Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Come One, Come Fall... at Bath & Body Works!

It always sounds so early (to other people) when my favorite candle shops, Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candle, start advertising the preview for their fall collection in July to be released in August. But when the end of July and August actually get here, I think everyone is SO ready for cooler weather that they don't really mind seeing fall items appearing in stores :-)  I think it's so good to get a head start, because before I know it, fall items are here and gone by September, and find myself scurrying around in October, while stores prepare for Christmas, going "what happened?!" and feeling like I didn't have enough time to get all of my fall haul done! Which is why I am so pleased to see Bath & Body Works fall preview mailing list up on the website! And guess what I'm even more pleased about?? That I know which items will be here before BBW officially announces it! Yaaaaaay!

So, if you would like to sign up for BBW's mailing list to be notified of fall items, here is the link: http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/comeonecomefall

Umm.. ok, so I signed up for e-mails Sunday, clicked on this last night and also this morning, and it isn't working! I had a feeling they would take it down, only because I actually stumbled upon their "Come One, Come Fall" link on Friday the 13th, which is really early, and I could not find it after that! They took it down really fast. I didn't even get a chance to look at it because it was on my phone and I wanted to have the full experience on my computer lol. Learned my lesson... if you see an early link, USE IT!

So anyway, keep trying the link if you want to be added to the mailing list, but I will keep you informed of things as soon as I know them. So if it doesn't work, don't worry!

And now, without further ado, here's a sneak peek of what we can look forward to in stores!

Brand New for Fall:

Autumn Day (this is a repackage of Acorn & Fig): A crisp autumn medley celebrating the changing seasons and all the beauty of the harvest with notes of fresh cut cedar, juicy fig and sandalwood. I was not a huge fan of A&F last year, but maybe the repackage is a little different this year. I’ll definitely give it a try!

Black Pepper Bergamot: Intricate layers of spicy black pepper combine with an uplifting bergamot and lavender in a fragrance inspired by fall’s changeable days. This was a test scent that I picked up in January/February, and the label has been completely transformed since then. Its better selling counterpart, Mahogany Teakwood, was off the shelves before I could snag one for myself. I can tell you though that BPB has been described as a peppery version of MT, and you either love it or hate it. The pepper can be strong and unpleasant to some people, but I don’t mind it. I think it smells good and was a nice transition from winter fragrances into the sweet, fresh scents of spring. I’m sure it will do great as a masculine fall fragrance to cap off warm summer nights.

Bonfire Maplewood: Combining notes of coffee bean liqueur, rich hazelnut and creamy marshmallow, this cozy fragrance feels just like gathering 'round a crackling bonfire.

Brandied Pear: Treat yourself to the fragrance of a favorite fall dessert- poached autumn pears drizzled with sugared brandy and topped off with vanilla cream.

Cider Lane: As sweet as a trip to the local apple orchard each year- a delicious fall blend of mulled cider, warm caramel and sweet cinnamon. This one sounds amazing, it’s heavier on the caramel, a good mix of the other cider blends that Slatkin has done before.

Cinnamon Nut Bread: Warm and comforting on a cold fall day- fresh baked shortbread with cinnamon, buttercream and chopped nuts.

Cranberry Harvest: Bright and crisp as a sunny fall day, the perfect autumn blend of fresh cranberries, apple peel and clove. I am not a huge cranberry fan, but their description of a bright, crisp, sunny fall day makes me want to try it…

Farmstand Apple: This sparkling orchard favorite reminds us of a bright sunny day picking apples. Made with notes of McIntosh apple, ripe pear blossom and woodsy oak.

Mahogany Teakwood: The scents of fine woods- mahogany, cedarwood and oak -highlighted by delicate lavender and geranium notes conjure up an escape to a cozy library on a chilly fall day. If I remember this test scent correctly, it’s the one that smells like men’s cologne, and women were all over this one like 50 Shades of Grey. O.M.G. It FLEW off the shelves, almost literally. I’m not kidding, if you want this, I highly recommend getting it early. Not saying they won’t prepare and have a high volume of it, but who knows. If you want it, get your hands on it quick! Plus, it never hurts to burn these early. Especially this one, as I think it is a good transition fragrance.

Nutmeg and Spice: A warm and cozy fragrance inspired by an elegant mixture of nutmeg and all of autumn’s very best spices

Plum Wine Amber: A splendid blend of mulled wine, golden amber and purple plum creates a fragrance that recreates the richest fall days

Pumpkin Cupcake: The perfect pick from the corner bakery this fall- a spiced pumpkin cupcake with rich buttercream and frosted ginger. Sounds amaze. This one has been talked about quite a bit, and my guess is it will go fast. So if you smell it and like it in the store, buy it. If you don’t like it when you get home and burn it, BBW’s fabulous return policy will allow you to bring it back, no questions asked. You don’t even need your receipt. Ok they might ask you like 2 questions, such as “Did you not like the scent?” and “Was something wrong with the way it was burning?” which is always nice to tell them so they can give feedback to the company and improve our future candle experience.

Salted Caramel: Indulge on an autumn day with a swoon worthy mixture of farm-fresh sweet cream, salted caramel and warm vanilla.  I actually have this candle from when BBW tried to do a summer boardwalk collection in 2011 and it didn’t go too well. I liked SC a lot (then called Salty Caramel, not salted) when I picked it up over the summer, but decided it was not at ALL a summer fragrance and I waited to burn it during the fall. I was really happy I did. I’m glad to see BBW agrees with me on this being a fall scent :-) It’s almost like Creamy Caramel from way back in the day like 10 years ago (one of my FAVES), but a little more nutty and salty, like kettle corn. Kind of like the glazed popcorn note in Summer Boardwalk. It is reformulated this time around and little more mild. So if you weren’t a fan of it in 2011, give another try this fall. You may like it! Time machine: Do you remember the other 2011 boardwalk scents? Lemon Meringue and Cotton Candy! Those were good. But not quite like the ones they came out with for summer this year.

Returning favorites:

Acorn & Fig is now Autumn Day

Autumn: Get festive this fall with our heartwarming fragrance that unites three beloved autumn scents- dark pomegranate, sweet red apple and woodsy fir balsam. This one is very light, unlike its older cousin, Leaves, and it is strong on the apple. Very fresh and like I said, light. I like it as a morning fragrance during the fall. It is delicate and sweet, which is exactly what I need in the AM :-)

Apple Crumble: The perfect way to chase away an autumn chill, baked Granny Smith and McIntosh apples topped with vanilla crumble. 

Cinnamon Sugared Donut: Share the delight with a homemade vanilla cake donut covered in sugar crystals and crushed cinnamon. I was not a fan of this one last year, I thought it smelled dusty or something?? I don’t know. But a lot of other people seem to like it, so I’m glad to see it made its return for the CSD fans out there! I know how rough it is when your fave scent unexpectedly disappears. Mini freak out.

Cranberry Woods: Equal parts woodsy and fruity, Cranberry Woods combines fresh, tart cranberries, black currant and warm cinnamon bark in one delightful, spicy fragrance.

Creamy Pumpkin: A sumptuous and soothing autumn blend of spiced pumpkin drizzled with sweet caramel and topped with warm cream inspired by the sweet richness of fall harvest. This one is sooo good!! It’s been around for a few years and I love seeing it every fall!

Fresh Balsam: Ok, so this is different. This has always been a pine scent for Christmas, sometimes released early in the fall, but definitely intended for Christmas and winter. But this year it looks like they are trying to make it a fall favorite. I have always loved this scent and I’m sure I will still love it a few months early :-) The wax is more of a sage green now instead of white, in case you were curious.

Leaves: The hallmark scent of fall. Must. Have. This year, it will be released in BOTH Slatkin and White Barn, so you will have two different jars, lids, labels, pictures and scent descriptions. Here is the White Barn description: A fragrance that embodies the richness of fall- with all the colors and pleasures- featuring notes of golden nectar, ripe delicious apple and red berries. This one has white wax as opposed to its usual dark brown, and is capped with a gold lid (all White Barn will be gold lids). The image on the label is pretty white to match the wax. The picture is a white wood bridge with white bark trees surrounding it. Slatkin description: Celebrate the brilliant colors of autumn with this rich blend of golden nectar, red apple and berries. I think I like the packaging on this one the best. It has colorful fallen leaves on the label and the traditional rich, dark brown wax. That’s how Leaves should look to me :-)

Marshmallow Fireside- Celebrate the changing season with a warm mixture of marshmallows, smoldering woods and creamy vanilla reminiscent of a cozy evening 'round the bonfire. This one was so popular last year, I had no doubt it would be back. They could barely keep this one on the shelves. It quickly became one of my absolute favorites and I CANNOT wait to burn this one again! Also, I think this is the perfect intro to fall. After you burn your Summer Boardwalk to close out summer, I would transition to Marshmallow Fireside. It reminds me of the end of summer when you go up to a cabin for one last hoorah before school starts up and sit around a bonfire toasting marshmallows and making s’ mores. But it’s not all summer, the warm, woodsy notes definitely tell you fall is around the corner. Love this one! If you don’t have it, pick it up!!

Pumpkin Caramel Latte: Scent your home with this rich blend of creamy pumpkin, spiced caramel and sweet cream and keep your treasured autumn drink all season long. So nice to see this one back. Have you ever had a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks? Have you ever added caramel syrup to it? Boom. That’s what this is. Just make sure you remember it’s a candle so you don’t accidentally drink it ;-)

Spiced Cider: A delicious blend straight from the orchard that mulls three varieties of fresh apples, spiced with nutmeg and cloves. I am SO glad this one is returning! It’s a classic, so I was pretty sure it would, but you never know. My recommendation- if you want this candle, pick it up FAST! They were sold out in every store in my area by September and did not get any back. I learned my lesson :-) I really like it for August and all the way through Halloween. It’s a good, festive scent that can be almost like a witches brew if you are looking for a yummy fragrance that can go on the spooky side as well.

Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin: One of my favorites of all time? Quite possibly. I nearly explode with excitement when I smell this one. It is that freaking good. It's like nostalgia in a jar or something. Maybe I feel this way because it was one of the only fall fragrances when I was in 6th grade and my obsession with Bath & Body Works began. It honestly just takes me back to the house I grew-up in, standing in our garage looking up at our attic, patiently waiting for my parents to bring down our Halloween boxes and feeling the crisp, cool air swirl in and remind me of all the wonderful reasons that I love this season. Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin might not do that for you, but now you know why I love it so much! Here is the description: A harvest fave returns for fall! Our delicious, one-of-a kind recipe combines sweet pumpkin pie, rich vanilla cream and a touch of cinnamon. They always change the descriptions on these each year. It's fun to see what new way they come up with to tell us what we're smelling :-)

Something I'm not sure about is Pumpkin Patch, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be back. I LOVE that scent. It is so comforting. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for it this year.

*Mark your calendars, these fall faves will make their debut Monday, August 6th! Two weeks from yesterday… I think I can hold off for that long! We’ll see!

Which ones sound good to you? Any new ones you can't wait to try?

Monday, July 23, 2012


I don't know about where you live, but the first day of school was today for the year-round schools in my area. I always feel bad for kids when they have to go back :-( I know that was always such a difficult transition for me to go from carefree-summer to new class, new teacher, new school year.

Aside from the nerves, I do love the back-to-school time of year. To quote one of my all-time favorite movies, "It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

Haha, I can so relate! Can you guess which movie that's from? I'll tell you at the bottom of this post :-) Having quoted that, one of my favorite parts of back-to-school when I was a kid was... back-to-school shopping! My sister and I made an event out of it. School supply shopping was pretty fun, and it took the edge off of the new school year starting. I'm not sure if it was the smell of the flexible, plastic pencil cases or the fresh-cut wood smell of new No. 2 pencils, but I really looked forward to it at the end of every summer.

When I was in elementary school, Lisa Frank was freaking HUGE and sooo sooo popular. That brand was by far my absolute favorite. I had Lisa Frank everything- folders, stickers, notebooks, pencils, you name it, me or my sister probably had it. And as the saying goes, "Lisa Frank- you gotta have it!" ;-) Haha. I used to know the entire commercial by heart. I wonder if LF is still around for kids these days... I never see it in the back-to-school section, so I'm guessing no.

Is anyone else out there as excited for back-to-school as I am?! Minus the whole I-feel-bad-for-the-kids thing, I really love this time of year. Whether you are in school or not, the school year starting is a time for a fresh start and new beginnings, almost like a 2nd spring or New Year's! One by one, I know schools will be starting up again all over the country, and that means the season of fall will become more and more prevalent. Anyway, as summer vacation (not summer itself, of course) winds down to an end here in Arizona, I'd like to wish all those cute little kiddos out there a safe, happy, fun and smart school year!

I hope you're THIS excited for back-to-school!!!

And here's the answer you've been waiting for:  The quote was from... You've Got Mail! That was Tom Hanks writing to Meg Ryan in the beginning scenes of the movie. If you haven't seen that movie or if it's been a while, I recommend you watch it. I always like to relive it as we transition out of the hot days of summer and into the beginning of fall. It's a classic! Have a great day, and feel free to go buy yourself a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils :-D You deserve it!

Heartfelt Thoughts and Prayers to Colorado

I wanted to break away from my normal blogging subject to recognize and give my most heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the victims, families and friends of the shooting that happened in Colorado on Friday morning. I don't know what to say, or what to make of all this, but I do know with people like Holmes, you cannot make sense of their actions. They are senseless. In these situations, it is natural for people to try to sort through the information and figure out a reason why. Of course people will always wonder why these things happen, because sometimes knowing a motive can help to bring a sense of closure, but regardless of the motive, it will never justify the action. These people cannot be rationalized, and we cannot apply our own psychology and thought process to someone who is a sociopath. I truly wish there was something that could be done to prevent people from becoming this way so these things never happen. It is just unbelievable, and unacceptable, that we live in a world where things like this still occur.

I am not one of those people that will try and find a silver lining in this devastating act, so I will just say that I am praying for those affected by this and I hope that they can find something to help them survive this tremendous loss. I am absolutely heartbroken for the parents who will be entering the awful world of bereaved parenthood.

If there is someone you know who is in need of help or someone to talk to, please consider reaching out to the MISS Foundation. It is run by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, a grief counselor that works with people who have suffered from tragic loss, mainly bereaved parents, as she is a bereaved parent herself. The foundation is funded by charitable donations, so those who are suffering don't have to worry about not being able to afford a quality grief counselor. I have no affiliation whatsoever with this foundation, just trying to lend a helping hand for those in need. Here is the contact information for the foundation:

Website: http://www.missfoundation.org/
One-on-one support: 1-888-455-MISS
Office: 602-279-MISS
Fax: 623-979-1001
E-mail: info@missfoundation.org
Dr. Cacciatore's E-mail: joanne@missfoundation.org

Again, I am so sorry for those suffering, and I cannot begin to comprehend what they must be going through. I will continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers, with the hope that they can find the help needed to try and cope with their tremendous loss.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bath & Body Works Summer Boardwalk Candle Review

If you are looking for a home fragrance to transition between summer and fall, BBW's Summer Boardwalk is GREAT! It is perfect for late summer, and a great scent to prepare your nose for the richer, warmer scents of fall.

Summer Boardwalk is more of a food-like fragrance that combines caramel-glazed popcorn, warm taffy apples and salted, sweet cream to bring back memories of amusement parks at the beach. I'm burning it right now (while watching Christmas in July on QVC) and let me tell you, it burns really well! The throw is so strong, I don't even have to light it for it to fragrance the room. I literally just remove the lid and within minutes, the room is filled with this warm, comforting scent. As soon as it hits my nose, it stirs up nostalgic feelings of the warm summer days transitioning into cool autumn nights. I smell the apple quite a bit which reminds me of caramel apples that I would eat as a kid around Halloween. The caramel-glazed popcorn smells like a caramel, hazelnut coffee to me, and the whole fragrance is balanced out with the salted sweet cream.

I actually started burning this to kickoff the 4th of July, and I think that is a wonderful holiday to use this candle! The apple, caramel and nutty notes are reminiscent of all-American apple pie. What's more patriotic than that? ;-) I will be burning this through the rest of the summer before I start lighting up my fall fragrances :-)

If you haven't smelled it yet, pop on over to Bath & Body and give it a try! If you do, let me know what you think!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Disneyland Mickey's Halloween Party Tickets Now on Sale!

Well... they've been on sale since the 16th, but I didn't have my little blog then. so I'm telling you now! Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort generally starts the 3rd Friday in Spetember, but I'm thinking this year it will be the 2nd Friday, which is September 14th, due to how the days fall in September this year. In 2010 it was September 17th and 2011 it was the 16th. I'll put money on the 14th if anyone wants to take me up on it ;-)

Being in Disneyland during the fall is amazing... villains are out, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain are given a spooky makeover, trees are changing their leaves and the park is decorated to the nines with warm colors, pumpkins and Halloween goodies :-) I LOVE Disneyland during this time of year! If you haven't been yet, I highly recommend going! During a select few nights, Disneyland hosts Mickey's Halloween Trick-or-Treat Party. This is a separate event that requires a ticket purchase, which you can do here: http://disneyland.disney.go.com/special-offers/mickeys-halloween-party/

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort will be advertised on the website a bit later, but they usually start around Veteran's Day weekend. In 2010 they started November 12th. The 2nd Friday in November is usually a safe bet. I'm thinking this year they will be November 9th or 10th. So if you are planning to go and want to make sure you are there for the holidays,I would plan to go after Veteran's Day weekend.

Anyway, if you are planning on doing some Disney this fall, make sure you consider buying Mickey's Halloween Party tickets! It's sure to be a ghoul time ;-)

It's Heeeeere!!! Merry Christmas in July!!!

It's here, it's here, CIJ is finally heeeere!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS IN JULY!!!

I know what I'll be doing all weekend! So excited, I love this mini-holiday weekend! I look forward to it every year. Anyone doing anything special for it?

Remember, 9pm AZ time, 12am NY time. All weekend long! Have a holly jolly weekend, my hollies!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summertime & Cake Batter

Summertime always makes me think of birthdays. No, my birthday is not in the summer, but birthdays that fall in the summer generally don’t run in to any other holiday or commercialized season, so they seem to just be able to encompass everything birthday and nothing else. My family also has a TON of birthdays in the summer, so we always got together during the summertime to celebrate them.

Birthdays remind me of cake and ice cream, and cake and ice cream make me want to bake something combining both cake and ice cream. So I will be sharing with you my favorite ice cream themed cake recipes! Also, I like to bake a lot of cake batter recipes, and if you are not as obsessed with cake batter as I am, you might be after reading this post. Cake batter anything is so freaking phenomenal. Plus, cake batter treats really are the PERFECT summer birthday dessert. The soft yellow cake color provides the perfect background for the bright, fun, rainbow-colored sprinkles to really pop!

Enjoy! And happy birthday to any summer birthdays out there!

Cake Batter Blondies

1 box Funfetti (or yellow) cake mix (add 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles if using a yellow box)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 up milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Sprinkles for the top
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
2-3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on how thick/runny you like it)
3-4 drops red food coloring to get desired pink color (optional) or use other colors if desired
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Combine the cake mix, oil, and egg in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly – you want the batter to remain as dense as possible. Mix in white chocolate chips (add the rainbow sprinkles here if you are using them). Spray pan (either 8x11" or 9x9" pan) with non-stick cooking spray. Dump batter in pan and spread to the edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. They will be a little soft/gooey in the middle- just let them sit for about 20-30 minutes and they will set. Frost when cooled (if adding frosting).
To make frosting: Combine all ingredients until well-blended. Spread on top of blondies.
From: girlmeetslife (cake) http://www.sixsistersstuff.com (Frosting)

Cake Ball Cones


Just need a standard cake recipe for this one and a cakesicle pan. You can find them online or at specialty stores. I'm willing to bet Williams-Sonoma has one too! Once you have your cakesicle pan and your cute little cakesicles all baked up, put 2 of them together with frosting and then dip them in a candy coating (I like to use Candy Melts, you can find them at Michael's and Hobby Lobby). Before the coating dries, sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles, or whatever sprinkles you are decorating with. Insert a popsicle stick* (you can find wooden craft sticks at places like Michael's, that's where I get mine) and voila! Cakesicle!

Picture from: http://bakingbites.com/2009/03/cakesicles/

*I'm not sure if you can bake the cakesicle with the popsicle stick already in place, but that's what I do with my cookie pops (recipe and pictures for those bad boys later!) and they come out perfect! I know it sounds weird putting a wooden stick in the oven, but trust me, it works!

Alright my hollies, enjoy and happy caking!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Christmas in July!!!

Believe it or not, the Christmas in July season is upon us! In only 4 days, QVC will be running their annual Christmas in July weekend special. So tune in July 21st-July 22nd for a little preview of what will be coming up during the holiday season.

By the way, it runs at midnight New York time, so if you are in AZ like I am, you can get your CIJ on a little early on Friday, July 20th at 9pm! Woo hoo! Three days away! So for AZ, it will end Sunday, July 22nd at 9pm also. Adjust your schedule accordingly for your time zone J Hope you enjoy!

Merry CIJ!

A Typical Year Goes Something Like This

From New Year’s to Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day to the first day of spring, Easter to Mother’s Day, Memorial day to Father’s Day, the first day of summer to the 4th of July, CIJ to Labor Day, the first day of fall to Halloween, my birthday to Thanksgiving, the first day of winter to Christmas and the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I am celebrating each and every holiday, season and event to the max. There is always something fun going on all year long and I like to make the most of it.

I also like to take advantage of the long summer days (who am I kidding? It’s all year long) and dream about Disneyland. I have an obsession with that place that matches my over-the-top love for holidays. FYI: if you ever need to know anything Disney (trip planning, random trivia, secret info, etc.), please don’t hesitate to ask me! I will gladly take part in any Disney-related conversation regardless of what time of year it is!

So anyways, this is a very short re-cap of my year, and I will post detailed entries when each holiday or season approaches.

Thanks for visiting! Have a hollie day!