Sunday, April 30, 2017

Read - The Ludwig Conspiracy

The Ludwig Conspiracy
by Oliver Potzsch
2011 (2013 - English translation)
420 pages

'In 1886, Ludwig II, the Fairy-tale King of Bavaria, was deposed after being declared insane by doctors who had never met him. He died mysteriously soon thereafter, his eccentric and beautiful castles his only legacy. In The Ludwig Conspiracy, master of historical suspense Oliver Pötzsch brings the Mad King back to life.

An encoded diary by one of Ludwig’s confidants falls into the hands of modern-day rare-book dealer Steven Lukas, who soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Lukas teams up with a beautiful art detective, Sara Lengfeld, to investigate each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues to crack the diary’s code as mysterious thugs and Ludwig’s fanatical followers chase them at every step. Just what in the diary could be so explosive?
'
 ---------------------------------------------

I'm all about Ludwig II these days, as you all know.  I'd actually started reading this book just days before I received the Ludwig movie.  Unfortunately, I've given up on this book.  I did struggle through about 250 of the 420 pages but then decided I just couldn't do it anymore.

I was intrigued by this book because it mixes the past and the present.  It does bring a lot of history into the otherwise fictional story.  But it just got too busy and complicated for me.  It's supposed to be a DaVinci Code type thing, with the main guy coming into possession of an old secret diary.  Turns out this diary is about King Ludwig's death, and it's written in code.  Also turns out that plenty of other people want to get their hands on this, and some will even kill for it.  So it becomes a race to decode the text, and figure out the clues that will lead them to . . . what?  I wasn't even sure.  The truth of Ludwig's death?  They have to figure out keywords and travel from one Ludwig-related place to the next in search of the next keyword.  So not only is the story in the diary written in code, but there is a second type of coded message mixed in throughout it all.  What?  I got so confused on what the keywords were for and why it took such extremes to come up with such simple words.

I thought the story in the diary would be the most interesting part because it took place back in Ludwig's day, written by someone actually close to the king.  (This is all pure fiction, by the way.)  But no, it became a sappy love story about the writer and a servant girl, and it portrayed Ludwig heavily on the side of 'He's a freakin' weirdo.'  So I thought okay, well this part is fail but maybe the present day stuff about them visiting his castles in search of clues would be cool.  No, that because boring too, especially when people were suddenly allowing them total access to places and other people were shooting the places up in attempts to get the diary.

A lot of the conversations seemed clunky and odd.  Since I see now that this is the English translation version of the book, maybe that explains why.

I always hate giving up on a book, and I especially hated giving up on a *Ludwig* book, but I just have so many other ones I want to read and could probably getting way more joy and satisfaction out of.  I did skip to the end to see if I could find some closing explanation of the things going on in the book.  I did get a sort of general one, and that's good enough for me at this point.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Candlemart Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations, Denise!
You will be contacted soon with a coupon code to do some shopping at Candlemart.

Thank you to all who commented and entered.  Unfortunately, two people were eliminated because there was no way to contact them.

And thanks again to Candlemart for allowing me to try their products and for sponsoring this giveaway.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Collective Walmart Wax Haul

I've been picking up packs of 'Walmart wax' randomly over the past few weeks and have a nice little pile sitting here on my desk now.  It became a situation of either get a darn haul post done already or forget about that and start using them.  Obviously I've found a few moments to focus on wax instead of German kings, so here goes!

I have not melted any of these yet.  This post will be my cold sniff thoughts only.

Hello Sunshine - 'Bright citrus zest.'
I'm not a floral scent fan so the big yellow flower on this package fooled me until one day I took a closer look and saw that it mentions citrus.  There is a slight zesty zing to this but it's not a happy orange type scent like I was expecting.  There is something almost like peach deep in the middle of the scent, and I'm not a peach scent fan.  Peach isn't even citrus, is it?  lol  I'm not sure what else might be in this.  I can't even really say I'm a huge fan of this.  So why did I buy it?  Because I had notions at the time of working my way through all of the Scentsationals scents and finally keeping a notebook of my notes on each one, good or bad.  Funny then that this is the only Scentsationals one I have in my little haul pile here.

Warm Spring Sunshine - 'Take in this captivating scent reminiscent of perfect warm spring sunshine with a fruity mix of Granny Smith apple, white peach and melon. A fresh, floral blend of spring daisy, garden florals and rain water rest on a calming base of sunlit amber and musk.'
Another one with flowers on the package and keeping me away, and another one that fooled me until I finally sniffed it.  It is a very pretty scent, with a touch of perfumey floral, but there is sweetness too and enough of a sort of sugared fruit note to make me buy it.  Reading the description, I can easily pick out the apple note.  I recognize the peach but the melon keeps it under control for me.  I do get the sort of 'rain' note, and there is a very soft musk haze over it all.  I'm surprised to say that I really do like this one.

Sweet Watermelon Buttercream - [no scent description]
I'm all about watermelon in summertime, and last year really started loving watermelon scents in wax.  This one has a nice, juicy watermelon note first and foremost but the sweet notes from the frosting come rushing in immediately behind that, adding some depth to it all.  It is sweet, and leans just a bit more towards a dessert type scent than a straight up summer fruit scent.

Island Coconut Lime - 'Freshly fallen, cracked coconut fruit blended with the zesty brightness of island lime fused with sweet sugarcane and a hint of vanilla.'
I used to make coconut-lime scented soap quite often back in my soap making days but I don't think I go for it much in home fragrance.  I'm not sure why.  I saw this one though and decided heck yeah.  The coconut hits you first but it's not a super sweet tropical type.  I think the vanilla is toning it down quite a bit.  There is a healthy note of lime too but it's all blended nicely into a somewhat 'dry' and warm scent.  This is interesting.  I expected it to be a lot more juicy and tropical.

Sweet Sangria - [no scent description]
Google tells me that sangria is usually made with wine and orange juice and a variety of chopped fruits.  This Mainstays Sweet Sangria scent seems to fit that description.  I do get a deep citrus punch type vibe from this, the orange can be detected, and there is almost something like the tiniest hint of spice.  This is sort of a darker summer fruit scent and I like it, well at least so far on cold sniff.

Sweet Apple - [no scent description]
I kept avoiding this one because I like my apple scents in the fall.  I finally picked it up though and gave it a sniff one day, and it had to come home with me.  There is no spice in this, nothing fancy or fall-like.  It's just a really nice, sweet and happy apple scent.  Still, I will tuck this away until the end up summer.  It will be a nice transition scent, when summer is winding down but I'm not yet ready for the heavy spices of fall scents.

That is my little collective haul.
Are you a fan of 'Walmart wax' (BHG, Scentsationals, Mainstays)?  I've really been impressed with the Mainstays wax.  They pack quite a punch and are super affordable yet still don't smell cheap and plastic-y.

What fun scents have you discovered lately?

Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a chance to try products from Candlemart.
Click HERE to enter!
(Giveaway is now closed.)




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Candlemart Haul, Review, and Giveaway **CLOSED**

When the folks at Candlemart contacted me recently with an offer to try their products I was quite excited.  I wasn't familiar with that particular website or the Hanna's brand of wax products that it sells.  One thing that struck me right away was how affordable everything was.  Heck yeah!  I then found a selection of different products, from candles of various sizes, some with wood wicks and some with traditional wicks, to clamshells of wax melts, and even packages of aromabeads.  There were a variety of scents to choose from and it was easy to find the types I like, so I happily agreed to try some.

Hawaiian Delight - 'Sugared pineapple, banana, coconut milk, clove, and tonka bean.'
 This is their 8.25 oz. tumbler candle that sells for $6.99 on the site.  I really wanted to try their wood wick style, and I chose this scent as a nice fruity mix for late spring and into summer.  The scent is really nice, actually somewhat warm and creamy.  The pineapple is sweet and juicy, probably the strongest note, but all the other notes mix together in a nice blend to support it.  This was a medium-strong scent in our large living room.  The burn was fine, only a minor bit of tunneling that eventually corrected itself.  The wick had a nice soft crackling effect, not nearly as noisy as another well known wood wick brand.  The flame stayed a decent size.  The scent stayed deep and true even after many hours of burning.  We had no problems with soot or smoke.  A very nice candle!

Vanilla Brulee - 'Cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, citrus, vanilla and caramel.'
In addition to the candles in the TimberWick line, there are wax melts.  They are 2.5 oz. clamshell packs that sell for $1.99 on the site.  This particular scent is so yummy on cold sniff.  I admit I have not melted this yet but I have faith it will be fine after seeing how the other items performed.  This is a cozy spiced caramel scent, a little creamy with a fairly healthy bite of spice to it.  It does not have a salted note to it, which is good because I struggle with that type of caramel scent lately.  I don't detect any specific citrus note, as mentioned in the description.  I'm looking forward to melting this one!

Another line is the Trios line, which gives you three scents in one pack or candle.  The wax melts are 2.5 oz. clamshells that sell for $2.49 on the site.  I suppose some people might blend the scents, and maybe that's even what's intended, but I'm just going to melt each section on its own.  This particular pack includes Strawberry Lemonade, Frozen Mint Leaves, and Lemon Sugar.  There were no individual scent descriptions available.  So far I have melted the Strawberry Lemonade pieces and it was very nice, a sweet and slightly tart lemonade scent with an extra serving of sweetness from the soft strawberry note.  I melted it in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent that traveled into adjacent rooms.  The mint one is not a Christmas type peppermint but something softer, like spearmint, with hints of sugar crystals.  I like it on cold sniff but have not melted it yet.  The lemon one is very pleasing to this lemon scent lover.  It leans slightly toward bakery, like a lemony cookie.  There is a warmth about it and again, a hint of sugar crystals.  I have not melted that one yet either.

Hazelnut Latte - 'The sweet aroma of toasted coconut and warm honey fuses with hazelnut, sweet almonds and cinnamon at the heart of the scrumptious blend. Vanilla cream, brown sugar and maple entice us with their sweet and sticky tones.'
And finally, I chose to try Hanna's Aromabeads.  I was very curious about these little bits of wax.  They come in a 1 oz. plastic cup and sell for $1.49 on the website.  The site encourages you to try using the beads in creative ways, like adding to a candle, or mixing beads of different scents to create your own blends, or simply setting them out somewhere to let the cold scent fill the air.  They say you can leave the beads in the cup and place that directly into one of their warmers, or just dump the beads right into the warmer.  I chose to dump them right into the warmer.  I found this package actually had 1.2 oz. worth of wax so I divided that between two tea light warmers and had them going in adjacent rooms.  Because the beads are small they melted quickly and I had scent pretty much immediately.  I loved that!  As for the scent itself, even though it has latte in the name it reminded hubby and I very much of pancakes or French toast.  I don't even see coffee in the description.  No, this was a deep and rich bakery type scent, smooth and creamy, warm and sweet.  The hints of maple and cinnamon, wrapped up in the warm vanilla and hazelnut . . . mmmmm!  The scent was deliciously strong that traveled well through the downstairs of our house and lingered well after the tea lights had burned out and the wax had cooled.  I want to try more of these little beads!  I do want to mention two things though.  You can see in the picture that there are little vent holes in the lid.  This is fine if you're just going to let it sit and scent the air that way.  I'll probably put a piece of tape over the holes of future packages, especially if I know they won't be used soon.  Also, once opened, there is no way to reseal the package.  So if you were only going to use part of the pack to create a blend, you'd have to find some way to reseal this to keep the leftovers fresh.  Other than that, I am a fan!

***GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***
Hanna's is a company that's been in the wax business for 30 years now.  That's quite impressive!
You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram to get all the latest news.
And they would like to give YOU a chance to try their products by sponsoring a small giveaway.  One winner will receive a $10 code for the Candlemart site, and shipping is covered too!  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me if you've tried Candlemart/Hanna's before, or what you'd probably use the prize code on.  That's it!
  • Must be 18 years of age to enter or have parent/guardian permission to give out your address if you win.
  • US only please.  Sorry.
  • Must have a way to contact you if you are the winner.  If I can't contact you, another winner will be chosen.
  • One entry per person.
  • Contest will run now till Friday, April 28, 2017, when I will pick a winner using Random.org sometime around noon (Central time).
Good luck!
Also, huge thanks to Candlemart for allowing me to try these lovely products and for sponsoring this giveaway!

Watched - Ludwig II

Ludwig II
2012
2hrs 23 min

'A dramatic retelling of the life of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, one of the most fascinating monarchs of modern times. From his accession to the throne at the age of 18 to his passionate support of Richard Wagner and his music. From his ingenuous political commitment to his obsessive construction of extravagant palaces and to his gradual withdrawal into a lonely dream world, an epic narrative of breathtaking grandeur.'

I'd been wanting to see this for some time now but it was not becoming available anywhere and I noticed it's only German, no English subtitles.  Well leave it to my Ludwig enabler Kevin to hook me up with a version of the movie on YouTube that someone had taken the time to do English subtitles for.  Woohoo!  At 2hrs and 23min long, and factoring in my less than stellar internet, I managed to watch the movie in two chunks, two evenings.

I'll say right off the bat, I did not like this movie.  I will also admit there are a few things I did like, but overall, nah.  This version of the Ludwig II story starts before his coronation, and I did like that.  You get to see some of the relationship between Ludwig and his father.  You see what kind of a boy he is, having fun and loving art and opera and using his imagination.  You see he was already building things, in these early cases it was more crafty type things like scenes from favorite stories.  You see the differences between Ludwig and his brother, who was very much into guns and weaponry and the honor of fighting to save Bavaria.

I also liked that this movie worked in a lot more little things like the head way up, quirky kind of walk of arrogance he adopted, and some of his obnoxious demands like never coming within three steps of him, or servants keeping their eyes down when he was in the room.  I liked that it showed his angry outbursts, how he could suddenly fly off the handle.  Loved the part where he stormed into the room and signed the war paper they'd all been hounding him with, then threw down the pen and stormed back out.  I liked that they showed some of his public appearances and speeches, things he absolutely hated.

But those things were not enough to save this movie for me.

First of all, I hated how the actor playing Ludwig in the younger and middle years looked.  Not only did he look totally girlie, but they made him look like a 1920s flapper girl tart.  Ludwig had goofy curled hair, yes, but it wasn't all to one side of his face like this movie made it look.  The actor's mannerisms were so . . . effeminate?  Is that the word I'm looking for?  He looked super tall and super skinny.  From what I've read, Ludwig was indeed tall but of athletic build in those younger years.  Ugh, the *look* just didn't work for me.
 
I also didn't like that they pretty much made him a loon right from the start.  Maybe he was??  I don't know for sure but I've gotten the impression from things I've read that the weirdness didn't start coming out until later.  He'd been odd, and uninterested in affairs of state but at least it seems like he was still at least somewhat normal early on.  This movie makes him plain ol' weird and wacky from the get-go and that made hard to feel anything for him, especially later when things really started going downhill for him.

I did not like how the relationship with Sophie was portrayed either.  Although he was indeed engaged to Sophie at one point, he had a much stronger and long lasting relationship with her sister, Elisabeth.  Yet, they seemed to combine the two and make Sophie a much stronger character in his life.

I didn't like how they handled Richard Wagner in this.  They made him too nice.  While they did show some things about the Bavarian public disliking him, they didn't really show what a greedy and manipulative dick he was, totally using Ludwig's admiration and position for his own personal gains.

And I absolutely hated how they handled Ludwig's own government ousting him!
While the actor who played Ludwig in his later years had a slightly better look for the role, I did not like how he played it, and hated how they portrayed those dramatic final days.  It was so rushed that at first I didn't even realize we were at that part of the story already.  They also had Ludwig extremely crazy and fighting them every step of the way.  All accounts I have read say he offered no resistance and appeared quite sane and cooperative.  That's *why* they let him go out for that fateful final walk.  But no, in this he is just crazy.  What a total disappointment.

So while I am glad to have been able to finally see this, I'm bummed that it was such a letdown.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Watched - Ludwig

Ludwig
1973
3 hours 55 minutes

'He loved women.  He loved men.  He lived as controversially as he ruled.  But he did not care what the world thought.  He was the world.'

As you know, I'm becoming a bit of a King Ludwig II freak.  I have indeed been to his most famous castle, Neuschwanstein, in Germany but at the time I was there I knew nothing about Ludwig.  I did become interested after that visit but it wasn't until last year that I really got hooked on his whole story.  (Read my nattering thoughts HERE.)  My sister has gotten me three books, and now Kevin has sent me this movie.  I love my enablers!

Well I finally got a chance to watch this beast of a movie today and, well, I need more.  I want to watch this again already!  I say it's a beast because not only is it nearly four hours long but it is Italian AND it's from 1973.  There were a lot of obstacles to overcome in trying to settle in and watch this.  I knew nothing about this movie, the director, or any of the cast as I went into it.  I was very quickly smitten with 'Ludwig,' actor Helmut Berger.  (He's old and fat now, and apparently crazy so I don't want to know him from anything else but Ludwig.  LOL)

The biggest problem I had with the movie is the switching back and forth from English to Italian.  I had it set on the English option, with an additional setting for English subtitles where Italian portions would be.  I wondered what that meant but didn't care too much.  I was happy to see that it was actual footage with them speaking English, not some cheesy voice-over.  But then it kept randomly switching back to Italian.  I mean like, in the middle of scenes, or lengthy chunks of time, and then suddenly would switch back to English.  That was a bit annoying and hard to follow.  I think when I watch it again it'll be easier to accept since I know what it's like now.  Oh, and the Italian parts *were* cheesy voice-overs, which I really don't understand because isn't it an Italian film?  Oh well.

I loved the first half of the film, going through Ludwig's earlier years as king.  I love how he was portrayed.  He appeared quite normal then, although some quirks were already there.  Loved his little hissy fits he had.  It showed how there was promise and potential for him in those early years, how he seemed to at least try to do what was expected of him.  This younger Ludwig showed a range of emotions too but it broke my heart when he found out Richard Wagner was a greedy, lying, manipulative bastard.  I said in my other post, after reading the books, that there can be no story of Ludwig without including the composer Wagner, and I also said I found him to be a complete dick.  He is a raging dick in this movie!  I freakin' hated him, which made it so much more heartbreaking that Ludwig was blinded by him.
Even at nearly four hours, there is so much of the story that was skipped or only briefly touched on.  The Wagner stuff was compressed and dealt with fairly early on.  You don't get the full effect of how awful he was.  The movie only showed a couple, minor outbursts by Ludwig about things.  I wish they'd had more of his raging "I AM THE KING!" arrogance.  The second half started to really speed through things, seeming to focus more on the secret investigations the officials around him were conducting as they prepared to have him deposed.  History says and shows that Ludwig 'let himself go' in his later years.  He got fat and had endless problems with his rotting teeth.  I cringed when the second half of the movie now had the actor with rotting teeth.  I'd been hoping they'd sort of quietly skip that little tidbit.  They also showed being all sloppy in his drinking, with it running down his chin.  Also not a picture I actually wanted to see even though I'd read about it.  I guess part of me just doesn't want to admit that he really did become something so . . . un-regal.  (Not even a word, I know.)

I loved that they filmed in many of the actual locations.  I was sooooo freakin' excited with all the Neuschwanstein scenes!  Like, the night the officials went to take Ludwig into custody, and it showed the horses and carriages coming up the curving road alongside the castle, I was silently screaming "I was there!!!!  That's where we walked!  I remember THAT area!"  Ah, so much fun to see.  But the film also seemed to just quickly skim over the stuff about him obsessing and building all those castles.  There was a part where his cousin Elisabeth was visiting all the castles, but it made it seem like she just spent a day riding around and popping in to see each one.  I'm not sure if it was suppose to show her thinking 'What the heck, crazy man,' or something more like 'Wow, good for you!'  But yeah, since the building of the castles was like THE thing that everyone knows about Ludwig, it seemed rushed in the film without much of that really being addressed.


I have mixed feelings about the ending.  I was really wondering which way they'd go with it, and was somewhat relieved that they didn't actually show what happened.  But then the very end, the very last line of the whole film was one of the anti-Ludwig officials quickly proclaiming it was suicide.  I was a bit disappointed in the scenes of them actually going to take Ludwig into custody.  It was sort of rushed again, and a lot of emotional things that could have been included just weren't.  They showed him as pretty much a raving madman by then but the accounts I've read portray him quite differently.  I was glad to see they brought him back to sane and sassy once they had him at Berg castle.
All through the movie I was trying to think of who the actor reminded me of.  About three hours into it I was like 'Aha!  Johnny Depp!'  But thinking about earlier in the movie, and looking at pics from the movie and pics/videos of the actor at that time, I don't think it's Johnny Depp I'm thinking of.  I can't figure it out!

Anyway, I'm absolutely thrilled to have finally watched this movie, and I am definitely going to watch it again.  And I really really REALLY wish someone would make a new movie about King Ludwig II's story.  For now, I leave you with this lovely little video I found on YouTube, showing the many faces and emotions of Ludwig in this particular movie.  (Sorry if it shows up too large.)


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Natters - Apr. 16 / Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!
The pic above is about the only real decorating I did this year.  There are a couple random decorations in the living room and kitchen but they're small so I didn't bother taking pics this year.  Oh, I did replace that wooden candy dish try with a big basket last night, ya know, when the Easter Bunny came.

I couldn't believe it when I saw this egg coloring kit at Walmart.  Of course I had to get it.  We weren't even sure if we'd color eggs this year since last year no one had any interest in it.  All the menfolk were here yesterday though, and were willing to do it so we did.
Yeah, we are by no means experts in this art.  LOL

This is the first year I did not have the boys' baskets out.  Yes, they are adults now but it's still always been fun to get those ancient baskets out each year.  We stopped hiding them long ago, and the things that went in them changed from candy and toys to more preferred candy and gift cards, but still, it's been fun.  This year we just weren't feeling it.  Well, Casey kinda got one.  He'd mentioned the other day that they don't have regular measuring cups at their apartment.  Aha!  I bought him a couple and put some crinkle paper and a chocolate bunny in!

As mentioned, the boys (including Matt) were here yesterday for a good part of the day.  Ty was doing laundry, Casey was just hanging out, and Matt had shown up later.  We ate pizza and tried to play Munchkin but we're all so out of practice that it was kind of boring.  Everyone seemed to have their mind on something else.  I actually gave up and quit, while they soldiered on to finish one game.

Today Ty and Casey were back.  We'd thought we'd all just hang out again and maybe try another game of Munchkin but Matt had to get help a friend with something and Casey couldn't stay too long because he works tonight and had to go get some sleep.  So we had a casual ham dinner for lunch, they played video games while I played Wizard101 for a bit, then Casey headed home.  Hubby, Ty, and I decided to play Uno.  We haven't played that in YEARS!  It was quite fun!  We played several rounds then Ty decided he should get home too because he has a lot of stuff coming up the next couple weeks.  After he left, hubby went back to coloring in his books and I went to work on some cards.  I'll show them later since some are meant for people who read this blog.  hehe

And now we're just kinda relaxing for the evening.  I have a dvd from Netflix to watch but hubby has no interest in it so I don't want to bore him.  I'm SUPER anxious to watch this though . . . 
This was an Easter gift from Kevin and I am sooooo excited about it!  You might remember my obsession with the story of King Ludwig II last summer (see post HERE).  Well, the interest had been rekindled very recently when I started reading another Ludwig book my sister had gotten me.  So the timing of this dvd is perfect.  Hubby isn't interested in this one either though, so I'm impatiently waiting for my next day off, when I can finally watch it!  But oh my gosh, yes, the obsession is reborn.  Thank you, Kevin!!!

How was your Easter?
Any egg hunts and chocolate bunnies?  Church and ham dinners?
I hope it was nice, however you spent it.

Melted - Long Cane Primitives / Serendipity

Serendipity - 'A sinful sweet delight, sweet creamy vanilla, sweet cherry, sweet orange citrus and yummy fresh coconut.'

Ah, Serendipity.  This one is often too sweet and too much for people, me included.  I can only take this in small doses every once in a while.  I've been craving older scents though as I've gone through a sort of phasing out of wax phase.  I seem to be phasing back in now and was happy to find I still had this in my stash.  The LCP version of this classic scent is more coconut heavy than cherry heavy.  There is a nice creaminess to LCP's version and I really like that.  That sweetness is all still there though, the bright cherry note making itself well known.

I melted this 1 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent that traveled into adjacent rooms.  I'm okay with this particular scent being less than the usual strong that I prefer because Serendipity can easily be overwhelming.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Melted - Dessa's Homespun Scents / S'mores

S'mores - 'A traditional campfire treat of sweet graham crackers topped with melted milk chocolate, and a gooey toasted marshmallow. A Homespun Original House Blend.'
 
Keep in mind, this is not my kind of scent.  I'm not a fan of chocolate for home fragrance.  But, I received this as a gift and wanted to give it a try anyway.  Having said all that, I was disappointed in this one.  I did like it on cold sniff.  It was sweeter and more full bodied.  Once melted though, it sort of became flat and a plastic-y note came through.  I think it might have been from the marshmallow, since I've had some icky marshmallow scents over the years (from various vendors).  The chocolate note was strongest behind that plastic note and it became the type I just don't prefer.  The graham cracker notes that were there on cold sniff failed to show up for the warm party.  As I said though, this is not my kind of scent.  I know tons of people absolutely love S'mores scents so I encourage you to go ahead and try this for yourself.
 
I melted this 1.5 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent.  I turned the warmer off after just a couple hours.
 
[This was a gift.]

Friday, April 14, 2017

Melted - Dessa's Homespun Scents / Carnival Cotton Candy

Carnival Cotton Candy - 'Sweet spun sugar that will melt in your mouth. A soft pink cloud of decadent candy confection and a touch of a little extra sweetness. A Homespun Original House Blend.'
This was a nice scent for this time of year, well into spring and craving fruitier and more fun type scents.  It kept reminding me of bubble gum, a sort of vanilla bubble gum with big colored sugar crystals.  This was a very sweet scent but that touch of almost creaminess kept it from slipping over the line into a full blown super sweet candy type.  I would not melt this a lot but for a nice change of pace treat it was fine.
I melted this 1.1 oz tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent the traveled well into adjacent rooms.

**UPDATE** I was not at all thrilled about the neon pink stain left in my warmer bowl once the cooled wax was removed.  =(
 [This was a gift.]

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Natters - Apr. 13 / Monsters in the Ceiling


There has been nothing further with our mysterious hole outside.  The dirt we put back into the hole remains undisturbed.  Some guys at work who are all into hunting and outdoorsy stuff looked at the pics I have (more than what I posted) and feel that yes, it most likely was a fox after something.  So, while things have remained calm outside, the critter drama has moved back inside. We've had mice in here before, and we've had the occasional bat find its way inside.  Today, we think we had both.  UGH!

Okay, so, we have those old style drop ceiling panels in the kitchen and dining room.  That means there is space above, between the panels and the original ceiling which is higher up.  That's where the critters sometimes end up.  Well today Casey had come over in the morning after work.  We were going to hang out and play games on the computers.  As he was walking through the kitchen, Minion was on top of the fridge keeping an eagle eye on the ceiling.  All of the sudden we here noise and Casey's like "Whoa!  That's a bat!" and saw it go past the light panel.  We could here scurrying and chittering noise, like something frantically looking for a way out.  I was ready to run into the bathroom for a safe hiding spot, and Casey was at first brave enough to attempt removal of said critter.  It was up above the panels though, and we decided if it wasn't coming out we were okay with that.  Everything got quiet for a while and we tried to sit down and play our game, but no, we were both preoccupied by monsters in the ceiling.

Another round of noise had us freaking again.  I suggested he take the broom handle and pop one panel open, allow the thing a way out.  He decided he'd rather not deal with it, and suggested we go to his place.  So as we were leaving he glanced back into the kitchen and saw something passing the light panel again and said "Wait, that's just a mouse."  I'm like, a mouse?  I can live with it being just a mouse, and I stepped back to look too.  Sure enough, something non-bat was scurrying past the light panel.  We debated for a moment, wondering what all the previous noise was because it seemed unlikely a mouse would have created all that ruckus.  We agreed that the first noise was a bat, and that for whatever reason there were two things up there, and we left for the safety of his apartment.  LOL!

When hubby got home from work many many hours later, he got a ladder and a flashlight and moved one of the panels and actually stood with his head up in there so he could see.  He looked all around up there and saw nothing.  *PHEW*  But okay, what were they and were did they go?!  All I know for now is that we haven't heard anything since, and hubby's here to save me if it comes back.

I'm really beginning to hate country life.

In other news, spending time at Casey's place was kinda cool.  He's pretty well settled over there now.  It's looking more cozy and homey as they actually get things organized and in place.  They are both very much into anime and video games so there are a lot of Pop figures and little figurines around, and some framed anime posters hung up, and video game related magnets and things on the fridge.  It's cute.  He's starting to put his foot down a little more about things that go on there, instead of just letting his female friend roommate rule the roost.  They've been exploring the town and checking out the little shops.  He seems more relaxed and mellow again.

I have some work drama stories but I'll save them for another post since I nattered so much about my monsters this time.  Besides, I want to get back to playing Wizard101.

How are things for you?
Any big plans for Easter?

Melted - Scentsationals / Pineapple Strawvberry Smoothie

Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie - [no scent description]

I had to laugh at myself with this one.  I thought it was a strawberry banana blend, not pineapple.  Even while melting, I thought it was banana and kept thinking 'What is that odd note?'  Well duh, it was the pineapple I was smelling!  *smacks forehead*  So anyway, this was a nice fruity, summery type scent.  I think the pineapple was just a hair stronger than the strawberry in here but both show themselves proudly.  There is an extra sweetness, like sugary syrup to mix it all together.  This was bright and fun and I would buy it again.

I melted two cubes at a time (about 0.8 oz worth) in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent that lasted all day.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Natters - Apr. 10 / A Fox?

Guess what!  I got some old lady glasses today!  Yep, I got a pair of 'readers,' or as they seem to be called these days, 'computer glasses.'  I was overdue for an eye exam anyway but what made me go was that I found I was constantly tipping my head back to look through the bifocal part of my glasses to do anything on the computer.  After a while that would cause neck strain, headaches, and even dizziness from having my neck kinked back so much.  I figured I'd be getting new glasses in general but it like "I want some friggen bifocal strength glasses!"  The eye doctor was like "Computer glasses?  Of course!  Lots of people have those!"  I picked them up today (along with my boring regular glasses) and they're wonderful!  I still have a tendency to tip my head back but it's out of habit, and I need to break that.  Ohhhh, the simple things in life, huh?

I went to my mom's today.  Her little dizzy scare of last week seems to have passed.  She was go go go again today.  We were outside filling her bird feeders, and she started cleaning and sweeping her garage!  Slooooow down there, Mom.  You're making us all look lazy.

Yesterday morning we noticed that something dug one heck of a hole in our yard Saturday night.  See that tan pile in the grass?  That's a huge pile of dirt and sand that was dug out.
This pic is standing sort of over that pile, looking down at the hole.  Click the pic for a larger version and you might be able to see the dog-type footprints in the sand.  We're thinking fox, but possibly coyote.  You can even sort of see where its back feet were planted while it dug.  Now, was it digging to get the little critters that have burrowed all over in that section of the yard?  Or was it digging to make itself a nice little den?  That hole is freakin' deep!  And it's probably 6-8 inches wide.  We looked around the yard for an exit hole but didn't see one like this so we shoveled the dirt and sand back into it and kept an eye on it.  Nothing has disturbed it since.  Crazy country life, I tell ya!

My nasal situation continues to improve.  Two days now of pretty much normal breathing with absolutely no sprays or pills or anything.  Unrelated to that but also a "Yay!" is that I've had three days now without taking Prilosec.

Hubby and I watched Bad Moms tonight.  Some of it had us laughing soooo dang hard, but what I wasn't expecting was that it also made me cry.  What the heck?!  LOL

I started playing Wizard101 again yesterday.  Casey and I had been kind of arguing on Saturday about trying to play UO together and in a fit of 'I give up!' I said "Fine, I'm going back to Wizard."  He surprised me by saying okay, that he'd get it too.  And he did!  It took me a little bit to get reacquainted with the game but now I remember why I loved it and am really looking forward to getting fully into it again.  And now that I have my old lady glasses to use for the computer, I can play all freakin' day without a kink in my neck!

So that's what I'm off to do now!

Have you seen Bad Moms?
Do you have foxes digging in your yard?



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Easter Cards!

Guys!  I finally had a busy and productive day in the craft room!  I was about ready to dig out the store bought cards when I realized I'd need to get cards sent out in the next day or two, but today things just clicked and I was able to get a bunch of cards made.

I think this one turned out a little too 'busy' looking.  Hubby loves it though.  His tastes tend to run loud and proud, compared to my more simple ones.  He colored the bunny and the basket, pre-Prismacolor pencils.

And here is my simplistic style.  This basket and bunny are done with colored pencil, as is pretty much everything you'll see with these cards.  I'm *loving* colored pencils, and am so glad I didn't dump huge amounts of money into the Copic or Tombow markers!

This one was colored with the Prismacolor pencils.  I actually prefer the Crayola pencils.  Maybe it's just the paper I'm using.

This one is a mix of Tombow marker and stamped inks.  Oh, and a bit of colored pencil too for the bunny ears.

Colored pencils again, these are a mix of Crayola and Prismacolor.

I think this is also a mix.  I'm pretty sure the flowers are Prismacolor, and the eggs are Crayola.

I think I've shown this one before.  It was made a while ago, and I was just playing around with different techniques that day.  Still, it's an Easter card that I made.  Yay!

So what do you think?
Which is your favorite?







Thursday, April 6, 2017

Band of Bloggers - Apr. 2017 / Vol. 16


It's that time of year again! As the warmer weather soothes stiff joints and brushes off the last vestiges of winter, homes beg for the same fresh start everyone promised themselves at the beginning of the year. Clothes are donated, rooms are scrubbed, and yards are tended. While the fauna leave their winter dens or return from long migrations, the world blooms with new growth in vibrant splashes of color.

For April's Band of Bloggers post, we will answer a few questions about Spring and the ever-loved Spring Cleaning. Feel free to join in and answer these questions in the comments below!

Do you decorate for Spring? 
I used to decorate a lot more than I do now.  It wasn't really for spring though, but more for Easter.  The past couple years I've been decorating less and less.  This year I got most of my Easter things out but then just didn't like it and put about 90% back into storage.  I'm not even feeling that old "Oooh that's so cute!  I need to buy it!" urge as I see all the adorable Easter decorations in the stores.  Going minimal is definitely growing on me.

Are there any products you find yourself reaching for as the weather warms? This can be anything; food, clothing, bath and body, wax, you name it!
I can't really think of anything that I start reaching for in spring.  Well, I do get out the few more pastel or spring colored shirts I have, but other than that no.  I start melting less heavy bakery scents in wax as spring comes around, and tend to start melting brighter fun and fruity scents.

Do you participate in the Spring Cleaning craze?
I do not do any big sort of Spring Cleaning.  I suck at housework in general so something is always in need of some major cleaning at any time of year.  LOL  I do look forward to starting to crack windows open on nicer days to help clear out the winter musties.

Don't forget to visit these fellow participants in the Band of Bloggers and help support the blogging community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished
Liz at Furianne
Sandra at Finger Candy 

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Natters - Apr. 5 / Nasal Spray & Stuff


You know how I've mentioned my ongoing nasal congestion battle?  I couldn't figure out if it was a cold or allergies?  I suspected it might just be overuse of nasal spray and after yet another sleepless night of mouth breathing I've decided it's time to stop using it and find out.  I'm going cold turkey on this.  If you're not familiar with nasal spray, they can be a godsend but they are also notoriously addictive.  You end up with rebound congestion, where you need to use it more and more often and then it just doesn't work and even makes the congestion worse.  I was at that point about 15 years ago and managed to quit.  I was doing good for many years, then started using it here and there a couple years ago.  The past couple months though, I've found myself using it more and more and, yep, it's just stuffing me up even more now.

I did a bunch of reading today and pretty much everyone says it takes just three days to kick the effects if you go cold turkey.The first day is horrendous, the second day is noticeably better, and the third day you pretty much get your nose back to normal.  Well considering last night was a sleepless hell, I already have nearly a day invested in this process.  I'm prepared for another crappy night, and *hopefully* I'll notice some improvement for work tomorrow.  I don't really have a choice.  I need to do this.  I can't remember the last day I've had normal breathing!

Wish me luck!!

Had a bit of a scare with my mom yesterday.  I'd gone over there earlier than usual because we needed to be in town for my eye exam at 9:00am.  She said she'd walk around Walmart and look for a few things while I had my appointment, then we met up again and finished up her actual grocery shopping.  It was during that shopping that she paused and commented that she'd suddenly felt dizzy and very warm.  She didn't seem too overly concerned but I was silently freaking.  She continued shopping and seemed okay for the most part.  Every once in a while she mentioned feeling so warm.  She started to seem a bit tired and crabby as we shopped so I started trying to hurry things along by moving faster than her to grab the things I knew she wanted.  We got out to the car and she drank quite a bit of water and said she felt better, but then part way home she mentioned being dizzy again.  I wondered if it was because she'd been out and about earlier and longer than usual, and maybe she hadn't eaten much before we left.  Once we got back to her place and she was able to sit down and relax, eat a bit and drink more water, she seemed back to normal.  She called today very briefly and sounded completely fine.  *phew*  I mean, she IS 80 years old.

Casey came over today and guess what he did . . . 
Yep, fell asleep again.  He works third shift, remember.
The cats were happy to see him though.

So, I've finally seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  I know several people who absolutely loved the movie.  I'm such a bad Harry Potter fan!  I just wasn't wowed by it.  I tried!  I wanted to be!  But I was just sort of meh about it all.  I kept wondering if maybe it would have been more interesting if I could remember more of the Harry Potter history.  I also kept wondering if there really was a lot of pre-Harry history in this story or was it just a few notable bits that connected it all?  I don't know.  I liked Queenie.  I found it annoying that I couldn't understand half of what Newt was saying with his sort of slurry way of talking.  Seeing Johnny Depp was fun.  But overall, it was just rather ho-hum for me.

We watched Moana tonight.  That was a cute movie.  I think I actually got into that one more than Fantastic Beasts.

Well, I had other things I was going to natter about but I took a break to watch The Magicians and now I can't remember what I was going to say.  So I guess I'll just post this and head up to bed to hopefully get a bit of sleep.

What movies have you seen most recently?
Are you a nasal spray user?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Happy Mail From Meghan

I received a surprise happy mail package today, and boy did it do wonders for my mood about some things.  I'll get to that nattering in a bit because I know everyone is more anxious to just know what was in it!

Carnival Cotton Candy (Dessa's Homespun Scents) - 'Sweet spun sugar that will melt in your mouth. A soft pink cloud of decadent candy confection and a touch of a little extra sweetness. A Homespun Original House Blend.'
This is perfect for right now, as I'm melting more happy and fruity type scents during springtime.  I don't really get into the super candy sweet types of scents, so I was a little leery when I first say this.  This one is fine though!  It's a sweet scent, sure, but it's not hyper-sweet candy type.  This is a little more subdued, with a teeny hint of vanilla creaminess, and a fleeting note of something almost like bubblegum.

Country Fair Jamboree (Dessa's Homespun Scents) - 'All of your favorite country fair treats blended together – a jamboree of sweet and salty country kettle corn, gooey buttery caramel apples and sweet cotton candy. A Homespun Original House Blend.'
I received this scent as a free sample with one of my early orders from Dessa's but I don't know if I ever melted it or not.  Salty notes and popcorn scents are not my friend.  On cold sniff I get more of the caramel apple notes, and that's totally okay with me!  I will probably set this aside for fall.

S'mores (Dessa's Homespun Scents) - 'A traditional campfire treat of sweet graham crackers topped with melted milk chocolate, and a gooey toasted marshmallow. A Homespun Original House Blend.'
I love graham cracker scents but chocolate in home fragrance is iffy for me.  On cold sniff I definitely get the chocolate note, but there is enough of the graham crackers and creamy marshmallow to tone it down.  I think I might be okay with this one!

Christmas Tree (Dessa's Homespun Scents) - 'Close your eyes and you are in the middle of a Christmas tree farm. The nostalgic scent of a fresh cut pine trees.'
Oh my gosh, just one small sniff of this jolted me into a moment of Christmas joy.  This is a simple yet wonderful pine scent, one of those must-haves during the holiday season.  This will get tucked away until Christmas rolls around again.  And how cute is that stocking shape?

Candy Cane (Dessa's Homespun Scents) - 'The traditional red and white striped holiday candy will put you in the spirit of the season. Icy, refreshing peppermint with a touch of sweetness.'
Yes, yes, yes . . . sweet peppermint is an absolute must-have for me during the Christmas season.  This is very nice, not too overwhelming on that peppermint sharpness, toned down a bit by whatever that "touch of sweetness" in the description is.  Another one I'm glad to have tucked away until the holidays.

Cranberry Vanilla (Goose Creek) - [no scent description]
A cranberry scent for fall?  Yes, please!  This is not a spiced cranberry scent, which I prefer, nor is it the sweet perfume-y type of cranberry scent that I don't like.  This is somewhere in the middle.  If I didn't know it was cranberry I'm not sure I would recognize it as such.  There must be other notes in here.  Still, this is nice, sort of on the warm and creamy side, with something in it making me think of large sugar crystals.  I'll probably tuck this away for fall even though it doesn't really scream fall to me, at least not on cold sniff.

Liquored-Up Tart (Dark Candles) - 'This scent is a succulent recipe for a flaky pastry tart filled with caramelized apples which have been sautéed in champagne and butter, dashed with cinnamon, and finally the tart is topped with butter cream frosting.'
I was very curious about this one.  I don't think I'm familiar with Dark Candles, the vendor of this tart.  The scent is interesting but nothing like what I'd imagine from the scent description.  I really don't even know how to describe it.  I think I'm mainly getting the champagne note but without any bubbly note.  There is sort of a hint of bakery note but nothing along the lines of a warm caramel apple pastry for fall.  I will have to melt this soon to see just what shows up.  Interesting for sure!
 
This package, as mentioned, was a total surprise.  I don't know Meghan.  She quietly sent this to my PO box, which is super fun and really is the reason I decided to get a PO box to begin with.  Pretty much every YouTuber and many of the blogs I come across have PO boxes, and a greedy little part of me wanted to be one of the cool kids too.  Seriously though, I think having a PO box listed can take away some of the awkwardness of someone having to ask for your address to send you something.  It's awkward on both ends.  I've been there before.
 
I've been a bit mopey about the blog and the PO box lately though.  There is a quote from the psychiatrist on the show Lucifer that really stuck with me, and I've had it scribbled on the back of a napkin right here on my desk since I saw that episode months ago . . .
 
"Self worth comes from within.  You can't rely on others to validate you."
 
I immediately thought of my blog when she said that.  I've admitted before that I struggle with blogging when the comments and interactions dwindle.  To me, it's like 'Why bother?' if it seems no one is reading.  People try to pound into my head I should do it because I like doing it, and they try to remind me that there are probably plenty of people out there who quietly read but don't comment.  I really struggle with accepting those bits of wisdom.  So that quote made me think, am I relying on others to validate me and my blogging?  Is my self worth measured by the amount of interaction my humble spot on the internet produces?
And then this package arrived.  Meghan wrote a wonderful note in the card.  It brought me to tears actually because she says she's been a reader for years and finds pretty much all that I post, particularly the Natters, to be deeply comforting.  I love that.  I love that she's been quietly following along for some amount of time.  I love that my seemingly pointless nattering means something to someone.  I don't do it with a goal of pleasing anyone, but to know that it does is amazing.  Others have told me my Natters posts are like sitting down for coffee at a friend's house.  I'm humbled and get all the warm fuzzies when people say such things, and it makes me want to continue.  But when things go quiet, all my doubts come rushing back.  What does that say about me?  Apparently I *do* need others to validate me.

Another awesome thing about Meghan's package arriving is that I'm now reconsidering letting my PO box go.  I think it's renewal time this month and I had already decided I wasn't going to because I just wasn't getting anything in it except the weekly local marketplace papers that everyone gets.  That sounds totally whiny and greedy, I know.  "Waah waaaah, no one is sending me stuff!"  I don't mean it to be that way, but it was sort of a kick in the ol' self worth.  I suppose it was big headed of me to even think people would send stuff anyway when I don't actively promote my blog anywhere and don't have some huge following.  But still . . .   And now here is Meghan, who has been out there all along and might have never sent anything if she'd had to go through that awkward "Can I have your address?" thing.  Perhaps I'll hang on to the PO box a while longer afterall.

So thank you SO much, Meghan!!!  Your kind gesture has hit me on so many levels, and I appreciate it probably more than you'll ever know.  (Even the grandma part . . . LOL)