Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015


Yeah, I know. You came here to see what wax, soap, and perfumes stood out this year and made the best of 2015. But I wanted to start out showing one of my favorite moments of 2015. Our yearly family vacation. You see, we normally go alone, just the four of us, but this year my sister and her husband came along and it was so much fun. It was like going to Disney but then there are no lines to wait in and the food is free. Great made even better. And this photo captures that. My husband and brother-in-law goofing around at Rock City while my youngest looks on with her hand on her hip going "what are those knuckle heads up to now?" Darby and I melting wax and burning candles in the cabin, then going on the porch to drink coffee, stare at the mountainous vista and chat about the day to come. Making her watch "When Harry Met Sally" for the first time. I have been incredibly blessed this year. I got to visit one of my best friends half way around the world, talk with special friends both online and in person every day, and watch my girls grow into themselves and my husband succeed at being a manager for the first time. I hope you share some of your 2015 highlights too. 

Now on to the smelly stuff!



Wax:
I am listing my top favorite vendors of the year with my picks for favorite scent(s) from them as well as some thoughts, all my own, please chime in if you wish!

Top Ten Scents of 2015:
1. SMT Pink Peppermint
2. CFTKR Balsam and Citrus
3. TBG Ever Night
4. Rosegirls Rosegirls' Garden/Raspberry Sauce/Vanilla Bean Noel.
5. LSC Sweet Embers
6. CFTKR Tokyo Nights
7. Rosegirls Monkey Business Fluff Puffs
8. LSC Sweet Dreams
9. TBG Belladonna Tincture
10. LCP Warm Cider and Falling Leaves

Top Scent of the Year:
Cinnamon Broom- loved it from Ava's Country Cupboard, Long Cane Primitives, and Rosegirls Scoopables.

 Top Five Vendors:
Candles From the Keeping Room- Yes it can be difficult to order and the rules are a bit much but honestly, if it is good wax I am after, I go here. I know the chances of a good throw are high and I know I can wait a year and it will still perform. I wish she was still on Etsy where I could happily stalk an announced opening. But I will take what I can get. Even if that means only ordering a handful of times a year. My all time CFTKR faves: Fresh Picked Strawberry, Summer Strawberry Taffy, Tokyo Nights, Balsam and Citrus, Apple Dumpling, Ice and Snow.

Rosegirls- Ah. My heart broke when Jenny announced no custom opening on the horizon. In my opinion, Rosegirls did the best custom options and products out there. I can't quite get on with the Mini Melters. I have ordered quite a few and been gifted quite a few. But at the end of the day, there is magic in Jenny's custom creations. Of course, my opinion does not amount to a hill of wax crumbles because Jenny has to do what is best for her and her company and she does an amazing job. She will never be able to please everyone and looking forward towards her company's growth is the bottom line. She has to follow her gut. She will do great I hope and know. I am looking forward to her sale of house blended pies and bags. So as far as single scents go, here are the Rosegirls stand outs: Gilligan's Brew, Swizzle Sticks, Sweet Lavender, Raspberry Sauce, Streuselkuchen. House blends: Americana Wafers, Berry Lovely blends, Wonders of the World, Cool Beans, Peppermint Coconut Marshmallow, Monster Cookie Fluff Puff, Monkey Business Fluff Puff, Donkey Kong Destruction.

The Bathing Garden- Shannon popped back into my wax heart after being absent for a while. I had heard murmurs of poor performance so I shied away. But once she opened her website permanently, I began to sit up and take notice. Shannon adds new releases seasonally and takes away older collections. The TAT is about 6 weeks, so not bad for basically a custom order. I have had excellent quality from: Ever Night, Belladonna Tincture, Sea of Tears, Alice in Gold (or sometimes known as Ophelia in Gold).

Lasting Scent Candles- This is the year that LSC made a comeback. Sadly, the comeback was as they were planning to wind down. Pam and Jennifer announced they were running through the last of their oils and supplies before shutting for good. They opened three times and I placed orders each time. Not sure if there will be another one after the holiday orders ship, but just in case: Sweet Embers, Sweet Dreams, Candyland Dreamin', Sweet Decadence, Wedding Cake blends, lavender blends, lemon blends. I have had good throw and great quality from them. 

Sniff My Tarts- Amy and Donna open a couple times a year, allowing for custom blending with their great wax list. I get consistently good throw and they have many wonderful scents to blend with: Marshmallow Noel and Candy is my new favorite from 2015. Other faves include: Marshmallow Noel, Pink Sugar, Pink Noel, Peggy's Blueberry Noel, Rosemary Mint, Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake, Honeyed Gingerbread.

Plus One:
Sugar and Spice- For fast custom blending, always open store and great scents, Sugar and Spice really cannot be beat. I made one or two custom orders this year but resolve to do a lot more in 2016. Some of my favorite scents from Shanna include: Serendipity, Marshmallow Fireside, Leaves, Pumpkins in the Fire, Marshmallow, Butterbrickle, Birthday Cake, Ghost Munch, Funnel Cake, Blue Ribbon Cookie.

Best New Vendor:

Pocket Full of Peonies- Great shapes, good throw and unique blends and beautiful branding. The rose loaf is amazing. I don't have much experience with her scent list but I did enjoy: Pink Peppermint Frost, Sweet Nothings. I do look forward to trying out more of her line. 

So there were a couple vendors I stopped ordering from in 2015. Front Porch had an unpleasant scandal earlier in the year that made me step away. Also Ten Digit Creations did as well, with some thoughtless naming of products that has since been fixed. I am of two minds about these things: 1. I really would like to buy wax just for the sole purpose of the quality of wax. But. 2. I also am very aware of how spending my money shows a support of vendors and their actions. Everyone has different hot buttons. Some people can over look things. I, however, have made these decisions and in no way expect others to follow me. I am just being open and clearing the air in case anyone wonders why they do not see Front Porch or TDC orders on here any longer.



Soap:
Two soaps stood out to me the most this year so they are tied:

FuturePrimitive Jilted and Crushed from their Valentine's Day release (Rejoice! It is returning!).

Handmade in Florida Moroccan Tea Mint and my husband loves it so much he got two bars in his stocking which he promptly shook at me and said "And these are mine!"



Fragrance:
My top fragrance experience this year was visiting Le Labo in Tokyo. The neighborhood it resided in was beautiful, the store was exquisite and the Tokyo exclusive, Gaiac 10, is gorgeous. I am so thankful and happy Ashley and I went. 

Fragrances I bought full bottles of in 2015: 
1. Gaiac 10 by Le Labo
2. Chergui by Serge Lutens
3. Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel
4. Rose Flash by Tauerville
5. Lime, Gardenia and Benzoin by Dame Perfumery
6. L'Ombre Dans L'Eau by Diptyque

My Top Five Fragrances I Sampled in 2015:
1. Pacific Forest by Sonoma Scent Studio
2. Bergamoss by Aftelier
3. Conjure by Solstice Scents
4. En Passant by Malle
5. Woodcut by Olympic Orchids

Rose sure had its year with me. So I am doing my top five roses for 2015 (my official note of the year):
1. Rose Flash by Tauerville
2. Mohur by Neela Vermier Creations
3. Intense Cafe by Montale
4. Fille de Berlin by Serge Lutens
5. Rose Mallow Cream by Solstice Scents



Bath Treats:

Haus of Gloi Butterbombs are an affordable way to get an incredibly scented moisturizing bath. My favorite scent of the year was Silver Fir but there was not one I did not enjoy.

FuturePrimitive Vanishing Milk Baths were a luxurious was to experience both a milk bath and a bath tea. The scent I enjoyed most was Opium Den.

Solstice Scents Dead Sea Bath Salts in Lavender Vanilla (but any scent will do!) provided an indulgent luxury when Angela restocked them on occasion. Not sure if she will be making as much of her body care as she delved further into EDPs. 

Lush French Kiss Bubble Bar is still my favorite way to get big bubbles in the tub. 


Body Care:

Haus of Gloi pumpkin butter in Moon Dog had to be my best lotion of the year. I loved it.

FuturePrimitive 3 in 1 whipped soap, hair conditioning rinse, and body whip in Indian Temple Attar. (Yes another rose).

Candles:

L'Artisan The et Pain d'Epices was my favorite high-end candle of the year. Its subtle warming spices created a relaxing atmosphere in my bedroom.

Bath and Body Works Peace candle was my favorite overall candle this year. I very much enjoyed the sweet vanilla woods fragrance, but only in the 3-wick version. It still was about a medium-light in my bedroom but perfect for my nightstand. 

Bath and Body Works Pumpkin Coconut was my favorite heavy hitter of the year. That beast smelled up my whole house with rich coconut and bakery yumminess. 


What a list! I had fun exploring new scents this year and I look forward to expanding that again next year. What are some of your favorites? Do we have any in common? What vendors should I try in 2016?

25 comments:

  1. I'm really tempted to go back to Front Porch. I can't even explain why without sounding like a hillbilly hypocrite, and I don't want to open a can of worms here on your blog.

    I didn't keep track of things enough this year to do any kind of post like this. Maybe I'll spend some time today looking back through posts and seeing if I can come up with something.

    Happy New Year to you!
    ~Deb

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    1. I can understand that. And I don't mind worms :-) There are certainly two sides to every story and if we weren't in the groups we would not have even known.

      I would love to know some of your face scents of the year!

      Happy New Year friend! I hope 2016 is great for you!

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  2. What a thorough list! I absolutely love rose. I knew we were kindred spirits before reading this post, but I am definitely sure of it now! :)

    My favorite vendors this year were OPT, Candy Panda, and VCS. It's my first 6 months of being wax-obsessed, though, so I am sure I have lots to learn! I'd try Candy Panda Wax if you haven't tried her. Her lush blends are GREAT.

    I wish you the happiest of 2016s with all of your dreams coming true. <3

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    1. Rose has become a weakness of mine. What Rose is your fave?

      I have absolutely been eyeing Candy Panda, she is super sweet and her scents call to me. Lush blends..... I need more Lush blends!

      Thank you dear! I wish you the best for 2016 too! <3

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  3. Ah, you have some lovely selections here! I don't think I could ever pick favorites out of anything I try. Maybe something from Lush if I did something bath related, but I'm really trying to branch out to other bath and body companies this year.
    Have a very happy New Year!!

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    1. Do you have any Lush favorites? Liz. I went totally bonkers this year with the BOGO. Did some USA orders, two UK and once in store today. I was shocked there were still things left. But it is only once a year. :-)

      Happy New Year! 2016 is going to ROCK for you!!!

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  4. I so enjoyed reading your favorites! You have inspired me to do my own list; I'll have to go back over my notes. Many of your faves were standouts to me as well; PFOP is one of the best new vendors I've tried, and BBW Pumpkin Coconut was my absolute favorite candle of the year! Thanks for the heads up that the Peace 3-wick is stronger than the smaller sized; if I ever find one I will snap it up.

    I have so enjoyed getting to know you a bit this year and reading your wax and fragrance musings. I must tell you a funny story; my husband has somewhat different taste in scents than I and usually he says he can't smell what's melting in the warmers, or even worse, he doesn't like it. I always get excited when he comments that he likes a scent and today I happened to be melting the CFTKR Caramel Latte you sent me. He's brushing his teeth and yells from the bathroom to ask what's melting. I told him and he said "It smells effing good; I want to drink it!" We have a winner, lol!

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    1. Thank you! I would love to read your Best of 2015! You have used lots of great products this year!

      Lol!! Compliments from hubbys are priceless! Adam is the same way. He usually can't smell it but if he does it is often because he hates it. Glad he liked Carol's Caramel Latte! WHOOHOO!!! Happy New Year Amanda! I have enjoyed getting to know you too.

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  5. Great list! I missed out on most of the waxy drama this year, but TDC was one of my fave vendors, so I will definitely go check that out. Haus of Gloi and Future Primitives are still on my Need To Try list--everything sounds lovely! As usual, your taste in fragrance is exquisite :)

    Best wishes for a wonderful New Year, Julie!

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    1. Yes TDC was my HUGE fave. It is really hard to find vendors with such a great earthy/sophisticated/high end dupe selection. She was my diamond in the rough... Great prices, fast TAT. I just wish that whole situation had never arose. It was tasteless and handled badly. Once the complaints started rolling in it would have been ok if she just redacted it all and said sorry but she kept digging in. I had to leave. It makes me sad.

      Do you enjoy indie bath and body? Who do you order from? Did you have any stand out fragrances this year?

      Happy New Year Kate! I wish you all the best 2016 can bring you. Thank you for hanging out with me.

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    2. I used to order a ton from Bathed & Infused but they sadly shut down not too long ago. Haven't been ordering much indie b&b stuff in the past year because people keep giving me things :D

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    3. That is nice! You are loved! <3

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  6. This list is perfection Julie! Totally agree about PFOP! Excellent new vendor! And I will never ever order from FP or TDC again. That is all. Lol

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    1. Thanks Liz! It was fun to go back and mull over the year in scents. I was majorly bummed for a while but quickly got over it. There are tons of vendors out there. Really great ones. <3 I hope you have a great start to your New Year!

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  7. Amazing post! I love the way you describe things so much!!!

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    1. Thank you Nancy! I enjoy the challenge of writing. Sometimes I rise to the occasion and others, just scraping by. Lol!

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  8. Happy New Year! I am pleased to see SSS Pacific Forest on your end of year list, I have a sample on the way now that it's available to the public. And thank you for the FP bar, it reminded me how great her soap is, my older bars had gotten lost amongst the herd of slivers on my tub ledge but I am giving them priority now.

    I have run out of new soapmakers to recommend, I think you've tried the best! Lynda and I made top 10 lists a few years ago and there are one or two I could bring up but they are less well known, if you are ever itching to explore again I will pass them on.

    Anyway, on to bigger things, making 2016 plans and a possible 40 by 40 list. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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    1. Happy New Year Jean! Boy was 2015 exciting for both of us! Hopefully we can both incorporate the things we were striving for better this year.

      Please please let me know your thoughts on it when it arrives! I just love it to pieces. Laurie is my perfume hero. You're welcome! I hope I can nab more Jilted and Crushed this year.

      I am always up for fragrant explorations. :-)

      Will you share your 40 by 40? That only leaves me 5 more years! Man, time is flying. Enjoy your last bit of weekend too! Back to work I go on Monday.

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  9. I already said it on a different post but I'll say it again. I absolutely love your blog. I can't stop reading. Great descriptions! You make me so excited to try new vendors.

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    1. Thank you Erikkaaa! I really appreciate your kind words! There are some great vendors out there for sure. I have so many I want to try.

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  10. Catching up!! I know this is weeks back now but I wanted to pop in and comment because it's such an epic post!

    Your top 5 vendors sounded so familiar, I had to run back and check my post I did in August 2013 about my top 5 vendors and they were the exact same as yours, except I had FP instead of SMT. I always loved SMT though, just the inconsistencies with their website, getting incorrect scents in my order and messy packaging always kept them from being at the very top. But, I digress. My point is that it is funny how so many new vendors come and go in the wax world, but the best always stay at the top. It feels like so much has changed in the wax world since I have came and left but it's almost comforting in a way to know that some things always stay the same!

    Most interesting to me though were your top rose perfumes for the year! I am adding them all to my to try list. I am going through an extremeeeellllyyy weird phase right now in my scent tastes, both in wax and personal fragrance. I can pretty much only stand florals and complex perfume-y scents. It's basically the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me lol. Rose is at the top of my list! I can't wait to experiment more with my new scent tastes this year.

    Hard to say what my tops were for wax this year, as I kind of fell out of love with the whole thing. Candles were king for me this year. Renewed love affairs with Scentsy and The Candle Lab. Citrus and pine were some top loves, and spicy scents as well. For fragrances, I tried a bunch but ended up sticking with my old standbys. I'll branch out much more this year. For bath and body, I found some amazing CP soaps on my trips to both Colorado and Hawaii. Still working my way through my Bubble Shack Hawaii Coconut Pumpkin Spice and Haleiwa Soap Co. Lava Soap, which is licorice scented. Love them both! Also fell in love with Lush Yog Nog and Lush Rose Jam. Also, Bath and Body Works Butterfly Flower shower gel and lotion is my floral dream. Can't get enough, I stockpiled during the SAS!


    I think that's it for me. But one more thing, I must ask you about the wreath in the bath and body photo. Did you make it? I am in need of a good neutral wreath and I'm loving yours! LOL leave it to me to focus on the wreath in a photo of gorgeous bath and body products!

    Cheers to an amazing 2016 Julie!!

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    1. I will have to go back and re-read your post! I know I read back when you posted it. I loved Top Vendor posts. Last year it would have been different. I dare say this year's will be too (if I am still around).

      I would never have pegged myself as a "Rose" person until this year. They just kept haunting me each time I found a beautiful one. I hope you find one you love at Indigo. I can't wait to go there.

      Your Hawaiian soaps sound incredible! Are they offered online?

      The wreath is made of book pages shaped into roses. My friend made it for me :-) I think she used this tutorial: http://www.bystephanielynn.com/2010/11/diy-faux-curled-rosewood-wreath-made-from-rolled-recycled-book-pages.html

      It ages beautifully too, turning yellowed and antiqued. I want to make two and put on the office doors.

      Happy 2016 to you too friend!

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    2. Late reply lol.

      The Hawaiian Soaps aren't available online =( Bubble Shack does have some stuff online though but the pumpkin coconut spice soap was limited for fall. I LOVE their products though, their lotion has saved my winter hands.

      I am so excited for Indigo Perfumery!! Hubby set up a perfume making session for me for my birthday, can't wait! 2 weeks away! I'll let you know how it goes! Plus this weekend is Columbus, which means Candle Lab candle making! It shall be a smelly birthday!

      That wreath is incredible and I am making one for sure. Thanks for the directions!!

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    3. Jacqui. You are seriously going to have the best birthday ever. Please wear your creation when you come down to Florida! I want to sniff it. And post pics of your wreath when you make it. How cool would it be to make it out if an old Harry Potter book?!

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  11. I will try to wear it for sure!! Hopefully it turns out well!! Haha it's my 30th so we are going to make it good =D That would be amazing to make it from a Harry Potter book! I'll have to see if I can buy a used one somewhere!

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