It’s only been about a month since we all last kiki’d, but it feels like an eternity. As a Golden-Age thinker, I fell ill to the common fallacy that past decades were better than the one that I was living in. For me, it’s the ’20s. I was looking forward to reliving the era—if only numerically—but a stock market crash, closed bars, and a global plague is not what I had in mind. Jobs and businesses are staring into the face of constant uncertainty—especially travel and hospitality industries. Many established and boutique hotels across the world are closed, and some are shutting down permanently. This has me pressed like a rotten panini. Some of my absolute favorite memories have been at hotels. I’ve met soulmates, wine and dined with friends, forgotten my name(s), and ridden a ferris wheel horse. My parents even lived in a hotel. I probably feel a fiercer warmth for hotels than most people do, and I’m gutted by the thought of iconic establishments laying off decade-long employees that I’ve grown to deify.
And while my brain is one twist away from becoming a screw-off wine cap, I’m trying to lean into new ways to self-care. Between Wu-Tang Clan’s meditation series and an obsequiously creepy ASMR video of an older woman eating pickles, I’m finding ways to hold it together. I’ve turned my focus on keeping a warm home atmosphere, given that I never leave, and discovered that home fragrances can change your mood. Medical studies even prove that stimulation from fragrance has a calming effect on the sympathetic nervous system—the part of your body that reacts to fear and “fight-or-flight” responses.
I’m Russian, and if that leads you to think I love scents with amber, oud, and anything decadent, well, that is a notion I cannot disabuse you of. My favorite at-home candle is from my favorite hotel, Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood. Friends all say my house smells like “sexy sandalwood”, and that’s just how I like it. Plus, my face looks better in Zoom and Houseparty when I’m candlelit—the little things matter right now. After a long day of staring at blue-light screens like dreadful TV press briefings and my overfull inbox, lighting a bunch of candles has a unique way of taking the edge off.
Being at home for another month doesn’t have to suck. If you’ve already solved the murder of Carole Baskin’s husband, try turning to self-care. Take baths and longer showers, use an acid peel, and light candles. Take control over whatever you can. And if you’re looking for a way to transport yourself, consider purchasing one of these candles to brighten up your home (and mood) and help keep your favorite places from turning off their lights. You’ll feel even better if you can support a local business while supporting yourself.