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November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

 This was originally printed in my favorite Perfume Blog

Of all of the meals that I cook every year, the Thanksgiving meal is truly my favorite. There's just something so incredibly abundant and homey about it, the smells are so appetizing and the mood so sincere. The meal itself was traditionally my mothers domain and she really enjoyed cooking it, setting about in her lovely kitchen early in the morning making apple and pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheesecakes and stuffing. I'd wander in early to find her chopping apples sautéing onions in butter with a glass of sherry by her side. My mother was a fabulous cook, but this was the meal that she loved cooking the most all year. The one and only time that I prepared it when she was alive she was furious. I was trying to do her a favor but she was unbelievably frustrated the entire evening and I swore that I would never do it again. Finally the onlything that I could for her do was brine the turkey, because even she allowed that it made the bird taste better.

My mother always made the holiday wonderful, full of wine, laughter and family. Her table was always beautifully set with brass candlesticks and a abundantly filled cornucopia. She always used her favorite Coalport dishes, a lovely rust colored pattern called Indian Tree Coral, her Baccarat crystal and all of her Grandmothers sterling. There were always plenty of extra plates waiting on the sideboard for all of Alex's friends who would start coming in after they'd finished their family dinners and we'd sit around the table for hours eating, drinking and discussing politics , music and current events. There is a cassette tape somewhere of the "Dance of the sugar plum fairies " played by the entire Schreibman family & friends on those same wine glasses. Mom was pretty cool...she let us fill her precious crystal to the levels needed to create all of the different scales and then we used her knives as mallets to play the notes. We laughed for hours and practiced, finally getting it right. There was always too much food and she made sure that there were plenty of tin foil plates so that everyone could take home leftovers, a tradition that I love to continue to this day!

When she died several years ago I found myself faced with the daunting task of carrying on the tradition for my family and I spent the entire day preparing the meal. It was a tough day though, Alex was in Central America learning to be a dive master and he wouldn't be home until right before Christmas. I went through all of the motions , stuffed the turkey, mashed the potatoes and set the table. We picked up my father from the nursing home and just as we were about to sit down the doorbell rang. Thinking that it was my friend Bethane and her husband Ijust punched the buzzer and went back to work on the gravy. We lived in a penthouse at the time at the end of a very long hallway. I walked to the door, flung it open and burst into tears as I saw Alex's best friends Chris and Josh coming down the hall. " Did you think that because Alex wasn't here that we were going to miss the fun?" "We told him we'd take care of you!".

What a great dinner that was! We ate until we burst, drank an entire bottle of expensive Rye and went at midnight to the uniquely strange and thoroughly American experience of Black Friday shopping at the mall. Alex called earlier that evening, thrilled that we were all sharing each others company and having such a great time. I've cooked many a Thanksgiving meal since then and I don't deviate too much from my mother’s recipes. I make her mashed potatoes (3 sticks of butter) and her pumpkin pie and this year because I have a strange and sudden craving for them, her decadent , buttery scalloped oysters. I brine my turkey the night before, and stuff herbs and butter under the skin and roast and baste it generously for hours.

It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks and last year I learned a secret that's improved the flavor and texture of my turkey and turned my stuffing into the "stuff" of legends! I don't know about you, but the dressing is my favorite part of the meal , well that and the creamy garlic spinach! I always cook it in the bird and it's always delicious but never fluffy enough. I went to a friends house for an early Thanksgiving meal and her stuffing wasremarkable. I went through my mental checklist of ingredients and found all of the usual suspects. So I asked her what made the difference and what she told me was truly surprising! The secret ingredient? Shredded mozzarella cheese,about 5 cups of it! Nothing fancy, just the basic Kraft variety. So I tried it. I made the stuffing and while it was still warm stirred in the cheese and stuff the turkey. The result was superb, moist, fluffy and flavorful, just the way that you want it to be. There was also an oozy meltingly quality to it that was a perfect foil for the turkey. My friend surges me that it works with any stuffing recipe, but if you want to try mine here goes. I’m giving you only the ingredients here, not the proportions because everyone likes it made just alittle bit differently.

I use:
Chopped apples
Diced Butternut squash
Cornbread stuffing cubes
Chopped chestnuts
Chopped , COOKED and drained sage and onion sausage
Chopped pecans
Onions and celery sautéed in butter
Plenty of fresh sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme
A touch of cayenne
Truffle oil
Cidre' ( French hard cider)
Shredded mozzarella

Choose your proportions and mix. Be sure to stuff the cavity of the bird loosely, because the dressing will expand.

So what are your favorite recipes for the holidays? Traditions? Memories?   

One of my families favorite Thanksgiving traditions is that that while we are eating we each share something that we are especially thankful for. I hope that all of you know that I am always thankful for all of you. Your love and support of me make "Foodie Sunday" not a job but something that I look forward to sharing with you every other week. I count all of you as my family too..and that makes me a very wealthy woman. Wherever you are this Thanksgiving please know that in my mind you're all sitting around my table.


The Clarimonde Project

By Beth
For the last month I have been swept up in Venetian visions and pre-raphaelite fantasies, dreaming night after night of a beautiful woman whose angelic face hides a sad and terrifying secret. She is the vampiress Clarimonde, the haunting protagonist of the short story written by Theodore Gaultier. Clarimonde is the beautiful golden haired , green eyed 18th century undead courtesan who tragically falls in love with a young priest named Romuald who is on the very threshold of taking his vows, a promise that locks him forever into the biblical struggle between good and evil, right , wrong … and his own personal Heaven and Hell.

The story begins when Clarimonde comes to Romuald on the eve of his ordination, promising to make him happier than he would ever be in Paradise if only he would leave the priesthood for her. Although Romuald takes his vows he becomes romantically obsessed with the beautiful woman and when her page hands him a calling card that is engraved with the words “Clarimonde , Palace Concini” , he immediately regrets his decision to commit to the priesthood. Shortly afterwards , Romuald becomes the priest of a countryside parish where he continues his studies, yet pines over his lost opportunity to create a worldly life with the beautiful Clarimonde. It isn’t long though before a young steward comes to him in the middle of the night, begging for his assistance in saving the life of the mistress who employs him. Romuald arrives at the palace too late and discovers in his dismay that it is the dead Clarimonde upon whose lovely face he gazes and in his sorrow falls to his knees, kissing her passionately upon the lips, bringing her back to life while falling madly in love with her beautiful spirit and glittering decadent world.

From that moment on his life becomes complicated; Romuald and Clarimonde travel to Venice where he lives as a priest by day and a Seignior by night, enjoying the love of his beautiful Clarimonde , as well as pleasures of the flesh which he had never known could exist. The day arrives though when he discovers that she has been giving him a sleeping draught all along , so that she could drink one drop of his blood each night. Eventually Romuald becomes so tortured by his double life that he tells his mentor, an older priest name Serapion his story. The older priest takes him to the cemetery and opens her tomb , where Romuald discovers her resting peacefully , glowing with life from the gift of his blood. The priest, driven to destroy what he cannot understand , pours holy water upon the sleeping Clarimonde who instantly disintigrates into ashes and dust. She comes to Romuald one last time in a vision, asking why he has destroyed the bond between them, sadly reminding him that she had asked for almost nothing in exchange for the love and beauty that she’d brought to his very existence.

I must admit right now that I hated the end of the story. I wished that Clarimonde had been able to choose a man that could value her for her true self without guilt , a man who could take what she offered him passionately and return it back to her without fear…..a man who could have honestly CHOSEN her. I have lived with one who was so scared of my femaleness that he sought to destroy my very essence through his violence, he could not CHOOSE me so he sought to destroy me. I think that every woman experiences a love like that once and perhaps that is why we all have related so strongly to her story. We are familiar with our blood, we know it’s taste and smell. We have bitten our lips many times in sorrow as we bandage our children, quiet our tongues or bury our dead. We know what it means to choose life, to choose to open ourselves up to love even though it may destroy us. We need men who are fearless in the face of our passions and our frailties. It saddens me that Romauld and Clarimonde lived in a time when she couldn’t be honest with him about who she was and because it was a time when women were by their very natures suspect, it would have impossible for her to have been honest with him, she who held such a deep and forbidden secret. I have always thought that within the bonds of secular religion live the very intolerances that destroy any real possibility for love to grow. I would have liked him more if he hadn’t chosen to have been such a spineless martyr , betraying her in the end to preserve his façade, his piousness. In the end he willingly took everything from her yet clearly didn’t trust what she offered him, choosing to destroy her instead of just allowing her to be , to choose another who could truly love her. I was saddened that she felt that she couldn't be honest with him and wondered what their possibilities would have been if she'd been able to ask for his passion outright. Women know that their lives are inextricably intertwined with natural cycles of life and death. We stare headfirst into the chasm of the unknown to turn our bodies inside out, riding the painful waves of childbirth , thinking that for sure we are dying until the very moment when life emerges at the bitter end of the spiral. We are not afraid of that which we do not quite understand nor do not seek to destroy the essence of the experience. We would gladly spill our blood for our passions and are left emotionally battered and violently scarred when we find out that the object of our affections was simply not willing to do the same but sometimes as it was with Clarimonde we feel that we are not worthy of asking for our hearts deepest wishes.

I had never read the story of Clarimonde until my friend and fellow blogger Lucy Raubertas proposed to several of us that we might discover and create a perfumed project around it. She started a secret page for us and very quickly we began to breath life into her vision. The Clarimonde Project is a scented collaboration that began with about 11 of us but it quickly blossomed into so much more. From the start I knew that this was going to be an extraordinary project and for weeks I have lived immersed in a world of 18th century art , music and literature , waiting for the moment when I could claim Clarimonde as my own. I read hungrily as extraordinary perfumers like Mandy Aftel, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz , Monica Miller, Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl and Ayala Moriel began to describe the scents that they were blending for this project and it wasn’t long before I felt the compelling need to create something of my own. I became obsessed with the idea of scenting a pair of gloves. I looked for days for just the right pair andeventually I found them…a pair of vintage French kid gloves, embroidered and in perfect condition. It took a month for them to arrive, but they are beautiful, worth every penny and the eternally long wait. Armed with a wonderful article by Jeanne Rose about scenting leather I began to work. Leather and I are not strangers as I’ve spent many a moment caressing and cleaning my saddles and bridles. But the softness of the kid demanded a different respect, so I made a simple solid perfume of beeswax and jojoba which I scented with chocolate, rose, a bit of oud that I had, some sandalwood and cinnamon. I rubbed the creamy mixture all over my hands until they were very warm and took a sniff. Delicious yes, but something was missing. I went over to the beautiful parcels that had arrived and took out the precious vials. Slowly the scent began to take shape as I rubbed drops of each delicious perfume into my hands. 5 wonderful perfumes, each of them so very different and yet they blended so well together. I took another deep breath and was stunned by the sheer beauty of them all, It was as if I could smell the essence of each yet blended together it was the most potent mixture of scent that I’ve ever smelled, beautiful, sexual and feral. It was as if we’d all been dreaming the same dream, yet each of us had brought back a different piece of her soul.

It was the scent of Clarimonde and it permeated my senses, filling me with an odd mixture of joy and passion tinged with a touch of regret. It was amazing to realize that we had ventured into unknown depths to bring her most intimate secrets into the light.

I plunged my hands into the gloves and after what seemed like an eternity I removed my hands to find that they were not greasy at all, the fine kid had absorbed all of the oil and sweet perfume. I folded several pieces of tissue that I’d scented with the mixture and placed them into the palms of the gloves, wrapped more tissue around them and buried them for several days in a pile of warm autumn leaves. When next I saw them they were infused with not only the scent of all of that lovely perfume but the golden warmth of the leaves that they’d been resting in. They were lovely to begin with, delicate and soft with age but they are even more beautiful now. They glow with the luscious scent but there is something else, an aura of love and loss, to me they smell of redemption and rebirth. The bitter ending of this story finds Romuald torn with regret, warning his readers never to look at a woman because most assuredly they will meet the same fate as he. It can’t help but be obvious that his real regret is that he lacked the courage to choose love over fear, to embrace passion instead of destruction, hope over resignation.

All over one tiny drop of blood.

The image that you see above is my tribute to her, an altar outside in my little herb garden that I have dedicated to Clarimonde and these scented gloves are my offering. Instead of being reviled she is worshipped, an 18th century Goddess of incomparable darkness and unfathomable light who was betrayed by the one that she loved , reduced to tricking him for the scraps of his passion that he could never openly offer her , the sadness being that she generously and openly offered him so much. She has become my muse and in my ending, Romauld lovingly collected the ashes from her tomb and took them to a secret place where he built a shrine to the beautiful woman that he loved and kept her safe from harm. I can imagine no other.

To Mandy, Monica, Dawn, Maria and Ayala I am grateful, the scents, balms and precious gifts that you have each created are beautiful beyond description, elegant and provocative. I have been thrilled to be a part of this project. Warning. These beautiful perfumes are not for the faint of heart, nor are they for one who is not ready to be blown wide open to passion. Each of these lovely scents manages to grasp the past, the present and the knowledge that no matter how much we wish it, that we cannot, must not live forever, that life by it’s very nature is fleeting and impermanent. Everyone of these perfumes begs the wearer to live in the moment, each perfumer has interpreted the story of Clarimonde in her own way. Sleep one night on Ayala Moriels exquisitely scented dream pillow and you’ll know what I mean. The beautiful lip stains in shades of purple and blood red created by Monica Miller are sumptuous and sexy leaving my lips feeling as if they’d just been delightfully bitten. I am in awe of these perfumers and their abundant creativity. I have been blessed by their generosity and love receiving the packages that they have obviously crafted with such care more than they will ever know. Artists all of them, they are in it for the dream of creating something that is lasting and beautiful, perfumes that transcend time and space and provide the lucky wearer with a whole range of individual emotion. In this day and age of mass marketed mystique, that means everything to someone like me. Try every one of these wonderful fragrances and discover for yourself. They are all truly individual, inspired and wonderful.

Oud Luban is a wonderful perfume, rich and smoky and with an overtone of Frankincense fairly oozes a lovely tension, a delightful struggle between duty and passion. In this perfume passion clearly wins because the incense that she has layered between all of magnificent resins fairly scream of exotic opium dens and sensual thoughts. There is something balsam like as well, a tinge of sweetness , a hint of citrus , sweat and leather. The smoky choya lends a complex fairly religious austere emotion to the scent. Oud Luban is a perfect solid perfume, elegant and raw, yet sensual and buttery. Oud Luban is dirty and I mean that in the very best way because it grounds and relaxes me. It’s a scent to wear when you’re completely naked because it loves sweat and skin much like a perfect caramel tastes even better with a bit of sea salt and chocolate. It layers beautifully with florals and gives them an unworldly depth. I think that Oud Luban is fascinating because It’s a little bit conflicted, yet very complete which makes it all the more delicious and provocative to a girl like me. The yearning…the torment…..the inappropriateness of it all…..bring it on…..I love it! I’m one of those peculiar (maybe not so!) ladies who finds her passions completely aroused when she’s in the least appropriate of places so anything that smells remotely monastic is a delightful temptation for me, an audacious invitation to misbehave. Thanks to Mandy for giving me the perfect excuse……

When I opened the parcel that I received from Ayala I was transfixed even before I saw its contents. I didn’t need to see what was inside, I could tell simply by the scent wafting from the envelope that I’d received an extraordinary gift and that I was going to enjoy it very much. Inside was beautifully handmade dream pillow, of creamy silk with a single precious garnet sewn into its folds that I am sure symbolizes the one drop of blood that she needed to survive . A dream pillow is a beautifully simple thing, a precious little parcel that’s been filled with herbs designed to enhance the experience of sleep or in Romaulds case something that he would have filled with herbs from the monastery gardens to banish his impure thoughts of Clarimonde. Ayala’s interpretation of the scent is very pretty and has an absolutely ethereal quality that is disarming, because the fragrance is very sexy. The beautiful pillow itself is filled with relaxing herbs and flowers such as valerian and lavender that by their very nature should easily promote an easy restful sleep, but Ayala has also perfumed it with her beautiful “Clarimonde” , which is sumptuous , exotic and twisted with a heavenly wisp of violet that windsthough her gorgeously spicy oriental/floral blend and gives this perfume its very otherworldly and deeply spiritual quality. My husband described it as remarkably beautiful and I agree. My dreams have been exquisite and happily filled with very impure thoughts.

The package that I received from Monica Miller was absolutely intriguing . From her label which is a fabulous celtic knot of intertwined bodies to the contents inside, an exquisite little vial of her lovely Sangre Eau de Parfum and two remarkable lip stains, one called “Purple Shadow” and the other aptly named “Scarlet Kiss” , the experience from start to finish was delightful. For some reason, I felt as if I had to be dressed to wear these, so I put on a lovely shirt of purple velvet and some gorgeous black velvet trousers. That wasn’t enough so I swept up my hair and fastened it with a golden comb of my grandmothers that I keep for such an occasion. That seemed to be better so then I did my eyes in a soft kohl pencil and swept a hint of blush across my cheeks. Then I stroked the Sangre across my throat and onto my wrists and finally applied the lips stains, mixing them until the effect was dark and winey. I looked in the mirror and felt incredibly elegant , practically of anotherworld. Monica’s lip stains not only feel delightful but they taste wonderful because they are filled with essential oils, resins and herbs. The base she used is shea butter and my lips loved it and responded accordingly by looking bee stung and beautiful. Sangre, her scented tribute to Clarimonde is gorgeous. I loved the deep dark fruit essences that she used along with a fresh sweet chamomile and the way that she’s blended them with the rich floral heart and base of musks, honey and sticky resins creates a bacchanalian feast of a perfume that manages to be both Bohemian and classic at the same time.

Immortal Mine: Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl
Immortal Mine is a lust, passion filled and wildly untamed perfume that delighted me from the second that I opened the vial. First of all, it was beautifully presented, covered with bloody red sealing wax that was oozy and dripping all over the cap and down the sides like a fabulous candle or a vial of blood. It made a delightful crack and what emerged was one of the most fascinating perfumes that I’ve ever smelled filled with incense, lust and magic. It was instantly arresting. Immortal Mine came with the most remarkable list of ingredients;  Soil from an unmarked grave, wyverns blood, amber, longing , smoke, wax, myrhh ,words from a dead mans mouth, desire and much more…..I loved it and I haven’t stopped wearing it since the moment I put it on. I must admit that I’ve never smelled a perfume that instantly suited me as much as this one does. Permit me to reach into another vampires world for a moment but there’s something of Immortal Mine that if you know the story of Lestat and you remember back to his days on the stage in Paris at The Theatre of the Vampires you’ll understand. The only words to describe the beauty of Immortal Mine are indulgent and hedonistic and of all of these perfumes it is the one that is the most wicked. There’s nothing kind or sweet about this one…it takes you, spins you around dizzily and doesn’t let go until you’re completely drunk with desire. To me it occurs like a dreamy, hypnotic spell, a few drops of this in a glass of port and I would probably give up everything……

A Twilight blue Oriental Perfume”. What an amazing description and it absolutely speaks to the evocative and complicated emotions that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has captured in her elegant and refined perfume “Paradise Lost”. There is a moment in the story where Clarimonde lays dying , waiting for Romauld to come to her castle. The room is misty and silken, there is a page with an ivory cane keeping his vigil by her side. In her bedchamber, there are quilts of gold and silver and a vase of faded flowers. Clarimonde herself is pale and wan, slipping quietly in between the dreamlike veils of life and death. Into this scene wanders the innocent and love stricken priest. DSH’s Paradise lost is gossamer and beautiful, the scent of that bedchamber, of that lost innocence. He kisses her and is lost within time and space from that moment on. Paradise Lost is full of amber, sable, chamomile, candlewax and so many other luscious accords that give this lovely perfume the aura of an oriental opiate. The effect of Paradise Lost on the skin is akin to a robe of soft velvet and rich brocade , forming a cloak that pulls you seductively through the bedroom door and forever into her unforgettable and unfathomable world.

There are many other remarkable writers who have been involved in The Clarimonde Project. Please visit them all! They are Indie perfumes  The Alembicated Genie, the Perfume PharmerScent HiveJade DresslerLostPastRemembered and The Clarimonde songs of Alexis Karl.


“There’s a few things that I’ve learned in life; always throw salt over your left shoulder , keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck and fall in love whenever you can.”
Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

So the wheel of the year has turned once again, bringing us back into the dark, plunging us deeply into the time of year when our need to move inside towards the hearth, away from the bone drenching cold into the arms of our lovers is the most important need that we have.
October 31 is the festival of Samhain in the witches year or Halloween , a time when the veils between worlds is so very thin and a time when if you dare to ask, those that have crossed over will reappear, sometimes with answers, sometimes with warnings. Today if you hear anyone whispering to beware in a voice as thin and wet as a creeping fog take heed.Today even if you don’t listen you will feel them pulling you away from danger and you will look , yet never see their misty astral bodies in the sunlight. Yet you will know that they have been there, as sure and unsettling to the soul as any horror movie could ever be. The spirit world is far reaching in a way that is more unsettling any of us could ever imagine. I know…I’ve seen, smelled and tasted of it firsthand. There ARE things that go bump in the night and you would be wise to listen for them. You’ll know that they are near when you walk through a spot that is cold for no apparent reason, or if you smell the sweet smell of spring honeysuckle or lilac on a cold autumn night. Maybe you’ll feel a hand on your shoulder as a friend of mine did one Samhain eve as she was feeding her horses, yet turn around to find no on there. All she heard was the voice of her Lakota grandfather fading fast into the cold dark night telling her to be careful of the old barn ladder.

For centuries, we have tried to make sense of that which we cannot see nor explain by burning them, exorcising them, ridiculing them or simply pretending that they don’t exist. Simple forms of banishment will never work, because how can you get rid of something that you have no understanding of. Witches like me have existed for centuries and even though you’ll try, you’ll never succeed in destroying us completely. You need us….we’re your voice into that other world that you are so afraid of, we’re the ones that know how to heal you without the medicines that will destroy you body and soul. We know how to hold your hand while you are dying and if it is part of your journey we will remove your fear. We know how to make sweet balms and perfumes that will make the homeliest among us instantly more glamourous and yes, be very careful because if we wanted your men, they would be powerless to resist us.
But I know that you’ve heard that old saying, “that there’s a little bit of witch in every woman” and it’s true. Every witch has a Grimoire, which is a handwritten journal of recipes and spells that has sometimes been passed down through many generations. If you’ve got one of your Grandmothers cookbooks, with all of her beautifully handwritten notes then you’re in possession of a book of family magic and you can use it to strengthen that bond any time you wish.
We have all kinds of magickal tools to play with, some of the most potent we learn from our mothers who never even realize what they were teaching us. There is magic in the art of preparing a beautiful meal for your family, there is magic in the art creating a beautiful home that conveys a message of comfort or status. My personal ‘Book of Shadows” is full of delectable recipes that will put all of the sparks back into your sex life and make you as bewitching as you’ve always dreamt you could be. In the spirit of celebration I’ve been asked to share with you my favorite things that I’ve been eating, drinking , sniffing or wearing this fall. I’ve been a busy little witch and my cupboard isn’t bare. So grab your brooms and meet me in my woods by the fire. Clothing is optional and the fire is very hot. There’s a bit of my favorite witches brew for everyone and of course because this is MY party, plenty of good food. So without further adieu here they are….
Some of my favorite things; all fabulously witchy , wonderful and ready for fall!
My Favorite Candle
Every good witch has to have a favorite candle and mine is the wonderful “Mary Jane” by the notorious fragrance house, Juliette’s got a Gun! When it burns my entire house is filled with the spectacular scent of Hashish, Pine and Oud. This candle comes poured into a simple silverplated cup that basically tells the story of this lovely tender creature that has been so reviled in the last century. If you’ve never been in an opium den or were not lucky enough to be a child a the late 60’s , then what I can say is that “Mary Jane” is the scent of a sweetly burning pile of maple leaves and oh so perfect for telling ghostly stories on a spooky autumn night.

Favorite Lipstick
My favorite lipstick that I’ve worn this fall, the one that never fails me is Lipstick Queens “Medieval”. This is more of a stain than a lipstick and it hearkens back to Medieval times when (GASP!) full coverage of your lips was considered a sin. Alas, what’s a hot young maiden to do? This wonderful, vitamin E filled and delectably rich balm gives your lips a juicy and lusciously bee stung appearance and stains your lips to a beautiful soft red that’s appropriate for almost any skin tone.

Favorite Classic Cocktail
A vintage pre-prohibition sazerac made with Bulleit Rye, a swish of Mata Hari absinthe, a touch of sugar , a caramelized lemon peel and some very excellent bitters. Pour all ingredients into a well chilled cocktail glass and stir.

Favorite Bitters
Bitters are making a comeback and not just your garden variety Angostura bitters, but in all kinds of flavors. Fee Bitters has been open since 1863 and are still mixing up the best blends that I’ve ever tasted. Try the White Peach or my personal favorite which is of course the Aztec Chocolate. The Black Walnut is absolutely bewitching when stirred into a bit of butterscotch schnapps and hot spiced rum!

Favorite Olive Oil
The white truffle infused olive oil from New Yorks fabulous Olive and Fig restaurant is simply to die for and they WILL ship it to you! If you or anyone you know loves truffles than this is a must. I buy this in gallons for my husband, who adores it. Drizzled on a salad or grilled meats makes them a completely decadent treat, but for the most sensual meal ever whisk a bit of it into a bowl of steaming creamy risotto with fresh butternut squash, a little bit of sautéed onion, potatoes and parmesan cheese.
Favorite Boots

These are a bit silly to be sure, but my favorite rain boots this year are from DKNY, lovely black rubber things with colorful sketches of New York City all over them and my favorite incantation that says over and over again…”New York…I love the feeling of never wanting to leave and always wanting to return” I said that over and over again for an hour and poof…an opportunity to return to NYC emerged for late January…. My own pair of ruby slippers!
Favorite Fall Perfume Number 1
Tom Fords utterly ravishing Violet Blonde….This is a take no prisoners love potion like I haven’t seen since the early 80’s. With notes of Violet, Iris, musk , Suede and Vetiver , this lusciously sweet, remarkably green and thoroughly disarming perfume is just the thing to warm you and another up on a cold chilly night.
Favorite Caramel Apple
I wrote about this last week but it’s back! My favorite caramel apple recipe comes from Tartine, that lovely bakery in San Francisco that has invented the easiest , yet most delectable recipe ever for making perfect caramel apples that come out right everytime. Just mix the ingredients which include molasses, butter, sugar and maple syrup and cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Dip the apples into the soft buttery caramel for a translucent and deliciously decadent treat that is in my experience the perfect prelude to a sugary kiss…Here’s the link
Favorite Fall perfume Number 2
I have fallen head over heels in love with Creeds Tubereuse Indiana. This amazing fusion of Tuberose, Ambergris and amber is one of the most exotic and arresting perfumes that I’ve ever had the pleasure to own. Wearing it makes me feel sexy and colorful and it’s a fabulous fragrance to go dancing in as it gets better as it warms up and blends with the scent of your skin.This one can be as spicy as you want it to be and also is the perfect fragrance to scent anything from your underwear to your stationary (You’d probably know I’m a huge fan of love letters!)
Favorite New Website
Although I’m definitely a fan of the written word, time IS limited so what’s a girl like me to do? The folks at Paperless post have created one of the best sites that I’ve seen yet for sending invitations, thank you notes and all forms of written communication. Their templates are gorgeous and of course no trees were harmed in the making of them . Hands down the best site I’ve seen yet for paperless communications that require an RSVP. Here’s the link!
Favorite Home Scent and Witches Brew
Yes, I know that you’re expecting something exotic, but this time of year I’d like to end on a simple and homespun note. When you carve your pumpkin, dip the inside of the lid in cinnamon, really coat it. When you put the lit candle inside and I always use a little scented tea light (Witches Brew from Yankee candles) your entire house will be filled with the aroma of cinnamon, patchouli and roasted pumpkin. As a bonus, just put a gallon of apple cider on the stove and let it simmer. Addcinnamon sticks, cloves and an orange and about 10 teabags of Mate’ . Sweeten with agave nectar and you’ve got my favorite warming “Witches Brew” !
Merry Meet and Merry Part and all my love until we meet again…
The Windesphere Witch
This article was originally posted on my favorite perfume blog Perfume Smellin Things! Theres a chance to win a 50.00 gift certificate from Sur La Table just in time for the holiday season at this link.Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Contest closes Wednesday , November the 2nd. 

Pumpkin Photograph Courtesy of Martha Stewart.com