Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do you affiliate with us?

Did you know we have an affiliate program where you can earn cash or products by simply doing what you already probably do  online?  

So what is an affiliate program you say?  Refer people to the website and if they make a purchase you receive a percentage of the sale!  It's that easy!

Here is how it works:
  1. Sign up and we provide a unique link code to use on your blog, website, twitter, facebook, emails yada yada yada.  Or you can use our banner.
  2. Anytime someone clicks on the link and purchases something you receive a percentage of the sale. 
  3. We compensate affiliates monthly if the commission balance is over $20 via their PayPal account or you can use the credit towards any of our products.  
  4. Refer others to our affiliate program and receive 3% of their sales too!!
It's that simple!  

Friday, January 22, 2010

Random Rants - BOGO Jerk! Is this Leno worthy?

I took this picture on a road in the Cayman Islands and immediately thought Jay Leno would get a laugh out of this.

The picture is actually an advertising sign from a Jerk Chicken shack and after passing it several times that week we took them up on it.  It was delicious!  If you don't know what Jerk is it's a sweet and spicy rub originated in the Caribbean (particularly Jamaica).

Jerk Chicken is the most popular but the rub can be used on any meat, poultry, fish or tofu.  There is also a technique to cooking the jerk chicken that I have yet to perfect.

I found this tutorial and recipe from


You will need the following ingredients to prepare enough jerk chicken for 4 people:-
 One 3 1/2 lb chicken (3lb of chicken breasts may be used if preferred)
6 sliced scotch bonnet peppers (jalapenos may be used if scotch bonnet peppers are unavailable)
2 Tbsp. thyme
2 Tbsp. ground allspice
8 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Medium onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tsp. ground black pepper

1 to 2 Tsp of the following (to taste)
-ground cinnamon

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1 cup orange juice
1 cup white vinegar


  • Chop the onions, garlic and peppers. These do not need to be chopped too fine as they will be liquidized by the blender
  • Blend all of the ingredients (excluding the chicken) in a blender to make the jerk sauce

  • Cut the chicken up in to 4 pieces.
  • Rub the sauce in to the meat, saving some for basting and dipping later.
  • Leave the chicken in the fridge to marinade overnight
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turn the meat then bake for a further 30 minutes OR Grill the meat slowly until cooked, turning regularly. Baste with some of the remaining marinade whilst cooking. For best results, cook over a charcoal barbeque (ideally over a rack of pimento wood).
  • Chop each quarter chicken portion in to 5 or 6 smaller pieces using a heavy cleaver.
  • Us a wooden spoon (or something similar) to hold the chicken in place while chopping and NOT YOUR HAND (you will be chopping with enough pressure to cut through bone!!!


I'm of the take out generation and have never heard of Scotch bonnet peppers until I read this recipe.  Okay, you see the 3rd to last step where they say "ideally BBQ over a rack of pimento wood".....I think this is the key to lip-smacking jerk chicken.   Wondering where I would find pimento wood in Long Island :-)


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

FUgly edition #1 - Mint-Chocolate Soap Tarts

Every now and then I have some creations that didn’t exactly pan out the way I hoped. This may be business suicide displaying my failures but this blog is about me making scents - sometimes :-)

The products are not that they are dangerous or don’t work but just UGLY.  Sometimes there is a disconnect from the brain to the hands that don’t look as I imagined. Usually my family are the guinea pigs to use thing I won’t sell or surplus that hasn’t sold. If you want them you can have them at cost & shipping if I haven’t already used it.

Okay something about these look just nasty to me but I swear it smells amazing. The mint color with the chocolate curls isn’t exactly what I pictured no matter how I tried to maneuver it. They look like brown worms or fingernails! The soap is functional and did cleaned rather well.  I didn’t think I would like to smell  like chocolate but I used a small amount of dark chocolate scent so I smelled minty clean with just a touch of cocoa!  Do you have any FUgly disasters?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hearts for Haiti

Last week I was a little perturbed at the online community as I didn’t see much outpouring of sympathy or much talk about Haiti except for an occasional lone person here or there.  People talked about what they had for lunch or their love life but no mention of an Earthquake that affected millions of people.   I know life must go on but it  hurt that I kept thinking about this suffering and it “seemed” many others just thought of this as a tragic news story.  Then I came across Heart for Haiti.

Hearts for Haiti is an online collective of Etsy shops that have donated items to one shop.  All proceeds (minus Etsy and Paypal fees) go to Doctors without Borders.  As with many groups and organizations that have popped up recently stating their donation would go towards relief efforts one should be wary.  Although; this shop has the permission of the Etsy organization as well as Doctors without Borders and a separate paypal account is linked directly to Doctors without Borders to maintain the integrity of the shop.  This is double satisfaction!! Not only does one receive fantastic merchandise (with free shipping), the money one spends will go to help an organization assisting with the medical attention this disaster so desperately needs.   Browsing through the pages of this shop is like going in a department store with a wide variety of items!  At the time I published this there were 435 items for sale and 495 items sold totaling almost $5000 in just 5 days!  I donated some perfume body oils and they quickly sold within hours so grab your favorites quick!
Here are a few favorites I found from each section I  think are fab (if they haven't already sold)!:

World at Peace art Print by



(FYI – there are over 170 jewelry items in this section…check them out!)



Check the Hearts for Haiti shop each day for different items that are listed (including mine).
If you have an Etsy shop and would like to donate please go to HeartsforHaiti[at}gmail{dot}com or the following forum thread link

If you are still wary about giving to this shop please take a moment to give other reputable organizations that I have posted earlier (1/15).  I'm so happy and glad I was so wrong that we care so much and doing anything and anyway we can to help. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Food Snob

I’m real picky about my food to the point I had the nickname “Picky Nikki” stick for a few years.  But as I age what I like doesn’t agree with me anymore and I’m searching for new favorites.   I like to cook only when I don’t have to and when I do I like creating different recipes. The Food Snob is right up my alley.

I’m especially loving the homemade Vanilla marshmallows.  I’m wondering how they would taste in Rice Krispie treats instead of using Fluff.. Yeah I know real refined huh. LOL   When I said I like to cook I didn’t say I wanted to make Crème Brule.  I’ve never seen Tangerine Extract in the stores before (actually I never thought to look).  These extracts make you want to make something!  If you are looking for unique flavors to add a kick to new or boring recipes then check out The Food Snob.  I will also be following their blog to see how they prepare food using these delicious ingredients.  The Food Snob

Friday, January 15, 2010

Random Rants - Haiti needs our help!

This is usually a light-hearted blog promoting Nikki Makes Scents and other handcrafted businesses, some tips and random personal and/or funny tidbits.   Nevertheless, I could not ignore the devastation of the already impoverished country of Haiti only 750 miles away from the U.S.  Living in New York which has the largest population of Haitians, I am acquainted with some who are still waiting on word on the well being of their relatives.  It reminds me of when living in Michigan the time of Sept 11th and waiting on word of my family and friends in New York.  The not knowing for only a few hours was unbearable.  I can only imagine after seeing all the news clips of the ruble and people in the streets the turmoil of not knowing after 72 hours if your loved ones are safe.

With 80% of the population below the poverty line;
you can see Haiti does not have earthquake-proof buildings. 

There are many survivors out there that need medical attention.

This beautiful building, the Presidential Palace is now just ruins.

So what can we do?  
  • Give of your time -  With economic times as they are it may be difficult for some to reach into an empty pocket. For others who want to be proactive. And for those who want to show their teenagers the self satisfaction of giving; short of catching the next plain to Port-au-Prince here are a couple of suggestions:
    • Go to your local Red Cross or disaster relief agency to offer your assistance for anything.  Relief workers are probably working around the clock and someone just getting coffee or manning the telephones for a couple of hours while other relief workers prepare supplies for shipment would be a big help right now.  
    • Take the opportunity to donate blood. This is a gift of life. 
  • Give Money - More than anything right now the major relief organizations are requesting money than other material items so they can specifically obtain the supply needed.  The times are meager.  Although, just making instead of buying coffee and bagging lunch for a couple of days and donating what you would have spent can make a world of difference.  Consider these  reputable organizations my business and I have contributed to:
    The premiere emergency relief organization, The Red Cross is in the process of sending relief from the US, Peru, Mexico and the local chapters already in Haiti.  Go to the or 1-800-REDCROSS to donate.
    YELE, Founded by Haitian-born artist Wyclef Jean. This organization was
    established to promote the betterment of the Haitian people.  With just a text message "YELE" to 501501 $5 will be donated to the relief fund and 100% of the proceeds are used for this purpose.  For larger donations go to
    • Doctors without Borders comprise of medical and mental health professionals donating their skill around the world regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.  These selfless humanitarians need supplies to give quality medical attention.  Go to to donate.

     If your not giving to one of these organizations please 
    beware of scams like email solicitations, and third party fundraisers.
    • Promote the cause - I urge everyone not to make this just "news of the week" only to newspaper the bird cage with the headlines next week.  This is not tabloid news but current disastrous events.  The death toll is climbing to the 10's of thousands and as many as 3 million people are in need of some type of aid.  Emergency help is needed now. Reconnecting with family members, cleaning up, rebuilding, and so much more will be needed in the weeks and months to come.  Keep it in the media.  Just like we were tired of hearing about the latest Tiger Woods scandal we should keep the spotlight on this because rebuilding 3 million lives will not happen overnight. 

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    My first candle

    This is the very first candle I made 12 years ago. For some reason my mom kept it like a yellowing 1st grade drawing on a refrigerator.

    As you can see it’s dusty and only been lite once. There are a couple of cracks in it. I don’t think those were there when I gave it to her so it must have fallen a few times. But it’s my first candle so I might have thought that gave the candle “character.”

    The candle was made out of a sour cream container and reused wax or wax I bought at a craft store. If you look closely you can see the wick has a tail at the bottom. I guess maybe I thought the longer the wick the longer the burn (who knows).

    Actually I’m not sure why I would give her such a terrible looking candle; I was a grown adult and must have known it was pretty pathetic looking. Maybe she took it as memento and was going to show Oprah once I hit the big time.
    Alas, over a decade now and we haven’t been invited by Oprah's staff yet and I can’t even get tickets! It’s in mom’s bathroom for some reason. Not really sure why.
    It’s unscented so it serves no purpose (meaning it’s ugly and there isn’t a pleasant scent to make your nose appreciate the scent and not the appearance).
    Thankfully I kept trying and eventually improved my skill. I hope you agree I have improved dramatically since.

    Share your first creation story (first recipe, craft, etc).

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Quick tips

    With the holidays and winter season, more candles are lit for various reasons.  Whether you use candles for personal scent enjoyment, ambiance, warmth or cultural/religious reasons here are some tips to ensure safety as well as obtaining the longest life of your candle.
    • Keep wax free of wick trimmings, debris, matches or other flammable objects. – debris can clog the wick preventing it from burning well or at all.  Flammable objects goes without saying…..but just in case….they cause fire!
    • Keep wick centered and trimmed to 1/4" at all times. - keeping the wick trimmed allows for an even burn and less smoke and soot.
    • Burn only on a stable, heat resistant surface for no more than 4 hours at a time.
    • Discontinue use if any cracks appear in glass.
    • Do not move candle while burning or if wax is hot.
    • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
    • Use a candle holder or plate for any candle to avoid spillage or dyes ruining furniture.
    Those are my main tips.

    Here are some I learned along the way before I started the business and was young and dumb (ok just dumb):
    • Don’t extinguish your candle flame in between two fingers like you saw in the movies.
    • Don’t try to salvage your candle wax by using a plastic knife (or any knife)….plastic knives are sharp too and can cut through nerves (My nerve-less middle finger will tell you this is a true story)
    • Frankincense + Chocolate don’t mix…please don’t request this scent combination or I might upchuck.
    • Don’t light candles in the closet to find your favorite jeans or you can set your whole wardrobe on fire (Okay I didn’t do this one but I know someone who did).
    If you can think of any “real” tips you think are important or funny tips/mishaps with candles please share them with us!

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Freebies on the net - January

    Do you love giveaways or freebies as much as much as I do?  If you haven’t won the lottery or publisher’s clearing house yet then why not enter with even better odds of winning a bunch of free products.  I also find a lot of favorite sites along the way.  The first Friday of every month (this month happens to be the 2nd Friday) I will list several I found online from small businesses around the net.  Here is what I found this month!

    Win this beautiful clutch by Jeannie N. Design

    Find the giveaway at Luci39's Alluring Blog

    Win any $20 item at ClaireBaby Designs
    Go to her Blog for details

    Win one of these Felt Love Birds by Felt Me Up Designs for Valentines
    Go to the Felt Me Up Designs Blog for details

    Win up to $50 in HUzzah bucks from HUzzah Vintage
    Check out their Blog for details 

    Colorful earrings from Luv2Hav

    Update (I just had to add this one!)

    A Daily 2010 Calender created by a bunch of artist including
    the owner of Liv'nGood Jewlery.  Check out her Blog for details.

    Don't forget our monthly Giveaway
    5 varieties of votive candles!

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Ear Candles?

    When I first heard of ear candles I thought it was an ear-shaped candle.   In fact Ear Candling is a process in which one uses a hollow candle (cloth dipped and hardened in wax), place it in their ear and light it.   The vacuum process claims to get rid of wax and toxins and some advocates even believe it can relieve sinus pressure, tinnitus, vertigo and  a host of other ailments.  Now I just make candles and I don't claim to be an expert....BUT the thought of lighting a candle near my ear purposely and letting dripping wax and smoke in an orifice near my brain purposely, doesn't sit right with me.  I'm still not sure how a lit candle melting on your head can reduce less waxy build up.  Maybe the risk puncturing my eardrum, setting my hair on fire or burning my skin or ear off is worth it if it works!  I've been known to stick a bobby pin in there on occasion, why not graduate to bigger and brighter things (get it....brighter).   Then I saw this on TMZ a few weeks ago:

    Anyone who has difficulty deciphering if tuna is chicken is not someone I want to be in good company with.

    I found something else that seems to work just fine. 

    Hope you don't use any of my candles for this purpose...because I won't be held responsible.

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Why is it suddenly not cool to have resolutions?

    It seems as if more and more people think it's corny to have new year resolutions.  I hear it all the time "I don't make resolutions" or "I resolute not to make a resolution".  As if we are setting ourselves up for failure.  I really think people are reluctant to say it out loud because then people will hold them to it.  How many times have I heard "I though you were on a diet?"  when I reach for that cookie in the break room.   Well, that would be every Tuesday because every Monday I start a new diet (just kidding).  But saying it out loud and writing it down gives it some validity to hold one to ones word.  If I do mindlessly reach for the cookie that person just reminded me of my goal and saved me an extra 15 minutes on the stairmaster.  

    It's a new year....Heck a new decade so why not sit down and reflect on realistic goals that you want to work on and make a plan to accomplish it.
    1. Say it
    2. Plan it
    3. Execute it
    Personally I want to eventually run the NY marathon but since I haven't even run around the block in weeks (okay months) I think I should start with smaller more obtainable goals like finishing a 5k by April.
    Business Goals

    • Labels are expensive but I know a bone of contention are to have waterproof labels. We hope to have some of our products with waterproof labels by mid year.
    • We currently have 3 shops who carry our products and we are working to expand with several local shops. Hopefully in 2010 you will see us in a store near you.

    What are your 2010 personal/business resolutions....I mean goals?

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Monthly Giveaway Galore

    Happy New Year!!!

    Congrats to Nicole S. (no relation) for your Facebook comment and being our Giveaway winner in December!!

    Here is how you can win

    Just for commenting you are automatically entered in our monthly giveaway.
    1. Be our fan on Facebook and leave a comment about the topic or website.
    2. Follow us on Twitter and tweet about us using nikkicandles or Nikki Makes Scents (sorry private tweets can't be seen and therefore cannot be counted)
    3. Follow our Blog and leave comment about any our post for the month.
    4. If you made a purchase, leave comments on our "what people are saying" page

    It's that simple to win 5 candles from us!!

    Do all four each month and that will count as 4 entries to increase your chances!!
    Comments such as "comment" or "I'm following you" are not considered comments! Please comment on our post, our products or whatever subject we are chatting or tweeting about this month.
    (Previous winners within the year are not eligible to win again although we appreciate your support so let's hear from you too!)