a Scented Muse











{Tuesday, 15 January, 13}   Essential Living

book cover Aromatherapy Recipes for Health & Home

Andrea Butje

Call me shallow ~ but I do judge a book by its cover.  Sprigs of lavender on the cover invite your fingers to caress it’s glossy surface.  The virgin binding creaks, as if in protest, to protect the contents within…but with gentle persuasion gives way.  Whether you are just beginning to dabble or are a serious “sniffer” of Essential Oils, the author, Andrea Butje draws the reader into the world of Aromatherapy.

As the pages turn, Andrea charms the reader with photos from her visits of various distillers around the world, while in search of the highest quality Essential Oils.  Every recipe is keyed as a beginner, an intermediate or an advanced level with straightforward instructions ~ so pull on your kitchen tool belt, learn blending techniques and whip up various body butters, a nasal congestion relief inhaler or headache relief oil.  The possibilities are endless!

Essential Oils are not the unsophisticated liquid that one simply pours from a bottle.  Much like we humans, oils have a humble beginning; first as a seed; then as a sprout with a little soul; finally a complex personality.  Andrea encourages you to “experiment with the aromas.  Discover which scents become your BFF and which scents are meant to simply serve your purpose at hand.  One learns to coax each Essential Oil’s personality to its full potential through careful manipulation, layering notes and final composition ~ one drop at a time ~ an “olfactory orchestra”.

Whether a novice or an “old hand” with blending, Essential Living – Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, is simple, elegant and an enticing invitation to discover, craft and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.



{Monday, 21 February, 11}   No Snaps? Sniff This!

I dropped my deodorant. Bending over to retrieve the bottle, I found myself whispering “BBEENNDD and SNAP!” There was a time, when I was that nail lady without a “snap” as in “Legally Blond’s” well known nail salon scene.

This morning was not one of them. As I readied myself for work, I caught a glimpse in the mirror. My eyes laughed “Hello girl ~ (think Jack Nicholson) IM BACK! . I had to crack up at myself. Danced a little jig, patted myself “good morning” and went about the routine of putting on my mask. It is a different mask these days. The past, was one of pain. These days, a mask to reflect my newly discovered essence. SNAP! SNAP! And SSSNNNAAAPPP!

Oh reader, I forget… you don’t know my story, but as we continue this life journey ~ you will.

Briefly… two years ago I got laid off from a job that slowly sapped, no! sucked the very essence from my being. Oh! I knew it was happening. But hey! Here was an uneducated girl from Minnesota that felt lucky to have reached my position at an international company ~ even if it meant prostituting my values. And the MONEY… need I say more?

So now here I was ~ an empty shell of a body that was out of shape, an ache with every movement and no SNAPS. What could be worse? I was simply existing. I disliked myself, my life and my husband.

But deep within, if I could calm my aching body and quiet my screaming mind, I felt a slow methodical tick. I was reminded of a line from a book I had read many years before by SARK “if you could marry yourself, would you?” Hell no! Not at this point. I wanted out of the marriage I was in. Why in the hell would I get married again… and to ME… are you nuts? But it made me think.

Where did I lose my snaps? I had practiced so hard, as a child, to even learn how to snap. Yup. It was gone. No snap, no essence, nothing, only a feeling of “poor me”. Puke. I was sick of feeling this way.

So I pondered, and pondered and still the answer evaded me. Darn life! Where was my teacher? I am ready… when would he/she appear. Still nothing. Many weeks, books and tears later…

The teacher revealed herself through a simple phone call. She happened to be named “Mom”. Adapting that TONE ~ you know, the Mom tone. Mom said “Quit your whining, go splash some cold water on your face, and go sniff some rosemary. Don’t you remember what you enjoyed doing as a child? No, Mom. “You loved to travel, crush flowers, make potions and create pretty things. Why don’t you go do something with that?” Great Idea! But what exactly? Another ponder…. nothing! All I knew was that when I was really stressed I would make potions (as my husband would call them), make him drink them or put them on ~ I wasn’t going to expose myself to a possible mistake. BTW. He is still alive and doing well, I might add.

EUREKA! THAT IS IT!

Ok. Honestly, I didn’t know exactly what “IT” was until a couple of days later ~ but something felt right. I had a purpose, a desire and one out of three snaps snapped. SSSNNAAAPPP! Now THAT’s what I’m talking about!

I began immediately to do research for a class in aromatherapy. Nothing grabbed me until I came upon a place called Aromahead Institute located in NY. Now THAT was my type of place. Essential oils, potions, and adventure. I enrolled. While I was on the roll to change my life, I planned a trip to India. Why not see the plants like sandalwood, cardamom, and turmeric in their natural settings? But that is another story.

In May, I vroomed across states for my first aromatherapy class. 2 days later, I had made claim to a chartreuse Queen chair in the corner of the room (it went well with my hair). I had already SWORN to myself that I was not going to befriend anybody. Ha! Who was I kidding? The instructor, Andrea, asked all to introduce ourselves. Are you KIDDING me! I am here for the oils, free food, and the recipes. One by one the Goddesses within the room begin to reveal their dreams, their disappointments and why they were there. I felt a rumbling within. BAM. The second SNAP coursed through my veins. I was home! This is where my path had been leading me. Crazy? Not really.

The oils spoke to me as a mother would to their child. Gently coaxing my olfactory system to release memories that had long been forgotten. Sniff this! Cinnamon. Grandma’s rolls. Sniff this! Vetiver. Dirt. Sniff this! Peppermint. Mom’s kitchen. I sniffed till my nose hairs were beggin’ for mercy.

By the end of the weekend, I was in love. SNAP! The third snap! I felt like the Grinch standing at the mountain top looking down at whoville. My heart grew 10X in my chest that weekend. I knew I had found my path.

It has been a journey. I do not fool myself. I know there are many challenges ahead of me. Sniff! Lavender. Sniff! Grapefruit. My soul is calm, my head clear as is the vision of the experiences that I want to create for others.

Thank you Aromasistas! Thank you Goddesses! I leave you with this.

What have been some of YOUR Snaps?



et cetera