Whistle While You Work: A New Playlist from Harper’s Bazaar UK

Image Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar UK

Image Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK

With the grey, cold weather we’ve been having, I’ve been on the lookout for bright new music I can listen to at the studio to combat the winter doldrums and help keep me motivated. Luckily, I found that Harper’s Bazaar UK beat me to it with their celebration of this year’s BRIT Awards via one killer playlist.

Click here to enjoy their list of best tracks from the Brits 2014 performers and winners including Beyonce, Arctic Monkeys, David Bowie and more: http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk/going-out/who-what-where/the=playlist=brits-2014

I hope you enjoy as much as I have! What type of music do you play to pump you up throughout the day?

The Diary of A Nose

Since I’ve built a career in the world of scents, I am always interested to hear what has inspired some of the world’s most renown olfactory experts. Jean-Claude Ellena, the official perfumer of Hermès, shares his thoughts on perfume in his new memoir and I think this will be the perfect summer read for me.

A scent is such a personal thing, capable of transporting you to your past, of kindling fantasies… out of thin air. It is quite a task (one that I love) to create each candle, capturing the essence of the candle’s namesake (Peony, Vetiver, Wild Fern…). And so, in the name of research, I am looking forward to sticking my nose into this memoir by Jean-Claude Ellena, the official perfumer of Hermès: “The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur“. Available now from Rizzoli.

Per the Rizzoli website:

An intimate exploration of inspiration and creativity, from the “parfumeur exclusif” of the house of Hermès. Where does inspiration for this visceral art come from? How does one capture the essence of emotions, of desire? Jean-Claude Ellena has a sublime gift. As “parfumeur exclusif” (or “the nose”) for Hermès, he elevates fragrance to an art form. A “writer of perfume,” his concoctions are as finely composed and evocative as a haiku. He is also a conjurer of sorts: “I create an illusion that is actually stronger than reality . . . you enter the scent and follow the path.” The Diary of a Nose is a collection of Ellena’s meditations on the world of scents, and what stirs his creation of some of the world’s most desired fragrances. Inspiration can come from anywhere—a market stall, a landscape, or even the movement of calligraphy. Though each smell has its own distinct character, a gifted perfumer creates olfactory experiences that are intensely personal and unique, that blossom on the body and leave a trace of us lingering after we have left a room. Seductive, delicate, and elegant as any of Ellena’s creations, The Diary of a Nose seeks to capture the most elusive facets of this rarefied and mysterious art.

About the Author

Jean-Claude Ellena has been the exclusive perfumer to the house of house of Hermès since 2004. Over the course of his career he has created some of the world’s bestselling fragrances, including “First” from Van Cleef & Arpels, “Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert” from Bulgari, and “Déclaration” from Cartier.

Happy Easter & Passover!

Image courtesy of marthastewart.com

With both Passover and Easter coming up this weekend, I’m sure everyone is busy planning menus and prepping for lots of time spent with family and friends. I’ll be celebrating Easter and since I always love a craft project the family can do together, Dyeing Easter eggs has always been a favorite family activity. Today I’m busy getting our crafting supplies in order.

I happened upon this easy tutorial and am intrigued by the Homemade Dyes D.I.Y. in this post from AllRecipes.com:

To make your own natural dyes, boil common ingredients in water with a tablespoon of vinegar until the desired shade is reached. Strain to remove solids.

  • Yellow: Yellow onion skins, ground turmeric
  • Orange: Same as yellow, with added beet juice
  • Pink: Cranberry juice concentrate
  • Red: Beets, paprika
  • Blue: Canned blueberries, red cabbage, grape juice concentrate
  • Green: Spinach and/or kale
  • Brown: Strong brewed coffee or tea

Many of these can be made with ingredients we have laying around in the pantry, so I think we’ll give some of these colors a whirl. How will you be celebrating your respective holidays this weekend?

The Perfect Getaway: Park City

image courtesy of washingtonschoolhouse.com

I’m currently in Park City enjoying the beautiful mountains and shops with my daughter, Hannah.  We are here for a friend’s bat mitzvah and decided to stop into visit one of our retail partners, a breathtaking luxury boutique hotel in Park City, Utah, called the Washington School House Hotel.

The Washington School House is an iconic historic landmark and after the completion of a total interior renovation, this fabulously preserved 1889 limestone gem reopened in December 2011. The concept? To provide a level of chic sophistication to a discerning traveler that is outside the box. We were fortunate to meet Jessica, the general manager & Haley, front desk. Jessica gave us a view of one of their lovely 2 story king rooms and everything about this boutique hotel of 12 special rooms is lovely, curated and elegant.

You can get all the specifics on the hotel on their website link but some of my favorite highlights included the gorgeous artwork throughout, the found opera mirror from France above the mantle in the gathering room, and the meticulous attention to detail in designing and decorating this gem in Park City. I look forward to coming back and indulging in this lovely hotel in the future and I highly recommend you come for a visit!

Favorite Fall recipes & inspired scents

Image courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Besides the colorful foliage, another thing I look forward to in Fall is breaking out my favorite recipes and sharing them with family and friends. It’s become such a tradition that some of my recipes have even found their way into an inspired food-themed candle like French Pear (inspired by an apple-pear crisp I’ll mention below) and Pumpkin! The pomander candle is one we’ve based on our Swedish family tradition of scoring oranges with fresh cloves to perfume the house for the holidays. They can be put in a beautiful bowl or tied with red ribbon and hung around the house, and the smell is captured perfectly in our wax rendering!

Right now, we’re making lots of soups with seasonal vegetables to keep warm on chilly days. We are also baking pumpkin bread (both regular and gluten/dairy free versions to accommodate my daughter’s gluten allergy) and enjoying hot apple cider. I also just made a delicious apple pear crisp created by one of our favorite cooks, Ina Garten!

I thought you might like to see some of my recipes and I’d love to see yours as well! Here are a few of our favorites:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

  • 1/2 cup butter or vegetarian substitute for non-dairy
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour, blend
  • 1.5 cups white rice flour,1.5 cups sorghum flour, .5 cups tapioca starch, 4 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, and lightly grease a bread pan. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well after each one. Add Vanilla and pumpkin and mix until well-blended. In a separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until combined. Be careful not to over-mix. Pour into prepared bread pan and bake one hour to one hour and ten minutes. ENJOY!

And here’s the recipe from Ina Garten that I used to make the Apple Pear Crisp. I used the gluten-free flour mix above in place of the multipurpose flour for Gluten Free and substituted the vegan butter for real butter. It is delicious! I also reduced the amount of sugar in the apple/pear mix to half because the fruit should be nice and ripe.

I hope you enjoyed this quick visit to our country kitchen and bon appétit! 

Linnea’s Lights gets wick-ed for Halloween

image courtesy of marthastewart.com

The leaves have started to change and it’s finally beginning to feel like Fall. The kids are throwing around the cutest Halloween costume ideas and I’m happy to be thinking about ways to decorate the house for the occasion.

For this I turn to the professionals at Martha Stewart and see what D.I.Y. projects the family can work on together to make this home a Haunted House! This year, I’m loving these adorable vampire and bat pumpkins, petrified potion displays (which remind me of some of the beautiful bottles we use in the studio), and these “shocking” silhouettes which will fit perfectly above a cluster of our Linnea’s Lights Pumpkin candles!

Want a little help readying your home for the festivities? Pick up a Pumpkin candle of your own here and get crafting!

Fresh Summer Pastimes

Image courtesy of www.keeperofthehome.org

After our wonderful family vacation in France, it’s business as usual here in Indiana and we’re busy getting the factory ready for Fall & Holiday. Aside from all the wonderful goings-on and delicious new scents in the works at the office, I have been indulging in some of my favorite pastimes: going for a walk in the neighborhood, gardening and, recently, teaching the kids the importance of living green.

Since Linnea’s Lights is an environmentally mindful company, I felt it an important lesson to imprint on those precious young minds. Last night, we picked all of our bountiful tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers from our home garden. We had the most wonderful salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil from the garden with a drizzle of olive oil from our to trip to Mausanne les Alpilles and a sprinkling of sea salt from Camargue. It was heavenly!

Lately we’ve also enjoyed shopping at the local farmers market together. It’s a great way to spend some productive quality time together, see our neighbors and shop locally. When we can’t get it from our own garden, we know we’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables there, and the vibrant colors are almost hypnotizing. Nothing beats biting into a juicy piece of watermelon on these hot August days, plus it’s the perfect destination for fresh scent inspiration; it’s all about the multi-tasking, after all!

What hobbies have you picked up this summer?

Christmas in July

We are so excited to be taking part in The Markoff Group‘s Christmas in July event, going on today and tomorrow at the incredible Vosges SoHo store.

It’s hard to believe it’s already that time again… Christmas in July. The Markoff Group has included us in their very special press preview, July 19th & 20th featuring their very favorite clients along with their Fall & Holiday releases. It’s a perfect chance to start those wish lists and between Vosges chocolates, wine from Pasanella and Son, our candles & Hester van Eeghan handbags and accessories, we can promise there are surprises in store.

For starters, there’s a sneak peek at our brand new masculine scent, Vetiver, which we’re thrilled to launch this Fall, along with our top Holiday limited edition scents like Fireside, Forest Fir and Winter, available in a special gift set or as long burning 9 oz. candles.

Ocean

image courtesy of facstaff.unca.edu

Lynn and I have shared so many good times on our visits to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, enjoying fond memories of both coasts. Who could forget the taste of Maine lobster fresh from the ocean or those breathtaking views we glimpsed from the cliffs of HWY 1? Always in motion, the salt water of the ocean is a proven antiseptic and has been used to cleanse and purify for as long as man has existed. This fresh, pure scent inspires the feeling of floating and weightlessness.

Our Ocean candle is available from Juxtaposition Home & Studio.

lavender…

Lavender

Revered in ancient Rome for it’s healing properties and relaxing scent, lavender once cost Roman’s the equivalent of a month’s wages or more.  An exquisitely luxurious flower, lavender is said to sooth headaches and improve sleep quality.  This scent infuses lavender’s healing effects with rosemary’s sensual woody undertone and lively citrus top notes, releasing the true power of this transcendent flower. Lighting this candle releases a tranquil and refreshing scent guaranteed to lighten any mood.

Available at Sesame and Lilies