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The Amazing Power of Scent

“The smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us…”
— Marcel Proust

 

This statement is probably the most quoted when it comes to the power of scent. In Remembrance of Things Past, Proust describes how smell is connected to our early life experiences and how memories – even ones thought long-forgotten – come flooding back with their original intensity (as experienced by the story’s narrator when dipping a cookie into tea.)

Did you know…
the number one reason dog moms choose a specific doggie daycare is based primarily on what the facility smells like when they enter?
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For me the scents of Summer invite the most vivid memories of childhood; of days jumping through lawn sprinklers, chasing the ice cream man down oak-lined streets, glistening with baby oil under the blazing sun (I know, I know but it was the 70s! Don’t do this, my friends.)

Both my parents worked when I was growing up so my sister and I spent most of our Summer days at Mom-mom and Pop-pop’s little blue house that sat just 10 short blocks from our own in the NYC suburb of Staten Island.

 

It was a tight-knit neighborhood where everyone knew each other and all the kids and grandkids played together. Summers were full of intense heat, sticky watermelon and backyard barbecues, salty ocean air, baseball diamond dirt, bicycles, roller skates, and our share of cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Oh did we play hard until those those first street lights flickered to life and we were summoned back inside (after releasing our freshly-caught lightening bugs.)

Today, these scents bring me right back to my 9-year-old self running care-free through Pop-pop’s lawn sprinkler…

 

  • fresh cut grass
  • vanilla (my fav ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles!)
  • baby powder and baby oil
  • salty air
  • lemon iced tea

 

What brings you back to childhood and how do you incorporate it into your home today? Give these a try:

 

  • diffusers + candles
  • fresh flowers
  • herbs (full stems in vases or crushed in sachets)
  • flowering trees and shrubs right outside a window
  • chopped fruit (apples, citrus peels) combined with spices and water to simmer over the stove
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