The other evening I was sitting with some of my students (I teach a novel writing class at Mediabistro) and the subject of Poire William came up. Poire, of course, is pear in French, and Pear William is an old-fashioned liqueur, sweet and fruity, wonderful for cleansing the palate after a meal, and goes well with cheese and grapes and such.
Many companies, especially in France, still sell the liqueur with the whole pear in the bottle "“ and if you're going to try it for the first time, I highly recommend getting a hold of this more expensive version.
So how do they get the pear in the bottle? Simple, the bottle is attached to the branch of a budding pear tree and the fruit grows inside it. Air is periodically pumped into the bottle so the fruit doesn't rot and some even cut the other pears off the branch so the one pear gets as much nutrition as possible.
Then, before the bottle is filled with the liqueur, the pear is pricked slightly to let the juice out. All this got me thinking: I wonder what other beverages are made this way? If you have one to share, by all means, do tell.
Need to Calm Yourself Down? Try This Military-Approved Breathing Technique
BY Kirstin Fawcett
October 23, 2017
Whether you’re dealing with co-worker chaos or pressure to perform on a project, it’s difficult to excel at work when you're extremely stressed. Can’t escape the office? Take a cue from real-life soldiers and try a technique called tactical breathing—also known as combat breathing, four-count breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing—to lower your heart rate and regain control of your breath.
“It’s one you can use when things are blowing up around you”—both literally and figuratively—“and you need to be able to stay calm,” explains clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich, who demonstrates a version of tactical breathing in Tech Insider’s video below.
Vranich is the author of 2016’s Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve your Mental and Physical Health. Watch, learn, and—of course—inhale and exhale along with her until you feel zen enough to salvage the remainder of your workday.
10 Creepy Candles to Get You in the Halloween Mood
BY Kirstin Fawcett
October 23, 2017
Candles are always a handy household accessory, but they're especially useful around Halloween, when they can be used to light jack-o'-lanterns, summon spirits, or simply brighten a long, dark night. These spooky lights are more suited for tabletops than pumpkins, or soirees than seances, but they'll still make your upcoming costume shindig extra festive (and fragrant, to boot).
1. KISA CANDLE
PyroPet’s cat-shaped Kisa candle looks like an ordinary wax feline. But as it melts, a hidden surprise reveals itself: a macabre metallic skeleton with charred bones and bared fangs.
The Kisa candle costs $34 and comes in three colors: pink, gray, and an ultra-spooky black. Not into cats? Additional PyroPet offerings include birds, bunnies, reindeer, owls, and dragons, all with the same silver framework.
2. BRAIN CANDLE
This specimen-inspired candle by Etsy seller Creepy Candles would look equally at place in a mad scientist’s laboratory as it would at a Halloween soiree. A wax brain is suspended in green-tinted gel that resembles formaldehyde, but the candle itself thankfully smells like grapefruit. The Brain Candle costs $25 and is handmade to order.
3. HUMAN SPINE CANDLES
Grave Digger Candles
Grow a spine this Halloween—or at least buy one. These notched beeswax pillar candles are inspired by the Victorian Era, a period in which physicians created detailed wax models of flayed corpses to teach medical students the literal ins and outs of anatomy. Etsy seller Grave Digger Candles sells them in sets of three for $76.
4. OUIJA BOARD CANDLE
This Ouija board-inspired, LED battery-operated candle probably won’t summon spirits, but it’s still spine-tinglingly spooky. Sold by Etsy user Twisted Nightmares, it costs $20 and requires three AAA batteries, which aren’t included with purchase.
5. BLEEDING HEART CANDLE
Cozy Custom Candles
Love guts, blood, and Gothic romance? Your heart might bleed for this candle, which turns into a gushing heart when lit. Sold by Etsy seller Cozy Custom Candles, the heart-shaped light source has a white outer shell made from a high-melt point paraffin wax, while its core is made of a red-colored wax blend with a low melting point. The candle hemorrhages vital fluids as it burns, making it the perfect accessory for a bloody good time.
The Bleeding Heart Candle costs $17 and comes in multiple autumnal scents, including caramel apple, pumpkin pie, and sweet cinnamon-pumpkin.
6. PICK YOUR POISON CANDLES
Mr. Toad's House of Wax
The “Pick Your Poison” candles by Etsy seller Mr. Toad’s House of Wax appear to have been snatched from the shelf of a Victorian apothecarist. But while labeled “Poison Hemlock Oil” and “Tincture of Wolfsbane Poison,” they smell like fresh fallen leaves, pumpkin spice, and other autumnal scents when lit. Both candles cost $21, and are embellished with a sparkly jewel and black velvet ribbon.
7. CREEPY WOODS & GRAVEYARD DIRT CANDLE
Geeky Girl Scents
There’s nothing quite like the aroma of trees and fresh graveyard dirt on a fall night. With hints of wood and earth, this candle by Etsy seller Geek Girl Scents will make your living room smell like a haunted cemetery. An eight-ounce jar costs $15, and a 16-ounce version is also available.
8. WITCH FARTS CANDLE
The Candle Crate
If you’ve ever wondered what witch gas smells like (who hasn’t?), you can find out by purchasing The Candle Crate’s flaming ode to supernatural flatulence. The Etsy seller’s “Witch Farts” candle is more Glinda the Good Witch than Elphaba, with top notes of peach, apricot, and blackberries and middle notes of mandarin, cinnamon, and rose.
Even if you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, you can still keep them at bay with this “Ghost Repellent” candle by Etsy sellers Nola And Neighbors. It smells like lavender and sage, and comes with an instruction label informing owners to light it “at dusk or dawn” for best results—although the ghost’s removal is “not guaranteed.” At $17, it’s still way cheaper than hiring the Ghostbusters.
10. ZOMBIE GOLDEN GIRLS PRAYER CANDLE SET
The Eternal Flame
Golden Girls devotees who’d follow the Fab Four to the grave and beyond can light up their lanais with these zombie prayer candles by Etsy shop The Eternal Flame. They come in sets of four (one for each Girl, naturally) and cost $40. Color choices include white, orange, and purple.