Hey there — filling in for Anita, who’s laid up with some killer sciatica (ouch!) It’s been awhile, but I want you to know I still stop by and lurk on the Posse. Let’s talk about smells today; it’s getting colder and with various holidays coming up, it’s the time of year I get to thinking about the smells of home — mine, yours, other people’s.
I moved last spring; it was bittersweet (more bitter than sweet at the time, frankly). We’d built the house we were living in and I thought it would be our forever home, or as close to forever as life gets. But life made other plans and so I found a tiny rancher in the same neighborhood, trying to minimize the disruption to the kids, g*d knows they’ve had enough disruptions the last couple of years. We’re like the children in the shoe over here, but … it’s kinda nice, actually. The rancher’s regulation-ugly from the curb, but fortunately I don’t live on the curb, and we’ve made it cozy inside; I’d go so far as to call it charming. I probably got rid of 80% of our stuff. I also downsized my perfume collection, although (don’t worry) I still have enough to last several lifetimes. We’re still sorting out the new normal, and it’s beginning to dawn on me that the sorting process goes on as long as we’re alive, doesn’t it?
I love the way different houses smell. My dad still lives in the house I grew up in, and it still smells the same — dusty books, radiator heat, leather and old wood floors, with a hint of Old Spice and toothpaste. The house we left smelled new when we moved in, although we did our best to give it our own scent while we lived there. I miss that smell. The house we’re in now had that generic rental house smell at first, which I found disconcerting, as if I’d arrived home to find everything I owned was gone. Which, in a way, it was — replaced by something new and, in its way, fresh and lovely. There are advantages to living in a small house — only so many spots I can misplace my (watch, keys, purse, glasses, phone, etc.) We all spend a lot more time hanging out together, and the kids were involved in what we brought and where it would fit in here. Hats off to my decorator friend for fitting the things I really wanted into my new bedroom. I think we could fit most of this house into the first floor of the last one. But we’re here and happy, which is what matters.
So. Our new house smells like books, because what could be more important? Our bookshelves line one wall of the living room. The house is mostly bare wood floors, which I love, onto which we threw our many pretty carpets. The kitchen is pretty sweet; often the whole house smells like cookies, or roasted chicken. This winter I’ll be teaching the big girls toffee-making, at their request, so they can carry on that tradition. While we’re cooking we’ll have a CD player for our favorites — hits from the 1940s, Paris cafe music, or the soundtrack from Pride and Prejudice. We all hang out together in the living room, which is just big enough for the five of us, and read. When the front door opens, I breathe in the smell of damp leaves and the slightly frosty smell of winter on its way.
I popped into Saks recently and discovered the inside had been re-done. I strolled around a bit; Saks isn’t really in the budget right now, but it was still fun. I stopped in front of a display of unfamiliar room candles and sniffed. They were lovely, but not something I’d splurge on. The next day I was in TJ Maxx and I spotted the same brand — Aquiesse — at a fraction of the Saks price (the candle containers aren’t as fancy, just plain glass). So I did splurge — a little splurge — on two. Both smell delicious in a subtle, background way. According to the Saks website, Spiced Embers is “a lively accord of Indian saffron and aromatic cardamom blended with smoky olibanum and antique woods. Evolving the essence of rich incense and a warm fire.” White Tea & Mint is is a light-handed blend of white tea leaves, jasmine and spearmint, perfect in the open kitchen/dining/breakfast nook area. They had some other pretty ones, including a currant and a pine that smelled amazing. Here’s a random link to Aquiesse on a luxe website that has some wonderful-sounding candles, including one by Amouage.
What smells like home to you? Do you notice what other folks’ homes smell like? (I can still conjure up the smell of a childhood friend’s home — they kept birds and guinea pigs and other critters, and my friend and her home smelled a bit like a pet store, in a nice way.) Do you take the smell of home with you on your travels (wee candles, scented pillowcase, etc.)? What are some of your favorite home smells?
image — dust motes, Lucrecia Fernandez via Pinterest