January 2014 Favorites

Love & Toast Hand Creme in Honey Coconut

Was shopping at Ulta after work one day and got sucked in by this brand’s completely adorable packaging.  Who doesn’t want cute little birdies on their tube of hand cream?  Luckily, and more importantly, the product is awesome.  The honey coconut scent is not overly sweet or heavy.  I really want to try more from this brand, particularly their sugar grapefruit scent.

Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails

Confession: This cuticle cream is my first ever Dior product.  But it has been around since 1963 and women everywhere have sworn by it for decades, so I think I picked a good product to start with.  I have been using it every night as I go to bed.  I use the tiniest bit and massage into the cuticle/nail area.  It’s very goopy and takes awhile to sink in, but it works wonders on my nails.  I actually forgot to use it a few nights in a row last week, and I could definitely tell the difference when I stopped.  Peely, dry hangnail city!  Ugh.  A couple nights later, after remembering to use the product faithfully, everything was back on track again.  Oh, and it smells great!  So as long as you can get past the goopy, sticky texture (which is why it is recommended to use it right before bed), then you will love it as much as I do.

Downton Abbey

I love everything about this show.  Acting, writing, story, sets, costumes, characters, everything.  Similar to Mad Men, this show does an amazing job with weaving tidbits of real, factual history throughout the story; from the sinking of the Titanic, to WW1, to the fads and fashions of the Roaring Twenties, to the introduction of various inventions and conveniences to the house (electric lights, sewing machines, refrigeration, the telephone, etc).  My favorite character in the whole show, hands down, is Carson, the overly stuffy but loveable head butler.  His utter disgust at anything being out of order, or any kind of change at Downton, just cracks me up.  Second would be Violet, the Dowager Countess, who is the perfect mix of “prim and proper elderly noblewoman stuck in her Victorian ways” and “feisty, witty, and wise grandmother who tells it like it is”.  It helps that Violet is played by the incredible Maggie Smith.

New episodes of Downton Abbey air on PBS on Sunday nights, but you can stream prior episodes via Amazon Prime Instant Video.  And if you haven’t, I suggest that you do.  Even Tadd loves this show!

Manicure of the Month

My favorite manicure combo of January was this navy & gold striped look achieved with Butter London’s Big Smoke (navy) and Orly’s Luxe (gold).  Love both of these polishes, and together they are gorgeous!  Lately I have been loving all things nautical, and I felt like this was a good representation of that look without being too in your face about it.  I had intended to have small gold anchors stamped on my thumbs, but the image plate I have just wasn’t working well.  I have more nautical-themed image plates on the way from MoYou London!  If you want to keep up with my nail stamping adventures, follow me over at Sunshine And Some Polish!

Candles of the Month

This month we have been burning Yankee Candle’s limited edition Boston Strong candle (which is no longer available, but I believe is the same or similar scent as their Home Sweet Home candles) and a Bath & Body Works’ 3-wick in the scent Gelato.  We usually have 2 candles to choose from at any given time, and after finishing our post-holiday candles (Vanilla Snowflake and Champagne Toast), I wanted to switch to some fragrances that kind of bridged the gap between winter and spring.  Winter doesn’t last very long here in Florida, and I tend to like my scents to follow the weather and/or season.  Boston Strong is spicy with a bit of a tea backnote, which I think is a perfect cozy scent for cooler weather.  Gelato smells like berries & cream, which is perfect when we are in the mood for something a little lighter and more spring-like.

What have you been into this month?

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Boney Bunch Preview 2013

I know it’s still summer, but who is in the mood for some fall-themed topics???  I know I am!

The first Saturday of August is always the preview event for Yankee Candle’s Boney Bunch collection.  I have attended this event for the past few years and have been collecting Boney Bunch figures for 5 years.  The first year I collected (2009), I really just bought one figure, the pirate seen on the left in this picture:

We were in the process of buying our first house and I knew I would be in some stage of packing/moving during the month of October, so I really didn’t want to invest in much seasonal decor at the time.  But I just couldn’t resist this guy!  He really kicked off my Boney Bunch habit.  At the time I really knew little to nothing about Boneys, and I didn’t get him at the preview…I just happened to be walking by my local Yankee Candle at some point in early September, and he was on a display of Boneys that hadn’t sold out yet at the very front of the store.

2010 was my first year attending the preview.  I think this was my favorite year, because I feel like they were in their heyday of creativity that year.  They had such a variety of items, including several non-candle things.  That was the first year that I got a candy dish promo-with-purchase item, which I LOVED!  I also had to get the adorable salt & pepper shakers.  PLUS as you can see in the photo below, they gave out small jar candles that were Boney Bunch-branded.  I believe the small jar candle was free, and the candy dish was $10 with a $30 purchase.  I wish they still did things like this.

I ended up skipping the preview event in 2011, because I was in the midst of my No Spend August Challenge.  But I was right back to it for 2012.  Last year was the first year they had a kitty Boney, which of course, I love.  They did another kitty figure this year, so I am hoping that they will have a new kitty Boney every year from now on.  I also got the light-up submarine (Tadd’s favorite), and the “Dead and Ferried” rowboat.  I also got another promo-with-purchase candy dish (which you can see in the below pic from last year’s Halloween decorations).

THIS year, the only promo-with-purchase was a generic non-Boney pumpkin plug-in with your choice of scent refill for $5.  It’s definitely cute, and I did buy one (we got the Autumn Leaves scent if you’re curious), but I also thought it was kind of lame.  If I am at the Boney Bunch preview, I want the special promo item to be a Boney item, you know?  I didn’t take a picture, but you can see this year’s preview promo item here.  See what I mean?  Cute, but nothing special.

We also got the “Bone White and the 7 Dwarves” jar holder with a medium jar in Witches’ Brew.  I think this might be my favorite Boney item of ALL time!  It’s SO cute!  I love that Bone White is holding a black apple.  Nice touch!  The jar candle is adorable too.  It’s hard to see, but the candle itself is black glass, and it has all these cute Halloween images in white around it.  Really fun!

We also got the “Bone Dry” tea light holder, which unfortunately broke before we got it home.  We brought it right back to the store and were able to order another one before they sold out (it was already sold out at my store, which is why they had to order one for us), so it should be on its way to us shortly.

And, of course, we HAD to get the kitty tealight holder!

Ever since we adopted our own Halloween black cat, Jacoby, I have been REALLY into black cat Halloween decorations.  Some of you may remember last year when Yankee brought out their black cat collection at Halloween, and I could not resist ordering the tea light holder, because it looked JUST like my Jacoby!

Well, they brought back that same collection this year, and I could NOT resist this little jar clinger after Tadd pointed it out to me.  So this was a total impulse purchase, and not a Boney item, but I love it!

After taking pics, I sadly packed everything back up and put it all away until September.  Because August 3rd is too early, even for me, to start decorating for fall & Halloween!   Soon enough, my pretties!

This totally put me in the fall/Halloween spirit all weekend.  I wore my skull scarf on Saturday, burned one of my more fallish summer candles (Summer Boardwalk by Bath & Body Works…it has a very foody, bakery/cinnamon/caramel/popcorn kind of scent that reminds me more of fall than summer), and let Tadd talk me into buying a Sam Adams Harvest Collection variety pack.  I drank my first pumpkin beer of the season last night!

Are you getting into fall-mode like me?  Or are you holding on to summer a little longer?

Jacoby’s Halloween Doppleganger

When I got home from my trip, there was a package waiting for me from Yankee Candle.  I had seen this black cat tea light holder in the 2012 Halloween catalog and absolutely fell in love.  But it wasn’t in stock when I attended the Boney Bunch preview back at the beginning of August, and when I tried to order it online, it said it was out of stock.  A few weeks later, I checked the website again and it was available, so I snatched it up (along with a small jar candle in the Pumpkin Pie scent so I could use my $10 off $25 coupon…it’s my FAVORITE of all the pumpkiny Yankee Candle fragrances).

When I opened the candleholder, I was absolutely delighted with how much it reminded me of my Jacoby-kitty.  Don’t they look like they could be twins?

So happy with this purchase!  And even though I haven’t pulled out the rest of my Halloween & fall decor yet, this one is already on display.  I just adore it.  And so does Jacoby!

Looking forward to fall.

I can’t believe it’s the last day of July!  I am happy though, because that puts us another month closer to my favorite season, fall!  Florida summers can be brutal.  High temps in the mid nineties, crazy humidity, and violent thunderstorms almost every day.  They are also way too long…Our summer weather patterns sometimes start in April and can last well into October.  It can be really tough to do anything (comfortably) outdoors during this time frame, which can be quite limiting.

So, to make these last several weeks of summer a teensy bit more bearable, I am thinking about some my favorite things about fall!

Top 5 fall-related things I am looking forward to (in no particular order):

  1. Yankee Candle Boney Bunch Preview!  This event is THIS coming Saturday morning, August 4th.  I was good and skipped this last year during my No Spend August Challenge.  But this year, I will be going back and I am psyched!  I always love Yankee Candle’s fall and Halloween items, and the sneak peek pics I have seen so far show that this year is no exception.  There is even rumor of a Boney Bunch kitty character in this year’s collection!

    My Boney Bunch haul from 2010.

  2. Long & Scott’s Corn Maze. My friends and I conquered the maze last year.  It wasn’t a very fall-like day (hot!), but we had fun working together to solve the 6-acre maze.  Hopefully this year we can go on a day with crisper temperatures. 
  3. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Disney events like this one make me feel really lucky to live in Central Florida.  This is always one of the highlights of my fall season every year.  It’s not a cheap day (each tasting item costs an average of $4-5), but there is something really fun and enjoyable about getting to stroll around World Showcase, trying different food and beverage items from all around the world.
  4. Fall crafting. Fall tends to be the time that I really get into crafting.  For some reason, it sparks my creative side.  I actually hope to get started on this very soon!  Last year I made a cute “SPOOKY” sign, a Halloween-ified vase, and got together with my girlfriends to make candy corn wreaths.  This year, I am planning on some fall sewing projects.
  5. Halloween!  I love all holidays, especially Halloween.  Tadd and I are starting to toss around costume ideas for this year already.  Last year we dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf!

Tuesday’s Tip: Wax Tarts and Tart Warmers!

I know I took a little break from Tuesday’s Tips, but I’m back with another one today!  I’m sure you are beside yourself with excitement…  Heh.

I think I have a slight addiction with home fragrance.  I absolutely love scented candles (especially this time of year!), but those large jar candles can be SO pricey!  And then you have to commit to one scent when you buy them.  No way can I afford to buy several $20 or $30 jar candles.

My solution to this dilemma is this little baby:

My handy-dandy electric tart warmer!

I’m sure most of you know how these work, but if you aren’t familiar with tart warmers, they are designed to melt wax potpourri or tarts, and fragrance the air much like a scented candle would.  But instead of spending $20+ for a large candle, you spend a buck or two for one of these:

So you can spend the same amount or less than your big jar candles, but you get to pick out 10 or more different scents!  I tend to like to pick my scent based on my mood, so this works really well for me.

To use, you just unwrap your wax tart, pop it into your tart warmer and turn it on!  As the wax melts, scent fills your room.  Mmmmmmm…cinnamon!  If you have a regular, non-electric tart warmer, you have to light an unscented tealight underneath the warmer.  But I much prefer the convenience and safety of being able to warm the wax without an open flame.  The electric warmers get warm, but never hot, so it’s a really great option for those with pets and children, although I would still suggest keeping it out of reach, of course.  And there are some really pretty electric warmers out there too.  They have some to match just about every decor.

One great thing I have found to use with the electric warmers are that you can use them to safely melt the wax of smaller candles without having to light them.  In particular, I have been loving those new 1.6 oz mini candles you can get for fairly cheap at Bath & Body Works.  Like this one:

Instead of lighting them, I just pop them on top of my electric tart warmer and the heat melts the wax and releases the fragrance the same way it does for the tarts.  Right now these B&BW mini candles are on sale 3 for $5.  Very economical way to get a variety of scents.  Maybe get yourself a fall collection with pumpkin, cinnamon, and some kind of outdoorsy woodsy fall leaves scent (those are always Tadd’s favorites).  Then you can swap them out based on your mood!  This same trick also works great for any of the smaller glass jar candles (Yankee, Bath & Body Works, any brand).  You can also use a knife to cut up a votive into chunks of wax and put them into the warmer bowl and melt them that way instead of lighting them.  It’s very versatile.

BONUS TIP: People sometimes aske me how I get the melted wax out of the removable bowl on the top of the warmer.  Simple simple simple!  When you are done, turn off your warmer and let the wax fully cool and solidify.  Then put the bowl in your freezer for about 5 minutes.  The freezing temperatures shrink the wax and it will just pop right out in one big chunk!

What are your favorite methods of home fragrance?  What are your favorite types of scents?  I tend to like seasonal scents (like cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin), tropical fruits, and fresh/herbal scents (like mint, sage, etc).