15 Cool and Unusual Candles

amazon
amazon

Candles are a great way to add some ambiance to any room—especially when that candle smells like pizza. The next time you're planning a special evening, with yourself or someone else, consider these options.

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1. SLICED "FRUIT"

watermelon candle
Etsy

These handpainted candles come in a variety of shapes like lemons, kiwis, and watermelon slices.

Find It: Etsy 

2. GLACIERS 

Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson's creations have a message behind them: global warming can only be ignored for so long. Just like real icebergs, these wax designs melt when you light them. Choose from five different shapes.

Find it: Generate

3.  CURLING CANDLE 

These tapers look ordinary enough—until you strike a match, that is. Once these ombré candles begin to burn, their sides curl and fold over, creating whimsical, eyecatching designs.

Find it: Uncommon Goods

4. SKUNK- OR CHLORINE-SCENTED

If fresh pine isn’t your thing, may we suggest nacho cheese? The Stinky Candle Company specializes in candles boasting unorthodox odors. Choose from scents like chlorine, garlic, skunk, and potting soil. While we don’t recommend the fart or skunk candles, the money candle definitely has some potential.

Find it: Stinky Candle Company

5. CRYING CANDLES  

The magic to these candles is the ceramic holder. The candles—shaped like a brain, antlers, and bunny ears—fit snugly into a skull, deer, and rabbit holder, respectively. When the colored wax starts to melt, it oozes through the eyeholes of the holder, making it look as though the figurine is crying. The Kickstarter campaign for these creepy-but-cool candles is over, but keep an eye on the designers' page for updates about availability.

6. BOOK CANDLES  

Perfect for curling up with a good book: Candles with scents based on classic works of literature. Pick from “Sherlock’s Study,” “Winterfell,” or “Gatsby’s Mansion.” Or channel the smell of your favorite collection with “Old Books” and “Trashy Romance Novel.”

Find it: Etsy

7. MELTING CAT  

These geometric cat candles hold a (slightly morbid) surprise inside. Once lit, a skeleton cat emerges, which almost makes you feel bad for setting it on fire in the first place. If the cat's not your style, the candle also comes in bird and deer form.

Find it: Amazon

8. ROMAN CANDLES 

The packaging on these punny candles, which come shaped like Roman numerals, promises they'll help you party like it's MCMXCIX.

Find it: Amazon

9. CACTI

These realistic cacti candles might fool your friends—until you light them. The wax candles come in sets of six.

Find it: Amazon

10. PIZZA-SCENTED 

Here’s another unusually-scented candle for your enjoyment. Created by Man Cans, this candle smells just like New York-style pizza. As the name implies, it comes in a metal can. Fancy!

Find it: Man Cans 

11. PLANTABLE PACKAGING

This candle smells like a blooming garden filled with poppies and sunflowers. If the floral candle makes you long for the real deal, simply soak the seed-infused box in water and plant it in the ground. 

Find it: Uncommon Goods

12. KATZ’S CHOCOLATE EGG CREAM-SCENTED

You may know that Katz’s Deli has its own beer, but did you know it sells a candle, too? Made in Brooklyn, these wax creations evoke the restaurant’s famous chocolate egg creams. Light one and be transported to NYC's Lower East Side, no matter how far away you actually are.

Find it: Uncommon Goods 

13. CRACKLING CANDLES 

The next best thing to a real fireplace? These candles, which boast wooden wicks that crackle as though you'd thrown another log on the pile. The candles comes in three cozy scents: Sweater Weather, Mulled Cider, and Snow Day.

Find it: Uncommon Goods

14. 60-HOUR CANDLE  

This long-lasting candle features a coiled design, which promises 60 hours of burn time. Simply pull the candle through the clip to burn more.

Find it: Amazon 

15. BODY PARTS 

If the skeleton cat and the weeping skull weren't creepy enough, consider one of these hyper-realistic candles molded to look like ears and mouths. Not our personal idea of tranquility, but hey: to each their own!

Find it: Etsy

7 Ways to Take Advantage of the Bullet Journal Method

iStock.com/Neustockimages
iStock.com/Neustockimages

If you haven't heard of the bullet journal, it's the productivity method du jour—one that combines the features of a planner, calendar, to-do list, diary, and more. It's not a specific product (although the founder of the method, Ryder Carroll, has created a special notebook for it) as much as a way of creating a journaling system that works for you.

Proponents say the method helps you focus your time and your goals, in part through periodic "migration" sessions that force you to review how you've been spending your days. And yes, it's popular on Instagram—because many bullet journalers have filled their notebooks with colorful flair. (But that part is entirely optional.)

While core components of the bullet journal system like monthly spreads and daily logs are great, many bullet journalers like to add other features that fit their own life. After all, the beauty of the method is the customization and flexibility. We've rounded up a few ideas for new and not-so-new bullet journalers alike to try.

1. Track—and fuel—your creative projects.

Let's say that, like most people, you have a day job. But at night, you're writing the next Great American Novel—or at least some short stories. You might get an idea related to one of those projects on your morning commute or while taking a walk in the park at lunch. There's no time to pull out the manuscript, and if you email yourself the idea it might get lost in a jumble of newsletters and other alerts.

Instead, just start a new page for the project in your journal, note it in your index, and scribble away. You can come back to it later, and fill in other, non-sequential pages in the journal as the mood strikes. Your journal probably isn't the best place to write whole stories, but it's perfect if you just had a mini-breakthrough you want to take down, or even as a way to keep track of potential prompts and inspiration.

2. Improve your habits.

Habit trackers are some of the most popular add-ons to the regular bullet journal time-oriented spreads. You can make yours cute—tracking the number of glasses of water you drink a day by coloring in a big glass, say—or more minimalist, perhaps by listing the habits you want to build (yoga, waking up early) on the left next to a chart of days and coloring in the days you manage to do the habit. You can also create a page just to log you often you do one particular thing—drinking alcohol, for example. Some people even use their bullet journals to track food and digestive symptoms, either by creating a section for a food journal or just noting in their daily log when they eat a certain food and how it makes them feel.

3. Save money.

You can create a custom spread for your monthly budget, track all your expenses, or just track your purchases in a particular category (say, eating out) if there's a particular type of spending you're trying to curb. The design can be as crafty as you like—whether you're coloring in bricks that represent each $50 saved toward a house or just filling in columns noting every time you make a purchase. The key is that, as with health habits, writing something down can serve as a powerful motivator and/or deterrent, since you know you'll have to come face-to-face with yourself at the end of the month.

4. Plan your meals.

Nothing combines health and finance goals quite like planning your meals. You can make your meal plan a section of your weekly spread: Carroll, the bullet journal's creator, likes to set up a list of meals on the left page of his notebook and a shopping list of ingredients on the right. Dividing the items by categories (like meat, produce, and pantry staples) can speed things up at the store, too. It's great to do this at home so you can check the fridge and see what you're missing. Then, when you're done shopping, note how much you spent at the bottom of the list. You can track that to develop insights about your grocery budget.

Over time, you can also create lists to help you with meal planning, perhaps "Favorite Weeknight Dinners," "Easy Work Lunches," etc. Some people also like to create a master grocery list of frequently bought items they can consult whenever they're at the store, just in case they forget to write staples down on their weekly shopping list.

5. Remember the good things.

In our flurry of to-do lists, project deadlines, and meal plans, it can be easy to forget about the things that brighten our days, whether it's an especially funny joke from a colleague or a milestone in a child's development. Create a "memories" page (don't forget to log it in your index!) where you record the great stuff that happens, and pull it out to reflect whenever you're having a gray day. Some bullet journalers like to put pages like this toward the back of their journals to separate them out from the time-oriented spreads. A memories page is also a great opportunity to bust out some thematic artwork.

6. Track your reading lists.

Another great way to encourage better habits is through a reading log. Like a memory log, many people like to put this toward the back of their journal, although ultimately the placement is totally up to you. You can keep track of all the books you read this year, perhaps with notes on what you thought of them—a definite resource when you're drawing up those year-end best-of lists to share with other reading pals!

7. Pair it with an app.

While the bullet journal is touted as "the analog method for the digital age," most of us don't want to go full-on analog. There's now an official companion app that will help you organize and search your old bullet journals, help you learn the method, offer prompts, and serve as a log for when you're away from your journal. It's designed as an addition to the journal, not a replacement, so you still need to put in that time with pen (or pencil, or watercolor brush) and paper.

Bullet journals also pair well with apps like Evernote—for example, you can use Evernote on your smartphone to snap photos of text you scrawl down to save digitally for later use. (Maybe those on-the-fly notes on your novel go into an Evernote notebook that you consult when you have a bit more time, for example.) That's a good option for longer-term projects that might span a couple notebooks.

Many people also use both bullet journals and an online calendar, using the latter for fixed events like birthdays and doctors appointments and the former as more of a way to time-block the day and focus on goals. After all, the beauty of the bullet journal is that unlike digital space, the paper in your notebook is finite—which helps you realize that so is your time and energy. That makes it easier to plan accordingly.

This Ingenious Hanger Makes Hanging Pants a Breeze, No Clips or Folds Required

Hurdle Hanger
Hurdle Hanger

Get ready to clean out your closet. No, we don’t mean going all Marie Kondo on your clothes. There’s a new type of clothes hanger that promises to change the way you store your clothes, taking the headache out of hanging up your pants.

The Hurdle Hanger, which has currently raised more than $33,000 on Kickstarter, calls itself the “one-second pants hanger.” Rather than relying on cumbersome clips or requiring bulky folding techniques, the hanger design employs one very simple change: It hooks into the belt loops of your pants.

The angular hanger is open on one side so that you can slide the bar through the belt loops of your pants, letting you secure your pants in one smooth motion rather than struggling with the pant clips that will just wrinkle your waistband anyway.

A person slides the Hurdle Hanger through the belt loops of a pants to hang them.
Hurdle Hanger

Just slide the hanger bar through the belt loop (or loops) farthest from you, then hang the belt loop closest to you from the hook. There is another hook midway across the bar that secures the middle belt loop, keeping your pants from drooping while they hang. In another subtle touch, you can use the same hook to hang smaller items, like belts or hats, off the side.

The Hurdle Hanger is an example of smart design at its finest—the kind of idea that, when you see it in action, makes you think, “Wait, how did no one think of this before?” It takes a once-cumbersome task and makes it seamless, eliminating at least some of the burden that may be keeping you from accomplishing the chore of hanging up your clothes. No more messing with clips or trying to shove pants through the cramped hole in the hanger to fold them over.

There are already open-end pants hangers that make it easier to slide a folded pair of slacks into your closet, but the belt loop hooks take the Hurdle Hanger to another level. You might even get inspired enough to start hanging your jeans.

A 10-pack of hangers is $20 on Kickstarter—though anything that makes you actively excited to organize your closet is priceless.

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