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A few weeks ago, I stayed in the oldest hotel in Austin, Texas. The minute I walked into the hotel I was surrounded by beauty and transported back in time. The large marble columns, stained glass lighting, and antique furnishings were breathtaking. But, what really struck me as I entered the building was this magical scent. Pumped through the air vents, the hotel had created its own signature scent of leather, tobacco and bourbon. The aroma was so enticing that every time I entered the hotel lobby, I just wanted to sit down with an Old Fashioned.

The Driskill in Austin, Texas welcomes its guests with a gorgeous stained glass and a distinct scent of leather, tobacco, and bourbon.

Our sense of smell is powerful, especially in evoking memories. The term Proustian Phenomenon refers to an involuntary and vivid memory that washes over a person as soon as they smell a familiar scent. For instance, most women loathe the smell of a burning cigar. However, I love it because the smell instantly reminds me of my dear uncle Lou and his brownstone home in Brooklyn, New York. After dinner, Uncle Lou's ritual was to go into his den, light up a cigar, pour a glass of scotch, sit back in his leather chair, and share hilarious stories with us.

Scents are also magical because they evoke feelings. We all know when selling a home, freshly baked cookies for an open house makes the home feel cozy and warm. On a cold rainy day, guests feel sheltered from the elements when they enter our home to the smell of a pumpkin scented candle. Christmas memories, and the feeling of being a child again, are brought to life by the simple scent of a freshly cut Pine tree.

The magic that the hotel in Austin created was intentional. They knew they could give a lasting, positive impression and enhance their guests' experience. As we begin the season of candle burning, baking, and tree cutting, let's be intentional about the memories and feelings we create for those who enter our home!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies by Sandy Henderson

Give your home that warm, inviting freshly baked cookie smell with these delicious treats.


2 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 C. Butter, softened

1 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar

1 C. Canned Pumpkin Puree

1 Egg

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract


2 C. Confectioner's Sugar, sifted

1 Tbsp. Melted Butter

1 Tbsp. Milk

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 C. of butter and the granulated sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 tsp. vanilla to butter mixture. Beat until creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients. Drop on a cookie sheet by the Tbsp. and flatten slightly. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then drizzle glaze with a fork.To make the glaze: combine confectioner's sugar, milk, 1 Tbsp. melted butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. Add milk as needed, for drizzling consistency.

Found in our cookbook, One-Hundred Sweets by Wren & Willow

Alicia Gutierrez is one of our newest team members, and is also Laureen Skrivan's daughter. Alicia is in charge of marketing at Wren & Willow, and loves being able to put her creative skills to work. Alicia, her husband Nathaniel, and their three children recently returned to Tacoma after being in South America for seven years as missionaries. Alicia now enjoys being able to work for the family business while her husband is a pastor in the area. In her free time, Alicia loves sitting down with a good movie and knitting a new sweater. After years of living in a Peruvian desert, her favorite days are cozy rainy days with a cup of coffee, a warm candle burning, and her little family enjoying spending time together.

Alicia and Nathaniel Gutierrez

To learn more about Alicia and our other team members click here.

This giveaway will evoke cozy Fall feelings in your home.

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Photos by: Effie's Photography, Nathaniel Gutierrez, Aleksander Akinshev, and

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