Old Factory Candle Review + Giveaway!

Brandbacker and Old Factory Candles treated me to their three-candle gift set. The 2 oz candles are hand-poured in the USA with natural soy wax, cotton wicks, and premium fragrance oils. Each one burns clean for twenty hours. Sold exclusively on Amazon, each gift set is themed around a group of related fragrances. It was a tough decision, but I chose Happy Holidays.




They smell so good without being overpowering. I was worried about Christmas Tree because while I love the smell of an actual tree in nature, I've never really liked the artificial scent. It was perfect though! Candy Cane smelled more like peppermint than the sugary treat, which was nice. I was least excited about Gingerbread, but it ended up being my favorite. I don't like a strong smelling room, so these little guys were perfect for my home. 

Check out the other sets. The themes are so clever and the scents are perfect for different seasons, occasions, and people in your life. High As A Kite and 50 Shades crack me up! I'd love to try Fall Harvest, Winter Wonderland, and Fresh & Clean. Oh, and Spa Day. And Vacation too!


And now I'm going to let one lucky blog friend win their own three-candle gift set!
Please enter using Rafflecopter below. I'll announce the winner at midnight EST on December 2. 


Open to U.S. residents only.
The winner will receive a coupon code for the gift set of their choice, though it does not cover shipping.
The winner must provide a PayPal account for reimbursement of the shipping cost.

Sponsored post. I received a free sample in exchange for my honest review.

Censored

I LOVE my library. I take the kids once a week to load up on books. We go to events and we complete their reading program every summer. I donate money and books and attend fundraisers. I read constantly, but probably only buy about five books a year. They're expensive, take up way too much space in my house, and I'd rather spend money on something else. Instead, I keep up with book release dates and put new titles on hold before my local branch has even ordered them. That way I'm one of the first people on the list. I also download ebooks and borrow DVDs. They have a lot of older movies that are hard to find online. I can't speak highly enough about this amazing community resource. If you don't already do it, you should totally check out the library in your town!

Sometimes though, I get creeped out by reading books touched by so many other people. I immediately wipe down the books with alcohol prep pads (especially the kid books) when we get them home. Every once in a while I come across a page with a water stain or a tear. And sometimes there's something brown or sticky between the pages and I gag a little while trying to read the book without actually touching it.

I've never come across anything like this though. About ten pages into Danielle Fishel's memoir, Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness, I noticed that the patron before me whited out the word ass. A few pages later, the word pissed was covered up. Weird. Technically, those aren't even bad words. I laughed it off and tweeted about it. 



But later in the book, when Danielle shared a picture of herself on Halloween one year, I found this:


What? Why?! At first I thought this person was trying to cover up cleavage. But upon further inspection, it looks like they created straps for the dress. I laughed hysterically and showed Jacob. I assumed it was some prude who didn't want this scandalous book with curse words and bare shoulders circulating around town. Jacob thought maybe a mom read it before her daughter and tried to hide what she didn't want her to read. But seriously, what modern day preteen cares about Topanga from Boy Meets World? I kept reading and discovered another whited out ass and a couple bitchys. Again, those aren't even curse words! 


I was kinda pissed at this point. Who borrows a book from the library and censors it? What if this person got their hands on something really improper, disrespectful, or controversial? The library is filled with those books and I like some of them! I decided to tell the librarian when I returned the book, not exactly to tattle, but to let her know it wasn't me. She was surprised, laughed along with me, and agreed that it wasn't ok. Since the book is so new she said she could look up the last patron and make a phone call. I wish I could hear the explanation.

I Got A (Computer) Virus

I don't even know where to start with this post. It's just a whole lot of random.

Virus. I got a virus on my computer earlier this week. It crash dumped about forty times on Wednesday, after only two minutes of use each time. Ridiculous. I did everything I could think of during the day, but nothing helped. Jacob tried a few more ideas when he got home from work and seemed to take care of it, but my computer is just not working the same as it used to. It's so slow and I can't use Chrome at all, which is my lifeline, but probably where the virus is. At least it gave me some time to back up my files, because now we have to wipe and restore it. UGH! Jacob is incredibly smart and comes from a family of computer geeks, but he didn't inherit those nerd genes. (He wants me to point out that he got the looks instead). So we're sending my computer off to Jacob's dad for a while. I'll have my super old, super slow Netbook and I can use Jacob's computer when he's not busy playing video games, but I probably won't be around very much.


Gilmore Girls. I am on episode 14 of the final season. Just eight episodes to go and the binge rewatch of one of my favorite shows ever will be over. I guess I can get back to watching regular TV after that. Shows are piling up in my TiVo! Plus, The Comeback is back and I keep meaning to check out Transparent. Stay tuned for a post of my favorite GG moments!


Contacts. For the past six months my right contact has been rotating in my eye. I've only been able to wear my contacts for about two hours a day before resorting to my glasses. For some reason I decided it was just my lot in life. My mom even made a comment about getting older and drier. Ew, thanks mom. I had my annual eye exam on Monday and not only did the prescription in my right eye change, but I also developed astigmatism. So she fitted me with the same astigmatism contact I wear in my left eye and it's a miracle! I can see! And my eye doesn't hurt anymore! I've worn my contacts from morning to night without any issue for the past four days. Hallelujah!


Foot. While we're on the topic of my broken, aging body, the plantar fasciitis and heel spur in my right foot is still giving me so much crap. I decided not to go back to the orthopedist because all she wanted to do was give me a cortisone injection. While the idea of being painless sounds great, I really want to figure out what's going on and not just stick a band aid on it. I have an appointment next week with a podiatrist. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be more helpful and have a real solution. Tape and ice just aren't cutting it.


Reading. If I'm not watching Gilmore Girls, you can find me curled up in bed with my electric blanket (because it's so frickin' cold, even in our house!) and a book. So many good books have been released recently, I can't stop reading or adding to my list. Unfortunately nothing I've read lately has been AMAZING. Got any recommendations for one of those? Are you on Goodreads? Let's be friends!


Facebook Save. I'm so very late to this development, but I just discovered the save feature on Facebook about a month ago. I follow a ton of news and gossip sites through Facebook. I had previously added them to Feedly, but I was letting the posts pile up and then deleting them after feeling overwhelmed with the quantity. I really hate clicking in and out of articles, especially when I'm on my phone, so that little save button has been a huge time saver. Too bad I'm still letting it pile up. I currently have 114 unread posts to read!


So yeah, those are just a few random things on my mind. We're also dealing with this cold snap (it's painful out there!), finishing up Christmas shopping, and getting ready for vacation. Life is good.

I've Been...

I've been listening to these albums:



The Madden Brothers' Greetings From California is so good! "Side" one is upbeat, happy pop songs, while side two has a '70s influence. It all feels very California. I tweeted about it and got a favorite from Joel Madden, so that's awesome! My favorite songs are Out of My Mind, We Are Done, and Empty Spirits. Pentatonix is back! I love them and their latest EP, PTX, Vol. III. La La Latch is my favorite. I'm not that into the original songs though. Meghan Trainor's EP, Title is pretty great. I love her voice and her happy, poppy music. I'm looking forward to hearing more from her. Betty Who is so awesome. I wish she was getting more recognition in America. The Australian songstress sounds a little like Katy Perry, but has a less annoying personality. My favorite songs from Take Me When You Go are Glory Days, Somebody Loves You, and Alone Again. Mary Lambert's Heart On My Sleeve is amazing. She has the best voice and I love her lyrics. My favorite tracks are Secrets, So Far Away, and Chasing the Moon. Yes, I'm one of the millions that love Taylor Swift's pop album, 1989. It's that good! Her voice isn't very strong in every song (and sometimes it flat out makes me cringe), but I appreciate that she didn't use auto-tune. The music is fun and the lyrics are vague instead of focused on individual exes (except we all know they're about Harry Styles). My favorite songs are Blank Space, Style, All You Had To Do Was Stay, Wildest Dreams, and I Know Places.

I've been watching these music videos:











Hilary Duff's video for All About You feels a little country and I like it! Her line dance is kind of adorable. I can't wait for her new album, whenever that is. To launch BBC Music, some superstars gathered to cover The Beach Boys' God Only Knows. It features Sir Elton John, Pharrell, Lorde, Chris Martin, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Chrissy Hynde, Sam Smith, and many, many more. The song and video are beautifully done and it's raising money for BBC's Children in Need. Gwen Stefani's latest solo song, Baby Don't Lie is a grower. I was bored at first, but now love everything about it. The video is nothing special, yet totally awesome. I can't stop watching it. One Direction's Steal My Girl isn't my favorite song from them by a long shot, but the video is worth checking out because it's so weird and features Danny DeVito. Why?! Blank Space by Taylor is so crazy and perfect. I really love it and I'm not usually into her videos. She looks flawless in every scene and it's completely entertaining. 

I've been reading these books:




Big Little Lies was like Liane Moriarty's other books for me...fun in the beginning, super slow in the middle, and then one hell of an ending. I really liked every character (and there are a lot) and thought it was a fun plot with some heavy stuff going on. I think it'd make an awesome movie. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You was very slow and a little depressing. I didn't really like the protagonist at all. He was whiny and annoying, but the book was well-written and some of the observations of marriage were spot on. New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters was alright. You all know how I feel about NKOTB! Besides the stupid title, this biography was a nice look at the boys' upbringing, their start as a boy band, and their major comeback. It was a light read and fun to reminisce, but didn't really touch on anything significant like sexuality, divorce, alcoholism, etc. There were also tons of fan stories injected into each chapter, which I skipped right over. I think Ugly Love is my favorite Colleen Hoover book, probably because it was about adults. I still hate the sappy, ridiculous, unrealistic way she writes from a man's POV, but I liked Miles. I also liked the back and forth between present and past and I cried like a baby for a chapter or two. It was a good, quick, easy read. I'll Give You The Sun was a good story, but the plot was slow and the the writing style got annoying. Most of the characters did and said horrible things to each other, which made it hard to like anyone. I definitely preferred Noah to Jude. One Pink Line was super easy chick-lit with a predictable story and boring supporting characters. I liked having two POVs, but they seemed like the same person to me. Also, why is it called "One Pink Line," when the characters kept referencing TWO pink lines? Belzhar was very well written, the story was original, and I had a hard time putting the book down, but the main character wasn't likable and the other characters were one dimensional. I also had a hard time with the suspension of reality, but I always do, so it's probably just me. Market Ghost Stories was a super easy read. I took the author's ghost tour, learned a ton and had fun so I picked up her book. I liked getting to know more about the people and history of Seattle. I'm not a hardcore fan of John Waters, but I like him and was looking forward to Carsick. Unfortunately the first and second sections of the book (about 65% of it) are complete fictional and not interesting to me. The third section of the book, where he factually details his cross country hitchhiking trip, was great! Nothing major happened, but I liked the every day people he encountered and how honest he was with the whole experience. How To Build A Girl didn't click with me. I love the way Moran writes, I was entertained (though it's not as hilarious as people are claiming), and I rooted for the protagonist, but the flow was off. Sometimes she wrote the character in the moment and other times she was an adult looking back on her life. I felt like the middle of the book dragged a bit too. R.L. Sine is back with a new Fear Street novel! Party Games is targeted to tweens, but I had to read it for nostalgia's sake. It was a fun, easy trip down memory lane. You all know my love for Russell Brand. I think he's a genius and a very talented writer. His new book, Revolution, is a departure from his others, focusing on social, political, spiritual, and economical issues in the world. His sense of humor and stream of consciousness writing style are still there though. I just wish there were more personal stories mixed in. I'm bummed to hear he's giving up acting, but really believe he can do great things in the world. Delancey is the true of a married couple opening a pizza restaurant in Seattle. I liked the beginning and the way Weizenberg writes, but it was literally about opening a restaurant. Like, looking for the space, finances, renovation and design, long hours, and staff issues. There wasn't much of a story there. The pizzeria gets rave reviews though and I've been meaning to eat there for a year. I need to get on that!

 I've been TiVoing these new shows:


I'm not really impressed with any new fall shows. I love a good political drama, and Madam Secretary seems alright so far. It's not as exciting as House of Cards, as soapy as Scandal, and nothing will beat the writing in The West Wing, but it's got some good acting from a great cast, so I'm going to keep watching. I was also really rooting for Marry Me because Casey Wilson and Ken Marino are some of my favorites, but it's pretty boring. I'm gonna stick it out though.

I was watching these new shows that have already been cancelled:


NBC is going let Bad Judge finish it's 13-episode order, but after that, it's over. I'm surprised by how bad it is, considering it's produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, but it is. I love Kate Walsh so much, I was crossing my fingers for this show. I don't think Selfie is as bad as everyone claims, but the ratings sucked and it's also been cancelled. John Cho and Karen Gillan (her American accent is so good!) were so great together, and the show was fresh and different with funny moments.

I've been catching up on these old shows:


Summer Heights High is another mockumentary show by Chris Lilley. It's where he originated the character Ja'mie King while also playing Mr. G and Jonah Takalua. It's not as hilarious as Ja'mie: Private School Girl, but funny enough. I watched all eight episodes in one day. Jacob and I binge-watched The Blacklist last month. He likes it a lot more than I do, but I'm into it. James Spader is amazing and I have a bit of a girl crush on Megan Boone now.

I've been deleting these shows:


Everyone is raving about Gotham, but after two episodes, I deleted it. The (over)acting is pretty terrible and it just didn't hold my interest. John Mulany is one of my favorites, but his sitcom, Mulaney, is too cheesy. The supporting cast isn't great, the jokes aren't funny, and I kinda can't stand Martin Short. The best part about the show is the first few minutes of Seinfeld-esque stand-up. Gracepoint seemed like a good show from the first two episodes, but it was just way too slow so I stopped watching after episode four. I heard it got better the very next week, but with only five episodes left, I'm not interested in picking it up again. Maybe I'll catch it on Netflix someday.

I've been seeing these movies:


I loved the book, This Is Where I Leave You, but the movie could have been better. It was less depressing than the book, which isn't a bad thing, it just felt a little too Hollywood for me. And as much as I love Tina Fey, I didn't like how she played Wendy. Gone Girl was amazing! Even though I knew what was coming up, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie. I thought everyone in the cast was perfect and the adaptation was so, so good. The little changes didn't bother me at all. Jacob thought Nightcrawler was slow, but I thought it was just right and totally suspenseful. Jake Gyllenhaal was kind of incredible too, and I'm not saying that because I think he's hot. He looked completely different (ugly) and was totally creepy, yet charismatic.

And I've been renting these ones:


Blended was terrible. I suspected it would be, but was hoping for some redeeming humor. Nope. Totally boring. So was Sex Tape. I knew right off the bat this was going to be bad, but I can't help checking out comedies with big names. Why do they attach themselves to crap? It was very tame, considering the title. The only thing good about it was Rob Lowe, but even he was a bit over the top. A Million Ways to Die in the West was also bad! Why aren't funny movies funny anymore? It was easier to tolerate because of a few clever lines, but otherwise, it's a pass. 

What have you been up to?

November Magazine Roundup

I haven't done a magazine roundup in over a year! They are so much fun, but really time consuming and I needed a break. Then I got out of the habit and forgot to start again. But it's back. Let's take a look at who's gracing the covers this month.

Benedict Cumberbatch - Out
I think these photos are pretty boring. I like him a lot, but don't get his sex appeal.



Brad Pitt - Details
I love the cover. He looks like a completely different person in the second photo.



Cameron Diaz - Marie Claire
As always, she looks amazing. I cannot believe she's 42.


Christoph Waltz - Fantastic Man
These are also kind of boring. I love him so much though!



 Jennifer Lawrence - Vanity Fair
I love her makeup, the clothes, and the location. If you haven't yet read the article, check it out now.




Jessica Chastain - Harper's Bazaar UK
The first and third dresses are amazing, but she looks washed out in the second one.



Kerry Washington - Allure
No make up and still as gorgeous as ever. I love that dress!



Liam Hemsworth - Nylon Guys
I'm digging his beard!



Lizzy Caplan - Elle Canada
She's one of my favorites and seems to get more and more attractive.



Matthew McConaughey - GQ
This shoot really captured his personality. He looks great!




Nick Jonas - Flaunt
The littlest Jonas grew up and he wants us all to know about it! This is reminiscent of Marky Mark in the '90s.





Penelope Cruz - Esquire
She was named the Sexiest Woman Alive. Who can argue with that? Muy caliente!



Robert Downey Jr - Esquire Style
He's just so cool and handsome. I love him.



Shia LaBeouf - Interview
I really like these pictures and his beard. Most people think he's a douche, but I'm rooting for him!







Taylor Swift - Fashion
She looks very pretty and I love every single coat!




Taylor Swift - British Vogue
This feels different than anything she's done and I like it. Love the bright, chunky knits!





Taylor Swift - InStyle
I love every look and I want her hair.