I'm Lisa Kirk, a wife, mama, writer, and founder. Since 2010, Something Pretty has been home to my favorite memories, reflections, and inspirations. Thanks so much for reading!

Scents Tied to Memories


I read once that scent is the sense most connected to memory and I absolutely believe that to be true. While pictures and songs can certainly help me recall different places and events more clearly, catching a familiar scent is what truly transports me back.

I received a (gifted) package from C.O. Bigelow last week and as soon as I opened the box, memories of the first trip Dave and I took alone together after Charlie was born came flooding back to me. We stayed at the High Line Hotel in New York City (one of our favorite travel hacks: hotels are cheap right before Thanksgiving!) and being able to completely focus on one another for the first time in over two years felt gloriously indulgent. The fact that we were in such a fabulous hotel in one of our favorite cities in the world to do said focusing made the trip nothing short of magical–truly one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken.

On our first morning in New York, I jumped in the shower…a treat in itself, since I usually showered in the evenings after Charlie went to bed at home. The bathroom was stocked with C.O. Bigelow’s lavender peppermint products. I loved them so much, I proceeded to stash the mini bottles in my suitcases daily so I could bring a bunch home! Now, that smell always reminds me of that trip, and, more importantly, how relaxed and joyful I felt throughout it.

C.O. Bigelow lavender peppermint bath products | Something Pretty

Opening this package and reminiscing about NYC made me wonder about more of the scents that invoke my most vivid memories. Here are a few that came to mind:

My dad’s spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove–my family’s house in Virginia when I was little

Jo Malone Nectarine and Honey Blossom perfume–a sweet girls’ weekend in Atlanta with one of my best friends when I was in college (I had packed a sample of this perfume)

Peonies and lilac together–our wedding day

Orange blossoms–walking through Villa Borgese in Rome on our honeymoon

Huggies newborn diapers–our first week at home after Charlie was born

Jasmine–this trip to Charleston

What are some of your strongest scent-related memories? (And if you have a special occasion coming up, I love the idea of choosing a special perfume or candle or something to be part of it!)

C.O. Bigelow gifted me these products to share on Instagram, but this post is not otherwise sponsored by them–just inspired! If you’re interested in trying them out though, take 10% off through the end of the year with the code LISAJANE.






  1. Emma says:

    The blog post you did about your NYC trip is still my favorite one! :) so romantic!
    I love the tip to intentionally add a scent to upcoming fun things! Now that it’s getting cooler here in NC it is time to break out the pumpkin spice candles, lol!

    • Lisa says:

      Aw, thank you!! I would redo that exact trip in a heartbeat!
      I bought some of the $4 vanilla pumpkin candles at Trader Joe’s the other day and they smell SO good. I don’t even light them most of the time–I just leave the tins open!

  2. Jadzia says:

    The dew scented morning air in Virginia! Brings back the memories of the green, rolling hills and my babies.

  3. Sara says:

    The smell of new wood always takes me right back to summer camp! They had just built the cabins the first year I went there, and it always brings back sweet memories. It’s also the smell of my favorite adoration chapel (Belmont Abbey’s campus chapel), so it’s a win win.

  4. Em says:

    The combination of pine trees, damp earth, and salt air in Maine is probably my most beloved and gripping scent memory!

  5. Kate says:

    There’s always at least one day in the fall when I say “it smells like cross country,” but I’d have a hard time describing the scent! Some combo of sun, fallen leaves, dew…?

  6. Dana says:

    I bought Ian a Jacoby’s candle for our anniversary and it’s one of the best candles we’ve ever gotten! Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re at Jacoby’s all the time?! Ian’s cologne also always reminds me of when we first started dating.

    • Lisa says:

      Dave’s cologne also reminds me of our dating days…even though his ex is the one who bought it for him way back in the day, haha!!


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