, this was a great scent!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Read - The Spirit Room

The Spirit Room
by Marschel Paul
587 pages

A captivating historical novel about two independent-minded sisters in Victorian era America

Set in New York state in the late 1850s, two sisters are forced into becoming hoax mediums by their reprobate father in the wake of their mother's death. Following a short apprenticeship with a renowned Spiritualist and her clairvoyant assistant, 17-year-old Izzie and 13-year-old Clara Benton set up shop with Papa in a rigged séance parlor dubbed The Spirit Room.

The intelligent, self-educated Izzie shows genuine psychic talent but fears the spirit-world voices she hears are like her mother's, which she believes drove her mother to madness and early death. Vowing to return if Clara or her siblings need her protection, Izzie flees the family Spiritualism enterprise to go to Rochester with a new husband, a doctor specializing in "water-cure"--a trendy health spa therapy that the doctor soon begins to practice on his new wife. Clara, meanwhile, finds the Spirit Room gradually transformed, under her father's will, into a center for something much more malicious than hoax séances.

Becoming separated both physically and emotionally by complex turns in their paths, the young sisters, as the story unfolds, are becoming women. But will they be able to come out whole without each other?

In her noteworthy debut novel, Marschel Paul peppers her narrative with cultural and political references, from Madame Bovary to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, that effectively serve as touchstones for the story's themes of women's independence and the power of female relationships--whether they be sisters, mentors, allies, or friends. 


I received this book for free in a Goodreads 'First Reads' giveaway.  While reviews are not required when you win, they are recommended, and really it's just a common courtesy so I have no problem doing one.  I was thrilled to find that my copy is signed by the author!

I have mixed feelings about this book.  While I did love the story, there were some storytelling problems that I couldn't seem to let go of in my mind.  Also, I understand why the description doesn't specifically mention what goes on in this story, but what is left unmentioned is really the bulk of the book, much more than the seance hoaxes that description implies it is about.  I think this could be a disturbing shock to some readers.  I certainly didn't see it coming and when it began, I was like 'Whaaaaat?  What kind of book is this??'  Having said that though, what happens is so sad that your heart just breaks as you watch events unfold.

You've already been warned, so here come the spoilers . . . 

This book is really the story of thirteen year old Clara.  While the narrative does jump back and forth between the points of view of Clara and her older sister Izzie, it really is Clara's story in the end.  And what a disturbing and sad story it is.  Mr. Benton, the girls' father, is an abusive, alcoholic, deadbeat.  He can't keep a job and is always looking to make easy money in shady ways.  Izzie is the oldest daugher, and at 17 years old she is smart and stubborn and will stand up to their father where her siblings won't.  Clara and her twin brother Billy are thirteen years old, and then there is little sister Euphora, who is ten or eleven.  Mr. Benton's physical abuse is directed at Billy, his only son, but his mental abuse carries over to all of the girls.  

It is Papa who comes up with the idea for Clara and Izzie to become 'mediums' and begin holding fake spirit circles (seances).  Clara has fun with it because she wants to be an actress anyway, but Izzie hates it.  She's actually afraid of such things because her mother was convinced she heard voices of spirits and it drove her to her death.  Izzie does not want to end up that way.  When she has a chance to get married and move away from the whole depressing situation at home, she takes it.  She promises to come back for her siblings if they ever call out for her and let her know they need help, but she *knows* she's leaving them in a bad situation.

I found I didn't really like Izzie in this book.  She's too inconsistent, which is one of my problems with the storytelling.  As the story goes on, I was never clear on if the relationship between her and her husband Mac was sincere or something shady.  One moment they were tender and loving with each other, the next moment she's silently fighting against him in her thoughts, seemingly thinking he's an evil quack.  One moment Mac is kind and attentive, the next it's strongly implied he's just using her and is possibly cheating on her all over the place.  When she later wants to go visit her family he keeps her from going, saying he needs her there.  It's never quite clear if he really feels he needs her there or if he's purposely keeping her away.  And that brings me to another of the storytelling problems.  What was the deal Papa and Mac made that cleared the way for Mac and Izzie to get married?  Was Papa telling him to keep Izzie away so she wouldn't interfere?  It had been mentioned early on that Mac offered to send money back to the family to help in place of what they were losing by Izzie moving away.  Nothing ever came from that.  It was hinted that Mac needed more financial supporters to open his new clinic.  For a while I'd thought he'd turned the deal around and was blackmailing Papa, demanding money from him in exchange for his silence about the spirit circles being a hoax.  Nothing ever came of any of it though, and I still don't know what the deal was.

After Izzie left, word got out anyway that Clara was a hoax and the seance business quickly died. Papa's need for easy money, and his brainwashing ways, begin Clara on a path into prostitution and THAT is what the bulk of the book is about.  It does still hop back and forth between Izzie and her weird new life with a 'water-cure' obsessed husband, and Clara and the ongoing dramas at home, but it all comes back to the decisions Clara is forced to make, situations she's been forced into.  Billy is eventually forced to flee.  With the loss of the small income that he was bringing in, Papa now has ideas of bringing little Euphora into his sick money making scheme.  And this is where Clara puts her foot down.  She's become resigned to what she does (she's 13!!), but she will not let Papa brainwash her little sister the way he did with her.

With some outside help, Clara and Euphora flee and begin new lives elsewhere.  When Izzie had left, she'd promised to come and get her siblings if any trouble arose.  But Clara never mentioned what her father was getting her into because she was ashamed and embarrassed.  Letters grew fewer, and even though Izzie often suspected things might need checking into she always let her husband keep her from going.  So when she finally does stand up to him and go back home, it's too late.  The girls are gone.  She follows some tips that lead her to New York City and spends months searching for them but eventually goes back home to her husband.  She finally receives word from Clara sometime later and rushes back to NYC, but still has no idea that Clara is a prostitute or what she's been through.  The most heartbreaking part of the whole dang story is at one point in their reunion, after Izzie knows everything, when Clara is hitting her and crying "Where were you??" and pretty much blaming it all on her.  In many ways, it's true.

It's also soooo sad that even once Clara has options, she finds it easiest to fall back on the life she's been groomed for.  It's kind of a guilty slap in the face to Izzie that Clara's 'parlor house sisters' and madam stood up for her and protected her from her father, and that she wants to stay with them.

At 587 pages, you have plenty of time to get to know Clara.  Like I said, Izzie's story is a little too inconsistent and unclear to really form any bond with her.  If I were to strip away those weak points I would say I loved this book.  I did not like the ending though.  There were just too many unanswered questions.  I mean, it's gnawing at me to the point I might try contacting the author just for clarification.  The whole emphasis on the 'water-cure' institute didn't serve much purpose but to show some of the odd things people believed in at the time.  There were any number of ways Mac could have kept Izzie away from her family.  Even the voices and seances didn't serve much purpose beyond a gateway into Papa's money making schemes.  What was the point of Izzie hearing "There's Hannah?"  I thought for sure Hannah (Clara's friend) would end up dead somehow and that's why Izzie was hearing spirits talk about her.  But nope.  And what was the deal with Clara being so thin and pale and frail at the end?  Was it implying she'd gotten some STD because of her line of employment, and she was dying?  I almost wish there was going to be a sequel book, but if Clara were to die, I don't think I'd really care much about Izzie's story after that.

Hmmm, yes, I think I'll try contacting the author.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Haul - BH&G Fall 2013 Tarts

Finally!  My Walmart FINALLY got the Better Homes & Gardens fall tarts in!  Most of what I saw are returning scents from last year, which isn't a bad thing because there were some darn good scents.  A few from last year are missing, but there are a few new ones to take their place.  I only got eight, but I'll run through a quick list of what's available.

Returning from last year
  • Spicy Sugared Cinnamon
  • Warm Crackling Campfire
  • Spiced Pumpkin Pie
  • Fragrant Evergreen Forest
  • Simmering Apple Cider
  • Warm Autumn Welcome
  • Sugared Vanilla Shortbread
  • Candied Caramel Pecan
  • Warm Baking Spice
  • Ginger Spice Cake
  • A Thankful Harvest
  • Sparkling Cranberry Zest
  • Juicy Blackberry Currant
  • Cinnamon & Spice
  • Spiced Apple Citrus
  • **Candied Mulberry Spice - **this might be last year's Mulberry Plum Spice with a new name
  • **Warm Autumn Memories - **might be last year's Crisp Fall Leaves with a new name
New this year
  • Cafe Almond Biscotti
  • Harvest Berry Preserves
  • Country Fall Festival
  • Fresh Pumpkin Rolls
  • Honey Crisp Apple
  • Glazed Cranberry Pumpkin
  • Orange Spice Tea
  • Frosted Sage Leaf
  • Warm Hazelnut Toddy
Missing from last year
  • Country Kettle Corn  (See Update #2 below.)
  • Gooey Marshmallow S'mores  (See Update #2 below.)
  • Mountain Cabin Escape
  • Candied Caramel Apple - I'm really disappointed this was not there.  It's the BEST caramel apple scent I've come across so far.
*** UPDATE ***
When I was in the store again the next week I noticed some fall type scents mixed into the 'regular' section.  These included . . .
  • Cranberry Mandarin Splash
  • Baked Apple Strudel
  • Spiced Apple & Clove
  • Mulberry Plum Spice (So I guess this is not renamed as Candied Mulberry Spice, as mentioned above.)

*** UPDATE #2 ***
Shopping this week, I noticed they had moved the fall scents out to a front aisle display, and that there were a few more scents, including . . . 
  • Pear Berry Brandy
  • Country Kettle Corn
  • Gooey Marshmallow S'mores

So what did I get?  Well, I pretty much grabbed all the pumpkin scents without even thinking about it.  A few of the new ones I am super excited about.  And there are a few I might grab later if they're still around.  But for now, let me show you what jumped into my cart today.

Fresh Pumpkin Rolls - I was so excited when I saw this one and I don't even know why.  Maybe because it's new and looks yummy?  There is a nice pumpkin note in here but it's much more of a sweet and creamy bakery pumpkin scent than the usual spice or pie type scents.

Glazed Cranberry Pumpkin - Whaaat?  Cranberry AND pumpkin?  My fall scent problems are apparently solved!  Cranberry is the stronger note.  If you didn't know any better you'd probably just think this is a regular spiced cranberry scent.  And that's alright with me!  But lurking deep down in there is a warmth that must be the pumpkin.  I'm hoping that will come out more once it's melted.  But even if it doesn't, this is an awesome tart cranberry scent that's light on the spice.

Warm Hazelnut Toddy - This was another of the new ones I was excited about.  I'm not sure what's all in a toddy . . . I see a lemon in the picture on the label . . . but omg do I love me some hazelnut scent.  There is no alcohol note to this.  It's just a very deep, rich, warm, almost creamy hazelnut scent.  I need to grab about 40 more packs of this one.

Country Fall Festival - This one seems familiar to me but it's not on last year's list and I don't know what it would be from last year with a new name.  Contrary to what the picture shows, it's a surprisingly warm, almost bakery type scent.  Seems like there is a sort of baked bread note, but it's probably a pumpkin note of some sort.  In a very weird way, this one reminds me slightly of . . . meat.  LOL!!!!  I don't know why!  It's not a gross or bad scent, so I don't know where *meat* comes from.  Don't let that scare you away from this one.

Spiced Pumpkin Pie - This one was around last year and I remember it was probably my least favorite out of the pumpkin scents.  I just grabbed it anyway today.  It's a typical pumpkin pie scent, lightly spiced, with a hint of crust.

A Thankful Harvest - I think this was my favorite from last year.  The pumpkins all kinda blur together in my mind.  This one is more of a plain pumpkin scent, not spiced, and no bakery notes from pie crust.  I know people loved an old Bath & Body Works candle called Pumpkin Patch or something, and said it was more of a fresh, plain pumpkin scent.  I always wonder if this is similar.

Warm Autumn Welcome - This was another favorite last year.  It's more of a spiced pumpkin scent, but still without the bakery notes from pie crust.  It's not heavily spiced either.  Very nice scent.

Warm Autumn Memories - I wonder if this is the same as Crisp Fall Leaves from last year.  This is an outdoorsy scent, almost cologne-y.  There is a hint of sweetness, and a hint of spice, and I'm not sure if that's pine that I'm smelling . . . ?  It's a nice change from the warm and heavy pumpkin scents.

And now, just like last year, I find I have a TON of tarts in fall scents.  I just can't seem to control myself when it comes to freakin' fall scents!  I'm done ordering anything pumpkin, apple, cranberry, or fall type, but I might still grab more of these BH&G tarts if any of them interest me when I'm back in the store.  In fact, I know I'd wanted to try the Cafe Almond Biscotti one but forgot to grab it after writing all the names down in my scribbly little list.

Do you see any potential favorites that you must have?  Which ones??  And if you see any that I don't have listed here, please let me know!

Happy Fall Melting!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Bobbing For Apples

Bobbing For Apples - 'Crunchy toffee chips and apples dripping with buttery caramel.' 

The name of this one confuses me a bit.  Obviously you'd think 'Bobbing For Apples' is an apple scent, but you wouldn't be bobbing for caramel apples, would you?  Hehe, oh well, not important.  

This is a really nice caramel apple scent.  Gotta have caramel apple scents in fall!  It's a wee smidge heavier on the apple, but the caramel is sweet and creamy and makes it absolutely yummy.

I melted half of this scent shot (.6 oz.) in my tea light warmer and was super happy with how strong this bugger was.  Is it just that this particular scent is strong?  Or is there really something to the theory that melting a smaller amount will get you stronger scent?  (It's something I'm playing around with . . . )  Whatever the reason, this one is STRONG and I love that.  It was strong throughout the house, even lighter notes of it upstairs, and it was the first thing I smelled when coming in the back door after being outside.  Awesome!

I would definitely order this one again.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Apple Harvest

Apple Harvest - 'Apple mixed with fruity notes and touches of spice.'  

I wasn't going to review this one because I had it last year and already have a post up about it ( HERE ) but for the sake of keeping the blog active, I decided to do it again.

This is an awesome scent for early fall.  It's not too heavy, not too spicy.  It is a 'pretty' apple scent.  Apple is definitely the dominate note but whatever those 'fruity notes' are must be lending that 'pretty' factor.  It's almost the slightest bit perfume-y at times.  The spice is soft, just enough to warm things up a bit.  And there is a hint of a cider note.

In a recent discussion on another blog, it was mentioned that melting LESS might actually give a stronger scent.  I hate cutting wax and scent shots are not my preferred form of tart so I usually just throw the whole dang thing in the warmer, but this time I decided to go ahead and cut it in half.  So, I ended up melting about .7 oz. of this tart in my tea light warmer and had a nice strong scent.  It was not overpowering, but it was pleasantly strong in the room my warmer is in, and still very noticeable throughout the downstairs of the house.

A fabulous fall scent that you really must try!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Melted - Sea Breeze Scents & Things / Apple Butter

Apple Butter - 'Apple, buttercream, and a bit of cinnamon & spice.'
This was sort of a warmer, richer version of the Apple Cinnamon previously reviewed.  It was very much an apple cinnamon scent, but a bit 'deeper,' if that makes any sense.  I didn't really notice any specific buttercream type note but it must have done wonders to boost the overall apple-cinnamon combo.  This was quite yummy for fall!
I melted this .8 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium scent and throw.  I could smell it easily in the room my warmer is in, and had lighter traces of it in adjacent rooms.  This would have so much better if it had been stronger though.  I like *strong* scents.

Melted - Sea Breeze Scents & Things / Apple Cinnamon

Apple Cinnamon - 'A Sea Breeze custom blend of apple & cinnamon sticks.'

Although fall doesn't technically start until September 22, I allow myself to slip into fall mode on September 1, and that means I start melting apple scents.  Wheee!  Of course Apple Cinnamon is a perfect early fall scent, so of course I had to get this when I'd placed my second order from Sea Breeze Scents & Things.  This is a very nice version, not too heavy on the spice.  The apple note is sweet and juicy.  The cinnamon is more candy-like, a bit more sweet than a sharp, heavy bakery type.
I melted this entire .8 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a medium scent and throw.  I could smell it pretty easily in the room my warmer is in, and could detect light traces of it in adjacent rooms.  Since these daisy shaped tarts come in 2-packs from this vendor, I later melted the second one in my 20 watt Glade hot plate warmer just to see if there was any difference in performance.  Nope, it was still the same medium scent and throw.  I would have liked this to be stronger, but it was still nice enough.

Melted - Rosegirls / Snow White's Honeycrisp Apple

Snow White's Honeycrisp Apple - 'Crisp and juicy apple, sweet pea, and orange blossom.'

I received this as a gift and since it was an apple scent, and we're in the early stages of fall, it was perfect to melt now.  This is a *pretty* apple scent, more than a juicy, fruity apple scent.  It could almost be perfume-y.  There is definitely an apple note, but the other notes add a brightness, a cheeriness.  It's not like a spiced apple fall type scent.

This chunk weighed 1.3 oz. so I just melted the whole dang thing in my tea light warmer.  It was a soft-medium scent, very much an air freshening 'background' scent.  This probably would not bother people who are sensitive to scents (uh, my mom).  I like my scents to be much stronger but since this was almost perfume-y, I'm glad this was lighter.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Haul - Sweet Fixations / Fall Scents

Not long ago I seemed to be having crap luck with tarts.  It was like every one that I melted was just too lightly scented.  I almost gave up on Sweet Fixations at that point, but then I noticed it wasn't just that vendor that was seemingly weak to me.  Someone suggested I try the scent shots instead of the scallop tarts, that they might be stronger.  I usually don't prefer tarts in cups because they're usually closer to 2 oz and I feel the need to cut them and just melt 1 oz. at a time, and I hate having to cut tarts.  But I went ahead and not only placed another order with my beloved Sweet Fixations, but I ordered the scent shots.

This is only a fall scent order.  I wanted to be sure these are strong before I go ahead and get my winter/holiday scents too.  I also had most of these last year so I probably won't be doing my individual Melted reviews on those.

Shipping was reasonably fast.  I ordered on Aug. 28 and received it on Sept. 14.  Sometimes shipping is quicker but I think at the time I ordered it was stated 10-15 days TAT (turn around time).  Everything is nicely packaged, well presented and clean.  And I received one free scent shot.

I did not get every fall scent that Sweet Fixations offers, although I did consider it.  Instead, I got favorites from last year and a couple scents that are brand new.  So let's take a look!

Sweet Potato Pie - 'The delicious aroma of candied yams, melted marshmallows, sugar and spice on a buttery crunchy crust.'  This was an absolute "LOVE!" from last year that I knew I had to have again.

Pumpkin Patch - 'Sweet and creamy pumpkin pie with butter, pecans, and a hint of spice.'  This is one of her new ones this year.  This could be a new favorite.  It's more plain pumpkin than the usual pumpkin spice.

Cranberry Orange Spice - 'Tart cranberries, orange zests, and spiced apples.'   Loved this last year and had decided it would be my 'melt this ALL day on Thanksgiving' scent, so had to get it again.

Cozy Home - 'Housewarming spices with slices of juicy apples. Perfect for fall!'  I did not have this one last year but as soon as I smelled it today I decided this might replace the Cranberry Orange Spice as my 'all day on Thanksgiving' scent.  It says apples in the description but it reminds me of cranberries.

Bobbing For Apples - 'Crunchy toffee chips and apples dripping with buttery caramel.'  Did not have this one last year.  It's a nice caramel apple type, stronger on the apple.

Pumpkin Souffle - 'Butter, sugar, spices, vanilla cream and pumpkin.'  The strength of this one last year impressed me so much I had to get it again.  Very pumpkin-y, warm and rich, not too spicy.

Hocus Pocus - 'A magical spicy blend of freshly ground cinnamon, and herbal notes of bergamot, jasmine, black tea, and patchouli.'  I've had a scent by this name in the past from another vendor but don't remember if it's this same as this.  I'm not a big patchouli fan.  Not fond of bergamot either actually.  So why did I get this?  Cuz I was taking a chance.  LOL!  It's light on cold sniff, but what I can smell is nice, leaning towards the tea scent.

Apple Harvest - 'Apple mixed with fruity notes and touches of spice.'  Enjoyed this one last year.  Soft spice warms this up, gives it a bit of a cider note.

Pumpkin Marshmallow - '(SF Blend) Pumpkin and spices combine with toasted marshmallow.'  I didn't try this one last year so thought I'd give it a go this year.  Sweet, creamy pumpkin.  A bit heavier on the marshmallow.

Candy Corn - 'Smells just like the candy tastes with notes of sweet buttery vanilla and hints of orange.'  Didn't have this one last year either.  Candy Corn scents can often be too light but this one seems quite strong on cold sniff.  I'm surprised and pleased!  I don't detect orange specifically but there is a bright sweetness to the creamy vanilla-butter.

Trick or Treat - 'Great Halloween scent of pumpkin, apples, berries, orange and cinnamon. With notes of sugar cane and vanilla.'  I did not have this one last year either.  It's a very interesting one, warm but sweet, with soft spices.  It's more of a spiced fruit than a pumpkin scent.

Italian Biscotti - 'Yummy almond cookies with vanilla and dark chocolate.'  This is another of her brand new scents, and this was my freebie.  And it's freakin' yummy!  Warm, creamy cookie scent with a light almond note and just a hint of chocolate.

On cold sniff, I am extremely pleased with this order.  Most of these will wait till October and November since they are pumpkin heavy scents, but there are a couple I will melt soon, like the apple ones.  I'm already anxious to order my winter/holiday scents!  Gotta wait and be sure these are strong enough first though.

So!  See anything you like in this list?  What are YOU melting this fall?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Melted - The Bathing Garden / Boardwalk In A Bottle

Boardwalk in a Bottle - Carmel and candy glazed popcorn, warm taffy apples, vanilla, sugar, and just stretched saltwater taffy.
People told me to let my new Bathing Gardens sit and cure for a couple weeks at least.  I don't believe in cure time, and I"m almost out of apple scents at the moment so I went ahead and melted this one today.  On cold sniff I mainly detected the apple notes.  Well, the popcorn definitely came through once this was warmed.  I think it became mainly a popcorn scent, with the occasional apple notes drifting through.  I didn't get too much of a ooey gooey caramel or taffy note but there was something sort of sweetening the popcorn.  The apples were bright and juicy in the background.
I melted two clamshell cubes in my tea light warmer and had a medium-strong scent that carried throughout the downstairs of the house.  

This was an interesting scent, not really one I'd consider 'fall,' but one I would probably order again if I was bored with all my other favorites.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Haul - The Bathing Garden

I have a love/hate relationship with The Bathing Garden.  Well over a year ago I had placed two small orders and wasn't overly impressed with either one.  People swear by this company though!  I've had cubes of a few different scents to try in various swap boxes from people and have found those to be quite nice, so I'd always been telling myself I would eventually place another order and give this vendor another try.  Whenever I would check The Bathing Garden's Etsy shop it was always closed for various reasons, or the few items I would find would never be scents that interested me.  Then there was just always a message about restocking when current orders are caught up on . . . and that day seemed to never come.  One day someone enlightened me that owner Shannon had shifted business over to her Facebook page, that she would post a restock notice with a list of scents available and then people just emailed their order to her.  Apparently she'd been doing this for quite some time and in a much more efficient manner.  I joined the group just a day before her most recent restock and then went ahead and placed an order, more out of excitement than anything else.

Cinderella- A bottom layer of pumpkin spice topped with vanilla butter cream, nutmeg, and hints of cinnamon and peppermint. 
Since I've been ordering fall scents I just had to get this one.  Pumpkin and peppermint?  I was intrigued!  The bottom (blue) part of this smells nasty right now, like burned plastic or something.  It's light though, and I'm hoping it changes when melted.  The top smells amazing, definitely peppermint but with a warmth, probably the cinnamon or nutmeg.  I'm very curious how this one will be warm!
Autumn Cream Pie- Whipped cream, marshmallow, and pumpkin.
Of course I had to get this one when I saw it was pumpkin and marshmallow.  Right now I'm unimpressed..  There is that sort of burned plastic smell again.  Is it just the particular pumpkin spice fragrance she uses?  Is it something to do with the plastic clamshell?   I don't believe in cure time but I'm going to have to take a chance and hope these change after sitting a while.

Sugar Candy Wreath- Sugar and cotton candy layered over eucalyptus and evergreen, studded with plums, cherries, oranges, and strawberries.
This one sounded a little Christmas-y so I decided to go ahead and get it.  The bottom (green) part is a very nice evergreen scent, reminding me immediately of Christmas trees.  The pink top seems to contain all the sweet fruity scents and just a hint of eucaplyptus.  It's very candy-like.  Can't wait to melt this immediately after Thanksgiving.
Frosted Serendipity- Serendipity with hints of peppermint and spearmint.
I like Serendipity and I like mint scents, so this one sounded curious.  Serendipity is a very sweet scent, a blend of cherry and coconut and other goodies.  It can sometimes be too sweet though, so I really wonder effect adding mint into the mix will have.  On cold sniff it smells pretty freakin' good!  It's about an equal mix of the Serendipity and the mint.  Sniff it once and I think I get the mint most, but sniff it again and I think I get the Serendipity.  It reminds me of sweet, juicy chewing gum.
Boardwalk in a Bottle - Carmel and candy glazed popcorn, warm taffy apples, vanilla, sugar, and just stretched saltwater taffy.
This was a full sized clamshell freebie in my order.  (Thank you, Shannon!!!)  I'd thought she stopped sending out full sized freebies some time ago but maybe with the smaller, more controlled business through the Facebook group she has gone back to it?  
Anyway, I had no idea what was in this when I opened it and my first comment to hubby was "I smell apples in here."  Glad to see I was right!  Looking at the scent description and sniffing it again, I mainly get caramel apple scent, and that's quite alright.  It's a full, rich caramel apple scent.  I don't really get a popcorn note right now but thought I could smell something that must have been that when I first sniffed it last night.  This will be good for right now, being early fall and apple season.  Yay!
Shipping was reasonably fast.  I ordered on Monday, August 26 and received my package on Monday, September 9, with a holiday in between there.  Tarts cost $3.50 each.

Besides these clamshell tarts, The Bathing Garden is also well known for sugar scrubs.  I did not get any this time because it was just after I placed this order that I fell back in love with scrubs.  Shannon will be doing another restock listing this Friday (Sept. 13) so I will browse her list of scrubs and maybe order one to try.  Not sure if I'll get more tarts though.

Join The Bathing Garden's Facebook group . . . HERE . . . to get the restock listings and be able to order.  If you're already a Bathing Garden veteran, what are some of your favorite scents?  And what do you think of the scrubs?  I'd love to hear your thought!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Used - Sugar Sugar Scrubs / Sweet Vanilla Chai Scrub

I very recently fall back in love with sugar scrubs as I was trying to use up some old products I had sitting around.  I went back to a vendor called Sugar Sugar Scrubs that  I'd ordered a nice lotion from last fall, and ordered some of her whipped scrubs and whipped soaps.  As soon as I received my order and had a look at the scrub, I was a little leery.  It didn't look sugary at all.

I went ahead and tried so-called scrub this morning in the shower and sadly, it's just as I feared.  It is not a scrub at all.  There is nothing exfoliating in it.  If there was sugar at some point it has dissolved to become part of the cream.  I figured that at least it might still foam up a bit and work like a whipped soap but nope.  I'm really not sure what this is supposed to be, or do.  I slathered it on like I would a sugar scrub, and got a sort of thin creamy lotion spreading on my skin.  It didn't absorb like lotion, it didn't lather up like soap, and it didn't exfoliate.  I guess I was just spreading some fantastic smelling moisturizing cream on my skin.

And then I washed it off with my regular body wash.

This was a complete bummer.  It did leave a light scent on my skin but in the end what I thought I could write off as moisturizing wasn't even that.  Not sure what I'll do with this . . . or the other jar I have in another scent.  *sigh*

Friday, September 6, 2013

Haul - Sugar Sugar Scrubs

I've fallen out of my handmade bath and body products phase for quite some time now.  It was only about a week or so ago that I decided to finally use up an tube of commercial brand sugar scrub, and decided that I love scrubs again.  Then while cleaning out my email inbox I came across a newsletter from Sugar Sugar Scrubs, announcing her fall scents and a sale.  Well that sale had expired (Figures!) but I decided to check her shop anyway.  I first ordered from this vendor last fall when I was hunting for a Christmas scented body lotion.  When I was looking this time I found that she has an Etsy shop AND a Craft Cafe shop.  Owner Lindsey said she preferred the Craft Cafe shop for her business and since there was a coupon code for 10% off there, that's where I ordered from.

What did I get????

Since I was after fall scents, of course I had to get Pumpkin Pie.  There is no scent description on the site but it smells super yummy.  It's strong on the pumpkin, light on the spice, with some sweet creaminess.  I know people don't always like to smell like food but if I think it's fun when it's seasonal.  If I find the scent lingers too strong and long, I'll just use it on my days off when no one else has to smell me.

This is her whipped sugar scrub, which I think she calls a Sugar Whip.  I have not tried her scrubs yet so I can't say how they perform but just looking at it, and running some between my fingers, it's not very sugar granule-y.  This concerns me since I was after something exfoliating.   Guess we'll find out.  I know she has the other style of sugar scrub, the type that's more just sugar and oils.  If this isn't what I wanted maybe I'll try that other kind next time.

A 4 oz. jar of Sugar Whip costs $7.50.

I also got a Whipped Soap Parfait in the Pumpkin Pie scent.  I thought this would be a fun little treat, sort of in between the body wash that I've been lazy and gone back to, and the bar soaps that I used to love so much.

A 4 oz. jar of Whipped Soap Parfait is $7.50.

When I saw this Sweet Vanilla Chai scent I knew I had to have it.  This smells SOOOOO friggen good!  It smells more like a really warm and creamy vanilla birthday cake, with only the barest hint of chai lurking way in the background, but dang who cares.  I want to scoop this out and eat it!  Again, I don't feel any sugar granules in here.  I'll probably try this one tomorrow morning.  If it turns out just working as a whipped soap, that's fine too I guess.

And I got a jar of the Whipped Soap Parfait in Sweet Vanilla Chai scent too.

She also has coffee scrubs in her shop.  This one intrigued me.  I'm a little leery because when I used coffee in my soaps I made, the grains were often on the sharp side.  This is completely all-natural though, no preservatives of any kind, and it just interests me.  This can be used as a body scrub or even just keep in the kitchen and use it on your hands to remove cooking smells like garlic, onions, etc.  I'm going to go ahead and try it as a body scrub even though I'm afraid the coffee will be harsh.  I only got the small jar, for that very reason.

A 2 oz. jar of Coffee Sugar Scrub costs $5.00.

Shipping was very fast.  I ordered on Monday night and received my package in Thursday morning's mail.  She also refunds any shipping over-charges of $1.00 or more.

So we'll give these a go and see what I think.  What do YOU think?  Have you ever tried this vendor?

Watched - Suits (Seasons 1 & 2)

As with most things, I"m late coming to this show.  It's almost done with it's third season and I've only just recently started watching.  Doh!  I've been aware of it for a while, have wanted to watch it for a while, but it's only now finally that I'm doing it . . . and I'm obsessed.  Well, the obsession started with actor Gabriel Macht.  Ya see, hubby and I watch NCIS reruns on USA channel all the time, and it's during those reruns that we see commercials for Suits.  Something about 'the older of the two guys' always intrigued me.  Eventually I narrowed it down to his eyes, and the sort of intense manner he has in the clips we'd see in commercials.  I knew absolutely nothing about Gabriel Macht at that point so I checked him out on to see if I might know him from anything else.  Nope.  But I was sucked in even more.  The guy is swoon-worthy.  (And he was asked to audition for the Batman spot that Ben Affleck got.)

We finally got a dvr a few months ago and I realized this would be my chance to watch the show.  I managed to get the pilot episode recorded and sat down to watch it one day . . . and just couldn't get into it.  Bummer!  But Gabriel Macht stuck in my head.  And I'd still feel drawn to the show when I'd see the damn commercials.  So, damnit, a few weeks ago I watched the damn show, the current third season episode, and this time I stuck with it.  And was hooked.  The next day I bought the first and second season dvds, and hubby and I started watching that night.  We only got a couple episodes in that first night, but we marathoned through the rest of the first season that weekend, and then continued right into the second season.  We had both seasons done within a week or so.

This is my new favorite show, and Harvey Specter (more than Gabriel Macht) is my new obsession.  Love!!!

For those who don't know, the show is about the prestigious law firm Pearson Hardman.  Harvey Specter is one of the top lawyers there and is told he needs to hire an associate.  He doesn't want to because he's cocky and arrogant and thinks he can do it all himself.  But he has to hire someone.  Meanwhile, Mike Ross is a young guy who is struggling to get by, earning his money by taking LSATs (Law School Admission Test) for other people.  He has a photographic memory so it's easy for him to pass the test.  In the pilot episode he needs to make even more money to pay for his grandmother's stay in a nursing home so he agrees to be part of a drug delivery deal for his best friend.  Undercover cops are waiting though and while running away Mike finds himself in the interviews that Harvey is doing to find his unwanted associate.  Long story short, Mike is hired, even though he has no law degree and never even went to law school.

*** SPOILERS!!!!!! ***

Harvey Specter
 I freakin' love Harvey.  In the first season, as I was just getting to know the show, Harvey was always so arrogant and bossy, always perfectly dressed in his way too expensive suits.  He always told Mike (his new associate) that he doesn't have time for emotion, there's no point in caring or getting involved because that doesn't win cases.  Mike would point out small things throughout the season, things that Harvey would do "because you care" but Harvey wouldn't see it that way.  He was always very private, and we just didn't know much about him.

When a drunk Mike shows up at Harvey's place one night and we first see him like this . . . casual?! . . . I was like "Woot, yeah!"  Mike calls him dude in this scene and Harvey says "Don't ever call me dude again."

Harvey's kind of a manwhore too.  One of his personal rules is that he won't sleep with married women, and we find out why later.  But whenever this girl, Dana 'Scottie' Scott comes to town, there's some banging going on.  Yep, I was cheering as the clothes came off Harvey the first time I saw it.  WOOT!

As time goes on, we learn more about Harvey and see a much more casual side more often.  He can also be quite violent, which shocked me.  I don't remember if it's the end of the first season or if it's not until the second season, but Harvey is in trouble and facing going on trial himself.  During his deposition, the obnoxious asshole of a rival lawyer that he can't stand starts saying things to try and rile him, and starts talking about how Harvey's mother was a whore who cheated on his dad for years, and Harvey punches him in the face.  That was the first time we'd seen something like from him and I was shocked.  He's had a few more fights since then and it's always kinda like, whoa, you'd never guess it coming from him.

We also see that Harvey does care about people.  His relationship with his receptionist Donna is awesome.  They slept together once in their early years but now are just best friends and coworkers.  I hope it stays that way.  One storyline has Donna doing something very wrong to try and protect him.  It backfires and when he finds out he's so emotionally torn, I just loved that scene.  She ends up getting fired but later he is determined to bring her back and at one point he says to her "I can't be me without you."  Awww, and just the way he says it.  And the scene when Donna tells Harvey that his father has died, ohhhhhmigawd.  *sniffle*  I love them together the way they are and don't want to see them become a couple.  Ever.

Harvey falls into the group of characters that I have a hard time explaining why I love them so much.  Weird as this might seem, he's in that group with Professor Snape.  There is a power about Harvey.  He might be all hard and snotty, but when someone he cares about needs him he is there.  His tactics are seemingly harsh, but there is caring behind them.  When Mike comes to work high, Harvey gets in his face and fires him.  When Mike keeps allowing his no-good friend to drag him down, Harvey is constantly telling him to cut ties, but he still comes to save them both when they need it.  When Mike's grandma dies and he doesn't want to tell anyone, Harvey secretly knows and keeps him busy in an effort to help keep Mike's mind off it until he's ready to grieve.  And when someone beats the crap out of Mike, Harvey is ready to beat the crap out of whoever it was, until Mike tells him he deserved it, that he slept with a married woman.  Then Harvey has to reel himself back in and keep from beating the crap out of Mike. 

He's arrogance also gets him into tons of trouble.  He's power hungry and is always crossing lines and going behind backs to get what he wants.  It often comes back to bite him, and sometimes I found myself getting so mad at him that I didn't like him.  Only for a moment or two though!

Mike Ross
Hubby liked Mike right away but it's only now in the third season that I'm really starting to like him.  His parents died when he was eleven years old and he was raised by his grandmother.  The whole reason he ends up working for Harvey, although it was an accident, was because he needed money to pay for the assisted living home his 'grammy' needed to be in.  His best friend is nothing but trouble for him, always trying to make big money, and always through shady dealings.  And Mike always goes along with it.  It's because of one of the friends stupid ideas that Mike loses his chance to go to Harvard.  And it's later because of his friend's jealous revenge that Mike and Harvey's secret (that Mike never went to law school) is exposed to Jessica, the boss.

Mike's photographic memory has come in handy sooooo many times for him, both in trying to keep his secret, and in his actual work.  He's been invaluable to Harvey (and the firm) because of the things he can recall.  He always uses his more humble beginnings, his street smarts to help with things.  I think his constantly making bad decisions early on is what kept me from really liking him until more recently.

Jessica Pearson
Jessica is the boss, the owner and the name behind the Pearson Hardman law firm.  I love Jessica almost as much as I love Harvey, although sometimes I really don't understand her and in those moments I don't like her.  I love her poise and elegance, and she's beautiful.  I always find myself looking at her makeup.  She is the one who gave Harvey his big break many years ago when he was working in the mailroom of the law firm, which went by a different name way back then.  He's been her #2, her go-to guy for some time now.  But still, the battles these two have, the power struggles . . . it often makes the show confusing for me.

Donna Paulsen
Took  me a while to warm up to Donna but hubby loved her immediately.  She is Harvey's all-knowing receptionist.  She is hysterical and snotty and keeps things interesting around the office.  Not much else to say about her that I didn't already cover when nattering about Harvey.

Rachel Zane
Rachel is a paralegal at the firm.  She and Mike become good friends pretty much right away and that progresses into a complicated romantic relationship.  It is her dream to be a lawyer yet she keeps holding herself back because she's afraid of failure.  Mike helps her get going on the path to become that lawyer, even if it means losing her now in the third season.  (We don't know where these two will end up yet.)  There is something unknown keeping me from loving Rachel.  I just can't figure out what it is though.

Louis Litt
Ya gotta love Louis!  He is like the comic relief on this show.  He and Harvey are constantly going at each other.  Louis is in charge of training new associates, and is a whiz in financial relates law cases, yet he's like the geeky kid no one likes and is trying to squeeze into a spot at the cool kids table.  So much of the humor on this show involves his storylines, yet some of the biggest emotions come from his storylines too.  Sometimes you just feel SO bad for him!  He's done some pretty crappy things to a lot of people, but sometimes he tries to right his wrongs and it's him probably more than Mike that helps get Rachel going on her dream to become a lawyer.

There are other recurring characters on the show too but I didn't want a three mile long post.  Although I've missed the first four episodes of this third season, I'm going ahead and watching the new episodes each week now.  Towards the end of the second season, and even in what I'm seeing in the third season, it's gotten very confusing and frustrating trying to follow all the backstabbing and power plays going on.  Most of the time I don't even know what the case is about that they're working on because there is just so much "Oh, he didn't tell you?" and someone goes running back to someone else only to get "Oh, you didn't know?" type maneuvering.  You lose track of who is really the bad guy, and what each person's motives are.  There have been two flashback episodes so far in the course of the show.  One was five years back, and the other was ten years back.  I found I don't like to know what Harvey was like back then.  (Although it was nice seeing him in jeans, playing baseball with his dad.)  I don't like seeing how many of his 'rules' and 'sayings' are stolen from his mentor of many years ago.  I do like seeing Mike's early stories though.

I'm glad I've finally watched this show and will continue to watch it.  Are YOU a Suits fan?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I leave you with the shows opening theme . . .