Winner of Opus Oils prize..

Oh, dear. I forgot that I never announced the winner of the bottle of Wild Child. So...

Congrats to Red Rose!

Thanks again to Kedra of Opus Oils for providing this bottle of patchouli loveliness. Thanks again to Monica Miller for organizing the Summer of Patchouli Love project and for including me and my 4 readers!

Red Rose, please contact me ASAP so we can get that bottle on its way to you.
If I don't hear from the winner by August 21st, I'll select another winner.

Peace, Love, and Patchouli!

Perfume and... bullies?

Let's get something straight: I abhor a bully. I always have. And I'm not afraid of them. I know their secrets, you see.

I am raising my children to behave with respect and kindness, and I'm sure they'll make me proud. We talk about introducing ourselves to people who look scared, alone, or different. We talk about including others in activities, even when we don't really want to. We talk about being fair, playing nice, and discussing our issues calmly but honestly. Of course, all of this is done in a way that they understand - they are only children. But I see them putting these things into action when they interact with each other and with the children they meet. And it makes them feel good - and it makes me feel good!

Last year, bullying really came to be an issue that was (finally) talked about plainly and in public. The torturing of gay kids was discussed and fought against, as it should be. I was so proud to see people stepping up to speak against such horrid behaviors against other human beings! I hope it saved some lives and some hurt feelings.

But it's not just select groups who encounter bullying. I have seen it lately in the strangest of places. I'm not sure if it comes from a place of jealousy, bitterness, or just plain meanness? It's probably a mix of all of the above. And it seems that the more perceived power one has, the more likely one is to fall prey to those feelings and have the inexplicable urge to try to smack down other people.

Running a group doesn't make you the queen. Having a website doesn't make you perfume tsar. These things do not mean anyone owes you anything. These things do not mean you can make the rules up as you go along. These things do not mean that you can act unprofessionally, rudely, or arbitrarily. These things do not mean you can manufacture facts (and ignore them when you get called out on them). These things do not mean that anyone needs to kiss your feet or ring or ass.These things do not mean you deserve a damn thing. These things do not mean you get to act like a bully.

"Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person. The behavior can be verbal, emotional, and physical. Some of the ways they bully other people are by: calling them names, saying or writing nasty things about them, leaving them out of activities, not talking to them, threatening them, making them feel uncomfort­able or scared, taking or damaging their things, hitting or kicking them, or making them do things they don’t want to do."
That quote above was written about bullying children. It still applies to adults, doesn't it?

I considered highlighting the important bits, but it's all important. Bullying is an attempt to have power over another person. It can be verbal, emotional or physical. It includes name-calling, saying or writing nasty things, leaving people out of activities, not speaking to people, threatening. Making someone uncomfortable or scared can be bullying. Damaging someone's things - or taking them away unfairly - is bullying.

Some of you have probably pieced together the cause of my ire. I'm referring here in part to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz being shoved out of the Nature Perfumer's Guild nest unceremoniously. Yup, it was unprofessional. Yup, it was handled poorly. Yup, it appears to be completely ridiculous. If Dawn was accepted into a group with certain parameters (please label clearly your botanical/natural products and don't use the guild's logo on anything else) and followed those parameters (which I believe until shown the alleged screenshots), then I am completely confused as to why she was shoved out. And she was shoved out. No amount of double-talk will convince me that taking away her standing in the group by demoting her in a blindside move is a not a shove. And if indeed Dawn did not follow the rules, this still does not excuse the suddenness of the actions taken by the guild. It does not explain why a polite conversation to clear up the concerns was not the first step, rather than a termination of privileges being taken as first course of action. Bizarre. Unprofessional. And rather bully-like behavior, wouldn't you agree?

But what you don't know is that there was another catalyst here for this post. What? More bullying in Perfume Land? Yes, my dears. Sad, but true.

I have noted bullying behavior from a person who runs a prolific website. I have discussed said behavior with this person personally, so I'm not going to spell it all out here or "name names". But I will if it continues. For my part, I have politely stated my case. I have told this person about how the behavior appears to me. I have told the person I will no longer be visiting the website in question. I have blocked the person's email and blocked all other contact with this person. I feel better, but if the behavior continues with other people I will not feel afraid to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Running a website or group does not mean you can send aggressive emails to people. Just because you have contacts in an industry does not make you someone who does not need to follow the basic rules of how to behave. Being An Artiste doesn't mean you can act in any way you like without affording your fellow humans the basic right of respect.

I am asking my 4 readers to take a stand, please, against bullying in any form. If you have children, teach them how to be kind and fair. If you are an adult and you see someone behaving poorly, pushing people around, making threats, or otherwise acting poorly, gently but firmly call them on their behavior or remove their (perceived) power by removing yourself from their little world. Block them on Facebook. Ask them to stop contacting you. Leave a group. Stop reading their blog. Tell your boss. Ask a friend for help or support. Whatever it takes to get away from the negativity and lessen the impact of the bully without resorting to nasty tactics yourself.

I abhor a bully. I always have. And I'm not afraid of them. I know their secrets, you see: they are scared and small people.

If you'd like to pick on someone, please c'mon over here. I'm more than happy to discuss it with you - but watch out, because karma is a bitch ---and so am I.

Note: I can't believe I had to write this on a perfume blog. A PERFUME BLOG! It's fragrance, for Pete's sake! People --- get some perspective!

Perfume Review: Reverie au Jardin (Andy Tauer)

I met this little fella the other day, in a garden on the edge of a thick patch of woods. He had a faraway look in his eye, and I wondered what he was thinking. He was supposed to be tending his garden, but as you can see his thoughts seemed to have run away with him.

Watching how serene he was, how lovely and quiet his garden seemed, I began to daydream. What does this man's home look like? Where does he hang his tall, red hat every night? Is he partial to blue smocks, or does he have other favorites? Is there a Mrs. Gnome waiting with dinner ? Do little black boots sit next to his on the hearth?

As I imagined his life, I saw the details in my mind. Sensed them. I could feel the rough timber of his kitchen table. I could hear the crackle of the fire over which a pot of mushroom stew bubbled. I mentally ran my finger over the twig beams of the roof and felt the rough stone floor with my bare feet.

Then came the smells. I came to get a scents of the place, if you will. At first, everything just smelled sharp and green. Galbanum and fir mingle with a bit of lavender. Where was that lavender? Oh! Hanging in the corner of the room, drying! Once I wrapped my mind and nose around the place, the sharpness of those first scents retreats. I become aware of the rose petals in a little bowl, the recognizable scent wafting up from the cedar chair.

Absentmindedly, I poke a stick into the glowing embers under the soup. A spark flashes briefly. I smell the fires that were lit here before - a dash of incense lingering behind. The whole places is alive- such large smells for such a small home! But the smells aren't overwhelming. They are gentle. Peaceful. Soothing, but still wild. There are roots and mosses behind it all, mingled with something smooth cozy that just smells like home. And above it all, the lavender, now soft and pretty and not at all sharp.

A noise makes me start. I find myself again on the edge of the woods. As I try to shake off the daydream (it was a dream, wasn't it?) I realize the little man in the red cap is gone. I never even asked his name...

Perfume Review: Ambre Fetiche (Annick Goutal)

I haven't done too many reviews lately, because I started feeling fairly inferior compared to all of the excellent perfume writers there are. My nose is immature, too. But then it occurred to me, "Hey, dummy! This blog is about having an inexperienced nose and learning about perfume! Duh....!"

And with that thought, I'm jumping back into the fray with a true favorite: Ambre Fetiche by Annick Goutal.

As the name suggests, this scent is all about amber. The picture I chose to the right is pretty much what I imagine when I wear this. I feel like I'm enveloped in a drapey, flowing, gauzy saffron-colored silk.

This amber isn't furry and sweet. In fact it has a bit of bite in the beginning, in part thanks to frankincense. It's not medicinal and sharp, rather it's a bit boozy. Nearly heady, it jolts you a bit before eventually lulling you to sleep - just like a nice whiskey. After the nightcap, a sexy leather shows up. It's not birch tar-heavy, thankfully, since that gives me a headache. And it's not butter-soft-leather like an expensive purse. Nope, this one is a little aged, a little weathered, but still smooth.

Later, when the cozy part starts, the raw silk opening and supple leather turn into the softest caress. And boy does it last! I applied it yesterday morning and can still smell wafts today.

Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd like wearing this in the Summer. I initially tried (and instantly purchased) this in December. It's definitely the perfect late-Fall, chilly winter amber for me. I'm glad I tried it on a hot and humid day, though.  It's like wearing a silk blouse that cools you in the Summer and keeps you warm in the Winter. I found out that the heat surprisingly brings out the best of the silky nature of Ambre Fetiche, while cool air brings more of the spice. I'm so glad to know that this staple perfume is even more versatile than I gave it credit!

Do you like ambers? What's your favorite? Do you wear them in the hot weather, or reserve them for colder times? Do you have a favorite Annick Goutal scent? Let me know in the comments!

This blog really stinks, and you can, too! Our first giveaway: Wild Child by Opus Oils (sponsored by Perfume Pharmer)

That's right. A giveaway. A prize! And it's a good 'un, too. This was one of my favorite scents from my Patch Test Bunny trials, and the winner of Perfume Pharmer's summer contest: Summer of Patchouli Love.

The winner was formerly known as "#13", but we now know it as Wild Child, by Kedra Hart of Opus Oils.

Who loved this? Well, I did, for one. It was my #4 but came close to being #3. More importantly, fume bloggers Marlen, Felicia Hazzard, Donna Hathaway, Carrie Meredith, Victoria Jent (Ajent Orange) and everyone's friend Ida Meister all had #13 in their Top Three, as did my favorite stinky Facebook friend, Carlos Powell. Perfumer Justine Crane was a "nose" for the contest, and she loved Wild Child, too. Did you want to know what the celebrities thought? How about Grammy Award winning vocalist Patti Austin? I am a fan of the famous pagan Starhawk from way back. She voted, too. Are you a fan of folks singer Bruce Langhorne? He participated. Fetish model Tiger Powers got in on the contest, too. All of those folks voted for Wild Child, as did Davika Weston of the Weston Gallery. And don't let me forget to mention that #13 was one of the top votes for Monica Miller's special Martha's Vineyard "Islanders Choice" awards!! I'm telling ya: this is a lovely, gorgeous perfume!

When I reviewed this scent, my first-impression notes read: "Vanilla? Candlewax! Oh wow, yum!" And for the most part I'm sticking with that assessment, though subsequent wearings allowed me to pick up some other nuances besides "yum". I almost always get blasted (in a good way) with dirty but sophisticated patchouli in the beginning, and it stays pretty steadily throughout the wearing. I love the sweet-woody opening and the sultry dry-down, but my favorite stage is the nearly-tropical, milky, coconut middle phase. The fruits shouldn't scare you, by the way. They add to that almost beachy, lazy-sexy vibe that made this perfect for my recent vacation at the shore!

The official notes look like this:
Top Notes: Saffron, Cabreuva, Blood Cedarwood, Peach Tree Leaf, Clementine, Yellow Mandarin & Wild Orange 
Middle Notes: Honey, Milk Accord, Black Currant Bud, Tuberose & Peach Accord 
Base Notes: Aged Dark Patchouli, Sandalwood, Ambergris, Dark Amber, Vetiver & Vanilla 

I want to thank Monica Miller (of Perfume Pharmer) for having such a bang-up patchouli experiment. I totally dug it, man. I know she worked really, really hard on the whole thing, as did Kedra Hart (Wild Child's creatrix) and all of the other mad scientist perfumers who participated.I hope to grow my blog over the year so I can participate in whatever Monica has cooked-up for next Summer - and any other

And now the opportunity to win a bottle of Wild Child!
Enter a comment below (any comment, I'm not pushy or rigid) and you're in. Monica will send the bottle when I've randomly selected a winner*.
Contest closes Friday, 8.12.11 at midnight, EST.

That's it. That's all you have to do to be the one who wins a bottle of the overall favorite perfume from The Summer of Patchouli Love. Easy peasy, right?

Please could you Tweet, FB, G+, or otherwise mention this contest for me? I wouldn't ask, but since this is such an amazing scent and I'm such a new little blog, I am worried that the give-away won't get the attention that it, Monica, and Kedra all deserve. Pretty please, help a contest out? Send me a link to your sharing and for your kindness you can win another entry!

Good luck!

*For those of you new to my ways, my completely scientific and unbiased method of winner selection is to put all of the names in a bowl and let one of my kids pick one out.