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Feeling Some Summer Nostalgia? These Candles Should Do the Trick

Zoe Weiner

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Photo: Stocksy/Jesse Morrow

Summer 2020 is a weird time. Most of our usual activities, like going on vacation or to rooftop parties, are on hold for the time being, and the things we are allowed to do, like going to the beach or hanging out with friends, look a whole lot different than they did in the days B.C. (before COVID). If you’re feeling nostalgic about the things you’re missing out on right now, well, same. But while hopping on a plane to some exotic locale or taking in a concert may not be an option, we’ve got the next best thing: There are plenty of candles out there to help you recreate your favorite summer moments at home, while staying safe and socially distanced.

An added bonus? Filling your living room with scents that inspire happy memories can actually help calm your anxiety. “You want to be connected in this sort of disconnected world that we’re in, and scent can do that in so many different ways,”  Givaudan senior perfumer, Nicole Mancini previously told Well+Good. “Recreating connections with loved ones we can’t see right now, recreating memories of vacations or places we want to be or places that we’ve been can really help to make this a time of reflection instead of a time of worry and anxiety, and helps to focus it on something that’s more peaceful and more positive.”

Scroll through for some of our favorite home scents that will instantly boost your mood, and help summer 2020 feel at least a little bit more like what we’re used to.

If you’re missing the beach: Otherland Beach Club Collection Freshwater Pearl, $35

Lighting this candle will instantly transport you (mentally, at least) to blanket by the ocean. It’s scented with sea crystal, crushed shells, salt water to really make you feel like you’re on the beach, even if the only sunbathing you’re doing this summer is on your fire escape.

If you’re missing international travel: Homesick India Scented Candle, $30

Photo: Homesick

No matter what foreign locale you’re yearning for, Homesick’s line of destination-inspired candles has something for you. From the shores of Mexico to the streets of Paris, each scent will take you on a mini vacation. This one, in particular, is made with notes of cumin, nutmeg, curry, and cardamon.

If you’re missing fancy parties: Jonathan Adler Champagne Pop Candle, $42

Wedding season may be on pause, but you can still celebrate at home with this champagne-scented candle. Minus the next-day headache, of course.

If you’re missing your family: Scentiment Family Candle, $35

Photo: Scentiment

If you’ve been quarantined away from your family, light this up on during your next FaceTime call to make things feel a little more like home. It’s made with a blend of essential oils to make you feel cozy, like an IRL snuggle.

If you’re missing girls night out: Coal and Canary Top Knots and Tequila Shots Candle, $28

Since girls night out has largely been replaced by girls night in (or, more likely, “girls night outside while wearing a mask and staying six feet apart”), consider this candle the next best thing to your usual Friday night dinner reservation. The “Top Knots and Tequila Shots” scent is a citrus-y blend of lime, agave and hibiscus, but if that’s not your thing? There are options for all kinds of different girls nights, from Fake Lashes & Camera Flashes to Pink Lips and Limo Trips.

If you’re missing the city: Flores Lane Soho Candle, $23

Photo: Flores Lane

No matter what city you’re in, things these days feel slightly different than they did last summer. Reminisce on seasons past with Flores Lane’s city-inspired scents, which are each modeled after different neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles. The SoHo candle, for example, is made with a blend of green tea and bamboo that will make you feel like you’re sipping matcha on Mercer Street.

If you’re missing live music: Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club Scented Candle, $62

Photo: Maison Margiela

While no one ever thought they’d miss the scent of a dive bar, there’s something to be said about missing out on the vibes that comes along with listening to live music. Recreate the vibe in your living room with this sultry combination of musk, vanilla, tonka bean, vetiver, and tobacco leaves—and throw on a record for good measure.

If you’re missing Sunday brunch: Ryan Porter Bitch Don’t Be So Mimossional Candle, $29

Photo: Ryan Porter

Making a Sunday brunch reservation for six may be a thing of the past (sigh), but you can still treat yourself to a mimosa (or bellini)… candle, that is. It smells like watermelon and champagne, which means all you’ll have to add is the protein pancakes.

If you’re missing the great outdoors: Heretic Dirty Grass Candle, $72

Photo: Heretic

Bring the great outdoors inside with the scent of “dirty grass,” which smells like vetiver, fresh lemon peel, violet leaf, and galbanium. It’s also made with CBD, which is sure to offer some instant calming effects.

If you’re missing date nights: Love Note No. 10 Candle, $30

Photo: Love Notes

The verdict is in, and Zoom dates are not at all the same as meeting for a drink or a walk in the park. This sweet-meets-sultry scent combination of fig, tonka, and vanilla bean will help make things feel a little bit more romantic with a new, ahem, flame. 

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