Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Tiffany Candles' Rosemary Mint

There are only two words to describe Tiffany Candles' Rosemary MintAbsolute. Relaxation.
Tiffany Candles has to be my favorite online vendor so far, inching out The Bathing Garden by [__] <-- this much. Tiffany and her husband Gary make such amazing products: their wax is highly scented and their products are sold at a reasonable price; they last a long time, they make unique scents...everything you'd want from a tart/candle vendor. As of right now, you need to let their products "cure," which basically means let them sit, unmelted, for at least a week or more. Curing the tarts makes their scent stronger and gives you a longer lasting fragrance. According to Gary, in the next few weeks, Tiffany Candles will roll out a new type of STRONGER, BETTER wax! THEY ARE KILLING ME with all these amazing changes, Smalls! I have melted quite a few of their products, each fantastic, and Rosemary Mint is no exception when it comes to greatness. :)

Do you see those little heart tarts in the above photo? Take a good, long look at them. They hold some sort of magical, mystical powers. These green hearts had the ability to make our entire house smell amazing; in fact, I'm surprised you can't smell them from here! For 24 hours straight, no joke, Rosemary Mint kept going with fragrance perfection. I forgot to turn the warmer off one night, and I woke up at about 3am and thought, "Oh, it still smells just as powerful as it did when I fell asleep. Cool. Zzzzzzzzzzzz..." I purchased this scent, along with Lavender Vanilla and Stress Relief (two other phenomenal options from Tiffany Candles, which will be reviewed separately), in one of their signature 'jar of heart tarts,' which costs $9.99. You get 12 of their 0.7-0.8 ounce tarts per jar, and I personally like to melt them two at a time. With a 24 hour scent throw (which I'm sure is atypical, results may vary, obviously), I'd say I definitely got my money's worth. Plus, they were too cute to pass up!

Rosemary Mint brings an eclectic mix of softness and in-your-faceness. One minute, the scent is slight and subdued, and just when you think it's time to turn off the warmer, BANG! There's another strong whiff of this brilliant aroma. You might not think these two scents would mesh well together, but boy, do they ever! Really, and honestly, this is one of my top 10 favorite scents. If you get the opportunity to purchase from Tiffany Candles, give Rosemary Mint a try, even if it's just a scent shot. You won't be disappointed if this is something you might find on your scent-o-scale*!

*patent pending

Tiffany Candles' Rosemary Mint
Cold Rating: 6.5/10; surprisingly minty, refreshingly rosemary-y.
Lit Rating: 9/10; superb, everything you could ever want in a relaxing, fresh scent. So revitalizing, and the scent lasted 24 hours!
Throw Rating: 8/10; absolutely the best tart I've melted, throw-wise. This one made the entire house smell like a spa for an entire day AFTER it had melted for 24 hours!
Overall Rating: 8.5/10; close to perfection, I must visit a day spa soon, strange desire to make focaccia bread, minty madness and a fresh-scented house!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: JMae's Soaps and Candles' Black Raspberry Vanilla

I'm always on the lookout for up-and-coming, newly started, or new-ish candle/wax/scent vendors and shops; they seem to put more love and soul into their products. This is definitely not to say Yankee and B&BW don't take the time to make high quality products, but there's something about supporting "mom and pop" stores that I appreciate and prefer. I tend to always root for the underdog in life.

There are many subscription boxes out there, from Birchbox and ipsy, to Conscious Box and Knoshbox. Basically, each month, for a certain price, you can get a box loaded up with sample goodies delivered to your house. Birchbox is arguable the most popular, and this service mainly contains beauty, skin care, and makeup products. One of the sample box brands I've happened to come across in my internet travels is called Simply Sensational. This particular box happens to have a lot of candles and wax tart samples! I did not purchase an October box, but you can bet your sweet bippy I've got my eye on the November and December boxes!

Anywho, I came across JMae's Soaps & Candles' (formerly Imperfect J's Cupcake Soaps) Facebook page because I saw she was going to be joining the Simply Sensational box! I wanted to order from her right away because some of her scents sounded too awesome to pass up! Through Facebook, I contacted Jamie, the owner, and placed an order for a few scent shots. The scents I got were: Lemon Poppyseed, French Market, Pineapple Orchard (a Bath & Body Works type), and Black Raspberry Vanilla. In addition, I received a Pumpkin Spice soy tart sample in an adorable pumpkin shape, a Vanilla body scrub sample (which was FABULOUS and made my skin really soft!), and a Tootsie Pop! I thought it was a nice touch to include not only a sample, but a lollipop, too...very cute!
My first choice to burn was Black Raspberry Vanilla, which is (???) a Bath & Body Works dupe. As you can see, there are sprinkles at the bottom of my tart! I love this added flare; I'm not sure the sprinkles sank to the bottom or were meant to be there in the first place. I personally don't care about where the additions end up in a tart mold since they all melt anyway, but I know some people are extreeeeeeemely picky. It is definitely nice to see some color added into her tarts! It shows she put in the extra time to add something to set her apart from many other companies.

Now, onto the scent. As it has been well documented, I am not a fan of bakery, IE: the beating of the dead horse.* Bakery this is not: it's just fruity goodness! While melting Black Raspberry Vanilla, it started out pretty tame. I thought, "okay, this will be awesome." But then, it kicked into full gear and lo and behold, ultimate sweetness set in. I melted this tart for about 3 hours the first time, and 2 hours the second time, then the scent started to fade. It was juicy, it smelled delicious, the room was filled with sweetness and just...joy! I thought it was strange to note that, even when the warmer was off, it took like 30 extra minutes for the tart to solidify and harden! It was the craziest thing! I enjoyed this one and am slowly coming around on the sweet scents.

JMae's Soaps and Candles Black Raspberry Vanilla
Cold Rating: 6.5/10; sweet, sugary, vanilla-y, delicious smelling (even though I don't know what the original smells like, I think I'd like this one better)!
Lit Rating: 6/10; very sweet and powerful, but definitely sweeter when melting than on cold throw.
Throw Rating: 6.5/10; strong and fragrant!
Overall Rating: 6.5/10; juicy, made me want a smoothie, weird melt, though! Maybe it was just cold in here???

*no horses were harmed in the making of this post.

Also, a quick link: Purchase November's Simply Sensational box here, starting November 1st, for $23.99: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SensationalSampler (GONE, THESE SAMPLER BOXES SOLD OUT FAST THIS MONTH!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Wax Review: October 20-21

Is there such a thing as too much wax?

...No, no, I don't think there is.

I burned A LOT of wax this weekend. I just couldn't stay satisfied with one scent for very long! Usually, I stick with one fragrance all day, but lately, I have been randomly switching out my warmers mid-day. No biggie, it just means a cacophony of scents. :)

In the bathroom, I melted Cinnamon Bear all weekend. It smells so wonderful, and this scent does wonders in a small room. It really and truly smells like a package of cinnamon gummy bears!

In the living room, I burned Spiced Pumpkin again while hanging out with some of my good friends. We watch a little bit of "Sons of Anarchy," "Extreme Couponing," and playing with our pup. Good times! My friend also brought over Gold Canyon's Sugar Cookie; as you well know, we are not the biggest bakery fans in the world, but this scent was, in a word, FANTABULOUS...actually, that's NOT a word, but who cares! Heavy on the vanilla, sugary, like we were actually baking cookies! YUM! It was amazing, it smelled like my grandma's holiday cookies I look forward to each year, multiple times a year... *HINT HINT, NANA!* :)

The bedroom, though, is where I seem to have done the most damage. I melted:

-Tiffany Candles' Pumpkin Pie Spice in a scent shot, in honor of Laura. Josh said we should melt this because she always made an awesome pumpkin pie right around this time of year. *sigh* We melted this one for almost 16 hours, actually, on accident. The scent lasted until we woke up! Definitely a winner.

-Tiffany Candles' Winter Dreams in a scent shot, not sure what the description of this one was, but it was hit or miss, and didn't last very long, surprisingly!

-Tiffany Candles' Stress Relief, 4oz jelly jar style. Burned this for about an hour and fell asleep while it was melting, so I had to turn it off. NO NAPS WHILE BURNING!! I loved this one, it's faintly medicinal, though. The blend of lavender and sage can really be smelled in this candle. It's just great!

-Bath & Body Works' Leaves, but in the 14.5oz 3-wick. Classic Fall scent, one of my top 10 favorite candles EVER.

-Bath & Body Works' Lavender Vanilla, 14.5oz 3-wick...needed to de-stress for a bit, and this is the perfect calming scent!

-The Bathing Garden's "Snowed In," which left both Josh and I equally impressed and unimpressed. The scent was SO STRONG when we first started melting it, but it fizzled quickly.

-JMae's Soaps & Candles' Black Raspberry Vanilla, which I will be doing a full review of as soon as I can! :)

...actually, this doesn't seem like very much stuff.

I missed a KILLER sale at Bath & Body Works this weekend online, but that's okay. I really don't need any more wax.

Have a good week, everyone!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tiffany Candles Box!!

Let the healing begin.

Well folks, I'm back for now! I don't have much prepared in the way of reviews, but I will say this...
I GOT MY FIRST TIFFANY CANDLES ORDER TODAY!!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited and it's filled with smelly goods!

I've heard a ton of different places say they think Tiffany Candles makes the best wax, bar none. Josh and I are going to be melting our first scent shot tonight, Pumpkin Pie Spice, to test this theory out...even though he rolled his eyes at me when another package arrived at the doorstep. I will have a detailed review in the next few days.

In the meantime, have a great night! :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Scents and Sadness and Healing

Blogging about scents and candles and wax might seem trivial to most people, but it has been really fun and actually sort of therapeutic, in a way. I love to write, and I love things that smell good, so they seemed to go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have any filter when it comes to their online persona. You can basically be whoever you want to be online, and most likely, no one will have a clue. The line between what should and shouldn't be broadcast on the internet is thin; many people skate around this line too often.
Personally, I'm just me.
I'm not trying to be someone different, I'm just me, no frills, no fuss, no masks. There are some things in life, though, that are too big to be ignored.

A few weeks ago, I stopped updating for a bit. Josh's grandmother passed away three weeks ago. It was tough, but she was in her 80s. She lived a long, happy life, filled with people who loved her. She traveled, she loved flowers...she was not her dementia. She was just Grandma Nancy.

This week, on Thursday morning, my mother-in-law, Josh's mom Laura, passed away, just 3 short weeks after her mother. She had been sick with ovarian cancer for almost 2 years. In some ways, it seemed there was no hope with her diagnosis, but most of the time, she was optimistic, even when she was suffering. Her death was sudden, though. She was admitted to the hospital early Monday morning, and only a few short days later, here we are. Mostly, I feel terrible and want to cry all the time, but I know I can't do that to Josh; he would do the same and that would make it worse. My mom is right: I do try to put up walls, I try to be and act tough when I feel like breaking down, and I've always been this way...

...but there's no way to ignore the sadness this time. I don't know where to begin, so I guess I just won't start. We'd be here for a month. I could go on about how great she was, but I won't. These words don't need to be spoken because everyone who knew her knew there were great things about her. It won't help, it will just make it worse, and again, I think it's crossing the line. Just know this: she was great, she was strong, and she was loved.

Bottom line is, I needed something to turn to in my sadness to make me/us/we feel a little bit better. I came across an article just by chance while searching for...who even knows, now:

Scents for Helping with Relaxation & Depression, from LiveStrong.com

...even in times of sadness, scents seem to be the key to everything.

For the next few days, I am going to be lighting a series of candles not only in honor of Laura, but hopefully to put our minds and souls at ease. It might not seem like much, but it's worth a shot. These include but are not limited to: Yankee Candle's Lemon, Yankee Candle's Sage & Citrus, Yankee Candle's White Christmas, Bath & Body Works' Lavender Vanilla, The Bathing Gardens' Christmas Splendor, and Scentsy's Awakening. Most of these fragrances include scents notated in the article as being helpful for depression (I'm not depressed, just really, really sad, if there's a difference) and relaxation.

Needless to say, I might not be around for the next few days. My usual happy, quirky updates will resume shortly, but bear with me for a while. I know no one probably reads this besides family and friends, I just needed to release some of my negative energy in the only way I know how. Thanks for listening.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: White Barn's Sweater Weather

YouTube is quickly becoming my favorite site for all things scented.

Many, many YouTube users have talked about placing "test store orders" for Bath & Body Works, White Barn, and Slatkin candles. Apparently, these stores get items before they are released nationwide, to test them out on a small population to see how they sell and perform. One of them was somewhere in Ohio..

...and, well, I placed a test store order about two months ago. I know, I know, this thing I have with candles and wax seems to know no bounds. JUST KEEP IN MIND, I never pay full price for anything as a means of thriftiness, and always use one, two, heck, maybe even three coupons in any transaction (if they let you stack coupons, and most places don't anymore). I pride myself on getting the best deals possible. Plus, if you know you can't find a specific fragrance anywhere else, it's justifiable...or so I tell myself. :)

I'm not sure Sweater Weather made it to a nationwide release, so I'm glad I snagged it while I had the chance to do so. The performance of this candle was so-so.The first time I burned it, I got uneven wax pools around each of the thin, white wicks; for those who don't know, B&BW's thin, white wicks are T-R-O-U-B-L-E because they produce shoddy, uneven, off-kilter burns with (sometimes) minuscule wax pools. This, however, is the little candle that could. One a second-day burn, I got better results and an even, deep pool of wax! YIPPEE!!

Let me start by saying: this one is STRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRONG. I took my lil' pup outside, came back in 15 minutes later, and the scent almost knocked me off my feet.  The strength mainly comes from the trio of juniper berries, fresh eucalyptus, and sage, with a tiny bit of woods, sweet spearmint, and dew mixed in. This is what I imagine a damp, dusky forest smelling like: intense, herbal, slightly earthy...these scents work SO well together. It's super fresh without being cheery. It's like pulling your fall and winter clothes out from a dusty, damp attic in a wooden cabin on a rainy morn, in the best possible way. The freshness of this candle is breathtaking, actually, I could breathe it in all day. It makes me want to take a trip to the mountains! If it's not too late, I hope this one gets picked up for nationwide release, though I think most of the general public might not like this. I feel like Josh and I are the only people in the world who don't like sugary, cookie, bakery scents (which EQUAL =/= NOT spicy, nutmegy, cinnamony wonder scents); people tend to lump all these scents in the same category just because spices are used in the kitchen! He's a fruity/fresh kind of guy (HA!) and I am a spicy/fresh/clean kind of gal.

White Barn's Sweater Weather
Cold Rating: 7/10; damp and earthy smelling, with a hint of subtle spearmint.
Lit Rating: 8/10; this candle has AMAZING performance
Throw Rating: 10/10; HELLOOOOOOOOOOO NURSE! Insane throw (I swear I could smell this outside!)
Overall Rating: 8/10; picturesque mountainside cabin soaked in rain, sage bushes and eucalyptus surrounding the building with juniper berries close by, absolutely brilliant combination!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: Ollie's Soaps Harvest

In case you missed the memo, I love fall and winter. All things about these seasons make me so ridiculously happy it's not even funny. They are only enhanced by wonderful smells and fragrances wafting through the air.

Fall has some of the best scents: crisp apples, falling leaves, baking spices, pumpkin, seasonal fruits, dewy trees...ahhh, just thinking about it makes me smile!

...well, some of the smile might be attributed to what I have warming in my tart burner right now.

I heard about Ollie's Soaps from VintageChic1927, another AMAZING YouTuber who reviews scented products. Ayano A. is the owner of Ollie's Soaps; as the name implies, they sells soaps, bath products and lotions, sugar scrubs, but they also makes and sells wax clamshells. YIPPEE!! Her shipping was EXTREMELY fast, correspondence was smooth, and her products (well, at least her wax ones) are exceptional. I purchased a 3-pack of clamshells for $9 and also received 3 FREE SAMPLES. How cool is that!? I am super excited to review those samples, especially since they are unique sounding fragrances. These Etsy shops seem to really have it down!

Currently, I am melting Harvest, which is a dupe of Yankee Candle's very popular fall scent. Even though I've never actually smelled or tried Harvest from Yankee, Ollie's Soaps does a pretty good job of delivering a fall-infused punch! On cold throw, the scent is very slight, so I was worried that I might not be able to smell anything once it was warming. I am very glad I was wrong. The scent is great: spicy, musky, with a hint of sweetness and fruitiness. It's definitely not smack-you-in-the-face powerful, but it's a wonderful, refreshingly fall scent. Just when I think it's at the end of its life, I get another wonderful whiff of cinnamon and clove, or apple and musk.

I am SO GLAD online vendors exist. Sometimes, you want to try something different and support the "little" companies while doing so. Most of the time, I'd much rather purchase from an independent/mom & pop/Etsy shop because I know they put the time, effort, and love into making their products the best for their customers. OlliesSoaps is no exception. I can't wait to purchase from them again!


Ollie's Soaps Harvest
Cold Rating: 5/10, not a strong smell when cold, made me nervous.
Lit Rating (for these tart reviews, substitute LIT for WARM): 6/10, decent and pleasant without being overpowering or annoying!
Throw Rating: 7/10, I could actually smell this up to the bathroom, but not into the living room.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10; enjoyable smell of a harvest bounty, lingering on throughout the day, scent has self-revitalization, lovely!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

LITERALLY Wickless Wednesday: Cutting Votives to Burn as Tarts

Welcome to LITERALLY Wickless Wednesday!

I recently saw a YouTube video by Jdazzler15 on how to dissect a votive to use in a tart warmer, and she brought up an EXCELLENT point: one Yankee Candle votive is almost twice as much as a Yankee Candle tart, by volume! At $2 a piece (though I only stock up on $1 sales), that's a pretty big difference size wise! You want to get as much bang for your buck, and she had some simple tips on how to do this efficiently and easily! I took photos so you can see just how easy it is. Follow along below (but watch her videos, too, because she has really great hauls and reviews)!

Step 1: Start with a tart, whatever brand or scent you want. I just happen to have a lot of Yankee tarts on hand. Josh picked out Farmer's Market, which is an enticing blend of fruits and spices (why, yes, that IS the Yankee Candle website in the background...I was telling him the differences between the one above and Season's Blessings).

Step 2: Unwrap the tart and stick the wick straight up in the air.

Step 3: Turn the votive upside down.

Step 4: Use a knife or another pointy-ish object and SLOWLY wedge it underneath the metal bottom of the wick, propping it up ever so slightly. I use a butter spreader because it's not sharp and, since I only use one of the two my grandma gave me, this little guy needed to be used!
***WARNING: If you DO use a knife or any other sharp object, PLEASE be careful. The wax is slippery and it might take a bit of nudging to pry the metal out of the bottom of the candle. I say this because I've poked myself with this blunt butter spreader a few times and even THAT hurt.

Step 5: Slowly begin to pull the wick out through the bottom of the votive. If it breaks, don't worry about it, but take your time!

Step 6: TA-DA! Do what you want with the wick, I just toss mine.

Step 7: Put your knife/whatever object you are using on either the top of the candle in the hole where the wick was, or the hole at the bottom of the candle where the metal used to be. Slowly begin to cut the candle in half.
*NOTE: each time I have tried this, even with gentle movement, the candle tended to cut on its own!

Now you have two nice, even(ish) tarts!

Enjoy! Here, I have melted one half of the votive, but I've also used both halves at once, and they both work quite well; the throw is just as good if not better than the throw you'd get if you were to burn the votive on its own.

Of course, not everyone has the time, the desire, or the need to cut their candles in half. It really doesn't take that long, and in these hard economic times, you want to stretch your dollar as far as you can, and this is one way to do it!

Hope this helps you! Enjoy your day! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Kim's Tarts Cranberry Spice

This one might need a name change.

Cranberries, in my opinion, are tart, they are tangy, and turkey...wait, scratch that last part (though cranberries do go really well with turkey). Those tiny, delicious berries, red and glistening at the Thanksgiving table, just waiting to be consumed...OK, LAUREN, STOP! What's wrong with you?!

If this Kim's Tarts was called, say, Cherry Slushie, or Cherries Jubilee, or Cherry Tang, or Cherry ANYTHING, I would have been inclined to purchase that anyways given my new-found love of all things cherry scented...

...but Cranberry Spice this is not.

It's just not, folks. To me, this is straight-up cherry and maybe a little bit of alcohol mixed in. There's no spice whatsoever; I maybe smelled it one time in the few hours I was melting this scent. On cold throw, it might have smelled like cranberry, so I let it sit for about a week just to be sure it wasn't just a time/cure thing...

I'm very sorry to say I didn't like this one because I had such high hopes. It is so artificially sweet and fruity that it sort of made me sick. In fact, that's EXACTLY what it smelled like: cherry cough syrup! I really enjoyed the Sinus Relief from Kim's Tarts, but this one was a huge miss for me. In fact, I couldn't wait until it was finished melting so I could air out the house and start something new. I'm sorry, Kim! Don't hate me!


Kim's Tarts Cranberry Spice
Cold Rating: 4/10, it might be appealing when lit, but it was just average on cold throw.
Lit Rating (for these tart reviews, substitute LIT for WARM): 3/10, artificially sweet, not really cranberry and definitely no spice.
Throw Rating: 6/10, unfortunately strong.
Overall Rating: 4/10, and most of this comes from throw; overabundance of weird (and lingering), fake cherry smell; bitter disappointment; childhood gaggings of Robitussin.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Weekend Wax Review: September 29-30

...okay, maybe I overestimated how much I would want to melt while I was sick.

Because it wasn't that much.

Besides the Sinus Relief by Kim's Tarts (I ended up melting 2 out of the 3 tarts from my bag), the only other item I burned was "Whiteout" from Scentsy. Whiteout is an amazing mix of peppermint and vanilla. It's not the strongest peppermint scent I've smelled (more to come on the winner), but it's a solid fragrance!

I promise to update more this week. I didn't intend on getting sick this week, and hopefully our bad luck is on an up-swing, because we could use a good month!

Have a great week!! :)