Friday, December 12, 2008

Warm Your Home with Cinnamon

Cinnamon bush with bark peeled back, Zanzibar

Cinnamon is one of my favorite scents and flavors. As a kid, I really enjoyed buttered toast sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. When I studied in France, I was looking to buy cinnamon but didn't know what it was called , so I asked the grocer in my best French: "I would like the brown spice that one eats with apples" - and he amusedly pointed me to canelle. Even today, I have a really embarassing addiction to Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. So when I had to make cookies for a cookie exchange party I recently hosted, naturally I wanted to use cinnamon, especially because it has such nice nice fall & holiday associations.

In searching for a good cinnamon cookie recipe, I stumbled across a great blog - Kitchen Addiction. Rachel posts amazing recipes and I made her Chewy Cinnamon Cookies for my party. Her recipe held up to my numerous mistakes and they still tasted good. (She even fielded frantic questions from me via email - thanks so much!) But the biggest benefit of baking all day was that my house smelled deliciously cinnamon-y.

Now, to recapture that scent without the mixing, beating, measuring and cleaning up! Just like the gal in the silly Glade gingerbread man commercial (you know the one I mean), I burn a cinnamon candle. I have a few favorites:

For a spicy vanilla with a little bite, burn Votivo's Cinnamon candle, No 76. This is no longer on Votivo's website - very sad if discontinued - but you can find it here for $24.90.

Cinnamon is also amazing when combined with orange and clove, which is why the Arancio & Canella candle by Lorenzo Villoresi is such a delight. I got this one at Lafco NY; they carry Villoresi scents on their website; call them to see if candles are also in stock.

OK, how about a candle that we can actually find & buy!? For immediate gratification, head to your Bath & Body Works and get the Henri Bendel Cinnamon Bark candle. This candle features the unmistakable, timeless scent of cinnamon bark blended with frosted bergamot, fresh orange, clove bud and smoky musk.

Finally, if you prefer other ways to scent your home than just using candles (maybe little ones are about and candles pose a risk), then you can enjoy Slatkin's Cinnamon & Clove Buds scent in a "Right at Home" gift set of a 4-oz candle, 1.5 oz room spray and Wallflowers® Pluggable Home Fragrance Diffuser set.

Enjoy these candles on days you're not baking... and when you are, definitely head to Kitchen Addiction!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Smell... I mean that in a good way

Let's be honest, a big percentage of beauty purchasing decisions are packaging-based. I'm not even much of a soap user, but I was excited when I saw these soaps from YOU SMELL. Yes, that's the name. The packages say "You Smell" on the front and "like a " on the back.

The design is really fun - it reminds me of a cross between vintage fruit-box labels and old botanical prints. The copy is cheeky but not too silly; on the front we're reminded that "people like people who smell good" and on the side of the wrapper, we are assured that "help is on the way" and reminded to "resist the urge to eat it". Can't you just see these for sale in an Anthropologie store?

But of course, packaging is only part of the story - the product has to be good! These soaps are made from all-natural goat's milk and shea butter. It's hand-made from start to finish and has a smooth and creamy texture. I put them near my kitchen sink and used them for my frequent hand-washing, and they didn't dry out my skin.

There are only 2 fragrances at the moment - Lemon Verbena and Lavender Mint. I am partial to the calming Lavender Mint, but my recent houseguests preferred the zesty Lemon Verbena. Contrary to what the name might suggest, the soaps are not overly perfumed such that they leave a heavy scent on your skin, a benefit for those wanting little interference with their perfumes. The scent remains only as a hint, but I find myself wishing these lovely scents would stick around and make "me smell" a bit more!

The company is just getting started so you're hearing about it before the Anthropologies of the world make them available all over. For now, purchase online at for $8.50/bar. They would be a funny stocking stuffer for a sibling or anyone else who can stand up to being told, "You smell!"