I recently saw a beautiful foliage photo with the caption, "My favorite color is October."
Well, my favorite scent is October!
The crisp, cool air this month floats aromas like no other. The sweetness of decaying leaves, the green and slightly floral fragrance of chrysanthemums, the nuttiness of acorns and pine cones, the earthiness of a fallen summer. And those are just the natural aromas in the air.
Then there are carnivals, harvest festivals, and county fairs, carrying the scents of fried dough, cotton candy, and Italian sausages (even to a vegetarian, these smell delicious). And let's not forget the somehow comforting stench of farm animals mixed in with the fragrance of freshly baled hay. Apple orchards, corn stalks, and cider doughnuts. Sweet squashes and pumpkin pies.
Fall, especially October, is all about aromas.
Some of my favorite October scents aren't only for the fall, but they go hand in hand with harvest items such as pumpkins and apples: spices like cinnamon, clove, and anise.
My favorite way to scent my house in the fall, is to use spices like these in a simmer pot. What is a simmer pot? It's just water and spices, simmering uncovered in a pot on your stove. My mother used to do this when I was young, and maybe your mother, or your grandmother, did it too. It's very easy, and other than baking food in your oven, it's the best way to make your house smell like warm fall spices.
Take a small saucepan (I use a 1-qt pan) and fill it about halfway with water. Add your favorite smelling spices. Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to the lowest setting, and let it slowly simmer and fill your home with delicious aromas.
Although I posted a recipe above, you really don't need to follow one, especially after you've tried it one or two times on your own. Nothing you mix will smell bad! You can experiment with amounts based on the size and openness of your home, and your preference for strength of aroma. You really can't go wrong with spices you already love, and it's a good way to use things like peels that you'd usually just toss straight in the compost:
Add your spices straight to pot or put them in a reusable muslin bag for easier clean up. You can even use a chai tea bag or mulling spice bag if you don't have the loose spices around! Just keep the heat on low, and never let the pan run dry (set a timer as a reminder).
If this is your first time using a simmer pot, let me know how it goes! If you've done this before, what are your favorite things to put inside? Comment below.
I love coffeehouses.
Love is not even a strong enough description for how I feel about coffeehouses.
I've loved them since I was a teenager in the 90s, years before Starbucks took over the east coast. Back when independent coffeehouses could be found in nearly every town. Back when coffeehouses were a place to meet people, not to sit in front of laptops, earphones in, oblivious to our surroundings.
Opening a coffeehouse was my dream. I came close once, with location prepared, equipment ready, and business plan in place. Last-minute complications with the realtor and business partners brought that project to a halt (thankfully, or I wouldn't be where I am today).
I spent 10 years as a barista, in four different coffeehouses, in two different countries, and two different US states.
Whenever I travel, I seek out the coolest indie coffeehouses to meet locals. Every town I've ever moved to, I've met the majority of my friends at the coffeehouse. I even met my husband at a coffeehouse, the last one I worked at, my home away from home.
Maybe "obsessed with" would be a better description than "love".
Cleansing grains are powdered blends of clays and botanical ingredients such as herbs, nuts, and seeds. Sometimes called "buffing grains", they are used on their own or in addition to your favorite facial wash to gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin. Depending on the formula, cleansing grains may also be used as a facial mask, making them an ideal solution for anyone who loves the ease of 2-in-1 products.
Wunder Budder cleansing grains are a blend of fine mineral clays, freshly ground flowers, ground seeds, and specially blended essential oils. Handmade, they are shipped and stored dry, and can be used as both a face scrub for refreshing dull skin and as a purifying facial mask.
I love grapeseed oil for two main reasons:
The first is that it's an amazing, versatile oil for skincare. It's lightweight but emollient, easy to spread, and is easily absorbed. It softens and conditions skin without clogging pores or causing breakouts. It benefits all skin types, and is a good introductory oil for anyone new to oil cleansing or oil as a moisturizer.
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