Linnea's Light Blog Contest Winner - Ryan Patrick Kelley

Guest post by Ryan Patrick Kelley
for Linnea's Light Blog Contest  - Winner!

It was my mother who started me off on my love for fine-fragrances. Some of my earliest memories of my mom revolve around beautiful scents. As a child, I can remember my mother buying me a collection of Strawberry Shortcake figurines that each smelled like a perfectly sweetened fruit. I held onto these toys in a vice grip of death and carried them with me everywhere I went. If anyone tried to take them from me I would have an instant melt-down/tantrum of doom. I was probably only four years old, but thinking back, those small treasures that I toted around with me were most likely the beginning to my long romance with the exotic world of fragrance.

I have always felt that scent is the finest of the senses. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. You can tell more about your surroundings in that filling inhalation then you can with your sight and hearing. Your eyes can only show you so much. But, your nose...your nose knows the truth! One sniff and you can tell whether you are somewhere clean or somewhere...well, not so clean. One deep breath in and you can be calmed or you can be appalled. You can be filled with ease or shrouded in anxiety. Fragrance has the power to switch a person's mood one way or another. It is that aspect of fragrance that I find the most magical.

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When I think of fragrance and how it is has impacted my life I am always brought back to those little toys. They truly awakened a love for scrumptious scents inside me that has never backed down. My mother was always very encouraging of this. I think mainly because my mother always smelled so wonderful herself. I can't pinpoint my mother smelling of any one specific perfume. I remember her vanity always being littered with various perfume bottles. She changed it up so much that none of them ever stood out. I do remember her always smelling fresh like the soaps she used. Ivory soap will always be associated with my mother. Or of her smelling of baby oil in the summers when she would take us swimming. She would douse herself in it and tan by the pool. Slicked up and shiny like a seal basking on the rocks in the flaming sun. Thinking back, it's quite scary knowing how often she would literally BAKE herself in oil. I guess her Italian skin could handle the vicious rays of the sun. I, on the other hand, inherited my father's Irish skin and would probably combust into a ball of flame were I to coat myself in any type of oil. How fair is that? Thanks Dad!

I remember my mother always lighting candles around the house. She always wanted everything to smell fresh and pretty. I definitely inherited that quality from her. Her love for sweet and savory scents has always been apparent but she has also always cherished floral based scents. I remember moving from California to Ohio when I was five years old and my mother lighting candles around our new home. It's probably only an odd 'made up' memory but I can almost see her in my mind frantically spritzing perfume on things and waving her arms around like a lunatic to try and run the previous home-owner's smell out of the house.

But, oh...there were candles.

There were ALWAYS candles.

Thinking back I try to place specific brands or labels on them...but, I can't. It wasn't up until the late 90's (when I was in high school) that familiar luxury lines started popping up in the house. I remember VOTIVO being one of the first scents to influence my OWN personal spending habits with home fragrance. Red Currant was an instant hit among all of us in our family. Soon after my love-affair with Votivo I discovered Voluspa and was hooked. I remember it fondly because I came across them the same year I graduated high school. It was a monumental time in my life in so many ways and Voluspa fragrances were such a comfort to me during all the stressors of growing up and moving on with my life.

I can remember holiday's filled with exquisite scents wafting through the air. Mom always had gorgeous scents burning in the home during the cheerful Holiday season. Cozy nights sitting by our fireplace playing games and cuddling up together as a family will always be some of my most cherished memories of home-life. The house always smelled like fresh baked desserts and the citrusy scent of our mammoth eleven foot Frasier Fir married with the aroma of smoking firewood. I wish I could go back in time and capture the exact essence of that scent. It was so unique. If I had to compare it to any scent that is on the market now It would be Nest's Holiday.

There is something incredibly evocative about Nest fragrances. The scents transcend merely being "pretty fragrances". They remind you of things you love. Grapefruit by Nest reminds me of mornings before school when my mom would cut up fresh fruits and try to coerce my brother and I into eating them before running off to the bus. Of course, we never did. We scarfed down the cereal and muffins instead...but, to this day I always think of dewy spring mornings and the beginning of summer when it comes to Nest Grapefruit. It brings me back to my youth and I love that about it.

It's funny that the Holidays are near and that I once again find myself lighting candles to cheer my mood and brighten my spirit. I gravitate towards the gourmand blends this time of year. The cold weather always makes me want something comforting. Something completely warming to the soul. I go straight for Nest's Wild Oats & Bourbon to fill the home with it's richly sweet and spicy blend. Of course it's a love not wasted between my mother and I. She adores it just as much as I do!

My mom and I find ourselves fighting over fragrances now. She sneaks into my closet of candles and kidnaps them.I will find them scattered about her living space. A Modern Alchemy Dia De Los Muertos here, a Nest Bamboo there. Whenever I can't find a scent I instantly know who the culprit is and where it most likely wound up.

I have turned my mother into a candle-lover on a whole new level! It feels good to know that I have introduced her to brand's like Aquiesse (she recently took my Mandarin Tea and has been fiendishly obsessed with it!), Nest (She's a Grapefruit fan!), Voluspa (Let's not get started on how often she smuggled my Santiago Huckleberry's from me!), Belle Fleur (She went nuts over Kyara Clove) and Thymes (Moonflower is one of her all-time faves!!!).

It's funny that my mother influenced my sense of scent so much and always motivated me to try new things and now I find myself sharing MY finds with her. The circle of giving has continued! I guess that's just how life works! We all find ourselves coming full circle at some point or another. Even with something as small as luxury scents.

I love my mom. She is truly one of my best friends. I appreciate everything she has done for me in my life and love that we share a common bond through fragrance together. I hope to share many, many more years of candle-sharing with her! :)