Saturday, November 18, 2017

Santa Fe National Forest


A new friend and intuitive mentioned that the hard, rocky surface of the land here in Santa Fe can make ones entry rather challenging. Indeed, that has been the case for me as I migrate through finding a home and workspace while juggling several other fire balls.


Oh, and when you land, be mindful of the cactus.


The solace is in the beauty of the landscape, whether it's the adobe structures, the scent of the Pinon trees, the surreal skies, the flavors of the food, the fresh air, the art, the expansive vistas of the desert or the nearby forest....and a combination of several of those listed coagulating within the expanse of a few minutes. Yes, it's absolutely enchanting, like the state motto claims, and a healing balm when circumstances are not aligning as one intended.


After seeing an instagram photo by Geninne of the Aspen Vista here in the nearby Santa Fe, National Forest, I was intent on experiencing it for myself. By the time we got up there we found gold at lower elevations but up in the higher elevations most of the trees had already lost their leaves.


It was still worth the twenty minute, heavenly drive from our casita in Tesuque around the mountain, past Ten Thousand Waves and into the deep forest. For there was plenty of other treasures to be found amongst the deep grounding of the woodland. I'm absolutely ecstatic to have this vibrant forest so close by and look forward to spending more time with the trees, rocks, the land and fae folk.


Luckily my little Prius has had no challenges making its way up the roads, of course there has been no snow as of yet in the lower elevations. It may not matter since the main roads are cleared regularly, especially if I have all terrain tires, we shall see, more adventures ahead.







Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Eyes of the Unicorn Auction


Ten years ago, my husband Greg Spalenka, illustrated his first children’s picture book “The Eyes of the Unicorn.” In celebration of its 10th Anniversary he has decided to do a one of kind auction that I thought I would share with all of you.


“The Eyes of the Unicorn,” is an enchanting, magical tale of a girl’s love, a hunt for a unicorn and the transformation of her friends heart. It was written by Teresa Bateman, and published in 2007 by Holiday House in New York. When Greg was commissioned to create the illustrations the goal was to bring a cinematic flavor to the book which was unique in the children’s market at the time, yet keep a classical foundation. The book found its audience, but it is now out of print.

This auction is an opportunity to own the evolution of the book’s imagery, and more! Go HERE to read more at Greg's blog and see the offerings or directly to bid HERE. The auction ends Sunday, Nov. 5, at 7:00 PM, PST.

We have decided to offer a percentage of the sale to a charity that works toward saving endangered Unicorns, but have not found one. For example the World Wildlife Organization doesn't have Unicorns on their list, go figure! ;-)


What would the scent of Unicorn be comprised of? I'm thinking sweet notes of flowers with woods, vanilla, honey, a bit of balsam and botanical musk. For the magical aspect we would need to make a special tincture or infusion that I will need to ponder. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on notes and also for the name. I'll be getting to work on this right away and offering a first edition bottle to the lucky winner.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Art of Botanical Perfume .02


In May, after a rather surreal conversation via email, the Art of Botanical Perfume online course was temporarily closed for enrollment. Slowly (in between packing, selling the house and moving lock, stock and barrels to another state) I have been revamping the material for a relaunch.

Here is an overview of the original course:

In the ART OF BOTANICAL PERFUME Roxana shares how the craft of botanical perfume is essential to our modern day because it holds the seeds of Alchemy, Herbalism, Aromatherapy and the Arts—while still serving the Earth and positively affecting change in the human being. The artistry of the creation of natural perfume contributes to a sustainable way of life that is part of organic farming as well as the evolution of humanity’s spiritual consciousness. Perfume making is a fine art that goes beyond reading books and putting together suggested scent-pairings; it’s about truly experiencing the complexity and nuances of volatile essences, understanding what they mean to you and where they came from; as well as the comprehension of how to create a fragrance based on your own personal aesthetic. By the end of this course you will have a foundation to create unique botanical perfumes and a template to continue building your skill set.




  • 1. What is Perfume & Introduction Module
  • Have you ever wondered where the word “Perfume” came from? In this module Roxana defines the word and gives an overview of the different palettes currently used to create perfume, knowledge on the complexities of this ancient practice and help you understand its depth before proceeding to the history of the industry.


  • 2. History of Perfume ModuleThe “wholistic” telling of this story begins with the first aromatic molecules which came from the conifers. Discovered by the First People who noticed mood shifts and decreased insects while burning this plant material, the history of humanity has progressed in unison with our utilization of fragrance. In this module Roxana will share how the crafting of perfume stems from ancient fragrant preparations that were used for spiritual rituals and physical remedies. She will teach you about the multifaceted world-wide uses of scent from India, China, the Middle East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome providing insight into how this art form has changed and progressed through the ages.



  • 3. Tools & Raw Materials Module: An artist, of any sort, cannot do anything without their tools and supplies. Roxana will explain what basic tools and raw materials you will need before fashioning your own perfume. She will explain and define words such as “Pipette” and “Stirring Rod”, as well as why you need beakers, funnels, blotter strips and more. Also in this module you will learn about essential oils; absolutes; extracts and concretes; high proof alcohol and how to make tinctures, infusions and an enfleurage. 



  • 4. Fragrance Families & Types Module: In this module you will learn about the basic fragrance families and types of perfume. Roxana’s knowledge on this subject abounds, and she will provide you with the basics to better understand the scents you will be experiencing during this course and into the future. The language of perfumery is very complex and by the end of this module you will understand the difference between “fragrance families”, “types”, “descriptives” and “notes”.



  • 5. Olfactory Awareness Module: In this module you will be exercising and building what Roxana refers to as olfactory awareness. This is something you can practice every single moment of your waking life, with every breath…and in turn it will help you develop mindfulness. Roxana will provide step-by-step instructions on how to dive deep into the wonders of your olfactory SUPER POWER, enabling you to experience scents rather than just learn about them. In this section of the course, you will be creating a notebook of what how you personally experience a scent and create from that authentic and individual resource. The process of experiencing scent without predetermined concepts, helps you create much more innovative fragrances. Your own distinctive sense of smell is your SUPER POWER, it will enable you to craft heavenly scents unlike any that have been made before. You will become empowered by your own experiences, and not be forced to conform to predetermined conceptions of scent.



  • 6. Artistry ModuleIn this module Roxana shows you how there are many paths of learning and creating, sharing her experience of drawing from the right brain and circular thinking. Once you have learned the basic language of scent and how to categorize an aroma (Module 5), and then begin to tap into your own unique interpretation of scent (Module 6) we then move into personal artistry and aesthetics. 



  • 7. Orchestration Module: In this final module you will construct your own unique perfume using the basic top, middle, and base note structure with suggestions on how to make modifications based on supplied formulas. She will guide you on perfume concentrations, proportions of aromatic compounds and the different carriers; and what the different types of carriers mean for the end result of the scent. We also delve deep into Alchemy and how the seven processes relates to creating botanical perfume. In the final lessons of this module you will orchestrate your distinctive perfume and with all the knowledge gained in this course share your new gifts with the world.


  • For more details contact me via e-mail: roxana <at> illuminatedperfume <dot> com

    Monday, October 16, 2017

    Movie Monday: Blade Runner 2049


    The original Blade Runner is one of my husbands absolute favorite films, he owns every version that has ever been released, including two copies of a few of those. I'm a fan too, but not quite to that extent. My draw to the sequel was mostly curiosity after having seen the trailer and heard the hype amongst our artist friends, along with being a fan of Ridley Scott and Denis Villeneuve. Greg and I both saw the original in the theater back in 1982, it was one of those films like Star Wars and the Matrix that caused a ripple in artistic direction.

    "Ryan Gosling plays an LAPD officer heading for an encounter with Harrison Ford’s Deckard in a film whose sheer scale leaves you hyperventilating" ~ The Guardian


    Although Santa Fe, New Mexico isn't quite the "movie town" that Los Angeles is, we do have lots of industry people living here which is most likely why we have an awesome new theater called The Violet Crown Cinema located at the Rail Yard, the new arts district.

    So, over a week ago now, we purchased our tickets online and headed over to a 10pm showing after making ourselves a delicious meal. Since Santa Fe tends not to be a "late night" we thought the show would be fairly empty, especially since we were the only ones in the theater when we bought our tickets online. To our surprise, by the time the film started the theater was almost filled from teens to the silver hair community like Greg and myself.


    Blade Runner 2049 is an extraordinary visual epic, which had me gasping at rich hued landscapes, in fact I had a hard time keeping my convulsive utterances silent. The set design, use of color, sound and music push this lucid dreamscape into new boundaries of cinematic excellence. Even the opening scene with the Columbia picture logo suggests you are entering something visionary in film history.

    The story begins thirty years after the first film in wasteland Los Angeles with Ryan Gosling and his very cool futuristic car. Gosling is an LAPD officer named "KD6.3-7" hunting first generation replicants. As I write this it occurs to me that this film , like the first, is going to be more for men than women Although not quite as patriarchal as the first Blade Runner, this futuristic dystopia is very male driven, despite several strong female characters like Lieutenant Joshi played by Robin Wright. My favorite scene is with a female character we encounter working with an insect in what appears to be a tropical forest, this is the only scene with nature and offers some hope due to her very creative power of imagination.


    It's pretty amazing to conceive that the first film was based on the simple short story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Phillip K. Dick. Hmmm, could the middle initial in Phillips name be a reference to our protagonist?

    Ryan Goslings character K is subjected to a “Post-Trauma Baseline Test” each time he returns from a mission where he responds to specific key words. The test contains a verse from Nabokov's novel "Pale Fire", a nice little piece thrown in to compound the mystery and captivate book nerds.


    I couldn't help but remember of Somni-415 of Cloud Atlas throughout this majestic journey into a surreal nightmare that suggests humans and their need for greed and technology have led is down a very dark future. I didn't have a problem with the length of the film, 152 minutes, in fact I was thrilled that the eye candy continued for as long as it did and delighted in the slow pace of the journey.

    What fragrances shall we associate with the dystopic worlds of the Blade Runner films, would they be the same or different? Dark, dusty, melancholic and lifeless are some descriptives that come to mind. Blade Runner 2049 references a tree which made me think of frankincense when I saw it onscreen. Since frankincense has a bit of a dusty element in some varieties that could work nicely as a note to build upon. My fragrances featuring frankincense would be Vespertina and Chaparral, which don't quite work. Perhaps Figure 1: Noir, what do you think?

    Images: Stolen movie promotional material from various sites on the internet.

    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    The Book of Dust


    Back in late 2006 or so I had a very simple website that I had put together myself using my newly acquired color palette. The intention of the website was to start an online presence and have some visibility for when I attended my first Sniffapalooza event in February 2007.

    The spark of creating "perfume" came when I attended a class with John Steele in Malibu. At the time I was mainly making aromatherapy blends and a few products like herbal salves and salt scrubs. Most of my clients included friends and students of the aromatherapy classes at the Massage School of Santa Monica.

    The first perfumes I began constructing were basically aromatherapy blends called "perfumes", as I studied the craft they became much more complex and required a different way of thinking and working with the essences. My very first perfumes were: Q (originally called Quercus), Lyra, Aurora and Sierra. Vespertina arrived in the Summer of 2007 for the San Diego Comic Con followed by Vera introduced at the Ojai Lavender Festival in June 2008.



    Todays post is about Lyra, whose story began as a custom perfume for my daughter Eve. This morning Eve sent me this note from The New York Times Instagram page about Phillip Pullman and a continuation to the trilogy His Dark Materials.


    "After 17 years, Lyra is back. Lyra Silvertongue, Lyra Belacqua, but really just Lyra: she’s one of those characters in literature — Pip, Emma, Lolita — who’s on first-name terms with her public. After nearly 2 decades, the author of the trilogy “His Dark Materials” is continuing her story. “La Belle Sauvage,” the first volume of Philip Pullman’s next trilogy, “The Book of Dust,” will be published on October 19. The period before publication is a skittish time, particularly when readers’ expectations have had so long to ferment. When @nytmag’s Sophie Elmhirst visited Pullman at his home in September, he said he wasn’t exactly nervous, “but I just don’t know what the reaction will be.” The British author has written 35 books, but Lyra stands out among his protagonists. Over the 3 books — “Northern Lights” (“The Golden Compass” in the U.S.), “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass” — she embarks on a multiverse-crossing quest that becomes a battle against the dark forces of a totalitarian religious government. For a man whose novels are restless, Pullman leads a relatively static life. Every day from roughly 10 until 1, he sits at his desk at home in Oxford and produces 3 pages, longhand. He has written 3 pages a day ever since he started writing. Habit, he’s fond of saying, has written far more books than talent."

    Eve and I absolutely adored the trilogy The Golden Compass and are thrilled that Mr. Pullman is continuing the story of Lyra. In fact, I'm going to get the audio versions of the first book and start the series once more.

    Greg was a concept designer on the film version, although they ended up cutting most of his work when the producers choose to alter the story. One of my favorite characters in the book was Lee Scoresby, the Texan aëronaut with his dæmon named Hester. Sam Elliot did such a fine job of interpreting Lee in the film.


    I'm happy to share that I have ample amounts of Lyra in all three formats here with me. I've slowly been adding perfumes to the website, Lyra is on the top of the list now that this recent development with the story has presented itself.


    Read more about Lyra here at the journal.

    Photo of Phillip Pullman by Nadav Kander for The New York Times
    Classical painting: Music by Thomas Ralph Spence
    Perfume photos ©RoxanaVilla

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017

    In Stock


    Here is a list of items currently in stock. As of this moment they are only listed here at the journal and will be sent out via priority mail. If you have any questions and/or are interested in anything listed please contact me via e-mail and I will send you an invoice.

    I do plan to start producing perfume again as soon as I have all my tools and raw materials.


    _______________________________________________________________________________

    AUMBRE

    Liquid perfume flacon with rectangular top : 1 available $290
    Liquid perfume flacon with round top : 1 available $300
    1 gram liquid perfume in vial : 1 available $27 each

    Solid perfume samples : 9 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 1 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in brass $37
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $40
    • NEW floral vine design. $37
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    AURORA

    Solid perfume samples : 7 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 3 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver or bronze $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    BLOSSOM

    7 gram Eau de Parfum : SOLD OUT

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    CHAPARRAL

    4 gram Eau de Parfum bottle : 2 available $48 each

    Solid perfume mini compact : 3 available

    • Engraved diamond pattern in brass $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    CHIAROSCURO

    Liquid perfume flacon with rectangular top : 1 available $305

    Solid perfume samples : 4 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 2 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in in brass $37
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $40
    • NEW floral vine design. $37
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    CIMBALOM

    Liquid perfume flacon with rectangular top : 1 available $295

    1g liquid perfume in vial : 2 available $30 each

    Solid perfume samples : 13 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 1 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in brass $37
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $40
    • NEW floral vine design $37
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    FIGURE 1: NOIR

    Liquid perfume flacon with rectangular top : 1 available $325

    1g Liquid perfume in vial : 2 available $27 each
    4g Liquid perfume rectangular bottle : 1 available $102

    4g Eau de Parfum Spray : 1 available $50 each
    7g Eau de Parfum Spray : 1 available $75 each

    Solid perfume samples : 11 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    HEDERA HELIX

    4g Liquid perfume rectangular bottle : 1 available $120

    Solid perfume samples : 4 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 1 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in brass $39
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $42
    • NEW floral vine design $39
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    IMPROMPTU

    4g Liquid perfume rectangular bottle : 1 available $100
    1g Liquid perfume in glass vial : 1 available $27 each

    4g Eau de Parfum Spray : 2 available $48 each

    Solid perfume samples : 16 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compacts : 4 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in brass $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    La DAME BLANCHE

    Solid perfume samples : 1 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    LYRA

    Liquid perfume flacon with round top: 1 available $290

    1g liquid perfume in glass vial : 5 available $25 each

    Solid perfume in round compact in brass with pouch: 1 available, $180

    Solid perfume samples : 10 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 1 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in in brass $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    MELLIFERA

    1g Liquid perfume in glass vial : 3 available $27 each
    4g Liquid perfume in rectangular bottle : 1 available $110

    Solid perfume samples : 5 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compacts : 5 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in brass $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    ROSA

    1g Liquid perfume in glass vial : SOLD OUT

    Solid perfume in round compact in brass with pouch : 1 available $190
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    SIERRA

    1g Liquid perfume in vial : 1 available $27 each
    4g Liquid perfume rectangular bottle : 1 available $110

    Solid perfume in round tin : 1 available $52.50

    Solid perfume samples : 8 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 1 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in brass $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    TERRESTRE

    Solid perfume in round tin: 1 available $60.90

    Solid perfume mini compact : 1 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in in brass $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    TO BEE

    4g Eau de Parfum bottle : 1 available $50
    6g Eau de Parfum bottle : 1 available $75

    Solid perfume in oval compact in brass with pouch : 1 available $198
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    VERA

    Liquid perfume flacon with round top : 1 available $290

    Solid perfume samples : 7 available, combine with other solid perfume samples for a set
    Solid perfume mini compact : 3 available
    • Engraved diamond pattern in in brass $35
    • Engraved diamond pattern in silver $38
    • NEW floral vine design. $35
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    VESPERTINA

    4g Liquid perfume rectangular bottle : 1 available $120

    Solid perfume in round compact in brass with pouch : 1 available $185

    Solid perfume in red bee, oval compact with pouch : 1 available $198

    VESPERTINA sketch
    4g Liquid perfume rectangular bottle : 2 available $120

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    JASMINE SAMBAC HYDROSOL

    1 ounce hydrosol in amber bottle : 2 available $30
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    There may be a few errors in this list which I apologize for in advance.



    Saturday, September 23, 2017

    Magic Rocks


    There are loads of beautiful crystalline rocks 💎 on the property of our little casita here in the hills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I’m guessing that these stones are what make the soil sparkle and why this mountain range reflects so much light. I thought these might be quartz, pink feldspar or perhaps a combination. However, after posting this on social media this was shared with me.

    "All around the flanks of the Ancestral Rockies, groundwater entered the newly deposited basin sediments. These sediments were not composed of pure quartz, but of unaltered, chemically unstable grains of feldspar and iron and magnesium minerals, such as hornblende and biotite. As soon as oxidizing groundwater began to react with these unstable minerals, iron began to move out of the minerals and into adjacent pore spaces, where it formed an insoluble gel of iron oxide. This gel gradually crystallized to the red iron oxide mineral, hematite. Today, this hematite gives the rocks their red color that imparts a red-pink glow to the mountains (especially at sunrise and sunset). Perhaps it was the red hematite that inspired 18th century Spanish explorers to name the mountains “Sangre de Cristo” (Blood of Christ)." ~ Pub.usgs.gov

    The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost starting point the Rocky Mountains here in northern New Mexico. What a magical place this is!