Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Essence Event and NEW pure fume!

Join me and the mastery of Jennifer Butler this Sunday, August 7th for an extraordinary community event revolving on the theme of the Summer essence.

I will give a presentation and unveil my newest fragrance. The starting point was the essence of summer with melodies evoking the divine feminine. I’ve weaved fine threads of jasmine and other graceful florals with subtle hints of seashells and the constant rhythmic motion of ancient lunar tides reminding us of home. Diffused notes of a vintage Mysore sandalwood, oakmoss and orris in the base anchor the dreamy, artful nature of twilight with petals of crushed velvet. The mood is relaxed and elegant.

"Smell is a potent wizard
that transports you across thousands of miles
and all the years you have lived."
~ Helen Keller

The sense of smell has been critical to the survival of human beings. Early in our evolution, when we were on all fours, our smell sense was vital to our survival. As we became upright, olfaction was no longer the dominant system. We still depended on it for locating our food, mating, and hunting however the other sense systems began to play a much larger role.

Some interesting smell facts:
* The sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than any other sense.
* Every person experiences the same exact odor differently.
* We have a keener sense of smell later in our day.
* Woman have a more acute sense of smell than men. * Olfactory nerves can renew themselves. * Each of us has an individual odor thumb print.
* The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for odor recognition.
* Smells fall into the following categories:
minty, floral, ethereal, musky, resinous, foul and acrid.

Smell Idioms:
To win by a nose.
The sweet smell of success.
I smell a rat.
Everything is coming up roses.
Smelling like a rose.
The nose knows.
Something smells fishy.
Wake up and smell the coffee!

The word for smell in Spanish and French is "sentir" which means to feel / to smell.


Experience the beauty of clothing and accessories from the comfort of a little piece of Europe in Beverly Hills

In the United States the sense we tend to rely on the most is our sense of sight. Of all the senses in our collective cultural sensorium, "vision" is used to assess and determine situations. Looking back in history it was the modern printing press, introduced in 1440 by the German Johann Gutenberg that began our shift into the "seeing is believing" paradigm. Over the next hundred years it was aided by several other inventions, primarily the microscope. Micro in latin meaning "small" and scope "to see". Philosophical ideas of the new era combined with the shift to a strong patriarchal system. All these factors working together in the shift to a culture primarily based on the sense of sight.


Feel the textures of luxurious fabrics, handmade textiles and learn which ones work best for you.

The sense of touch is the first and last one that we experience. It has the ability to distinguish between something soft, hard, smooth, wet, dry, etc. We experience this sense through receptors located on the skin, some areas being more sensitive than others. The skin is the largest organ of the body, like a sponge it is a porous membrane. In Aromatherapy the skin is one of the pathways we focus on when utilizing pure essential oils therapeutically.


Savor a delicious meal in the company of a tribe of Summer essence individuals at Caffe Roma.

There are almost 10,000 taste buds located in our mouths, which can distinguish five different types of flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and unami. We are all familiar with the tastes of sweet, salty, sour and bitter, but, what is unami? Unami receptors pick up the taste of glutanic acid salts such as MSG.
The sense of taste is the weakest of all our senses and depends in part on the sense of smell. Evident by when we have a cold, and can't taste our food.


Jennifer will share her wisdom on the balance of inner and outer beauty while guiding us on what works best for the vibration of our unique essence.

Hearing, unlike the sense of smell, taste and vision, is a mechanical process. Hearing is based on movement, sounds produce a vibrational wave which is picked up by the ears.


What is the 6th Sense?.......RSVP to find out!

Since you are a reader of this journal receive a special price to attend as my guest! E-mail or contact me for details.

Here is the schedule for the day:
11:00am - 12:30pm  Shopping
12:30am - 1:15pm    Luncheon
  1:15pm - 2:30pm    Presentation
  2:30pm - 2:55pm    Final Selections & Special Orders
  2:55pm - 3:00pm    Adjourn

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sun in Leo

Hello August, the month of Leo the Lion! This mighty yet warm hearted feline is ruled by the sun, like our little alchemist the honey bee. The big, regal cat purrs in the fantasy of ruling the realm, growls and roars when the illusion bursts. Believe me, I know, my sun is in Leo, although countered with lots of Pisces, Virgo and a Taurus rising. 

Leos love to teach and have a generous affectionate heart. Some believe that the great Sphinx was built during the age of Leo looking over the rising Sun. Pure botanical perfumes are perfect for these astute, luxury loving lions since they are made with the gems ✨ of the fragrance industry. Spare no expense on your big cat, they will brighten your day with their hearty laugh, bright smile and or infectious gregarious nature.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

White Flower Season

The white flower season begins here in the garden of pure fumes with gardenia, then gradually overlaps with jasmine sambac which overlaps with plumeria.  I was lucky to get extra gardenias from my mothers plant which is much larger and more abundant than mine.

The gardenias are now done but we are in the thick of jasmine sambac bloom time just as the plumerias are starting up.

Currently I have lots of different potions brewing, but the most amazing is a toss up between the gardenia enfleurage and the jasmine enfleurage which was layered over a violet enfleurage.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Movie Monday: Vertigo

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them."
~ Alfred Hitchcock

When what I perceive as reality becomes a three ring circus I retreat to the inner sanctum of my being and great stories that remind me of the illusion of it all. I've decided not to engage in the current political theater and find a tremendous amount of peace by hanging with my tribe of like minded individuals, made up of a select group of artists and visionaries. I don't believe what I hear in the media and after writing two entire lessons devoted to alchemy for my class on botanical perfume, I've learned how easy humans can be controlled by fear. No thanks, next!

Along those lines, I finally have started watching more Hitchcock films. I know, it's ridiculous, but there you have it.

Alfred Hitchcock was born in on August 13, 1899 in London, England. He was extremely prolific and pioneered many styles of direction that have become a standard in visual storytelling. In 1939 he moved to Hollywood, after having worked as a graphic designer and writer for The Henley Telegraph followed by designing titles for silent films and eventually combining his skills to make films.

His first critical acclaim arrived in 1927 with the film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, which incorporated expressionistic techniques he had learned in Germany. Vertigo came out in 1958 and is considered by many one of the best films ever made.

The main character Scottie, a newly retired investigator is played by James Stewart opposite the beautiful Kim Novak.

If you have not seen the film I recommend watching it without reading much and then re-watching it once you have read some of the literature about the film. The techniques Hitchcock used throughout the film are quite compelling, particularly when you then realize how he leads you through the scenes with expert direction. I've chosen not to add the trailer here so that, if you haven't seen it, you can have the experience I did.

For those of you with an interest in design, you'll love the opening sequence with graphics designed by Saul Bass, you can see it here: The costumes were done by the infamous Edith Head.

After watching the film head on over to this site for a good read and then watch it again. You'll also start to notice how many modern films use many of the styles Hitchcock evolved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


My friend, mentor and aromatherapy teacher, Jade Shutes, has created a network of individuals who are beginning to distill. She has a semiformal name for the group called the Radicle Distillation Project.

Herbalist Cathy Skipper and Jade have been building links between aromatic and herbal medicine (and botanical perfumery too!). Out of a great love and respect for these fields, they have initiated the this project by providing distillation units to various individuals throughout the country. They believe that one of the most potent links between the these fields is distillation!

I am excited to share that a beautiful, cooper alembic has been sent to me as part of this project! You can see her in the opening photo of this post. She was on display at the perfumery for a few weeks. Now that the course is finished I have been getting my ducks in a row to dive into this very ancient and alchemical art. I have chosen the name Spiritus for my still since the word was one of the names given to the first distillates which were made with wine, herbs and citrus.

Auspiciously, my local friend Monika Peters began her own journey last Autumn, thus I have a "distillation" buddy! On Friday Monika and I decided to distill, thus Sunday I headed out to her home high up in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the Pacific ocean to do some with my still. We had planned to do a distillation and also "prepare"my still that day. Unfortunately Monikas hoses were too small for my still, so that task is set for another day...perhaps this week.

For the distillation I had Greg purchase some fresh picked, organic lavender from Fillmore at the Farmers Market on Saturday, which came with a few sprigs of mint and lemon verbena. During twilight I went out into my garden hunting for something to pair the lavender with, I was considering white sage, when the Artemesia californica caught my attention with her new shoots gently waving at me. I asked, "Oh, would you like to offer your new shoots to be converted to spirit?" I felt that the plant indeed wanted to be part of the endeavor. Thus, very early on Sunday morning, amidst the gentle song of the birds I harvested a bundle of the artemesia and gave the plant a small carnelian crystal in return for the new shoots. One thing that I find interesting about this particular plant on my front slope is that it came up on its own, most likely thanks to a bird or coyote droppings.

I then put the lavender bundles and artemesia into a bucket of filtered water while I loaded Spiritus into the car and all my other gear for the day. As I placed the bucket with the plant material into the car I decided to add a quartz crystal in with the plants to help maintain their vitality.

After determining that we would not be using my still we set up Monikas, which she named Grace. We then decided to gather some rosemary from her garden to pair with the lavender and artemesia. Thus we had a trinity of local plants from the Lamiaceae family.

We assembled all the apparatus and then weighed our plant material. Next we covered the plants with water, keeping track of how much water we used. Meanwhile Monika noted all these details and more on a paper in her notebook, including other items like the date, time, location, temperature of the day, if there was wind, etc. It was a perfect day, sunny, 79 degrees with light wind.

Next, at 1:58pm we fired up the stove! Although we could smell the beautiful aromatics as everything began to heat up it was at approximately 2:10pm we saw the first drip of our hydrosol. An incredibly exciting moment!

During the process we tested the ph and noted the aroma and taste of the water. At 3:11 we decided to turn off the heat and end the process, although later on we realized we could have let it go a bit longer.

Hydrosols, also referred to as floral or herbal waters, were originally called "hydro-lats" lat meaning milk, because of the whitish color of the water as it comes out of the still. The yellow colored liquid floating on top of the water is the essential oil.

The process gave us 16 ounces of a beautiful fragrant water with notes of pinene, camphor, lavender and lemon. Once the herbal water sets for a bit and we separate out the essential oil I will go on a little tasting/smelling journey with the hydrosol and see what she shares with me. Meanwhile, the quartz crystal that I added to the herbs ended up going into the distillation with the plants and seems to have disappeared.

All photos Roxana Villa.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sol and Luna

The silvery light of Luna is now bathing our woodland. Her fullness on the same day of the blessed Summer Solstice has not occurred in nearly 70 years. The energetics of Sol and Luna in balance is a powerful metaphor for the union of opposites.

Perfume for this powerful time is Vespertina! Her combination of rose, frankincense and precious woods is fitting for activating greater awareness and balance. Vespertina conjures images of a golden Byzantine crown with rubies, emeralds and opals accompanied with precious essences from Arabian deserts and lush ancient forests. This is a concept perfume, weaving in the different elements surrounding her story and character arc. Since the epic tale has a backstory of her romance with the young knight Dante, I added co-distilled essences and attars—representing a marriage of two separate parts. Sol and Luna.


Nine years ago I came out of my aromatic shell 🌱 and debuted the Roxana Illuminated Perfume line, website and blog with being a presenter at the Ojai Lavender Festival. In the photo below I am chatting with the aromatherapy legend Robert Tisserand. As you can see my beginnings were very humble.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud 
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
~ Anais Nin

It was my first step into what at the time was a very adversarial field of "Natural Perfume", which is why I used the quote above on my products. I was adamant about not including the historical animal ingredients that my peers were using, as well as synthetics or isolates. Nine years later I am still standing in my truth with supporting and promoting our connection to nature...and inspiring others to do the same.

On that blessed, grand day I released Vera, composed as a song to lavender and the regional farmers working with this healing herb. The handmade fragrance is an herbaceous bouquet of lavender and sage inspired by ingredients from the beautiful Ojai Valley in Southern California. The scent has been expertly woven with several types of lavender, notes of white sage, fresh mown hay, orange blossom and a salty ocean breeze. FYI, I am just about out of the current edition.

We are celebrating the ninth anniversary of Roxana Illuminated Perfume, the completion of my online course and the first day of the Summer with a 25% discount at my website on any orders over $50, enter the code "Lavender" upon checking out.

FYI, I'm sold out and close to be out of many fragrances including Vera, thus don't delay if you have a favorite.

Many thanks to each of you who have been part of this wonder filled adventure. You can read more about that day at the Ojai Lavender Festival at the second post I wrote here at this journal.