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!

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 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
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

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.