It’s time for a post about stuff I love enough to save up to buy.

My mom gifted me with a trip to Kripalu* last spring, and while there I browsed the gift shop. As a general rule, I stay on a budget when I walk into a place like that – I know exactly how much I have to spend, I only visit the gift shop once, and I will only buy something if it feels Really Special. The year before when we went, my big splurge was on a book/cd combo from Krishna Das**. This year I was drawn to the smelly stuffs – the soaps and the lotions. And while I’ll always go sniff the smellies, I don’t really tend to purchase very much.

I’ve gotten kinda picky about scents over the last few years – Grandpa’s Patchouli Soap has kind of been a standby for a while, but I’m starting to get tired of it. I really like Song of India Temple soap, but only sometimes – sometimes it smells funny to me. Through college I was in love with this patchouli perfume (not the soap – the soap smelled awful to me) from Crabtree and Evelyn, but they stopped making it – I eventually hunted down the last three bottles from a warehouse in, I believe, Michigan. Alas, it’s been gone for years.

But my tastes have been changing lately. I ache for woodsy smells – pine needles, campfires, smoky and earthy and outdoors. I found this really great Temple incense from Sacred Spirit that totally fits the bill – I use it super sparingly ‘cos it’s gotten stupid expensive over the last few years. I love the Firewood candles from Bath and Bodyworks, but the silly things have been discontinued. But good news! This last visit to Kripalu, I found this soap:

I picked up a bar for $11 – it’s a huge bar, so really it felt more luxurious than extravagant – and figured, it would be a Really Nommy Treat. The nice lady at the counter when I checked out gushed about the soap, saying that now she can’t do without it and blah blah blah. I smiled and paid in cash, and my mom and I giggled good-naturedly about her soap giddiness.

And, as it turns out,  now I can’t do without it. Every four months or so Will gets a package at work that smells fantastic, addressed to me in his care from the lovely people at Lotus Love Beauty, and knows that when he brings it home, I will sit on the couch and open the package veeeery carefully, peeling each bar of soap from the pretty paper it comes wrapped in, holding each one to my face for a deep inhale. It smells so GOOD! Heaven have mercy on me, it smells so good.

Smell is super transporting for me – and this one takes me back to being a little kid. We lived in a development at the edge of a swamp, so there was always the smell of wet leaves and green things growing. We lived on the end of a block of row houses, right alongside all that growing business, and I would go out into the woods with my mom sometimes to cut tigerlilies or cat tails – the lilies she would put in water, but the cat tails she would hang upside down in the basement to dry. They would acquire a smell over the course of drying that is like nothing else in the whole world, a musty, woody, almost tobacco-y smell***.

I think that the approach of autumn has set me off a little – I’m craving that smell from way back then, when NJ still had trees and I could catch frogs tiny enough to hold in my pocket. Campfires. Sandalwood incense. Red leaves. Cat tails and playing in the woods.


*This could be a post all in itself – that place is freaking magical to me on a whole bunch of levels.
**Do not, do not, DO NOT listen to a cd like this in the car after a very relaxing weekend filled with yoga, really good food, and mellowness. If you’re like me, you will need to pull off the road because a nap sounds like a great idea.
**Which I also love to death – last time we were in FL visiting my parents, we went to a cigar shop, and I picked up a couple wooden boxes filled with raw dried tobacco leaves (not cured for smoking, just dried – one of the suppliers uses it instead of packing peanuts), which are so aromatic, that even now, five years later, they scent the spare linens trunk.