Last week I was doing a little Kondo’ing to my place thanks to everyone in my Instagram feed who watched her Netflix series, and I came across an old perfume I wore exclusively during undergrad & Graduate School: Thierry Mugler’s Angel. Why I saved this 10+ year old bottle still boggles my mind, but within one whiff, I was immediately transformed to getting ready on Friday nights with my friends. The only thing missing in that very moment was any one of OutKast’s songs playing from the Stankonia album and a too-sweet vodka drink in my hand. I smiled with fond memories.
This got me thinking about this month’s theme, “Senses,” and how very specific scents play such a big part in my everyday life. Backing up a bit here, I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but to say I’m a bit scent-obsessed would be a big ‘ol understatement (specifically perfume). Perhaps it was my first bottle of Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth, or the cult favorite from the 80’s, Exclamation (which whoa, you can still buy), or the lingering scent of Red by Giorgio Beverly Hills that my Mom would leave behind as she left for work each morning, but I loved the feeling each one evoked — playful, unique, fancy, mature, and everything in between.
To me, the feeling a scent can spark can be so powerful and fun –and I love how quickly I can attach a memory to one, too.
This month, I thought it’d be fun to take you through my day & share the scents, both perfume & otherwise that are currently lighting me up, boosting my mood, or helping me get through life’s lovely twist and turns.
Eucalyptus & Lavender Shower Spray. I use this stuff every single morning in the shower. It’s both energizing and relaxing and wakes me up before I head into work. Once it runs out, I plan on making my own as a more budget-friendly option, but for now, I love that I feel like I’m in a steam room for a moment in time.
Byredo’s BAL D’AFRIQUE. Anyone else have a daytime scent, evening scent, and special occasion scent(s)? I like to switch it up based on my mood, event, and time of day, and truly think it only makes sense (pun intended) to. Now, I’m not saying you need to invest in nothing but $200 bottles of perfume for these occasions — you can find a lovely essential oil at Whole Foods for $8 that is just as alluring as a $150+ bottle of Le Labo’s cult classics.
My go-to right now for an everyday work day is BAL D’AFRIQUE by Byredo. To me it’s equal parts light, refreshing, and slightly mysterious. Someone always stops me, and I only know one other person that wears this, so it still feels special. PS: pro-tip when it comes to proper perfume application c/o Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness.
Hair Mist. Some mornings I completely skip a perfume and just spritz a little hair mist for a scent that will linger, but not carry me through the entire day. Also, it’s usually the more affordable version of the perfume, and I can justify the purchase.
I’m really into Frederick Malle’s Carnal Flower as a light everyday scent. It’s floral, classy, and nice post-workout when I have time for a shower, but not a full hair wash.
Face mist. OK, this one is more fun than anything. I keep this Cool Spray Face Mist by Saje at my desk for when I need a post-lunch afternoon pick-me-up, or something cool when the Texas heat is out of control. It has notes of Basil, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus, and is super refreshing.
Oranges. Citrus season is officially here, which means I’m spending a good $10-$12 every week on Sumo oranges — obsessed with these mostly because they are easy to peel. I keep these at my desk and have zero issue with my area (and hands) smelling like oranges all day — so odd, but so soothing to me.
photo by steve schlackman
Lavender & Eucalyptus Home Spray Number 8 by Milk & Honey. Similar to the shower spray, this one goes on my bed sheets every single night. It’s a home spray, but I toss it on my linens right before I crawl into bed and truly swear that it lulls me to sleep. With the exception of travel, I’ve been using this religiously for the past three years. I’m afraid what would happen if I forgot to spritz.
Speaking of linens, every so often, I keep this detergent by Maison Francis Kurkdijan in rotation for my sheets. It’s light and crisp with notes of bergamot, lily of the valley and orange. I don’t use it often, just when I want my room to smell like it.
Le Labo Santal 26 Candle. Did you think I was going to get through this piece without mentioning Le Labo’s beloved candle version of the Santal 33 cult fragrance? I wish I could say that it’s the signature scent in my home, but at $70+ a pop, it’s hard for me to keep it consistent. Though, when I do receive one, I light it and savor the heck out of it.
If I’m having guests over, or even just a night in where I want to relax and savor the space or company, I light this candle and enjoy every minute of it.
The scent lingers in my place for the next two days (until I make salmon or roast veggies), and I find it to be utterly delicious and nearly sensual.
Pro tip: for a more affordable version of Santal 33 / Santal 26, try Maison Louis Marie Number 4. It’s almost identical and a fraction of the price. In Austin, you can purchase at the South Congress Hotel lobby gift shop.
At Home Negroni fixings. I don’t have much to share here aside from this Bon Appetite recipe I use to make a Negroni at home. One swipe of the fresh orange peel, the first taste and smell of the gin paired with good sweet vermouth, and I’m instantly transported to every fun night I’ve had with a friend, laughs with my family, and even a date or two. It’s not an every night occurrence, or even a weekly thing, but it is a special thing and I’m glad I have a drink that both smells good and reminds me of good times.
I’m curious what scents are lighting you up, carrying you through your days, or remind you of something special? Whether it’s an old pair of ballet shoes, your shampoo, or even something funky that your kids end up smelling like at the end of the day, I’d love to hear about it.