I love a good scent. Some scents evoke pleasant memories, others simply appeal to me. Sadly, due to contact dermatitis, I have to be careful when using perfumes, colognes, or even scented soaps. That doesn’t mean I can’t find workarounds. I apply perfumes to my clothing, and—so far—I can tolerate a small amount on my wrists, so at least I have that.


I also enjoy using scents in my home. I try to choose scents based on the room. A scent with a lavender base in my bedroom is calming. A linen or cucumber or light citrus blend works well in the bathroom. Depending on my mood or on the season, I might use home scents that rely heavily on apple or pumpkin (Autumn), flowers (Spring and Summer), peppermint (Winter), and so on.


A few quotes on scents:

"Nothing brings to life again a forgotten memory like fragrance." —C Poindexter

“Scent is the strongest tie to memory” —Maggie Stiefvater

“Perfume is a mark of female identity and the final touch of her style.” – Christian Dior


When I was a young girl, my mother (and all her sisters) had a bottle of Rose Milk Lotion on the vanity or dresser. I can still remember that scent, though I can no longer find the product. My mother’s “signature scent” was Estée Lauder’s White Linen (or Prince Matchabelli’s Wind Song when money was tight). It smelled simply lovely on her, but when I tried to use it…nooooo...not the same at all. It always rather irked me that, try as I might, I couldn’t get the same result. But then I grew older and found my own preferred perfumes. Two of my favorites were Estée Lauder’s Beautiful and Christian Dior’s Poison. And I still like them, even if some snotty teen told me “Those are old lady perfumes”. Hey! I was COOL and AWESOME when I wore those religiously…umm, 40 years ago (uh oh).


I recently started experimenting with essential oils as home fragrances. I typically use single-note scents, though I am learning to mix scents. Sometimes the results are fabulous, and sometimes I have to open a window and turn on a fan. I sprinkled a tiny bit of magnolia essential oil on my furnace filter and for a few days my house smelled wonderful each time the air conditioning came on. Unfortunately, it was only a few days before that effect faded. I purchased an air diffuser and I move it from room to room until somebody says, “What stinks in here?” then I quietly move it to another room. As I said, I’m still experimenting, not only on blends but also on intensity of the fragrances. My rule of thumb: If I can smell it before I open the front door upon returning home, it’s probably too strong. Also, if my eyes start to water…tone it down. Still, it’s fun, and not very expensive to experiment with essential oils. More skilled people use these oils to create actual body scents and lotions. I’m not up to that level yet. I considered my furnace filter treatment a personal triumph, but I’ll get there.

So, if you run into a woman who smells like an odd mixture of eucalyptus, magnolia, lavender, and patchouli, that’s probably me, and I apologize in advance.

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Elle & Company