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Summer is the season for traveling. New York City gets so hot and stinky and crowded with tourists, I can't get out of the city fast enough. Unfortunately, I don't have any close friends with a vacation home nearby, but for those of you who do, etiquette dictates that you should bring a gift for your host and/or hostess. And while magazine editors tend to pooh-pooh candles for being too impersonal, I don't know anyone who doesn't love them (well, any girl, at least). I therefore endorse Pacifica as an excellent source for hostess gifts. Pacifica is perhaps best known for its candles--for the environmentally conscious, all candles are available in eco-friendly soy wax--but they also make soaps, creams, and perfumes based on their lovely botanical scents. You can find 'em at Ricky's (bonus points for convenience), and while Pacifica candles aren't as fancy as, say, Diptyque, they're much more affordable and I've found that they actually last longer. My favorite is the lush Mediterranean Fig, but from the sweet Persian Rose to the spicy Tibetan Mountain Temple, there's a scent for everyone. Not sure what to get for your host? Head straight to the gifts section.

The Fruits of Paradise set contains Bali Lime Papaya, Hawaiian Ruby Guava, and Brazilian Mango Grapefruit candles, all good enough to eat.

If your hostess is a bit more girly, the Princess Flowers set might be in order--this set, like many others, is also available in soap form.

The Autumn soap set is a little spicier, with the rich Tuscan Blood Orange, Mediterranean Fig, and Madagascar Spice.

Or, of course, you could just take a chance and go for a big pillar candle, like the gourmand Indian Chai scent.

Orders over $50 ship for free, so you might as well stock up for all your summer travels. After all, the season's just getting started.

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