Friday, January 31, 2014

Wax Notes | January 2014

What I Melted & Used Up

Inspired by Fragrance Obsessed's melt diary, I decided to adopt the same style of snapping a phone photo of my wax to document my wax burnings. I am really liking it!

Vanilla Bean Noel (Luna Bleu) 
I have had this tart since Dec 2009 (had to dig around my inbox to check the dates) but the scent has not diminished one bit! I melted the whole tart in my makeshift 11w warmer, and it threw consistently

Wine By Candlelight (Front Porch Candle Co.)
A slightly newer tart dating to Dec 2011. I like this scent. On cold sniff, it's a rather sugary grape, but on melting it throws out this really lovely, mellow, tart grape. The name is apt because this is a tart that you should melt only in the evening as you unwind. It started out with a strong throw and slowly evened out to a medium-light throw. I melted this in a smaller, metal bowl on my 11w warmer. I am experimenting with different bowls to see which one works best with such a low-wattage warmer. VBN was melted in the porcelain bowl that came with the 24w warmer and it melted quite nicely but I am wondering if a smaller, more heat conduct-able bowl would help melt the wax better.

Apple Orchard (Front Porch Candle Co.)
Part of my Dec 2011 order. I am loving loving this scent. Of course, I have always been a fan of apple scents but this is one that I am happy to re-order. It's a combination of Granny Smith and Red Mac Apple and it actually smells crunchy! I am thinking that I might get this in a 4-pack in my next order (yes, I am planning a new order!). After the disappointing Wine By Candlelight tart, I was a little anxious, wondering if Front Porch was really as awesome as I remembered so I switched to burning this in my tealight warmer, and thankfully it still is.

Cactus & Sea Salt (Lasting Scent Candle)
One of my favourite clean & green scents that my family loves as well. Sometimes it can be a little too sharp but you just have to be careful to keep it down to a gently floating scent. For this LSC tart, I am using only half because LSC packs their tarts full of fragrance oils (while awesome for scent, not so awesome for the hands). This tart also dates to Dec 2011. I had a hunch that oilier tarts might work in my make-shift metal bowl/11w warmer combination so I am trying the LSC in the electrical warmer. It's been on for over 24 hours and finally showing signs of quitting! Wow!

Trying Out Two Timing Tart

Hot on the heels of my The Bathing Garden order, I made another order at Two Timing Tart, another vendor I had always wanted to try. In fact, when I tried creating a new customer account, the system told me I already had an existing one. After logging in, I discovered I actually had a cart in progress!

Two Timing Tart used to ship internationally but they have recently stopped that practice. I was a little upset when I realised it because I had been working on a new cart and filling it up full of Doctor Who-inspired scents (if they smell as delicious as they sound, I am going to be ordering them all the time). I actually wrote an email to Becky asking if she would grant me an exception. About 10 minutes after sending off the email, I remembered that there are mail services out there that provide buyers with a US-shipping address to buy from US-only companies and then forwarding the packages to their respective home addresses. I spent a few days figuring out which company to use. After settling on comGateway, I found out on TTT's Facebook page that Becky would be discontinuing the wax she uses and would be having a sale on her remaining stock. I immediately jumped to it and ordered 12 scents in clamshells.

Hello Sweetie
Madman With A Box
Still Not Ginger
The Sound of Drums
Drunk Photography
Drunk Texting
Drunk Tweeting
This One Time at Summer Camp
Captain Tightpants
Silk Sheets

US shipping was initially charged at $12.90 through the cart but Becky refunded me $3.92 a few days later. Total final shipping for 12 clamshells is $8.98. I ordered on 25 January and I just received an email stating that the package has arrived at my US address. 5 business days for filling the order and shipping it out. That's fast! Becky also included a note in my invoice acknowledging that she didn't see my shipping email earlier due to some problems with her website system, and that she had started filling out my order when she saw the email. Well, no harm done! :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Diving into The Bathing Garden

The Bathing Garden has always been on my list of vendors to try out, being one of the few places that offers international shipping. I only knew it through its Etsy page and it always seem to be closed. But then I see wax bloggers and vloggers hauling from there, how did they do it while it's closed, there must be a secret way!

I clicked on the Facebook group link. I previously thought it was just a normal Facebook page where the owners would give updates and behind-the-scenes tidbits and never thought to click on it. Turns out it wasn't a page but a group (big difference!) and Shannon Michele (the owner) uses it to announce restocks and instructions on how to buy her products, and for the community to share and discuss TBG.

So I submitted my request to join. And am I incredibly lucky or what, a restock was announced just as I joined the group! Shannon had very specific instructions on how to order to make things easier on her side and I was rather nervous at her very long (and detailed) list of instructions. Luckily, some of her long-time customers posted some tips in the group for newbies on how to order and not mess up. I took the advice of copying and pasting her instructions list into my email and responding to each item to make sure nothing was missed out.

I ordered 10 tarts in all:

Marshmallow Cookie Jar
Vanilla Layered Root Beer Float
Vintage Circus
Lemon Curd & Rose Milk
Faerie Bonfire
Cleopatra's Cream Bath
The Olive Lemon Grove
Gardenia Coconut Cream
Ever Night

In total, 20 scents for wax tarts were offered in this restock. While I am not sure if this is standard, limited or more than usual, it does seem to have a good variety of scents. I selected only 8 scents during my first study of the scents offered and decided to add in Gardenia Coconut Cream and Ever Night later to make it an even 10. These two scents are not what I normally would choose, and to me, that's the good thing about restocks limited to certain scents, they force you out of your scent comfort zone to try new ones!

I emailed Shannon my order on 21 January, received her acknowledgement and paypal request on 23 January and paying on the same day. TAT is approximately 3 weeks from date of paypal payment. I guess I will receive this late February/early March depending on the international shipping.

Update (1 Feb 2014): A bit of discussion came up in the TBG FB group about some internationals having to pay customs on their packages. I sympathise with them, of course, it's a cross we have to bear on top of astronomical shipping charges but so far I have yet to encounter customs charges because my packages are below Singapore's custom limit of $400. Anyway, Shannon wrote a note to explain her international shipping practices and that she would be happy to refund if anyone wanted to cancel. She also said she would be checking with all internationals if they still wanted their packages to ship. To save her the time, some internationals confirmed with her directly on the post and I chimed in. Later she added that some internationals use a shipping service and I included what I know about comgateway. Now, this is the super cool part. After my comment, Shannon said she would be happy to switch my shipping option to US instead of the international option I had originally paid for! It probably would be easier for her to ship US but it's the gesture that touches me, and that she's thinking of her customers first and to help them save costs. After checking in with her about TAT to make sure it will reach in time, I switched my shipping options. This will be a good test whether it will save me money as compared to individual packages.


A long time ago, I used to write a wax/bath & body blog where I documented my hauls, reviews and notes. I stopped writing that blog in 2010 when I graduated from college and began focusing my energies on my work and developing my passion for film photography. There was also nothing much to write because I made the decision to stop hauling regularly to try and finish up what I had. I rarely bought new make-up products, I made only 2-3 small wax orders a year to replenish whenever I needed a little more. This usually happens in December or January when I feel a little more flush from work bonus payouts.

This year, as I started to look up the various vendors again, I noticed how much the wax world has changed! New vendors, new products (pies, loaves, chunks), new ways of the wax world (super long TATs, vendors having to close down within minutes to deal with demand, projected openings), new ways of communications (facebook groups), new terminologies (RTS, destash). It took me quite awhile to figure everything out all over again. But it was exciting and I wanted to get back into it.

A less exciting discovery was that less and less vendors were shipping internationally, and that USPS Priority Shipping had risen to 25USD for international packages. Which is crazy fast, considering that it was only 12USD about 3-4 years ago. For the last few days, I have been looking into online shopping & shipping services that would allow me to have a US address for online shopping and combine my packages from US to Singapore to save a few bucks. I have already settled on one and I am going to be testing out this service for a couple of orders. If this works, I can definitely see myself hauling regularly again.

And this is where this blog comes in. I wanted a fresh start from the old blog to motivate me to write and to document. I also wanted a way to contribute and to be part of the community. I don't intend to start a youtube channel (although there are a few impulsive videos I did in 2009/2010 floating around out there) and I find it hard to contribute on the general facebook groups as an international and a less than frequent buyer. So here's hoping that this will work out. I am really looking forward to it!