Art Of Autumn

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. ~Emily Bronte


Brooke Shaden The Falling of Autumn Darkness, Photograph on Paper, Courtesy and © Brooke Shaden.

Happy Autumnal Equinox as Fall season colorfully ushers in. It’s one of two days out of the year that night and day are equal in length, signifying that the balance between light and dark is shifting. Fall Equinox is an opportunity for both reflection and practical forward thinking. Make some downtime to journal, get centered and consider your place within nature, reflect on the changes, make a gratitude list, and revisit any goals you might have set for yourself earlier in the year. Journaling can evoke a state of mindfulness as you close the chapter on Summer, focus on the present, and find your Fall groove. Taking this time to check in with yourself will set the stage for you to realize how far you’ve come this year and prepare for the next big thing. May you transition gracefully into Fall.

Leibovitz Women


Annie Leibovitz, New York City, 2004, Courtesy and © Annie Leibovitz.

Annie Leibovitz’s work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time. In 2016 her new photographs will be shown in 10 cities during a period of 12 months, beginning in London in January 2016. The new work is a continuation of a project Leibovitz began over fifteen years ago, when she published a book of portraits made in collaboration with Susan Sontag. That book, Women, was accompanied by an exhibition that opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Women is Leibovitz’s most enduringly popular series of photographs and she has long wanted to expand her exploration of the subject.

The new portraits, in an exhibition also to be called “Women,” will reflect the changes in the roles of women today. Aligned with the focus commissioning partner, global financial firm UBS places on education, learning programs will accompany the exhibition presented in partnership with cultural organizations around the world. These initiatives will explore ways of seeing through photography, working with young people in local communities. The exhibition will be open to the public for free, but the undisclosed venues will not be in museums or art galleries, the sites are being chosen, the organisers say, “for the possibilities they offer for original and unexpected encounters.”

Leibovitz_SontagWomen by Annie Leibovitz & Susan Sontag, Hardcover, 1999. With over 115 black-and-white and color photogravures, the photographs by Annie Leibovitz in Women, taken especially for the book, encompass a broad spectrum of subjects: a rap artist, an astronaut, two Supreme Court justices, farmers, coal miners, movie stars, showgirls, rodeo riders, socialites, reporters, dancers, a maid, a general, a surgeon, the First Lady of the United States, the secretary of state, a senator, rock stars, prostitutes, teachers, singers, athletes, poets, writers, painters, musicians, theater directors, political activists, performance artists, and businesswomen. “Each of these pictures must stand on its own,” Susan Sontag writes in the essay that accompanies the portraits. “But the ensemble says, So this is what women are now, as different, as varied, as heroic, as forlorn, as conventional, as unconventional as this.”


Annie Leibovitz has been making witty, powerful images documenting popular culture since the early 1970’s, when she worked as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone. In the 1980’s she began expanding her collective portrait of the social landscape with photographs for Vanity Fair and then Vogue and in award-winning advertising campaigns. Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors. She has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

Fall Into Beauty

The beginning of the end of Summer is upon us as we fade into Fall. To me, Fall feels more like a time of renewal and rebirth than any other season. It means crisp air, Nature’s palette at her best, fresh wardrobe, new pens and notebooks, and a haircut. It means starting new routines, refreshing beauty rituals, and adding to interiors, and although I haven’t been formally in school for a long time, I still look forward to all the new subjects I want to learn about, the books I hope to cozy up to and the focused writing sessions for the blog and elsewhere. It’s a time to get spruced up, embrace your inner nerd, and turn over a new leaf. Here are some fabulous finds with Autumnal hues, artistry and romance, to Fall Into Beauty Love.


Maiyet Dress, The Maiyet Pre-Fall 2015 Collection celebrates Emilie Floge captured through the lens of Malike SibideEmilie Floge, best known as the muse of Gustav Klimt, was a fashion designer and business woman. She also had one of the largest textile and embroidery collections of her time. You can see her creative mix of print, pattern and texture in both Klimt’s paintings and photographs of her from the early 20th century. Malike Sibide is a Malian photographer known for his black and white photography in the 60’s and 70’s. Thrown together in this collection, you get the contemporary attitude of Malike’s subjects combined with the soft yet eclectic print, pattern and embroidery expression of Emilie Floge. Maiyet is an inspired design driven brand that celebrates rare artisanal skills, and revives ancient techniques to elevate the next generation of master craftsmen from places such as India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mongolia, and Peru. #globaldesign


J.Crew Rhodes Blazar, It’s sad but true, Summer is almost over. If you aren’t quite ready to quit flowy dresses and other summertime wardrobe loves, pull together your look with a blazer. Slim and tailored, J. Crew’s newest blazer is made from wrinkle-resistant wool from Comero, a family-owned mill in Italy. Finished with Gold buttons, patch pockets and a contrast felt collar that looks even better popped. Genius. Dressed up or down Fall wardrobe essential. The cult of J.Crew has blossomed since the Jenna Lyons coronation as Creative Head in 2008, the company once known for its preppy Nantucket ancestry has become a force in fashion, with the unconventional Lyons at the center of its evolution. She has created a high-low look that reflects her own boy-girl style -androgyny with some sequins and a dash of nerdy glasses. J. Crew always gets casually chic and perennially classic color right. #sartorialstar


Lotuff Leather Slingback, In hand-selected, tumbled, vegetable-tanned leather, this beautiful, versatile bag is more than just a backpack. It’s also a tote and a shoulder bag. The two back straps can be pulled upwards through the top to transform the bag into a tote with an 8″ handle drop, perfect for in-hand or on-shoulder carry. Bring the straps back down and the bag is a backpack once again, ready for hands-free travel. The unlined interior provides ample room, and the bag can be compacted and brought close to the body by adjusting the collar buttons on the interior straps. Crafted in New England. For Lotuff the ‘Made in America’ label is an end that dictates the means. It is what happens before it is embossed on that matters -the process of empowering people to be thoughtful, careful and invested in the creation of a fine item. The ethos of American craftsmanship stays with Lotuff at every point during production. #artisanamerican


From The Road Sama Color Block Scarf, From changing leaves to couture runways, the color Red is everywhere this season. Its rich variety of tones and shades create a bold and powerful palette, perfect for the heavier knits, sumptuous textures, and ornate accent pieces that signify the arrival of Fall fashion. In the spirit of embracing the trend, the beautiful color blocking design in this FROM THE ROAD scarf recalls the vivid flicker of a burning flame, an apt complement to the welcome warmth of its cozy cashmere and merino wool blend. FROM THE ROAD founder Susan Easton, who trained as a graphic designer, regularly travels to far-flung corners of the world in search of sublime artistry -all in service of her mission to safeguard and promote heritage traditions that could otherwise be lost to time. From the Road selection represents the best of those discoveries, eclectic jewelry rooted in local aesthetics, soulful knitwear, and a collection of naturally dyed and hand-woven scarves from the Nepalese Himalayas. #craftingheirlooms


Apple Watch Hermès Collection, At Apple’s big event in San Francisco this week, the company announced a partnership with the French luxury-goods company Hermès to provide three new leather straps for the Apple Watch. Imaginatively, Apple is calling it the “Apple Watch Hermès Collection.” It consists of a stainless-steel Apple Watch, in two sizes, paired with one of three signature Hermès leather straps, as well as some special watch dials that match the Hermès aesthetic. Anyone familiar with Hermès will recognize this now-legendary honey-colored ‘Double-Tour’ strap, first introduced in the late 1990’s when the Belgian designer Martin Margiela was working for the French fashion house. It came as a package with the Cape Cod watch and it’s still available. A style that remains today fresh and loose, without sacrificing class. Old World luxury meets Modern Day innovation. #distinctivetime


Repossi White Noise Ring, Gaia Repossi sculptural designs defy the conventions of classic fine jewelry. Exquisitely crafted in Paris from 18K polished Rose Gold from her new collection suggesting the spectral picture of ‘White Noise,’  this wide-band work of art sparkles with pavé Diamonds. Gaia is the third generation to helm her family’s Italian fine jewelry house, Repossi where “we still use the same ateliers as my grandfather and father in northern Italy,” she explains. “The head of the atelier is the same person who worked with my father for 30 years.” Since becoming Creative Director of Repossi in 2007, Gaia has been credited with reviving the storied jewelry house. Marked as a trendsetter within the industry, her references come from her passion for contemporary art and the effects of metal within modern sculpture and architecture. She takes inspiration from the works of Alexander Calder, Cy Twombly, Franz West, Richard Serra and Le Corbusier, as well as the Brutalist, Minimalist and Bauhaus movements. Blending and pushing the boundaries between architecture and traditional high jewelry techniques, Gaia’s designs are characterized by modern, minimalist motifs and the innovative use of complex patterns. #artofthejewel


Strange Invisible Fair Verona Perfume, Fair Verona is inspired by William Shakespeare’s ‘Juliet.’ Well-suited for the season, it contains notes of Citruses, Pink Grapefruit, Jasmine, Cardamom, Green Myrtle, Mimosa and Sandalwood, making it a clean, charming, and somewhat curious fragrance that I happen to love. It morphs into something even more beautiful on the wearer over time, and dare I say into the strange invisible realm, which alludes to an elusive, almost indefinable quality that is more readily experienced than articulated. Formulated by botanical perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis in Venice California, all Strange Invisible bespoke scents are created with certified organic, wildcrafted, biodynamic, and hydro-distilled essences, that have been carefully extracted to preserve their found-in-nature freshness. Skillfully bringing the romance of Old World perfumery into an entirely modern context. A must-have for the true fragrance connoisseur. #thoughtfulchicnarratives


Shamanuti Activated Charcoal Cleanser, Seaweed Toner & Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, My favorite Shamanuti products for Summer into Fall skin maintenance. The dynamic duo, Activated Charcoal Cleanser and Seaweed Toner are a stellar paring. A unique cleanser that utilizes the properties of Activated Charcoal to neutralize acidity and absorb impurities as well as to gently exfoliate the skin with maple extract. Versatile and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive. The power-packed toner contains Atlantic kelp, Dead Sea Salt, Tea Tree Oil and freshwater Blue-Green Microalgae. Aside from being refreshing, the toner adjusts pH and refines pores. I love the strong Bergamot and Neroli presence, which has a positive effect on the nervous system being anti-inflammatory, and beneficial vitamins in seaweed help to protect skin against free radicals and restore the body’s natural chemical balance. A weekly Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is just Autumnal beauty ritual icing on the cake. Shamanuti is a tightly curated Cambridge Massachusetts natural skincare line designed to treat and harmonize skin without disturbing the all-important pH balance. Formulated to be simple skincare that works to keep complications to a minimum by using the tools nature has provided for millennia to keep us clear and balanced. #integritybeauty


Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Amazing Grace Lipstick, Inspired by Grace Kelly, this vintage Tea Rose Charlotte Tilbury shade creates an irresistibly classic look for Fall. Enriched with new generation 3-D glowing pigments, for lips that look lit from within. Exclusively enriched with Lipstick Tree extract which protects lips and is a natural anti-oxidant, and Orchid Extract which soothes and hydrates for a soft, buildable cashmere finish. Available in 10 modern-matte shades for all skin tones. London-based makeup artist extraordinaire Charlotte Tilbury launched her highly anticipated revolutionary beauty line in America last year channeling her twenty plus years in the industry, and people have not stopped raving about the luxurious products with glamorous vintage-inspired packaging. Each product includes expert tips for effortless application and transformative results. #prettypolishedperfection


Lucy B Frangipani Bronzing Shimmer Oil, Ideal for late Summer early Fall travelscapes, Frangipani-scented Shimmer Oil hydrates and illuminates skin and hair so you can keep your seasonal glow on. With a fresh light scent and sheer feminine shimmer, gorgeous on all skin tones. Made with organic Coconut, Jojoba and Sunflower Oils, and infused with Lucy B’s signature confidence enhancing Australian Flower Essences -including the magical Boab Tree, Sturt Desert Rose, Southern Cross & Dog Rose. Now available at Anthropologie. Inspired by Australia’s natural beauty and tradition, celebrity makeup artist Lucy Baldock Sacchi and her husband, photographer Marco Sacchi, established Lucy B with a belief that it takes a holistic lifestyle on every level to ultimately transform each person. By including Australian Bush Flower Essences and pure aroma-therapeutic extracts in every product, they have harnessed the power and magic of the Australian botanical apothecary to bring you benefits that go way beyond beauty. The result is a range that helps transform the body, mind and soul. #transcendentbeauty


Essence of Vali Sleep, Sleep is EOV’s most popular blend as it eases people into a peaceful sleep and comforts them during times of stress. Ideal for seasonal transitions. Drift into a relaxing sleep the natural way with soothing and deeply aromatic essences of Lavender Flowers, Cedarwood, Marjoram Leaves and Ylang-Ylang Petals. This comforting and calming concentrate is the most potent of the Sleep Collection. A drop is all it takes. For a bedtime ritual to promote sleep, tip bottle to release a drop onto the corner of the pillowcase. During stressful times, you can put a drop on a tissue and inhale the relaxing aroma. Essence of Vali is a line of 100% natural products for health and wellness that uses the healing energy of plants, crafted in New York by aromatherapist and healing synergist Valerie Bennis. #sweetdreams


Sundance Catalog Saffron Diamond Kantha Quilt, Handprinted fabrics are stitched together by female craftspeople in the traditional kantha technique to create this unique lightweight cotton voile quilt. The ‘Kantha’ stitch is a type of embroidery, and mastering this skill is a tradition of the women in small localities in India. These quilts and shams are made by women artisans who have come to Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India, after the war between India and Pakistan in 1971. Kantha is important to their lives, as it offers employment and income independent of the husband which is critical in these drought-affected areas. The art and tradition of Kantha embroidery is clearly evident in their culture, as they make this type of throw for their homes or for gifts. The Kantha embroidered throw is also prepared as a present crafted by mothers to give to their daughters at the time of their marriage. The women labor over the fabric for a number of years, sometimes even starting from birth, and the giving of the throw is treated as a symbolic gesture with great meaning and sentiment. From Sundance Catalog founded by Robert Redford. Clothing with character. Distinctive furniture. Unexpected home décor. Handmade artisan jewelry. #spiritofheritage


MixedMade Trees Knees Spicy Syrup, Sugar and spice and everything nice. This rich, organic Maple Syrup from a family farm in the Catskills, is infused by hand with a special combination of chili peppers in the Brooklyn kitchens of MixedMade in New York. A great way to tantalize the seasonal taste buds, this Spicy Syrup pairs beautifully with breakfast to dessert, from dust till dawn. MixedMade was founded on the belief that food can taste extraordinary in its simplicity. Every batch is handmade with lots of love and spice, starting with beautiful ingredients sourced from the Hudson Valley, the Catskill Mountains, and the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, then infused, mixed, bottled and shipped from their Brooklyn kitchen. #bitoftheunexpected

JourneyThe Journey: The Fine Art of Traveling By Train, by Sven Ehmann (Editor), Robert Klanten (Editor), Michelle Galindo (Editor), Hardcover, 2015. Trains have always been a cultivated way to travel. The slower rhythm from departure to arrival, the relaxed glide through the landscape, and the shift between city and country fill passengers with great joy and are pleasures waiting to be discovered by the uninitiated. The new book The Journey presents a varied selection of extraordinary travel opportunities by train from around the world. Featuring historic luxury wagons, spectacular panoramic railways, and timeless itineraries, it takes you for a ride through breathtaking canyons and romantic scenery. Striking images, informative geographical material, and personal experiences bring these train adventures, which range from the quick three-hour trip to the transcontinental journey lasting several days, to life. Train travel is without a doubt one of the best ways to decelerate from our fast-paced daily lives. After all, the journey is also a destination.

Valentino Inspired


Valentino: Mirabilia Romae by Photographer Laziz Hamani and Italian Art Curator Francesco Bonami, Hardcover in luxury slipcase, 400 pgs, 300 Illustrations, Published by Assouline, 2015.

Valentino: Mirabilia Romae brings readers into creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli’s extraordinary world of inspiration, revealing their vision of the Valentino woman, exploring the Eternal City that fuels their passion and creativity, and explaining their impact and contributions to fashion as creative artists. Original photography by Laziz Hamani includes Chiuri and Piccioli’s most beloved Roman landmarks plus the spectacular inspiration boards created for every collection and the intricate paper patterns constructed for each showstopping couture gown, carefully preserved in the house archives.


Valentino’s “Mirabilia Romae” Exhibition, Embroidered Evening Dress, Haute Couture, Palazzo Firenze, Galleria del Primaticcio, Courtesy of Valentino.

Since 2008, the renowned Italian fashion house of Valentino has been anchored by creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, who have moved the house’s aesthetic forward with their contemporary feminine designs. Chiuri and Piccioli are two personalities with very different design viewpoints, yet they blend these contrasts into a timeless mélange of clean simplicity and modern elegance. One of Chiuri and Piccioli’s most profound inspirations is Rome itself, the Eternal City. Its seamless blend of ancient and modern, pagan and baroque, historic buildings and contemporary lifestyle reflects their own distinctive approach in which heritage, tradition, and innovation coexist to create a new concept of the house of Valentino. Available September 2015 at Valentino and Assouline boutiques worldwide. I ♥ Valentino.

On Gratitude


Quote by Marcel Proust, Illustrated by fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon who recently released her newest book Fortune Favors The Brave: 100 Courageous Quotations Hand-Lettered by Lisa Congdon. A masterpiece filled with uplifting reminders to seize the day, this sequel to Whatever You Are, Be A Good One demonstrates that when embarking on a new adventure, the right words of encouragement can be a priceless gift.

Art Of Scent

The art of blending plant, flower, seed, wood, resin, and oil essences into beautiful aromatic compositions is the art of Botanical Perfumery. The botanical perfumer focuses principally on aroma profile, essence quality, evocative narratives, and the beauty of scent. Natural perfumes have organic bases thus greater mutability for interacting with the oils and chemistry of the body. While a scent may be recognizable as Jasmine or Rose, this interaction produces an individualized scent as the aroma changes. Using a natural perfume reflects the way in which we honor ourselves by honoring the Earth.


Skin being our largest organ, it’s important to feed it with ingredients found in nature, not secret recipes full of toxic chemicals crafted in the laboratory. In the beginning history of perfume, fragrances were made of the most precious and prized natural ingredients. Nature is a far superior scent source than the lab. ‘Organic’ takes fragrances one step further and avoids the chemicals and poisonous pesticides used in non-organic farming. Scent has a profound impact on our lives. Smell is one of our strongest senses, with the power to evoke different states of mind, and to change our mood. With beneficial ingredients, natural fragrances provide therapeutic aspects that promote health and well-being that synthetic fragrances do not. Here are some extraordinary perfumes that conjure garden scents as Summer transitions to Fall. Each one categorically unique and handcrafted in small batches with depth and complexity. Botanical Perfumery at its best.


Lina Hanson SATORI Perfume,When natural beauty entrepreneur and celebrity makeup artist Lina Hanson wanted to create a perfume oil to add to her brand -founded on the belief in global beauty, she knew exactly where to look for inspiration and ingredients. Her goal “was to create a perfume that evokes the beauty of the landscape and culture of the Far East. An elegant, sexy and unique scent that transports you to the most exotic and remote areas of Thailand, Japan, and China.” The result of Lina’s journey to the Far East is SATORI, an uplifting and invigorating scent that awakens the senses with warm Vanilla, grounding Sandalwood, and notes of crisp and refreshing Yuzu and Ginger. If you’re a fan of Lina’s Global Body Serum -as I am, and you should be, you’ll love Satori with its similar fresh bright notes. A perfect way to layer aromatically. SATORI comes in a small jute pouch handmade by artisans in India. Truly beautiful and inspiring, much like its creatrix.


kō denmark Jasmine + Neroli Organic Perfume Oil, From the boutique beauty-brand with European roots comes this intoxicating organic Jasmine + Neroli roll on perfume that lingers on skin and positively alters your mood. Simply divine. Its Danish roots are evident with highly functional, effective and 100% simple and portable packaging great for on-the-go application and travel. kō denmark creator and founder Henriette Holst uses only pure oils from two of the world’s most expensive flowers -Jasmine and Neroli, for her unique, organic beauty line, free from artificial fragrances or preservatives. These flower oils bring moisture to the skin, while their aromatic synergy offers relief from stress and makes you feel just beautiful.


Essence of Vali Signature Scent Eau De Parfum, An award-winning aroma that is a rich and sensual warm floral with a burst of citrus sunshine, due to the uplifting aromatherapeutic quality of the essential oil, Litsea Cubeba. Perfume includes 100% pesticide free Jojoba, essential oils of Lavender, Cedarwood, Rosewood, Patchouli, Palmarosa, Geranium, Clove and Litsea Cubeba. New York-based Essence of Vali founded by aromatherapist and healing synergist Valerie Bennis, manufactures 100% natural, therapeutic products with plant essences inspiring people to love themselves, improve their health, and experience a whole new way of life, with ten healing blends plus a signature scent. Products that are known for their natural fragrance, effectiveness and unisex appeal.


VERED Organic Botanicals Blue Violet Perfume, This unique perfume has a rare green earthy floral overtone, combined with a dry floral aphrodisiac Jasmine Sambac and the fresh citrus aroma of the Japanese Yuzu. The right mix of ancient and modern, with an ability to touch the soul and balance the mind, and shine. VERED is an organic skin and body care line integrating therapeutic botanical essential oils that are 100% chemical and preservative free. Within the line are three perfumes, Blue Violet, Deep Citrine, and the VERED Signature Scent, each deeply beautiful and good for the body, mind, and spirit. Creator Vered Back is a master esthetician and herbalist who brings the combined experience of integrating holistic modalities such as phytotherapy, medicinal plant research, skilled esthetician expertise, extensive bodywork and aromatherapy to the brand. Hand-made with love in small batches in NYC.


Lotus Wei Infinite Love Perfume, Lotus Wei promotes ‘flower alchemy,’ a way of receiving the nourishing properties of plants through pure flower essences, suspended in water -liquid energy that transforms your mood and your mind through your acupuncture meridians. The brand makes six varieties of flower essences: Joy Juice, Infinite Love, Pure Energy, Inspired Action, Quiet Mind, and Inner Peace. Each comes in four formulas: an elixir that is taken orally, a serum that’s applied to pulse points, an energy mist, and a transformative perfume. A favorite in the Katie Hess Lotus Wei line, Infinite love Perfume helps you to experience unconditional love for yourself and others, attract love and affection, and enhances magnetism, attractiveness, and charisma, and magnifies gentleness, compassion, softness and receptivity, with an effervescent burst of Honey Citrus Floral aroma -Exquisite Rose, Red Mandarin and Honey. For every mood + feeling, there is a flower. Choose a flower and change your life.


Sarabecca Day and Night Natural Eau de Parfum, Charming and romantic, housed in light-filled artistic glass, Sarabecca, created from only plant essences, natural oils and extracts, comes in two distinctly beautiful sister scents, Day and Night. Day Sarabecca is an exquisitely fresh white floral blend with subtle notes of Jasmine, Tuberose and Muguet. Night Sarabecca is an alluring aroma of Vetiver, Patchouli and Amber with highlights of Bergamot, Lemon, Ginger and Sage. Lively, lovely and lasting.  Sarabecca Natural Perfume -an artisan craft perfumery creating truly natural prestige fragrances in a workshop in Montecito California, is founded by Ken Grand and named after his daughters, Sara and Rebecca. Grand also founded Alba Botanica, and is the current owner and president of Earth Science Naturals.


Aftelier Perfumes Honey Blossom Eau De Parfume, Honey Blossom is a dreamy floral fragrance with top notes of Mimosa and Lime -Linden Blossom, middle notes of Orange Blossom and Honeysuckle, and base notes of Ambergris and Benzoin. Honey Blossom is smooth, sweet and delectable, and somehow finds that ‘perfect’ Honey note. Like a wave of warm Honey and White Jasmine petals, its effect is simply bottled Summer magic. There is true beauty and sophistication in Mandy Aftel -perfumer extraordinaire, compositions which have an interesting development and strong character. Some are polished interpretations reminiscent of classical French grand parfums like Lumière, others are fascinating and original like Palimpsest. Inspired with deep knowledge in her Berkeley California-based studio Aftelier-a recognized authority in Natural Perfume, Aftel hopes her essences will create an aesthetic experience of luxury and well-being in the wearer.


Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent by Mandy Aftel, Mandy Aftel is widely acclaimed as a trailblazer in natural perfumery. Over two decades of sourcing the finest aromatic ingredients from all over the world and creating artisanal fragrances, she has been an evangelist for the transformative power of scent. In Fragrant, through five major players in the epic of aroma, she explores the profound connection between our sense of smell and the appetites that move us, give us pleasure, make us fully alive. Cinnamon, queen of the Spice Route, touches our hunger for the unknown, the exotic, the luxurious. Mint, homegrown the world over, speaks to our affinity for the familiar, the native, the authentic. Frankincense, an ancient incense ingredient, taps into our longing for transcendence, while Ambergris embodies our unquenchable curiosity. And exquisite Jasmine exemplifies our yearning for beauty, both evanescent and enduring.

In addition to providing a fascinating initiation into the history, natural history, and philosophy of scent, Fragrant imparts the essentials of scent literacy and includes recipes for easy-to-make fragrances and edible, drinkable, and useful concoctions that reveal the imaginative possibilities of creating with, and reveling in, aroma. Vintage line drawings make for a volume that will be a treasured gift as well as a great read.


The Fragrant Companion Kit, Created by Aftel to allow you to “smell along” as you read about Fragrant’s main characters Cinnamon, Mint, Frankincense, Ambergris, and Jasmine. The Cinnamon and Mint essential oils are not for wearing, but can be used in food by diluting them. The Frankincense resin can be rubbed between your fingers to release its fragrance, and along with the diluted Ambergris and Jasmine tinctures can be worn directly on your skin -layer them to create your own perfume.

New Moon

A new moon teaches gradualness and deliberation and how one gives birth to oneself slowly. Patience with small details makes perfect a large work, like the universe. ~Rumi


New Moon In Leo 14 August, 2015, A roaring New Moon in Leo is upon us sparking creativity and originality and igniting our passions with soul aligned purpose. When the Sun, Moon, and Venus are coupled in Leo, you are encouraged to be a powerful creator. Be unique. Be who-you-really-are. Be yourself. Come from your heart. Be love.

World Elephant Day

Today is World Elephant Day, launched in 2012 to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African Elephants. The Elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.


Nick Brandt, Elephant with Baby on Ground, Amboseli 2012, @ Nick Brandt Courtesy of Atlas Gallery, London. From the completion of Nick Brandt’s trilogy: On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, Across the Ravaged Land, (Abrams Books, 2013), which documents the disappearing natural world and animals of East Africa. The third and final volume of Brandt’s trilogy reveals the darker side of his vision of East Africa’s animal kingdom and the juxtaposition of mankind.


Nick Brandt, Ranger With Tusks Of Killed Elephant, Amboseli 2011, @ Nick Brandt Courtesy of Atlas Gallery, London. From On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, Across the Ravaged Land, (Abrams Books, 2013). Brandt’s powerful photos of animals in all their majesty continue to resonate with human sentiment, as there is immense beauty with a sense of tragedy and destruction in many of the images.

The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian Elephants. Working towards better protection for wild Elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving Elephant habitats, better treatment for captive Elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive Elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous Elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world.


World Elephant Day asks you to experience Elephants in non-exploitive and sustainable environments where Elephants can thrive under care and protection. On World Elephant Day, express your concern, share your knowledge and support solutions for the better care of captive and wild Elephants alike.


Two incredible organizations doing important work are photographer Nick Brandt and conservationist Richard Bonham’s Big Life Foundation and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust -both dedicated to the protection and preservation of Africa’s Wilderness and its denizens, particularly endangered species such as Elephants. Using innovative conservation strategies to address the greatest threats, reduce the loss of wildlife to poaching, defeat the ivory trade, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, protect the great predators, and manage scarce and fragile natural resources.


Song Of Summer


“Today I walked on the lion-coloured hills with only cypresses for company, until the sunset caught me, turned the brush to copper, set the clouds to one great roof of flame above the earth, so that I walk through fire, beneath fire, and all in beauty.
Being alone I could not be alone, but felt (closer than flesh) the presence of those who once had burned in such transfigurations. My happiness ran through the centuries in one continual brightness. Looking down, I saw the earth beneath me like a rose petaled with mountains, fragrant with deep peace.”
~ Elizabeth Coatsworth,
On the Hills

Rose + Cardamom


Coconut Rose + Cardamom Homemade Vegan Ice Cream, It’s Summertime, which means ice cream is on the menu! Making your own may seem like a tedious task, but homemade always tastes better, and it’s not as hard as you may think. This ice cream is a refreshing, elegant Summer weekend treat with nutritional value, worth making. Coconut milk is a healthy alternative for people who avoid dairy and soy. Its full of easily digestible fats, fiber, B vitamins and minerals like magnesium and iron. Skip the processed sugar and sweeten your ice cream with pure maple syrup which contains minerals that act as antioxidants in the body. Cardamom, the Queen of Spices in Indian cuisine, with its unique, warm and complex flavor, among many other benefits, helps improve digestion. And Roses being both beautiful and aromatic, add healing properties. Beautifully Delicious!


  • 2- 13.5 oz. cans of organic coconut milk
  • ½ cup organic almond or cashew milk
  • ¾ cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • 8-10 cardamom seed pods, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. beet juice (for coloring)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1-2 Tbsp. food grade rosewater
  • ½ tsp. sea salt


Infuse the coconut milk~
Add coconut milk, maple syrup, crushed cardamom seeds, vanilla bean and salt to a saucepan over medium heat, stirring mixture every few minutes to insure there is no scalding. When pot begins to simmer remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

Freeze the mixture~
Strain the infused coconut milk to remove vanilla bean and pods, and then add in the rosewater and beet juice for coloring. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour mixture in. This will allow the coconut milk to freeze into a thin layer, and make it easier to remove and cut up into chunks for blending.

Blend the ice cream~
Remove from freezer and cut up into chunks just big enough to fit into your food processor or blender. Add nut milk to your frozen ice cream and blend until creamy and smooth.

Garnish with crushed pistachios or cacao nibs, and top with fresh rose petal. Relax & Enjoy!


Be sure to use food grade/organic rosewater and rose petals. And the beet juice can be adjusted to achieve whatever rose petal hue desired.