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Scents of the Season: Winter

You know the phrase, if you can’t beat them, join ‘em? Well that’s sort of how I feel about old mother winter. Truly, the weather outside is frightful but the scent of winter is such a cozy one! Fresh fir, fires, wreaths, winter berries and snow. Divine! But if we’re being real here, we all know that “snow” is traditionally unscented. :)

The smell of “Christmas tree” is intoxicatingly holiday. If I could, I’d have a real tree inside my house all year round. Instead, I put up a fake one right after Thanksgiving and take it down in January. But with Slatkin & Co.’s Fresh Balsam candle burning, you’d hardly know the difference. This candle truly makes the house smell like fresh pine in the best possible way. I stockpiled this scent on a Black Friday binge at Bath & Body Works!

Tocca’s Tahoe Candle, exclusive to Blue Mercury, evokes that feeling of cozy ski lodge in your own home. It’s got that crisp, wintery pine smell I love so much. With this candle burning and a cup of hot chocolate (with marshmallows please) in my hand, I feel like I’m enjoying life at a higher altitude.

In nearly every room of my house, I have a Wallflowers scented oil diffuser plugged in somewhere.  And I’ve got Winter burning fresh! Winter captures the spices of the season perfectly and really makes my home smell great. I love stashing these in rooms that don’t get a lot of air flow, like the basement.

What scents are you loving this season? I’m always interested to hear what those in warmer climates have to say too. Do you love the smell of winter too?

Bath & Body Works Gentle Foaming Hand Soap Pump Rant

You know the saying, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Well, that about sums up how I feel about Bath & Body Works packaging redesign of its anti-bacterial hand soaps, particularly the Gentle Foaming Hand Soaps. Aesthetically, there is nothing wrong. In fact, I like the shorter bottles. My issue lies solely with with the pump. It should be as simple as pressing down, but no matter what I do the soap flies everywhere. I have to carefully cup my hand around the nozzle in order to prevent that from happening. I also notice resistance in pressing down on the pump, which just adds to the problems.

All of the pump malfunctioning appears to impact the formula too. It comes out a little watery and doesn’t have the foaming pizzazz it used to. I’ve tried a few different bottles and even surveyed my sister, also a huge fan of the gentle foaming, and she noted a marked difference in the pump. Time for the packaging engineers to take another stab, please!

Anyone else experiencing any issues? To remedy, I’m switching to the Bath & Body Works Deep Cleansing and Moisturizingvarieties. But I miss my gentle foam!

Flavor of the Month: Cranberry

Our flavor of the month for December is cranberry… it’s always appropriate around the holidays, right? Here’s what we have been enjoying this month.

  • MAC Cranberry Eyeshadow – this eyeshadow is old school MAC at its finest. This is one of MAC’s oldest shades (it is the one in the middle seen above in my old palette) they have and it is just simply gorgeous. It is a red plum shade with a pink shimmer. I love this packed on lower lid and blended out towards the crease… so pretty!
  • MyChelle White Cranberry Cleanser – I picked up a MyChelle sampler box awhile back and this cleanser was one of the products I ended up picking up out of the samples I tried. This cleanser from the all natural line is not harsh on my skin even though it has glycolic, azelaic and salicylic acids in it.
  • Glade Fragrance Collection Pomegranate & Cranberry Candle – I’ve been burning these candles all month long and it put me in the festive spirit! The candle burns evenly and the scent fills the room without being overwhelming. Plus it is a bargain! I received a sample and wanted to keep it going all month long so it has been easy on my wallet. It is available in a reed diffuser as well.
  • Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 in Cranberry - we stockpile this lip balm in the winter and cranberry is in regular rotation! It’s got a light scent, not too overpowering and works like a charm. Seriously, this lip balm creates a barrier between your lips and the wind, cold and other weather harshness. It absorbs slowly into your lips and makes them soft. And even though the balm consistency isn’t sticky, it’s very long-lasting. Laurie’s threshold is if it survives her morning commute…and it does!
  • The Body Shop Merry Cranberry Frosted Shimmer Lotion – this lotion is such a delight! If you’re not careful, shimmery lotions can either give that  tin-man effect or transfer to clothes. But not this stuff. It’s got a silvery sheen to it that translates as a glow on your skin. The smell is very festive and wintery, like a subtle candied cranberry. We’re all for brightening up our skin in the winter!

What are your cranberry picks? Let us know in the comments.

Malie Organics Mango Nectar Aroma Mist

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Just the other day I was telling a friend that I was excited for fall, excited about fall weather, sweaters and soups. It’s true, I am looking forward to these things but then I realize that a little bit of summer in the air is not such a bad thing. When I was Vancouver for the 4th of July weekend, I picked up this Malie Organics Mango Nectar Aroma Mist at Beauty Mark in Yaletown. Since then, summer has been in the air in my bedroom, bathroom and closet, where I’ve been hiding this just in case my roommate gets any bright ideas.

You can use Malie Organics on the body, on linens or as air fresheners which is how I’ve using this product. The mango nectar scent is so refreshing and delicious, it is like taking a bite from a ripe mango. I tried some of the other Aroma Mist scents and there’s not a bad one in the bunch, I was so torn between the mango nectar and the coconut vanilla. Other great thing about this product: no aerosol! The pump does get stuck a little bit but a few seconds delay between sprays but in my book, that’s a small price to pay for cutting back on aerosol.

Casa di Francesca Mediterranean Lavender Diffuser Set

When it comes to home fragrances, I go in phases… sometimes I’m burning candles, sometimes I use oil warmers and other times I just go the wall plugin route. Lately I’ve been trying different diffusers. I’ve tried quite a few but I didn’t find a diffuser that could scent more than the air immediately around it or a diffuser that would scent the air for more than a day.

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The most recent diffuser I tried broke my losing streak, it’s Casa di Francesca’s Mediterranean Lavender Diffuser Set. I was a little skeptical at the beginning. I put the diffuser up in my living room on my computer desk. I thought if nothing else, at least I would be able to smell it while I blogged. :) When I was setting it up, I spilled a little of the fragrance on my shirt so at first, there was no way I could ignore the lavender scent… it seemed to be everywhere.

Slowly I started realizing that this diffuser was doing serious work! I was aware of the smell when I would walk into my living room but it would really hit me when I’d open the door to my apartment when I’d come home from work… and my front door is a ways away from the diffuser. That’s when I became a fan. Not only could it fill the air of a large room but more than a month and a half later, I still have plenty of liquid left and I’ve only flipped the reeds in the diffuser once.

If you’re looking for something a little different than your run of the mill reed diffuser, Casa di Francesca also has these gorgeous Murano Glass vases that would look amazing in any home. There are also plenty of fragrances to choose from like Lemon Tree and Tuscan Peach Blossom.

What are you using in your home? Let us know in the comments.

Bringing the Beach to My Car

Yankee Candle Sun and Sand Car Jar Usually I would not talk about things I get for my car. Car and beauty products do not go hand in hand but when I picked up a Yankee Candle Sun and Sand Car Jar recently, I was instantly reminded of a perfume I love.

If you’ve ever been at a Bobbi Brown counter and smelled her Beach perfume, this candle scent is practically the same as Bobbi’s perfume. In fact, I’m inclined to believe that this really is Beach in a car air freshener. It could have been longer but maybe a year or more ago, my local Bobbi Brown counter was giving away these cute little flip flop car air fresheners scented with Beach. You see how I could be suspicious? Since I first tried this air freshener, I’ve picked up a few more candles in this scent but every time I get in my car, I’m greeted with this summery scent and it makes me a little happier each time.

Bath & Body Works Goes Tropical

Last week my friend gave me a small votive candle from Slatkin and Co. in Coconut Rice. I’ve been burning it practically every night since then and I still have 1/4 of the candle left. Burning this candle peaked my curiosity for the rest of the Slatkin and Co. line considering how it burned so evenly and the yummy scent filled my living room. Luckily, I didn’t have to go very far, Slatkin and Co. just released their spring collection for Bath and Body Works and it’s smells heavenly.

Slatkin and Co. Tropical Bath and Body Works Candles

This new spring collection from Slatkin and Co. for Bath and Body Works features tropical fruits and flowers with scents like Pinepple Orchid, Tropical Orange Flower, Tropical Sorbet and Melon Sorbet. From left to right, Pineapple Orchid is first. The combination of pineapple, jasmine and orchid is gorgeous, it’s not overpowering at all. This one was my favorite out of all the new scents. Tropical Sorbet combines coconut and pineapple with a mixture of caramel and praline. I wasn’t able to smell this one but it sounds so good. Then there’s Tropical Orange Flower, it combines orange blossom, sugarcane, pineapple and mandarin. Isn’t the retro bowl adorable? Finally, Melon Sorbet features cantaloupe, peach, vanilla bean and banana.

If candles aren’t your thing, you might want to try the room sprays or the home fragrance oils. I’m having a hard time deciding but even if I don’t get all of these candles, I’ll definitely be trying the home fragrance oils. At $4 each right now, it’s hard to pass up.

Hearth and Home

Manuel Canovas Bois de Lune Candle Manuel Canovas Bois de Lune candle is described as “a rich velvety, woody note with red cedar, rosewood, Chinese tea, and wild berries”. The wood notes are certainly prominent in this candle, that’s for sure. If the smell of a wood fire burning is something you like, you’ll enjoy burning this candle. The smell also has a touch of sweetness to it thanks to the wild berries, my friend actually thought she detected some plum notes in the candle.

While this isn’t a scent I’d pick for myself, I definitely enjoy how homey it makes my apartment feel. It was like having a fireplace but without the firewood. Not only that, but the candle has burned beautifully. Jokingly, I call myself a “candle technician” because I’m always messing with wicks and hugging candles to have them burn smoothly. This candle gave me no fuss at all and burned evenly all the way down. This candle also filled up my entire apartment with it’s scent. With a scent this strong, I’m looking forward to experimenting with other Manuel Canovas candles.

Luxurious Candles

Lollia is a luxury line of candles, perfumes, bubble bath and more that’s garnering a cult following of devotees who can’t get enough of the delicate, floral scents and intricately feminine packaging. If you go for celebrity endorsements, Nicole Kidman is reportedly a fan. I’ve filled my home with their candles because they burn clean, last long, fill every room with amazing smells – and look gorgeous.

Lollia Tea Leaves Honey Tall Perfumed Luminary One of my favorites is the Tea Leaves and Honey Tall Perfumed Luminary. With notes of cool mint, ylang ylang and jasmine, it’s the perfect scent for the bedroom. It smells warm and cozy and makes me want to crawl into bed with a good book and cup of tea. And this sucker burns for a whopping 240 hours. With 12 different scents, Lollia’s web site provides suggestions of candle combinations that will help you create your own unique fragrance – which is a highly addictive past time.

Simmer This

While this isn’t really beauty product, it’s a product I’ve been enjoying for some time now. A few drops of this and your home will smell amazing.

Bath and Body Works Oil Warmer Bath and Body Works introduced their oil warmers and oils some time ago and ever since, have been expanding their oil offerings to include all of their best selling and newer scents. Their oil warmers and oils are a great, inexpensive way to liven up your home’s ambiance. This set here is a good way to get your feet wet with oil warmers as it includes the warmer and an oil, Warm Vanilla Sugar. I’ve been simmering a mixture of this and Moonlit Path. The floral hints of lavender, roses, violets and musk are fantastic with a bit of vanilla thrown in.