DIY Citronella Candles

I don’t know about you, but I seem to possess that sugary-sweet smell that mosquitoes just LOVE. When summer rolls around, I can barely step outside for a minute in the evening without becoming a walking smorgasbord. I keep a ready supply of OFF on hand, and now I’ve made some citronella candles to put on the table in the backyard to help keep ’em away!


I picked up these adorable neon geometric bowls from Target – they come in sets of 2 for 99 cents! In addition to fun containers, you’ll need the following to make your citronella candles:

Soy wax chips

Candle Wicks

Candle Thermometer

(you can find all of the above in the candle making section at craft stores)

Citronella Essential Oil (via Amazon)


Follow the directions on your wax chips container to melt the wax. I melted mine in the microwave, using the thermometer to check for the right temp (180) before pouring.


To keep the wick in place, wrap it around a pencil placed across the top of your container.


Once your wax is melted, mix in a drop or two of citronella oil. Pour it into your containers, and wait for the wax to harden!


Not only will these candles help keep the enemy mosquitoes away, but they are just too cute!


I think a set of these would make a great summer hostess gift, too!


Strawberry and Basil Infused Water


I’ve been trying to cut back on my diet coke intake these days, in favor of some more refreshing and summery beverage options.


This strawberry and basil infused water is absolutely divine.


The basil was freshly plucked from my container garden. The two flavors combined just taste exactly like summer!


I took a tray out to my back deck to enjoy a light afternoon treat in the sunshine.


The macaróns are from Trader Joes! They come frozen – just let them sit out and defrost for about an hour. This box held a variety of delicious flavors, and they are cute and bite-sized!


I love leisurely summer afternoons!

Butterfly Shadowbox

A few months ago, I purchased a box of artificial Monarch Butterfly vase filler on sale at Pottery Barn. It took me a little while to get around to doing anything with them, but mounting them in a shadowbox was a very quick and easy process, with a beautiful result!



Artificial Butterflies (can be purchased at craft stores, but mine are from Pottery Barn)


Decorative Pins

Hot Glue Gun


I attached my butterflies directly to the back board of the shadowbox, which was too firm for the pins to directly pierce. So after figuring out the spacing (I did not measure – just eye-balled it), I used my hot glue gun to secure the butterflies directly to the board. Butterflies1

Then I just pushed the pins through the plastic center of the butterfly (and felt slightly guilty about it, even though these beauties were never alive). I used wire cutters to trim the pins slightly, since they were a bit too long to fit inside the shadowbox.


There you have it – a quick and inexpensive little piece of nature. By the way, those little purple flowers have literally been in that milk jar vase for over a month. They were filler in a birthday bouquet (my birthday was in April!) and they’re still just as vibrant (and not dry!) – do any of you know what they are and/or how that is possible??

By the way, as a child, I was always fascinated with the migration story of Monarch Butterflies. I’m looking forward to seeing their pretty colors decorate my mother’s garden again this summer.

What’s Your Reset Button?

Every once and a while, my iPhone will start to act sluggish, crash randomly, or behave in an erratic manner for no apparent reason. The fail-safe fix to this problem is the “hard reset” advised by those smarty-pants Apple employees at the “genius bar”. I hold down the top and bottom buttons at the same time for a few seconds, and restart my phone to return it to it’s natural state of awesome.

Every once and a while, I start to act sluggish, crash randomly, or behave in an erratic manner for no apparent reason. My fail-safe fix to this problem, my “hard reset”, is the simultaneous feeling of sand between my toes, ocean spray upon my face, and UV rays soaking into my skin. The beach is my reset button. It never fails to bring me back to MY natural state (of awesome).


I had the opportunity to spend this past weekend with family and old friends in my favorite place on this earth- Surf City, LBI. I returned to reality yesterday with sunburned knees and shoulders, car seats covered in sand, a hemp & seashell ankle bracelet, and an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and completion. Sunday and Monday were beautiful beach days. I spent time with my amazing, one-year old nephew, my brothers and sisters-in-law, my parents and many extended family members and friends. My best friend and I also drove to Pittsburgh and back in a 24 hour time period (through the middle of the night both ways) to attend a high school friend’s wedding, but that is a story for another day. (Or a story that best remains untold on the internet due to the overall insanity of the entire trip).

I witnessed a beautiful sunset over the bay:


I made a super-fun wedding related purchase that I will reveal later this week, and I attempted to teach my nephew to fist pump, Jersey style. Let me just say that babies at the beach are a totally amazing thing.

We built sand castles:


and played in the waves. (My nephew was born into a family of part human-part fishes, and therefore proceeds to make a direct beeline for the ocean whenever he comes to the beach).


I had an absolutely amazing time soaking up the rays, and brought home a little taste of the Jersey shore (fresh fluke from the fish market) to make for dinner Monday night. It is back to my regular work schedule now, but everything just seems better today- despite the fact that I cannot wear a regular bra because it cuts too deeply into my sunburn… (TMI? Sorry.)

We all have our own reset button- our own place, activity, person or thing that helps bring us back to home base when things get out of control. Don’t forget to figure out what yours is, and treat yourself to a good, long, hard reset.



Monday Motivation

For Eating ~ Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps from 28 Cooks

For Travel ~ The Swallow’s Nest Castle in Crimea

Image Source

For my Dream Beach House ~ FH and I dream of one day owning a beach/vacation home. I have an entire Pinterest Board devoted to my fantasy…

The perfect beach kitchen from Country Living

For Sewing (Ideas for Beginners!) ~ I think I could whip up a few of these (DIY instructions from Martha Stewart) to protect my essentials this summer!

For a Night Cap ~ FH discovered this article titled “6 Reasons Why A Little Glass of Wine Each Day Might Do You Good”. Memory & metabolism boosting and decreased chances of infections and possibly cancer- good enough reasons to convince us to enjoy a glass each night!

That’s it for today- have a wonderful week!

❤ Laura