I'm certainly not the first or last to say this but this last year has been one that has had me craving comfort even more than usual. Admittedly, wine and pasta were the main source of comfort for the first few months of quarantine while we all struggled to find some semblance of happiness in a truly horrific situation. And while I certainly still indulge (and the pandemic is still horrible), it's been having a routine in a time that seems to be one long string of sameness that has kept me going—and not just the bigger stuff, like exercising or cleaning. For me it's also the smaller routines, like lighting a scented candle for a few hours every evening, that keep me feeling "normal" (what does that even mean anymore?).
Since my WFH space also functions as a kitchen, dining, and living room, making sure that my office can transition into a place I can actually relax is key. So, after tucking away my laptop and notebook, I turn off my brighter overhead lights and fill my space with with soft, flickering candlelight and a cozy, warm scent. Here are some of my faves to get you jump-started on your own evening routine!
One of my favorite candles also happens to function as the perfect gift! The Birthdate Candle ($38) has a unique candle for every single day of the year. Yep—that's 365 different candles. Each custom blend comes in a recycled glass vessel with a personalized "reading" on the label that combines a mix of tarot, numerology, and astrology. Bonus: reuse the glass container when the candle is done as a vase or pen cup!
Inspired by her love of Forest Park, a public municipal park in Portland, Oregon, founder and trail runner Kylie Antolini started Wildwood Candle Co. Each of the candles are named after specific trails in the park, and they're high up on my winter candle faves list for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I love the scents—as you would expect, they're woodsy and a bit masculine, which I love—I'm not a huge fan of overly-sweet or fruity scents to begin with, but especially not in the winter. My fave is the Birch candle ($28)—it kind of smells like like the fancy Christmas tree of your dreams without being overwhelming. Secondly, the wicks are made from ultra-sustainable wood which give that cozy, subtle crackling noise. Lastly, 5% of all proceeds go to the Forest Park Conservancy which helps protect Forest Park's ecological health. A win-win-win!
I love a brand with a mission, and Prosperity Candle has a wonderful one—the company was born out of a desire to employ artisans and refugees and help lift them out of poverty, and each candle comes with a story card about the woman who made it. A favorite candle of mine is their Dog Candle ($20) which smells lovely on it's own but has the added bonus of keeping your home fresh even if you're a dog owner with a smelly pup (believe me—I tested this one out right after getting a new dog and it works!).
I am 10000% a sucker for good packaging. Give me a candle in a beautiful vessel that I can reuse and I'm happy (tip: the best way to get all that wax out after it's done is to pop it in the freezer—the wax will pop right out)! This SKOG Candle ($45) not only has that going for it—it also smells deeeelish. The perfect wintertime cozy candle that'll make you feel like you're in Scandinavian boreal forest...or in a home that just smells really, really good. It also makes the perfect housewarming gift paired with a bottle of wine.
A candle that smells as chic as it looks (told you I was a sucker for packaging), this Aging Sprits candle ($78) is inspired by the spirit of New Orleans with fragrance notes that'll have your mouth watering:
Top: Star anise, whiskey, bitter orange, spicy notes
Middle: Whiskey, caramel, condensed milk, bitters
Base: Toasted oak, whiskey, Bourbon, cedar wood
This candle smells F A N C Y, the kind of fancy you want to enjoy with a well-made cocktail while relaxing on your sofa, or, like, any time.