"Over time, I’ve come to realize that contortions are unnecessary. That doing my best is better than worrying about whether I’m doing it right."
Each week, I want to share with you the stories behind my hand-crafted scents. Why? Because every perfumer has a story for their fragrances, and I think it helps you to spin your own when you know mine. The fourth scent in this series is one of my favorites, She Belongs There. It’s amazing what happens when a woman realizes that wherever she is, wherever she goes, she’s perfect, and She Belongs There is my personal declaration of belonging. Just like you, I don’t need to do anything at all to fit into my world. I already belong right here, right now.
About 10 years ago, I was visiting a friend in Nashville. He was a great person who dedicated some of his time helping an older woman who farmed vegetables in the country, so during my visit, we went to check out the farm and give her a hand. Despite my adoration for flowers, gardening is not my thing (maybe someday!), so instead of toiling in the soil, I decided to take a walk through a path that wound through a beautiful grove of trees. As I was walking I realized that I was all alone on a hillside surrounded by these beautiful trees and, I can't really explain why, but I suddenly felt a little scared, out of place. I sat down with my fear for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that I totally belonged right there, exactly where I was, and there was nothing to be afraid of. "I Belong Here" became a bit of a mantra for me for whenever I found myself in a new, tense, or challenging place.
This mantra and knowing has helped me through more experiences than I can count. Parties where I don't know a soul? I belong here. Competitive work environments with tough-to-crack people? I belong here. Getting hitched, giving birth, launching and nurturing a growing company? I belong here.
Over time, I've come to realize that contortions are unnecessary. Sure, life requires flexibility. We have to bend and occasionally stretch to chase our dreams and hold on to those dear to us. But changing yourself, or rather feeling like you need to change in order to fit everywhere is completely defeatist. Now, I focus on doing my best, rather than worrying about whether or not I'm doing it right, looking perfect, or fitting in to a certain expectation or mold. And that realization and constant reminder to myself is incredibly freeing. It's helped me be more me and feel more myself no matter what life may bring.
What Does It Smell Like?
A mystical, awakening evening walk through an exotic garden. A bit unfamiliar and frightening, but familiar scents waft in to remind you that no matter where you are, you are home. A warm, sexy tangle of gardenias, pikake, night-blooming jasmine, and lush, smoky vanilla keep you firmly planted in your self-knowing.
When to Wear She Belongs There?
To any of life's more challenging, exciting, electric occasions where you need a little nudge to remember that it's okay to be yourself. First dates, big job interviews, public speaking engagements. Our social media gal, Ashlee, wears She Belongs There every time she does a television segment (and she receives unsolicited compliments like this, when she does).
Where to Apply?
Near your heart and nape of the neck. At the small of your back, so the fragrance is like a gentle hand guiding you with confidence through any situation.
"I don’t need to do anything at all to fit into my world. I already belong right here, right now."
While I love sharing Scent Stories with you, I have also had the kind of week where I peruse the internet and find myself saying "heck yes!" or "Whoa!" Occasionally, I want to also share my favorite things I've stumbled upon, be they interesting, thought-provoking, inspiring, maddening, or just plain cute and awesome. Behold, my Thursday Favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
Women In Print: Female editors at Le Monde and The New York Times leave posts within hours of one another. But who will take their place? So many feels.
Shedding the Robe: The Stealthy Freedoms of the Iranian Women Facebook page is fascinating.
Memories of Mom: I love these posts about peoples' most potent memories of their mothers.
Pink of Perfection: The myth of the "perfect mom."
Animal Education: 8 questions you'll likely field when you buy cruelty-free…and how to answer them.
Beauty Throwback: How many of these beauty products of the 90's did you use? So many chemicals, so much glitter!
"A true connoisseur of life, my Grandma Sally laughed all the time, wore red lipstick, drank white wine with ice, and took me to ladies luncheon fashion shows. She was divine."
Each week, I want to share with you the stories behind my hand-crafted scents. Why? Because every perfumer has a story for their fragrances, and I think it helps you to spin your own when you know mine. The third scent in this series is our newbie, Bluebird. Much like a summery day, this scent is only around for a limited time, but is inspired by someone whose timelessness defined - and continues to define - my life.
My grandparents lived right on Lake Chelan which is a gorgeous lake in Eastern Washington. Some of my favorite memories were of going to stay at the Lake. My Grandma Sally LOVED blue - She collected Blue Willow dishes, antique cruets mostly in shades of blue, their house was painted blue, and she most loved it when the Bluebirds came to her bird feeder. Their boat was even called Bluebird and they lived on the bluest of blue lakes. Noticing a blue theme here?
With a bright top note of blood orange and neroli, the full floral middle note accord of orange blossom and stargazer lily bring you the warmth of sun on skin. The soft creamy base notes of French vanilla and floral musk embrace you, leaving you with an inner joy, a radiance – of childlike innocence and the feeling of being home.
When to wear Bluebird?
When you're craving comfort, guidance, protection, and that happy, carefree feeling that is so unique to childhood and wartime love, when time felt both fleeting and lingering.
Where to apply?
The crick of your elbow, behind your ears, and behind your knees, just like you used to do when you were a little girl.
"Oxley was his home. And he is my home."
Each week, I want to share with you the stories behind my hand-crafted scents. Why? Because every perfumer has a story for their fragrances, and I think it helps you to spin your own when you know mine. The second scent in this series is Oxley, and it's near and dear to my heart for good reason.
Starting with white gardenia and night-blooming jasmine, it draws you in. The base notes of essential vanilla and African musk are welcoming, comforting, solid.
When to wear Oxley?
The mixture of the fresh gardenias and warm vanilla make this a scent to be worn all year round, but is reminiscent to me of new beginnings, and warm love. Wear this when you want to attract more love in your love, or when you want to be more loving (and when is that never not the case?).
Where to apply?
Close to your heart, of course! Also beautiful behind the knees.
"There's nothing quite like knowing, without a doubt, who you are and what you're here to do."
Each week, I want to share with you the stories behind my hand-crafted scents. Why? Because every perfumer has a story for their fragrances, and I think it helps you to spin your own when you know mine. The first scent up is Full Regalia.
Full Regalia was my grandfather's racehorse (Don't worry; I'm not promoting horse racing, just sharing a story from decades ago). He was a great racehorse, my grandfather was told, and that’s why he cost so much money. He came home with my grandfather, and over the following year went on to lose every race he was entered in. Well, every race but one. For some strange reason, Grandpa entered the horse into the Longacres Mile in 1963, to be ridden by a jockey with a bad track record.
Not surprisingly, Full Regalia was a long shot. His odds were 11:1. True to his style, he remained 12 lengths behind the other horses for most of the race. But with half a mile to go, he seemed to suddenly remember who he was. And, with a burst of determination, he pushed forward, leaping and rushing past all the other horses, until he’d won the race.
What does it smell like?
What you’ll notice first is pure, sweet vanilla. Simple, lovely. But don’t be fooled. Waiting just beneath the surface are Egyptian Jasmine, Moroccan Red Rose, Musk, Blackberry, and a hint of Patchouli. Complex and delicious: a winning combination.
When to wear Full Regalia?
Full Regalia is sexy. It's made for mysterious, foggy days, butterflies-in-your-stomach date nights, and getting close. Believe me, when you wear this, everyone will want to come a little closer to you. And because it's a scent of confidence and self-assuredness, you will thrive when wearing to a job interview, public speaking engagement, or anywhere where you could use an olfactory reminder of all the good, courageous, surprising stuff that comprises wonderful you.
Where to apply?
Cleavage, back of the neck.
"Today, I will make magic happen."
Now, that's an affirmation that bears repeating.
When people speak about perfume, it's often in terms of products and aesthetics. And while I'm totally down with all of that, I feel that perfume has a rich and wonderful history that makes it more ritual for many than simple beauty product. After all, I'm a perfumer - to me, fragrance is art.
I wanted to share some fun facts about perfume throughout time that might inspire, pique your curiosity, and change the way we see something that, for so many of us, has become a regular part of our routine.
1. A 'nose' by any other name.
There are people, aptly called "Noses," whose sole job is to discern and create scents. There are only 50 true Noses in the world. To become a Nose, you must first have a impeccable sense of smell (a given, right?). According to this piece, a Nose must first pass a test comprised of being presented with a scent that can have an upward of 250 ingredients and needing to identify each and every one. Wow. Just wow.
2. Not just for pulse points anymore.
Where do you apply perfume? Pulse points such as on the wrists and neck allow the scent to strengthen, while putting it on clothing makes the scent last longer (and is better for folks who are sensitive). But rubbing your wrists together after applying the perfume actually breaks down the scent and crushes the fragrance. So when you apply make sure to let the scent breathe. Proper application gets you the most for your money.
3. Smoke and mirrors?
Perfume is thousands of years old - the word "perfume" comes from the Latin per fumes, which means "through smoke."
4. An ancient tradition.
One of the oldest uses of perfumes comes form the burning of incense and aromatic herbs used in religious services, often the aromatic gums, frankincense and myrrh, gathered from trees. The world's first recorded chemist is a person named Tapputi, a perfume maker who was mentioned in a Cuneiform tablet from the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians were the first to incorporate perfume into their culture followed by the ancient Chinese, Hindus, Israelites, Carthaginians, Arabs, Greeks, and Romans. The earliest use of perfume bottles is Egyptian and dates to around 1000 BC. The Egyptians invented glass and perfume bottles were one of the first common uses for glass. The basic ingredients and methods of making perfumes are described by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.
5. Move over, Guerlain...
To date, the oldest perfumery was discovered on the island of Cyprus. Excavations in 2004-5 under the initiative of an Italian archaeological team unearthed evidence of an enormous factory that existed 4,000 years ago during the Bronze Age. This covered an estimated surface area of over 4,000m², indicating that perfume manufacturing was on an industrial scale.
6. Biblically sacred.
The Bible describes a sacred perfume (Exodus 30:22-33) consisting of liquid myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, fragrant cane, and cassia. Its use was forbidden, except by the priests.
7. The first Plug-in?
Perfume reached its peak in England during the reigns of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. All public places were scented during Queen Elizabeth's rule, since she could not tolerate bad smells. It was said that the sharpness of her nose was equaled only by the slyness of her tongue.
8. An American original.
Florida water, an uncomplicated mixture of eau de cologne with a dash of oil of cloves, cassia, and lemongrass (sounds good, right?) was the first scent popularized in early America.
9. Get an olfactory workout.
Your sense of smell is like a muscle--the more you use it, the stronger and more discerning your nose becomes. Consider me your personal trainer. ;)
10. First modern perfume?
Hungary Water, made in 1370 is said to be the first perfume that resembles the ones we use today. Before this date, perfumes were mostly fragrant oils. This perfume was made for Queen Elisabeth of Hungary and, in order for it to have the maximum effect, it had to be drunk as well as applied to the body.
11. It ain't just a saying.
Scientific studies prove that we can smell fear. Men can also smell when women are ovulating (it's in our biology to seek out partners who will provide healthy offspring and this is one skill set of that). Yup. We can also smell happiness and sexual arousal, as long as the person you're smelling is a close romantic partner. If you're looking for the ultimate happy-making scent, try my latest, Bluebird.
12. Five senses, seven scents.
Some researchers hypothesize that there are only seven primary odors: musky, putrid, pungent, camphoraceous (like mothballs), ethereal (like dry cleaning fluid), floral, and minty.
13. Animal kingdom.
In yet another showing of how incredibly complex and capable animals are, humans have 350 functional olfactory receptor genes. Mice have 1,300. Whoa.
14. You can never have too many...
The average woman owns 5 perfumes.
15. Before celebrity scents.
There were celebrity fans. Audrey Hepburn exclusively wore Givenchy. Marilyn Monroe claimed to wear Chanel No. 5 (and nothing else) to bed each night.
Sometime last week, I stumbled upon this sobering video about photoshopping and airbrushing. Of course, we all know that this practice of unnaturally manipulating women's bodies is widespread, but seeing it as it happens is fascinating and maddening.
And then later last week, 17 year old music sensation, Lorde, tweeted a photo of herself that had been dramatically retouched by a media outlet alongside an untampered with shot from the same day with the caption "i find this curious - two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. remember flaws are ok :-)"
I was so touched by her sophistication at such a young age. Her courage amidst a budding career to say, "Nope, I'm not going to let you dictate what I should and shouldn't look like." Her confidence that seems so unflinching. I wish I had that solid of a sense of self at that age, or even today.
As a mother and a person on this planet, I always want to convey that what are often perceived as physical "flaws" are actually fascination points, and that those fascination points change as time goes on. For instance, Madonna's tooth gap, Frida Kahlo's intense brows, Cindy Crawford's beauty marks. All used to be considered unattractive in different points in time. Now, they're distinctive points of beauty. But beyond supposed flaws that eventually become en vogue, I always want to promote self acceptance and appreciation. No matter your weight, coloring, stature, abilities, class, gender identification, whatever - you are beautiful. Right now, right here.
What makes people beautiful? Well, honesty is a good start, which is why I so detest Photoshop. It's dishonest. It's inauthentic. It shows us beings of inhuman proportions. Your words and deeds are beautiful. When you do for others or stand for something or cultivate passion or nurture a child, garden, community, plant, whathaveyou, you are beauty in motion. That's the kind of beauty I find compelling, and moreover, enduring. That's the kind of beauty I hope we all go out in the to the world every day and project. Photoshop, be damned.
I would consider myself a daydreamer. I'm one of those people who can get lost in thought for stretches of time, sketching out a new possibility in my mind. I consider this a check in the plus column of my life, because this ability to readily "space out" (ha!) has allowed me to create fragrance experiences I love, courses I truly believe in, and a life that is truly beyond my wildest dreams. It goes without saying that in our fast-paced, zany, always-on world, that I'm a big fan of letting your mind rest and your imagination take over.
I'm often inspired by Marie Forleo's exercises because she has a unique ability to put an actionable framework around a daydream. Her guide to Turning Wishes Into Reality is one I often watch on a loop because it's so dang inspiring. Take a peekaroo:
Inspiring, right? It's like we've been given the permission to play so that we can bring about greater possibilities in our lives. That's pretty cool in my book.
This week, I challenge you to try this "Wouldn't It Be Fun" exercise in possibility. So often, we squash options before they even have a chance to blossom because we think they're too far-fetched. Want to run your own company? is often followed up with an "Aw, I could never do that. I don't have the right education and I have two kids, and it's just impossible." Or, maybe you've been longing to do some humanitarian work that speaks to your heart and soul, but you just can't see a way to connect point A to point B, so you give up before the planning has even started. Not, this week.
This week, I give you permission - no, I challenge you, to take 15 minutes out of your day (I recommend the shower. For you moms out there, you know it's the precious time we have alone…if we're lucky) to daydream. Start by asking yourself, "Wouldn't it be fun…." and follow that up with "to…visit Bali" or "if I could move to San Francisco and start that stationery company I've always dreamed of." This exercise needn't be one of pressure or relegated to lofty goals either. Your 15 minutes could start off simply. "Wouldn't it be fun to eat a delicious cupcake today from that knockout bakery and not think once about calories or consequences." You get my drift.
I want to hear from you. What, when you let your imagination take over, felt fun to you. What dreams and hopes emerged and spoke to you? What plans started forming before your very eyes? Visualization is powerful, but it really starts with allowing yourself to even think that your dreams have possibility.
In dreams…and reality.
Last week, I had the privilege of watching a documentary that truly changed me. As I nestled in to watch the UK film, Fabulous Fashionistas, I was expecting to see a jolly plot line of women who've aged gracefully and crafted their own personal style. And the film did not disappoint in those areas. What I wasn't expecting was to be so deeply moved by the picture and more potently, so damn inspired by these incredible, authentic, unabashedly original women.
The documentary follows six inspirational and lively women (with an average age of 80 years old!!!) as they describe their relationship with fashion and the trajectory of their lives (which is really remarkable; get your tissues ready). Without botox or plastic surgery, these women are redefining old age. Not one of them feels like an 'old person' and, in their own ways, they are defying expectations of the aging process. Their confidence is firmly planted, their energy is palpable, and their styles range from classic to youthful to irreverant. As a woman, mother, and a business owner intent on making products and courses that help women feel their absolute best, I was hypnotized by these incredible figures.
Words to live by: "I don't give a damn about what people think about the way I dress. I just love style and design and color."
Bridget, Daphne, Jean, Gillian, Sue and Lady Trumpington have a spark. Most of them are widowed. All of them have experienced significant losses and hardships. One woman has a significantly younger husband and a gorgeous marriage that defied all odds and whispers. All of them have rituals for staying positive and vibrant (stretching, positive affirmations, gardening, walking everywhere). And, what's more: Many of them are still working and get their clothes from charity shops. Further proof that fashion is what you buy, but true style is what you make of it. Just watch the clip and you'll see what I mean:
Many of us would call ourselves animal lovers. We have companion animals; We stop on the street to pet peoples' dogs; We cry at the humane society commercials that flash on the television late at night; We rescue, rehabilitate, dote over, and treasure the furry, feathered, scaly, and swimming. Animals make us tick in a magical way. There's a symbiotic relationship between people and animals - they see us and love us, and in return we make an unspoken pact to protect them in the areas where they're vulnerable. Perhaps that's why many of us default to thinking that cosmetics are never tested on animals nowadays, or that it's only a small few - because the reality that animal testing is so widespread, especially in a country that considers itself so progressive, is just too difficult to comprehend.
I won't go in to the bits and bobs animal testing. Take me at my word that it's horrendous, or there are loads of posts and excellent sites and blogs out there that can thoroughly educate you on the gruesome business. And we all should be educated. Just like any societal ill, it behooves us to get the information and be proactive.
It used to be that if you wanted cruelty-free fragrance or cosmetics, you would have to make them yourself. The few well-intentioned non-animal tested products on the market didn't have the financial bandwidth to be as effective or glitzy or well-marketed and placed as their mainstream counterparts.
Much has changed in just the past decade. Countries like Israel, India, and the European Union have introduced and passed bans on animal testing in cosmetics. Sure, there are loopholes and grey areas in these bans, but these are steps in the right direction. Just last week, Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) introduced H.R. 4148, a federal bill dedicated to making the United States the next cruelty-free marketplace. Obviously, we're excited about this. To support the legislation and spread the word about erradicating animal testing, we're celebrating "Be Cruelty Free Week," an initiative of the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. Because there's nothing beautiful, glamorous, or necessary about testing of animals.
Olivine is a solidly cruelty-free company. Our products, formulations, and ingredients are never tested on animals. And I pride myself in offering quality, luxury vegan perfumes and other beauty rituals free from animal byproducts. Why? Because those things matter. I set out to create a company that offers glamourous rituals that make people feel good about themselves, their bodies, and their lives, and it's impossible to accomplish those things when innocent creatures suffer to bring those to market.
I'd love it if you'd join me in supporting this cruelty-free movement. Read about the pending legislation and how you can support its passage. Take a moment to look at your product labels and research your personal care, home cleaners (yep, home cleaners are tested on animals), and beauty products. Are they free from animal testing? If not, I urge you to find kinder alternatives. There are so many marvelous resources that can help you purchase with kindness and confidence. Here are some of my favorite cruelty-free resources:
Here's to sending you love for a beautiful week, and hope for a kinder, more compassionate future for people and animals.
Today's guest post comes from the awe inspiring Kitty Cavalier. I met Kitty about 8 years ago and I was instantly drawn to her like a bee to honey. She teaches courses on seduction (that are crazy amazing), writes a most intimate blog, is a burlesque dancer and a lover of gold glitter. Need I say more? Read on my dear...
When I was 15, every Friday night I would go cruising at the mall with my girlfriends. We would always stop in a certain bath and body store to douse ourselves in fruity body splash. When no one was looking, I would wander into the back of the store where they displayed the more expensive stuff and load up. When I say load up, what I mean is that I would pull a piece of index card out of my wallet and spray it with a cologne called Woodland. It was the fragrance worn by my crush, who I was hopelessly in love with, but felt far too afraid to ever make a move on. It was much easier to just keep him in my wallet.
Oh if that boy could see me now! My job description: full time seductress. I teach classes and retreats to women about seduction being not a tool of manipulation, but a spiritual practice and a way of life. Seduction is a way for us to connect to our natural powers of magnetism, in all of life, not just in love. A seductress relies heavily on her senses and her intuition to guide her. Today, we are going to explore a powerful and magical art: the art of seductive fragrance.
First, a little science lesson in why fragrance plays such a central role in sensuality and seduction. When we inhale a fragrance it enters a bulb of nerves in the nose called the olfactory system. This system is deeply connected to the limbic system, the part of the brain and psyche that governs our memory and emotion. Hence, by keeping that little card in my wallet, pulling it out and taking a deep breath, I could make my heart swell and my loins tingle any time I wanted them too!
In the book La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life by Elaine Sciolino, Elaine writes:
“A sophisticated and alluring perfume can play a central role in a seduction campaign. Drawn to the scent one is drawn to the person. Lured by sensation that cannot be expressed in words one is tempted to suspend rational thought and follow the lead of emotion.”
However, seductive fragrance is more than simply drenching ourselves in gardenia and expecting the world to come running. In fact, overdoing it can have quite the opposite effect. In the book Elaine interviews Jean-Claude Ellena, a master French perfumer. He writes:
“The American vision of perfume is what I call performance. Known for long duration tenacity and power. Some perfumes immediately create distance because their smell is so strong that I go like this.” (He extended his arm as if to push her away.) Perfume functions almost like a shield.”
What Ellena is insinuating is that perfumes role in seduction is to draw someone closer, not drive them away Applying your seductive fragrance is about a lot more than finding your pulse points. A seductress perfumes her body in a way that is ritualistic, adding her special magic to use her scent to cast a spell.
As Coco Chanel said when asked where to apply perfume: “Wherever one wishes to be kissed.”
That is why I have created this guided “Seductive Fragrance Anointing Ritual”.
This ritual creates connection between your fragrance and your innate seductive nature. It will be your special secret. Well, our special secret. And I’m not telling a soul.
Kitty Cavalier is bringing her three-day retreat “The Seduction Experience” to Seattle April 4-6th at the W Hotel and to LA April 11-13th. This retreat is an immersion in sacred seduction, designed to bring forward the innate seductive abilities you already possess, as well as teach you ancient secrets. You don’t want to miss it!