No Candlelight for Renters?

Are you enjoying all the cozy vibes this season with string lights and candlelight?

For those who own their residence, then it’s no problem. If you rent the place where you live, it might not be so easy. Burning candles is often prohibited in lease agreements.

I love the scents and soft light of candles. They are part of my daily routine when I do yoga, meditate or just want to relax. Especially this time of year when we’re losing daylight. Tomorrow is the winter solstice. Winter starts officially and we will have more hours of darkness than any other time of year. Creating our own light sources indoors is the best way to create hygge and embrace the season.

My first encounter with burning candles being prohibited was at my last apartment. Before signing the lease, I spoke with the owner of the property and negotiated an addendum allowing me to burn candles.

The next encounter I was not so lucky. It was around this time last year that I sold my mother’s house and rented her an apartment. Again, the lease did not allow burning candles. This time I was not able to negotiate anything. It might be the difference between renting an apartment in a smaller multi-family house from an individual versus an apartment in a large complex with hundreds of units and a corporate landlord.

Further, where my mom lives there had been a recent fire caused by a candle, which resulted in a lot of damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Candle fires peak in December and January with 11 percent of candle fires in each of these months.”

Because of the dangers caused by candle burning, I can see why property owners want to prohibit the practice. According to Statista, there were more than 40 million housing units occupied by renters in this country last year. That’s a lot of people who are potentially having lifestyle restrictions.

I wonder about that fine line between a lifestyle choice and a religious and cultural practice. How often do landlords enforce this provision in a lease? When they enforce it, do they enforce it uniformly? At what point could this restriction result in religious discrimination?

Are people allowed to have birthday candles? If someone has a birthday party and they light candles and blow them out right away, that is different from someone burning several candles for a sustained period of time.

What if someone is lighting a menorah for Hanukkah? Or lighting the kinara for Kwanzaa? Not all candle burning is the same, so I wonder how do property owners decide. Maybe there is no actual enforcement, until there’s a fire and someone has to pay.

Make Your Own Reed Diffuser

reed diffuser

Being someone who appreciates food and an abundance of flavors, it’s no surprise that I have a strong sense of smell. I enjoy scented soaps, lotions, perfumes and often burn incense and scented candles.

A few months ago, I remember seeing some very pretty reed diffusers at a small pop-up shop. They were somewhat pricey and I wondered how well they actually worked. Would the scent really permeate my whole apartment like a candle or incense?

Then a few days ago, I saw an Instagram post with some simple instructions on how to make my own reed diffuser. I realized that I already had all the items necessary to make one. So why not give it a go?

About an hour ago, I made my own. It took about 15 minutes, which includes the time it took to empty a spice bottle and remove the label.

I probably used a little more than the recommended 25 drops of essential oil. Don’t! I shouldn’t have. I had removed the stopper from one of the bottles, so it spilled out. The smell is actually a bit too strong now.

Next time I’ll be more careful with measuring and will play around with the different scents. It does smell good though and will fade over time. Plus, I like the look of it.

This cost me nothing to make, because I already had everything at home, so I’m glad that I didn’t spend money buying one. The markup is incredible.

So if you like making things and already have most of the ingredients at home, do it yourself and save the $25 or more for something else. Below is what I used, based on the post from Wandering Wild Home.

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DIY Reed Diffuser

Small glass bottle with a smaller opening at the top – spice bottles work perfectly.
7  bamboo skewers
1/4 cup grape seed oil
2 T vodka – I only had vanilla vodka, but it worked fine.
25 drops of essential oil – I used 5 drops eucalyptus, 10 drops orange, about 12 drops vanilla.

Mix the oil and vodka in a tiny bowl. Then mix in the essential oils. Use a funnel to pour the mixture into the bottle. Put the skewers in and you’re done! Flip the reeds when you want a stronger smell.

Recipe: Single Serving Parisian Style Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate topped with whipped cream

Full disclosure! The picture that I took of the hot chocolate that I made for this post did not do it justice.

And this hot chocolate recipe is outstanding! It’s thick, rich and super chocolaty.

I don’t want the picture to keep you from trying it, so this is a stock photo. It’s as easy to make this recipe as using an instant mix. And you will elevate your hot chocolate experience to another level. At home! Without paying a ton of money! Yes, I’m screaming!

Today is one of the coldest days in New England this winter. And on a similarly super cold day five years ago, I blogged a recipe for Single Serving Parisian Style Hot Chocolate.

Back then, I adapted the recipe and I’ve adapted it again. It’s a little “healthier” with less sugar and cream. Today is National Hot Chocolate Day, so it’s the perfect day to try this recipe.

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Single Serving Parisian Style Hot Chocolate

Ingredients + Instructions

1 cup vanilla almond milk
4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

Place ingredients in a microwave safe mug. Whisk until well combined. Microwave for two and a half minutes. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Sunday Morning at Wollaston Beach

Collage of six pictures, sandy beach with water, sea grass, a book with travel mug, a hand holding an egg sandwich, feet with grey sneakers over the sand.I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’d like to spend my summer mornings.

In my fantasy life, I would sit on the front porch, back deck or balcony sipping my coffee, eating my breakfast and reading a good book.

In my real life, I don’t have a front porch, back deck or balcony. But I have to be grateful for what I have and work with what I’ve got.

Wollaston Beach is just a five minute drive from me. So I started thinking. Why don’t I just make my breakfast and bring it to the beach? So I made a spinach, kale, fried egg, Parmesan cheese sandwich with rosemary and olive oil flatbread.

Then I made my coffee and used my What Would Olivia Pope Do? travel mug. It makes me wildly happy. The little things! I put on my favorite sneakers and headed out the door.

The salty beach air smelled wonderful. I mostly ignored a few ants. After all, I was in their territory. And I really enjoyed my breakfast and reading my book.

It was a nice start to my day and I enjoyed taking a few pictures while I was out there. Since I started blogging, I stopped keeping a regular diary. Instead I keep a notebook with goals, random thoughts and things that I want to remember.

Instagram is slowly becoming a daily diary of sorts. Not that I’m sharing my deepest feelings and thoughts. But I am documenting my life and being mindful of all that I have to be grateful for.