Archive for March, 2014


I was recently chatting with a dear friend and editor of a great perfume blog (Michelyn Camen of CaFleureBon) when in the course of our conversation she mentioned to me that in these challenging times (as they are for so, so many) we crave fragrances that are light of heart, pretty, loving, bright and joyful and just make us happy.  Yes, I thought.  She’s so right.  And I must have already been getting that message from the Universe too, because when I started considering the Spring launches for DSH Perfumes, I kept coming back to light, pretty florals… plus, the re-imagining of what I used to think of as a late Summer / early Autumn scent, Fire Opal.   I’m sure that many of you already know all about the incredible benefits of orange oil for uplifting the mind and spirit, alleviating depression symptoms and giving one a sense of joyous, youthful exuberance.  Like grapefruit, we associate oranges with happiness.  And I can tell you right now, this new Fire Opal makes *me* HAPPY.  Every time I sniff it (and I’ve taken to carrying a mini-sprayer of this in my pocket everyday), I smile and just want to huff it in one more time.  It’s kind of addicting.  Now, It’s not to say that I didn’t really like the older version, but there’s something about the green blast in the topmost notes that sends me right over the edge into bliss in a way that the first variation didn’t.  And really, there is something essentially Springtime about this scent… I have moved the calendar for Fire Opal and it’s back in its youth.



In re-imagining a design, it’s not always about updating, but about a creative shift (although that is many times at the heart of the matter for large companies: to create a new audience of younger customers).  Redefining is what has been passing through me these past couple of years and I’ve found it very refreshing and renewing, creatively speaking.  For Fire Opal, I wanted to really focus on the sense of iridescence that a fire opal stone has.  It’s sometimes a bit milky in its translucence and refracts the light in brilliant, sparkling orange with hints of fiery red, but also at just the right angle a surprising hint of cool green.  That’s what I wanted to say with this new design: that ‘s still Orange and even fiery (spicy) in places but also there’s that surprise flash of green-ness which makes the overall effect juicy, bright, a little sappy and very happy.  Of course, I had to give it a dash of earth, since I was flying so high to the sun.  I didn’t want to have my wings singed.   So, there’s the oakmoss, to give the whole thing a sense of elegance and decorum…plus, that effervescence could be too fly away if I’m not careful and needs some grounding.



What I’ve found is that the 2014 Fire Opal lifts me up, sails me away and then brings me softly down again, onto mossy earth still with little shimmering flecks of orange and green sparkling about.  It’s just what I needed and wanted.  Mmmmm: Happiness.


image credits:  fire opal gems here;  fire opal with green flash here; cute orange here

*** For three lucky readers, I would love to share some bliss: a 3 ml mini-sprayer of your own to carry in your pocket.  Just leave a comment about the scent(s) that speaks of happiness for you (it may be a perfume or not) and you will be entered into the drawing.  The drawing will be open until midnight : April 7, 2014.

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There are always new designs that I am working on.  I never seem to feel completely satisfied and ready to put my materials down for any extended length of time.  I realize that I have way, way more designs available on my website than any reasonable person should have from a business standpoint but it seems that the artist gets her way just about all of the time where that is concerned.  I just can’t help myself. { So be it }.

Right now in my studio I am creating my own “little Springtime” while it’s still officially winter on the calendar.  And since time matches on, faster and faster it seems, March 20th will be here before we know it.  (Woah, this week!!!!  😀 )

Some of the work that has really been on my mind is re-habing or re-thinking old designs or even old design names that I still love; to breathe new life into them.  I started doing a lot more of this inward gazing at some of my formulations last year and now I wonder if this is a form of art therapy for me… as a parallel to the sense of re-creating my work and creative life post baby and post trauma.  There is something to taking a work apart and shaping it anew.  Or maybe this is just what Spring does to me.

It’s interesting too, that many other makers, from the big players to niche artisans have also been re-vamping and re-launching their work as of late.  I seem to see it everywhere I look.   There’s new interest in older works or maybe the big makers are just looking for winners from the past to be remade for new audiences.  One might think that this shows a great lack of creativity but I don’t really think so.  I actually think that it can present a greater challenge to remake something great from an old design and not get stuck with what the former once was, but to transform it, while remaining true to some form of the original inspiration.  What I can say is that I have been enjoying this work of redesign, in perfumes at least, and I am trying to find joy (truth? goodness? authenticity?) in the other more personal work of “coming back” trough transformation.

So, here’s a sneak peak at some upcoming Spring delights.  These lovely flowers are among the first sensations of Springtime, once the snows have truly gone for another year.  They are the harbingers.  And I feel they are some of the most beloved of the Spring florals.


Peony is as classic a Spring scent as there is.  I have been creating and selling a relatively simple, straight forward peony perfume for my clients in Japan for the past 5 years or so.  It’s a very important flower to both the Japanese and Chinese as a symbol of health and prosperity and this “simplicity” is really quite approachable.  Plus,  I love fresh peonies when they blossom in my garden.  Their elegant presence speaks of utter beauty and femininity.

So, for this new Peony design I wanted to do more than just create the flower.  I wanted to give the wearer a sense of experience.  Peony starts at dawn with the dew still on the bud that hasn’t yet opened.  The deep green leaves of the plant and a bit of grass are present.  Then the peony opens and releases it’s delicate yet definite aroma and we experience the fullness of a fresh blossom.  As the perfume dries down it is dusk, and the peony has turned a bit more rose-like as the sun sets and a shadow covers the blossom as night falls.


White Lilac .   This *IS* one of the quintessential Spring aromas although not everyone has experienced white lilacs as opposed to the traditional light purple or even dark purple lilacs.  White lilacs tend to take on a more ethereal, dewy quality and even exhibit a subtle, sweet fruitiness in the first wafts.

A few years ago I started growing roses and lilacs specifically for research into the live plant scents as well as for their glorious aesthetics.  I have to admit that the white lilacs and the Persians are two of my most anticipated blooms.  I can never get enough of them and get just a little sad when they start to recede (even though that means Summer’s right around the corner here in Boulder).   To make a perfume based on these delicate flowers makes me really happy…I could get lost in this luscious but light, sweet lilac haze for sure.


Oranges.  Yes, it’s oranges.  Kind of the odd man out in terms of ‘getting into Spring flowers’ but there it is.  And these are fresh AND spiced.  No, it’s not a pomander (which is so Autumnal and looking toward the Holidays).  This is a new kind of Fire Opal.  It’s ORANGE; a bit fiery still but fresh, juicy and most of all lively.  Not that the older version wasn’t lovely and yes, lively, but I have wanted Fire Opal to be something more.  I guess I want to watch it blossom again.

The reworked Fire Opal is a fresher take; spiced and still tea – laced but with a whiff of warm earth and a noticeable green edge that the first version of Fire Opal didn’t have.  Strangely, it’s the whiff of warm earth that makes it all the more Spring to me. And the fresh juicy-ness mixed with green leaves.  It makes me feel elated and ready for adventure the same way that Springtime does.

Of course, there are even more Spring floral designs that I am still working on so I suspect that they will have to wait to bloom for another Spring.  Well, it’s great to have something to look forward to…right?    Happy Spring everybody!

** PS: We’re celebrating Spring with a SPRING SALE at the site .  Use coupon code bloom14 for 15% off through April 10.

image credit: I found the spring bike image here; peony image found here; white lilac image here; oranges image here

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I’ve thought a lot about the concept of acceptance;  in the last couple of years especially.  It is easy, as you can imagine, to accept what is beautiful, sweet and glowing but not so much what is unruly, misshapen, dark, and even tragic.  And yet so much of life is made up of these ‘less than perfect’ experiences, things, people (ourselves)…and it is acceptance that makes happiness possible in this world.  I am still working on all manner of acceptance but doing the work involved brings me opportunities otherwise unavailable.


So, it is with many meanings in mind that I gratefully accept the privilege of the “Dragon’s Loyalty Award”.    I had never heard of it until Dan, from Apothecary’s Garden nominated me but I am very glad to know about it.  It feels very human and real to me after having read what Dan had to say about it:  “The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is self-explanatory, though there is loyalty given, loyalty received, there is also a loyalty one sees in others who are authentic, or genuine in their writing.  They maintain a loyalty to self.”  I don’t mean to imply that there is anything less than perfect about the award, but I do get the sense that loyalty and true authenticity come with all the beauty and the warts, together.  At this point, I am coming to accept and cherish that.

It has taken me a surprisingly long time to even figure out how to share this honor and I feel that I should start by mentioning that I have had very little time to read / enjoy blogs since getting pregnant and having a baby (two and a half years ago).  But before that *I did* have more free time to enjoy blogging and reading blogs and so these are my nominees to pass this award to (there won’t be nearly 15, I’m afraid , it’s more like 5 but you will surely notice a theme in the blogs I’ve read):

Ayala’s Smelly Blog:  Ayala Sander has always been an inspiration to many bloggers as well as aspiring Artisan Perfumers.  She shares her joy and her passion on her blog as well as incredible amounts of information.  Her Smelly Blog is always a joy to read.

The Clarimonde Project Blog / indie perfumes blog:  Lucy Raubertas brings an incredible amount of vision and otherworldly aesthetic to her blog indie perfumes and something that I can’t even explain, it’s so lovely, in her Clarimonde Project Blog.  Her dedication to art and artistry is unmatched and her sensibilities are a palpably gorgeous.

The Alembicated Genie: Doesn’t the name tell you something?  Sheila Eggenberger *is* a genie.  She conjures unique realms and universes with her words so beautifully crafted they make one swoon.  Her portrayals of what perfume can do and where it can take you are some of my favorite writings. period.  She is very passionate and tells it just like it is, but in the most graceful and gracious way.

Olfactoria’s Travels: Olfactoria (aka Birgit) has a wonderful perfume blog but even more what I love about it is how she has created a sense of community within the realm of the blogging / perfumista community.  I just love the sense of sharing the passion and love of great perfume and how it fits into our lives.  She’s just fabulous.

Perfumes in Progress: Laurie Erickson’s blog is a lovely insight into a fellow aromatic artist’s world, thoughts, creativity and journey.  She writes with great sincerity and shares so much of what the perfumer’s life is.  It’s always a pleasure to read and I have to thank her for being an inspiration for me to start my blog.  She gave me some wonderful advice when I was contemplating DSH Notebook back in 2010.  {A heartfelt thank you to Laurie!}

I send much love and blessings out to everyone in the blogosphere and again, with gratitude, accept and share the Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  oxox

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Hi!  to everyone who stopped by and entered the drawing for La Reine des Fleurs!  It’s been a rather crazy week but we did choose some names at random (my husband picked names out of a hat.  We rock it old school around here…) and here are the winners:

• Maddie C.

• Yash

• Kimberly Kennedy

Please email me at dsh@dshperfumes.com with your addresses, etc and I will send along the 3 ml La Reine des Fleurs EdP sprays to you.  I hope that you will love them!

happy weekend to everyone~~~  ox

image credit: rose image can be viewed here.

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