It's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love scents. I'm a big proponent of aromatherapy, and I even use it while writing. In addition to using specific music to set the mood, I also use scents. It helps put me in the right frame of mind to get down to work. Every book has its own playlist and set of smells. In fact, my current WIP features the scents Ancient Forest, Forest Faery and Midsummer's Eve.
I can't wear regular perfume - my body chemistry doesn't play nicely with the alcohol content and other chemicals in there. So basically, me + regular perfume = dead flowers with a hint of roadkill in the sun. It's not pretty. I turned to essential oil perfumes and I've been dead flower and roadkill-free ever since. I've also been headache-free. There's something about some store bought scents that make for instant migraines, but I don't have that experience with essential oils. I love the combinations and how they work with my own body chemistry to smell even better.
I came across Melissa of the Mindful Mushroom while I was perusing
Etsy (read: procrastinating) and I was intrigued by her perfume
descriptions, so I decided to try some samples.OMG, am I ever glad I did.
This woman is a scent genius. After falling in love with several of her premixed scents, I asked her to do a special one for me with all of my favorite things: sandalwood, clove, woodsmoke, vanilla, honey and berries. It's FREAKING AMAZING. I love it so much. And she very cleverly named it Bronwyn.
Because I adore Melissa's products (and her cruelty-free stance) so much, one lucky commenter is going to win a 25.00 gift certificate to her Etsy store. And because Melissa is such a sweet and interesting person, I'd like to give you a chance to find out a little more about her in this interview. Contest details below.
Without further ado, I'd like you to meet Melissa.
Why perfume making?
Because I love it. I love how perfumes can instantly change your mood. There are some fragrances that make you happy, some that make you feel like a playful child, some that make you feel completely sexy and some that create instant peace and calm.
What attracted you to it in the first place?
I received a sample vial of hand blended oil as a gift from a friend. This is something I never would have thought to buy because I had plenty of alcohol based perfumes made by large businesses. Yes, shame on me I know. After my first application of this oil I was hooked. I loved how you applied it to your skin instead of spraying it at yourself. I loved how it blended with my body chemistry to create a completely unique scent. And I appreciated the thought that it was handmade. That I was wearing something that someone put love into making.
I don't think that I have bought a store bought beauty product since. Well except razors.
When I was ready to buy more of this oil I learned that the girl was no longer in business so I decided to start making my own.
How long have you been doing it?
Around four years. I should have known I would eventually be working with this type of medium. When I was about 10 I used to go pick all of my neighbors flowers, dry them, blend them and then sell them back to them as potpurri so I could raise money to donate to animals in need. Who would have known that 22 years later I would still be drying flowers and using the proceeds to help animals?
Where do you get your inspiration?
From nature, fairies and the thought of a nomad lifestyle. I like to create scents that take you on a journey whether it is just on a camping trip or to somewhere like india or through a magical fairy forest. I like enchantment and imagination.
What are your favorite ingredients to work with?
I am a firm believer in using sustainable and organic ingredients. I love the benefits of hemp seed oil and essential oils. Cedarwood repels insects, amyris is an aphrodisiac, rose relieves depression, chamomile calms. I think that the healing properties of plants is just incredible.
Have you ever made any truly hideous scents?
Yes! I was trying to make a custom oil for a guy that liked eucalyptus. I mixed an insane amount of eucalyptus with spearmint. That could have been used as a remedy to induce nausea. It was so sick. I also tried making one of my wine scents and wound up with a fragrance reminiscent of grape cough syrup. Gross.
Do you have any favorite scents? Why are they your favorites?
Absolutely. I love sandalwood. I love the smoky, warm quality that it has. It makes me feel at ease to wear it. Patchouli was probably my first to fall in love with. My friend used to wear a patchouli perfume that has long since been discontinued by Jovan. Every time I was around her I just kept wanting to smell her. Years later I got my first bottle of patchouli essential oil. I was probably the happiest hippie on the planet.
I also really like the mixture of clove and orange. The more I keep thinking of scents that I love the more that I am realizing that I apparently have a love affair with fragrances and could easily fill pages of my favorite scents. Mainly woodsy, smoky and dessert types are my favorites. I am not a big fan of soft florals and clean scents although I do respect their place on the fragrance wheel.
Here are all of my links
Okay, all you need to do to enter is leave a comment or question for Melissa. And don't be shy, what are some of your favorite scents? The contest will from from now until Tuesday, May 15th. I'll draw the winner at 7pm that night and send you your super awesome Mindful Mushroom gift certificate