This is a picture of me holding the first actual BOOK anthology I've been featured in. I'm so excited I want to sign it. For myself. The cover is pretty lolz but the stories inside are fun. Kinda noir / Quentin Tarantino-y. My story is called "Princess Lotus Blossom" and it's the story of medicine show woman Violet McNeil who used to grift the Seattle frontier. Check it out if you're so inclined and let me know what you think!
I got invited to showcase my perfumes with 40 other indie perfumers at the first ever AIX Scent Fair at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. I seem to have a bad case of impostor syndrome and assumed I would only sell a few bottles if anything what with all the competition and all... And then I sold out of basically everything. So I'm going to cool it and start being more confident because "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh-darn it people like me!" - Stuart Smalley.
I write sometimes. Now you get the whole Dead Writers thing. It's all coming together! Movies in the Cemetery is a creative nonfiction piece I wrote for Hippocampus Magazine. The story is a reflection on grief*. Below is the first page, click the link to continue reading if you are so inclined.
"It is twilight and a misty fog dances between the bars of the foreboding wrought iron gate. The movie starts in ten minutes; we just spent thirty minutes looking for parking along the mangled side streets parting like veins from Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. It’s fine, though; no one’s standing in line, just an empty roped off queue. The ushers take our ten-dollar donations and we sidle past them laden with sleeping bags, blankets and groceries from Trader Joe’s.
We have a bit of a hike before us, and there’s not much in the way of light: just a few lampposts near the main office building and then winding lanes surrounded by freshly mown lawns, weeping willow trees, and moss covered benches. It’s September, so the weather is nice, getting cooler but still temperate and even keel. Everyone is already assembled for the movie, so it’s quiet as we walk along the paths; we’re careful not to veer off trail lest we be accused of being disrespectful. Dark gray marble slabs with etched in names and in some cases faces – greet us. Beginning dates of long ago and end dates of before we were born hold silent vigil. We’re here to watch a James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause, and the silent repose of still reflection pools and white mausoleums gives rise to eerie, unpleasant thoughts about ashes and dust." Read the rest on Hippocampus.
*I'm fun at parties.
ZOMG! The Cut, the beauty and style section of New York Magazine, wrote this spectacular review of Dead Writers. *Puffs up chest.* As a result of these kind words, my shop kind of blew up a little bit (a lot) so many things are sold out. I'll be restocking soon my brave little writers.
PS. You can see all my saved bookmarks in the bar. Don't laugh at me.
Hey all, I'll be presenting at this trunk show...copy and pasting this from our community blog:
The wonderful perfumers featured in the Pacific Northwest Indie Fragrance Criterion will be onsite at San Francisco's Tigerlily Perfumery with their beautiful handcrafted perfumes! Come by to meet . . .
OLYMPIC ORCHIDS - PIROUETTE ESSENTIALS - REBEL & MERCURY - SWEET ANTHEM - SWEET TEA APOTHECARY
Guests will enjoy perfume tribute cocktails and a 10% discount on all scents in the shop. For more information and to RSVP, go here. To learn more about the perfumers presenting, check out Sweet Anthem's 5 Questions interviews. Lastly, for a review of all featured scents, check out this write up on Australian Perfume Junkies.
I'm so excited! I love participating in shows because I love meeting people and talking perfume. It's the easiest and best way to get feedback as you can tell a lot from a person's facial expressions after a whiff of perfume. I decided to participate in the annual Seattle Fragrance Salon put on by TasteTv for two reasons 1. because I was 9 months pregnant last year and couldn't participate and 2. sounded like a fun way to get my name out there with other perfumers. I'm so glad I did, STA was awarded Best in Salon, Most Unique, Best Aroma, and Best New Product. *Puffs up chest* Hooray! I'm energized and ready to start on new perfumes (so many ideas) and hit the craft show circuit this summer. Thanks everyone for patronizing my shop!
Kimberly Wilson, a very lovely lady, interviewed me for a podcast on her blog Tranquility du Jour. We talk about tea, historical fiction, and of course, perfume. It was a new experience for me and a lot of fun. I was insanely nervous because I actually was 30 minutes late for the podcast because I can't read apparently and messed up East Coast vs. West Coast time and then I was afraid the baby would wake up and yada yada yada here you go. Even if you don't want to listen, there are some links to books I recommended to her so definitely check those out. I apologize profusely for the horrible, horrible vocal fry. I lived in Los Angeles for the majority of my life ok? I know I do it, but I can't stop. It is my great shame.
As many of you know, I've been moving at a snail's pace since my baby was born in May. Well I'm happy to announce that I've been feeling much better and have more energy so I'm going to be ramping up production again AND hitting the craft show circuit this winter! For any fans in Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, save yourself a step and stop by Sweet Tea Apothecary's booth to check out all my perfumes in person. I will be at the following shows selling perfumes and ready to chat:
Seattle EtsyRain - November 29 & 30
Renegade Los Angeles - December 14 & 15
Renegade San Francisco - December 21 & 22
I will try to make Renegade Brooklyn next summer for any East Coast fans out there. If you know of a good craft fair in your city, drop me a line. I'm always looking for new opportunities.
Nope. I am working round the clock right now to restock. I sold out of pretty much EVERYTHING today. Awesome for me, inconvenient for you. For which I apologize. Dead Writers was featured on Laughing Squid and io9 today and my shop exploded.
Here's a recap of what happened:
My husband and I were assembling a crib for our baby due in May. So domestic! Then all of a sudden our shouts of frustration at New Zealand pine wood that wasn't connecting correctly were interrupted by the sound of the Legend of Zelda (my ringtone) repeatedly. I was getting emails about sold orders. I had checked my phone at 12:30pm and had 150 views and 2 sales (typical slow day). At 1pm there were 800 views and 15 orders. I found the culprit to be Laughing Squid and thought, well alright. Makin monnnnaayyy. Two hours later the Legend of Zelda started assaulting my ears again because my friends informed me it made it to io9. At this point I put my phone on silent. The day ended with 8,000 views, 85 orders and wholesale inquiries.
NOT BAD! Anyway, I decided to put the shop on vacation so that I don't get completely overwhelmed. I'm a one person operation and 7.5 months pregnant so gotta be responsible. Normally I'd power through it, but I was already low on shipping materials and sample bottles. Hopefully I'll be back up in a few days and you can get your fix on some sweet, sweet Dead Writers. If you're new here, take a look around. I have tutorials on how to make perfume, historical awesomeness, text message conversations with my brother, and IMs with my husband. You know, interesting things.
I haven't been writing. Here's a brief synopsis of why. *On January 29 a blog post on BookRiot, followed by The Huffington Post, about my Dead Writers perfume went viral. Nearly 400 orders were placed in my shop between then and the end of February. To put that in perspective, my previous high was 87 orders in one month...at Christmas. Usually, I get anywhere between 30-50.
*On February 16 things began to slow down to a more manageable pace (no longer working from 9am - 2am!) and my friends and family flew to Seattle to give me a baby shower! It was grand! We made onesies, everyone but me got really drunk, and my 13 year old cousin not only drew the phrase "Breast Milk Pump," but drew an anatomically correct picture that was correctly guessed in roughly 7 seconds. During this weekend we watched Parks and Recreation, specifically the episode where Tom and Donna take Ben on an excursion of self-pampering they dub, "Treat Yo' Self." This became the mantra of the weekend.
Should I get this bacon Bloody Mary? Treat Yo' Self.
Should I buy a new wardrobe even though I won't fit into anything within the next month? Treat Yo' Self.
Should we order the $100 per person chef's tasting menu? TREAT YO' SELF!
I'm one of those people who gets easily distracted by connections I make in my head and then don't voice until 10 minutes into the conversation so everyone's like, "What? How long have you been thinking of that? What kind of mental acrobatics did you do to arrive at this point?" Here it is:
I've been getting a lot of new customers to my shop who want advice on what perfumes to try. Most of them are intrigued by handmade perfume and wonder what it's like. Others are just nervous about buying perfume they've never smelled over the internet which I totally get. If you want to Treat Yo' Self to some fine perfume (see what I did there?) here is what I usually recommend.
First off... my top three selling perfumes are Dead Writers, Remy, and Georgiana. (That alone helps some.)
Antoinette: Do you like to smell like a bouquet of freshly picked Spring flowers? LOOK NO FURTHER. The jasmine, tuberose, moss, and bergamot work together to ensure that even if the winter makes you feel like you're waiting for the guillotine, you'll be transported to the Hall of Mirrors. History!
Clara: Are you a single lady who likes to hit the clubs and (gasp!) show a little ankle?! Then the sexy sandalwood and tuberose combination in this perfume will make you feel like a silver screen siren. No really. This one is basically a sex perfume. If you're trying to be sultry, this is the one you want. One warning though: I am a migraine sufferer...this is my one perfume that I can't wear because the smell is too heady for me. If you get headaches easily, don't do this one.
Dead Writers: Do you wear patches on your elbows and sit in dimly lit rooms drinking black coffee or tea smoking packs of clove cigarettes (Djarum Blacks)? If this describes you, or you're just the type of person who prefers a "dirty perfume" then put some of this on before you head out to work on that novel at the local coffee shop. Dead Writers is musky and has a stale smoke smell. It is lightened by some vanilla and heliotrope (a flower that in combination with the vanilla smells like a sweet milk creamer you might add to your tea). If you've never had a musky perfume and want to live dangerously without smelling homeless, go for the Georgiana. More on that below.
Georgiana: Are you a lady who dresses for dinner and... I can't think of anything clever, basically you are Dowager Countess Maggie Smith elegance. Georgiana literally smells like a cup of Earl Grey tea. It's my most subtle perfume and has a soft, sultry, smokiness that is perfect for an evening on the town. I wear this one when I want to be fancy. If you were interested in the smokiness of Dead Writers but don't want to overdo it with the musk, then Georgiana is the one for you. The bergamot really brightens it up and it smells more feminine.
Maynard: Do you want to smell like the frontier? Maynard has a bunch of old timey ingredients (sassafras, gin, the sweat of men who founded cities) and somehow smells like clean root beer. What does clean root beer smell like you ask? Like Old Spice and root beer... but BETTER. That's what. A gentleman friend took home a sample of Maynard from the aforementioned baby shower and told me yesterday that he "smells like a BOSS and gets looks from all the ladies." That's not to say a lady can't wear this one. I wear it sometimes when I want to be the Boss. (I'm never the boss though, guys :( Too meek.) Basically if you enjoy root beer and like to smell shower fresh, May May be your pick.
Pamplemousse: Do you like to smell like a summer cocktail, not because you're an alcoholic but because you just enjoy the scent? If you live in San Francisco, specifically the Mission, then you've heard of a restaurant called Beretta. They make a drink called Pamplemousse that is basically grapefruit juice, gin and St. Germaine (might have champagne too, can't remember). Once I discovered this drink, my weekends for the rest of the year I lived there were booked. This perfume makes me think of happier times when I wasn't pregnant and could drink delicious grapefruit cocktails and sit in the sun. On the skin: Pamplemousse has an intense grapefruit citrus smell for about 20 minutes to an hour which then melts into this amazing honey tea scent. All of my perfumes have layers and this one is probably one of my favorites to just sit there noting the smell of my wrist over the course of 8 hours.
Remy: Do you like to smell like honey and the Egyptian market? Perhaps you like something light, a bit powdery, and suitable for everyday wear. That's Remy. I wear this perfume every day. The saffron and sandalwood gives it a slight exotic spiciness that is balanced out by sweet, sweet honey. Behind Dead Writers, this is the top seller.
Thoreau: Are you a gardener who likes to take the scent of earth and tomatoes with you wherever you go? This perfume is unisex and smells like a forest or a freshly tilled plot of garden, depending on your nose. The clary sage ingredient further has a head clearing property to it - if you're a headache person, this one might be nice to sniff. If you like to smell like greenery, this one's for you.
HRM Victoria: If you're into pomp and circumstance and like a sugar scent, Victoria is your go-to. It smells like lavender and melted molasses. This one is closest in scent to what you might find at a Bath and Body Works...but there are three all natural ingredients in this one: French Lavender, Amber, and Vanilla. At BBW there would probably be at least 15 ingredients you can't pronounce. The scent is very sugary, but the lavender gives it an air of regalness (word?). Lavender was, after all, Queen Vic's favorite scent.
There you have it, my perfumes in a nutshell. Also, my new labels are done I'm just trying to figure out how to get them to print correctly using Windows 8. So if you order, you might get a label a bit different from what you see in the photos. I'm hoping to have better photos soon too, baby steps people.
As an Etsy shop owner, it's always fun when you wake up in the morning to hundreds of new views to your shop that you don't normally receive. Your jaw drops to the floor and you double check the numbers several times (after rubbing your eyes of course) to make sure that this is really happening. Yesterday (and continuing today!) was such a day for me. I was fortunate enough to have the picture of a bottle of Dead Writers on the front page of Bookriot.com which in turn linked to a blog post speculating what different scents famous authors throughout history would have worn. It was brilliant! And actually something that I'm working on for the spring. So thank you so much to BookRiot for giving me such a nice shout out and a bump in business.
Here is the blog post and below are some of the writerly suggestions:
"Edgar Allan Poe: Poppies, absinthe, sandalwood, and mold
Flannery O’Connor: Church incense, soap, vanilla, ginger
Jack Kerouac: Cigarettes, cheap beer, unwashed youth, patchouli, car leather
the Bronte Sisters: Heather, sea air, vetiver, primrose, black tea"