Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Foray into Fashion Part #1

Part #1: Accepting my Body

So, my current fashion tale begins with the fact that in the last year I've gained 25 pounds.

Most of my life I been one of the or the "slim(mer) girl" in my group of girlfriends, no matter which group.  I am 5'7, and have generally been a size 8 give or take a little for winter or spring.  When I got married 6 years ago I was a slim 140, and man did I look gorgeous on my wedding day.

Geez, I was skinny!
I gained some weight while hubby and I worked on our masters degrees, but I wasn't too upset.  Going from 140 to 150 was not the worst thing ever.  But what I wasn't prepared for was the way my weight shifted over the past year.

The stress of my doctoral program coupled with anti-depressants and the weird things that happen to a woman's body at the turning point of 30, resulted in a slow, but constant rate of change.  Between struggling with low energy and the impulse to eat my feelings, I simply could not keep this weight gain in check.  Before I knew it, I went from 152 to 160, 170, and now I'm stable at around 178.  Having had a reasonably good self-esteem most of my life, and not much outlet for learning how to discuss my struggles with body image given my friends' situation, I lacked the healthy ways to process how my body was changing.  So, this weight gain added to the spiral of anxiety, low energy, and eating out because of stress and low energy

My most recent full body picture from a year ago; yes, that's a heavy wool coat, but it actually fits me perfectly now.

One of the most important moment in this journey came this past spring.  I was around 170, and nothing was fitting anymore.   A dear girlfriend out here in CA accompanied me to the local Crossroads in Berkeley to help me search for new jeans.  She patiently sifted through the racks of jeans, explained her reasoning for what she picked out, and with the grace only a friend who has walked ahead of you on a road in life can, she waited outside the dressing room for my every worried question, "What do you think?" In every moment she affirmed my beauty, calmed my anxieties, and walked me through the arduous process of accepting this dramatic change in my body.

At the beginning of the summer, I did a small purge of items from my closet.  My husband and I live in a very small apartment with our dog in the East Bay, and we have a general rule - bring something new in, take something old out.  This ensures that we maintain a home in which we are both comfortable.  However, even during this small purge, I was not ready to part with my old "skinny" clothes.  I was not yet ready to accept the body in which I currently live.

The past few months I have been on a journey of self-acceptance.  Beyond just learning to love my body, I've been learning to accept my limitations by setting boundaries.  Its been an amazing time of growth for me.  I've rediscovered my inner-girlie girl who loves to keep up with the rough and tumble boys (for a bit more on that see my previous post "Waking up Girlie").  I've learned to embrace this new body.  Fighting it has only caused me more pain, which has led to more depression and more weight gain.  So, I have decided to give up that nasty little spiral and embraced the epic journey called, "Learning to Love Myself."  The first step on this journey was falling in love with painting my nails, trying new beauty products, caring for my skin, wearing makeup, and doing my hair every day.

Me and hubby on election day this week.

Thus, this blog was born.  I needed to develop an outlet for my newfound passion for makeup, beauty products, talking about these things, and finding ways to fund my expensive hobby.  I am looking for new ways to accept myself, embrace this place in my life, and learn to move forward with love toward myself so that I can express love to others better.

I thank all of you who read, follow, and participate on this blog!

Please stay tuned for part #2 of this episodic adventure where I share how I start moving forward in accepting my body in new ways!

Friday, November 7, 2014

One Lovely Blog Award Post

Special thanks to Carol for nominating me for this award!  She has a lovely lavender blog where she provides wonderful reviews for beauty, skincare and hair products as well as Birchbox reviews!  I can't wait to learn more about her!  Make sure to check out her site!

Special thanks to Shea for nominating me for this award!  I love her spunky blog!  She collects funny cartoons for your daily chuckle needs, reviews a wide range of subscription boxes, and shares great tips and tricks.  I can't wait to learn more about Shea.  Definitely head over to her site!

A little About the One Lovely Blog Award:

The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must complete five steps.

Steps to Accept the Award:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog. 
    (My link:
2. List the rules and display the award logo in your post.
3. Add 7 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers you want to know better.
5. Follow the person who nominated you on bloglovin'.

Seven Facts about Laughing Scholar (aka Suzanne):
1. I rarely maintain a consistent hair cut.  I tend to follow this cycle: chop it to my shoulders, grow it out to my mid-back, and chop it off again.  I managed to maintain a style for a whole six months, but it almost broke my piggy bank!
2. I have a love-hate relationship with the color yellow.  I love happy yellow colors, but I can't wear them.  They make me look like I'm sea-sick.
3. My mom is one of my best friends.  She lives back home in GA, and I miss her terribly.  3000 miles is really far away.
4. For me, Thanksgiving = Pumpkin Cheesecake!  I can't wait to bake one later this month for all my friends.
5. I have found that listening to audiobooks is the best way to pass the time while relaxing in a bubble bath.  Before I discovered this I really didn't enjoy baths, because I'd just get so bored!
6. I genuinely like people.  I think that people are fascinating and amazing!  I really want to hear all of your thoughts about my blog posts.  I love having conversations! :-)
7. I have an on-going love affair with Burt's Bees products.  My mother got me hooked.  I just started using their shampoo and conditioner, and I am in heaven!

So, here are the lovely blogs I nominate!
9. Maggie of
12. Sandee of
13. Celise of
14. Angie of
15. Jessica of

Alright, all you lovely ladies!  I cannot wait to learn more about you when you post your facts!  :-)

#aboutme #myfavoritethings

Birchbox's Mystery Sample Pack Revealed and Reviewed

So, one of the many items in the Birchbox Bonus Shop is their Mystery Sample Pack.  I have received three over the past month, and I am pretty confounded about the range of these Mystery Sample Packs.

Here's their Birchbox Breakdown:
We know you love diving into samples as much as we do, and the Mystery Sample Pack gives you the chance to try some of our favorite products. Receive two samples for free by spending $35+ on any full-size products from the shop. It includes one deluxe sample and one standard sample that we’re especially excited about right this minute, and here’s the really fun part: Their identities will remain secret until you receive your order. Alternatively, you can purchase this mysterious sample duo on its own for $10.

Here's My Breakdown:

Given that this item would cost you $10 separately, I would expect to discover at least $10 worth of value in this Mystery Sample Pack.  Keep in mind that this sample pack has the exact same cost as Birchbox's monthly subscription box.  When I finally ordered more than $35 worth of products from the Birchbox shop, I was pretty stoked about getting my free Mystery Sample Pack!  I like to think that I have pretty realistic expectations for things, and I was really looking forward to this surprise.

Mystery Sample Pack #1

One tiny bottle of Color Club nail polish in coral, one tiny blister sample pack of 100% Pure French Lavender Butter cream, and two one-time use samples of Obliphica Treatment Hair Serum.  I overall feeling on this Mystery Sample Pack is Meh.  This one wasn't bad, but I'm just not thrilled.  At least the nail polish can be used multiple times, and I could toss the hand buttercream into my purse for a backup lotion for my hands/ arms - its a pretty good size for single-use.

Since the value was not immediately apparent to me, I did some research.  Here's what I found.  Prices are breakdowns from full prices on Birchbox.  

The polish is part of a four piece set that costs $10.  So, polish = $2.50.  

The Obliphica Treatment Hair Serum full size is 2.2 fl oz. for $38.  So, each of these packet = $3.45 

Finally, the 100% Pure Handcream full size is 1.6 fl oz. for $8. So, this sample = $.34

So, the value of this Mystery Sample Pack is about $13.

I don't love this Mystery Sample Pack, but its not a total let down.

Mystery Sample Pack #2

My first response when I pulled this out of the box was, "Some poor person might have paid $10 for this."  I was completely underwhelmed and disappointed.  This Mystery Sample Pack includes one Obliphica Intensive Nourishing Hair Mask, which could be used twice if you have short hair, and one single use Obliphica Hair Treatment Serum.  Honestly, neither of these items could possibly be called "full-size."  

Here's the value breakdown:
The Obliphica Intensive Nourishing Hair Mask full size is 8.45 fl oz for $38.  This sample = $4.54

The Obliphica Treatment Hair Serum full size is 2.2 fl oz. for $38.  So, this packet = $3.45 

For a total value of $7.99.  

This is no where close to $10 of value.  Birchbox, you've got to do better than this!!  At this point, I've given up hope of getting anything but blister packs of hair products that their sample department is apparently trying to clear out.  I had one more mystery sample pack arriving with a final order, and I swore that if I got more hair products, I'd just throw everything away.

Mystery Sample Pack #3

I've ended up with two BB accounts, and when I made an order from account #2, this is the Mystery Sample Pack I got!  Talk about surprised!  This one was AWESOME!!! I am still happy with this set! I received the Pixi Lip Balm in Honey Nectar in my August Birchbox.  I seriously love this balm, and the color.  It feels amazing on my lips.  I had been wanting to try this product in a brighter color for a while.  The color I received in this Mystery Sample Pack is Coral Crush, its really nice without being overpowering.  This balm is $8 on Birchbox.  I've heard good things about Shishedo and seen their ads in beauty mags, so I'd been hoping to get my hands on a sample.  This product runs $65/oz on Birchbox, and this sample is .33 fl oz, which puts it at a value of about $21.  Now, THIS is a Mystery Sample Pack, Birchbox!  If this becomes a regular thing, then I'll definitely be trying to hit $35 for every purchase!

Mystery Sample Pack #4

This sample pack was a little "ho-hum" for me, but it still contains some pretty good items: 2 blister packs of 3-step skin care regimen from derma-e, 3 sachets of Mighty Leaf Tea, and one sample size of  Havvn Night Cream.

Breakdown for derma-e samples = $4.30/each
Mighty Leaf Tea Sachets = $1.99 for all 3
Havvn Night Cream Sample = $4.05
Total Value of this Mystery Pack = $14.64

Overall, really not bad, Birchbox!  Things are looking up!  I'm just swimming in moisturizers and night creams right now.  Otherwise, I'd be a bit more excited about Havvn Night Cream, especially for travel!

Mystery Sample Pack #5

Deja Vu, right?  This is the exact same sample pack as above, except that it contains a LAQA & Co. Lip Lube.  Now, I love me some new lip colors, so this one is really exciting to me!

Breakdown for derma-e samples = $4.30/each
Mighty Leaf Tea Sachets = $1.99 for all 3
LAQA & Co. Lip Lube (this is part of a 5 piece set) = $8.00
Total Value = $18.59!

As my most recent mystery sample pack (as of 2/15/2015), it is really exciting to see that Birchbox has totally stepped up their game!  I'm thrilled with this mystery sample pack!  I love samples of skincare for traveling.  Tea is always great!  AND I scored a free lippy!  SWEET!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Walmart Beauty Box Unboxing and Review

I was super excited to hear about Walmart's $5 seasonal subscription box!  This is a free seasonal box; there is a new one every three months.  You are charged only $5 for shipping and handling.  Even though I'm not a fan of Walmart in general, I am a huge fan of this box!

The Box:
These items arrived in a very nice box, pictured above, wrapped in tissue paper and contained a product card.  There's just something very nice about these details that add a certain finesse to beauty boxes in general.  Box is sturdy and arrived wrapped in plastic wrap, which is nice if its raining.

Dove Products:
My box came with travel size Dove Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner as well as a travel size of Dove Hair Oil.  These are nice size sample products.  I have not sampled them yet, since I am saving them for my holiday travel.

Secret Clinical Strength:
Clinical Strength deodorant.  I know that Secret has really been pushing this product with high value coupons lately.  I recently started using this brand again, so I'm looking forward to trying out this product.  It should be helpful when I start teaching in the spring after taking a several month hiatus from the classroom! :-)

Covergirl Glowing Nights Glosstini:
This is seriously the cutest little bottle of nail polish I've ever seen!  Its a lovely shade blue entitled #afterdark.  The polish has a nice consistency and applies evenly.  Nice!

Neutrogena Find Your Shade:This is seriously one of the best product ideas I've seen in a box yet.  How many times are you at your local beauty section trying to figure out which new foundation you should get since they discontinued your favorite?  So, this sample contains a range of colors for various skin tones so you can color match at home!  A coupon for $2 off the product came included as part of the sample.  Brilliant!

L'Oreal Glossy Lipbalm Crayon:
I received shade Ginger Candy.  Oh my goodness is this product smooth!  It feels great to wear, and the shade is a great nude pink that is totally on trend this season.

Overall Assessment:
Definitely a sub box to keep!  $5 = $1/ item in the box, not including the value of the $2 coupon!  For these good quality products, you can't beat this deal.  Value to Cost ratio is really high on this box.  At four times a year, this is a great way to update your beauty routine and try new products.  I definitely recommend this sub box!

For more information, here's their website:

This is not a referral link; Walmart BeautyBox does not offer that option.

+Walmart.COM +loreal paris +Dove
#review #unboxing #beauty

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Target Beauty Box Unboxing and Review

Oh Target!  I do love you!  Target's Beauty Box is not subscription based, so you have to jump on it when it appears.  I think they are still available as of the time of this posting.

The Box:

The box is really nice.  A paper sheath with the Target logo covers a plain white box. (I love boxes I can use for gifts later in the year since gift boxes are so darn expensive!)  Tissue paper and the product card are the first items you see when you open the box.  The product card also includes a Target coupon for $3 off of $15 of beauty products as well as an online coupon code, if you prefer to buy your items that way.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil:
The color I received is called Milk.  Its a nice creamy white.  The product is very smooth and feels good on the skin.  I'm not sure how I'm going to incorporate this item yet, but I'm looking forward to experimenting!

Laneige BB Cushion Sample:

This item is actually quite nice, and its a Target exclusive! It comes as a sample blister of BB Cream as well as an applicator pad.  This feels like a high end product for Target.  It looks great and feels great!

L'Oreal Elnett Extra Strong Hold Hairspray:

What girl doesn't need a travel size of hairspray?  Plus, Elnett is like the hairspray cornerstone of modern fashion, right?  I actually have never used this product, so I'm thrilled to finally try it out!

Fekkai Blowout Dry Shampoo:

This is a solid little dry shampoo.  I'm happy with it as a travel size since I'll be traveling over the holidays, but I don't think I would buy this particular product.  It has a strong chemical smell, and leaves an awkward residue in my hair that other dry shampoos don't.  Its okay, but I just can't recommend it.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lipstick:

Confession, I actually got the entire box for this product.  Average retail is $8.99 at my local Target, and this whole box cost me $7.00.  I got the most lovely color red that'll be fantastic for any special event.  I love this line.  The product has a rich, creamy and smooth texture that isn't sticky.  It lasts and lasts and lasts.  LOVE!

Overall Conclusion:

I'm thrilled.  Target advertises the items, but not colors, you'll receive, and for $7.00 this is a fantastic complement to Walmart's Beauty Box.  I know I'll be keeping my eye out for these little gems in the future, and I hope you will too!

Here's the link if you're interested in checking it out for yourself:

+Target +Fekkai +LANEetnam +loreal paris

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lip Monthly October Unboxing and Review

Wow!  Okay, this is some serious improvement over last month!  Good job, Lip Monthly!

New Bag!
They still have their name on the outside of the bag, but at least its not tacky like last month's bag (see previous post).  It also feels like its made from higher quality materials.

Starlooks Lip Sugar:
I was super excited to try this product, since I exfoliate my lips pretty regularly.  So, I was very disappointed to find that it is totally dried out! :-(  Not a great start to this bag, Lip Monthly.  Not a great start.  I'll be employing my google-foo skills to track down a way to revitalize this one, but I'm a little frustrated.  The container is adorable, but the faded, and peeling sticker is another penalty point in my book.

Noyah Cherry Lip Balm:
This item gets additional points for not only being natural, but kosher; serious cool points.  I already have too many lip balms open right now; I'm leaving this one sealed to make sure that it lasts until I'm ready to use it.  The box also includes a product card and discount code for your first purchase directly from noyah, which is pretty cool!

Devine Lip Balm:
Apparently this company uses benefits from wine, such as reveratol, to take care of your lips.  This color is pinot noir, and looks like a great wine color, which is on trend this fall.  Again, I'm the crazy-lip balm lady right now.  So this one is going to wait its turn before I open it.

J. Cat Beauty Fantabulous Lipstick:
I received shade nude.  I know I have too many lip balms, glosses and lipsticks open right now, but I could not resist trying this one out right away!  At first I was bit skeptical, but this blends out for the perfect nude lip, even for me! (I usually end up looking like a ghost with the nude lip-look).  It feels very smooth, and I highly recommend trying it out.

L.A. Girl Eyeliner
I received the color Navy, which I can't wait to try.  Again with the too-many-products-open-already conundrum.  But this will be a nice addition in a few months when its still chilly and grey in the Bay Area!

Overall Assessment:
For $10/ month, Lip Monthly is a good deal if you are totally obsessed with lip products.  If you're a high volume user or an avid purchaser of the newest trends for lips , this is an inexpensive way to keep the new products in your beauty drawer, try new items, and experiment with new trends.  This isn't quite me, but I've been happy with the two months of sub that I have had with them.  Plus, their customer service department is very responsive.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Why the name Laughing Scholar?

I have a very distinct laugh.  No.  Really.  I have one of those laughs that carries beyond walls and doors into the world beyond.  I have a laugh that people recognize in large conference halls; they usually come find me during a break to say, "Hi!  I knew you were here.  I heard you laugh!"  One recent friend explained that before she met me, my fellow doctoral students asked if she knew who I was, describing me as the doctoral student with "the mythic laugh."

A perfectly timed photo capturing my laughter at a friend's wedding.

The name stuck and became the inspiration for my name on Pinterest.  My own self-understanding in the social media nexus continued to grow when I decided upon "Laughing Scholar" for my Tumblr title.  I needed an outlet for the ridiculousness that is being a doctoral student, navigating a doctoral program, and living the doctoral student life.  And, I needed to be able to laugh about it all.

Compartmentalizing my life has never created happiness and joy for me.  So, as my interests beyond biblical studies grows, and I find new hobbies, such as blogging about beauty products, my musings on life, etc., I feel its important to stay grounded in a single identity, at least for now.

So, this blog is a catch-all.  My ramblings about the thoughts in my head will show up from time to time.  I am currently enjoying interacting with other subscription box reviewers on Instagram, FB, and Twitter, so those posts will be appearing when I can afford it! :-)  I remember one of my professors in my masters program explain that many professors' style of dress is stuck in whatever decade they finished their dissertation.  This scared me senseless as I looked at her clearly 1980s style dress that captured the color palette of the 1970s with horrid accuracy.  I swore that this would not happen to me.  So, eventually, I'll start researching this notion of "fashion" and post reflections here.

As you read my blog, please keep in mind that I'm a graduate student.  I do work, but my home relies mostly on my husband's income.  So, this blog will also demonstrate a concern for high value, low cost, and access to those opportunities.  

Finally, I love conversation.  I really want to hear your thoughts about what I've shared.  If any of my posts relate to yours, please post links in comments.  I hope that this can become a place where ideas flow and everyone feels comfortable putting in his/ her 2 cents! :-)

Lip Monthly September Unboxing and Review

By now I think we all know that I'm a sucker for a deal on a sub box!  Lip Monthly was running a half-price on your first bag deal last month, so you know I had to try this one out!

So, I ordered Lip Monthly's September bag on the cheap trial price; I kept waiting for the item to ship before canceling my sub.  Well, apparently with this sub, you end up paying for your 2nd month before your 1st month arrives.  So, that's already points off right there in my mind.

This is the lip monthly bag and items I received for September.  I was surprised at the number of non-lip products in this bag, given that its called Lip Monthly.  But let's give it a whirl:

The Bag:
Woof!  So, its a cosmetics bag, but I feel rather awkward with the company's logo printed all over it.  Advertising is important, but so is making a pleasing bag that considers clientele's aesthetic.  I'm using it for my overwhelming number of already-opened lip products, and it hides in my bathroom cabinet.  Blame my mother for this - its nearly impossible for me to throw out a bag, much to Hubby's chagrin.  Enough said.

Cherimoya Lip Crayon:
I received this in coral.  I swatched it, and it looks great on my skin!  Its a lovely color! I put it on and it totally washes me out.  I think that I'll be using this for a nude lip later this fall.  I wish I had realized what this would look like on; I might have put it up for a give-away or swapped it.

Julie Nail Polish:
I pretty orangey-coral color that would have been perfect for this past summer.  I was a little disappointed that the color was not closer to on trend for fall, but it'll be very nice once spring rolls around.

Pur~lisse Sunscreen:
No joke.  This is not even a moisturizer with SPF.  Its sunscreen, and it smells strong!  It feels okay going on, but I won't be wearing this unless I'm a camp counselor in the summertime again.  Not my cup of tea.

Eco Lips:
I'm swimming in lip balm since my darling mother is an avid Burt's Bees addict.  The scent is an odd vanilla hemp.  hmm.  I don't even know if I'll bother using this product or not.  Living in CA, I'm a little over this hemp craze.

Cherimoya Eye Liner:
I received Latte #24 and promptly gave to a friend.  The color appears like nothing on my skin, and I have light skin.  It does have a smooth texture and built in sharpener, which is a plus for me.

Overall Assessment:
An overly strong-smelling sample of facial sunscreen from a company that I feel overprices its items, plus a tacky bag, and not-up-front shipping/ charging schedules equals a not-impressed graduate student on a budget.  But since I'm already charged for October, let's see what the next bag looks like!

+Lip Monthly

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Old Factory Candle Gift Set Review

I am so excited about this post!  Old Factory Candles sent me this lovely candle gift set to review!

According to Old Factory's Product Description:
Old Factory candles are hand-poured in the USA with natural soy wax, self-trimming cotton candle wicks, and premium fragrance oils. The Old Factory Candle Gift Sets each contain 3 different scented candles. Each candle burns clean and even for 20 hours. The subtle jar design makes it the perfect complement for any decor, and any room of the house - kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, family room, great room, and basement. Each gift set is themed around a group of related fragrances. So everyone is sure to find something perfect for every occasion, every room in the house, and all the special someones in your life. Old Factory Candle Gift Sets are sold exclusively on Amazon.

 Old Factory Candle Gift Sets are available in a wonderful range of fun collections:

Fall Harvest - Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry, Autumn Leaves
Happy Holidays - Christmas Tree, Candy Cane, Gingerbread
Winter Wonderland - Hot Cocoa, Roasted Chestnut, First Snow
Romance - Rose Petals, Champagne, Dark Chocolate
Fresh & Clean - Lemongrass, Olive Blossom, Fresh Linen
Spa Day - Cucumber, Lemongrass, Green Tea
Vacation - Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, Awapuhi
Coffee Shop - Coffee Bean, Hazelnut, Chai Tea
Man Cave - Straight Razor, Leather, Mahogany
High as a Kite - Cannabis, Incense, Bag O' Cookies
New Born Baby - Baby Powder, Baby Shampoo, First Blanket
50 Shades - Leather, Jasmine Bubbles, Vanilla Sex

Old Factory Candle Gift Sets are exclusively available at

 I chose to review the gift set, "Fresh & Clean."  I wanted something that would be appropriate anywhere in my tiny apartment throughout the year.  This collection has definitely not disappointed me.  I have thoroughly enjoyed these candles while sitting at my desk reading and writing for my second round of comprehensive exams, blogging, and generally hanging out on the internets. :-)

When I pulled these candles out of the box, I'll admit that they were a bit smaller than I anticipated.  I guess I'm still getting used to what 2 oz. really looks like.  The lids fit well, and the labels are very well attached (no worries about them flaking off the steam from a hot bath!).  They have a nice weight, and the glass is sturdy.  (They already took a tumble, unlit, and were fine!)

Before burning them, I smelled them individually.  I was really surprised about how much I enjoyed each of them individually.  When I ordered this collection, I was a bit skeptical about Lemongrass, since lemon scents are not usually my favorite.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised!  They are all very lovely scents.

Lemongrass - clean lemon scent with a hint of sweet.
Olive Blossom - a delicate floral scent that reminds of walking through a flower garden.
Fresh Linen - a crisp scent that reminds me of that fresh out of the bath smell.

They burn very cleanly, and are the perfect size for any space.  I recommend burning the set together.  When I sampled the olive blossom solo, I really couldn't smell it.  However, burning all three together creates a lovely and dynamic scent that has quite a throw distance! This gift set definitely lives up to its name, Fresh & Clean!

I must say that as a graduate student on a tight budget, $25 for a candle gift set is definitely a splurge.  However, if you are in search for a gift for yourself or someone else, these are worth the cost.  I will be enjoying this set for quite some time while studying, relaxing, and entertaining friends!

Disclosure: Old Factory Candles sponsored this review by providing samples for review. This postis also powered by Brandbacker. Information about Old Factory Candles is gleaned from their product information available on the box and at  All opinions and pictures are my own.