The Power of Candles in Brooklyn

The New York Post reports on a fascinating business that grows in Brooklyn:

Like any budding businesswomen, small-batch candle makers Hayley Elisabeth Kaufman and Whitney Huhmann have settled into a work routine. Kaufman will pick a tarot card before they melt wax, while Huhmann performs reiki over a pile of clear quartz crystals. Trap music blasts through their Greenpoint studio as they meditate and focus on what energy the candle they are about to pour will bring. This happens on the night of every new and full moon.

“We’re harnessing the [moon’s] energy,” says Kaufman, 37, co-founder of candle company the Sphinx and the Priestess. Those lunar powers and the duo’s incantations help make candles that Kaufman and Huhmann, 35, say help customers gain clarity, love, jobs and whatever else they’re hoping will come their way.

The duo, who share studio space with a group of jewelers and a woman who makes high-end tie-dyed garments, are part of a growing group of Brooklyn entrepreneurs creating offbeat, whimsical alternatives to big-brand beauty and home products — backed with a spiritual aspect.


The two Clinton Hill residents met while working for branding giant Starworks Group, and connected over their love for tarot and crystals. They sold their first candle a year ago, and now pour around 100 per moon cycle to sell online and in shops such as CAP Beauty. They count Kate Hudson, Joan Jett and Amy Schumer as fans.

There are four varieties, each $44 per 12 oz. candle: the Lovers, for manifesting attraction and sexual energy; Pentacles, for prosperity and grounding; the Star, for meditation and inspiration; and best seller Death, for transformation and renewal.

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Tamara Beckwith/NY Post

The candles are designed based on the Table of Correspondences, a sort of farmer’s almanac for the occult, which combines elements of tarot, astrology, alchemy and kabala and lists the scent, stone, musical note, color and other elements associated with each type of energy.

To the untrained eye, the end result looks no different from other high-end options. But Kaufman claims that customers often report back with glowing stories she can only chalk up to the candles’ powers.

The candles have worked their magic on their makers, too. “Sometimes I struggle with living in New York, so I burn Death to push through it and transition to another phase where I’m at peace again,” says Huhmann.

But the two caution that the candles magnify energy that the user may not expect. “I started burning the Lovers candle, which I don’t really use a lot, and I had every ex-boyfriend call me or e-mail me or get in touch in such a short amount of time,” says Kaufman.

“We tell [customers] to be careful what they wish for.”

What Your Credit Scores Say About Your Love Life

HeartsWho would have thought that your credit score could predict your love life? Get ready for Valentine's Day, spendthrifts. You know who you are....

According to Kiplinger, a new working paper from the Fed examines the link between credit scores and committed relationships, and it turns out there’s a strong one. Economists analyzed data from Equifax, the credit reporting agency, on 12 million consumers over more than 15 years. They found that people with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships in the first place and then to stay together. As much as they could, the authors controlled for demographic, socioeconomic and other factors.

They found that for every 93-point increase in a couple’s initial average credit score, the likelihood of separation in year two of the relationship fell by 30%. After two years, the probability that the couple would call it quits during years three or four dropped 37%. Couples in the sample with the lowest initial scores were two or three times more likely to separate than couples with the highest average scores.

Of course, low credit scores can indicate financial distress, which often leads to relationship distress. But even beyond the financial implications, credit scores seemed to indicate an underlying skill that people bring to life and relationships, says coauthor Jane Dokko, now a fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “That skill might be trustworthiness,” says Dokko, who says credit score data correlates with trustworthiness measures in surveys outside the financial arena.

But wait, it’s a little more complicated. (Isn’t it always, when it comes to our love lives?) Researchers also found that people entering into a relationship tend to have similar scores, and that their scores converge over time. But if initial differences exist, they loom large. For example, an initial 66-point difference in scores implies a 24% increase in the likelihood of separation during the relationship’s second, third or fourth years, and a 12% increase in the chance of breaking up in the fifth or sixth year. Raising the higher score—and thus, the couple’s average score—didn’t help. In other words, two people with bad scores might be more compatible over time than people with a big disparity in their scores. “It might be easier to work through issues if you have walked in those shoes yourself,” says Dokko.

Money secrets. That assumes you even know that your partner is struggling. Your sweetheart might well be hiding a financial skeleton in his or her closet. A recent survey from insurer Haven Life found that one in five Americans have secret debt their partner doesn’t know about. A similar number have either a secret savings stash or a secret checking account. Moreover, money remains a taboo topic far longer than it should. One-third of those surveyed are willing to discuss financial matters only when a relationship has become exclusive, and 22% wait until after getting engaged.

It’s vital to be on the same page about finances before your relationship reaches the point of no return—even if part of the agreement is about what you’ll keep private. So keep the romance alive by sharing your credit score. And here’s more advice for Valentine’s Day, courtesy of the Federal Reserve: Don’t overspend on flowers, dinner or a gift. Make sure you can pay those bills on time. And spend the evening with someone who can do the same.

Japan's Obsession with Dating by Blood Type

Blood heartSome people chuckle when we use astrology to make love matches but what would these same people think of matching by blood type? Apparently the Japanese sometimes do this type of love match. Why? Read Natalie Zarrelli's take on this "blood type reading".

According to blood type personality theory, type O's are selfish warriors, and type B's are passionate nomads.

Finding love—lasting love—is notoriously difficult, and it’s easy to feel as if the ways in which to find it are all but exhausted. Some people try to match themselves with potential mates by their horoscopes, finding how their personalities were influenced by the stars. Others look to numerology, and the mystical connections between numbers and life events. Others take a more biological approach: dating by blood type.

Using blood types beyond medical intent–such as a marker for personality traits–has become an increasingly popular pastime in recent years, though the idea has been knocking around Japan since the late 1920s. Depending on your cultural background, thinking of blood types in this way might not be so obvious, but there’s a large audience in East Asia that believes in its merits, most notably in Japan and Korea, and the United States is beginning to catch on, too.

Like numerology and astrology, the idea of using blood types to distinguish personality types has no grounding in science. In medicine, blood types are labeled A, B, O, or AB (positive or negative), and indicate whether one person can tolerate the blood transfusion of another. Blood type personality theory takes these categories to a new, obsessively detailed level. As with horoscopes, some people give blood types serious regard when making decisions about their careers and love lives.

The theory’s popularity in Japan has its origins in a 1927 paper, "The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type", by psychologist Furukawa Takeji, who noticed differences in personality among groups of students while working in the administrative department of a women’s high school. He subsequently proposed a relationship between personality and the A, B, O and AB blood types, though scientists were skeptical in Japan at the time, and remain so today, with most seeing no basis for a correlation between blood type and personality.

Terumitsu Maekawa, professor at Tokyo's Asia University and author of several books on blood types, told the BBC in 2012 that the phenomenon opened the door to what’s known as bura-hara, or blood type discrimination in Japan: the minority blood type groups, AB and B, can be looked over for certain job opportunities and projects in the workplace, or are assumed to have negative qualities. These blood types, which are common in the Taiwanese and Ainu minorities in Japan, were used to label them “violent and cruel” or “backward,” respectively.

The idea stuck around, however, and in the 1970s, journalist Masahiko Nomi brought the notion to personality quizzes. He published a book called Blood Type Humanics about blood types and personality, which became hugely popular. Soon, the relation between blood type and human traits was as much a part of Japanese new-age culture as astrology books are elsewhere in the world.

Today, books that promote blood type personality theory still sell briskly. The Japanese books A, B, O, and AB, published in 2009, cover a full range of what to expect of your blood types’ quirks ranging from choosing a career to romance, and were both best sellers.

Blood type is mentioned everywhere from Facebook profiles to actors’ Japanese Wikipedia pages. Speed dating in Japan can even focus on blood type—potentially weeding out personality traits that don’t match well in a long-term relationship. The Korean rom-com My Boyfriend is Type B dives into the trouble a bad blood type match can bring; the girlfriend of the movie couple, who has type A blood, has to cope with the selfish side of her type B boyfriend, which leads to an emotional roller coaster.

Here are the most widely believed blood-based stereotypes: people with type A blood, “The Farmers,” are earnest and sensitive, but also stubborn and intense. Type AB “Humanists” are rational and cool, but have a ‘split personality’ that is hard to handle. Type O “Warriors” are optimistic but insensitive, and the type B “Nomads” are the bad boys of the blood type personality world: wild and passionate, but irresponsible and selfish.

All this categorization has also led to a slew of blood-type specific products and lifestyles. Some blood type personality followers believe that certain work activities react better with your blood type; some even suggest different types of chewing gum. Romantic compatibility can lead to other forms of intimacy, and that’s been considered, too–you can even buy specialized blood type condoms.

As blood type personality theory moves along to other cultures, it gains new cultural twists. Though discredited by scientists, in recent years western versions of blood type diets and exercise regimes have taken hold, advising people with type O blood to eat more protein, or for type A’s to avoid aerobic exercise. There’s even an OkCupid Blood Type Personality Test (which warns that your results might vary). One horoscope site combines zodiac-based horoscopes with blood types, in case your zodiac sign isn’t as accurate as you’d hoped. According to WaybackMachine, the first English-language website for blood type dating became active in 2011, and now boasts thousands of members.

Whatever you think of blood type personality theory and its ability to help you find love, blood can hold a place in relationships in a more traditional, medical way. In November of 2015, Alana Duran and Lori Interlicchio met on Tinder and found they were the same blood type, which resulted in Interliccho giving her girlfriend a much-needed kidney, taking blood type romance to a new and more practical level than ever before.

If you’re curious about how to find your perfect blood type personality match, quick at-home blood type test kits are sold on Amazon, and you can use an online blood type calculator to quickly scan a match. But don't forget that A is most compatible with A and AB; B is most compatible with B and AB; AB is most compatible with AB, B, A and O; and O is most compatible with O and AB. And if your head isn’t spinning from that, you’re probably ready to head out into the ever more dizzying and complicated dating world.

(Photo: Oksana Mizina/shutterstock.com)

Mood Ring Lipstick Lets You Know When She Is In Love

Lips Do you remember Mood Rings? Mood Rings were all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s and turned different colors depending on your mood. So a blue stone indicated that you were calm. When the stone turned red you were more stressed. It seems that scientists and marketers have developed Mood Lipstick that turns different colors as the wearer becomes more sexually stimulated and in the mood for sex.

Now if you are in a situation where you are not sure of her mood, you can tell by the color of her lips.

A NEW lipstick has gone on sale that shows when women are in the mood for sex. The saucy slap changes from clear to deep crimson as the wearer feels more sexually stimulated. It works by reacting with a person's body chemistry, like a mood ring. Each lipstick comes with a color chart so you can figure out how frisky their partner is feeling.

Not surprisingly, the "Mood Swing Emotionally Activated Lip Gloss" was invented in California. Of course sometimes you may not want others to know how you are feeling so I suggest that you use only in very special situations.

Dating Sites Aim To Find Love Through Science

Dating The above headline is from an article on dating sites in the Business Section of the New York Times. Many of us are familiar with the mechanics of such dating sites as Chemistry.com and EHarmony.com where prospective clients are asked to fill out long questionnaires of personal questions and behavioral preferences. Then "scientific methods" are applied to the answers to match the person with the right love partner - psychologically right, that is. But there has to be a little more than a meeting of the minds when it comes to love. And that is why I prefer to use astrology to ascertain compatibility.

Astrology (using one's full and complete birth horoscope and not just one's sun signs) seems to me to combine psychology with the necessary chemistry. And it can  also help advise you as to how to make your (future) mate happier and the relationship stronger. The mixture of art and science of astrology in relationships is called synastry analysis and has been around since the beginning.

But you don't need ot be an astrology expert to use simple astrology for synastry. While it is better to use someone's entire horoscope chart, you can do some back-of-the-envelope synastry. On your own, make a list of all past relationships and the sun sign of the person. Rank these relationships by degree of your happiness. You may find that you naturally prefer one or two of the twelve zodiac signs or prefer by element (Earth signs - Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo or Water  signs - Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces or Air signs - Aquarius, Libra, Gemini or Fire signs - Sagittarius, Leo or Aries) or by Mode (Fixed signs such as Leo, Aquarius, Scorpio, Taurus or Mutuble signs such as Sagittarius, Pisces, Virgo,  Gemini or Cardinal signs such as Capricorn, Aries, Cancer, Libra)

If you ever want to have a full astrological relationship analysis, please contact me.

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