Fall Fun Series: Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween, everyone!

I hope everyone has, or already had, a safe and fun Halloween. I already had my fun, for the most part, but the holiday is not over for me yet. I will be watching a few more scary movies with my boyfriend tonight once I get home from trick-or-treating with my niece and nephew. I’m incredibly lucky to have the day off, but my brother does not, so I will be helping out by joining in the festivities with his family while he works. I’m excited to see all of the little ones out in their costumes.

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Since I had the morning free, I thought about a favorite past time of mine back when I first started college and was too broke to go out much. In between classes, exams, and time with friends or family, I would cater to my computer nerd side by playing the game The Sims 3, and my favorite part was the in-game fall season. I grabbed my old laptop, made a marshmallow pumpkin pie latte, tossed in a new wax melt, and started creating a character.

This character must be the epitome of fall, so she is called Autumn Day. I made her hair my favorite fall leaves color: deep red. I googled “fall makeup” and saw more shades of red, but I was bored with her look so I added a little green eyeliner for fun. She needed a festive sweater to wear, of course, and some fashionable fall boots.

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I had a laugh when I saw this flannel dress under Formal Wear. I think it’s hideous, but hey, she represents fall and one cannot have fall without flannel these days.

Of all the premade towns in The Sims 3, Moonlight Falls sounded the most spooky and seasonally appropriate. Living in the town are premade characters, like an assortment of supernatural Sims including werewolves, fairies, vampires, and witches. One resident is Chauncey Grimm, a normal human whose storyline states he is a descendant of The Grimm Brothers. I found him to be a good fit for Autumn, so I chose him as her roommate, moved her in, and redecorated. How perfect that I discovered he had a black cat for a pet.

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The first thing Autumn did in her new home was begin to study cookbooks. There are so many great fall recipes, after all.

 

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Autumn’s first trip out exploring the town included snacking on an apple cider donut and stopping for a coffee. She wasn’t wasting any time getting into fall.

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She also spent some time out in the yard gardening and doing chores like raking the leaves. There’s an option to play in the leaves, so of course I made her do it once she finished.

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A fall festival was happening in town, so I sent Autumn and her roommate out to have fun. They bobbed for apples, visited a haunted house, and played arcade games. Autumn and Mr. Grimm also went pumpkin picking and carved a couple of them for outdoor decorations.

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There are usually trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood, but Autumn had to work at her new part-time grocery store job the night of the holiday, so we missed them. Once she was off of work, she hosted a costume party with co-workers and neighbors.

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I thought about stopping the game here, but I figured I should start looking forward to Thanksgiving now. Autumn and Chauncey invited two couples over for turkey dinner, football, and pumpkin pie.

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One morning Autumn woke up to snow falling outside, so our fall fun was over. I saved and exited the game, but who knows – maybe I’ll return to the game to switch her into the epitome of winter several weeks from now. I enjoyed playing the game again despite it being outdated now, as it’s still amusing and very festive.

I have to go get ready for trick-or-treating now. It’s a lot of fun saying that! Again, Happy Halloween to anyone that celebrates the holiday, especially the Fall Fun Series bloggers. I’m clearly having a lot of fun with these posts.

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Bath & Body Works: Pumpkin Cupcake

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I made up my mind about Salted Caramel Pumpkin so quickly, I wanted to spend a little more time using Pumpkin Cupcake before dropping the gavel. It went on two trips with me, three fall outings, and I’ve lost count of how many birthdays. It’s become my go-to this season, so it’s safe to say that I like it a lot.

Pumpkin Cupcake is a new body care scent released for fall 2016 at Bath & Body Works. I have never purchased this scent in a candle, wallflower, or room perfume from this store, but I did purchase Pumpkin Cupcake in foaming hand soap and antibacterial form last fall. When I heard about the new body care coming out, I was really hoping that the scent would match these products.

I can’t say whether or not the Pumpkin Cupcake body cream or fragrance mist is identical to the home fragrances. It does, however, match the scent of the hand soap. The scent description lists pecan, vanilla, cinnamon, and orange zest, among other notes, and unlike Salted Caramel Pumpkin, I do pick up on these notes when I use these products. The orange zest and tart apple notes to me are a very subtle hint of fruity citrus in the background, but this fades as the vanilla cupcake in this scent takes over. The citrus doesn’t seem “out of place” to me like it has in other scents in the past. The cinnamon is not overpowering, and the pumpkin spice isn’t very distinct at all. The notes blend together into a uniquely sweet fall scent, despite there being plenty of vanillas and plenty of pumpkins to choose from for scented body care.

If you’re new to Bath & Body Works and you see Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte, and feel that it sounds too similar to Pumpkin Cupcake, it isn’t! These are two very different fragrances, and really, no two fall pumpkin scents from Bath & Body Works smell identical. Not to me, at least – this is just my take on them after huffing each one all season long.

The scent strength is moderate; maybe a 6 out of 10, likely because the cinnamon and pumpkin spice is so subtle. It’s there, but it’s fairly weak. The longevity of the scent is moderate as well. The scent doesn’t last as long as it did in hand soap form, which is what I grew to love about Pumpkin Cupcake, but it can still survive around three hours before reapplying the products. It’s not the powerhouse that Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte is to me. I can count on that one to be strong.

Pumpkin Cupcake made an impression on me when I picked it up in pocketbac form last year, which is why I returned for the hand soap, and why I picked up the body care items this fall. Different products tend to smell differently, and I will admit that I wish the body care line had the amount cinnamon scent that the pocketbac has. Since it is still essentially the same scent, I am happy to have these items in my collection and I would repurchase them if they returned next fall. I would recommend them to anyone that is a fan of sweet scents, particularly vanilla or bakery scents, pumpkin scents, or maybe fall scents in general.

Fall Fun Series: Halloween Movie Review

I get into every part of fall, and Halloween is no exception. I’ve nearly tripled my TV time because of this. My boyfriend and I have been making our way through every Halloween-themed episode of The Simpsons. American Horror Story is on its 7th episode of the season, and The Walking Dead just returned on Sunday. We’ve seen a few scary movies so far as well, and yet, our list of Halloween-y movies and shows is still pretty long. I’ll be doing this until November 1st.

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I went to see Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children a couple of weeks ago with my sister-in-law during her birthday week. It was a Big Screen Bistro screening where dinner and drinks are served as the movie plays. I took advantage of this and ordered a Campfire cocktail, and before it even arrived I was sucked into the movie. The imagery during the intro credits was so haunting. The drink was delicious. I was off to a great start, and I really wasn’t let down at any point.

The film was directed by Tim Burton and is a perfect cross between a spooky Halloween movie, a movie for the family, and a movie intriguing enough for adults. It is based on a novel about, you guessed it, a home for peculiar children run by Miss Peregrine. These children each have unique talents that are revealed throughout the film and these abilities tend to come in handy, whether its in their day-to-day life or against any dangers that arise near the home. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is visually appealing, with elements of fantasy, romance, and a little mystery. It’s difficult to summarize the story without spoiling the little things that make this film so special, but it follows a boy named Jacob as his grandfather tells him stories about Miss Peregrine’s home, and his surprise as he learns that the stories weren’t only fiction.

The film left me wanting more, in the sense that I wanted to see all of the photographs that inspired the author of the book, Ransom Riggs, to create this story. If you’ve got some time, look into the original novel and the vintage photographs that led to the Tim Burton film. I think Googling these afterward entertained me almost as much as seeing the movie. Regardless of the origin or authenticity of the photographs, they are pretty dang creepy.

 

Tonight we’ve got some more shows and movies planned. We’re going all out with popcorn, a new season of Black Mirror on Netflix, a new Rob Zombie film, and more Treehouse of Horror episodes. Today also marks the beginning of the 2016-2017 NBA season, so we’ll be watching our fantasy basketball teams all night as well. With all of this time spent together, I figured I’d ask him to choose what goes into the wax warmer. This was his choice:

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I will certainly be back to spicy pumpkin scented wax in time for Halloween fun this weekend.

Fall Fun Series: Halloween Decoration

My sister-in-law and I were ambitious this year (for both recovering from foot/ankle injuries) and got Halloween decorations up right on October 1st. Ever since having my little nieces and nephews around for the past few years, I have to be mindful of putting up things that are festive, but not terrifying. Thus, the bulk of my Halloween decor is tame. Pumpkins, witches, skulls, and other spooky creatures are placed all around the house in moderation. My least subtle display is probably the shelf in the corner of the kitchen that changes with each season.

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Like I mentioned in my pumpkin post, this year I am making an effort to focus on what is new to my collection. When I went to Walmart to check out the Halloween decorations, though, I was a little disappointed.

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I ordered some Ghoul Friend soaps from Bath & Body Works, one of which is already being used in my bathroom. The two adorable little pails are what I picked up from Walmart, and are now on the kitchen table filled with miniature Halloween candies for guests to snack on. The cat ears are part of my costume this year. As I mentioned in my Fall Favorites Tag post, I only do simple and obvious costumes now, and there’s really nothing more simple than being a cat!

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Lights are a big part of my remaining decor. There are a couple of orange pumpkin light strands, fake candles, light-up skulls, pumpkin lamps, and more. They have been around for so long now that at this point I’ve gotten used to seeing them. I’m tempted to keep it all up through Thanksgiving…

 

 

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My scent of the week has been Goose Creek’s medium jar Auburn Lake. I guess I’ve had pretty good luck with most of my fall scents this year, because Auburn Lake is strong, unique, smells lovely, and all of the other positive things I say about products I like. I really haven’t had a dud candle or wax melt yet this fall – knock on wood. This one strays from heavy autumn spices and has hints bergamot with a very light patchouli note. I would burn this any time of year.

 

Fall Fun Series: Fall in Nature

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My fall nature experience this year was heading several hours north where it’s cooler and a lot more colorful. According to the fall color report, the area was already past 100% peak color, but it looked perfect to me. Every place along the way was charming, rustic, and felt welcoming. These are all things that I crave from an autumn vacation! Returning to a busy, warm city with significantly less color felt sort of like culture shock, but also a bit like time travel. It’s as if, for a week, I hit fast-forward on fall, but within the next 2 weeks I’ll get to experience it all over again. The fall color report describes my area as only 30% peak color, and it definitely appears that way outside of my window right now. If it weren’t for bits of gold and yellow atop the trees, I’d call this summer. How strange to experience fall so differently in the same stretch of days. Anyhow…

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Before I headed into the wilderness, one thing I needed to do was get my chocolate fix. I don’t know if it’s because my brain associates the cooler weather with Halloween candy and all of the treats I tend to bake, but I just didn’t feel right without lugging around baggies full of sweets.

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The cabin itself really couldn’t have been more perfect. The lake wrapped around our living space, which was tucked neatly away at the end of a private block of other rentals. Whenever we got into the car to take a trip into town, we would see as many as three, sometimes four deer just casually hanging out on our neighbor’s property.

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Outside is a private pier, fire pit, gazebo, and dining area, all sprinkled around the lot and facing a side of the lake, which was lined with a full array of red, green, and gold trees in every direction. There was really so much to do – if one is into these sort of things.

While out exploring we had margaritas and coconut shrimp on the lake, bought more candy and fudge, of course, and we even found a cute little scent shop with adorably decorated soaps and other fragranced goodies. We did plenty of eating out, which was an experience in itself because the portions were larger and prices lower than I’m used to down in the city. We didn’t do a whole lot of cooking aside from toast with jam and coffee, and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. It was a vacation, after all!

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I didn’t even need to leave home for a unique fall experience in nature, though. Turkeys have been visiting my neighborhood since September!

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I saw them outside of my window while making coffee one morning. There were four of them and they came closer and closer before disappearing into the neighbor’s backyard. I’ve spotted one turkey here and there, but to see four of them at once was a little jarring in my sleepy state.

Fall Fun Series: Pumpkins

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I’m back from my trip into the Northwoods and I’m adjusting to life in the city again today. I was sad to leave the cabin, but what made it a little easier was the fact that it got pretty cold and windy, and started raining a little our last morning there. It helped to know that all of my cozy fall decor would be waiting for me at home.

Alright, so I’m a little pumpkin crazy during fall. I’m that girl that bought Pumpkin Pie chapstick at Walmart. Whether it’s body care, home fragrance, desserts, decor, and of course, the real thing – I’m all about the pumpkins starting September 1st. This year, though, I’m at least practicing a little self control and not pulling out *every last* pumpkin item that I own. I’m focusing only on what is new to my collection, or what I am currently using.

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Some pumpkins came home with me after my trip to the pumpkin patch last weekend, and my favorite is sitting pretty in the window with a couple of gourds that came from my parents’ garden. I also got three new glitter pumpkins – because, why not? – and during my cabin trip, I picked up a little baby pumpkin for our table that also came back home with me.

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This copper pumpkin 3-wick candle holder from Bath & Body Works circa 2014 is special to me. I was absentmindedly complaining to my boyfriend last year that I missed out on getting a pumpkin candle holder, and about a week later, this one arrived for me from Amazon. It’s great to be with someone that supports my habits!

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Of course, in addition to Bath & Body Works home fragrance products, I have four different sets of pumpkin-related body care fragrances. All of the shower gels are currently in my shower, which is definitely excessive, but it just wouldn’t feel like fall without having these pumpkin scents around.

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I ordered a few pumpkin melts from Kringle Candle a couple of months ago and so far I’ve tried out two of them: White Pumpkin and Pumpkin Frosting. White Pumpkin is phenomenal, in my opinion. Its scent is totally unique to my collection. Pumpkin Frosting was good, but forgettable, as it really didn’t leave an impression on me. It’s just pumpkin spice and vanilla.

The new ScentSationals Pumpkin Marshmallow Cream smells yummy, but the performance wasn’t all that great to me. It was just a lot more weak than I expected of a fall fragrance. I did also pick up the Pumpkin S’mores wax melt that contains the same scent along with Pumpkin Spice, so I will be sure to use that combo next time.

I ordered my first 3 room perfumes from Bath & Body Works, one of which is Caramel Pumpkin Swirl. I’m pretty happy with the scent strength and longevity of these products. If I’m not at home long enough to wait for wax to melt, a few sprays will get the job done quite well.

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These two are my newest pumpkin/fall candles from Bath & Body Works and Goose Creek. I broke in Pumpkin French Toast on the first official day of fall, but Creamy Pumpkin Pie has yet to be lit. I’m thinking this one will be a fitting Thanksgiving candle next month.

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This is the big mama that I use to make my homemade pumpkin spice lattes. Torani’s pumpkin pie flavored sauce isn’t the official Starbucks flavoring, and it does come out tasting differently than an official Pumpkin Spice Latte. When I was reading reviews online, Torani seemed like a better choice than the Fontana pumpkin spice flavoring, so I decided to try something new.

As for my other favorite pumpkin treats, who am I kidding? Those are all gobbled up before pictures can be taken of them. To substitute, I’ll share a cute little pumpkin display spotted just outside of my happy place, B & BW.

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