Six years ago, when I had my first child, I stopped wearing perfume. I read somewhere — in a baby book, I think? — about how newborns have a strong sense of smell. Scent is an important part of bonding in those early days. In the fog of new motherhood, I took that new information quite seriously, banishing my bottles to the back of my bathroom cabinet.
All these years (and two more children) later, I am determined to find my way back to fragrance — because of my own mother. She passed away 17 years ago and one of the most powerful ways I revisit her memory is through a quick whiff of Guerlain’s Shalimar perfume. She always had a single glass bottle sitting next to her sink. I remember admiring the gold liquid as a small child, fiddling with the shell-shaped navy top. My dad loved to give her a new Shalimar set from Marshall Field’s (IYKYK) for her birthday or Christmas. After she died, I took a small cylinder from her collection. It's about the size of a tube of lipstick and I keep it in my top bathroom drawer. When I miss her the most, I pull off the cap and inhale deeply. There she is.
I’ve always had a strong sense of smell. As a kid, my mom would have to remind me that sniffing things in public wasn’t polite. Now I find myself saying something similar to my middle son, Oliver, who scrunches his nose and shouts: “What’s that I smell?!” My family had a running joke that I could close my eyes and pick out each one of them by scent. They were right! My grandfather smelled like Old Spice aftershave; my grandmother was all Aqua Net hairspray.
I would love to have a scent for my kids to remember me by. But how to choose one? I think you just have to try a few. Taking cues from my mom's choice, I'm looking for some specific — memorable — but not too sweet or heavy. I’ve been actively testing products from Floris London as part of my partnership with the British fragrance house. (Please note: This newsletter is *not* part of that arrangement). I wanted to work with the nearly 300-year brand because they hold a royal warrant to Her Majesty the Queen, but also because I had been thinking a lot about finding a new fragrance. The Floris scents all feels so fancy and so special, very worthy of signature scent status.
I've had several Floris bottles and boxes around my home office in recent weeks. Four-year-old Oliver, and his nose, found his way in when I was working one day and opened up one of the gift sets with a dozen little bottles. “WHAT’S THIS?” he exclaimed delightedly. He then pulled up a chair to my desk and started loudly sniffing each one. I told him to stay tuned, that one of those might mean something to him someday.
You can find my Floris gift guide picks here. Use my code EH15 for 15% off your first order at Floris (Note: This is an affiliate code, meaning you get a discount and I get a credit. Thank you for supporting SMT!).
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My Question for YOU
I love answering your questions but occasionally have one of my own! The SMT community always comes through with answers, so here’s one for you: Where can I get a couch that will arrive before May? We were already planning to get a new sofa for our LA living room when Bird went and... decorated... our placeholder couch with blue Sharpie. (“I color the couch!” is not a phrase you ever want to hear your daughter say.) It’s surely not the end of the world — we’ve flipped the cushions over — but it has hastened my desire for a replacement. With the widespread supply chain disruption, lead times are six, eight, even 10 months right now. Gah! I’ve been scouring Chairish and Facebook Marketplace for secondhand options but coming up empty. Any suggestions for finding quick(ish)-ship upholstered furniture right now? Please share in the comments. (You can click “Join the Discussion” at the bottom of this email.)
PS: Feel free to tell me to take a deep breath and be just...wait. I might need that reminder!
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Five Things To Check Out This Week
READ: Building off of Buzzfeed’s scoop last month on the horrifying and coordinated trolling of Meghan on Twitter, Safiya Umoja Noble looks at the toll Big Tech has taken on Black women. “The very being of Black womanhood never escapes the relentless microscope of critique, or the mocking, or the lack of empathy. The better Black women are than the small, racist imaginaries constructed for us, the more backlash we experience for breaking those molds with our greatness.” (The Cut)
LISTEN: The latest interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on The Daily podcast is filled with new information on where we are in the fight against COVID. Boosters are a necessity, according to Fauci, and travel this holiday season is much safer — even for unvaccinated children. (The Daily)
READ: On Adele’s power white pantsuit (by Christopher John Rogers!). (New York Times)
READ: There’s a lottttt being written about Emily Ratajkowski new memoir, My Body, which grew out of the model’s essay in New York magazine last year. I appreciate Sophie Gilbert’s review for its nuanced, many-things-can-be-true take, describing the book as sitting “in this liminal space between reappraisal and self-defense.” (The Atlantic)
SHOP: The chicest initial decals for my new phone case. (I met the creator on my retreat last week with Marie Claire, she was lovely.) (Leftys Right Mind)
I’m putting the finishing touches on the 2021 SMT Gift Guide, excited to share it with you later this week.