Monday, February 27, 2017

Movie Monday: Oscar 2017

I haven't done a post about the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards. Since I have a little window of time today, which is usually slotted for a Movie Monday post, I thought I'd contribute a few impressions about last nights award show.

Besides the massive blunder at the end, I felt the 2017 Oscar show was one of the best ever, at least as far as I can re-call. The goofy dance numbers and most, not all, the boring segments from the past have been removed. Thank you! Jimmy Kimmel's humor as the Master of Ceremonies, was extremely engaging and entertaining, on par with Ellen Degeneres.

The challenge and criticism of Mr. Kimmel, which in complete honesty I didn't even notice, was regarding his remarks in reference to ethic names. The small detail illustrates our evolution in the melting pot of the US. Clearly Jimmy Kimmel is a fairly open minded fellow, but not as conscious as he may think. We are living in an age and a country where respect of individuals and how we refer to them has become more obvious in peoples mind and criticism. The audience is not only those sitting in the audience but a very vocal public which will make there opinion know within seconds due to social media—no one can escape this.

Living in Los Angeles, still the main hub for the motion picture / entertainment industry, conversations relating to the field is in every molecule of the cities air. We breath it in whether we want to or not. Almost all of us living in this city of stars or angels, works in some capacity within the industry or knows people who do. Although I don't "watch" the news, listen to the radio or even forage on facebook, I am constantly hearing from friends, family and acquaintances what is transpiring in the latest TV shows, media outlets, etc.

My daughter Eve attempts to watch most of the films that are getting the best reviews and the ones that get nominated. I, in turn, end going with her to see many of these. One film that I felt was excellent that received absolutely no attention by the Academy was Queen of Katwe.

Why this film was completely shunned is not clear to me, perhaps the film makers and distributors choose not to promote it with the same fervor that the others were. I was convinced that at the very least Lupita Nyong'o's portrayal of a single mother raising her children in a slum in Uganda would have received a nod. As much as I appreciate Emma Stone, her performance was not worthy of the golden statue. I also do not agree with La La Land receiving the award for best cinematography, especially when compared to Arrival, or even Moonlight.

When the nominations were first shared it was generally thought that perhaps the academy had chosen to make a nod toward La La Land because it was up-lifting. Well, hello, did they actually watch Hidden Figures? That was one heck of an uplifting film, and more poignant because it is based on real lives. This is a good reminder of how an "award" does not represent the best work.

I am most thrilled that Moonlight (eventually) won best picture, what a mind blower and turn in the story. That massively embarrassing moment at the end is going to be discussed for decades and will most likely show up in a SNL skit.

Another small fopaux was that the academy forgot to include Eliseo Subiela in the In Memoriam Tribute. Eliseo is an Argentine drama-science fiction film writer and director who received an academy award for Hombre Mirando al Sudeste, Man Facing Southeast, in 1986. Regrettably Eliseo left this plain on December 27, 2016.

I wish I could have been a little insect flying around the Dolby, formerly known as the Kodak, theater and sniffed what perfumes were being worn and by who. Perhaps the pre-show commentators will one day ask that question.

Some of the trends I noticed at this years award gala were fishtail gowns, lots of sequins and lace, velvet jackets on the dudes and a couple pretty eclectic hairdos.

Arrival photo: Paramount Pictures

Related posts
Movie Monday: 2013 Oscars

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Goddess Rising

Here are a few photos from our event this past Saturday at the perfumery. The day before we had a heck of a storm which caused several power outages throughout the area, mudslides, trees down and even a crazy sink hole in Studio City! Since the weather report claimed the storm would be gone by Saturday we choose to move forward with the event.

The day before Greg created a chalk drawing on the board in the teaching space to infuse it with the imprint of Venus, in this case The Birth of Venus by Botticelli.

Gina from Blue Table Wine and Cheese Bar provided us with a cheese and fruit plate as well as apricot mango mimosas. We had intended guava mimosas but I couldn't find any guava juice at my local markets so we went for the yellow fruits which was delicious, thanks to Gina!

Our local intuitive Draza Jansky provided free readings for the attendees, here she is in my lab with Trina Watson.

I opened the "presentation" portion of our day by having all of us drink a absolutely glorious jasmine sambac hydrosol that was distilled with water from a waterfall in Hawaii. Draza shared a bit about her work as a life coach and her meditation system, she also provided us with a collective reading.

The jasmine sambac elixir I shared at the event is for sale, I will be listing it on the site shortly, if you want to come and have a sample of it misted on your face please send me a note to schedule a sacred moment at the perfumery.

Donna brought several racks of her comfy yet elegant clothes for sale. During her presentation she explained how she creates her clothing from fabric to finish in downtown Los Angeles. I wear Donna's clothing everyday and refer to them as my DonnaYums because they feel like a second skin.

Next up was Monika, one of my students who I am so very proud of! Monika has recently launched her completely botanical/organic/ handmade personalized skin care line, Mala Apothecary, using the same details as me when it comes to creating and sourcing her materials. Her products are custom designed specifically for you after a quick phone call or filling out her an online questionaire.

At the end of our day Donna, Monika and I posed like the Venus behind us, as you can see Donna was instructing Monika and I on how to be demure and strike the pose correctly.

Due to the crazy weather and power outages we are contemplating doing the event again in March. If this is something that interests you please let me know by leaving a comment or sending me a note.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Alchemy Panel Discussion, Distill your Own Hydrosols & Hydrosol Encounter

As part of the Alchemy & Medicine of the Soul workshop we have three other happenings taking place all within the Santa Monica Mountain area. Please note there is limited space available for some of these events, be mindful to grab your seat while they are available!

with Cathy Skipper, Dr. Florian Birkmayer, John Steele and Roxana Villa
April 20th, Thursday evening

The word alchemy is often associated with essential oils due to the transformation of physical matter through the process of distillation. Historical origins of alchemy point back in time suggesting that Hermes Trismegistus, which in Egypt was called Thoth was the father of the art.

Learn more about the different points of view on alchemy and its relationship to essential oils, aromatherapy, botanical perfume, psychology and altered states in this unique panel discussion.

Free to attend with RSVP
Location: Canoga Ave., Woodland Hills, CA

with Cathy Skipper and Dr. Florian Birkmayer
April 21st, Friday 3pm-6pm

The process of obtaining the essence of a plant through the process of distillation goes back in History to the early alchemists in Egypt. In this afternoon workshop we will distill native plants personally selected and harvested with Cathy and Florian.

The word hydrosol, ‘hydro’ water and ‘sol’ solution means water solution and refers to the fact that a hydrosol is water that contains plant molecules and is produced alongside essential oil in the process of steam distillation, it is sometimes referred to as flower water.

With a small, portable, inexpensive, copper still, Hydrosols are easy to make, much safer and easier to use than essential oils and have great potential for use both in physical ailments and when working on a subtle, emotional level.

Mankind has distilled plants in order to extract their aromatic core for thousands of years and there is evidence that all the major civilizations used this form of extraction.

Making one’s own hydrosols and being a part of the process from the harvesting to the final product is not only easy with a small home still but also extremely revealing. The plant seems to open up on another level allowing us to come into contact with its healing vibration with ease and clarity, thus deepening our knowledge and intuitive information about it. There is a time for everything and although there are herbalists that have been distilling and using hydrosols regularly for years, I believe that now is the time to integrate their use into regular practice, they do not replace other forms of plant preparation but add a precious element to the medicinal plant tool box.

The one-day introduction to Hydrosols will include:

  • Practical distillations
  • Learning what constituents a hydrosol
  • How to use hydrosols

DATE and TIME: Friday, April 21st in Topanga Canyon, CA from 3pm - 6pm

LOCATION: Details provided upon registration.

Please arrive unscented. Be mindful of laundry, cosmetic and bath & beauty products on this special day. We need to keep our palettes clear and free of odorants and be respectful of the flora and fauna we will be working with.

with Cathy Skipper and Dr. Florian Birkmayer
April 24th, Monday evening 7pm - 9pm, Blue Table, Agoura Hills, CA

As part of the Alchemy & Medicine of the Soul weekend workshop we are offering an evening encounter with hydrosols, led by Cathy Skipper & Dr Florian Birkmayer MD.

During the distillation process plant matter gently imprints the water with its molecular trace particles resulting in an aromatic water that is useful in skin care, therapeutic applications, refreshing sprays and in cooking. Although these "waters of life" are part of daily life in our recent past, hydrosols are one of the lost arts that is now circling back and finding a home as a new form of aromatherapy. The waters that result from distillation have been described as “the soul of the plant”, able to transmit non-verbal messages, bypassing the thinking mind

In this informal gathering at Blue Table in Agoura Hills, we will explore the transformative subtle frequencies of several hydro distilled elixirs. Our focus will be the emotional and spiritual "properties found in the barely detectable aromatic trace molecules which exist in concentrations of parts per billion, bringing the worlds of matter and spirit."

"Drinking exotic plant hydrosols such as Jasmine Sambac, Blue Lotus, Golden Champa and Frankincense is an immersive experience which is exquisite, both in smell and taste. These plant teachers invite us to participate in a subtle, yet often euphoric, aromatic conversation with the natural wisdom of botanical intelligence."

Join us in this profound inquiry into the relationship between smell and higher consciousness — and feel it spark into your own work. Celebrate the extra-ordinary in the moment as you feel yourself elevated by botanical intelligence.

DATE & TIME: Monday, April 24, 2017, 7pm-9pm

LOCATION: Blue Table at  Whizin Market Hall, 28914 Roadside Dr, unit #219, Agoura Hills, CA 91301, find a map here.

Please arrive unscented. Be mindful of laundry, cosmetic and bath & beauty products on this special day. We need to keep our palettes clear and free of odorants.

“With an increased floral consciousness, 
humans will begin to make full use of their ‘light brain’ 
and make more refined and sophisticated use of their ‘smell brain.’ 
The two are portentously linked. 
In fact, they overlap to such an extent that they may be considered inseparable.”
~ Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume 



The panel discussion is free and open to everyone who RSVP's in advance. If you are registered for the Alchemy & Medicine of the Soul workshop the class on distillation is included in your tuition. If you would like to attend the Hydrosol Encounter, the fee is $40 which covers all the expenses, including the very special and unique hydrosols we will be sipping.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Alchemy and Medicine of the Soul

Alchemy & the Medicine of the Soul 
The Wounded Healer, A Journey Through the Alchemical Stages & the Sacred Union
A Workshop with Cathy Skipper & Dr Florian Birkmayer MD
Seats are limited sign up here

“We each have something to contribute to the global healing process, a particular gift or vision, 
skill or song. Individual healing has a lot to do with finding this gift and using it 
for the world’s sake, finding our song and singing it.” 
~ Miriam Greenspan, Healing Through the Dark Emotions

I am delighted to host a spectacular series of events which includes a weekend workshop with two very heartfelt souls and leaders in the transformative power of aromatic plants, essential oils and hydrosols. Cathy Skipper and Dr Florian Birkmayer bring together a knowledge- and skill-set that encompasses French medical aromatherapy, holistic psychiatry, spiritual alchemy and intuitive plant communication.

The pleasure of meeting Florian and Cathy was akin to that feeling when we discover kindred souls, it took place at the first Beyond Aromatics conference in Seattle Washington, at the time Greg and I were rooming next to Florian and the two had not gotten together as a couple. At the conference, both Cathy and Florian presented topics that were perfectly paired for their profound approach to working with plants, essential oils and psychology—which would set the stage for this profound workshop. Florians approach has since evolved further by working closely with Cathy — whose own expertise as a herbalist, aromatic medicine practitioner and workshop leader is the product of decades of experience and study.

Cathy and Florian share their unique insight into the healing potency of essential oils by bringing to bear teachings distilled from spiritual alchemy, Jungian psychology, and their own unfolding healing journey... aromatically infused with plant wisdom from both the blue plateaus of Provence and the sagebrush deserts of New Mexico.

Florian will show how the Jungian understanding of alchemy is a revealing model for aromatic soul medicine, elucidated by his experience of using essential oils to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues in his work as a psychiatrist. Cathy will draw from her long experience of French clinical aromatherapy, plant communication and kinesiology. Both Cathy and Florian have a personal and professional background in ‘healing the healer’ — a central theme of the workshop.

The workshop is suitable for aromatherapists, herbalists, bodyworkers and psychotherapists, and all those working in the healing arts wishing to deepen their relationship with aromatic plants as well as their own healing journey. Join us for a memorable weekend of learning, sharing and aromatic inner healing... but please don’t delay in booking your place, as numbers are limited!


• Distillation with Cooper Alembic of California Native Plant Flora.
• The seven alchemical stages and their relationship to distinct phases within the cycle of growth and healing.
• Identifying the different emotional/energetic states that arise within each alchemical stage and the essential oils that can help to transform them.
• Exercises and experiential work to deepen our understanding of each alchemical stage and the psycho-therapeutic actions of specific essential oils.
• Looking at ways this work can be used with clients in an aromatherapy or psychotherapy practice.

This workshop is intended to:

Help participants develop a deeper and more personal, intuitive relationship to aromatic plants and essential oils.
Offer participants a model of transformation that can be used to assist them on their own healing journeys and those of their friends, family and clients.
Highlight the importance of soul healing in achieving a state of inner harmony, vitality and optimum health.

Cathy Skipper
Workshop Co-Facilitator

English by birth, Cathy Skipper spent her adult life in rural France, where she farmed, trained and worked as a herbalist and aromatherapist, and taught practical herbalism, botany and aromatherapy at the L’Ecole Lyonnaise de Plantes Medicinales in Lyon. She participated for four years in an approach to energetic healing called Life Cell, under French Kinesiologist Caroline Gupta. Her medicinal plant education in France included a two-year course with Claude Lefebvre in Plant Communication. She emigrated from France in 2015 to live and work in New Mexico with her partner, Florian Birkmayer.

Cathy’s work involves building bridges between aromatic medicine and herbalism as well as recognizing the importance of healing the healer and reconnecting with nature. In her teaching she marries theory, practical work and energetics with the intention of helping students develop an intuitive relationship between themselves, the plant/essential oil and the patient, as a poweful impetus for healing.

Cathy’s work with Florian has a core vibration with the work of Carl Jung, the psyche, aromatic molecules, and the mind. She is co-author with Patrice de Bonneval of Aromatic Medicine.

For more info about Cathy follow this link to her blog and this post which delves deeper into this workshop we are presenting.

Dr Florian Birkmayer MD
Workshop Co-Facilitator

Florian Birkmayer is a Wounded Healer and the co-developer with Cathy Skipper of AromaGnosis, which synthesizes Jungian depth psychology and aromatherapy. A holistic psychiatrist, he has an extensive background in trauma and addiction as well as Equine-Assisted Therapy. A bridge-builder between different medical worlds, Florian works closely and respectfully with a wide range of healers.

Florian received his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York. He completed his psychiatry residency at the University of New Mexico. He has previously served as the director of the Dual Diagnosis Clinic at the University of New Mexico Psychiatric Center, and as the director of the Substance Use Disorders program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque, USA.

For more info about Florian, visit:


• Friday, April 21, 2017 California Native Plant Distillation, Topanga Canyon
Time and location to be announced

• Saturday & Sunday, April 22 and 23, 2017 (2 days).
Times: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily.
Course Fee: Early Bird $296
Please note that the course fee is in all cases non-refundable and non-transferable.
Tel: 818-992-0490 for further info.


To book a place in the course, please submit your contact details and the course fee in any one of the following 3 ways:
To book in person please contact Roxana to meet at the Perfumery.
To book by making a credit/debit card payment, please follow the link to the website.
To book by post, please send a cheque (payable to Roxana Villa) with your name, address, tel no and email address to: Roxana Villa, PO Box 884, Woodland Hills, CA 91365

For overnight accommodations near the Whizin Market Square in Agoura Hills, we recommend this hotel in the area: Homewood Suites

Monday, February 6, 2017


I’ve brought together some local sisters with like minds and hearts for a day of self love and nurturing! Just what you’ve been craving, an event devoted to Venus and inspiring the Goddess within each of us. 

Join in with a dynamic collective of women offering their wisdom and unique gifts.

Monika Peters, Goddess of Skin Care: Crafting a Seasonal Face Serum
Donna Malberger, Goddess of Wardrobe: Dressing From the Inside Out
Draza Jansky, Goddess of Insight: Practical Magic: Refining Your Intuition
Roxana Villa, Goddess of Fragrance: Scent as a Conduit

Saturday, February 18th - 10 am to 5pm
Presentation & Guava Mimosas* 11 am - 12 pm (limited seating)

Roxana Illuminated Perfume
Whizin Market Hall
28914 Roadside Dr., Suite 219 
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

This event is FREE and open to everyone, both men and women. Keep in mind there is limited seating at the perfumery for the presentations and mimosas. If you would like to secure
a velvet chair or seat we recommend making a donation of $10 to reserve your spot!


10 am - 11am
Meet and Greet / Shopping

11 am - 12 noon
Presentations (no shopping)

12 noon - 5pm Shopping


"Crafting a Seasonal Face Serum"
Monika Peters is a licensed holistic esthetician and beauty nutritionist. Specializing in skin health, one on one consultancy & custom organic hand crafted products. She will do a Pre- Primavera Vitamin C Serum making demo, showcasing the maceration process while sharing his wisdom on skin health, age regeneration and seasonal skin care.

"Dressing From the Inside Out"
Donna Malberger domestically designs and produces beautiful knitted, garment dyed fabrics for her gorgeous ready to wear line of clothing. Donna will share knowledge she has learned through intimately working with master stylist and color expert Jennifer Butler on how to choose clothing that works for your coloring and body type.

"Practical Magic: Refining Your Intuition"
Intuitive Life Coach Draza Jansky shares simple rituals and techniques that help you refine your powers of intuition and insight. Come receive a free intuitive reading and mini coaching session! Learn to use your intuition to create a beautiful life experience, inside and out.
Draza Jansky

"Scent as a Conduit"
Hippocrates said that the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day! Roxana will share insights gleaned from the History of Perfume and take us through the steps and ingredients for making a mineral rich salt scrub that is cleansing to the mind and body but also
facilitates a connection to the ever present Goddess within us.

Guava Mimosas and snacks provided by Agoura Hills Blue Table

The Birth of Venus artwork was created for us by Greg Spalenka. If you would like to have an image created of yourself please contact him directly Greg at The model is DirtFairy Morley.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


A few years ago a customer requested a sandalwood solid perfume. After pondering a bit, I decided to do a sandalwood solifleur by building a rich and voluminous chord/accord to personify this sacred and precious wood.

First I combined a variety of sandalwood essential oils from different locations, for example Sri Lanka, New Caledonia and Hawaii. I then added a very special and rare vintage sandalwood I have from Mysore, India. To make it deeper I added other resins, roots, flowers, seeds and precious woods. The result was a seducing, intoxicating riff on sandalwood. I had about ten little pink pots with some of the solid perfume to sample that went out to various customers.

Although the fragrance was not released I have come back to it often, waiting for the perfect moment which has finally presented itself!

In December Steve Robertson of Project Peace on Earth attended our Makers Market Holiday Faire and asked if I would contribute samples of the perfume devoted to Peace for the Global Peace Song Award Gala in downtown Los Angeles. I enthusiastically replied yes and after looking over formula for the 2009 edition of the fragrance decided to build the new version with the sandalwood solifleur as the main chord. I'll be posting more about it soon, just wanted to give you a heads up since the by invitation only event takes place next Saturday.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Chia Seed, Coconut Chocolate Pudding

As I typed the title for the post I wondered if anyone had distilled chia seeds, because if so these could be the ingredients for the start of a comforting, gourmand perfume!

Ever since tasting a sample of a chocolate vegan pudding from the Erewhon Market in Agoura Hills, I've been experimenting with making one that was just as good or better. Today I have finally succeeded!

During my many attempts I found that Let's Do Organic Organic Heavy Coconut Cream is an awesome base. Most coconut creams and milks have fillers like guar gum, in fact I have started noticing that many brands are even adding gums to regular whipping creams. Native Forest Organic Simple Coconut Cream is another good one but not quite as thick. Both these specific items have no fillers, but be mindful, there most coconut milks and creams products that do, thus, always read the ingredients on the label. I suggest avoiding purchasing the product from Amazon or Whole Foods since those two conglomerates support politics that are not good for people, humanity, and a sustainably lifestyle. I purchased mine from Thrive.

I started with a recipe I found on the back of a chia seed package and modified from there based on others I've been testing over the past six months, like this one.

8oz Let's Do Organic Organic Heavy Coconut Cream, chilled for a few hours or overnight
1/4 cup  Chia Seeds
1 Tbspn Cocoa Powder
1 tspn Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Stevia herb
1 Tbspn Honey, Agave, Maple, Coconut or Yakon syrup for sweetening

Scoop the chilled coconut cream into a bowl and using a hand held mixer, blend on a low setting. Next add all the other ingredients and mix again slowly increasing the speed until everything is well combined and has the texture of pudding. Your delicious healthy pudding is now ready to eat. I placed mine back in the fridge for a few hours because I used the Native Forest Organic Simple Cream which isn't as thick as the Heavy Cream. Enjoy and report back!