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The Season Is Changing and So Should Your Scent

In my part of the world, Spring has arrived (and so has the heavy yellow-green pollen from all the pine trees: yuck!). The thermometer will rise (along with the humidity) week on week until I'm ready for a vacation at the ice hotel.

I can see you nodding in resignation.

Did you know aromas get more intense as the weather warms up? It makes sense, though, right? On the plus side, fresh herbs really come out once they hit a puddle of hot olive oil. Super yum. On the minus (like BIG minus) side, you can smell the garbage truck before it even arrives at your house. Super eww.

 You know what the people around you can smell in the dog days of summer—from several feet away? That spicy oriental you love so much and spritzed on this morning. And you know what? It's making them hate you.

Don't be that person.

When higher temps arrive, it's time to lighten your scent. As your skin warms up, it makes the scent there radiate farther from your body and seem much, much stronger than it...

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Over the Sea to Skye

Where's your favorite place in nature? The place that touches you to your core?

Mine is at any body of water, but the coast specifically. It almost doesn't matter what coast—I just need the surf rolling to shore, a salty breeze, and an occasional glimpse of sun. I'm actually happier walking along the water's edge when it's cooler. And quieter. And, well, a good deal less bright.

Here's the thing: I'm really pale. I mean, like, burst-into-flames-vampiresque pale. I've known two shades my whole life: porcelain white and lobster red. Clouds are my friends.

I found the perfect combination of my favorite seaside elements in Scotland last August. Touring there was like a bucket within my bucket list: every time we neared a coastline I became giddy.

What about you: do you come to life around water? Like each wave that hits the shore takes your worries with it as it rolls back to sea? That's what it does to me. I'm invigorated and calmed by the surf at the same time.

For our 10-day...

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The Fragrances of My Life (So Far)

My love of perfume started when I was about 9 years old with a couple of mini bottles of upscale scents my grandfather gave me during an ice storm cousins’ slumber party at his house. The standout among those precious bottles, and my go-to through my late-’20s, was Chanel’s Cristalle Eau de Toilette. The description on a vintage box I recently found online is spot on: “A brilliant burst of fragrance with the freedom of cologne and the force of perfume.” Reading that now and looking back through my perfume choices over the years makes me realize that’s the effect against which I’ve judged all other scents.

It’s not surprising, then, that I found most women’s perfumes in the ’80s and ’90s overpowering or cloyingly floral, or both. During my teen years I routinely embarrassed my best friend by trying on all the men’s scents at department-store fragrance counters. I preferred the earthy “realness” of...

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Beauty in the Breakdown

Fear is a powerful thing. It can color your every thought, darkening every corner of the mind, extinguishing hope. Around this time last year, I encountered such fear in myself, recognizing it for what it was, acknowledging it, and letting it sink into my bones.

You see, just weeks before, the person I love most in this world was lying in a coma following a cardiac arrest and we didn't know if he would return to us or how different he would be if we were blessed enough to get him back. Throughout the 10-day ordeal, I took each day as it came, refusing to believe that the supreme being who'd taken my father in such a similar manner would take this incredible man, too. So, I stood strong--breathed in, breathed out--and kept going.

But, once he did make it back, and I brought him home, and I lay awake all night listening for his steady breathing, and I knew he was safe--that he was truly going to be okay--the fear that had been masquerading as calm all along finally showed itself for...

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Scents of the Summer Gone-By

While I'm not particularly a fan of summer (and I realize that may not be a popular attitude), I am amazed and somewhat saddened that, as of this weekend, it's officially over. I can do without the heat—and the humidity simply has to go—but summer has always held the promise of leisure and enjoyment, and it feels wasted when not lived to the fullest. So I did my best to make the most of the places I managed to visit, which, for me this summer, meant kicking my nose into high gear. Let me explain. 

When someone comes to my studio to compose their own eau de parfum, we often start our conversation with the scents they already wear. My guests rightfully expect me to be familiar with the majority of what's on the market, but to be honest, I've been making whatever my heart desires for such a long time (since 1998, to be exact) that I've gotten out of the habit of exploring what's out there. But that means I'm not only falling short of my customers' expectations, I'm...

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