Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: White Barn's Fresh Balsam and Mahogany Teakwood (Bath & Body Works Labor Day sale round-up!)

Behold the bearer of good news! Many shops, online and in-store, are having WONDERFUL sales for Labor Day weekend, WOOHOO!

Bath & Body Works is having a 2 for $20 candle 3-wick candle sale, as well as buy 3 body care items get 3 free! Also, for the past 2 days (and possibly until Monday?), their aromatherapy body washes are only $5, marked down from $13! Not sure how often this sale happens, but it seemed that they were running low on their stock, which is a good sign! Soaps are 4 for $15 and 6 for $20, a deal that happens quite frequently.

...I may or may not have gone to the B&BW up the street from our house to smell all of the fall candles.
 Okay, I'll admit it: I did.

And, I'm sorry to say, I do not like a lot of the candle scents this year. Many of them were waaaay too sweet for me unlit/cold, but it's one of those tricky situations where you're not willing to buy a bunch of candles on a whim, even though they'll probably smell better when lit.

After a short smell-a-thon, I went with 2 candles: the 3-wick Fresh Balsam and the 3-wick Mahogany Teakwood; I lit each one shortly after arriving home with my purchases.

Mahogany Teakwood was up first. Cold, this candle smells musky, alluring, and sexy. There are many different woody notes, such as mahogany (obviously!), cedar, a bit of oak, and some sort of floral note. I have had many a candle that smelled of cologne, but this one was just too much. In fact, that's the problem with both of the candles I purchased, they were too overpowering. While I appreciate an excellent throw and powerful scent, this one did not do it for me. The only thing I can remotely equate it to is some sort of Axe body spray that has been used over and over and over, and not in a good way.

The Fresh Balsam wasn't much better. In fact, it took me the rest of the night to get the scent out of the house, and when we woke up this morning, I swear it was still lingering! Last year during the buy 2 get 2 sale at Yankee Candle, I purchased the Balsam and Cedar 2-wick large tumbler, which, so far, has been my favorite Christmas tree fragrance of any company. Something about B&BW's scent was off-putting to me, maybe there was too much eucalyptus, maybe not enough crackling wood smell, but either way...I returned both of these candles. For the first time, I haven't agreed with the majority of candle reviewers, as both of these scents were top rated on B&BW's website.

It seems like I do a lot of complaining about scents I don't enjoy. Trust me, for every one I don't like, there are at least 10 I'm obsessed with. I have never returned a candle once, NEVER; even if I wasn't particularly a fan of the scent, I grin and bear it...but these candles are just too big and expensive to justify keeping if they aren't going to be used.

Upon returning them, I smelled the rest of the ones I missed yesterday and ended up with the same candles I have in mini-form, Leaves (read my review here) and Marshmallow Fireside, review of this one to follow in the next few days because it is AMAZING.

I'm going to try something new: I wanted to start a rating system on my site, and it may take some tweaking, but for now, here's how I'll be rating the candles I review on a 10-scale system (I've also edited old posts with ratings, too!):

Cold Rating: how the candle smells when unlit
Lit Rating: how the candle smells when lit and burning
Throw Rating: the scent distribution, was it good, bad, weak, strong?
Overall Rating: factoring in all of the above, what as the final consensus, with quick notes on what was liked or disliked

White Barn Fresh Balsam
Cold Rating: 5/10, smells like Christmas, candlefied.
Lit Rating: 3/10
Throw Rating: 9/10
Overall Rating: 5.5/10; missing a key "fiery/crackling wood" component for me, strong throw, underwhelming.

White Barn Mahogany Teakwood
Cold Rating: 5/10
Lit Rating: 3/10
Throw Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 5/10; alluring when unlit but too powerful when burning, smells like Axe body spray, headache-inducing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: White Barn's Leaves 1.3 oz Mini Candle

After the disastrous Macintosh Spice incident, I wasn't sure I'd ever find an apple-scented candle that didn't smell artificial.
Since that post, I've been into a few shops looking for the perfect apple spice scent. There have been a few hits, way too many misses, and I just haven't been able to justify spending money (even as little as $2.50 for a mini candle!) if my nose was simply playing tricks on me again. I can't stand another heartbreak, schnoz, I just can't...

I think I have found the very thing I was looking for.

My grandma and I were spending the day together yesterday while her car was being serviced. We stopped into a nearby Bath & Body Works to browse the Fall candle selection. I smelled around, as did she, and eventually settled on Leaves and Marshmallow Fireside.

Oh. My. Gosh.
Leaves is the quintessential fall fragrance, everyone. Unlit, this candle smells like a dream. Between the fresh smell of red, luscious apples, the sweet scent of nectar and fruity berries, and a lingering of cinnamon spice, lighting this candle, even in its mini form, makes me feel as if I am walking through an orchard, with leaves crunching beneath my every step. This is the fall I've been searching for. The throw is mild on the mini 1.3oz size, and I have a hunch that it'll be much more powerful in a larger version. It's hard to make a large bedroom very fragrance using just a mini, but the smell definitely is there!

Rumor has it that Bath & Body Works will be having a 2 for $20 sale on their 3-wick candles starting tomorrow, but wait until they send out an email because they are still full-price online. This is a MUST HAVE for fall and winter, you will not be disappointed (I'm still slightly bitter about the Macintosh Spice).

Bath & Body Works Leaves
Cold Rating: 8/10
Lit Rating: 9/10
Throw Rating: 9/10
Overall Rating: 9/10, apple/berry nectar mix with a little twist of cinnamon, true fall fragrance, memories of pumpkin patches and hot apple cider.

Until next time!

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Can Haz Christmas?

After everything I've said about liking floral scents...I'm about ready to change my mind.
Well, scratch that, I'm just tired of spring and summer scents.

I'm craving cranberries and cinnamon and freshly fallen snow and Santa's noses and burning pumpkins...

...And I'm sure my mom is ALREADY sick of my talking about Christmas, but I just can't help it...

I love Christmas.

I love everything about it: baking cookies, singing carols, Starbucks Gingerbread lattes, giving gifts, making people smile, our Christmas tree and Chinese food tradition, decorations, our awesome Darth Vader tree ornament...
Oh yeah, and the color gold. Gold is finally acceptable during Christmas. This, I treasure. I love gold.
Every single thing about the holiday season envelopes each part of my being and turns me into a different person from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.

That being said, I am looking forward to hunting around for the best candle deals during the upcoming gift-giving season, because who doesn't want a fabulous candle for Christmas or Hanukkah or just because?
In the past, I have had luck with Yankee Candle's Balsam and Cedar, as well as Sparkling Cinnamon, but I am looking forward to trying various new votives and tarts this year; last year is when I really started to jump on the scent and fragrance train, so I didn't do much exploring other than the paying for scents I knew I already loved.

Enter the $1 tart sale.

Rumor has it from the YC Facebook page that ANOTHER $1 tart sale begins some time between August 28th and August 30th 2012, for Labor Day, but this sale includes holiday scents! YIPPEE! Not sure if I will partake, though, because my pocketbook has been dwindling and can't really afford the miscellaneous expense right now.

Just know I have my eye on you, Yankee Candle, and when I get some extra scratch, I'll be there with lighters lit ready to do some wax burnin'!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Wax Review August 26-27

This weekend was pretty awesome and laid back, which is something we have definitely needed after the last month of non-stop craziness.
We watched a lot of movies, had some laughs, and I also helped him study for his upcoming wine test...I should explain!
My husband does in-bound customer support for a wine company, but he is in the process of taking a special test to become a "wine steward;" if he passes said test, he can take this honor with him from job to job. It's been really fun learning about all of the regions where wines come from and subtle distinctions between different wines.

Today, while we did all of that, I burned a few different candles. I have been trying to burn a few different ones as my mood changes, because it isn't written anywhere that you have to stick with just one fragrance!

Here's the breakdown of my weekend burning:

Saturday: we were out most of the day, but when we got home for the night, I burned a candle from Bath and Body Works (Slatkin) called Lilac Blossom (4oz). This candle is extremely floral, but not as in-your-face as Flower Shop, which is my favorite floral scent from Slatkin, and the one I prefer. There's something a bit off about Lilac Blossom, I just can't put my finger on it...maybe it's too sweetly floral? If that makes any sense...

Sunday: I PROMISED Josh that I would burn my latest Marshall's find, Pumpkin Patch (a Spiced Pumpkin and Harvest swirl candle), because he liked it so much. This candle is AMAZING, and it's perfect how I'm feeling right now because I can't wait until fall is here! The scent is that of warm, inviting pumpkin pie with extra cinnamon, swirled with musk and apples. If you have a chance to go to your local Marshall's or Home Goods and fall scents are up your alley, BUY. THIS. CANDLE. You WILL NOT regret it!

Currently, though, I am burning Yankee Candle's Simply Home Fresh Water, another Marshall's steal. This one was an additional dollar off of the ALREADY cheap $5 price tag. This one is excellent as well: fresh, clean, like crisp water running down a cool waterfall, mixed with the slightest hint of limey citrus and some subtle florals. I've had this candle going for about 4 hours, and I think I'll stick with it; the house smells fantastic!...well, between the candle and the tacos Josh is making for dinner, of course.  :-)

Thanks for reading my first weekend wax review!
Hopefully I will get into the swing of updating my blog with little/good finds, quick reviews, and sale rumors.
Check out the links to the right for some awesome other blogs that I follow, these ladies really know their stuff!

Also, Nana, if you're reading, I am SO making you come to TJ Maxx with me when we're in Clairemont on Tuesday.

Have a fantastic week, everyone!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Yankee Candle Macintosh Spice 2-Wick Tumbler

I was awoken the other day by the distinct sound of an emergency alert ringing from somewhere in our house.
"This is it," I thought, "this is 'the big one' scientists have been talking about for so long...we are doomed!"
The noise was not coming from the radio. In fact, the TV had been turned off for hours.
The annoying, loud, shrill tones were coming from our cell phones.
THANKS for the heads-up about the emergency broadcasting alerts via text message, Verizon Wireless, because seriously, I was scared out of my gourd.

California weather is sort of like gambling: you win some days, you lose some day, but most of the time, if you're smart, you break even.

I'm just glad we don't live where there are tornadoes or hurricanes...
...because the last big earthquake we had here, I cried.
No, I'm not joking. I cried for two straight hours. Made Facebook updates, called friends and family, the whole nine yards.
It made me realize how ill prepared I am if some sort of catastrophic event should ever occur. It made me want to build emergency relief kits, make escape plans, and hoard water...well, generally hoard anything valuable or edible.
Ever since that earthquake, I sleep with a spare set of clothing right next our bed. It's better to be safe and clothed than sorry.

Where am I going with all this, you might be asking?
These so-called "emergency alert text messages" were for flash floods. For an area of San Diego that's at least 40 miles away from where we live.
These flash floods also haven't happened yet because, with the exception of a FEW droplets of rain today, it has been between 85 and 95 degrees the past two weeks straight.

Bottom line: I am seriously OVER summer. We might only get 3 or 4 terrible weeks of weather a year here, but those weeks are filled with disgusting, humid days and even damper, grosser nights.
I wanted to get into the swing of fall and light up a spicy candle, since it was a bit cooler today (read: high of 82 degrees). One thing I just can't sacrifice in the heat is candle burning. After digging through the closet, I forgot I had purchased two full-size 2-wick tumblers from Yankee, oh, about a year ago. One of them just happened to be Macintosh Spice, which I bought because Josh tends to like super fruity smells, while I prefer spicy, floral, or clean scents. Cold/unlit, this candle smells very good, nice and cinnamony...

...I wanted to like this one, really, I did. The apple, to me, overpowers the spice; while you can detect a hint of cinnamon here and there, it's almost like a false sense of spice because the apple is so artificial smelling. It doesn't help that the throw is quite strong. Very rarely have I found myself disliking a Yankee Candle, but this one is a complete miss for me.
I've heard of people getting headaches from certain fragrances, and until now, I never believed it. This one gave me a huge headache, in fact, I still have it while typing this sentence. Luckily, Yankee Candle's website now allows user submissions, so I'll be sure to check out reviews of fruity scents I may purchase in the future.

Have any of you tried this one? Are you a fan or not?

Yankee Candle Macintosh Spice
Cold Rating: 6/10
Lit Rating: 3/10
Throw Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 5.5/10, had high hopes but was left with an artificial apple smell, not a lot of spice, and infinite sadness.

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Bath & Body Works French Baguette 1.3 oz Mini Candle

I think I might need to contact the crew of Hoarders because my candle obsession seems to know no limits.

After errands today, I wandered into my local Bath & Body Works because I knew the summer candles would be 50% off, plus I had a 20% off coupon. Doesn't get much better than that, now does it?!

Upon smelling many of the fragrances I had on my list to buy, I was unimpressed.
No, it's not them, it's me. Most definitely me.
The candles all smelled fabulous, but...
Maybe it's time I realize that I am just not that into bakery/sweets scents.

Don't get me wrong, I love the smell of freshly baked cookies, cakes, and pies in real life, but ever since the time when I burned the Yankee Candle scent Pancakes and my husband Josh's lip swelled up within 5 minutes to 3 times its normal size, I've made it a rule not to buy bakery candles...
...but does "bakery" include Bath & Body Works' French Baguette candle? Because, if so, I just broke my own rule.
This candle, even in the mini (1.3oz) size, is DIVINE! It truly smells like freshly baked bread! The scent is strong when cold and even decent when lit! The house smelled like a Parisian bakery in no time.
So, forgive me if I went back on my word, dear husband o'mine, but I think you will enjoy this one, too! It sure puts me in the mood to bake homemade bread...I think I will make some this week, provided the heatwave goes away!

Bath & Body Works French Baguette
Cold Rating: 6.5/10
Lit Rating: 7/10
Throw Rating: 5/10, I think the fact that it's mini-sized is the culprit, here.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10, decent throw, makes me want to go to Paris, bread is love.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Yankee Candle Simply Home Beach Towel Candle

I have been burning this scent like a mad woman.
Almost every single day.
In 87-95 degree weather.

It seems like the Simply Home line of Yankee Candles can be found at stores such as Kohl's and Home Goods, which is where I picked up this scent. The particular candle I got was 12oz. of glorious, refreshing fragrance. Within 30 minutes of burning this candle, my room was instantly filled with a crisp and clean beach scent, which is awesome because I've grown to hate the beach as an adult. Sand and sharks overpower waves and sunshine in my opinion, but San Diego does produce a mighty fine, picturesque beach sunset...aghhhh, conflicting! The throw is excellent, and the aroma lingers long after the flames has extinguished.

Another cool this about this candle is it comes in a curved jar. I know it's nothing to get overly excited about, but sometimes the tumblers and regular jars get sort of boring. Plus, this candle is a really nice dark blue, so it goes with pretty much any room decor. I actually decided to buy the curved jar because, for only $1 more, I got and extra 5 ounces as opposed to the other option, which was a 7oz. tumbler. This candle was only $7.99, whereas anything directly from Yankee's website or in store would be a lot more money! Quite a find, if I do say so myself!

Anyways, back to the candle! The aroma is to die for; the smell of freshly cleaned towels combine with an airy ocean scent and a hint of citrus to make this candle a winner in my book. If you smell reaaaally close, you can almost get a hint of salt intertwined with the citrus and linen, indicative and true to that of sea breeze.

Writing this makes me want to buy a spare just in case they don't last long! If you come across this fragrances and it's the sort of thing you enjoy, DEFINITELY give it a whirl!

Yankee Candle Simply Home Beach Towel
Cold Rating: 6/10
Lit Rating: 8/10
Throw Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 8/10, evokes waves crashing, very clean, fluffy towels, almost makes me forget I hate crowds and sand.