Tip Of The Day: Say Bye To Flies

See, here in the city houseflies aren’t exactly a major problem. They exist, sure (I used to have a pet frog named Sammy, like every other creepy-ish pet I had from the ages of four to nine - really: I had a snake, a snail, a crawfish, a mealworm, and a turtle, all named Sammy - and my method for feeding Sammy The Frog was a not-so-efficient process of melting a Firecracker popsicle over the garbage can in our neighborhood playground and then trying to use paper cups and a very small and questionably dextrous hand to catch the flies that arrived for dinner), but NYC pest problems are a little more burly.

Sewer rats, cockroaches and those absolutely horrifying things that fly around my kitchen once in awhile and dive-bomb my head, you see, are not the kinds of creatures that get too up in arms about anything short of the business end of a broom and two large textbooks (my preferred method for handling the aforementioned horrifying things).

But if houseflies are your problem, lucky you! Because the all-natural solution for keeping them out of your home happens to be easy, pretty, lovely-smelling…and delicious on a tomato-and-mozzarella salad.

Ta da! Place a few basil plants in your window (try this pretty method for displaying them), and the scent of the basil oil should send them off in search of less-green pastures.

And if herb gardens aren’t your thing (I’m right there with you), try these:

(Love them.)

Sir Elton John’s Holiday Candle (Benefits EJAF)

I cannot get enough of holiday fragrances.

The second the weather turns chilly, I want my apartment to smell like a walk in the woods, and I want it to smell like that all the time. And since I’m a fake-tree aficionado (curious dogs and pine needles do not mix), that means that come November, I do some serious stocking up on things like candles and diffusers.

The only thing is, I’m sort of picky about my holiday scents; anything spice-related, for example, is a no (although for those of you who like that sort of thing this Pumpkin Chai candle sounds pretty great). Anyway, I was just sent a sample of the holiday candle Elton John created for NEST Fragrances ($38; just debuted this month), and: yum yum yum. Balsam fir plus evergreen trees with a splash of citrus, which means that it’s foresty, fresh, and not cloying in the least. And the packaging - deep aubergine glass with a gold coat-of-arms from the 1800s - is fabulous, in an Elton John-y way.

And the best part: a portion of the proceeds benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

For more favorite candle picks, click here.