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My Love Affair with Candles (and the Candle that Started It All)

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The boat candle is the first thing (of, now, many things) I bought from Food52 and it was a classic hook-line-and-sinker deal. The live wood edge caught my attention, the 120-hour burn time held it, and the hand-carved details sealed the deal. I saved the candle's Shop page and visited it from time to time, trying to resist, until the day finally came when I moved into my apartment and needed a centerpiece for my coffee table. Sold.

The apple of my eye.
The apple of my eye. Photo by Mark Weinberg

But in the days it took for the package to arrive, I started to get cold feet. What was I doing with an eighty-dollar candle? Had I mistook puppy love for true candle admiration? Did I really need to be spending money on a candle when I didn’t even have shower curtain in my new place yet?

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The answer, it turned out, was yes, yes, definitely.

As soon as I received the candle, pushed aside my piles of unread magazines, and placed it in the center of my coffee table, I knew I had made the right decision. The candle became one of my favorite pieces in the room, and once lit, it became a striking yet cozy addition, filling my living room with warmth and a subtle eucalyptus-cypress scent.

Hubba, hubba. Photos by James Ransm, Mark Weinberg

I usually reserve lighting it for special occasions—which range from my boyfriend’s mother coming over for dinner to a cozy night at home by myself—but now that the wax is nearing its end, I’ve already begun thinking of the things I’ll fill the empty wooden boat with (and burning it a little more frequently). Flowers, fruit, cosmetics, baubles, and barware have all made solid cases.

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And it's not like I'll be candle-less: While I'll always remember my first love, you could say I've become a super-fan of Food52's flammable offerings. Here are 6 of my favorite candles from the site and why I love each of them so darn much:

Hawkins New York Candle

Hawkins New York Candle

$48
All-Natural Coconut Wax Candle

All-Natural Coconut Wax Candle

$36

Hawkins NY Candle (left): The first time I smelled this candle was when I received the Hudson edition as a gift after visiting the makers behind the candle, Nick and Paul, during the Food52 team field trip upstate to the candle's namesake. The candle is smoky—not floral, like so many others—and makes me think of a bonfire. I keep mine in my bathroom, but our editor Kenzi says she'll walk around her apartment with hers because it smells so good she always wants to be near it. And if you're looking for floral, try their Marfa candle, which smells like jasmine.

All-Natural Coconut Wax Candle (right): As a West Coast native, I was immediately intrigued when I learned that the couple who makes these candles was inspired by a road trip through the Pacific Northwest to make the Cascadia blend. It smells like a forest and reminds me of home.

Spherical Teak Candle

Spherical Teak Candle

$62
Tree Trunk Candle

Tree Trunk Candle

$45

Spherical Teak Candle (left) and Tree Trunk Candle right: We've already covered the fact that I'm a sucker for candles in hand-carved wood. Yes, I know it's a very niche thing to love, but we all have our things. The scent of these isn't overwhelming, so I'll light one during dinner and put it on my kitchen counter. It mutes the not-so-great cooking scents while not overpowering the good ones. And it just looks so darn pretty. (My dining table faces my counter, so I spend a lot of time gazing at these candles while eating. Yes, they're that pretty.)

Molded 12" Hexagonal Candle Gift Set

Molded 12" Hexagonal Candle Gift Set

$34
Tapered Fall Candles (Set of 8)

Tapered Fall Candles (Set of 8)

$42

Molded 12" Hexagonal Candle Gift Sets (left) and Tapered Fall Candles (Set of 8) (right): I'll be honest, I'm guilty of pigeon-holing tapered candles into the "old-fashioned things I refuse to have" category, but after I spoke with the maker of these beeswax candles and worked with bloggers who styled them, I learned that, used sparingly, tapered candles can become less "candelabra" and more "welcome to my really beautiful and good-smelling home."

Do you have any favorite candles? Do you love them as much as I do? Tell us in the comments below!


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Tags: candles, candle, cozy home