If you are a fragrance-fiend or have a passion for perfume, chances are you are familiar with Angela St. John and her wildly imaginative aromatic enchantments at Solstice Scents. Angela is brilliant at bottling atmospheres, and creates original, ingenious fragrances by illustrating new worlds, abstract concepts and experiences in an olfactive format.
It was through Angela’s perfumed portrayal of a handful of delectable gourmand concepts, that I, a former enemy of the entire family of foodie-fragrances, finally started becoming less hostile toward, for example, chocolate-, cakey, honey- or caramel-forward scents! And though no doubt it is due to her skilled artistry as a perfumer, evoking imagery of these delicious treats through her molecular smell-sorcery (or smell-science, depending on how you think about these things), she is also an extraordinarily gifted story-teller–through both her fragrances and their accompanying narratives, she crafts scented spaces, places, and times that utterly delight and transport.
I have gotten to know Angela over the years, and she, herself, is a delight! We geek out over perfumes and cocktails, smelling-notes and tasting-notes, and it’s a top-priority bucket-list item to actually get a chance to sit down with her and swoon over these things in person. Few things give me more joy than communing with a kindred spirit, and I definitely consider Angela one such like-minded soul.
Speaking of things that bring us joy…! Our Ten Things Installment this month is Angela’s ten things that bring her joy, and I don’t know about you, but I have had a Very Bad Week, and I could certainly use a bit of that elusive joy right now. And for those among you up north, enduring your umpteenth snow storm–I remember what it was like to live in that weather, and how, by the time February rolls around, it feels like winter has persisted for 100 years and it will be winter and snow and cold and misery eternally, forever. I’ll bet you could also use some some ideas and items for your rituals and practice of coping stress and sadness, and some tools for mental wellness and peace. Some things to bring some light and joy into your heart…or your ears, or nose, or whatever works for you! See below and bliss out to some of Angela’s suggestions.
I enjoy burning resins and woods within my home for a variety of reasons: mental, spiritual/intentional and for the sheer pleasure of being enveloped in the aromatics. While I enjoy smoldering resins on charcoal, this method often creates a fumigating level of smoke in the room. For a more subtle experience that generates less smoke and loads of fragrance, utilizing an electric warmer for resins, oud, sandalwood chips and so on creates a beautiful olfactory setting for your sacred space. You have control over the temperature so you may set it higher for resins or slightly lower for woods and dried botanical blends.
I’ve had my warmer for many years and use it frequently. I highly recommend Katlyn’s Dragon’s Tears and Kyphi to go with the warmer. Her resins and palo santo are also of the highest quality.
On the topic of incense, Shoyeido Nokiba is my top favorite incense stick and my daily burn. It is a gorgeous natural blend of aromatic woods and plants. I collect incense from all over the world but prefer the Japanese style for its fragrant expression and the lower smoke production from its Tibetan or Indian counterparts. I’ve tried a variety of blends from several of the top Japanese houses and this particular one remains my favorite. I always start my day with a stick of Nokiba and foresee this ritual to continue for as long as Nokiba is in production. The affordable price tag makes it an easy daily practice to indulge in.
This highly effective and convenient blend of plant allies lovingly assists with the pain associated with our moon times. I make my own blend for myself featuring cramp bark as the main active paired with skullcap, mints, marshmallow root and more, but I have tried and highly recommend the “Moon Ease” blend if you do not have a connection with a local herbalist or do not already make your own blend.
I am linking to an extensive article that I wrote on this far infrared therapy (FIR) mat for anyone interesting in learning more. Over the years, I’ve introduced many aspects of vibrational therapy/energy healing into my life as an overall protocol to reduce stress/lower cortisol levels, heal mind and body and instill a sense of peace in my daily life. I utilize many different tools from sound therapy (see #5), aromatherapy, crystal therapy/gem essences, flower essences and FIR. I have both a full size FIR mat for the whole body and a few small mats for my office chair and bedroom.
FIR is able to get hotter than and penetrate deeper than traditional heating pads. I use this during my moon time to ease pain, for sore back and muscles and for general mood lifting and relaxing. The FIR passes through the pounds of gemstones (amethyst, tourmaline ceramic and obsidian) and emits negative ions which have been shown to lift the mood. I utilize my large mat everyday while reading, journaling or napping and also use it as a sauna since the mat comes with a Mylar space blanket and can reach up to approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit. I enjoy laying the small TAO mat across my stomach when winding down after dinner to help digest and relax before bed. The warmth is extremely relaxing and I absolutely cannot do without it as a part of my daily ritual. It’s especially great to do crystal body layouts while laying on the large mat and it is an excellent place to meditate as well.
The link above will take you to one of my favorite examples of singing bowls and sound therapy. I recommend that you use headphones, if you have them available, in order to experience being submerged in the sound and to feel the vibrations going through your body.
Sound therapy covers a whole host of techniques under the wider umbrella of vibrational therapy/energy healing modality. It focuses on utilizing sound through either instruments or vocal toning to affect change on a mental, spiritual and physical level. A theory exists that vibrational frequencies can affect the crystalline structure of water both positively and detrimentally (see Masaru Emoto’s work). As beings primarily made up of water, vibrations imbued with loving intention can perhaps change our very makeup. I utilize sound therapy to “raise my vibration” and ahead of meditation to help quiet the mind and instill a sense of peace and calm. It is an excellent way to reduce stress, stimulate the pineal gland, plant seeds of intention, affect our energetic biofields (auras) and become closer to source. Vibrational medicine utilizes tools previously mentioned in this article to restore harmonic resonance as one component of holistic healing. I use a variety of instruments in my sound healing practice: crystal singing bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, solfeggio tuning forks, Koshi chimes, ocean drum, Native American flute, tingsha cymbals, rain stick, drums and so on. My favorite tools to affect a dramatic change in mental state are the singing bowls and tuning forks.
If you wish to learn more about sound therapy, check out the work of Jonathan Goldman and one of my top favorite books on the subject by Eileen McKusick, Tuning the Human Biofield. I feel the most effective way to experience sound healing is to work with the instruments yourself, or attend a live sound healing if there are practitioners in your area, as you can really feel the vibrations of them in “live” format. There are many beautiful videos for free on Youtube to begin exploring the soundscape. The hang drum/hand pan and gongs are other examples of otherwordly and beautiful instruments that are wonderful for sound healing. The subject is complex and contains many other modalities and topics such as Rife frequencies, binaural beats, chanting, vocal toning and more to affect your vibration.
Never will I ever be without this incredible planner for as long as they continue to make it. What a game changer. I adore the format, the correspondence information, the areas for intention setting and working with the moon and the aesthetic. It is the perfect planner for me. I use mine to journal, record daily tarot and oracle pulls and set weekly, monthly and yearly intentions – and record their progress with the full moon. I use a planner from Open Sea Design Co. that I purchased at the Haute Macabre store for work tasks, to-do lists and so on but the Magic of I planner is solely for spiritual and journaling purposes. I have a more in depth review on my Instagram here, for those interested.
I love craft cocktails and specifically enjoy unusual bitters, liqueurs and infusions. The palo santo bitters taste exactly like palo santo smells. I love anything and everything palo santo. I’ll take these straight up as a digestive stimulant because I love the taste. I also enjoy them in water, tea (especially the Juniper Ridge Douglas Fir Tips tea) and with Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey or St. George Spirits Terroir Gin. I also enjoy the Bar Keep Lavender bitters with vanilla bean infused vodka or as an addition to blueberry moonshine. The lavender fragrance and aroma is very strong, like lavender essential oil! A bonus craft cocktail favorite of mine is the Royal Rose Organic Rose Syrup; It is amazing with a London dry gin such as No. 3 Gin but pairs wonderfully with a variety of spirits and teas.
I enjoy many of Christi’s perfumes but Antimony stole my heart from the start. We participated with Christi in a project for Cafleurebon called “Project Talisman”. Antimony was Christi’s submission for the project. It is a natural blend comprised of 111 essences. It’s just a stunning fragrance that dries down to the most luxurious and narcotic dragon’s blood type of aroma. I have a more detailed review here
I was hesitant to include this on the list as she does not currently have a batch opening advertised on her site, so if you want to try these amazing cookies you may not be able to until the end of the year. However, I loved them so much and they were a highlight of 2018 for me so here they are. These gluten free cookies are made with the nut meat of white oak acorns that Glorious Forest processes herself. The flavor is similar to gingerbread, without any additional spices or molasses to provide that classic flavor. They are slightly nutty and very buttery. They were just such a special niche food experience and I am dying to get my hands on more! They are especially wonderful paired with her very low sugar Elderberry Jam or with Heidi’s Raspberry Farm’s Lavender Raspberry Jam (which really should be its own favorite on this Ten Things list!)
10. ILNP’s Sirene multichrome polish:
I love polish, especially multichrome’s and holographic polish. Out of the 100+ bottles in my collection, Sirene has to be my top favorite. It is a jewel tone multichrome polish that flashes from teal to dark purple to emerald green. It does require three thin coats with a lot of dry time between coats 2 and 3, but I think it is absolutely worth it for the end result. I usually apply the first coat in the evening, which dries very quickly, then the second and wait until the next morning to apply the third. I prefer not to use a fast drying top coat due to damage they’ve caused my nails, but you may opt to go that route. This color is just mesmerizing, like the chatoyancy you experience in a really saturated flashy labradorite.