Friday, May 31, 2013

Mouth-Watering MMM, Bacon! and Buttered Popcorn Movie Night™ Fragrances Join Top-Selling Collection from the Yankee Candle Company -- Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

Yankee Candle logo

Yankee Candle is Sizzling and Popping This Year with New Man Candles II Collection

Back by popular demand, Yankee Candle’s Man Candles II collection features two new scents and three returning fragrances.

"The Yankee Candle Company, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of premium scented candles, today announced the launch of two new fragrances and the return of three favorites in its popular limited edition Man Candles collection. Two new fragrances, MMM, Bacon! and Movie Night™, join Man Town™, First Down™ and Riding Mower™. The collection, launched last year to tremendous response, was created uniquely for men to be enjoyed in their “man town,” whether that is the den, the basement or even the garage. These limited edition fragrances will be available for purchase starting in May at more than 557 Yankee Candle retail stores, and select specialty retailers and gift shops. To celebrate the arrival of the collection, Yankee Candle is simultaneously launching a series of social media contests, offering consumers the chance to win samples of the Man Candles II collection. The brand is also encouraging fans to share their excitement on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #MMMBacon.

MMM, Bacon! and Movie Night™ are now part of one of the most successful launches in the brand’s history. Over 10% of Retail sales were contributed to Man Candles during the period of time they were in store after the launch and the line was covered in more than 400 media outlets in just two weeks. The brand also experienced a 167% increase in unique visitors to its website over the same timeframe the previous year, with a 222% increase of new visitors. Yankee Candle is hoping to build on this success with the addition of two distinctive and beloved scents, bacon and buttered popcorn.

“The novelty of the original Man Candles collection proved to be a huge hit with our consumers, so it was important to incorporate additional fun fragrances for this Father’s Day,” said Hope Margala Klein, executive vice president, brand, innovation and merchandising for The Yankee Candle Company, Inc. “Based on feedback from last year’s record-breaking launch, these new scents were a must-have for the collection, especially with bacon poised to be this season’s hot trend. Who doesn’t love the smell of bacon?”

– Mouth-watering fragrances and the fresh scent of the outdoors will brighten any man cave.
Price: $2.99 MSRP – $27.99 MSRP ($27.99 MSRP – Large Jar; $17.99 MSRP – Tumbler; $2.99 – Novelty Car Jar®).


Yankee Candle’s new, unique MMM, Bacon! fragrance is a mouth-watering addition to the Man Candles II collection.
MMM, Bacon!
– The undeniably mouth-watering aroma of sizzling hickory smoked bacon.

Movie Night™, a new addition to Yankee Candle’s Man Candles II collection, features the enticing aroma of hot, freshly buttered popcorn.

Movie Night™
– It doesn’t matter what’s playing … the enticing aroma of hot, freshly buttered popcorn is the feature attraction.


First Down™ — This combination of orange, patchouli, vetiver and leather is as exciting as game day.
Riding Mower™ — Hot sun. Cool breeze. And the intensely summery scent of freshly cut grass.
Man Town™ — Escape to the man cave with this masculine blend of spices, woods and musk.

To build on the excitement around the return of Man Candles the company is running a series of social media contests beginning immediately that will run through June. The contests help consumers celebrate the new scents and honor Dad for Father’s Day:
  • Man Candles Match Game (5/13 – 6/16): Consumers will be able to play in a matching game on a Facebook tab on Yankee Candle’s fan page. The images will change weekly, and fans who play the game and successfully match all cards will receive a coupon for $5 off one Man Candle online; plus, one randomly selected winner each week will win a set of the Man Candles Collection. Fans can play the game as many times as they like; the $5 off offer can’t be combined with any other offer and is only allowed on one candle per order.
  • Famous Dads (6/3 – 6/16): Yankee Candle is asking its Facebook and Twitter fans to share what makes their dad, husband, uncle, or brother famous along with the hashtag [#dadwantsbacon]. On Instagram, entrants will be encouraged to upload a photo of their dad that illustrates what makes him special. One winner from each platform (chosen at random) will win candle(s) from the Man Candles Collection.
Get a sneak peek at new, mouth-watering MMM, Bacon! and Movie Night™ with our “Man Candles Collection” video. To learn more about Yankee Candle’s limited edition Man Candles collection, visit or join the conversation on Facebook at or on Twitter (@theyankeecandle, #MMMBacon)."


My Thoughts:

You would have thought that I was playing an April's Fools Day joke on my husband the other night, by the disappointed look on his face.  As he came up the stairs into the kitchen area, he began to smell the aroma of crispy bacon, and thought I was doing "Breakfast for Dinner."  I don't know about you, but growing up, my mother would serve us "Breakfast for Dinner" on occasion.  My brothers and I loved these meals, as she would make either french toast or eggs, bacon and toast, along with fresh squeezed OJ.  This was true comfort food to me, and these two meals remain two of my favorite comfort foods, next to grilled cheese or homemade mac and cheese.  It wasn't until I got older and moved out on my own, that my mom told me she would serve up "Breakfast for Dinner" when she was pressed for time and needed to get a meal on the table at dinner time.  She knew that we loved these dishes and would eat them, without fuss.  Come on, who doesn't love eggs, bacon and toast, with a glass of fresh squeezed OJ? :-)

So, when my husband walked into the kitchen looking for a plate of crispy bacon, he was disappointed to find a chicken and rice meal on the stove cooling off.  At first, he though his nose was playing tricks on him, until he saw the large Yankee Candle lit on the counter.  He walked over to it and had to do a double take, as he never imagined to see a bacon candle.  Leave it to Yankee Candle to offer this and other unique candle scents!  Last year, I surprised both my husband and father with candles from the "Man Collection" for the holidays, which including "Man Town" and "Riding Mower, which they both enjoyed!  My husband said he didn't have a favorite Yankee Candle scent until he smelled the MMM, Bacon! candle the other night! :-)  Like me, when I first started burning the candle, my husband couldn't believe how good this candle smelled.  Even though I love bacon, I don't think I would have personally bought a bacon candle to burn at home.  But, I was sent this new scent from the folks at The Yankee Candle Company to review, and was curious to see firsthand how much it smelled like bacon.

The MMM, Bacon! candle is one of two new scents The Yankee Candle Company has added to their popular limited edition Man Candles collection, with the other being "Movie Night," which smells like fresh popped butter popcorn.  Mmm, I am getting hungry just thinking about this other candle scent, and have it on my list to get my father, who loves movie theater popcorn, for part of his Father's Day gift. :-)

Although my husband was disappointed the other night, that I wasn't serving "Breakfast for Dinner,"he couldn't get enough of the bacon candle, and continued to burn it long into the evening.  And, just last night when he got home from work, the first thing he did after greeting the girls and I, was go over and light the candle and take a sniff of the hickory smoked bacon scent, and smile! :-)

So, instead of surprising your dad or husband with another tie or gift he can't find a use for, why not give him either the MMM, Bacon! candle, or one of the other popular "Man Candles" from The Yankee Candle Company, this Father's Day?  At first, he will probably scratch his head and wonder why The Yankee Candle Company decided to come out with a bacon scented candle.  But, once he begins to burn the candle, he will see why it is bound to become an instant favorite of so many men, and bacon lovers!  Like I said, my husband, is hooked...and I know your husband and/or father will be, too! :-)


One lucky reader will win a large jar of mouth watering MMM, Bacon!, thanks to the folks at The Yankee Candle Company.  To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Yankee Candle Company
The Yankee Candle Company, Inc. is the leading designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of premium scented candles, based on sales, in the giftware industry. Yankee Candle has a 43-year history of offering distinctive products and marketing them as affordable luxuries and consumable gifts. The Company sells its products through a North American wholesale customer network of approximately 35,000 store locations, a growing base of Company owned and operated retail stores (557 Yankee Candle Stores located in 46 states and 1 province in Canada as of March 30, 2013), direct mail catalogs, and its Internet website ( Outside of North America, the Company sells its products primarily through its subsidiary, Yankee Candle Company (Europe), Ltd., which has an international wholesale customer network of approximately 6,100 store locations and distributors covering a combined 56 countries.

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music from The Secret Mountain -- Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this CD/Book from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

New from The Secret Moutain...

BOOK Throughout history birds have caught the imagination of composers and inspired their creativity and this selection of works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, and others introduces children to classical music through the discovery of the melodious similarities between notes produced by instruments such as the flute, the organ, and the harpsichord and the birds’ songs. In addition to lovely illustrations, the book features a glossary of musical terms, a short biography of each composer, and a brief description of each bird evoked or mentioned in the composition.

MUSIC CD The accompanying CD offers excerpts of 20 different recordings—ranging from The Goldfinch, Hens and Roosters, and The Dance of the Swans to The Cuckoo and the Nightingale, Piano Concerto N, and Dance of the Firebird—performed by world-class luminaries including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Chamber Orchestra.

Ages: 7 to 9 / U.S. Release date: June 1, 2013 / Canadian Release Date: May 28, 2013


My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of The Secret Mountain for quite some time, and love their books with accompanying CD releases.  Our family favorite thus far has been "A Duck in New York City," which the girls have me read to them each night at bedtime, and the catchy song has become one that Savannah learned word for word, and loves to sing with me.  So, when I recently heard about "Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music" begin released by The Secret Mountain, I had to get my hands on a copy to review.  

For the past year, we have enrolled in the local Music Together class, as a way to introduce the girls to music, as well as socialize with other children.  I never expected my girls, especially my 18 month old to love these classes, and look forward to them every Saturday morning.  Not only are they learning about rhythm and sounds, but through repetition at home and at this 45 minute class each week, the girls are able to learn and sing the songs.  I have seen Arabella's vocabulary expand so quickly as a result of this class, as she began talking at 9 months.

Because of the positive reaction of this music class on the girls, I wanted to expand their musical knowledge by sharing various musical styles, including classical music.  I was first introduced to classical music back in middle school, when my 6th/7th grade science teacher would play classical music while the class took exams.  She said that the music would help us relax and make us better test takers. From that point on, I found myself picking up classical music to play when I was stressed and looking for a way to relax and unwind.  There is something about classical music that can bring a sense of calm over me, even on the most hectic of days.

I couldn't wait to see what the girls' reaction would be when I played the accompanying CD to the "Listen to the Birds" book.  Like the other The Secret Mountain books, the girls and I loved the illustrations in the book.  We first flipped through the pages of the book to admire the breathtaking illustrations.  The girls kept stopping me, so that they could point out the different birds.  When it came time to reading about the different birds and the composers and their musical pieces that reference each particular birds, the girls couldn't get enough.  I would read each brief bird/composer description, and then follow up by playing the song that correlated to this excerpt.  

With 20 different recordings to accompany the excerpts in this book, I found this to be a great introduction to classical music for my girls.  I loved how I could pick and choose the songs I shared with them, as they related the excerpts in the book.  To not overwhelm the girls, I began introducing them to this book and the classic music accompaniments by only sharing 2-3 excerpts and songs at a time.  After the songs were done playing, I would talk about the different instruments and sounds they heard, and ask what they thought of it.  Savannah was more vocal on her thoughts, and would tell me which were her favorites, and which weren't.  Some were too slow for her, and would make her attention wonder to something else in the room.

Here are the twenty tracks that make up the accompanying CD:

The Goldfinch by Vivaldi

La Primavera by Vivaldi

The Song of the Birds by Janequin

Melancholy by Rautavaara

The Bird (Peter and the Wolf) by Prokofiev

Hens and Roosters (The Carnival of the Animals) by Saint-Saens

Aviary  (The Carnival of the Animals) by Saint-Saens

The Swan  (The Carnival of the Animals) by Saint-Saens

Dance of the Swans (Swan Lake) by Tchaikovsky

Song for the Lark (The Seasons- Album for Children) by Tchaikovsky

The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams

Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks by Mussorgsky

Toccata Con Lo Scherzo Del Cucco by Pasquini

The Cuckoo and the Nightingale by Handel

The Robin by Messiaen

Papageno and Papagena (The Magic Flute) by W.A. Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 17 by W.A. Mozart

The Raven by Schubert

Dance of the Firebird by Stravinsky

Toy Symphony by L. Mozart

Overall, this is a great book/CD set that makes learning about classical music fun for kids.  They will also have fun learning about birds at the same time, as they admire the beautiful illustrations that make up this book.  As for Arabella, I found this CD to be very relaxing for her, and it has helped to lull her bed.  I simply put this CD on, and by the time the fourth of fifth song begins to play, she had drifted off to sleep. :-)



One lucky reader will win a copy of "Listen to the Birds" book and CD from the kind folks at The Secret Mountain.  To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author:

Ana Gerhard studied as a concert pianist at the Mexican National Conservatory. She has taught piano for several years and has hosted numerous radio programs dedicated to the promotion of classical music.

About the Illustrator:

Cecilia Varela studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires. She has illustrated several children’s books and received the prestigious 2007 Conaculta Award (The National Council for Culture and Arts in Mexico) in recognition of her work.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this CD/Book from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.
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Just in Time for Summer Road Trips -- NOW That's What I Call Music, Volume 46 (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this CD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.

The world's best-selling, multi-artist album series, NOW That's What I Call Music!, has gathered today's biggest hits for NOW That's What I Call Music! Vol. 46, to be released May 7. (Photo: Business Wire)<a href="">Multimedia Gallery URL</a>

"The world’s best-selling, multi-artist album series, NOW That’s What I Call Music!, has gathered today’s biggest hits for NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 46, which released on May 7. NOW 46 is available on CD and for download purchase from all major digital service providers. 

NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 46 features 16 major current hits from today’s hottest artists, including Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake with Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, P!NK with Nate Ruess, Pitbull with Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha, Ariana Grande with Mac Miller, Olly Murs with Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy, Of Monsters & Men, fun., Emeli Sandé, Nelly, Ludacris with David Guetta and Usher, Krewella, and One Direction, plus four free up-and-coming “NOW What’s Next” New Music Preview tracks. 

The "NOW What's Next" bonus track program featured on each numeric NOW release continues to preview hot new artists with tomorrow's biggest hits. NOW 46 showcases up and coming tracks from Matthew Koma, Kodaline, Sky Ferreira, and Confidential. 

The NOW That’s What I Call Music! series is a joint venture from Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 46 will be distributed by Universal Music Group. NOW and NOW That’s What I Call Music! are registered trademarks of Universal Music Group and its affiliates. 

Following 15 years of multi-platinum international success, the NOW That’s What I Call Music! series debuted in the U.S. in 1998. The series has generated sales exceeding 200 million albums worldwide, including more than 88 million copies in the U.S. Every album in NOW’s numeric U.S. series has reached Billboard’s Top 10, and 16 of its numbered editions have reached #1, second only to The Beatles in chart history."
NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 46 Track List:
1. BRUNO MARS                       LOCKED OUT OF HEAVEN







10. fun.





15. KE$HA


BONUS TRACKS: “NOW What’s Next” New Music Preview






Don't forget to follow Now That's Music on the following social media sites, and the official website, to stay up-to-date on upcoming CD releases --


My Thoughts:

I don't know about you, but when I am gearing up for summer, I make a point to pick up some great books to read, as well as fill the CD player in the car with fun sing along songs.  I can rely on NOW That's What I Call Music! to provide hours of listening enjoyment, my whole family can enjoy together.  I have been a fan of each of the volumes I have been able to review over the years.  These CDs remind me of the good ole days when I would visit the local Tower Records store with my brother and pick up a handful of CD singles to listen to.  I was introduced to some great artists this way, as I didn't have to buy a whole album to enjoy hit songs.  This was also the time of cassettes, in which I would record all the CDs onto one cassette, and play in the car.  Fast forward XX years and now I simply have to pick up the latest NOW That's What I Call Music, to enjoy the best chart topping songs all on one CD. :-)

This past Memorial Day weekend, while we stayed local, as the girls and I were hit with the head cold yet again, we did take scenic trips down the local CT backroads, to enjoy the nice weather, and listen to the Vol. 46 release in this popular CD series.  As the windows were rolled down to let in the warm summer air, the girls and I bopped our heads along to each of the hit songs.  I loved hearing Savannah sing her own rendition of the songs, as if she knew the words to each song by heart.  I have to give her credit, as she nailed many of the chorus lines to these sixteen songs that make up this new CD release. 

You should have saw how excited Savannah got when she hear, "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars, her all-time favorite singer.  This was the one song she could sing word for word, and one track she kept asking us to replay... "Mommy, more Bruno Mars, please!!!"  As we enjoyed family time together in the car, we enjoyed some great chart topping hits, that will definitely become memorable songs for our summer 2013 road trips.  Each and every song on this album is a hit, and was enjoyable to listen to.  And, unlike other CD collections of songs which you may find yourself only playing a handful of songs, you will find yourself listening to the CD from start to finish -- beginning at track 1 and going all the way through track 16 -- as well as four songs from up and coming artists.

I can't wait to get back in the car this weekend, just so that we can listen to this CD again.  So, if you like filling your car's CD player with hit songs during your summer adventures, make sure you pick up NOW That's What I Call Music, Volume 46 today.  This CD will also get your motivated and energized while working out, too. :-)  However, you choose to enjoy this new CD release, just know that you will love having today's top hits all on one CD!

And, if you are a country music fan, make sure you check out "NOW That's What I Call a Country Party", which also released recently on CD and digital download.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this CD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.
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New to DVD and Blu-Ray from Disney -- My Neighbor Totoro, Spectacular 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this film by the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.


"Disney proudly celebrates the 25th anniversary of “My Neighbor Totoro,” the acclaimed Studio Ghibli film about the magic of friendship and sisterhood from Academy Award®-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (Best Animated Feature, 2002, ”Spirited Away”) – with the film’s Blu-ray debut on May 21, 2013.

Arriving for the first time on Disney Blu-ray with a spectacular new HD digital transfer, perfect picture and sound, the highly-anticipated release of “My Neighbor Totoro” features the fantastic voice talents of Timothy Daly, Lea Salonga and real-life sisters Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning.  

Lauded as “one of the most beloved of all family films” by critic Roger Ebert, My Neighbor Totoro is the heartwarming story of sisters Satsuki (voiced by Dakota Fanning) and Mei (voiced by Elle Fanning).  Much to their delight, when Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei move into a new home in the countryside, they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro—who can be seen only through the eyes of children. Totoro introduces them to extraordinary characters—including a catbus—and takes them on an incredible journey. "

Timothy Daly (TV’s “Private Practice”) as the voice of Father 
Dakota Fanning (“Twilight”) as the voice of Satsuki
Lea Salonga (“Mulan”) as the voice of Mother
Elle Fanning (“Super 8”) as the voice of Mei 

Writer, Director:                       
Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Ponyo”)
Bonus Features:                             

  • Original Japanese Storyboards
  • Behind the Studio 
  • Creating “My Neighbor Totoro” 
  • Creating the Characters 
  • The Totoro Experience 
  • Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli 
  • The Locations of Totoro 
  • Scoring Miyazaki 
  • Original Japanese Trailer
  • Behind the Microphone


My Thoughts:

Are you a fan of Japanese Anime?  I was first introduced to this genre of film back in college, when I took a course about it, and watched over a dozen anime classics.  One director from this genre which stood out to me was Hayao Miyazaki.  I was not alone is liking this director's work, as he is one of the best known Japanese anime director's around.  And, his classic film, "My Neighbor Totoro" was recently digitally remastered and released on Blu-ray and DVD for all to enjoy. 

When I took the Japanese Anime course in college, I wasn't expecting to fall in love with these types of film, but I did.  And, "My Neighbor Totoro" ended up being my favorite of all the Japanese Anime movies we watched.  So, when I heard about it being digitally remastered and releasing on Blu-ray and DVD combo pack from Disney, I had to get my hands on a copy.  Not only was I excited to see this movie for the umpteenth time, but I was also looking forward to sharing another anime classic with my girls.  I have shared a few of these types of films with them, and love seeing their reactions.  While they are similar to animated films my girls enjoy watching, there is something about anime films that makes you truly appreciate the art form, and what goes into making these types of films.

This movie has a simple storyline that even the youngest of viewers will be able to understand and follow along.  Two sisters (voiced overed by Dakota Fanning and her little sister, Ella Fanning), move into a new home with their father, while their mother is away at a hospital receiving treatment for an illness.  Not wanting to let their mother's condition get them down, they begin to explore the new house and the surrounding forest.  As they travel deep into the forest, they meet a family of Totoros -- which are oversized furry racoon-type animals, along with some other weird, yet cute looking creatures.

Here is my favorite clip from this film, "Totoro at the Bus Stop"

Viewers will be drawn into the imaginary world of the Totoros, and find themselves believing that these furry creatures could existence -- in our own imaginations.  And, like so many other Japanese anime films, this film will unexpectedly move you and pull at your heartstrings.  While you feel for the two girls, as their mother is absent in their lives due to illness, you hope these find peace and a sense of calm while exploring the forest near their new home.  While the creatures in the film are oversized, they are not scary looking.  This is what originally drew me to this movie.  I loved how this children's film contained no violence or dark scenes, but instead make the viewer fall in love with the Totoro family.  You will find yourself wishing you had the imagination of your little ones, as they go off imagining about forest creatures like the Totoros.  

Into the WoodsCat Bus

Even if you are not a fan of Japanese Anime, this cute children's tale will surely delight children and adults of all ages.  The cinematic magic of this forest adventure, which finds two young sisters making friends with an unlikely family, the Totoros, with put a smile on your face.  When we were done watching this movie the other day, Savannah got up and clapped her hands.  I asked why she was doing this, and she replied, "Mommy, this is a great movie," before asking to watch it again.  Since then, we have seen "My Neighbor Totoro" a handful of times both in-house and in the car -- and, each and every time, Savannah can't help but comment on how great this movie is.  I guess she has her mom's taste in films. :-)

So, if you are looking for a great family-friendly film to share with your children, why not consider "My Neighbor Totoro," now available on DVD and Blu-ray.  And, be sure to head back here and let me know what you thought of it. :-) 

  Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this film by the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.
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