Perfume Illuminated : Tea for Two


                                                        FLAVOR: Beth Schreibman Gehring

 I have a very long and friendly history with the regal camellia sinensis shrub, more commonly known to us all as a delightful cup of tea!  Growing up my parents had many beautiful tea sets and my mother let me play with them all, throwing my friends and me lovely tea parties on a regular basis. Lately, I've really been craving great tea and obsessing over every thought of it. I've reread every book about tea that I own and have gone out to buy a few more. I fantasize endlessly about opening a tearoom or perhaps a fancy French tea salon where my friends and I can drape ourselves seductively on lovely chaise lounges while talking of politics and other worldly things! I own way too many teapots and tea sets ,  talismans that I’ve been collecting since  I acquired a fascination with the tea drinking lifestyle when I was a little girl.

 Fortunately for a child like me, I had a mother with fabulous style and incredible taste, who made it a point to introduce me to the joys of afternoon tea very early on in my life! Some of my favorite memories are of the darling silver child sized tea set that she owned that was her grandmothers and she used to let all of us play with it whenever we wanted to.  I had strep throat a lot when I was a child and this same mother used to bring me tea and breakfast in bed when I was ill. She’d serve it on beautiful lavender and white breakfast dishes set beautifully on a white wicker bed tray.  I always got better quickly, but not until I'd milked at least two more days of lavish spoiling out of her! Her open - faced toasted cheese sandwiches with sliced tomato were legendary and still the best medicine that I know.  


No matter where I've been in the world with my mother, we always made time for tea. (Martini's too as I got older, but that's another story!) High teas, breakfast teas, luncheon teas, bridal teas, tea dances...whatever the occasion we’ve created parties around tea for it!I remember enjoying incredibly delicious high teas with her and my father all over England. We enjoyed  tea together  at the Savoy , Claridges, The Dorchester and the London Ritz. I remember one exquisite moment with my dad when we were walking down a cobblestone street in Stratford on Avon and we stumbled across a bakery at teatime. Moments later we were skipping hand in hand down the street with cookie cones filled with chocolate ganache , covered in rich dark chocolate and laughing like drunken fools.   Serious bliss…. I can still taste them.

The Savoy

The Tea Box restaurant nestled in the basement of Takashimaya- New York in New York City was our other favorite spot and my mother loved it because of the delicious teas that they serve and the thoroughly unusual food presentations. You can choose beautiful sandwiches of tea smoked chicken breast and wasabi mayonnaise or a delectable curried crab roll or a pressed sweet rice cake with cucumber or salmon. Their sweets are wonderful, how about a green tea crème brulee or a chocolate mascarpone tart?  Takashimaya’s tearoom brings back such exceptional memories because when I was a child we always had foreign students who claimed us as their family. They brought their wonderful traditions with them to our home for dinner on a regular basis. One of these students, a young engineer at Case Western Reserve University named Hisashi decided that he wanted to marry his girlfriend and so we planned a completely traditional Japanese tea ceremony for them.  I’ll never forget that day, because it was then that I developed a love for Matcha and the elegant ritual surrounding it.  The smells , tastes and the sounds of that moment were incredibly intoxicating and I still have my little 

slippers and my kimono to remind me of that beautiful day.


When I joined the family business and became the Director of Marketing , I  learned of the ability that a simple cup of tea possesses  to create  a relaxing end to the day.    We were consistently traveling on business together and mom and I would stop working everyday at 4:00 to find  the nearest tearoom.  She loved the tea at the Ritz Carlton, but her favorite was the Palm Court at The Drake Hotel in Chicago and not even the Tea Room at the Plaza Hotel in New York City could upstage it in her heart. At the Drake they serve their tea in beautiful porcelain teapots and the sandwiches are always fresh and filled with the most wonderful bites of flavor. Roast beef and caramelized onion jam anyone? What about smoked trout, sliced potato and dill?  A meyer lemon curd tartlet with fresh raspberries? Would you like a glass of champagne with your tea?  Heaven.

.Drake_hotel_palm_court_tea Dorchester Tea

 So many of the promotions that I created for our store were tea parties because there's just something about lovely little sandwiches, wonderful cookies and Wedgwood teapots that can make anyone, even a very masculine man feel incredibly romantic! I love watching my husband when he’s holding a beautiful porcelain cup with his very strong hands. I may be a bit of a Dixie chick at heart, but   that sight just gets me every time.   I spent many a Mother’s Day having dozens of children join me in our store for tea parties just like my mother had created for us. My sales help thought that I was crazy and maybe I was, but we had so much fun together.  Each white  gloved child learned to brew and pour tea for their mothers and we had little skirted tables and chairs everywhere with fancy teacups and plates for them to use. Nothing ever got broken and I’m still stopped every now and then by one of those young women now all grown up who remember all of the fun that they had. 

I love remembering the last birthday party that my sister and I gave for our mother before her death as it was on the occasion of her 85th birthday. There was no question that it was to be an afternoon tea that we would have at The Cleveland Ritz Carlton. We invited 50 of her closest friends and required that everyone wear a hat and pearls because we knew she’d love it!  It was an incredible day and our mother was so incredibly happy. We sipped tea, drank champagne and ate dozens of little finger sandwiches.   There were flowers everywhere, a harpist and the most beautiful lemon cake covered with fresh orchids.  It was the happiest tea party that I’ve ever been to, watching my mother laughing and enjoying her friends and family.  When it was over she pulled me aside to kiss me and tell me just how much she’d enjoyed the day. My mother always had a strange ability to know the future and when she looked into my eyes I knew that she somehow knew that it was going to be her last tea party. I didn’t want to see that and when she thanked me for it I really choked up.  Afternoon tea isn’t quite the same without her, because she possessed superb social skills and the bawdiness of Auntie Mame as well as the tea leaf reading skills of a gypsy.  She never apologized for her raucousness and was always a lady, but she knew how to break the rules really well!

 I can’t wait to be as fun a grandmother as she was….when my niece and I are together we always have tea(or a martini…Grey Goose on the rocks with a twist and a splash of water!) 


   Me and mom 





In life she was a very witchy woman and  still frequently makes her presence known. I dream of her often and about a month ago she whispered to me somewhere in the night that I needed to give up my beloved espresso for good and stop drinking the black teas  which she said “are making you really bitchy darling and raising your blood pressure”.  “ Your grandmother loved green tea with jasmine,so try that dear…you’ll see.” I woke up in a bit of a cold sweat, wondering how she’d known about my blood pressure  which was really beginning to make me nervous. I guess that mothers always do know best for green tea is reputed to have a beneficial effect on hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and certain “indelicate feminine issues” (like bitchiness).  I’ve been drinking the jasmine green tea ever since and I’m happy to say that my blood pressure is lower now than it was 20 years ago when it was already good.  My hormones are also much more balanced and my husband swears that I’m less jittery. All of that from a cup of something so incredibly pleasurable! Green tea scented with Jasmine is incredibly fragrant and by itself a very fine perfume. Maybe if I'm really nice to her , Roxana will make me some to would be luscious,refreshing and perfect for the hot and sticky summer months! 

If you want to make tea sandwiches like my mother you must remember several things. Use only the highest quality and most thinly sliced white bread with the crusts cut off. Cut each piece into half on the diagonal and cut one more more time so that there are 4 triangles in each slice. Rub each edge with a bit of good mayonnaise (only Hellmans, she'd be absolutely appalled if she knew that I use vegannaise) and dip each end into some chopped parsley. Use only the freshest fillings. Her favorites were simple, watercress with roast beef and boursin, cucumber with smoked salmon or a mushroom duxelle which is ridiculously simple to make. Just take several cups of mushrooms and saute' them until well cooked in a bit a butter with a little onion and a touch of dry sherry. Put them into a food processor, mash them for a bit and spread them onto the bread triangles.  I love to gild the lily with that one by adding a bit of smoked chicken and a bit of a crunchy apple. Last but not least..Always enjoy them with good champagne!


Last but not least for a wee bit of British fun...One of my favorite clips from "Keeping up Appearances!" featuring Patricia Rutledge as Hyacinth Bucket  (" No that's Bouquettttttttt.....not Bucket" ! 

Perfect to watch with your morning cup o' tea!








Now that you're good and hungry, 

please go over to read more about tea for two and fragrance at:

    Roxana Villa's Illuminated Journal


Most photographs are by Beth Schreibman Gehring with the exception of the Perfume Illuminated image by Roxana Villa. 

Tea at the Savoy  is courtesy of the Savoy Hotel in London, tea at the Drake Courtesy of the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The Tea Box image is courtesy of Takashimaya. 



Stirring the Senses ~ Creating Magical Environments and Seasonal Celebrations!

So instead of writing a new book, I've added well over 100 pages to the original "Stirring the Senses". This is the new forward that I've written but true to my nature I've kept the old one in there as well. I enjoy seeing where I've been in the process of envisioning where I'm going and if you like what you read it will be available on Amazon by the beginning of next week!


Foreword ~ 2015

“The air is different today. The Wind sings with a new tone, sighing of changes coming. The harvest gathered, a flower, a nut, some mead, and bread. A candle and a prayer returning the fruits in thanksgiving to the grove and receiving it’s blessing again.”

Rhawk ~Alban Elfad

So much has happened since I wrote the first foreword for the first edition of this book last year. I am so grateful to those who bought Stirring the Senses, read it and wrote me to let me know that they loved it. This new edition was originally going to be titled “Home for the Holidays” until I realized that so much of my writing about life’s celebrations was already in the first book.

Rather than steal it back and republish it, I decided to add it into the original Stirring the Senses. What you’ve got in your hands now is over a 1oo plus pages stronger, and it’s filled with even more tips and tricks for creating a delicious sort of life, as well some of my favorite recipes for the holidays and other times.

Life has been a whirlwind of wonderful experiences this year; a much needed winter spent in San Diego walking the beach with my husband, Alex and Angie and my sister Ellen, Mud baths in Napa, incredible talks that I’ve gotten to create and give on cooking, entertaining and herbs, television appearances and time spent caring for the beautiful herb gardens lovingly tended by the herb ladies of The Western Reserve Herb Society.

 There was some sadness as I lost my sweet Zoe girl at the ripe old cat age of 18, but such is the wheel of life and the reminder is that what we make of the simple things that happen to us is who we become. She wouldn’t want me to stay sad for very long, she’d want me to keep on making cat treats for Mooshka.

 There is so much more to life than we realize and we are much vaster beings than we understand. The process of BECOMING is the best journey ever. Trust me on this and listen to your own hearts beat.

Listen, breathe and begin to create exactly what you want. Don’t wait! Even if you believe in multiple lifetimes or a afterlife, treat this life as the only one you’ve got!

My personal mission for my life is a simple one and if I’ve helped you fall madly in love with your life whether again or for the first time then I’ve succeeded. I truly just want to make everything around me beautiful as Elsie De Wolfe said before me, or as my mother used to say, “Make Everyday a day for Candles and Wine!”

What do I know now that I didn’t really know last year? Nothing is impossible. Listen closely to your own inner quakings. Don’t ignore them. Begin to act, envision and journey towards the life that you really want. The law of attraction is real, not just some New Age yellow brick road to an imaginary Oz. It’s time to live the life that you’ve always dreamed of and all you have to do is begin dreaming it and the beauty of dreaming is that you can begin wherever you are. 

Almost 13 years ago I closed one chapter and looked around. I’d had enough.  My son was beginning to become a teenager and I’d been running a business for decades. I didn’t know him and I wanted to be there for him. So I made a wish.

Be careful what you ask for…the very next year I closed down an almost century old family business. It was time. At the point that I began to explain on an almost weekly basis what a sauce spoon was needed for, I realized that the world was changing and you know what? It was ok!

 I stayed at home and I began to write. It was a dream that I’d had since 8th grade, but had been told that I’d never been any good at it. I decided not to listen to those voices and instead I focused on cooking, raising my son, loving my husband, caring for my aging parents and WRITING! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I sat down at my enormous HP laptop, a dinosaur that weighed at least 15 pounds and taught myself to blog. 

That’s when Stirring the Senses was born.

Thirteen years can go by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been blessed and I want to inspire you to do the same. So whatever it is that you’re longing to create, choose it now. It doesn’t matter what IT is, because you don’t need anyone’s approval, only your own. It’s not a sin to not do something if your hearts not in it, even if everyone around you thinks you should. You’ll fail at it, or more to the point, you might succeed, but always below your level of true contentment and that's not what you were born for.

 Go on and do what you want to do. We weren’t born to suffer, we weren’t born to just “Make it”. It takes time, practice and more than a little bit of being your own cheerleader. You can bring whatever you want to bring into your life in the blink of an eye just by living your life as if you have already achieved it.  

Go on and begin to daydream again. Get your head back in the clouds where it was before a parent or teacher clipped your wings and told you that you needed to be "realistic". Become the artist that paints or better yet, wildly finger paints your life. Color outside of the lines and draw on the walls! 

That’s when life gets fun. Things start to appear and you realize that at one point along the way you thought about making it happen. Like getting to go to New York City to present your book at Whole Foods and on the stage of the Lincoln Center with your husband and one of your BFF's cheering you on. Like the opportunity to rewrite this book or the opportunity to have a holiday cooking segment on a popular morning TV show. Like wishing for, suddenly and truly out of the blue getting and giving loving and needed closure to an very important friendship that ended badly. Like getting to go to Montreal after wishing to go to Montreal because your husband suddenly gets invited to go for business and you’ve got nothing to do for five days but ride the metro, eat in bistros, drink great wine and visit museums and markets. Like waking up one day and finding out that one of your blog posts has been read over 5000 times in one day. 

i am nothing but grateful. 

Life is magic if you allow magic to live and that starts within you. If more of us begin to define, explore and create our bliss not by others expectations of us but by our own, then the world can’t help but become a more authentic, peaceful and abundant place. There is more than enough bliss to go around. You just have to choose the courage to begin.

Please start now. You're needed here.


Autumnal Equinox 2015  



Outlander Love Affair ~ Protecting the Glorious Artistic Feast that is Outlander



I realize that I'm probably about to anger a lot of people but I've got to say it. I'm completely freaked out by the fact that Terry Dresbach, creator of the beautiful costuming that we have enjoyed on Outlander has felt the need to cry  "Uncle" ,  after trying to protect the exquisite beauty of the costuming work that she does to make every episode of Outlander so very special. 

I'm talking about the repeated  exchanges that I've witnessed on her Twitter account, by fans who feel that her work somehow belongs to us  and that if someone takes a fairly unprofessional shot of of the beautiful costuming that she's creating and it gets posted on FB, that she shouldn't feel like her work isn't being seen completely as she intends? Hasn't any one else noticed that quite suddenly, Starz isn't giving us the kind of teasing gorgeous photographs that we enjoyed when Outlander Season 1 was brand new and oh so special? They know the value of their brand and they don't want it cheapened.  

Granted, I come from a family of artists. I see what Terry does as sacred, not simply commercial. When I see the shots that are not being released by Starz, but by paparazzi and even passers-by, I feel almost like I've been cheated of something. I feel as if I'm not seeing them in the way that the artist intended, because I'm not seeing them as part of the whole beauty that is Outlander.  So I don't look at them and I don't post them on my site "Outlander Love Affair" I especially don't post them if I know that the creators of the show don't want them posted. I consider it my responsibility   as the leader of a fairly large group of fans to help keep the mystery , enchantment and the excitement alive. 


What I'm uncomfortable with is the sense of entitlement that I feel from a part of the fandom that seems to want to settle for Hamburger Helper when what Terry, Ron and company want to give us is an abundant visual feast. I don't want them to feel that we have so little respect for what they are creating for us that they feel compromised in any way. I want the highest quality product for my Starz dollars that they can produce. I want that if Terry and company says, "Please don't release that yet" that we respect that request and wait patiently for the quality that they've proved that  they will be bringing us. I'm not talking about the pics of  Sam and Cait with fans. I love those and I'm quite certain that those are not a problem at all. 

Think about it. If we'd seen The Wedding Dress or Jamie's glorious green velvet and his kilt  for months on end before "The Wedding", would we have been as astonished as we were when we saw it in all of it's glory, in the luscious setting with one gorgeous Jamie Fraser , would we have been so moved? 

The answer is no. We saw some lovely photographs a month or so before, but they served to whet our appetites and unlock our imaginations. 

Outlander-wedding-picture                           These photos are the context in which I want to see the costuming.

It's all part of a gorgeous, glorious,  artistically profound whole.

Outlander is a multimedia feast. We have beautiful music, gorgeous settings, beautiful costuming and amazing acting, production and direction. Waiting for all of it to come together in one gorgeous tableau is a bit like waiting and planning for the first the first time that you make love with someone special and new. It's all in the imagination...the gray space between the ears. It's the space that brought Jamie and Claire to life for us all these many years in the descriptions in Diana's amazing books. 

Now Terry is an incredibly accomplished adult, married to an amazing guy, and she certainly doesn't need me to defend her.  Neither of them would know me if I tripped in front of them walking down the street. I bet though, that if I did, Terry would be one of the first to run over and help me up. She's caring in that way. I've been watching for months now as both she and Ron have been generous with us on their twitter feeds, interacting with us as if we mattered.

I've watched both of them be verbally attacked by fans who aren't satisfied, who feel the need to air every grievance that they have with the show, with the casting, with the time between seasons, and most recently, with whether or not Terry should be upset if her gorgeous work is seen before it's time and not in the light that she'd want it seen in. 

 She is a real person, with real feelings just like you and me. She shares a lot of her life with us, beautiful pictures of the places she goes and the people  and critters she meets. She's very tenderhearted. She adores her husband and she has to watch,  listen and defend herself and him on a very regular basis because somehow we think that we can demand that of her.  Has anyone ever stopped to wonder what that kind of life must be like?

Yes, it's glamorous, but it's without roots. She has to make a home wherever the work finds her. Her husband is often gone.  What I've noticed is that she's a nurturer, someone who likes to care for and connect. She's been very present all this time building a relationship with us, as a fandom which is more that I can say for any other TV show that I've ever fallen in love with. No one from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman ever wrote to me personally and thanked me for being a fan. 

Personally? I think that it's time to give that love and friendship back.  I'd love to see her treated with  the kindness that she's shown us by allowing us to be a part of her life. I love to see that her work, which is really art, is treated as such. I want my glorious Starz stills back. They show us the costuming as it's meant to be seen. 

It's a bit strange being a part of a fandom. I think that we forget in our lust to see the newest pictures of Sam and Cait, what is really going on. Outlander may be TV, but it's gorgeous TV. It's art, gorgeous, glorious art. It's the finest storytelling in the world come to life.


I think it's worth waiting for.  


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Beating Swords into Plowshares.....


It's been a very interesting 24 hours in my life.  It's almost too long a story to tell. Let it suffice to say that when you say that you are done with a certain behavior, if you cross your own boundaries you are in big big trouble with the universe.  I decided a couple of  weeks ago that I was going to stop reacting to every political and cultural shit storm that I saw.  I had begun to feel like fighting about any and every issue was getting in the way of my emotional and physical health. It's truly been much more emotionally satisfying to talk about the things that make me happy.  I'd pretty well decided that I was only going to worry about transforming me. I  put myself on the equivalent of the 12 step programs for activists. "I am powerless over my lust for political and cultural controversy" goes on and on.

So yesterday I woke up to a Facebook post that was bound and determined to trigger all of my worst behaviors and instincts. I'm not even going into the details but you can probably figure out if you know me well that it had everything to do with current Republican and Democratic political chaos. I went into blame mode, activist mode and even worse, teaching mode ; the political activist methodology and manifesto of "you're too stupid to be able to comprehend this unless I throw it in your face" mode. 

As the day progressed it got worse. I fed the addiction by looking at Facebook constantly and editing the post....feeling the shame, feeling the righteousness... all of it. 

Then we went out to dinner with a couple we'd just met, one of whom really reminded me of my mother. My mother was many wonderful things and I really loved her. One of the things that she was the most ego-identified with was her activism. We marched together many times in Washington, she was always rallying about something. I loved that about her and that part of her nature was easily imprinted on me.

That being said, she was a fighter and she never learned the art of surrender. She always played to win  but the shadow side of her personality was when she didn't win it left her  very bitter, fearful and disillusioned. 

 By the time she died she was exhausted from fighting , sick and very very angry. She had (in the Doc's own words) one of the worst strokes they'd ever seen. It was terrible to watch. It was her way of finally escaping a world which she perceived as spinning to quickly out of her control. I know that if she'd simply slowed down, stopped taking it all so personally, stopped trying to control what she couldn't and instead accepting all of the wonder life had brought her, that she might be with us still. 

Moving forward, last nights dinner conversation turned into a diatribe about white entitlement, and then how crazy the current state of the Republican party was. It quickly morphed into railing against Monsanto and of course climate change. The only thing that we didn't chew on was factory farm animals because they were eating meat. It was self serving gluttony at it's finest. It went on for hours and somewhere during the night I began to feel a pain in my eyelid. 

I went to bed feeling as if I'd really overindulged and the pain in my eyelid continued to get worse, swelling larger by the second. I awoke at 3:00 am this morning and it had gotten unbearable, my eye was practically swollen shut. I began wondering what it was that I wasn't willing to "see"?  It was then I'd realized that instant karma had bitten me once again. I went to Facebook, saw that I seduced others into participation and quickly deleted the offending post. Within minutes, the pain began to subside and the swelling began to decrease. It doesn't hurt any more, but what's taken it's place is a small spark of enlightenment.

I participate over and over again with the world in this addictive fashion.  

I'm totally boring to myself and probably others because of it.

What I noticed in the wee hours of the morning is that us self identified liberals, vegans, conservatives, animal rights, gun and planet activists - you name it... there's a crack for it, engage with each other in ways that are just plain mean.  We bludgeon each other. I will always believe in equal rights, fair treatment of animals, fair wages, ending racism, freedom of religion, making love not list goes on and on. I'll always sign petitions, vote, make my voice heard whenever I can. I'm sure that if the spirit moves me, I'll be back in Washington someday , marching for something I believe in.

That being said...I don't think that anyone gave me the right to be a complete and total bully. To hate someone that I don't even know because they might have the audacity not to agree with me. To violate someones energetic, physical and emotional boundaries because I do not approve. 

About anything. 

I don't appreciate having policies and ideologies slammed down my throat, but the irony of that is that I fight back with the same ferocity. I might as well be my own religious zealot and I have that that to thank for my black and swollen eye. I beat my self up with hypocrisy.

The funny thing is? All of this fighting that we're doing with each other is just making the energy that loves to divide us even stronger. 

We will never free the whales, stop the trophy hunting, end the needless abuse of factory farming, stop nuclear proliferation, curb terrorism,  end racism and religious intolerance, let alone save the planet and all of us on it, if we don't find another way to communicate with each other. 

Currently, I've started to wonder if many of us aren't using the smokescreen of "activism" for evil. You know what I's the thrilling high you get when you've made someone wrong about something they believe in, that of course you're right about. It's the gossip you indulge in about the behavior of liberals , conservatives, gun owners and meat eaters and vegans gone wild.

Political activism is my crack and I give it power over me that instead I need to own in the name of love.  

I find myself wondering how much further ahead we'd all be if we stopped shouting and started listening to each other for a bit. I am wondering how much more effective we'd be if we stopped feeding our addictions to self-righteousness? What life might be like if we asked "why" instead of screaming "wrong". What would happen if we slowed down enough to look at the whole, instead of expecting the world to be fashioned in the way that we wanted it to be? I have no clue how I could expect anyone to listen to my point of view when I'm very loudly making them wrong for their own. 

Right now these are just the questions that I'm asking myself. I don't expect anyone else to agree.

That being said I woke up this morning remembering the day that my mother died. She'd been in a coma for a week after succumbing to the stroke that put her there. We moved her from the hospital into Hospice.  By that time, she had horrible and deep diabetic ulcers the size of quarters all over her legs, because she was being too stubborn to stay off of her feet long enough to let them heal. I spent that week putting lipstick on her and brushing her hair and perfuming her because she would never have wanted to be seen without her makeup and that morning was no different.

 All of a sudden, her robe fell away. 

The sores that had plagued her for several years had cleansed themselves,  healed and were almost completely closed, so much so that if she'd been at home we would not have had to worry about them really at all. 

Six days...that's all it took.  Six days of putting down the sword. Six days of rest and surrender.

We have problems in this country and in this world that are not going away.  We have to ask ourselves why and moreover, we have to do it together. We all have to be 100 percent accountable for each other....not just those who agree with us. Ask yourself how you really feel (in your heart and soul) after you've made someone terribly wrong for something that they don't believe in or simply hadn't thought about enough to know how they'd feel one way or another.  Lets stop tearing each other down and start instead building each other up. Even when we don't agree, perhaps we can start by agreeing to love one another.  

I heard you this morning mom. Loud and Clear.

This is my white flag of truce.






I do not know who to attribute this flag picture to, but I did not take it. 

Claires Herbs ~ Garlic

I can't even begin to list all of the reasons that I love garlic! Besides its obvious deliciousness , it's so incredibly good for you. Not to make you squeamish but it's said that a clove of fresh garlic a day keeps the intestinal parasites away, and a poultice of garlic and raw honey under a bandaid has helped me heal many a wound when neosporin just wasn't available! Come fall when the weather is turning I'll always make a hot soup of fresh garlic, green herbs, , shrimp chili and coconut milk to help beef up my immune system in time for the cold and rainy weather that October usually brings! Some of this particular batch is going to be pesto for a potato and mushroom pizza tonight! Bon Appetit! @herbalacademy #myherbalstudies #MiladysOutlanderHerbCampCulinary #MiladysOutlanderHerbCampMedicinal

A photo posted by BethSchreibmanGehring (@bethsgehring) on

Love Potions ~ Guerlain Shalimar



I think that everyone has a perfume that is so completely evocative, so emotionally relevant that a simple waft of it can spin you back decades. Such is it with me and Shalimar. So many have such a strong love/hate relationship with this scent, but I have always loved it and it me. It was the fragrance that my mother wore for her entire married life and my father used to buy it for her constantly and in every form because he adored it! I always assumed that she did too, but she confided in me several years before her death that she’d always hated it. I was surprised because it smelled absolutely devastating on her. She was an excellent wife in that respect and a bit of a contradiction , a feminist to the core and way before her time , however making my father happy was as she saw it” her most important job”. Fortunately she passed the knowledge on. The day that I married my husband, she pulled me into the back bedroom and said “Remember darling, you can buy your own whatever he gives you, wear it to bed, even if it’s a toaster!” That alone has been the best piece of advice that I ever received from her with the exception of one other that I can’t share here...if you want to know, write me privately:)



So wear Shalimar she did and some of my earliest memories of her are of that scent. Until about 2 years before her death, my parents went to hear the Cleveland Orchestra every Thursday night. I loved watching her dress for the symphony, she was unbelievably elegant. She would slip on one of several black dresses, comb back her raven colored hair and spray it into submission. Then she would put a bit of blush and paint on her lipstick, always the same “Fire and Ice red and then pick up her bottle of Shalimar. She had a ritual for it, a little behind her ears, a bit in her hair , her cleavage and around her ankles. To an impressionable 8 year old it was the most glamorous act ever. Then she would put on her opera length gray pearls, knot them twice and walk into the kitchen to find my father who would always be enchanted simply by the sight of her. She was completely gorgeous,when she was younger she looked just like Hedy Lamarr. My father would whisk her off into the night and I would be left to wonder about that magic, hoping someday that it would be my birthright too. She shared all of that part of herself with us, it was important to her. She was very generous in that way, a powerful priestess of love.

She had a beautiful closet for us growing up, a dress up closet filled with all kinds of wonderful things that she’d outgrown. Velvet capes and beautiful high heels, shawls and scarves. We would play in it for hours and when I had put together the perfect outfit she would take me into the bathroom and fix my makeup, always finishing with just a touch of her perfume. I loved it, especially the black and burgundy velvet cape that I would always wear. But most of all, I loved her Shalimar. I have always found it to be a warm and enveloping fragrance, very very sexy. Shalimar lingers like a kiss from just the right man, one who knows you well and yet adores the mysteriousness about you that he can’t quite understand. Wearing Shalimar reconnects me with the old stories of the Sacred Prostitutes of Isis, who spent hours preparing themselves in their temples to receive the passions of strangers coming to worship them embodied as the sacred feminine on earth. I can imagine spending hours brushing my hair, anointing myself with sacred oils, preparing myself for that passion. I love it’s vanilla qualities, the musky balsam and benzoin with the hints of leather and the strange seductiveness of orris. I love that when I wear it I feel absolutely gorgeous and ready for love.

Shortly after my mother’s death I inherited her gray pearls. Receiving them was only one of the many rites of passage associated with my mothers dying but putting on those pearls felt more than a little strange for they sang of her soul and I wanted her to be there with me instead laughing and putting on her lipstick. With a deep sigh I looped them around my neck, knotted them and took a deep breath and there it was, the scent of her Shalimar leaving me spinning happily back in time suddenly and completely unafraid and no longer alone.




This Post was originally published in the Perfume Magazine in 2010