Culture Feature

The Best Candles to Gift Someone

Here are some of the best candles of 2021 to give to a friend or lover


We've all struggled about what to get our loved ones when it comes time to gift-give.

But the beauty of candles is that everyone loves them. Who doesn't like the smell of a good, wholesome candle when they walk into a room? Well, for those of you looking to really step up your candle game, look no further thanBrooklyn Candle Studio.

With a devout mission to create candles that captivate the senses, all with the best ingredients and sexiest design, Brooklyn Candle Studio is a luxury candle company that doesn't rely on chemical scents to do the heavy lifting. Birthed from 100% soy wax, these candles are derived from American-grown soybeans that produce an eco-friendly and clean burn.

With lead-free cotton wicks and yummy fragrance oils infused with essential oils, Brooklyn Candle Studio's candles are vegan, cruelty-free, phthalate-free, and petroleum-free. Here are the best candles the company has to offer its customers.

Maui Escapist Candle

Maui Escapist Candle

Maui Escapist Candle

This gorgeous candle from Brooklyn Candle Studio is one of their most popular items, and for good reason. Picture this: the tide crashing against the shore along a secret coastal island in Maui. As the waves crash, subtle notes of sea salt, sea moss and driftwood lightly hit your nose. A sprinkle of zest bergamot and cushy ylang ylang close out the ocean aroma. That's what it's like to smell this candle.

Made in Brooklyn. New York with 100% soy wax, the Maui Escapist Candle guarantees a transporting sensory experience, and a clean eco-friendly burn.

Check it out here.

Brooklyn Escapist Candle

Brooklyn Escapist Candle

Brooklyn Escapist Candle

Now the bustling borough of Brooklyn, New York might not seem like it translates over to a scent thats welcoming, calm and relaxing, but hear us out. The scent of this candle is inspired by a late, romantic night out on the town. As you loiter with friends at your cozy neighborhood cocktail bar, as live jazz serenades you while you sip on a fancy alcoholic beverage made from fresh ingredients like wild sage cassis and orange blossom. That's what it's like to smell this candle. You may not think Brooklyn is right for you, but this candle will make you pine for the city life.

Check it out here.

Santa Fe Escapist Candle

Santa Fe Escapist Candle

Santa Fe Escapist Candle

Inspired by a spontaneous winter trip, this earthy scent is perfect for those in the winter that desire the sunshine and cool ocean breeze. Curated with wild aromas of orchid cactus, wild sage, juniper and piñon, this candle will make you wanna get up and explore the desert, and spend nights basking by a kiva fireplace. For those truly yearning to get away during these colder months that are coming up, this Santa Fe Escapist Candle is for you.

Check it out here.

Sunday Morning Minimalist Candles

Sunday Morning Minimalist Candles

Sunday Morning Minimalist Candles

The Minimalist collection is for those who want their scent to linger more in the background rather than absorb your senses, and this Sunday Morning candle is one of the company's best. Bringing to life images of a bustling local farmer's market, this candle toys with luscious fruit scents and freshly picked flowers. Pear and bergamot float through your nostrils along with a hint of jasmine and gardenia, and it's all finished with a thick, warming base of amber woods. For those wanting to make the most out of their lazy Sunday, simply spark up this candle and relax.

Check it out here.

Fern + Moss Minimalist Candle

Fern + Moss Minimalist Candle

Fern + Moss Minimalist Candle

You ever take a walk outside after a big rainstorm? That thick earthy smell of the world around you? That's what this candle brings to life. Inspired by the dewy Fern Canyon in Northern Cali, the Fern + Moss blend brings with it hints of sage and lavender, along with a woodsy base note of spruce and pine to capture the enthralling smell of nature. This candle is also infused with natural sage, lavender and orange essential oils, helping to round out the candle's engrossing smell.

Check it out here!

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A year into the pandemic, wellness is a growing industry and we need it now more than ever.

Well, we're approaching a year since the Covid-19 pandemic picked us all up and body-slammed us against the empty shells of our old lives.

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But whether you started lockdown with a yoga mat and a plan to get in shape but quickly fell off, deduced by the wiles of sweatsuits and banana bread, or whether you had no such intentions but are worried your muscles may be atrophying and your stress headache has not gone away for days, it might be time for a change.

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Music Lists

How to Heal Yourself with Music

Listen to our playlist of healing songs while reading this (linked at the bottom) for optimal effect.

Singing Bowls

Photo by Magic Bowls on Unsplash

Anyone who's ever loved a song or cried to a great album knows: Music can be truly healing.

There's actually a scientific basis for that feeling of euphoria and comfort you get from listening to certain music. Music can do a ton of extraordinary things—it can increase our dopamine levels, can affect breathing and heart rate, and can even transport us back in time by triggering our emotional memory.

Because of its unique capabilities, music has long been a popular form of healing across the world. Many ancient religions believed the world was a collection of vibrations, and "good vibrations," or harmonious sounds, could promote healing and balance, while jarring vibrations could lead to physical and mental disturbances. "In Vedic teachings, the science of the influence of sound and music is known as Gandharva Veda. Through this practice, the music of nature is used to restore balance to your mind and body," writes Vedic educator Adam Brady. "Using specific pieces of music or melodies, vibratory coherence can be strengthened, assisting with healing and helping to settle the mind."

Earth's Vibrational Frequency - Schumann Resonance Healing Music With Binaural


In the modern world, music therapists are still being utilized everywhere from psychiatric facilities to nurseries to corporate retreats and beyond. In general, music therapists are trained to play specific kinds of music to evoke certain responses. Often, their work goes beyond emotions and treats physiological ailments. In some recent clinical studies, music has been able to restore lost speech, reduce side effects of cancer therapy, relieve pain, and improve life for dementia patients. It can improve symptoms for schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and can even increase empathy. In other studies, music has literally changed the shape and increased the resiliency of human blood cells, possibly increasing the human lifespan.

This healing happens in all different ways. Sometimes, music and sound therapists use specific frequencies and sounds to target very specific ailments. Other times, lyrics play a stronger role, either motivating patients or inspiring them or making them feel less alone. Sometimes music therapy even involves teaching patients to play their own instruments and to write their own songs. Music has also long been used in social movements, with songs like "We Shall Overcome" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" playing integral roles in tying protests together. So if you've ever heard a song and felt like it changed your life, you're probably not alone—music can do a lot more than change your mood: It can also change the world.

We Shall Over Come - Mahalia

If you're dealing with mental health issues or are simply seeking inspiration, finding a music therapist might be a great alternative to traditional talk therapy. But there are also some easy ways to also incorporate music into your self-care practice.

How to Use Music to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

If you want to use music to help with anxiety, one study from Stanford University found that three types of music reduce stress best:

  • Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed-instrments, drums and flutes
  • Sounds of rain, thunder, and nature
  • Light jazz, classical, and easy listening

You can also participate in a healing sound bath or a sound meditation, which are widely available on streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Here are a bunch to listen to, via the University of Nevada. (Try "Echoes of Time," a Native American flute music piece, or "Weightless," a composition by Marconi Union designed to reduce blood pressure and lower levels of cortisol stress hormone).

Marconi Union - Weightless (Official Video)

You can also try listening to recordings of Tibetan singing bowls, which are specially designed to fill your body with healing resonance.

Quick 11 min. Chakra Tune-up with Himalayan Singing Bowls

The Beatles - Hey

In general, positive-sounding and peaceful compositions will get the job done, though of course sad songs can also offer necessary catharsis.

For an optimal stress-reducing experience, make sure you drop everything and allow yourself to listen to the music. Don't use your phone or do work while listening; instead, throw on a pair of your best headphones, lock yourself in a dark room and let the sound waves wash the rest of the world away, bringing you into a magical realm of peace and harmony. This can bring your brain into an "alpha state," which is "that relaxed but alert feeling you get when activity ceases and you have a moment to reflect and recharge," according to Dr. Frank Lipman.

Use Music to Raise Your Mood

On a basic level, happy music can make you happy—though of course it doesn't always work out that way. Still, since music has such a strong effect on memory, if you're looking to raise your mood, you might seek out songs that remind you of truly happy moments.

You can even preemptively design a playlist of music that will make you happy during tough times. The next time you're about to do something fun or are feeling content, make a playlist of songs that you listen to exclusively during that experience. Listen to it over and over, and then when you're feeling nostalgic, cue up that playlist and let the memories live on.

According to a Stanford University study, upbeat, energetic, and rhythmic selections can (unsurprisingly) raise one's mood most effectively. Compositions like Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train" and upbeat Beatles tunes were specifically effective in raising subjects' moods. In addition, dancing along to music can raise endorphins, and the combination of auditory stimulation and movement that comes from dancing to music can help improve your mood even more.

Binaural beats can also help raise your mood and can lower anxiety. This semi-experimental treatment uses tones at lower than 1000 Hz, and plays different frequencies in each ear. According to proponents of this therapy, the brain independently balances out the different frequencies, creating a sense of calm.

Music can also help out with insomnia. Mike Rowland's "The Fairy Ring" and G. F. Handel's "Water Music" were effective in helping patients sleep.

Regardless of what you listen to, most music therapists suggest that you spend at least 15-20 minutes giving your full attention to your music selection.

The last few months I've felt constantly bloated with intense sugar cravings and generally low energy. No matter how much water I drank, my eyes and lower abdomen always seemed a little puffy and I felt so sluggish in the mornings. Had I always felt this way and it was just getting worse with age?

Searching the internet obsessively for what was happening, and asking friends, the truth slowly began to dawn on me: my metabolism was slowing down.

I was bummed; I missed my stomach from a few years ago along with that energy that always seemed to course through me. I felt like seltzer that'd lost its bubbles.

I needed a metabolism reboot. I've been drinking green tea all my life and I definitely didn't need more caffeine, but I needed something.

The bloggers make it seem so easy sometimes. Beautiful house, kids, body….there was one I was following who posted photos with a red box from Sakara Life. She was already a big fan of their plant-based nutrition program and now she was praising their Metabolism Super Powder (!!!).

Most supplements out there contain harsh additives, synthetics, and caffeine that make me feel so jittery. I went to Sakara's site to learn more about the ingredients of Metabolism Powder.

Sakara's Metabolism Powder is an organic raw cacao powder with celery seed, gymnema sylvestre, L-glutamine, fucoxanthin, and black pepper piperine. My first thoughts were that some of these were pretty big words, and probably sneakier versions of the same toxic stuff in “flat tummy" products.

Turns out all of them are nontoxic and completely natural! Celery seed is a natural diuretic to eliminate bloat, Gymnema Sylvestre is an herb that regulates blood sugar and cortisol, L-Glutamine is an amino acid that supports digestion and controls cravings, Fucoxanthin is an antioxidant that lowers body fat, and Black Pepper Piperine revs metabolism and controls inflammation.

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There are no negative side effects as all ingredients are from whole-food, plant-based sources.I was excited to feel the results.

After reading all the rave reviews, I ordered 10 sachets of Metabolism Powder to try a reset for myself. When they arrived, I added the powder to my morning smoothie, mixed with hot coffee, or mixed it with some warm almond milk to create a delicious afternoon drink. I also found it mixed well with almond butter for a chocolate-y morning toast spread.

Sakara Life has recipes on their blog for how to consume Metabolism Powder like chocolate mousse, cinnamon mocha latte, and cacao-chia pudding. One evening I chose to mix it with warm almond milk for a nighttime treat and it was rich and tasty. I followed it up with a 10-minute nighttime meditation and went to bed.

The next morning, I thought I felt better than usual and noticed I felt less bloated, but figured it was probably the placebo effect. However, after just one week, I felt so much lighter. I'd lost a pound maybe, but my stomach wasn't as bloated and the layer of salty puffiness around my cheekbones and eyes had gone down. My sugar cravings had also dramatically decreased. This really was a great way to help me restart my metabolism and counteract some of my body's natural digestive slow down.

Getting older can just mean getting wiser when I've got Sakara's Metabolism Super Powder to keep me feeling amazing. I recommend this powder to everyone now - it's yummy and can help you feel like the best version of yourself.

UPDATE: Sakara Life is extending a special offer to our readers: Receive 20% off your order of Metabolism Powder now! Use Coupon MSP20 - Only 9 coupons left!

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The Easiest New Year's Resolution You'll Ever Make

Watermelon water will have you hydrated in no time.

New year, new me - blah, blah, blah.

I've really never been one to make New Year's Resolutions.

To me, it's nothing more than people making big commitments that they'll never actually carry out. Why set yourself up to fail like that? I've seen my friends make some pretty crazy resolutions from flying lessons to 4 times-a-week gym commitments...

I'm a big believer in making little changes here and there to improve your health and lifestyle. Smaller improvements are just more achievable!

One thing that I have wanted to improve for a while is how much sugar I consume, as well as how little water I drink. I'll admit it; I'm really bad at this.

I'm just not a fan of how water tastes, and I always find myself reaching for diet sodas instead. I also drink wayyyy too much coffee, and it's starting to negatively affect my sleeping patterns.

So, as my friends and I went around the room talking about our resolutions after one too many glasses of Prosecco, I confidently said that my goals were to drink more water and majorly cut down on my sugar intake.

I got heckled because I was making the "easiest" resolution, but if I could stick to it, the effects would be way more valuable than a skydive or a boxing class. "Yeah, but I really hate water, so it's going to be tough" As I was telling my friends, that's when one of them recommended Hint.

Hint is fruit-flavored water, but without any of the nasty additives, like diet sweeteners. As I said, I need flavor, and I'm eager to cut down on all sodas, even diet (which I always assumed was healthier).

But I learned that the ingredients in diet drinks could actually dehydrate you and slow down your metabolism, which I never knew!

Hint has a ton of flavors, like Watermelon, Peach, and Pineapple, plus it's very convenient that Hint delivers right to my doorstep. I loved the idea of being able to drink as many of them as I wanted without feeling guilty, and all of the flavors looked so good.

My Hint water arrived a couple of days later, so I grabbed 2 bottles on my way out the door for work. I opened one up with my lunch around midday, and couldn't believe how good it was!

It was the perfect amount of Pineapple flavor without being too sweet, and I found it actually curbed my usual post-lunch sweet craving.

I had the second bottle right around 3 when I'm usually reaching for the coffee pot, and the Watermelon was so so delicious! I always struggle to get a glass of water down, but I finished the bottle in no time - it tastes so good.

Hint has an option to customize your own bundle, so I went and got a 36 pack of Watermelon, Pineapple, and Peach - my favorite flavors - for $36, which backs out to just $1 per bottle, and shipping is free!

I've been drinking Hint water for about a month now, and I already feel so much better.

Being properly hydrated means that I feel less bloated and tired, and I think my skin is even clearing up a bit.

I even take a bottle of Hint to the gym with me! I'm the only one of my friends that are still keeping to their resolution, so the joke's on them!

Update: Hint is extending a special offer to my readers! Follow this link to get 36 bottles for only $36.