A Journey Through Scent with Yankee Candle

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Hey Guys, today I’m writing a very different kind of blog post – this is not a tutorial or a styling guide, but instead just a short walk down memory lane about my life in Pakistan. I’ve partnered with Yankee Candle to share this story with you and I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. ?

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and had lived most of my life, certainly all of my formative years, there. I moved, quite unexpectedly, to Houston, Texas in 2013 and have called it my home away from home ever since. 

Whether it’s through my home decor choices, or the foods that I make, I love bringing back a piece of home into my life today. It’s so very important to me that Zaki, our five year old son, learns about his heritage and appreciates our culture – his culture.

For many people, familiar scents are a strong trigger for nostalgia – bringing back in vivid detail the people from our past, or specific moments and experiences, lying dormant in the back of our minds, just waiting for us to open that door and experience the love, joy, stillness or wonder all over again. 

Today I’m taking you on such a journey of scent. The sweet, floral notes that will always remind me of Karachi. Let’s talk roses for a second – or gulab in Urdu. So, I learned pretty quick that the roses you get here in the US smell only vaguely like the ones back home. From roadside flower vendors to brick and mortar flower stores, the fresh smell of a rose from Pakistan is an intoxicating experience. We grew up with garlands of red roses being used to mark pretty much  any happy occasion, whether it be a wedding, graduation, celebrating a Roza Kushai (a child’s first fast), or someone returning from the pilgrimage to Mecca. All of these occasions and more would be incomplete without donning garlands of luscious red roses.

Hassaan and I on our wedding day. The groom traditionally receives a flower garland by the bride’s family and I was given these beautiful rose and jasmine bracelets by Hassaan’s family <3

My friend and I on my Mehendi event (one of the three main wedding events) both wearing traditional flower jewelry

Another iconic flower from my childhood is motia ka phool or the jasmine flower. While stopped at a traffic light, it was common for flower vendors to offer you dowels of white, pearly jasmine bracelets, strung carefully by hand. They would entice the men in the car to buy a pair of these gajras for the lady sitting next to them. Of course, I would just roll down the window and buy some for myself because, well, who can resist fresh jasmine flowers on your wrists? And they didn’t just make hand jewelry out of jasmine flowers – we’re talking necklaces, hair pieces, earrings and even a traditional South Asianforehead jewelry called a tika. If you bought jasmine flower jewelry from a flower shop, they would carefully wrap it in newspaper for you before tying it up with string. The scent would often last for days. Honestly, I remember leaving the flowers out until they dried, and the scent would still fill the room. 

Handmade jasmine and rose bracelets

The first time I walked into an American grocery store’s floral section, was quite the culture shock! I stopped to smell the roses, but they smelled nothing like I remembered. Even roses at specialty shops just didn’t smell the same. My wish to recall memories of home using this familiar scent went unfulfilled, until one Eid holiday, when I was visiting a cousin in Chicago, I walked into their home and was welcomed by the familiar intoxicating smell of fresh roses. I immediately thought someone had brought a garland from Karachi – which now sounds ridiculous. I asked my cousin what smelled like roses because I couldn’t see any – she pointed towards a tall jar filled with pink wax – a candle flickering by the kitchen window. She introduced me to Fresh Cut Roses, by Yankee Candle, and I kid you not, I took home an extra jar she had because I loved it so much. I have yet to find a candle company that makes floral scents like the ones from back home – both Midnight Jasmine and Fresh Cut Roses by Yankee Candle are treasures. I can light a candle, close my eyes, and for a moment I can be transported back to those narrow streets,  walking by flower stalls in Karachi.

A flower shop in Karachi photo credit Charcoal and Gravel

The fact that you can recreate moments in time with the simple act of lighting a candle is a beautiful miracle to me. It makes me so happy to be able to share these two fragrances with you so you too, can experience a small piece of my home. Yankee Candle recently redesigned their Signature Candle and I am in love with the modern design and hand-illustrated labels. I am all for functional pieces that are also decorative and these New Signature Candles fit right into my home decor. I would love for you to try these fragrances out and tell me what you think ? Do you have memories associated with certain floral scents? I want to know your stories, so please, tell me down below!

 

 

This post contains affiliate links to products that I used or recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!
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2 comments
  1. Beautiful post. I’m from India, in the US, and I’m always on the hunt for jasmine flowers. Brings back memories of home. I can’t wait to try out these candles!

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