Monday, July 29, 2013

Our Favorite Citrus Candles

Citrus fragrances are great in the summertime when it's steamy hot out, or anytime you need a little lift or to make the house smell clean. I love citrus candles in the morning to help me wake up and on sunny afternoons when I can open the windows wide and let the fresh air in.

There are a lot of great citrus blends, but here are our favorites:

Aura Clairvoyant. A tangy citrus scent with a hint of floral including yuzu grapefruit, cassis, orange and rose geranium. 
This is a no-fuss, dead-on citrus blend that doesn't stray towards fruity, floral or anything else.  Just good ol' citrus.  It's bright and pungent for an invigorating fragrance to brighten any room.

Aura Radiant. The perfect balance of sweet and citrus with notes of grapefruit, goji berry and bergamot.  
This fragrance is a little more rounded and has a bit more character than Clairvoyant. Radiant is vibrant and juicy. Not too sweet. Not too tart. Just right. This new fragrance by Aura is consistently earning 5-star reviews.

Nest Sicilian Tangerine. Sicilian tangerine and bergamot entwined with exotic mango and passion fruit.  
This new blend by Nest is absolutely stellar. It's bursting with mouthwatering fruit and zesty citrus. If you're looking for a fruit-citrus blend, don't miss out on this one.  Nest Sicilian Tangerine is available in a candle and diffuser.

Nest Grapefruit. Pink pomelo grapefruit and watery green nuances are blended with lily of the valley and coriander blossom. This fresh fragrance leans slightly floral as it burns opening to an elegant, enchanting blend that will make any room seem larger, brighter and more refined. Nest Grapefruit is available in a candle, votive, 3-wick candle, diffuser, hand soap and more.     

Photo from Pinterest

I also love Votivo Sumatra Lemongrass. A heavy oil laden lemon richness filled the air as they approached the tropical clearing beckoning them onward with it's promise of a sensuous reward and protection from the grass.  
This fragrance is amazing for the kitchen! I absolutely adore the scent burning.

Belle Fleur Grapefruit Muguet. Fresh & exuberant. Grapefruit, lily of the valley and bergamot with fresh star jasmine.  
This fragrance is a great balance between citrus and floral. If you're looking for an elegant grapefruit, give this one a try. 

What citrus fragrances do you like?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thymes Temple Tree Jasmine Collection - NEW!

In early 2013 Thymes launched the new Temple Tree Jasmine Collection.  Jasmine is a core fragrance adored by many of all ages since ancient times.  This floral fragrance blends Temple Tree blossoms and jasmine sambac with honeysuckle, ylang ylang and damask rose steeped in silky coconut milk.  For us, jasmine and honeysuckle are the most prominent notes resting on a sweet and creamy coconut base.

Thymes Temple Tree Jasmine is available in bar soap, hand cream, body lotion, body wash, cologne, room spray (home fragrance mist) and candle.  The body lotion and hand cream are both paraben free.

Thymes does not use mineral oil, patrolatum, PABA, di-butyl phthalate, parabens, SLS/SLES, propylene glycol, DEA, TEA, formaldehyde donors or phthalates in any of their products.

If you've tried this new fragrance, let us know what you think!  Post your feedback below.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reed Diffuser How To and Tips

What is a Reed Diffuser?

Reed diffusers are a great way to add constant fragrance to your home. The diffuser reeds soak up the fragrance oil and disperse the scent into the air. They last until all the fragrance oil evaporates. Diffusers work really well in places where you always want it to smell nice but can't keep an eye on a candle. Some great locations are in a foyer so you and your guests are greeted with a beautiful fragrance when you walk in, or in a powder room, closet or basement where you always want it to smell nice but you can't always keep an eye on a candle.

How to Set Up a Reed Diffuser

Some diffusers are packaged with the oil already in the vessel.  If that is the case, simply remove the stopper and insert the reeds.  If the oil is packaged in a separate bottle, add just a few ounces of the oil to the vessel and keep the remaining oil in the bottle in a cool, dark cabinet.  The oil will stay fresh longer in a tightly sealed container.  When necessary, simply add a few more ounces of oil to the diffuser vessel to maintain the fragrance.

Use caution when inserting the reeds as sometimes the level of the fragrance oil can raise enough to spill out the top of the vessel.  It always a good idea to set up a diffuser on a non-porous surface and clean any oil drips off the vessel before placing on a delicate counter top.

Tips on How to Use a Reed Diffuser

  1. Place your diffuser in a high traffic area where the fragrance will disperse throughout the room with air circulation.  Another great spot is just inside the room near the door so you pick up the scent as you enter the room.  In many cases, think of a diffuser as a bouquet of flowers - you'll smell the fragrance as you walk by, but it won't necessarily fill the room with fragrance.  
  2. Flip the reeds for more fragrance. You can flip a few reeds every few days or all the reeds everyday.  Keep in mind the more reeds you flip and the more often you flip them, the faster the fragrance oil will evaporate. 
  3. Use caution when flipping the reeds. Flip the reeds over a wastebasket or sink and be sure to clean the vessel of any fragrance oil drips before placing on a delicate counter top.
  4. Use a coaster or plate under your diffuser to keep any oil drips from damaging a precious counter top.
  5. Flip all of the reeds on all of your diffusers before leaving for vacation. When you return home you'll be welcomed by an inviting fragrance rather than a stale, stuffy home.
  6. Pick the right size diffuser for your room.  Diffusers are just like candles - the larger the diffuser, the greater the fragrance so these will work well in big rooms.  For example, Lafco diffusers work well in large spaces.  Smaller diffusers work well in smaller spaces like powder rooms and small bedrooms.  For example, the mini Voluspa Japonica diffusers work well in small spaces.
  7. If you buy refill oil for your diffuser, clean out the vessel with soap and water and let it dry completely before you refill it. It’s better to start with fresh oil than continuously add to old oil.
  8. When you change the oil, change the reeds. Reeds get dusty and clogged over time and lose efficiency. Not all reeds are the same. Manufacturers select the optimum reeds for their oil so it’s best to stick with the same brand. For example, buy K. Hall diffuser replacement reeds for K. Hall diffuser refill oil.
  9. Make your own diffuser with a vessel you have at home.  Any small, non-porous container with a narrow opening (like a small wine bottle) will work well. Buy diffuser refill oil and a set of reeds and set up as described above and you're good to go!
What is your favorite diffuser brand?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ocean Candles for Summer

It's summertime so we thought we'd round up some of the best ocean scented candles with a strong salty flavor for you. If you're at the beach, these fragrances can add to the ambiance. If you can't make it to the beach, these candles will make you feel like the surf is right out your door.

One of my favorite salty scents is the Beach House (Sand and Surf) candle by LAFCO. It's exactly what a beach house smells like - swirling with salty air, sand and beach grass. I've tried a lot of ocean scents and many get overly floral. This one doesn't and it's definitely my #1 pick for an ocean scent. My Mom lives in Florida and loves this scent. It's perfect for her, and trust me, she is tough to please! Burn quality 4/5. Fragrance intensity 4.5/5.

Votivo White Ocean Sands perfectly blends the scent of both beach sand and salty ocean. This is a more rough ocean scent. It brings back memories of building sandcastles on the beach in Cape Cod - gritty sand mixed heavily with salty Atlantic ocean water to the point where the sand turns soupy. The woodsy essence reminds me of the mustiness you get on the Cape from the heavy, sticky salt air. The scent was surprisingly subtle by Votivo standards. We could smell the candle, but it wasn't overwhelming.  Burn quality: 4/5. Fragrance intensity: 3/5.

Jonathan Adler offers two candles with ocean fragrances: Shelter Island (Ocean) and Muse Bleu.  The both have the same fragrance description: fresh ocean notes of sea moss and sand grains with hints of sage and fir balsam and while we think they are the same fragrance, I get more out of the Muse Bleu candle and Dave prefers Shelter Island.  Jonathan Adler candles burn beautifully and are highly fragrant.

Linnea's Lights also offers two salty candles: Sea Salt and Ocean.  Ocean is more complex offering notes of  citrus and sea air with lush green florals and sea moss.   Overall, this is a very fragrant, fresh, clean scent and would work well anytime you want to brighten the room.  Burn quality 4.5/5. Fragrance intensity 4.5/5.  Linnea's Lights Sea Salt is more simplistic but a great straight-up salty scent.  This candle is very popular and layers well with other fragrances to turn your space into a beach-side retreat.  This would layer well with Voluspa Tuberosa di Notte, Voluspa Laguna, Voluspa Flora di Mare, Votivo Jasmine Neroli or Nest Bamboo to name a few. 

What ocean scented candle do you enjoy the most? 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

8 Uses for a Reed Diffuser

You know those bottles of oil you see in the stores with the reeds sticking out the top?  If you're like many, you're probably wondering what they are, how to use them, and what to do with them.  They are reed diffusers that provide a constant fragrance without having to light them.  (No, the reeds are not meant to be lit.)

For what they are and how to use them, checkout our blog post here:  For what to do with them, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Place a reed diffuser in your front foyer to great everyone (even you!) with a welcoming scent.
  2. If you are having guests over, place a diffuser in the guest room and/or your powder rooms.  It will make them feel like they are staying in a luxury hotel!
  3. Place a diffuser in your unfinished basement. It will smell beautiful instead of dusty and musty.
  4. Put a diffuser on the shelf in your closet to help keep your clothes smelling nice instead of stale.
  5. Place one in your kid's room to get rid of body and foot odor.
  6. Before you leave for vacation, flip all of the reeds on all of your diffusers. When you return you'll be welcomed by an inviting fragrant home, rather than stuffy air from a house that has been closed up.
  7. If you can't burn candles at work, bring a diffuser for your desk to keep you engaged and comfortable in your work space.
  8. They make great gifts!  A reed diffuser is the perfect gift for a fragrance lover that  can't burn candles where they live, such as the elderly or college students. 

What's your favorite place for a reed diffuser?

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Perfect Gardenia Candle - The Search is On

It's a miracle!  Our gardenia plant that has been half-dead for 2 years finally bloomed for the first time. The blooms are scraggly but smell amazing.  I immediately recognized the scent as it smells just like the gardenia candles in our store.  Not all flower fragrances are an exact match to the actual flower (like peony, orchid and sunflower) but this was spot on prompting my search for the perfect gardenia candle.

Gardenia flowers smell exactly as they look - thick, heavy, velvety, milky, creamy and white.  If you're not a huge fan of florals, you might want to start with something lighter in quality and work your way up to gardenia.  If you like heady florals that really fill a room, be sure to try a gardenia candle.  The fragrance is lovely and unforgettable.   

Voluspa Gardenia Colonia
This gardenia scented candle is rich and warm with a buttery note and a hint of creamy coconut.  It's heady but not heavy or overdone.  I definitely recommend this fragrance if you are looking for something close to the real deal.  I enjoyed the Voluspa Gardenia 12oz jar candle that is milky white and translucent so you can see the candle burn adding to the ambiance.  This candle is also available in an adorable votive, 2-wick tin candle that is perfect for gifting and a large, opaque, ceramic vessel.  The Voluspa Gardenia Colonia room spray and diffuser work well to complement the candle.  Fragrance intensity 4/5.  Burn quality 4.5/5.

Red Flower Spanish Gardenia
This gardenia fragrance is clean and playful with an almost juicy quality.  The candle wax glows as it burns creating a memorizing effect. I highly recommend this candle if you are looking for something true and memorable.  The Red Flower petal-topped large candle lasts 50-60 hours.  The petite candle last 15 hours and is perfect for a powder room with its minuscule size.  Fragrance intensity 4/5.  Burn quality 3/5 (it was a very old tester).

Seda France Elegant Gardenia
Wow!  Very pleasantly surprised with this one.  It has a strong layer of fresh cut greens that lifts the scent creating a very lovely floral bouquet.  It's not has heavy or heady as most gardenia fragrances - which is good and bad.  Good for me as I'm not a huge fan of heavy florals, which is why I'm enjoying this one so much.  Bad if your looking for a true gardenia fragrance.  I wouldn't say this is dead-on gardenia.  Of all the gardenia candles on this list, this one strays the farthest from the actual flower, but I really enjoy this variation.  I highly recommend this scent if you enjoy floral bouquets. Fragrance intensity 4/5. Burn quality 4/5.

Thompson Ferrier Delicate Gardenia
If you're looking for a gardenia with a little more depth and earthy nuances give this one a try.  The warm amber and musk come through lightly adding nice character.  I love the look of this elegant vessel with the candle is burning.  The fragrance was not overwhelming in an average sized room.  Fragrance intensity 4/5.  Burn quality 4/5.

Lafco Living Room Fresh Cut Gardenia
This is a very smooth and mellow gardenia fragrance.  It's elegant and refined yet incredibly simple.  If you're looking for comfort over outstanding, this fragrance will love you for the long run. I love the hand-blown vessel and long burn time.  Fragrance intensity 4/5. Burn quality 4/5.

Voluspa Tiares
Hands down, this is definitely the most beautiful vessel in the bunch.  Absolutely stunning pale pink beaded glass with a iridescent finish.  It will make a gorgeous flower vase when the candle is done.  The fragrance is lovely as well.  It doesn't smell as much like the gardenia blooming in my front yard, but I certainly am not growing Tahitian Gardenia. This is a sensual blend and I can pick up the notes of freesia complemented by creamy milk and and coconut.  Voluspa Tiares is available in the large Alta vessel, short Corta vessel and Petite vessel.  All of the fragrances in the Voluspa L. Florem Collection have been made into adorable little perfumes and rich hand cream. Fragrance intensity 4/5. Burn quality 5/5.

Tocca Feu de Touch
I love this natural blend that is incredibly close to the actually flower.  There's a fruitiness to this fragrance that makes it incredibly enjoyable and not burdensome.   Fragrance intensity 4/5.  Burn quality 4/5.

What is your favorite gardenia candle?