Year End Review (2018)

The year is coming to a close, and I'm afraid to say I haven't got much to show for it that will knock anyone's socks off. It's really hard to top off the big changes of the last three years: Trans-continental move, building the studio (actually, two of them: Perfume and Pilates), renovating our house, and all the major life changes that go with all of that for me and my daughter, and the business. This year was all about deepening my roots (both figuratively speaking and literally) and nurturing what I've been building and planting here. In the coming year I would really like to plant more in my garden. Trees especially (did you know that if every person on the planet would plant 4 trees this year we'd be able to reverse the damage we've been creating in the last 50 years?).

To be honest, we're still dealing with the aftermath: homesickness, adjustments and getting acclimated to the new environment, so I'm not exactly in the thrill-seeking stage. Everything around us still feels new and strange, even if more comfortable than before. We're still getting used to the new cycles of seasons, different rhythms and customs associated with them and the different holidays here etc. Even though I spent all my childhood here, things are different, very different, from an adult point of view. Additionally, my daughter transitioned to adulthood again (because in Israel people with special needs are considered minors and get full services and free education until they turn 21, not 19 like in Canada). I thought it will be a breeze after all the major changes she went through, but turns out you don't get better with practice in this area of life. The last six months were a roller-coaster getting used to all of that plus a visit in Canada in the middle, which was supposed to make things better but was very emotionally trying for Miss T. She still talks daily about packing all her belongings, and shipping them in a container on a cargo ship and moving to Vancouver (she has the whole route planned and it it's exactly the reverse of the one we made when moving here). Please mom, just reverse what you did two years ago! I'm done with this. She would still tell you she lives in Vancouver, and remembers her exact address and phone number from there. Truly heartbreaking. Thank goodness things are looking up for her now. After graduating from those two bonus high-school years, she's finally settled and doing very well in a protected employment centre just 20 minutes drive from home, and gets paid for doing what she's good at - arts and crafts. It's not a very long day, so I have to find a way to get all of my stuff done in 7hrs workday. Which go by really fast living in a rural area - there are lots of logistics that are way more complicated than in the city, besides chopping wood for heating the house in the winter and tending to the garden and the pets - it also means driving to do errands (for example, the business related ones - going to the post office to send shipments - not a trip down the elevator and across the street like I had in the West End). So in a way I'm still adjusting as well.

So what did happen this year, you wonder? I happily launched two new fragrances, Inbar and <3 a="" heart="" lack=""> and revamped Coralle - none of these have received even as much as a single review and I didn't even bother to nominate them to any fragrance awards. I've been too busy with life. I am strangely content with this, even though it's not good for business. I've been just way too busy with life and deeply absorbed in my own creative process. I don't want to live under a rock but I don't want to chase fame either. Those days are far behind me. It was a year of a lot of incense making and experimenting, as well as sharing my incense love with the local audience here in the Galilee in the form of Koh-Doh inspired incense parties/ceremonies that I hold every other month or so. A few workshop with children, which were also a lot of fun (how about educating the next generation of noses?). And lots of foraging and experimenting with the cornucopia and pharmacopeia of the local flora. I'm blessed to be living near an outdoors medicine cabinet! It is literally just a few steps away from my doorstep, in every direction. 3>
I've taught three perfume courses this year: Citrus & ColognesChypre and Floral Bouquets - which was the first time this course was taught at all!
I'm happy and grateful that people are interested and willing to travel all the way to Clil to study with me, and will be offering no less than four perfumery courses this coming year:
Fougère (March 24-28, 2019)
Florientals (March 31 - April 4, 2019)
Orientals (November 10-14, 2019)
Leather/Tobacco (November 17-21, 2019)

I'm just on the very last edits of my 3rd correspondence course - Chypre,  so I guess I do have something to show for 2018 after all... I'd also like to focus more on my writing projects and spend less on social media. I think if I've put the energy I spent on writing status updates on completing my new book - or at least blogging instead - I would have felt a lot more accomplished and fulfilled then this endless spurts of info that small indie perfumers such as myself are obliged to maintain in order to stay visible.

Starting January, I will begin a new monthly series of for incense making courses, with a lovely group of local witches. I'm excited to get to know these ladies up close and share what little I know about the world of incense. Honestly, I'm most excited simply about the opportunity to get deeper into incense and try to master it or at least study it more methodically.

Last but not least: I'm also just about to hand in my contribution to an art installation in Toronto that will open in January 12th. It's a collaboration with the visual artist, and I am very excited to be part of this and to have my creation treated as art and not just a commodity. Stay tuned!

Wrapping Up 2016 & Welcoming 2017

Window to the Mediterranean

Thank you for a powerful year 2016, and for being part of my perfume world!

This was a remarkable year for me - both personally and professionally:

  • Completed Perfume4aPlace - a collection of perfumes inspired by my favourite places in Vancouver, including Komorebi, Sunset BeachLost Lagoon and Coal Harbour.
  • Launched a new website - which I hope makes your online experience much more enjoyable. The new website is much more user friendly on any device you choose to browse on; and enables you to add product reviews, read and search all of my blog posts, and also helps me to manage orders and customers profiles in a much more efficient way.
  • Taught more students than ever who entered my Perfume School and partake in no less than five the in-studio Foundation of Natural Perfumery courses, as well as enrol in the new correspondence program.
  • Last but not least: I finally took the plunge and moved my entire life - and studio - overseas to a scenic Mediterranean off-the-grid village of Clil - a small community that is eco-conscious, solar-powered and bursting with creativity and social life. I am now surrounded by my family, childhood friends and teachers - in the same place where I grew up. It's a 180 switch, and been quite a roller coaster, but I hope that the coming year will prove it to be the right decision.   I'm still living in a yurt and am in full-blast renovation mode, but fulfilling orders as usual out of a suitcase, and developing a growing appreciation for non-nomadic lifestyle. 
In the coming year, once my home and studio are ready, I will plant a perfumer's botanical garden on the land surrounding it, incorporating the wildlife in this little fragrant paradise and I hope to get into micro-rpdocution of distillation and extraction of these locally grown plants. At least a hundred fragrant plants can grow here and provide a live demonstration for where our natural perfumes can come from.
I also am anticipating for courses and classes to commence in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, there is my book and correspondence courses (Citrus is out already, and Fougère is not that far from being released as well) to keep my students busy!  

Other than that, my online boutique is open as usual (from the above mentioned, resourceful suitcase, and now also the occasional plunge into the container that arrived more-or-less safely), and I'm offering FREE SHIPPING on most orders* until January 7th, to welcome the New Year 2017! 

Many blessings for 2017 - may it be a year of connectedness, healing, peace and abundance! 


P.s. The above photo is view of Mediterranean lagoons from the seawall of the ancient city of Acre (we pronounce it Akko). Isn't it beautiful? 

* Free shipping does not include orders of individual samples (if you order 4 samples or less, shipping fees will apply). 

Hopes, Dreams, Resolutions...

Untitled by Tom Allison
Untitled, a photo by Tom Allison on Flickr.
The year 2013 left much to be desired. And so, I'm happily moving onwards (and, hopefully also upwards) in 2014, in what I can only pray would be a better year. Here are a few things that I wish for from this year (some of which are entirely up to me, but some are perhaps also dependent on other factors):

1. Finish my 3rd edition for the Foundation of Natural Perfumery - a course handbook which I have been planning to publish more widely for over 2 years now. I'm at the final stages of editing (the long winter vacation was very helpful in that regard), and the next steps would be to create a digital version of it, as well as a paperback book, locally printed, and much prettier than the spiral-bound manual I've got going so far.

2. Create more dialog here on SmellyBlog. I have to admit that I have no idea how to make this happen. I tried to do giveaways on a weekly basis for a while (which, combined with shipping costs, is frankly beyond the budget for this little blog). It's been generating more comments from the same people (who got to win multiple times - yay!), but it has not encouraged my readers to come out of their lurking cave. I've tried to blog on topics that I would think would encourage dialog, but they have reaped very few results (while in other blogs, quite effortlessly, just in response to "leave a comment on whatever you want to talk about today" gets over 100 comments within a day). Any thoughts on the subject?

3. Outreach and Education: For this year, besides offering 2 week long courses back-to-back in May (Citrus & Colognes Course May 19-23 and Oriental Perfumes Course May 26-30), I'll be also teaching olfactory awareness and botanical perfumery lectures at one of the botanical gardens; and offering perfume making workshops outside of the studio in a new co-op boutique I'll be part of (more on that once the details are ironed and official!).

4. Become a little more visible than I was last year. As much as I wish it was otherwise, and hate to admit it - for a perfume company, and even more so a small one like mine - unless you come up with a new perfume every year (or every quarter), no one is really going to pay any attention to you. There have seemed to be only marginal interest in the many other new things I churned up (which were, by the way, a lot more work as well to develop) - I launched an entire tea collection of 4 beautifully packaged teas; created 2 beard oils (Blackbeard Oil and Orcas beard oil; 3 new soap bars - ArbitRary, Bon Zai and Film Noir; and my first hair oil - Palas Atena; a 6th Anointing Body Oil - Zohar; and relaunched Elixir facial serum, which has the best ingredients you could ever find and feed your pretty face with. Hardly anyone took notice of that at all, with the exception of some local fans and a handful of online-boutique customers. It seems like the market is either saturated (the local holiday shows certainly are), or was I just hiding under a rock? I suppose I will have to work ten times harder promoting myself this year, which is exhausting and daunting and truly takes away from my creativity in other areas. And, I might just have to release a new fragrant baby or two, which have been hidden in my vaults so to speak...

5. And on a more personal note: I would love to be the person who would say yes to climbing this trail. If not realistically, then at least metaphorically speaking. That must be the best cup of tea, ever. Context (and timing) is everything!

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year 2014  by Ayala Moriel
Happy New Year 2014 , a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Wishing you all a very happy 2014!

May it be a beautiful year, full of love, health and happiness! And may you always find time to smell the roses, both literally and figuratively speaking. Time is our greatest asset - may we all learn how to use it wisely!

The above is a photo of a photo: a beautiful postcard of the steam-clock in Gastown, taking by my photographer friend Zak of Fertile Images that was given to me last night by the artists, beautifully packaged with glittery snowflakes. 

Laying out plans and goals and establishing a renewed interest in the values and people that are important to us has become a sort of a secular Western tradition. New Year's resolutions seem to be too often focused on very specific goals (losing weight, exercising, making more money...), usually neglected before January comes to a close. I've been always a firm believer in making each day of my life be what I want my life to be, in all its aspects if at all possible. Maintaining a balance is not a small feat in our hurried, shallow and cluttered lifestyle.

It's all about time. While we don't know how many days or years we'll get to live, we all are allotted 24 hours a day. It's entirely up to us what we do with these 24 hours. For me, a perfect day will be one which is balanced and contains the things that are important to me. In essence: breath, love and create.

The purpose of new year's resolutions should not be to make you feel like an underachiever, but rather to inspire you. That's why I like the daily approach. It's not about taking it "one day at a time" (which could easily lead you to slipping steadily down a slippery slope to destruction, or plateau at best); but to make achieving those goals all the more doable. If you're a task-oriented person, setting up big goals might lead to procrastination because you might be worried that once you start, you won't be able to leave your desk until the job is finished. With the one day at a time approach, as long as you dedicate a sufficient amount of time each day to those bigger goals and projects in your life -  you will get there. You will get it done.

So, what do I really wish for us all this year? Find the time, each day, to do the important things to us: breath and connect to the present moment and our body; play with our kids; wake up each morning with the excitement that today, we will create something new. 
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