Date Sun, July 20 2008

Another method I use to fragrance the air in my home is incense. Incense has been used for many years in both practical and religious senses. I don’t use it as much as some people and my house doesn’t constantly smell like the inside of occult/magick stores but I do like to use it, especially since I just got my pretty blue glass incense burner back!

I tend to use the stick kind and have tried a lot of different scents from basic vanilla to more exotic scents. My favourite scent which I’ve been burning for years is a refreshing, relaxing scent by Escential Essence (purchase at

Escential Essence incenses are not as smokey as someone and do not simply smell like burning wood, which I like. The incense, packaged in bags of 16 with a blue and white label featuring a foil sun come in scents like Rain Goddess, Myan Temple, Tibetan Musk and Mountain Wildberry – my personal favourite. It can be found in the aforementioned occult shop and has a woody, fruity scent that reminds me of the rain forest or jungle (though I don’t know what either smells like! LOL)

Escential Essences incense sticks are 10″ long and the package advertises them as cruelty free, probably a good thing as many incense users are nature lovers. Each scent is labeled with sort of a magical magical description (although the “fine print” says that the incense is sold as curio only, no magical effects are guaranteed); for instance, Mountain Wildberry promotes harmony (and who doesn’t need more harmony in their life?).

The back of the packages suggest usages or properties for the specific incense. My favourite comes with the advice to burn during “Joyous summer festivals. Meeting old friends and lovers” where Tebetan Musk is good for “Inner truth, Love, Mountains, Strength and Prosperity, Strong and penetrating scent.”

Magical properties aside, I enjoy Escential Essences incense simple because it’s a clean burning, wonderfully scented incense. Of course, incense comes in many forms besides sticks and there’s quite a market for incense related products and accessories so you can enhance the smells of your home and beautify it at the same time.

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I can smell it in the air tonight..

Date Fri, July 18 2008

The next few posts will deal with different products I use to scent and freshen the air including air fresheners, candles, incense and diffusers.

A recent air freshener product I picked up is a new concept, or at least a concept new to me, as is combined air freshener with dish washing liquid in the same container.

When it came time to replace my dish soap, I picked up Dawn’s Simple Pleasures in Apple/Pear. This product contains not only Dawn’s extra condensed liquid soap (known as Dawn Ultra) but has a separate compartment at the bottom of the bottle where small fragrant, waterproof beads are housed.

I’ve never been super picky about dish soap, as long as it smells fine. This product smells relatively pleasant but I think it might smell better if it were just apple or pear scented which is a bit of a shame considering as it’s also an air freshener which brings us to its unique new function.

The bottom of the container is also a separate compartment for Dawn’s freshness beads which scent the air of the same Apple/Pear smell. The compartment, with vertical slits in the front and back of the bottle, is originally covered with tape. The instructions tell you to remove both pieces of tape for maximum scent but I only pulled off the tape from the front.

Even so, Dawn Simple Pleasures is a very effective air freshener and my kitchen kitchen is immersed in its scent. It wasn’t immediately noticeable but after a short time, it became very powerful. Even my husband noticed.

The bottle claims that the scent will last for several weeks so I imagine the dish washing liquid will last much longer. It’s a shame and the product would probably work better if the freshener and liquid lasted approximately the same amount of time.

What I love about this is that the air freshener is apart of the package. Dishwashing liquid is something I always have on my counter so I don’t need to make room for the air freshener on the counter or take up socket room like plug-in fresheners.

I really like the idea of Dawn Simple Pleasures Dish wash liquid and air freshener. I think it’s a line they could expand on and while the Apple/Pear scent is okay, I think they could do better by focusing on one scent. The freshness beads are very strong and would be perfect if they lasted as long as the dish soap itself. However, I am still satisfied.


Date Thu, July 17 2008

I think my shopping will generally increase once we move. Ryan and I are both looking forward to Wal-mart, Target and the like. Not only having the options, but being able to leave the store with the item we desired without having to wait weeks for it to arrive in the mail or having to pay shipping will be problems of the past. I’ll gladly deal with having to pay sales tax for that.

Of course, there’s a few things I don’t quite love about Wal-mart. Some of the stores are extremely poor in regards to stock, customer service and appearance, especially depending upon the neighbourhood and demographic.

Another thing I don’t miss, although I won’t like have to deal with anytime soon was as an employee. Wal-mart received a lot of prank phone calls. In general, it’s a company that gets a lot of crap simply because it’s big and I imagine this has a lot to do with why people choose to make prank calls.

Off the top of my head, I remember someone calling in using a sound board of Arnold Shwarzenegger. Another time, someone called in, donned a fake “Indian”-style accent and inquired as to whether we have adult diaper in different flavours because he needed them for his 6 wives.

Sometimes it’s fun to play along and sometimes I forwarded the calls to management. Of course, sometimes I just hung up. We didn’t need to deal with that crap.

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In a Perfect World..

Date Tue, July 15 2008

In a perfect world the ceiling and wall near my lamp wouldn’t be crawling with bugs when I have the window open because it’s stifling and hot in here. Although this has happened before, I only seemed to have notice is tonight and would prefer to be as far away from the insects as possible. What I wouldn’t give for a strategically placed spider – kidding, of course.

Also, in a perfect world, the housing people wouldn’t be coming tomorrow to inspect or “pre-inspect” the place. FMO wouldn’t be coming Friday to take away our entire bedroom set and a few other odds and ends. TMO wouldn’t be packing up all our stuff next week leaving us in an empty apartment for 4 days.

Traveling would be quick, without layovers. I’d be able to have my own personal jet charter in a state of the art plane that flies 3 times as fast as the rest so I wouldn’t be so uncomfortable, ill feeling and crabby upon landing.

The world, of course, is not perfect. Humbug to that!

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Personalized Kids' Books

Date Sat, July 12 2008

You know those personalized books you see advertised in coupon booklets? The idea seems really cute. I know I’ve seriously considered doing something like that for my sister before. offers children’s books as well as DVDs, music, singing stuffed animals and more.

I took a look but thought the site is lacking for a 5 year old girl. While she might like the Scooby Doo book or stuffed animals (of which she has plenty!) I thought the products were aimed for younger crowds – she’s 5 – or boys. They have a lot of superhero stuff (Spiderman, Batman) and sports but most everything else has religious undertones. There are some ballerina books but I know my sister wouldn’t like those.

There are Flinstones and LooneyTunes books but those seem a bit dated. Someone her age might not enjoy them as much as something like Dora, Blue’s Clues, or SpongeBob. There is a song section – which does include Disney Princesses (which she loves) – but these are quite a bit pricier than the personalized books. There’s also a Dora DVD which is, again, pretty pricey.

I like the idea of personalized books but think it’s hit or miss depending upon the child in question. I think younger toddlers and boys will be more at home with the books as there’s less choice for girls. Both genders would enjoy the singing stuffies but I’d probably pass on the music and DVDs – regular music and DVDs can be purchased for fractions of the price.

The other thing I see is that, while there are big names in the store, there’s a lot of generic junk that seems a little “cheap.” I think there’s definitely room for more products which use updated characters; overall, there is not a ton of variety and there is definitely room for expansion.

If there’s a little one you like to spoil, personalized stories might just be the way to go!

On the road again..

Date Thu, July 10 2008

You know the one thing I’m looking forward to? Road trips. I don’t know what’s in Texas but I think I might like to (and in a vehicle with A/C to boot). I haven’t gone on a lot of road trips and they all have very specific destinations and routes but I do know that, with the right people, they’re a TON of fun!

We’ve been loathe to do that here being in a foreign country with tiny roads that are not named like American roads and without a cell phone but most of that won’t be an issue back in the states and, hey, we could always check out something like Garmin GPS so we don’t get lost!

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TGI Fridays Cheddar and Bacon Potato Skins

Date Thu, July 10 2008

I hadn’t really planned on reviewing any food items here but I was so disappointed in this product that I had to. Now, I love potato skins, even the worst tend to be pretty good. We all know they’re bad for us but, hey, I’m from Wisconsin and that’s how we like things. TGI Fridays Cheddar and Bacon Potatoes Skins are the really bad kind of worst.

So this frozen box clad in the traditional Fridays red and white stripes contains about 6 skins and seems to imply that you can have this delectable and sinful treat previously only available in their restaurants, right in your own home and for less time, too!

I quickly open the box to find the skins are laying looks in a bag inside all upside down and bacon bits have fallen off. Now, these skins are much smaller than, say, a pizza where you can toss any loose toppings back on and there was basically no saving anything that had fallen off.

Next I notice the “cheese.” As I mentioned, I’m from Wisconsin and I am damned picky about my dairy products. Happy cows do not come from California and California would not know real milk if it bit them on the nose but that is neither here nor there. What is here, or rather, was on my cooking sheet were frozen potato skins with a big dollop of what looked like frozen Cheez Wiz, something which quite definitely is not cheese but pretends to be, and a few speckles of bacon.

Whatever. I pop them in the oven, come back about 10 minutes later and see that the cheese is not doing what cheese should be doing and that is melting into a greasy, gooey, delicious mess. I give them some more time and this still has not happened.

I decided to give them a chomp anyway. I usually have my potato skins with sour cream or ranch so I opted for the former. Right away these potato skins were bland and lacking in any sort of taste. The sour cream wasn’t cutting it so I upped the ante, to ranch, just to make these things palatable.

I tried to pop some others in the microwave to see if it really was just that I wasn’t heating them enough but the cheese just did not do what cheese should do. This was nothing like the wonderful treat served in TGI Fridays and it paled even in comparison to the mediocre skins I usually must resort to.

The additional heating proved that this simply is not a product made with cheese but an imitation which may be yellow but retains none of the other cheesy characters we all love.

So what’s left? The bacon had no taste, what little was left on the skins. The potato itself was not horrible but there seems to be a lot of it considering as these are just the skins. Parts seemed a bit dry and the “cheese” wasn’t spread very evenly – if that would even have helped – so I drowned the last of these skins in ranch and down the hatch they went.

The ranch was very good.

My 2cents? Skip it. Enjoy it at the restaurant but this poor imitation is a disgrace to the name.

My name is Cole and I do not endorse this product!

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