Monday, December 30, 2013

Melted - Streetman Candle Co. / Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Apple Pumpkin Muffins - [no scent description]

I almost set this aside for next fall but then decided, nah, I'm going to randomly plow through everything I have until this stash is gone.  Hubby plunged his hand into the box of randomness and pulled this one out.  I don't think I've ever had a Streetman tart.  This one was part of a gift.

This was a really nice scent.  It was more of an apple-cinnamon-cakey type scent but did not strike me as 'fall' like apple-cinnamon scents usually do.  I didn't get much pumpkin, although there was indeed something else going on in there.  I would say it was a sweet pumpkin spice type pumpkin, if anything.  This was just a really nice, cozy bakery scent.

I melted half of this scent shot in my tea light warmer and was bummed to get a medium scent at best.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Watched - City of Bones

Mortal Instruments - City of Bones
2013
PG-13, 130 minutes

'When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld.'

(Read my review of the book HERE.)

I've finally seen this movie since Santa brought it to me.  As I was reading the books in this series, I'd been so excited for the movie to come out but then as I saw more pictures and things about the movie version I became a little 'Bleah . . . ' about it and by the time it came out I'd pretty much lost interest in seeing it.

I admit I don't remember all the finer details about the book any more but wow, they really did change things for the movie.  Some of the things worked and I understand why they did it, like to speed up the story and explain some things earlier, but other things they did have left me wondering how far off the story from the books they're going to end up if they continue to make the series into movies.  Soooo many changes in the last quarter or so of the movie.  I was watching it like 'What the heck is all THIS?'  Hubby has not read the books but he seemed to enjoy the movie as it was.

Hodge planting the idea of lying in Valentine's head?

Hodge hanging around, and then trying to redeem himself?

Valentine beating the crap out Jace and Clary?  Ok, on that one I think maybe there was a scuffle in the book but it was mainly a very stressful sit down conversation at a conference room table, wasn't it???

Kicking Valentine through the portal and then having it explode into snow and ice?  Where was the glimpse of Idris?  How will that ever be worked in now?

The whole Simon and the vampires thing worked a little better in the movie version, I will give them credit for that.

I'd seen pics of the people playing the key characters a long time ago and had not been thrilled with anyone but Valentine, but I went ahead hoping that the way they actually played the characters might make up for my disappointment in how they looked.  Nope.  Well, Jace and Clary were ok.  I was surprised I was as ok with Clary as I was.  But why do Alec and Izzy look like they're about 40 years old when they're supposed to be, what, seventeen?  They dude playing Magnus was mildly ok but just not what I saw Magnus like.  And I never did feel any of the deep feelings Alec has for Jace, or the budding feelings between Alec and Magnus.  There was just awkward, angry conversation between Clary and Alec about Jace, and Magnus just showed up with no explanation when Alec was hurt.  They should have done more on both these parts if they're really going to continue the series.

There were some very Harry Potterish scenes . . . when Clary sees the Institute, the look of the place and the complex locking doors, and again when they first showed Hodge's office.  That was all fun for Potter geeks like me.

I think I liked the movie, but was not at all wowed by it.  Having read the book, there was way too much comparing going on in my head.  I think I will go back and watch it again now that the initial shock is past.  I also don't believe in that line of thinking that people who haven't read the books will have a hard time with the movie (or any book to movie adaptation).  I think people who haven't read it will have an *easier* time because they don't know what's missing or different.  They'll be able to accept the story that's being presented to them.  So I need to go back and watch it now with that sort of mindset.

Have you seen City of Bones?  What did you think?  Have you read the book??

Watched - Insidious: Chapter 2

Insidious: Chapter 2
2013
PG-13, 106 minutes

'The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.'

I don't remember being overly impressed with the first Insidious movie (can't even find a review of it here on my blog), so I'm not sure why I felt the need to watch this second one.  Ha, yeah, that's 106 minutes I'll never get back.

I thought this movie sucked, and didn't make a whole lot of sense.  It's funny though, because the bits of flashback to the first movie made *that* one seem really creepy and good.  Now I want to see the first one again.  LOL

Anyway, in the first movie, the boy had ventured too far into the weird world he could go to while asleep, and had become lost.  This was allowing spirits and demons to try and claim his 'empty' sleeping body.  A paranormal expert helped the dad go into this other world and bring the son back, but at the very end of that first movie it appeared the dad had now become possessed and killed that paranormal lady.

Now in the second movie, the wife is afraid of her husband because she saw something at the very end of the first of the movie that seems to prove he did it.  He insists it wasn't him and that he's fine.  While the police are investigating the murder of the old woman, this family has to move out of their house for a few days and ends up moving back to the guy's mom's house . . . his childhood home where all the creepiness started in the first place.

And sure enough, creepy things are still happening.  The wife and the mom know something's not right.  Then it just gets all weird and seemingly unrelated.  I understand the Psycho-ish story of the boy killing for his crazy mother, but what does that have to do with this story?  What does all the overlapping in time and revisiting things from the first movie (although that was interesting, in a way) have to do with this creepy pyscho lady ghost?  I mean, I understand they had to track down the origins of the lady and her son and that was how to stop her, but it didn't really seem to fit with anything from the first movie, with the whole 'astral projection' adventure into a different world.  The creepy things in here weren't creepy.  The cheesy bits of comedy were just stupid and out of place.  I don't know, it was just a whole disconnected mess.

Bleah!

Melted - The Melting Fairy / Chai Tea

Chai Tea - 'This scent is a complex and calming blend of creamy soy milk, green tea, spicy cinnamon bark, and light nutmeg notes.'
 
Love me some chai scents!  This one is a bit more of the lighter 'tea' type than some of the creamier 'latte' types I've had.  Of course chai is spicy, but this is not harsh.  Spice haters might still like this if they are fans of tea scents.  There is warmth in this, and it is strangely calming.  The description mentions 'calming' but I would never have thought that to actually be true.  It is though!
 
I melted this .6 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and was disappointed to find only a light-medium scent.  It was a nice, mellow, background type thing in the air.  I would have really liked this type of scent to have a bit more strength to it though because it's just so warm and peaceful.
 
(Hate the foil cupcake style wrapper!)

Melted - The Melting Fairy / Vanilla Macadamia Nut Coffee

Vanilla Macadamia Nut Coffee - 'This scent is a nutty vanilla laced sweet coffee fragrance, perfect for the cold fall and winter months!'
 
I didn't get much of a coffee note in this but the scent was still really nice, very warm and creamy and nutty.  I kept thinking this was hazelnut, had to keep reminding myself it was macadamia nut.  Guess the two smell similar with vanilla and coffee, huh?  But yeah, it very much reminded me of that good ol' hazelnut cream type scent that I love so much.  There was a bit of a coffee note adding a bit of something extra, but overall I don't think you'd specifically think 'oh, that's a coffee scent.'
 
I melted this .6 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had about a medium strength scent.  As I'm finding with these Melting Fairy tarts, they start off awesomely strong but fade quickly, usually before one 4-hour tea light candle burn is through.  There was still very light scent by the end but nowhere near how great it was in the beginning.
 
I did like this scent, just wish it stayed strong.
 
(And again, putting it out there that I hate the foil cupcake style wrappers.)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Melted - The Melting Fairy / Hot Cranberry Tea

Hot Cranberry Tea - 'This scent has base notes of vanilla and amber, and top notes of white flower, ylang ylang, bergamot, and cranberry. Perfect for a cold winter night of relaxation!'
 
This is such an interestingly yummy scent.  Normally things like amber and bergamot and white flower in a scent description would have me passing it by.  I think the call of vanilla and cranberry in a tea scent are what made me give this a try and I'm so glad I did.  There is quite a strong, tart cranberry note right off the bat in this one, riding a strong tea note.  The vanilla adds a bit of softness and warmth, and then all the other notes are just doing thing in and around the main scents.  It is somewhat on the pretty side, almost perfume-y at times, but the warm tea illusion makes it all ok.
 
I melted this .6 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had awesomely strong scent in the room the warmer is in, with lighter versions of the scent traveling into adjacent rooms. This started out strong, with immediate scent as soon as it hit the warmer, but it faded significantly before the fours of one tea light burn.  That was a bummer.  (And I'd like to point out again that I really do not like those foil cupcake style wrappers.)

If you like tea scents, you should definitely try this one!

Haul - BH&G After Christmas Shopping

A few days before Christmas, I was shopping with my mom at Walmart and noticed one of those big square center aisle display bins, like what they pile the cheap movies in.  Only this one had the Better Homes & Gardens logo and pics of clamshell tarts on the side.

"What the heck?" I said out loud and trampled several people to get to this new and dangerous display.  Sure enough, just like with cheap dvds or those dollar boxes of candy, the four sections of the pallet sized bin were filled with random tarts!  They weren't on sale but still . . . ?!  Looking through them, at first I thought they'd just cleared all of the oldest inventory out of the stockroom and dumped it in here because I was seeing the usual, every day type scents that I don't look at too much during fall and winter.  I also noticed there were Scentsationals mixed in there too.  But then I noticed a couple scents I'd never even heard of and got super excited.

"What are these?" my mom asked when she finally caught up to me.  She'd picked one up and was eyeballing it suspiciously.

"Wax melts."

"What do you do with them?"

"You melt them so your rooms smell nice."

"So they're candles."  A statement, not a question.

"No, they're just wax.  You just melt the wax."

Blank look from Mom, just as I'd figured.  LOL!  Meanwhile, I was getting so excited by the many scents I was seeing that I had to actually drop them and step away from the bin.  My wax stash has gotten to an uncomfortable size again, thanks to the generosity of friends and family over the holiday season.  I certainly didn't need to be buying anymore and the only way to stop that was to not even look.

Well, yesterday hubby and I were back at Walmart to return a some duplicate Christmas gifts, and while walking around over by the party supplies and electronics intersection of aisles, hubby noticed That Evil Bin o' Wax.  And stopped to look through it!!!  I had no choice but to move closer to try and draw him away, and that's when I was sucked into it's evil pull.  There were a lot fewer tarts in this newly placed bin, making it much easier to pick through its contents.

We ended up buying eight packs.

Illusion - 'Cedar, sheer musk, and a touch of mystery.'

Hubby picked this, which is funny because to me it's sort of a sexy man scent.  It's one of those where, while it is a nice scent, I don't know if I want my house to smell this for hours at a time.

Honeysuckle Nectar - 'A touch of sunshine.'

I knew as soon as I saw this that first day with my mom, that hubby would want this if he ever saw it, and sure enough, he picked it.  You all know I'm not a floral fan, but sniffing this right now, on a cold snowy day, does make me think of spring and warm weather to come.

Zen - 'Soothe your soul.'

Another of hubby's picks.  I've always passed on this one and I'm not even sure why.  It might be part of that 'Do I want my house to smell like this?' thing.  It is a nice scent, just wish I knew what was in it.  Seems almost like a bit of mint deep down in there.  Maybe some sort of wood note?

Black Pepper & Rosemary - 'Aromatic Mediterranean blend.'

I had never seen or heard of this one before finding it in the bin that first day with my mom.  I sniffed it and was like 'Bleah,' and tossed it back.  Talking to Lauren (Lololovesscents) afterward, she said she was intrigued, so when I was looking through the bin again with hubby and we found only one of these left, I grabbed it.  Hubby calls it 'interesting,' and Casey, surprisingly, likes it.  It's definitely unique!  It's sort of dark and herbal, with just a hint of that peppery spice.

Brownie Pecan Pie - [no scent description]

I think I've seen other people mention this one but I don't remember ever seeing it at my store.  OhEmGee, I think this might be my new favorite BH&G scent.  Would there be butterscotch involved in a Brownie Pecan Pie?  Because there is something like butterscotch making me love this freakin' scent.  It's very rich and sweet, a bit of a brownie type note and a whole lot of whatever that butterscotch-ish note is.  I should have grabbed about 20 more packs of this.

Perfect Corner Bakery - [no scent description]

I didn't notice until we were home that this one says Limited Edition 2014 up in the corner.  Woot!  This is sort of a generic bakery scent, some cake or cookie type notes, a bit of spice, bit of sweetness.  But still a really yummy scent for bakery lovers.

Raspberry Linzer Cookie - [no scent description]

Another of the Limited Edition 2014 ones, I'm wishing now I'd paid more attention at the time.  I would have probably scribbled down a list of others from this line.  Oh well, maybe next time.  This one really surprised me.  I figured it would be just another cookie scent.  But wow, the raspberry jumps out at you first.  There is a soft, warm cookie note behind it.  Almost seems like there is a bit of spice or tartness too.

Fro Yo - 'Chill out.'

And finally, Fro Yo, another one I don't remember ever seeing or hearing about.  This is just a nice, creamy scent, probably a lot of vanilla in there, with a nice little berry kick deep down in there.  Are those blueberries in the picture?

There were plenty of other goodies in the big bin, old favorites that I could have easily stocked up on.  My stash is uncomfortably large right now though.  I've actually slowed down on melting during my Christmas break from work, instead of melting even more like I'd planned.  I was feeling really uneasy about buying these but hubby reasoned that it was making up for one of the books I'd gotten a double of and that we had returned.  Ok, dear, if you put it that way . . .

Rosegirls Christmas Haul

After hubby and I went to the opening of the Rosegirls boutique earlier in December, I had been wondering if he'd go back there to do some Christmas shopping.  And he did!  I got three bags and one cookie for Christmas.

Wonders of the World - Rosegirls Custom Blend - 'Our Butterscotch Supreme is a unique blend of Monster Cookie, Butterscotch and Ooey Gooey Sticky Caramel.'
 
I'm still very much a Rosegirls noob, only familiar with one or two of their scents.  When I saw this one described somewhere on Facebook, I was all 'Ohhhhhhhhmygawd,' and added it to my Christmas list.  Hubby said he asked for it when he was shopping, and while they didn't have any bags of the chunks available they did say they had the components in brittle form and those could just be blended to make the Wonders of the World scent.  So hubby bought a bag of it that way.
 
(When we went to the opening, I had been looking for Monster Cookie Fluff Puff because, at that time, that was the only scent I really knew and loved from Rosegirls.  They didn't have any made, but offered a bag of the brittle pieces in the scents needed to blend and make it myself.  I passed on that because, maybe I'm weird, it's just not the same.  Are they saying their things are just 50-50 then?  I put in equal amounts of this piece and that piece and it's exactly recreating the scent?)
 
This smells soooooo good.  It's quite rich though, so I can see how some people wouldn't like it.  And I know now that it's butterscotch scent over caramel that I love.  The two blending in here though, there is an almost coffee-like note.  There is a creaminess in this, and warmth, and a hint of a salty note.  Yummers!!
 
Caramel Dipped Marshmallows - [no scent description]
 
When I stick my nose in the bag and inhale, I get a pretty good dose of the marshmallow note, but when I pull a chunk out and just sniff that, the caramel seems to be the stronger note.  Either way, pretty dang yummy.

Wildberry and Sweet Lemon Confection - [no scent description]

I bought a scent shot in Sweet Lemon Confection scent ('Decadent sweet lemon custard whipped to a creamy and smooth finish.') when we went to the opening.  I loooooove lemon scents!  I don't know if hubby remembered that, or if the purple and yellow of this appealed to the Viking fan in him, or if he just sniffed it and like it.  The Lemon Confection if definitely the stronger part of this blend.  It's creamy and lemony and oh so good.  Then the wildberry part comes in, kinda lurking quietly in the background until the lemon steps aside.  This is another yummy one.

Garden of Eden - [no scent description]

Hubby said they recognized and remembered him right away when he went back to the store.  He thought that was rather funny, and nice.  When we went to the opening, I was allowed to pick a free 'cookie' tart and at that time I thought it was because I was part of the Facebook group.  Well, hubby said they offered him a free 'cookie' again when he went back so I don't know if it's just an ongoing promotion they have or what?  Whatever the reason, the freebie he picked was this Garden of Eden scent.  I asked if he picked it because of the Vikings colors and while he didn't deny it, he did say he liked this scent.  This is nice but we have very different tastes in scents and this leans more towards his bright and pretty and floral type preferences.  I asked about the scent on the Facebook page and was told it's a secret blend but that it includes lavender and fruit.  With the name Garden of Eden, I would guess there has to be apple in the fruit part.  I don't really get a distinct apple note though.  Sometimes I think there is a faint hint of banana (?!) in this.  It's interesting, and pretty.

And that is my little Rosegirls Christmas haul.  Might seem small but if you consider there are five chunks in each bag, and each of those chunks can easily be cut in half . . . well, that's a lot of melting I can get out of these.  I think I kinda like having a local wax shop!  LOL

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Melted - Bertie's Umbrella / Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies - 'A mouth watering combination of sweet buttery cookies with hints of ginger, fresh ground cinnamon, and sweet molasses, with just a pinch of vanilla and clove.'
 
I said in my cold sniff/haul post that this had an odd note that struck me as the sort of 'sour' in cheesecake, or as molasses.  I've melted this twice now (had a 4-pack) and that note just keeps jumping out at me.  I think the name Christmas Cookies is misleading because I think most people would tend to expect a simple sugar cookie type scent, and this is not like that.  The description seems to imply more of a gingerbread cookie, and I think that's more like what I'm smelling with this.  So that makes me think the odd note is indeed molasses.  Whatever is going on, this is a warm, bakery scent for sure.  It's a little bit spicy, a bit sweet and creamy.

Yeah, we're just going to say this is gingerbread.

I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium scent.  It was strongest when someone walked by and stirred up the air, otherwise it was just sort of barely there if you left the area around the warmer.  It did seem to travel into one adjacent room on a more consistent medium level though.

Melted - Candles From The Keeping Room / Glade Glistening Snow

Glade Glistening Snow - 'Fresh bayberry with undertones of cinnamon, clove and peppermint!'

This is another nice winter scent, a change of pace from the usual pine and mint scents often associated with Christmas.  Although peppermint is listed in the description, this isn't really a minty scent.  It gives the scent a crispness, the 'snow' part, if you want to think about it like that.  The cinnamon is also soft, adding a bit of warmth, which seems odd if you're trying for a 'snow' feel, but it works.  And although I don't know what bayberry actually smells like, the bulk of the scent is a sort of sweet, slightly juicy, slightly 'green' mix.  It really does make me think of sunny, snowy days.

I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium scent.  It always seems to take a while for CFTKR's tarts to build up there scent.  At least it seems that way to me.  Perhaps electric warmers are better for this type of situation because with a 4-hour tea light burn, it seems the first hour or so is spent trying to melt the hard wax and heat up the scent.  But anyway, I would have liked this to be stronger because it doesn't seem like a scent that would be overwhelming.  Still, it was nice at the medium level I managed to get.

Watched - The Last Exorcism (Part II)

The Last Exorcism (Part II)
2013
Rated PG-13, 88 minutes

'As Nell Sweetzer tries to build a new life after the events of the first movie, the evil force that once possessed her returns with an even more horrific plan.'

Apparently I never reviewed the first movie here on my blog.  Huh.  I seem to remember liking it, except for the weird ending.  Well, I just watched the second one the other day and was much less thrilled.

Main character Nell, the possessed girl, is put into a sort of foster home for troubled girls after being found where the first movie ends.  She's very quiet and nervous, still freaked like anyone would be after what she went through in the first movie, but she still has that very delicate, prim and proper way about her that I love.  One of the girls befriends her and she starts to come out of her shell and is gradually accepted by the other girls.  She gets a job, and even seems to have her first boyfriend.  Things seem to be looking up for her.

There are still weird things happening to her and around her though.  She keeps encountering her father, who she is pretty sure died in the events of the first movie.  She keeps hearing voices on radios that seem to be talking to her.  She's having weird dreams.  And that first girl who befriended her might not be so friendly after all.

The creepy weirdness escalates and it's a pretty good movie until . . . the end, again.  This sort of 'secret society' that has been keeping an eye on her is trying to perform an exorcism again.  When they realize this demon is stronger than they realized, they consider killing Nell while the demon is still in her, thereby killing the demon.  But someone doesn't like that idea . . .

The ending is, of course, wide open for a third movie but I can't really imagine what the plot would be with this new twist.  I will watch it though, if they do make a third one, because the girl playing Nell is just that good.  I also like that these are not blood and guts, shock value gorefest type movies.  There are some images that make you cringe (like the contorting body) but it's mainly just a building tension and a lot of creepiness.  I'd rather watch this type than slash-n-kill crap any day.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Melted - Rosegirls / Badger State Cocoa

Badger State Cocoa - [no scent description]

This large 'cookie' tart was a free gift when hubby and I went to the Rosegirls store opening earlier this month.  I mainly picked this scent because of the name . . . Badger State = Wisconsin, hehe.  Anyway, some asked me for a review on this so I jumped out of Christmas scent mode to melt this.  Actually it's still kind of Christmas-y in a way because it's a minty chocolate.  While I haven't been able to find an official scent description, I've seen people post that it is a blend of chocolate, peppermint, and marshmallow.  I'm not generally a fan of chocolate scents in tarts but I do like mint-chocolate, which is pretty much what this is.  I don't notice any distinct marshmallow note.  The mint is very much there but I think it's about equal to to the chocolate.  This really is like a nice cup of minty hot chocolate.

This cookie was nearly 4 oz. so I cut (as best I could) into four pieces and melted one of those crumbled sections (about .8 oz. worth) in my tea light warmer.  I got a strong scent and throw.  Very easily noticeable throughout the house without being overpowering.  This is a nice winter scent.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Melted - Candles From The Keeping Room / Christmas Cabin

Christmas Cabin - 'A wonderful blend of bayberries and cranberries with a top note of freshly crushed cinnamon bark with hints of orange zests.'
 
This was nice, a bit of that 'craft store at Christmas' type feel about it.  The cinnamon is not at all harsh, so have no fear, spice haters.  It just lends a very nice warmth to the sweet and tart juiciness of the other notes.  I don't know just what bayberry smells like, but I don't pick out any distinct orange or cranberry.  Instead it's just a nice, holiday spiced fruit scent.  Very nice if you're looking for something besides pine or mint during the Christmas season.
 
I melted this 1+ oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium scent.  It often seems to take a while (for me at least) for CFTKR tarts to heat up and release their full scent.  This did travel lightly into adjacent rooms, and was a nice sort of quietly in the background scent.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Melted - The Melting Fairy / Eggnog

Eggnog - 'This scent is an exact eggnog scent. This fragrance is a creamy blend of buttercream vanilla with the perfect balance of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.'
 
I melted my very first tart from the brand new Melting Fairy monthly box program.  Since Christmas is only days away, I decided to start with Eggnog scent.  I wasn't sure what to expect from this since it's my first experience with this vendor.  The cold throw was only light-medium so I was afraid this would be weak.  It turned out fine though!

I would like to point out one thing though.  I *hate* the cupcake style wrapper these come in.  I did not like them from another well known vendor that uses them, and I do not like them with these.  They are simply too hard to remove from the wax.  You have to actually kinda break into the edge of the wax to get a tear in the paper started, then you have to peel it off in pieces.  I'm hoping down the road they will change the style of tart so it doesn't have to come in these annoying paper wrappers.

But moving on, this is a really nice, classic Eggnog sent.  This one doesn't mention rum, and I didn't really notice a rum note but the typical 'nog' note is there.  This is sweet and creamy, yet warm and softly spiced.  I quite liked it.

I melted this .6 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium-strong scent that carried well.  I could very easily smell it throughout most of the house but it was never on an overwhelming level.  I melted the first tart in my usual spot during the morning, and then melted the second tart from this 2-pack in the living room during the afternoon.  Even after the afternoon burn had ended and the tart had long cooled, there was a light lingering scent of Eggnog throughout the house.

Except for the dang wrapper, I am highly pleased with my Melting Fairy experience so far.

Melted - Bertie's Umbrella / Jack Frost

Jack Frost - 'Vanilla, peppermint, nuances of pine.'
 
This was really nice!  It was not quite as sweet as some other vanilla-peppermint blends I've had, probably because that hint of pine was putting a bit more edge on it, but it was still a really good classic favorite.  Peppermint was the main note, softened a bit by the vanilla.  The pine was not strong, more just a subtle hint of something in the background but it did enough to remind you there was more than just peppermint and vanilla in this.
 
I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and while the scent itself was only about medium strength, the throw was amazing.  There were hints of this in all corners of the house, even upstairs.  Very nice!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Frostbite

Frostbite- 'Strong, sweet wintergreen mint. Very refreshing!'
 
Although I'm not quite sure what the actual differences between spearmint and wintergreen are, when I think about Lifesavers and Wrigleys chewing gum, this Frostbite tart reminds me more of the spearmint options.  It's a softer mint, almost sugary and foodie.  This isn't a bad scent but as far as mint scents go, this is not a favorite of mine, and it doesn't really speak to me of Christmas.  OH!  It kinda reminds me of those round pink 'minty' candies my grandma used to have all the time, the ones that reminded me of Pepto-Bismol.  (Anyone know what I'm talking about?!)

I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium-strong scent.  It was pleasant enough at this level, and did travel lightly into adjacent rooms.

I probably would not order this again simply because it's not the type of mint I prefer.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Holly Berry

Holly Berry- 'Balsam fir and cinnamon with sweet berries and plum.'
 
A new holiday scent at Sweet Fixations this year, this is a bit of a spicier Christmas tree scent.  The others I've melted so far have all been on the sweeter side.  This has more of a deep 'pine' scent.  The cinnamon is really there, but not in a really sharp way.  Spice haters might still be ok with this one.  The berries and plum are not strong or distinct, but do lend a bit of sweetness.  Some might find a slight perfume-y note in this.
 
I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and only had a light-medium scent.  That was a bummer because of the pine scents I've had so far, this seemed like it might have been the most agreeable in a strong scent.  Oh well, in a smaller room it might be great.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Melted - Sea Breeze Scents & Things / Tis The Season

Tis The Season - 'Eggnog & pumpkin pie.'
 
I got this quite a while ago and it's been tucked away in my Christmas stash waiting to be melted.  I think the eggnog note came through just a hair more distinct than the pumpkin pie.  It was a nice scent but hard to really categorize.  I want to say it was a warm, bakery type scent but then I think no, it was more of a holiday spice scent.  I don't think you'd ever realize 'Oh, that's eggnog!' or 'Ooh, that's yummy pumpkin pie!'  It's spicy, but in a warm, soft spice way instead of a sharp 'hot' spice way.  We'll call this a cozy holiday scent.

Since I've found Sea Breeze tarts to be on the lighter side, I melted one of these flower tarts in my tea light warmer in its usual spot on my desk, and another at the same time in a tea light warmer in the kitchen, which is the adjacent room.  Together, they produced a nice medium scent.  This would be a safe choice if you have company coming for a holiday visit, adding a nice touch to the air but not heavily scenting it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watched - The Haunting In Connecticut

The Haunting In Connecticut
2009
Rated PG-13, 92 minutes

'After a family is forced to relocate for their son's health, they begin experiencing supernatural behavior in their new home, which turns out to be a former mortuary.'

I put off watching this one for a long time because, you see how that stuff is coming out of his mouth on the cover?  Yeah, things coming out of mouths creeps me out and makes me gag.  Also, I seem to remember my movie watching former coworker friend talking about this one back in the day and not liking it.  But for whatever reason, it was on my Netflix list and had somehow found its way to the top so I figured I'd go ahead and get it out of the way.

Main character Matt is a teenager battling cancer that has been accepted into a new experimental treatment program/study.  He travels with him mom to and from the treatments, several hours drive each way, and when it becomes too much they end up renting a rundown old house for cheap, much closer to the hospital.  And then the weirdness begins.  Matt is drawn to a room in the basement that he claims as his bedroom.  There is a weird room next to it that they can't get into because the doors seem to be stuck with age, but Matt finds himself more and more drawn to whatever is in there.  He starts experiencing things like putting plates on the table then finding them back in the cupboard, or thinking he sees someone in the house, or being sucked into dreams or visions or flashbacks.  He doesn't want to say anything about any of it because one of the side effects of the treatment could be hallucinations, and if he starts having them he'll be removed from the program.

One day that mysteriously stuck door opens and Matt goes into that curious room.  He's bombarded with visions of the past, and the family now finds out this old house used to be a mortuary, funeral home, and seance parlor.  As the weirdness continues to escalate for Matt, he and his cousin do some research at the library and find out about the shady past of the funeral home director.

Along the way, Matt also meets Reverend Popescu, who is a fellow cancer treatment patient, also loosing his battle with the disease.  This man opens Matt's eyes to some things about ghost and spirits, and ends up being the one to help the family when it becomes apparent something evil is happening in this house.

This movie had a lot of disturbing images for being only PG-13!  Cutting off eyelids???  Uhhhh, I couldn't even look at that!  And carving words and phrases into corpses, showing the actual cuttings....again, couldn't watch it.  A lot of other bloody things going on too.  I could have done without all of that.  On the other hand, I was fascinated by the pictures they kept showing of people with their deceased loved ones.  That is a freaky morbid curiosity that I have.  I've heard about how people long ago would often dress up recently deceased family members, especially children, to get one last picture of them, and would often be in a family portrait type setting.  Creepy!  But fascinating.

I also kept thinking that boy who played Matt could have played Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies.  Hehe!

Again, this is 'based on a true story' and I'm leery about that, especially with that supposedly miracle ending.  The side story about the father didn't seem to fit in anywhere.  And did it ever explain why the two nieces (?) were living with them?  But whatever, if they'd have done without the gory images I would have liked this movie a lot more.

Watched - The Conjuring

The Conjuring
2013
Rated R, 112 minutes

'Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.'

Ever since The Blair Witch Project, I'm always leery of movies claiming to be based on true events.  Still, hearing everyone rave about this, I thought it was going to be some awesome new classic type thriller, and I went into it quite hopeful.

This movie didn't disappoint in the beginning but the end left me feeling a little bleah.  Set in the early 1970s, this family has fallen on hard times and moves into an old, slightly rundown farmhouse.  Creepy things start happening pretty early in the movie, small things like all the clocks stopping in the middle of the night, unexplained bruises, sleepwalking.  One daughter, more than once, experiences having something tug at her foot while she's sleeping.  THAT was freaky to me because the closest thing to encountering a 'ghost' that has ever happened to me was the feeling that someone had brushed their hand across my foot while I slept.  To this day, I don't like to sleep with my feet uncovered.

Anyway, the creepy occurrences keep picking up, with nearly everyone in the house experiencing something, whether it's just hearing things or having a feeling something is odd.  The mother and the three younger daughters seem to be having the most encounters.  I can't even remember offhand just what happens that makes the mom start looking for help, but she eventually does seek out the Warrens, paranormal investigators.  The agree to come and check out the house and can immediate tell there is a lot going on.  They do some research on the house, the land, previous owners, and find a long line of tragedies associated with this place.  I really liked the backstory, all the history, but that's also where the movie started to lose me.  It was like there were too many spirits in the house.  I couldn't tell if there was one evil (the original curse) and one trying to save, and the others just stuck there making things go bump in the night.....?  Were they all evil?  Well, all but the one child spirit who seemed to be trying to help.

And then the exorcism seemed rather quick and clean.  I don't think I'd ever trust that something like that would be gone so easily.  I'd probably live in state of paranoid terror the rest of my life.  Ok, maybe they all did, I don't know.

The movie was good overall, some quick flashes of dead bodies and evil spirits but not a blood and guts gorefest by any means.  It kept a quick pace too.  It was just that ending that was weak for me.  I would have liked to see a bigger fight against the original evil without all the little extras to distract in the process.  Still, one I probably wouldn't mind having in our Halloween collection.

Read - Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
2009
592 pages

'Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

This book, this series, was all the rage towards the end of last year and earlier this year because the movie was coming out in February.  I had wanted to read this but it kept getting pushed aside.  Hearing so many mixed reviews about it didn't help me get to it any faster.  For a while I was even sure I'd see the movie before I ever got around to reading the book but then the movie came and went and I didn't see it.  So now fast forward to the end of this year and I'm not buying as many books as earlier, and I'm trying to read what I still have here waiting, and my attention finally swung back to this.

I was surprised how much I liked this book!  The one thing I remember almost everyone saying is how it's soooooo slow in the beginning, that they could have cut 200 pages of boringness out in the beginning and it might have helped the story.  I didn't see it that way at all.  I actually found the beginning *more* interesting.  I liked that it took its time and let us get to know the people and the town and the way of life.  It showed even more how much main character Lena did not fit in.  For a while I thought this might be my new Twilight!  (In the end, it wasn't.)

The relationship between main characters Ethan and Lena builds nicely.  Even though they seem to have been thrust together by fate or destiny or whatever, and they are aware of some connection, things still build slowly.  They are still two teens getting to know each other.  The book is also refreshing because it's from Ethan's point of view, so it's cute to see him struggle with his thoughts and growing feelings for this girl.  There is no cheesy love at first site, no sex . . . just a really nice budding relationship with a twist.  That twist is, of course, that Lena is a witch.  Sorry, she is a Caster.  She is from a whole family, generations worth of Casters and on a Caster child's 16th birthday they are 'claimed' by either light or dark magic.  Lena is convinced (and scared to death) that she will 'go dark' because of some family history.  She feels there is no choice in the matter, that it's a fate already chosen, but Ethan is determined to prove to her that there is a choice and they can find a way to make it so.

One thing I didn't like about the whole light-dark thing is that it's set up like you have no control once you're claimed.  It's like there is no longer any free will or whatever, like if you're dark you become an evil person.  It seemed like you no longer had control of your choices between good and bad, and that you would always be doing 'bad' magic and hurting people.  That's how it seemed to me anyway.

Ethan and Lena also uncover a long standing family curse that some people seem determined to keep Lena from learning more about.  One of my favorite parts of the book was when they encountered the ghost of the long ago family member who caused this curse to begin with.  It was so sad because this long dead girl was sad that it was all her fault and understood what these kids were now trying to do.

Like everyone else, probably, I was very intrigued by Uncle Macon, Lena's uncle and guardian.  I kept trying to put the clues together to figure out what he was.  I must admit though, I was a little disappointed when I finally found out.  But oh well.  I loved when he came into the town meeting and put them all in their place with his intelligence and way with words.

The end, or the whole Claiming part actually, left me confused and frustrated.   They'd tried so hard to find a way to make sure Lena had a choice.  They'd uncovered all these secrets and had all these clues, and were running out of time and still not making sense of the bits they'd found, and then there was all that Claiming night drama and none of what they'd worked for seemed to come into play anyway.  I admit, if I went back and read it all again maybe it would make more sense to me, but for now it just seemed unfinished and disconnected.  I was hugely disappointed in the last few chapters.

Still, I am looking forward to reading the next book, and I'm hoping Santa brings me the dvd of the movie next week.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Merry Mistletoe

Merry Mistletoe- 'Citrus, blue spruce, and frosted cranberries.'
 
Another of the new Christmas scents over at Sweet Fixations, this one was really nice but on the lighter side.  The main note is the sweet spruce scent, but there is a bit of extra 'sweet and juicy' from the citrus, and just a teeny hint of the tartness from the cranberry.  This is a really nice, perky 'Christmas tree' scent, not too overwhelming in it's piney-ness.
 
I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium scent, which was nice because I find pine scents can easily be too strong, too much, too fast.  This was a very pleasant sort of background scent, just enough hint of Christmas tree as I went about my morning to remind me Christmas is right around the corner.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Melting Fairy - (Beta) Debut Box!

Back in early November I was contacted by a new company called The Melting Fairy.  They were starting up a new monthly subscription box program for wax tarts.  Well, hello?!  Of course this is right up my alley!  They asked me if I'd be interested, during their beta test phase, in a complimentary three month subscription in return for feedback, and reviews and mentions here on the blog.  I said sure!

In this program, you get to pick five scents from their growing scent list.  You will then get two 1 oz. tarts in the scents you picked.  You get to pick different scents each month.  You also get 2 oz. of whatever that month's custom blend is.  I think that one is a surprise each month.  I don't remember seeing anything about what December's scent would be when I was picking my other scents.  The cost is $14.50 each month, and that includes shipping.

I still don't know anything about this company.  I don't even know the owner's name.  I don't know if this is someone brand new to wax, or a seasoned veteran kicking around a new project.  No name is given in emails, other than The Melting Fairy.  There is no 'About Us' information on the website.  There is a Twitter account but very few tweets, and no Facebook or anything else. 

This first box was delayed due the winter weather that hit down around Texas, and there was a lack of information and contact because The Melting Fairy was without internet during this stormy time.  But the box arrived today and all of my 'What's going on?' concerns flew right out of my head.  Yay!

The box seemed tiny when I pulled it out of my mailbox, but they have it stuffed to the max.  There is a little basic information card included, some wax safety things, and description of the month's custom blend.

And then I was yanking out the tarts to get my very first look at them, and to see what scents I had picked.  The scent list at this early stage is by no means huge, but there were still plenty of choices to be able to find scents I actually wanted.  I had no idea what type of tarts they'd be either, so this was very exciting to finally be able to see them.

I'll do some quick cold sniff first thoughts on the scents I picked . . .

Chai Tea - 'This scent is a complex and calming blend of creamy soy milk, green tea, spicy cinnamon bark, and light nutmeg notes.'
When I saw Chai Tea on the scent list I knew I had to have it.  This is a nice one, strong on the tea but still has a bit of creaminess from the milk.
Vanilla Macadamia Nut Coffee - 'This scent is a nutty vanilla laced sweet coffee fragrance, perfect for the cold fall and winter months!'
Love me some coffee scents!  This one is strong on the nutty note, lots of vanilla, but almost no coffee note on cold sniff.  It's still quite yummy though, and maybe that coffee note will come through when warmed.
Hot Cranberry Tea - 'This scent has base notes of vanilla and amber, and top notes of white flower, ylang ylang, bergamot, and cranberry. Perfect for a cold winter night of relaxation!'
This one sounded so interesting, and since it was November when I picked my scents, I was all about cranberry.  Seems crazy that I would pick this, seeing all those things like amber and bergamot that I'm not generally a fan of.  I guess the cranberry and vanilla overruled them.  And I'm so glad I picked it because, wow, this scent is amazing.  You definitely get the cranberry right off the bat, but there is all kinds of busy work happening behind that.  It's sort of perfume-y, sort of spicy.  It's just interestingly good!
Peppermint Fluff - 'This scent is a fun and fluffy pepperminty scent with notes of vanilla marshmallows, violet and white florals, and huckleberries.'
Since this is a December box, I knew I had to get some Christmas/winter scents.  I wasn't too sure about the florals and berries in this otherwise beloved scent but I had to give it a shot.  Not sure how I feel about this on cold sniff.  There is some definite sweet floral action in this one.  The familiar peppermint-marshmallow is very soft in the background.  I don't know about this one.
Eggnog - 'This scent is an exact eggnog scent. This fragrance is a creamy blend of buttercream vanilla with the perfect balance of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.'
Gotta have the Eggnog scent at Christmas!  This one doesn't mention rum, which I always think of when I think of eggnog.  Hmmm.  On cold sniff this doesn't even have that 'nog' note that I've talked about a couple times in tart reviews.  If I didn't know this was supposed to be eggnog, I don't think I'd ever guess it.  There is a creaminess but there is quite a lot of spice.  Still a nice warm, bakery-ish scent, but just not like any eggnog scent I'm used to.
Hansel & Gretel's Cinnamon Buttercream Cookie Crumbles - 'A blend of gingerbread house, cinnamon buttercream, and our sugar cookie crumbles!'

This is the custom scent for December, and I was surprised to see it in colorful chunk form.  There are two chunks like this in the package.  Sadly, they got quite banged up in transit.  The wax in these is very soft, and there was a lot of crumbling.  All the crumbs and pieces will melt just fine in the end but it was sad to see these little gems get mooshed.  As for the scent, OMG . . . yum?!  You get the cinnamon buttercream right away but almost instantly you notice a combination of warm yummy cookie notes from the gingerbread and the sugar cookies.  This is a delicious blend that needs to stay on their scent list!!

Apple Butter Pie - 'This scent will remind you of your grandma’s freshly baked apple pie! Tart apples, apple butter, sweet milk, cinnamon, and pie crust make up this fragrance.'

I was so surprised to find there were also freebie extras in this package.  Thank you, Melting Fairy!!!  This one might get saved until next fall because that's when I prefer to melt apple scents.  There is something almost perfume-y in this scent because the apples are so sweet and tart.  There are some pie notes and soft spice lightly in the background but you're first whammed in the nostrils by that uber bright and perky apple note.

Reindeer Poop - 'This scent smells nothing like its namesake! Reindeer Poop is a woody scent with notes of eucalyptus, pine, ceder wood, and geranium along with top notes of apples and pears which give it a fresh appeal.'
Nearly every vendor has this scent at this time of year.  I've never tried it though because I'm not big on woody scents and was just never sure what to expect.  Well now that I have it I would like to say that all sexy men should smell like Reindeer Poop.  LOL!!!!!  Seriously, my very first thought with this was 'Mmm, sexy cologne!'  Reading that description, that seems bizarre but -omg- the sweetness and the wood notes and whatever else is in there just blend so well into a very masculine scent.  I'm not sure how I'll feel about scenting my house with this, but I might keep the tart handy and rub it on hubby when he walks by.  Mmmm.
And that is the debut box in the brand new Melting Fairy subscription program.  The scents on cold sniff are quite strong but not overpowering.  I can't wait to start melting these and see how they do.  I really hope they're strong because I'm already looking forward to next month's box!
If you're interested in signing up for this program, head over to The Melting Fairy website for more information.  And stay tuned for my individual Melted reviews once I start melting these.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Christmas Past

Christmas Past- 'Smells just like Christmas. Blue spruce, fir and pine. With a warm woody base and cinnamon.'
 
This is quite a sharp scent, and strong.  Before refreshing my memory on just what this scent included, I'd thought for sure there was that dreaded smoky/fireside note in here.  But nope, apparently it's just supposed to be Christmas trees and cinnamon.  Maybe it's the 'warm woody base' that's killing it for me?  I don't know but this was mainly a really spicy cinnamon scent with hints of pine.  It's not the lovely type like when you walk into a craft store during the holiday season and smell the scented pine cones and candles and whatnot.  Spice haters should probably skip this one.
 
Not only is it spicy and harsh, but it's strong on top of it, which makes it a bit too much.  I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had super strong scent almost immediately.  The strength and the spice gave me a mild headache.  I think it even bothered Minion because he kept looking at the warmer and sniffing the air like 'What the heck?'  He wouldn't sleep in his usual daytime spots either.  I considered blowing out the candle but decided to let it go and see if it would mellow out in time.  A couple hours in, it did seem to lighten up a bit but that harsh spiciness was still there.
 
This one is just not my type of scent.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Christmas Hearth

Christmas Hearth- 'Orange spice notes, fir and pine from the Christmas tree with a hint of smokiness from the fireplace.'
 
Another of the new Christmas scents from Sweet Fixations, I ordered this even though that 'hint of smokiness' scared me a little.  You probably know by now that I've discovered I'm just not a fan of smoky, fireside, bonfire type notes.  Luckily it's barely there in this scent.  At first I didn't think I'd like this, that it would be just another generic 'pretty Christmas scent' with nothing really Christmas-y about it, but it was actually a really nice mix of the things that make one of those good 'craft store at Christmas time' scents.  Spiced orange seems to be the predominant note, followed by a bit of pine that's so nicely blended you barely notice it on its own.  That smoky note is sort of a soft background or afterthought type thing.  It's there, but just quietly going about its business.

I melted this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium strength scent.  It was nice on this slightly lighter scale because I think this is one that could be too overwhelming if it was stronger.  The orange note seemed way stronger in the beginning, then it mellowed and blended nicely with everything, and then the smoky note seemed to come out a bit more towards the end of the four hour tea light burn.

A nice holiday scent that I might consider ordering again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Holiday Sparkle

Holiday Sparkle- 'A wonderful blend of apple cider, berries, spruce and orange. With grapefruit and cinnamon and clove. A great way to celebrate the holidays.'
This is another of the new Christmas scents over at Sweet Fixations.  This one is bright and pretty, strong on the grapefruit and citrus zest notes.  The bit of spice is very muted, nice and soft and warm, so spice haters won't have to fear this one.  And I do get that sweet spruce note again.  Maybe it's more of that spruce I'm smelling and not the grapefruit?  The spice doesn't seem like much but it really helps this from being too headachingly 'sweet' like Blue Spruce was.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a very lovely medium strength scent.  I usually like strong scents but sometimes less is more.  This was very noticeable but nowhere near the overwhelming level that Blue Spruce was.  Between the the two spruce scents, I would pick this one.  It did seem to fade quite a bit by the end of a four hour tea light burn but I'm ok with that because this isn't the type of scent I'd be able to smell all day.

This is a nice holiday scent that I would consider ordering again next year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Blue Spruce

Blue Spruce - [no description available]

I don't know if spruce is just the sweetest of the evergreen scents, or if it's just this particular tart, but I kinda think I'm not a spruce fan.  It's a definite 'Oh, Christmas tree!' scent, which is what we all want this time of year, but there is a sweetness, almost a juiciness, that I can only take in small doses.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and whoa, is this one ever strong!  That might be another reason I had a hard time with it.  Maybe if it was a lighter, barely there background type strength it would have been better.  I got a headache after having this one going for a while.  

If you get this one, you might want to try melting only half of the tart.  Nice, but s-t-r-o-n-g!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Spiked Eggnog

Spiked Eggnog- 'A yummy holiday drink with vanilla, rum, and nutmeg!'
 
I know I had this last year but I can't find any old post about it so I'll go ahead and review it.  Eggnog is one of my must-have scents for the Christmas season.  I love it when there is a rum note, and this version has it.  This is a bit of a spicy eggnog, full of warmth and creaminess.  There is that typical 'nog' note that we were discussing in another post, but I think the rum is stronger in this one than that other one we were talking about.
 
I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a nice medium-strong scent.  It did travel somewhat to adjacent rooms.  I was gone for several hours during the day and when I got back home, I could still detect light traces of this throughout the house even though that tart had cooled off long before.
 
This is one I would definitely order again next Christmas.