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By Erin Williams

Raise your hand if you were in the blackout. Good, now raise your hand if you were equipped for the blackout. Okay, now, raise your hand if your apartment was filled with light and incredible smells during the blackout. Hands are quickly dropping here, girls. We need to be ready and that means being prepared and doing it with style.

Candles come in all shapes, sizes, and smells and there is one out there that can truly make your world a brighter place. But how many times have you bought a candle and once you got it home there’s no smell, the wick decides to migrate south for the winter, or the wax simply funnels right down the middle? There are some candles that live up to high expectations and can turn your home into a place of bliss.

If you’re a lightly scented fan, Bath Bloomers, www.bath-bloomers.com, are a great choice. The line was founded by Mary Feldman and is created from pure essential oils and herbs, their primary focus being on the relaxing and restorative qualities of bath time. The 6 oz. Blazing Botanical Candles burn for 48 hours and have fragrances inspired by worldwide locales. From the pine trees of Scandinavia to the hibiscus of Greece, there’s global stimulation for everyone. The Tangerine Yin Yang Candle contains tangerine (which originated in China and is renowned for its harmonizing properties), grapefruit, lemongrass and sage essential oils which are all designed to stimulate and soothe. The result is a light scent that isn’t oppressive.

If you like a little more oomph to your candles and you haven’t tried Tocca’s wares, then high thee hence to www.tocca.com. Tocca’s candles smell amazing and have some really original aromas – from 007, smelling of leather and a dry Martini, to Sophia, smelling of fresh cut Italian herbs and tomatoes. Their two latest candles for the fall, Tara and Yma, are incredible. Tara ‘s base is the Himalayan! mountain flower White Ginger Lily which is akin in smell to gardenia. Tara is “one who saves” in Buddhism and is among the most highly worshipped goddess figures. Yma is a fruitier offering with a top note of guava while red currant adds a splash of sweet citrus. Yma Sumac was a legendary Peruvian mambo singer who served as inspiration. The new candles are 10.6 oz with a lead free wick and burn for 60 hours.

Another fare for candle dieters is from fragrance queen, Sarah Horowitz, of Creative Scentualization. She launched her Perfect Perfume Candles due to positive response from her Perfect Perfumes line (worn by everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Madonna). The candles are packaged in clear glass jars with a black band circling the base and are available in five fragrances. “Perfect Vanilla” is a cacophony of vanilla including four types of the bean with hints of patchouli, musk, and tobacco topped off with Israeli Blood Orange. The result is a light scent that floats its way through your home.

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Most candles are made up of paraffin was but there is a camp that is quickly gaining ground – soy candles. Jimmy Belasco created Er’go Candles (Latin for therefore”) in 1999, www.ergocandles.com, and currently lists Oprah as a fan. The wax is all vegetable, 100% natural soy wax from soy beans farmed in the United States. They contain no chemicals, paraffin, or petroleum. The wicks are cotton or paper core and the candles themselves contain the highest quality of oils. Er’go has their line divided into a handful of categories. The Solo Line, 7 oz., takes single items from Mother Nature and focuses on exploring the multiple dimensions of each item. Guava was my favorite, burning around 55 hours, filling the apartment with its sweet fragrance. The Spa Silver Line is 20-30% less fragrant than the rest of their candles and is perfect for spas or bathrooms where you want a more subtle scent. White Flower, composed of jasmine, tuberose, and ylang ylang is ideal for a lighter touch.

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Something I thought was really original was Er-go’s Pure Passion Collection – these are mini versions of their Passion Candles sold in boxed sets of 1.5 oz. candles that burn for 15 hours each. It includes one top note candle and one base note candle and you can mix and match however your little heart desires with neroli, musk, cassis, and amber. They’re really creative and let you unleash your inner fragrance goddess.

One constant with candles is the care that they require. There are two basic rules dealing with burn time and wick trimming. For every inch in diameter of your candle you should burn it for an hour. Candles require commitment and if you can’t hack it they will funnel their way out of your life. Also, before you light your flame cut the wick! This prevents smoking candles and blackened wax.

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You can run the gamut from $4 to $40 and more. If you’re in need of a quick and easy fix Glade’s French Vanilla, www.glade.com, and Air Wick/Wizard’s Lavender Fields, www.airwick.com, are seriously yummy and last. Or you can go to the granddaddy of them all and check out Diptyque’s latest candle Essence of John Galliano”, www.eluxury.com, and see what their first celeb partnering smells like (woody with iris and vanilla musk).

So the next time the lights go out you will be prepared. We look great in candle light anyway and match that with darkness, the next blackout could actually be a really good time.

Originally published October 2003
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