6 GOOD REASONS TO MAKE THE SWITCH TO SOY CANDLES

My candle addiction began about 12 years ago, since I am currently 28 years old, 12 years of my life is almost half of it! But I digress, there were times that I would have been be embarrassed at letting people see the number of candles I had at any given moment. I could not help but purchase every good smelling candle I came across. And one of my favorite things to do, at least once a week, was to put some music on and clean my room/apartment and light up a candle as a reward (for such a hard day of work), ahhh just the thought of it is so relaxing.

However, over time, I learned about how harmful paraffin wax candles are for those who ingest the fumes. Even still, a couple of years after that realization, I continued to buy the paraffin wax candles I loved so much but, inevitably, every time I burned one I felt a little bit of guilt creep onto me.

That is when my interest in a more natural lifestyle, coupled with my curiosity, need to make things and creativity morphed into making soy candles. So this week I wanted to share with you the things I have learned about soy wax over time and the benefits of burning soy candles in your home:


natural


When compared to one of the most popular type of wax used in candles, paraffin, soy wax is definitely a natural source. In case you are not aware, paraffin wax is derived from petroleum. Petroleum is the substance that is used to make gasoline, kerosene and diesel oil. I don’t know about you, but the thought of essentially burning petroleum in my bedroom made me cringe. Soy wax on the other hand, is made from a natural source, soy beans. Sounds much better, huh?


last longer


Since soy wax has a lower melting point than paraffin wax they burn for much longer. Some studies I have read state that soy wax candle lasts 50% longer than a paraffin wax candle! Talk about a bang for your buck. 


clean burn


I have read articles that state the soy candles do not produce any soot at all. I do not agree. I have tested different types pf soy wax and different types of wicks (wooden, cotton) and I found that they all produce some soot. So, while I cannot support the claims that soy wax does not produce soot I can say that they product significantly less soot than the amount of soot that a paraffin wax produces.


non-toxic


Soy wax is sustainable, it is after all made from vegetable matter (soy beans) and thus it is a renewable resource. It could be purely physiological but when I am burning one of my soy candles I feel that the air is crispier than when I burn a paraffin wax candle.

Fun fact: soy wax and tofu come from the same plant!   


helps farmers


I am a big proponent of small businesses, farmers and other lines of work that are often undervalued in our society. Purchasing materials that I know help at least one of these undervalued lines of work makes me happy J.


easy to clean up


If some candle wax is accidentally spilled or if you want to reuse the jar the candle came in, it is much easier to wash off soy wax then paraffin wax. I re-use jars all the time and some warm soapy water and a regular sponge always does the trick for the jars that contained soy wax but the jars that contained paraffin wax is a different story - I have spent up to 15 minutes trying to wash off all of the wax from one container but it’s almost impossible to get it all off. This is just one more perk to burning soy wax candles over paraffin wax candles.

Now, I can’t write a blog post about the benefits of soy wax without mentioning other types of natural waxes that can be used to make candles – some of those are coconut wax, bees wax and bayberry (to name a few). Some may be better than others in certain aspects but I do not think that anything is 100% percent perfect or that one is that much better than the other. I think it is very important and I urge you to do some research of your own, understand what you purchase and what (if any) harmful effects it could have to you and those around you. Just like with anything we eat, we should also be just as aware about the items we bring into our homes whether they are candles, room sprays, cleaning products, personal care products and the list goes on and on. Happy learning!

So, do you have a preference for a certain type of wax? Soy wax, bees wax or coconut wax? Or maybe you didn’t know there were different types of waxes? Do share below!

5 QUICK TIPS TO KEEP AN ORGANIZED AND HEALTHY BEDROOM

Keeping a clutter free home is an essential part of leading a healthy and happy life and a keeping a clean bedroom will almost certainly help you sleep better at night. My bedroom is my little oasis and it is the one room in my house that is almost always cluttering free, clean and organized. In general I tend to keep my place organized – unless I am having a very busy week or am feeling under the weather – those are the times my organization falls to the wayside a bit. But the room I sleep in needs to be kept organized and clutter free for my own sanity. Now, this was not always the case my bedroom was a whole different story during my teenage years and early twenty’s but overtime I began to notice how much better I felt and slept when I had a clutter free room – and let me tell you it has been one of the most positive shifts I have made in my life so far.


Only keep what you use


I took everything I did not need or use on a daily basis out of my room. For example, my night table has my bedside lamp, whatever candle I am currently burning and whatever book I am currently reading. That’s all. One of the first steps to keeping an organized room is to take out any and all clutter. If this sounds like a big task for you then I suggest you tackle one section of your bedroom at a time – so one weekend you can focus on your night table, the next weekend you can focus on your dresser and the following focus under your bed.


Make your bed


Making your bed each morning takes no more than 3 minutes! Although 3 minutes may seem like a long time if you are running late in the morning but just think about the satisfaction you will feel when you get into a freshly made bed at the end of the day. Beds are the focal point of any bedroom and the second your bed is made your bedroom will instantly look much cleaner and organized.


Clean regularly


I vacuum and dust my bedroom once a week and about twice a year I move the furniture out of my room and vacuum and clean the areas I cannot easily get to on a regular basis (under my bed, under the dresser and nigh table). Only because you can’t see the dust does not mean it is not there!  Also, I am allergic to dust so keeping my allergies at bay is a bonus to keeping a clean and dust free bedroom.


Wash your sheets


I wash my sheets once a week and my comforter about once a month and while this may seem like common sense it is always a good reminder! Also, I have a hypo-allergenic mattress protector which knowing that my mattress if being kept as clean and as protected as possible provides me with some added peace of mind.


Keep an air purifier


I added an air purifies to my bedroom about two years ago and I am glad I did but upset that it took me so long to get one! Air purifiers help remove dust from the air (which in turn helps immensely for people who suffer from dust allergies and/or asthma). My air purifier has a filter that should be replaced at specific increments of time – mine is anywhere between 4-5 months. 

4 TYPES OF LIGHT BULBS AND HOW TO LIGHT YOUR HOME

We all know that lighting really sets the mood for any environment. Think about the lighting you encounter when you go out to dinner, for example, if you go to a fine Italian restaurant chances are that the lighting is dim and sets off a warm atmosphere but if you go to a casual pizza restaurant the lights are likely to be brighter and set off cooler atmosphere. My point here is that the lighting in your home definitely has an impact on the atmosphere.

Some of you may have the benefit of living in a home that has a lot of natural light (this has been in my wish list for years!).  I live in a garden level apartment where I get virtually no natural light. For full disclosure I could get some natural light if I opened the shades but I do not really want passerby’s looking through my windows! So, the next best option for me is to switch out the lighting throughout my apartment to liven up my place.


Light Bulb Round Up


Here I have summarized 4 of the most common types of light bulbs you will come across when light bulb shopping:

LEDs | Light-emitting diodes are the newest options we have in terms of light bulbs and what is great about them is that LED lights use a fraction of the wattage other types of bulbs require. In other words you will save money overtime if you switch to these light bulbs. Why overtime? Well, they are pricier than your other options, but for good reason.

CFLs | Compact fluorescent lights were all the hype a few years ago (at least it was in my parents’ house!). These light bulbs were great until studies showed that their life expectancy dramatically decreased if they were shut on and off frequently.

Incandescents | These are your old fashioned light bulbs where the electricity that is powered through the bulb heats it up to the point that the filament glows into a light.

Halogens | These bulbs are slightly more efficient than the incandescent bulbs because there is actual halogen inside the little tube that holds the filament. What this gas does is that it allows the used up gas to remain usable to a longer period of time.


How to Light Your Home


Now that you have an idea of the different options you have to light your home you can start to think about how you’ll implement light. I am slowly converting all of my bulbs to LED for a few reasons. Like mentioned above they will save energy and money overtime, they are brighter and they are a newer technology (I’m a sucker for new things!).

There are two main types of atmospheres you may want to incorporate into your home – ambient or productive. I like both and like to have both options and in order to achieve both options I like the dimmer lights – bless the person who invented these! Most homes have the regular on/off light switches, if your home has these, you will need to install (or have installed) dimmer light switches. These are relatively inexpensive; you can find good options that range between 20-30 dollars at your local hardware store. Of course, there are fancier options, but they basic ones will cut it for me.

Also, if you do convert to LED lights it is important to note that not all LED bulbs have that capability so look for the bulbs that say “dimmable” on the packaging. On that same note, not all dimmer light switches are compatible with LED bulbs so if you do install these make sure the ones you purchase are compatible with the bulbs you decide to go with.

There you have it! Lights in your home have a power to create any mood you want. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, my apartment is pretty dark and I absolutely love bright and open atmospheres – this is why I need bright lights in my home and why I chose to go with LEDs.

Have you made the switch to LEDs? Did your conversion go smoothly and have you seen a difference in your energy bills?

HOW CLUTTER AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL WELL BEING AND A FEW TIPS TO START DECLUTTERING NOW

AHH clutter! I have to admit I have given in to clutter. If you take a look at my home everything is clean and neat, you will almost always smell the scent of a soothing candle burning. BUT once you begin to dig a little deeper and open my closets, drawers, containers under my bed, office/storage room you will notice that it is all pretty cluttered with items I have accumulated throughout the years. In this day and age we can all admit to being guilty of purchasing items we want (but do not need); we will use (but never really do). And the cycle goes on – we purchase, and purchase and purchase but we do not get rid of items we no longer use. The problem is that for the majority of us, our dwellings are not getting any bigger, in fact they start feeling smaller as the years go on.

Chaos and clutter go hand in hand and when there is chaos there is little or no control. Meaning that if clutter in your home is not addressed it can, overtime, take over your life.  Having a clutter around you can cloud your thinking, it can stress you out and it can leave you feeling anxious and not in control of your own home.

One of my problem areas is my closet and drawers – as I have mentioned before I am not much of a morning person because of that I need to prepare EVERYTHING I need to get ready for work in the morning the night before. I pack my lunch and leave it ready in the lunch bag in the refrigerator, I prep my Nespresso machine, leave my travel mug ready next to the machine, I leave my purse, keys, outerwear shoes by the front door and last but not least I leave my outfit (down to the underwear) ready. All of this in the name of sleeping in an extra 20 minutes in the morning! I say all of that to say that picking out my outfit has definitely become a stress point in the last couple of years and I do not look forward to this activity on a nightly basis. The reason for this is because it has become a nightmare to go through my closet and drawers – I have pajamas, workout clothes, casual clothes, work clothes (along with winter and summer) versions of these scrambled all over the place with no rhyme or reason. Once upon a time I had a pajama drawer, a workout clothes drawer, an underwear drawer and my closet was organized by work clothing and non-work clothing. Overtime something went awry and it has become unbearable! So, at least for me, I know exactly where my de-cluttering will begin.

Here are a few tips on how to begin decluttering your home. If you can, I would suggest you set aside an entire weekend to tackle as much of your home as possible. My home will not take more than 1 ½ - 2 days since it is a small 2 bedroom apartment but bigger homes will require more than one weekend. Also, know that you NEED to get in the mood to get rid of things and this is probably the hardest and most crucial step in de-cluttering. Another small pointer is to apply the following rule: if you have not used it in the past 6 months then it needs to go either in the donation pile or in the trash – anywhere but your home!

1 | start where you feel it the most

For me it is hands down my closet. Maybe for you it could be your mud room, basement, garage, office or bedroom. If there is one particular area of your home that quickly come to mind when you think of clutter then that is where you should begin. When you start de-cluttering an area of your home you have to finish it! It will be very tempting to give up but please trust me when I say that the end result will be so worth it. This will also give you the motivation to move on to another area of your home.

2 | visualize what you want the room to look like

Take a couple of minutes and just stand in the room you will begin de-cluttering and visualize what you want the room to look like after it has been de-cluttered and organized. Think about how you want to feel the next time you walk in the room. This should instantly give you a boost of motivation and determination to complete what you just set out to do.

3 | get ready to be brutally honest with yourself

The reason we accumulate things is because we tend keep items that have sentimental value. I recently found not only my high school cap and gown but I also found the cap and gown I used for my Bachelor’s degree graduation and the one I used for my Master’s degree. But for what?! There is no reason for me to hold on to these – I will admit that it will be hard for me to part ways with them but I know that I will not make any use of them at all. This is the hardest part of decluttering – old memories sweet and bitter will return – which may make it difficult to continue but you need to get through it!

4 | get your supplies ready

Make sure you have boxes, containers and trash bags ready to divide the items that you will keep, donate and get rid of. Also, I recommend having cleaning supplies handy to clean off drawer and shelves as you go through the room.

These tips should help get you started in your decluttering endeavors. Remember that 50% of the work happens in your head and once you understand the real reasons having a clean and organized home matter and the negative impacts having a cluttered and messy home can have on your overall life getting started will be a no brainer !Happy cleaning!

Have you attempted to declutter rooms in your home? Do you have any tips to make this an easier endeavor?