Monday, December 31, 2007

2+0+0+8 = Blue Iris

The new year of the Julian-Gregorian calendar is just around the corner. According to the Pantone Color System folk "Blue Iris" is the official color for 2008. Yippee, I am rather partial to the color myself. The website states that the color is a perfect balance between blue and purple providing reassurance with a hint of the mystery and excitement. In the aromatic sphere the color purple is related to the spice notes and the color indigo is associated with herbaceous/camphoraceous notes. Thus, a perfume relating to the color Blue Iris might have these notes, as well as some Orris Root, the extract of Iris root. Read more about aromatics and color by clicking here.

Numerologically 2+0+0+8 = 10 which translates to a number 1 year. The number one represents new beginnings and initiative. A great time for pioneering and putting forth new ideas.

The second phase of our website will debut in 2008 along with several new perfumes. It is the year that Illuminated Perfume formally enters the world of perfume. I intend that 2008, as a year of new beginnings, marks the entrance of botanical perfume into main stream consciousness, thus assisting greater awareness to our impact on the planets resources.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Julian & Gregorian Calendar info
History of Numerology

Image above, swatch of Blue Iris from the Pantone website.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

Here we are again, at another turn of the great wheel which leads us into the light. This celebration goes by many names including Saturnalia in ancient Rome and Yuletide. The words winter solstice translate in Latin to sun stand still. The word Yule means wheel. The concept of rebirth is the main theme throughout different cultural celebrations, referring to the rebirth of the sun god. Winter Solstice Festivities date far back to the ancient civilizations, when human celebrations centered primarily on the planets and shifting seasons. Originally called “Sol Invictus” honoring the return of the sun. Festivals and celebrations include dancing, feasting, gathering, evergreens and illumination. Psychologically these festivities help keep our inner flame lit as we move through the darker part of the year. The light and warmth from celebratory fires and heartfelt gatheings facilitates the rekindling of our own internal flame during a time when “winter blues” may set in due to cold, damp weather and darkness.

Intending divine Merry Making for each of you

Photo above was taken during a trip to Prague, City of Alchemy & Magic. Astrological Clock ©Roxana Villa

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Perfume Lynched

During the eighties, when I lived in Brooklyn Heights, the TV series Twin Peaks debuted. Artists generally are quite fond of David Lynch due to his surreal and esoteric portrayal of life. Within the circle of artist, illustrators and graphic designers Twin Peaks was adored and the episodes highly anticipated every week.
This morning I read that shortly after David's success with Twin Peaks he directed several Perfume commercials. The first few are a series with the narrated words of famous authors.

D.H. Lawrence

Ernest Hemingway

and F. Scott Fitzgerald

See and read more about these commercials, David Lynch and Twin Peaks at this blog.

The Twin Peaks Gold Edition was released last month. I introduced the series to my daughter. Eve is enchanted with the characters, direction and story...when she's not creeped out by Bob.
It's great fun to view the series again, with an entirely new point of view. I've been thoroughly enjoying all references to perfume and scent related topics.

Twin Peaks info site
David Lynch

Photo of David Lynch from his website.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Stress levels seem to be on the rise. Primarily due to over extension of our many selves. I'd like to suggest taking an aromatic break with pure essential oils. Essential oils have the dual purpose of lovely aromatic components which contain documented therapeutic affects.

A general favorite essential oil or essence category is citrus. The essences within this genus is vast and offers something for everyone, just look at this list:
  • Bergamot
  • Clementine
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarin / Tangerine
  • Neroli
  • Orange
  • Petitgrain
  • Yuzu
We can go even deeper down the rabbit hole and see that each essence listed above has multiple versions, in species, extraction process and country of origin. However, I digress, the
intent of this post is to give some easy examples of reducing stress using these miraculous gems from nature.

The citrus family of essences is considered uplifting, calming, cheerful, refreshing, etc. The downside is that one must use them mindfully to avoid skin sensitivity.

Other essential oils for anxiety and stress include:
  • Angelica Root
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile, German
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Melissa
  • Palmarosa
  • Patchouli
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • YlangYlang
  • Vetiver
Long list huh! An easy way to use these during times of stress is to simply place one drop in the palm of a hand, place both hands together, rub then open the palms and inhale. AH! By taking a simple moment to reconnect with the plant world we reconnect with our true inner essence and thus create a little peace and balance.

Image above, old engraving on a grapefruit on tattered parchment ©Roxana Villa.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

California Native Plants

I've finally gotten into the Native Plant Design class at the Theodore Payne Foundation. YAY! This class fills up before it even gets posted on their website, I've been on the wait list for quite sometime. Can't wait. The class begins Saturday, February 2nd at 10am. Thus, know that there will be lots of posts regarding our lovely California native plants.

Theodore Payne Foundation
California Native Plant Society
The California Chaparral Institute
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
California Gardens plant list

The photos were taken at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden ©Roxana Villa

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Naked Evidence

In August 2007 artist Spencer Tunick created an installation with Greenpeace to bring attention to the vanishing Aletsch glaciers in Switzerland. As a fellow artist, I have tremendous respect for the beauty of natural forms, both in nature and the human body. The pairing of both is exquisite in Tunicks work.

Spencer Tunick
Spencer Tunick & Greenpeace

More on Tunick:
Naked World
Biography of the Artist

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Story of Stuff

Ever wonder where stuff comes from and what happens to it?
This awesome little video explains it in a simple,
easy to understand format.
A must see!

The Story of Stuff

Another reason to support pure, botanical perfumes.
Organic - Sustainable - Handcrafted

Image "Blind Tech" ©Greg Spalenka


Below are the answers 2nd graders gave to the questions below:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is located.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom the same like he made me...he just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of ?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds, angel hair, and everything nice in the world, and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she liked me a lot more than other people's moms liked me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Story telling is at the heart of brilliant works of art. One of my favorite storytellers is Phillip Pullman. In Pullmans trilogy, His Dark Materials, he weaves an extremely complex story set in alternative worlds. Varied fantastical elements and characters are combined with threads of history and science. I began reading the first book of the trilogy many years ago to my daughter and it still remains one of my all time favorites.

Today a large group of us went to the Hollywood Arclight Theater to see the film adaptation of the first book, The Golden Compass. I am in a bit of a quandary as to whether I liked the film or not. Can I look at it objectively? Not upon first viewing, maybe later. Right now I am in shock as to how the story was chopped up for the sake of film making. The visuals were breathtaking and fit well with the imagery in my minds eye. The story telling aspect is very choppy and lacks flow. I understand that when a book is translated to a new medium it will shift, change and morph into something new. A successful example of a great book adapted to film is The Hours. In the case of The Hours you have an original book inspiring another book which was made into a film. All three are different and brilliant on their own.
Many of the scenes Greg worked on in creating visual development for the film were not evident due to the elimination of the last chapter in the book from the movie.

Is the film version of The Golden Compass good storytelling? Hmmm, this question needs to be asked of folk who have not read the book(s).

The image above is a painting by Leonardo DaVinci titled "Lady with an Ermine". It was the inspiration for Pullman when he devised the idea of daemons for his characters in The Golden Compass.

Read a recent interview with Phillip Pullman here:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Roxana Illuminated Perfume: NEWS

Due to the weather and limited covered spaces
at the Highland Hall Winter Faire, we will not be attending.
The Faire will go on as intended with modifications due to potential rain.
We encourage all to attend this delightful event,
especially with the little ones.
The Candelight Celebration is inspiring and beautiful.
Highland Hall Winter Faire

We are happy to meet with you here at the studio
to fill all your aromatic needs.
Call us to set up a time that is convenient for you.

Wishing you splendid luminosity
as we move into the numerous festivals of light.

Image above: "Heaven" ©Roxana Villa, from H2 Illuminated, acrylic veils on prepared board. Posters of this image are available, please inquire

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Components of Great Art

"Art arises when the secret vision of the artist
and the manifestation

of nature agree to find new shapes."
- Kahlil Gibran

My muse and partner, visionary artist Greg Spalenka, speaks of three main components of great art. This trinity applies to all the arts within the sensory realm, from the spectrum of the visual, auditory, culinary and olfactory orchestrations.

The trinity:
  • Mind; the idea and/or concept.
  • Body; representing the materials.
  • Spirit; the love, passion, integrity and/or soul nature.

All these components working together at a high level of sophistication and awareness create a synergy, creating art that becomes more than the sum of its parts.

In perfume the mind aspect is the concept that the fragrance is built on, encompassing much more than a scent based on a fragrance family. The body aspect is made of the materials contained within the perfume, the artists palette. Spirit, is the soul of your creation, this is where the true artist weaves their own authenticity into the constructed artwork. Each is important, and is required for the finished art to transcend the ordinary, to reach the heights of the sublime.

My muse, Greg Spalenka
The image above was originally created for the School of Visual Arts in NYC, ©Greg Spalenka

Monday, December 3, 2007

Recipe of the Day: Lip Balm


Base ingredients:
1 oz Beeswax
1 1/2 cup Carrier oil (Almond, Apricot Kernel and/or Olive - 1/2 cup of each is good.)
40 drops total Essential Oil per tube
(The consistency of the balm is determined by the amount of beeswax used.)

*This makes approximately 30 .25 Lip Balm tubes.

Other optional ingredients:
Infused oils (ie: Calendula, Monoi, Vanilla, Stevia)
Cocoa butter
Aloe Oil

Flavor suggestions:
Citrus (Orange, Tangerine, Mandarin, Lime, Lemon or all)
Mint (Peppermint or Spearmint / can burn the lips, be mindful, use less than 40 drops!)
Chocolate Mint (Use an infused oil of the Cocoa bean or pure Chocolate)
Honey (Use a Honey absolute)
Vanilla (Use an infused oil of the bean or a Vanilla absolute or C02)

Weigh all ingredients. Begin by melting beeswax in a double boiler (bain marie) , then adding the Carrier oil(s) until all items are melted. Beeswax is the item that will take the longest to melt. Use caution and never heat over direct heat.

There is some debate and difference in recipes as far as when to add the essential oils. Keep in mind that high temperatures destroy some of the therapeutics contained in essential oils. The options are adding the essential oils to your mix once your Beeswax+Oil base has melted and is no longer on the fire or adding the 40 drops to the ladle you will use to pour into the Lip Balm tube.
Once the oils are melted use a plastic dropper or small ladle to dispense the solution into Lip Balm tubes or jars. Be mindful not to burn yourself. Oils and wax get hot very quickly and the temperature can climb higher than you suspect. Fill tubes until the inside screw is barely covered. Allow to firm for a few minutes. Once the lower tube is firm then top off the tube with more oil/wax solution. The dropper can be used to make a dome of solution on the lip balm tube. Once the solution cools there will be a slight indentation from shrinkage.
Cap when all tubes are filled.

Images are old engravings that have been digitally enhanced, ©Roxana Villa