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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Happy Things: The Diffuser That Makes Our Home Smell Incredible

If you had stopped by our home before Waverly was born, I think you would have liked our vibe. We always had a great playlist (Nantucket Beach House Sunset, Sunny Summer Mood, Breezy Summer Soul Weekend. . .). The Palomas flowed and a Tapas-style meal would be languid and lovely as our favorite candlelit scents wafted up the night in our ocean, dream and enchanted glassybaby votives. Even now, if I just take the top off the Kringle Candle Aqua votive, I'm drawn back to balmy evenings with friends. It's such a good memory.

Let's talk about scents + memory for a minute. In his novel, "Rememberance of Things Past," Marcel Proust said that when he bit into a madeleine dipped in tea, he experienced an exquisite pleasure and vividly recalled memories of his aunt giving him this sweet before mass on Sundays and thus spawned 3,000 pages of recollections in seven volumes. See, your sense of smell is closely linked with memory and often a trigger for a past event.  When your nose detects a smell, the scent travels along the olfactory nerve to the brain and limbic system which controls memory, emotion and behavior. This is why when you smell the cologne your first crush wore, your stomach probably makes the same flip-flop giddy thing that it did when you had your first dance. It's also why realtors sometimes warm chocolate chip cookies in the oven when they host an open house. This scent makes you feel happy, cozy and at home. 

Now, here in our home in the present day, the music is still pretty chill (thank goodness Waverly, now three years-old likes Yacht Rock), we've turned to rechargeable evie tealights for our glassybaby votives and we're more into seltzer and quick dinners before bath time. The one thing that hasn't changed is our desire to have our home smell inviting and happy.  For safety reasons (a toddler in the house), we still burn our favorite candles when Waverly has gone to bed or on the kitchen island when I am preparing meals but during the day, we now use a diffuser. 

When I decided to buy a diffuser, I had five requirements: 

-  The tank would be over 200 ml, enough so that I could let it go all day
-  The diffuser had to fit into the decor since it would be placed on the console table, the first thing you see when you walk into our home
-  It had to be under $40
-  It needed to have a light feature
-  It would need to be easy to clean with little possibility for mold

As I do for most purchases, I started with an online search for best diffusers. My first choice for product research is always Wirecutter. Their reviews have never led me astray.  In this case, Wirecutter's #1 recommendation was the Urpower 300 ml Aroma Diffuser ($23.99) but while the tank was a good size, I couldn't get past the basic white plastic design that reminded me of a clinic. Also recommended was the  Vitruvi Stone Diffuser which I discovered in a number of recommended diffuser lists. I loved the clean lines but the tank only held 90 ml and I just couldn't justify the $105 price point. It also didn't have a light.

I did more research and stumbled onto the one I ended up purchasing, the Aroma Outfitters Diffuser ($35.99). I've been using it every day for two weeks and here is why this diffuser makes me so happy:

- The 230 ml tank lasts all day
- The LED light allows the user to change the color to your preference or no light at all
- The stream of ultrasonic mist is adjustable. We have an open floor plan so we set it to high and the scent wafts through our entire home
- It's beautiful. The exterior cover, which fits over the white plastic tank, looks like marble in shades of white and cobalt blue 
- Bonus! It comes with a remote!
I also researched essential oils and I bought several essential oils from Aromatech, including Love Affair The Hotel and Ocean Breeze . A 10ml of Aromatech essential oils is $29.99. It's an investment but the bottles are a generous size and you only need a couple of drops to scent your home for the whole day.   I also picked up organic eucalyptus, balsam and orange essential oils from Whole Foods.

Using this diffuser is easy. At 6am,  the first two things I do before I wake up Waverly is make an iced espresso and prepare the diffuser for the day which is really just rinsing our the tank, drying it gently and refilling it with water and a couple of drops of whatever essential oils I am in the mood for that day. (It isn't essential to rinse the tank out each time you use it. However, because I run the diffuser for most of the day, I like to start each day with a fresh tank and a new scent.)

Since we started using the diffuser, every morning when I wake Waverly up and we toddle together, hand-in-hand downstairs, she looks up at me and says "Mama, it smells SO good in here." That is all I could ever hope for - that when she is older and she passes by night-blooming jasmine or she bites into an effervescent orange that she is reminded of how very much we laughed and loved in our home. And someday, when we have friends and family over again, I hope they feel the same way too. 

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