Sunday, February 7, 2016

Busy as a Bee

Last weekend was packed with three different bee related happenings along with lots of writing for aromatherapy journals and projects. Read my latest contribution to Fragrantica here. Most people rest on the weekends, not me, I must be part feral bee! Yes, I said feral, because they work much harder than the European honey bee.

Friday in the late afternoon we headed into downtown LA for the book signing of Save the Bees with Chelsea, Rob and little Will MacFarland at The Last Bookstore. Always a treat to wonder around the galleries above the bookstore, like LB Lovejoys eclectic workshop where the image above was taken.

While at the signing we met up with George Langworthy, the director of The Vanishing of the Bees, and his beautiful girlfriend Alexandra so we headed over to Bottega Louie for dinner. We brought home a box of delicious macarons.

On Saturday we were planning to head up to Topanga to save a swarm of bees located in a sprinkler box under a Sumac bush but decided to wait a few days since we had a storm heading in.

Then on Sunday morning, in the midst of torrential rains, I drove into Culver City for the first HoneyLove Meet up of 2016 featuring a lecture by Rob McFarland titled Wild Bee Sex.

This afternoon Greg and I went back up to the site in Topanga to move the bees in the sprinkler box, but, they had already left, no bees only honey comb with a bit of pollen.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?

The title for todays post Anne of Green Gables. The violets are coming up in quite a bounty due to our rain fall. This year, instead of a tincture I am placing the delightful little flowers on a bed of botanical fat to infuse their intoxicating odor. The process is called enfleurage, we know it originating in France but its possible that it goes as far back as Egypt.

By the way, as I write this, I have the most recent crop sitting here next to me and I must say it is a glorious little posy to be inhaling.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vera Natural Perfume Mini Compact in Allure

Press is always a thrill, a bit like sugar, sweet and addicting. In this case its Allure Magazine, published by Conde Nast in New York City, where they requested I send them a mini compact. When I asked which of the solid perfume samples I had sent was their favorite they said Vera. Thus, there she is in all her purple splendor with these eloquent words:

Inspired by the techniques ancient artists used to grind pigments from natural sources for their illuminated manuscripts, Roxana Illuminated Perfume was founded in 2007 with the debut of its first fragrance, Vera. Since then, the line has expanded by nearly two dozen scents, in both liquid and solid form. And while the liquid versions may smell just as divine, it's the solid fragrances that really hooked us. Made with beeswax from two hives tended by the brand's founder, Roxana Villa, these botanical-infused perfumes come in simple round tins topped with the company's honey beeswax seal, tiny refillable compacts made from vintage 1940s molds, or statement-making lockets for on-the-go reapplications.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Page 47, one of my most popular and best selling natural botanical perfumes, is back in the solid format!

Authentic natural, botanical perfumes that are handmade require patience because since they are produced with hands and real plant materials more time is required to make them. The slow food movement that came out of Italy in relation to food and the current artisan culture, or even bee keeping and re-doing a garden with California natives requires a gradual and deliberate slowing that is somewhat contradictory to the frenzy demanded by the outside world.

There are several fragrances that are currently sold out and I am working on like Rosa and Gracing the Dawn in their liquid form and Hedera helix and Figure 1: Noir as solids. The good news is that Page 47, a perennial favorite, is back in her solid state. Since my business has hit a new momentum that is making it a challenge to do so many of the tasks required for my business, I have started bringing in some friends and people to help out. This will allow me to focus more on things like keeping making perfumes and the launch for the online classes.

In the meantime, inhale, breathe deep and enjoy the pleasure of the moment.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Talking Dirty: Goût de Terroir at Fragrantica

Aligned with the energetics of Venus and her guardian Aphrodite, I am thrilled to share my first piece as a contributing writer on Fragrantica. Talking Dirty: Goût de Terroir. The french term, Goût de Terroir, refers to the flavors imparted by the earth to wine.

Many thanks to Elena Knezevic, the founder of Fragrantica, and Marlen Elliot Harrison, the executive editor, for bringing me on board. I had the pleasure to meet and get to know Marlen in 2007 at a Sniffapalooza event in Los Angeles just before officially launching my brand. Elena, and her handsome husband Zoran when they arrived on the perfume scene with their comprehensive site Fragrantica and then in person at the Fragments Event in LA a few years ago.

 Please check it out and leave a comment if inspired. The intention is to contribute a piece each week, if you have something specific you would like me to write about please leave a comment or send me a note, I love hearing from each of you.

Image is via Fragrantica.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tumeric Spice Tea

This morning I included turmeric root from our local farmers market in my chai  ☕ tea. Turmeric, which looks like ginger but is a brilliant orange like sweet potatoes, is known as a powerful detox and good for digestion in Ayurvedic medicine. I discovered tumeric milk ages ago at Hugo's restaurant in Studio City. Since then Greg and I have been making tumeric milk and our own blends using the dried powder with fennel seeds, cardamon and fresh ginger or variations on that theme. Healing foods, just like healing scents, are vibrant and add to our vital life force.

Now that I’ve found a source for the fresh roots I’ll be substituting those for the dried powder and also adding it to our smoothies.

For the tea this morning I gathered fresh tumeric and ginger roots, seeds of fennel, cumin and cardamon.

I then peeled the tumeric and ginger and grated them using my ginger grater from Sur la Table. I kept the peels since my friend and local nutritionist Hagit Ammer of Kitchen Rejuvenation made me realize how important and nutrient rich they are.

Next I opened up the cardamon pods and placed them into my mortar for some gentle grinding along with the fennel and cumin seeds.

It then occurred to me that vanilla would be a nice addition. Due to my work as a botanical perfumer I usually have vanilla pods on hand. For making a tincture and this tea I cut the ends off a pod, sliced the them length wise, cut them into inch sized pieces and then added it to the mixture.

All the ingredients were put into the infuser of my glass tea press which I then poured hot, filtered water over. I used the tea throughout the day adding an Indian black tea in the morning and later drinking it straight up.

My recipe was inspired by Hugos, our own blends and Feasting at Home, a beautiful blog by Sylvia Fountaine.

Tumeric Spice Tea

1 Quart boiling, filtered water
1-2 Tablespoons grated, fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon grated fresh turmeric ( or ½ -1 tsp  ground)
1-2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds (or ground)
1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds (or ground)
1-2 teaspoons cardamon (or ground), I used four pods, removing the seeds.
1 sliced vanilla bean

Place all ingredients in a glass tea press, infuse for at least 5 minutes before plunging. Refill the tea press one more time with boiling water. Ideally drink a total of two quarts in a day. If you do not have a tea press simmer the ingredients on low for about 5 minutes in a pot, then strain before drinking.

Enjoy and please share this post.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Movie Monday: MacBeth

The latest interpretation of the Scottish play MacBeth stars Michael Fassbender with Marion Cotillard. The scene opens with a breath taking shot of a pale faced child lying on a bleak landscape which the camera slowly pulls out from to reveal a pyre and group of sorrowful faces. A briefly alluded to snippet in this interpretation the violent story of a tyrannical Scot King.

Along with the riveting performances the director Justin Kurzel and cinematographer Adam Arkapaw have created a breathtaking piece of visual poetry. The slow moving adaptation veers from the traditional telling of story, removing and re-imaging scenes like the iconic witches.

Michael Fassbender embodies MacBeth so fiercely and profoundly that it feels like this is the role he was meant to play. At the very least he deserves a nod (nomination), if not oscar, from the his fellow actors who are part of the Academy of Motion Pictures. As a natural progression I am sure that soon he will follow up this film performance with one live on stage.

The contrast in the color script moving from pale foggy gray with small strokes of yellow to the fiery oranges and reds of war and savagery with languid wails of the hurly burley adding more depth to a cinematically beautiful piece of dark artistry.