Candles for that Cozy Fall Feeling

I have been loving candles lately. As the temperature starts to go down here in Ohio, I just love having an eclectic collection of cozy candles burning.

From bottom row left to right: I love love love this matte pink taper candle holder. It is incredibly rich looking and only cost $12.99! The matte texture is so cute and there is a reservoir to catch any candle drips. I have found cute taper candles all over, but I especially love the fat Root taper you can see in the top pic. I got a few of these cute reclaimed wood block tea light candle holders on Zulily. They help me achieve that eclectic vibe. They are no longer on Zulily, but I found what I think are the exact same ones here. I buy tea light candles by the tray at Hobby Lobby for super cheap. Capri Blue Volcano candles have been a longtime favorite of mine. The smell is divine and while they are pricey, I think you get your money’s worth. This one is from Anthropologie. (Don’t mind the hack job I did on the wax with a plastic spoon under the influence of Ambien one night). And last but not least, this Anchored Northwest candle is a new fave. It has a wood wick that gives that perfect crackle sounds like you’re sitting next to a campfire. If you haven’t already, please join my Facebook group, Fook Mercantile. I will be releasing these candles for sale in the group very soon!

What are some of your favorite fall/winter candles? Let me know in the comments!

You Know It’s 2020 When You Have Favorite Masks

I am about to give you my unpopular opinion… I do not hate wearing masks. I especially don’t hate that everyone has to wear one in public right now. My name is Michaella, and I am a germaphobe. I have purchased ALL THE MASKS since this pandemic began. There are some that are terrible and go directly in the trash after one wear. Some are cute, but not very functional. So here are my faves and how I wash, dry, and store them.

These have wound up being my faves. I have tons of super cute printed ones but these Plain Jane ones (with the exception of Dolly, of course), are the most comfortable for everyday use. From top left going clockwise: Jaanuu Masks. Jaanuu is a company that makes scrubs. These masks are pretty lightweight and affordable. They come with either a mesh lining or cotton lining, depending on which color you order, you do not get to pick. I have both the mesh and the cotton and they are both equally comfortable. Dolly Parton Mask. I got this one on Etsy, and while it is only a single layer, which I don’t usually like, I love that it has a pocket for a filter. Graf Lantz Mask. This one is my go to when I am going to be in what I consider higher risk situations like the grocery store or doctor’s office. It is two fabric layers thick, has a metal adjustable nose bridge, has a pocket for a filter, and the design of it holds it out from your mouth so you can breathe easily. And last but not least, the Ministry of Supply Mask. This one is lightweight, comes out from your mouth a little without gapping on the sides, and has a pocket for a filter. I will note about the Ministry of Supply Mask that the filters are specific to this brand as they are oddly shaped and are a little more pricey than the standard filters you can find lots of places.

I wash my masks on warm with Lysol Laundry Sanitizer and then I hang them to dry on this Belt Hanger.

I keep a plastic basket (left) on the floor by my door to toss my dirty masks in when I come home. I keep a basket of clean masks (right) by my door so there is always a fresh one I can grab on my way out the door.

I know not everyone loves wearing a mask, but I hope this helps you if you’ve been looking for some more comfortable options. Does anyone else have a favorite? Let me know in the comments!

It’s Fall Y’all! Time to Bust Out Those Pumpkin Decorations!

I’ve never been much into fall decorating. I save all my decorating mojo for Christmas. But I have always been into fabric. I go into fabric stores and I just fall in love with fabrics, even though I have no idea what I will do with them. My family has also been collecting Harley t-shirts for a very long time. And with these two seemingly unrelated hobbies an idea was born. Last year I started making and selling fabric and t-shirt pumpkins, with the help of my godmother (who is thankfully a very skilled sewer).

Below are just some of the awesome decorative pumpkins available! Please check out my Etsy store and also join my facebook group, Fook Mercantile! If there is something you would love to see in a pumpkin, just ask. We love doing custom requests!

TiiPii Bed – Worth The Splurge?

Back in June, I stumbled across this sort of strange looking “hammock” called a TiiPii Bed. I was immediately intrigued. There are a number of different options, but they all basically boil down to a three part “system”; the TiiPii bed, the stand and the cover. The bed itself comes in a few sizes, I opted for the classic large, which claims to support 3-4 adults and 550 pounds. As soon as I ordered the bed itself, pretty much every other piece was out of stock. They have two stands, the classic and the deluxe. I wanted the classic, but it was out of stock so I ended up going with the deluxe, which is quite a bit more costly. The deluxe is billed as being better for outdoor use and is prettier, so it wasn’t a terrible thing. So I received the bed first, then had to wait a few weeks for the stand to arrive. At this point the cover was backordered until September, but I could at least enjoy the hammock outside, I would just need to bring it in when it was going to rain.

This is the best money I have ever spent on outdoor anything! I have spent more time outside this year than in my previous 34 years of life. It is so comfortable! I love to lay in it during the day and read or listen to a podcast; and at night it is fabulous to lay in and have a little fire in the fire pit nearby. The cover finally came and it is awesome. It sort of turns the TiiPii into an actual little teepee tent. The cover is water and weather proof so you can just zip it up and leave all your pillows and such inside. I also no longer have to bring the bed in when it rains, as it is protected by the cover. When you have the cover closed, there are three little netted windows you can open and it’s super cute.

In my opinion, the TiiPii bed and all its accoutrements are totally worth the splurge! With the cover, I will be able enjoy it well into the fall months, so you can get quite a lot of use out of it even if you live in a cooler climate like I do. It also comes with a sheer net overlay that you can use in the summer months, just to keep you buggy free.

Have any of you tried the TiiPii system? What did you think?

*This post is not sponsored.

My First Summer of Outdoor Gardening – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I have been growing houseplants for several years and I really enjoy it. This summer I thought I would try my hand at outdoor gardening, since I had more time at home. This first year was definitely a learning curve. I learned a lot of great things about what worked, and what to do differently next year. Read on for some of my gardening highlights from this summer.

I successfully grew lettuce, dandelion greens and green onions. Next year I will grow way more of all three. The green onions in particular went super fast once they were ready to harvest.

I attempted to grow broccoli, pumpkins, watermelon and candy onions. Unfortunately none of those panned out. As you can see, the seedlings looked like champs and the pumpkins started super strong, but they didn’t survive for some reason. I will definitely try again next year with the candy onions and the pumpkins.

The most crushing blow this garden year was Campari tomatoes. They are my absolute favorite and I doted on them from the time I planted the seeds until the day they turned out to be cucumbers. Wait, what? Yep, you read that right. I must have mixed up the seeds/markers when I planted them. My precious Campari’s turned out to be cucumbers. The cucumbers turned out great. The day I realized my mistake, I sliced up a few Campari’s I had in the house and put them in a pot. The photo on the right is what they look like today. I don’t know if they will actually produce fruit before it gets too cold here, but now I know how to plant them for next year.

I had fantastic results with outdoor flowers. From top left: Purple Heart, Garden Nasturtium, Dahlia, Elephant Bush and Grapeleaf Begonia. The Purple Heart is going to stay in my parents florida room over the winter; I literally have no window space left in my house for a flower/plant. It will stay indoors this winter and hopefully continue to thrive next summer.

Did anyone else start a garden this year during the pandemic? What worked for you? What didn’t? I would love to see your garden stories below!

The World’s Best Pillow… No, Really

I have tried so. many. pillows. All of them. The Casper Pillow. The bamboo pillow. The memory foam pillow. The pillows they sell on late night informercials. None of them helped my chronic neck pain. Until this one. The Pluto Pillow. This pillow is a little pricey for a pillow, I admit. But back in January, after a massive neck injury that still makes my arm and hand numb, I was desperate. When you go to their website, they have you take an online questionnaire about what you’re looking for in a pillow, how you sleep, if you’re experiencing any issues, etc. So I answered the questions and I eagerly waited for my pillow to arrive. When the pillow came in the mail I was skeptical; it looked like every other pillow I had tried. But then I slept on it. It is SO GOOD. I no longer wake up with a sore neck in the morning. If you have any kind of neck strain or pain, or are just looking for a great bed pillow, I highly recommend.

*This post is not sponsored, the pillow really is just that good.

My At Home Spa Mani & Pedi Must Haves

Where I once relied very heavily on the services of my friend and professional nail tech, Shari, I have learned to do more for myself in these pandemic times. The following are the products I’ve been using at home to get my nails and toes through these trying times…

Foot Bath

You can get these pretty much anywhere; mine was less than $20 at Walmart. It is so nice to sit and soak my feet in warm bubbles while binge watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Epsom Salt

I have been using the Lord Jones CBD Bath Salts. I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure the CBD does anything. But I do really like this epsom salt to soak my feet in. It smells good and has the extra added ingredients that seem to really help relax and tension in my feel and legs.

Sol De Janeiro Foot Fetish Care Set

I use this cute little surfboard file to get all the dead skin off my feet every time. It’s a nice size and isn’t too rough. I use the Foot Fetish Cream when I’m going to be doing anything after my foot care. It rubs in quickly and dries matte so you don’t have to worry about slipping around or getting cream everywhere.

FarmHouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze

I use this when I’m in for the evening and I really want to pamper myself. You can use a thin layer to just moisturize and soften your feet; or you can put on a thick layer and cover with socks for more of a foot mask effect. I’ve noticed that the tattoos on my foot have been more vibrant and moisturized since I started using this glaze.

Nailtiques Formula 2 Plus

I use this as the base coat on both my nails and toenails before I paint them. I also use it alone on my nails when I’m just too lazy to paint. I have had a problem with peeling nails on both my hands and toes and this really helps. They have a full line of different products for various issues. I recommend you choose whichever suits your nail situation best.

And of course, polish!

I recently discovered a website called Beyond Polish. They carry a number of brands, as well as regular and gel polish and other things. They have been my go to this summer for new nail colors. They have a huge selection and they ship very quickly. Pictured above is my favorite shade of red polish, OPI Dutch Tulips.

What are your go-to’s for at home nails? Leave me your thoughts and suggestions below!

August Book Faves

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I think I am in love. This book delivers on scandal, love, drama… Here is the synopsis:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends – Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe has led a pretty interesting life. This book chronicles his adventures and misadventures throughout his early life and early career. He does a lot of name dropping without sounding braggy or arrogant.

Virgin River – Robyn Carr

I watched the first season of Virgin River on Netflix, then I decided to read the book. Since the show does not strictly follow the first book, it was still a fun read and I didn’t know everything that was coming. This series has quite a few books and I think I will read some more of them in the future. Here is the synopsis:

Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving—the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.

The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell

This is the best book I read in August. It kept me guessing and surprised me at the end. Love love loved. Synopsis:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

If You Tell – Gregg Olsen

This one is a mind-blowing true story. It’s like a train wreck – you can’t look away, or in this case, stop reading. Synopsis:

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.

Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil—and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today—loving, loved, and moving on.

Leave your favorite August reads in the comments below!!

The Podcast Rundown

For anyone out there looking to fill some down time or a lengthy commute, here are some of my favorite podcasts:

The Armchair Expert Podcast

This is the OG. Prior to listening to this podcast I thought podcasts just weren’t for me. This podcast totally made me a convert. Dax is just the best. He is hilarious, smart and honest to a fault. He has a wide variety of guests, which leaves a little something for everyone.

The Shrink Next Door

I stumbled upon this one and it seemed pretty interesting. Then I started listening to it and I was blown away. This one will draw you in and keep you going, “wtf?!”.

The Goop Podcast

There are some episodes I love and some less so, but I find most of the topics pretty interesting.

How I Built This with Guy Raz

The story of companies you know by the people who built them. This one is a super easy listen.

Dateline

I have spent countless hours listening to this one on my work commute. It is just the audio version of the same shows that are on tv, but I love listening to them and they make my commute fly by. I hope to never be the topic of an episode of Dateline, but if I am, I hope Keith Morrison is the narrator.

Let me know some of your favorite podcasts in the comments!

Comfy Quarantine Faves

Before this pandemic I worked away from the home… Like, in public. Now several months in, I find myself working predominantly from home and that means that some, (let’s be honest, most), days I don’t put on real pants. These have been my favorite finds during quarantine:

Hue Sweatshirt Denim Capri

These are the true VIP of work from home. They are “pajama jeans” 2.0. The are ridiculously comfortable, but totally look like real jeans! I’m hoping they come out with a full length version for when it starts to get too chilly for the capri length.

Barefoot Dreams Malibu Collection

I am living for coordinates right now and these are the best of the best. The joggers are buttery soft and the tank feels like you’ve washed it a million times, in the best way possible. The fit is easy; not tight but not sloppy. You could easily wear them to run errands and look chic, not like you’re in your pajamas. The best part is when you buy from QVC they offer them on “Easy Pay”. You can split up the cost in a predetermined number of months (usually 3-5), but they send them to your door after your first payment.

Skims Stretch Rib Collection

As a “plus size” woman with large boobs I have had a really hard time finding comfortable bras/bralettes that actually fit. All of the Skims bras I have tried have been great, but the cotton rib collection is my favorite. The material wicks moisture without giving you swamp boobies, is soft, comfortable and does not dig in.

Lamo Flip Flop Slipper

These are super soft and don’t hurt between the toes. Perfect for letting the dog out and getting the mail.

Sunday Citizen Snug Bed Blanket

This blanket is so luscious. It is super duper soft and the ultimate in cozy. It is medium weigh, but not too heavy for the summer months. I find myself wishing I had a whole suite of furniture upholstered in this material; it’s that soft.

I hope you enjoy my first post! Be sure to leave feedback and stay tuned for more posts!