Rose Is The Navy Blue Of India

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Image not my own.

It was before I became a perfumer.  I was returning a rental car to a destination car rental joint in a forgotten, questionable neighborhood somewhere in southern California.  A creepy, greasy, smelly, filthy, shit-show of a place.

But the rental agent employed by this dubious establishment – now he was an altogether different deal.

Crisp shirt, impeccable hair, gracious smile, and smelling of roses.  He circled the car with clipboard poised, suavely investigating for dents and dings.  An elegant gentleman from India who classed up the entire experience.  I was transfixed.

“Pink is the navy blue of India” I heard in my mind’s ear…  A guide stone adopted in the ’80’s as inspiration by my performance art co-collaborators and I while brainstorming shows.

We grabbed it from fashionista and Vogue Magazine editor Diana Vreeland, who famously observed, “I adore that pink, it’s the navy blue of India.”

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Diana Vreeland

As artists, we got it.  We took its message of subjectivity all personal-like and it drove us and liberated us.  We questioned rules and limitations.  We expanded and created. We invented ourselves and reinvented ourselves.  We became ourselves.  We expressed ourselves as any seriously silly color of the rainbow we wanted to be.  And we invited our audience to do same.

Back to the greasy car joint.  Here was a man, elegant, masculine, and smelling of roses.

His rose infused elegance reminded me of the Vreeland quote.

I buried the experience in the recesses of my mind.

Years later, as I launched my little perfumery, I struggled to categorize the scents as I thought was required.  Affixing labels on ineffable ethers.  Earnestly weighing them I’d ponder, “Would a man wear this?”  I thought I should conform and slap that label on each fragrance.   Men smell like this.  Woman smell like that.  This one feminine, that one masculine, etc.

Naturally, at my first public fragrance “showing” (scenting?) this fussing was proven utterly unnecessary.   A man strode up, grabbed a perfume I had dutifully classified as feminine – InVisioning Roses – and before I could steer him to the more ‘masculine scent’, he generously doused his wrist and voila!  Mind altered.  Like a second skin, it was a scent made for his very body chemistry.  The rose prevalent but still masculine with spices simmering and electrifying citrus.

It took me back to the elegant rose scented man at the car rental joint, and I got it!  Rose is the navy blue of India!  Rose is for everyone.  Roses all round!

He has been a return customer, my InVisioning Roses fan.  Smelling lushly of Bulgarian rose and bergamot, frankincense and cardamom.

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Image not my own.

I’m grateful to live in a time and place where we can overcome these limitations.  Roses are not just for women!  Woodsy scents are not restricted to men.  Grown up ladies can smell like vanilla and toasted marshmallows and boys can smell like Ylang Ylang.  I mean who the hell cares?  Do you?

Express yo’ self, says I!

Please join me for a special rose event on February 9 from 2-3 pm CT at The Nest in Michigan City Indiana, 803 Franklin St.  “Rose Uprising: A Heart SCENTered Event.”  I’ll be talking  a bit about roses in perfumery and the language of the rose.  I’ll have rose oils and absolutes to sniff and some special rose products (for men and women) including InVisioning Roses EDP,  limited edition rose and sandalwood perfume oil, rosewood home fragrance, and Rose Immortal Faerie Queene Face Oil.

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Me and my performance art buddies – the group Somebody’s Daughters from Dirt, Food, and the Cleansing Influence.  Left to right – Anna Brown, Kiki Ciesielski, and me.
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Vlasta Gerhardová in her crown of roses!   A model for Magaela Accessories  picture borrowed from the ever inspiring Enchanted Living Magazine

 

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Mothers Day Love!

Happy Mothers Day

A word-scent linked portrait of my mother. The inspiration for my perfume, Anam Cara.

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Anam Cara Eau de Parfum

Long ago ~ Anam Cara Base Notes

Warm grounding Sandalwood and Vanilla…
Staring into the grass.
Raggedy Anne doll by my side.
My mother, the artist, is near,
Under the oaks, drawing.
She has stayed home to be with me.
I feign sick just to be with her.
Loved.
Potent scent of Fossilized Amber…
Her drawing,
A portrait of me,
I have the striped legs of Raggedy Anne.
She creates, 
I marvel in awe
"How does she do that?"
Patchouli, the earthy unconventional…
She lets me run wild through forests and climb pyramids.
Viewing the world through her eyes,
Eyes filled with curiosity and humor.
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Her mermaid mural on the washroom wall of my childhood home.

Not too too long ago ~ Anam Cara Heart Notes

Sweetness of Bulgarian Rose…
I do really, really, stupid things.
Haunt questionable neighborhoods,
Make bad choices.
They are barely mentioned.
Spicy Clove and luscious Orange Blossom…
A heady period
Of shared African dance classes,
Performance art collaborations.
She plays Shaman.
Her 'Lowly Potato' soliloquy steals the show.
Rich comforting Coffee aroma…
Now I am the mother and teacher.
Frequent, lengthy, excruciating stretches of distressing chaos.
“First there must be chaos, then art.”
We laugh over commiserative cups.
And 'chaos first' becomes my mantra.
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Delivering her Soliloquy at “The Cocktail Party”  A performance piece happening created by Somebody’s Daughters.  I am the blonde with the feather duster in my face.

Pretty much now ~ Anam Cara Top Totes

Sparkle and Shimmery scent of Petitgrain, Bergamot, and Haute Lavender…
It is summer and we sit under the Oaks.
On a swing seat drinking wine in the middle of the afternoon
“Isn’t it close enough to 3:00?”
We reminisce.
When her stories get lively
I pull my legs up under me,
And let her push.
And she pushes us with gusto.
Legs matching the exuberance of words.
Her spirit shimmery
Our friendship sparkles.
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My Anam Cara in Mexico, 2016
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Us, Winter 2015

Anam Cara is available in my Etsy Shop.

Happy Mothers Day!