Friday, April 26, 2013

Stephen Wiltshire, autistic artist, draws cityscapes from memory

After a 20 minute helicopter ride over NYC, autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire could draw the entire skyline from memory. Visit The Stephen Wiltshire Gallery:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Many Children See Auras

This is such an interesting blog post on synesthesia. From Digital Book Today: Many Children See Auras by Cynthia Sue Larson, author of Aura Advantage - April 21, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Van Cleef & Arpels Feerie Rose des Neiges

Van Cleef & Arpels has always impressed me with their high quality line of perfumes to complement their fine jewellery collection. Like Cartier and Boucheron, the company has invested in beautiful, timeless fragrances, each one a grand overture to the luxury of the entire brand. Van Cleef & Arpels in particular has always offered traditionally soft and sweet feminine fare mixed with the sharper, ever-scintillating mark of a prestige perfume, the brilliant-cut sillage that sparkles across a room to be noticed. From the sweet and opulent raspberry-infused boozy amber of Van Cleef to the assertive and sexy Fruity Chypre that is Gem, and for contrast, spring flowers strewn across a green meadow under peach blossom trees for the Fruity Floral Miss Arpels who could very well have a seductive arsenal of succulent melons and pineapples in her picnic basket, each perfume is an unspoken tale.

Each one seems fit for a certain kind of Cinderella, but perhaps none more than their recent offering, Feerie Rose de Neiges, which I tried at Bergdorf Goodman a couple of weeks ago. I haven't smelled the original Feerie to compare with, but this limited edition winter offering of a snow rose is so downy soft and pleasantly Floral with the subtlest brush of powder sans musky heaviness, it seems perfect for spring, and virtually year round. The transparent quality lends itself to smelling slightly aqueous but elegantly along the same line as Cartier de Lune which it resembles most.

The aqueous quality doesn't smell sporty, but like rice husks and rosewater, a Belle Epoque scent interpreted as a completely new and wearably modern composition fit for any room, be it a conservative office or candlelit dinner table. I find Feerie Rose des Neiges to be the type of quintessential Floral for anyone who prefers a blush of rose to a garden of roses on her delicate skin. If you like clean fragrances that leave you lightly scented with the unmistakable scent and texture of an authentic French perfume, this one is a pearl, as opalescent and creamy as its lovely translucent diamond-motif bottle, as serene and dreamy as a humble, meditative moonstone on which a literal figurine of a fairy is perched. If the fairy flacon seems a bit juvenile for your taste, rest assured the scent held within is not.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Opinion: Methyl eugenol-containing essential oils

PLEASE READ: The toxicity of essential oils goes way beyond allergens. Although I have great respect for naturalistas and organic perfumers, there is enough evidence that many natural / organic essential oils pose significant health risks such as carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity that properly diluted FDA-approved synthetic fragrance oils are safer by comparison. I still use many essential oils in my blends but when using them, I will not exceed the IFRA limits especially when using a substance such as rose essential oil which has high amounts of naturally occuring methyl eugenol and eugenol. I had not used rose oil in any perfume until recently, and I'm stunned to learn about the staple note in perfumery being as toxic as it is. It has put in perspective for me why perfumers layer notes, both natural and synthetic, and has also elucidated for me why IFRA exists.

I've never felt more relieved that I have always researched any material I use for perfume-making well in advance before offering products to my customers. I hope you will read the following article and reflect on whether or not everything organic and natural is necessarily better for us, and if synthetics are unfairly maligned when in truth, some of the chemicals we fear are actually safer alternatives to the natural essences they mimic.

From Cropwatch: "Worries about possible risks due to the methyl eugenol content of natural materials –herbs, essential oils -have surfaced in the recent past but there is a dearth of information on the subject directly available in the public domain to aromatherapists or complementary health practitioners. The following feature is an attempt to add some background information to this subject.

"The warm, musty-mild-spicy odoured aromatic compound Methyl Eugenol (aka eugenol methyl ether, or 4-allyl-1,2-diomethoxybenzene) is prohibited from being directly added as an ingredient to fragrances intended for retailed cosmetic products, due to worries about its’ potential carcinogenicity.

"As it occurs naturally in many essential oils and extracts, the addition of these ingredients is not restricted outright, but on provision that the methyl eugenol content does not exceed the following concentration in the following finished products according to the IFRA standards (see" Continue reading: Opinion: Methyl eugenol-containing essential oils - Cropwatch, May 2004

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Thoughts on the new EU regulation re: harmonization, toxicity of natural essential oils

Working with rose oil for my new perfume in the making is a tremendous challenge because even though many products made in the USA don't comply with the new EU regulations for fragrances to contain natural essential oils at a ratio of no more than 0.001% of the finished product, I'm already anticipating having to reformulate products to comply according to a global standard. I am not too familiar with aromachemicals that perfumers in the EU use, but in the US, we have access to fragrance oils which are mostly comprised of natural and synthetic elements, as well as access to pure essential oils.

I'll admit I'm a bit shocked and confused by the new regulations; is this going to be the end of natural perfumery and aromatherapy? Am I to believe that naturals are more dangerous for the human body than synthetics? I find it incredible that properly diluted rose or lemon oil can harm more people more severely than non-biodegradable synthetic musks or hercolyn-D which is considered skin safe even though the MSDS sheet says you need to be careful of too much inhalation. The focus on allergens found only in naturals sounds ludicrous, as if synthetic chemicals can never irritate anyone.

The harmonization directive set forth by IFRA sounds like an anti-natural movement, like Catholic hospitals uniting against "dangerous" Asian / New Age holistic remedies like reiki and chiropractics that can make people more aware of their bodies, or the Vatican issuing a warning against the use of the Enneagram which introduces to the psyche a "dangerous" sense of self. What can be so threatening about self-awareness, save for the pharmaceutical industry's global authority and bottom line?

If you're a long term reader of my blog, you know I've blogged about Codex Alumentarius. I think all this anti-naturals business is related to the harmonization that is being pressed for the global food industry. We can only hope and believe in good faith that it's truly for our health and not for the profiteers in the food industry to make natural foods from the earth obsolete while capitalizing on them by trademarking the earth's bounty. Some might say naturals are being hoarded by a few, like the beauty industry is supposedly hoarding ingredients like jojoba oil to capitalize on any and all therapeutic benefits that nature can offer.