Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our trip to Santa Monica and the fragrance Salon

The first LA Artisan Fragrance Salon happened in San Francisco, CA on my Birthday, July 8th, so I was not able to go to that one. But, for some reason, I was literally driven and pushed towards making plans to attend the next one in Santa Monica. A lot had happened over the summer – my Dad had been ill, as had my baby sister. She subsequently passed away on August 27th; and my husband had just had surgery July 13th; and I had a Lupus flare July 9th. Still, I HAD to go and so I kept moving towards my vision, not even sure I would be physically able to travel or that Norm could get the time off work, since he’d just been away for five weeks.

After tossing and turning all night, hoping I’d covered off every detail correctly, we arose at 4 am on Sep 22nd, and the cab arrived on time at 5 am to take us to YVR. He was an excellent driver and we got to the airport at 5:30. Our arduous journey was beginning. A young man helped us with the Kiosk check-in, beginning our three-hour stint of standing in long line-ups off and on. Next we went through Security then on to Customs and at last boarded the Plane at 7:35 am. We were in the air for 2 hours and 47 minutes. This was my 17th flight and I always love looking down from 37,000 feet to see the lay of the land. It gives me a different perspective on life. The staff of Air Canada was friendly and helpful.

Upon landing, we were directed outside to await the shuttle bus to the Avis car rental. It seemed to take quite a long time to get there but I was getting friendly with the variety of palm trees (I’d called them ‘wanna-be-trees’ for years but was quickly growing in appreciation of their gentle energy and diversity) along the way so it didn’t matter how long we were taking. We were in LA! We made it without a hitch. Everything went according to plan and now, though very hungry, sore, and tired, here we were. I was in heaven. There was a very long line at Avis but the prize at the end of the line was - we’d been up-graded to this luxury cherry red Ford Escape. YES!

Our first goal was to find food and water. We were driving down Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica and saw a place called Café 50’s. We knew this was the place for us and we also noticed a pharmacy where we could pick up some distilled drinking water. After lunch we were off to Wishing Well Medical Supplies to pick a wheel chair so I could be really mobile over the coming four days; what a God-send that was.

Norm and I checked into our room at the Best Western plus the Inn at Marina Del Rey and, as requested, the room was off-street side and very quiet. We turned the AC on and had a nap then off to supper the IHOP.

There was a great sunset happening on the way back to the hotel so I snapped a shot with my phone through the windshield. Yes, it had sprinkled a bit, just like Vancouver. After watching some TV, we were off to bed. The next morning we enjoyed our included hearty breakfast of ham & eggs (could have had waffles, cereal, or porridge) then off to the show.

Sunday was the day I’d been awaiting for a few months. The LA Artisan Fragrance Salon was happening at the Civic Centre in Santa Monica and I’d bought two tickets on August 1st. There was a Chocolate Salon next door and our tickets covered both events. Imagine this – bins full of chocolate and bottles full of perfume – I was in heaven. At the end of the day, I could honestly say - Most everyone in that room was easy to approach and speak with and very knowledgeable about their product.

I was able to get around and visit most of the vendors over the course of those six hours. These are people I’d been talking to online for six years. I also had the wonderful privilege of meeting two of my perfume correspondence students who live in Hollywood and introducing them to each other. (Perfuming can be a solitary activity, that’s for sure.)

Maggie, who had a booth at the show, and

Lauren, who is new to perfumery.

This is a rarity for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the meet-up.

Here are some photos of the Participants, their table displays, and my comments on their samples, if any.

“A Perfume Organic” with Amanda Walker

Amanda is a gentle soul, very knowledgeable about essential oils as well as fixed oils to carry them. Her perfumes are oil-based, gorgeous colours, and organic. Above, she is explaining to me how she selects the fixed oil to go with the blend. I bought samples of her collection and enjoyed each one very much. My favourite is Perfumed Wine – rich, deep tones that waft up to my nose and tickle my fancy, as I sit here writing these notes. Just lovely.

“Artemisia Perfumes” with Lisa Fong

Lisa has an amazing natural line. I smelled them all and bought my favourite – Havana. It’s sensual, intense, and lively promising a good time for a long while. There’s something in there that I can’t quite get my nose around and identify and I love it. There were no notes with my sample so I’ll have to look this one up at some point.

“40 Notes” with Mirium Vareldzis

Norm and I loved sharing with Mirium. She is a delightful woman with no visible airs. Her perfumes were amazing and I loved the colour and shape of her packaging, too. The perfume that stood out for me was White Winter Flowers and when I found out it is comprised of Orange Flower and Neroli, I said ‘no wonder I love it’ as those are my favourite notes. Mirium’s perfumes begin as all-natural then she add the appropriate musk to it to enhance the blend.

“House of Matriarch” with Christi Meshell

Christi is a gal who’s going places in the perfume field. She is packed with ideas and the energy to manifest them. She is real and open and I totally enjoyed meeting her, as did Norm. Her line is natural and unique and I had fun during my sniffarama at her table. Her bottles are amazing and it was interesting to learn how they came to be. Her presentation was exceptional. oM was my favourite and, going to her website, I see why – it has neroli, orange blossom, and agarwood. : ,) all my faves.

Roxana Villa and “Roxana Illuminated Perfumes”

Roxana is as sweet as the honey her bees make. I’d been waiting for years to meet her and was so grateful she turned out to be the same person she presented in her writings and group comments. I loved her perfumes and ‘Q’ is my favourite. Her table was so interesting and I enjoyed watching the bees.

“Imaginary Authors” with Josh Meyer

I’m always intrigued by the concept of finding a moment in time and creating a perfume around it. I do this, myself. Josh has stories on his website that he creates perfumes around. The one my nose sniffed out was ‘Falling into the Sea’. It’s amazing and I appreciate it very much. I love the citrus burst followed by the soft and sensuous tropical notes. Awesome, Josh, you made quite a splash with this one!

“JoAnne Bassett Natural Perfumes”

Who wouldn’t just fall in love with JoAnne? She is warm and real with a vast experience and lots of good stories to tell. In a very short time, we developed a deep rapport and were rapidly sharing back and forth. Her perfumes, her bottles, and her concepts are fantastic and I truly enjoyed meeting her. Not what I expected as I thought I might be a little intimidated by her. Not at all; she’s a sweetie.

“Olympic Orchids” with Ellen Covey

The Red Cattleya and the Golden Cattleya were my favourites from this multi-talented, multi-media perfumer. Ellen is a precise, intense, balanced person who is intoxicated and in love with orchids. I can’t blame her; I love them, too, and have one in my home. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and look forward to our next encounter.

“Opus Oils” with Kedra Hart

Kedra was not at all what I expected. We had such fun and laughed a lot. She has an irreverent side, as I do, and, again like me, is not afraid to speak her mind. Her perfumes share that same personality. M’Eau Joe № 3 is my favourite of the bunch.

“Parums Lalun” with Maggie Mahboubian

I love all of Maggie’s Natural Perfumes. She is very talented and her branding is impeccable in its simplicity. My favourite is Acqua di Callitris in which she used a Jasmine grandiflorum tinctured from her own garden. We had a lovely visit with Maggie on Tuesday before we left. Her garden is wonderful with many plants to tincture and use in her perfumes. This is what I do, too, go out into nature and create perfumes from it. Maggie is an inspiration. Her husband, Morris, is so nice, as well.

“PK Perfumes” with Paul Kiler

I e-met Paul a few years ago via a chat group about perfumery. It was very good to meet him in person and see all that he has talked about materialized in the form of several perfumes and a great display table. It was impressive, to say the least. “Velvet Curacao” is a smooth, delicious perfume that I’ve been enjoying at home.

“Sanae Intoxicants” with Sanae Barber

We didn’t get around to everyone as there was so much going on. We did, however, get to meet Sanae and smell her perfumes. I like all three and Sanae (on the right in the photo), too. She is very approachable and knowledgeable. I hadn’t spoken with her previously but had read over her website, which I enjoyed very much.

“Sarah Horowitz” Parfums

OMGosh, Sarah is wonderful. Again, I’d not had any contact with her previously but had read over her website to get a sense of where she’s coming from with her perfumes. (I actually read over everyone’s website the week before we flew down.) From the Perfect Perfume series, I choose three “Chocolate Sunset”, “Perfect Nectar” and “Coconut Milk” and I absolutely love all three.

“Sebastian Signs” with Sherri Sebastian

Sherri’s (on the left, leaning over) table was always busy so I didn’t have a chance to speak with her much. But I was able to try out a 'gloss-on of № 35', which contains Rose, Jasmine, and sheer woods. The consistency is a cire tres doux (like a cool gel) and it smoothes on nicely. Such an interesting concept.

“Velvet and Sweet Pea” with Laurie Stern

I couldn’t get near Laurie’s table all day so we had to wait to share at suppertime at the Tender Greens in Santa Monica. She dug around in her purse for a while and came up with a sample of Fleur de Caramel for me. I’m so glad she had one last sample with her as it is exquisite and, as with all her other scents, expertly blended. Laurie’s scents are lovely, perfumey, girlie, and very feminine, as is she. She’s the quintessential glam girl and I was so happy that, after all this time of emailing, chatting, and trading samples back and forth, she and her 'riot' of a husband Gary were across the table from us, at last. We had a fantastic hour or so with them and we loved every minute of it.

Pros and Cons from this trip

Air Canada – they were very helpful with my needs and had a meet and assist, which really benefited me a great deal and took the pressure of travel off of both Norm and I.

Avis – there was some kind of meeting happening on the way down so we had to stand in line (before picking up the wheelchair) (and there was no place to sit down) for 45 minutes or more as there were only 3 agents working. All of a sudden, all the wickets were posted and then we got served quickly.

Don’t go for their ‘pre-pay for your gas’ idea as that ended up costing us $91.00 (2x as much as we would have paid) and we bought the vehicle back ½ full. They have a lot of hidden charges.

There were very kind when we dropped off the vehicle. I had asked if there was someone who could help us with the luggage and they simply had us get back in the van and drove us right to the airport terminal where we were able to pick up a wheel chair.

Best Western plus the Inn at Marina Del Rey – no complaints; central to the airport, LA, and Santa Monica. Close to Lincoln Blvd, one of the main drags. The staff is helpful.

Wishing Well Medical Supplies – very reasonably priced; good stock; helpful staff; close to everything

Funny stories

One of the funniest was when we were taking the rental vehicle back to Avis… we were 'backwards following the map' they gave us to get out of their facility. At one point I looked up and saw a sign that said ‘Return Rental Cars’ so I told Norm to go in that direction. We were doing great but missed the last off-ramp and ended up at the LAX off-loading area. We had no idea where to go from there so I said ‘Let’s just wait for an Avis Shuttle to come by and follow them. Talk about yer startin’ n stoppin’. But it eventually got on the straight-away and ended up going to the compound. We, of course, were not allowed to go in that way so had to find another way in.

3rd Street Promenade

On Monday Sep 24th, we visited this amazing place. There were street vendors and performers and places to eat. Traffic is cordoned off to three city blocks and it is truly the best pedestrian experience I’ve ever had. I bought some jewellery for my granddaughter Cassidy and daughter Dorothy whose Birthdays were coming up.

We went into L’Occitane en Province, which features perfumes and beauty products made with Immortel.

At the beginning and the end of the promenade were topiary in the shape of dragons.

gorgeous palms
springtime blossoms in September
fantastic chocolate and displays
pelican diving for his dinner
Lyn on Malibu Beach
Norm and Lyn-breakfast at the Best Western
Norm-supper at Tender Greens
California Chicken Cafe
So much happened in those four days; I tasted chocolate that was to live for; I stood on Malibu Beach and allowed the surf to run over my toes; I saw palm trees up close and personal; I got a California tan; I found the people to be friendly, helpful and courteous; I love California mashed potatoes in the little cup; I saw a pelican diving for its dinner; the perfumers I had the opportunity of sharing with were so very nice and so very talented. If it weren't for my husband Norm, none of this would have been possible. He was there for me, every step of the way. We've been a team for 25 years, now. It was worth every penny and a few days after we got home I asked Norm if we could go again ‘cause I’m ready to become a "Californian Girl".

Love Lyn
Photo Credits: Lyn & Norman Ayre
A huge Thank You to Dad, who cared for our wee dog, Joy, while we were away. Thanks, Dad.


  1. Amazing story Lynn, i felt as though i was there with you!
    Now i feel inspired to organize a similar event here in Oz!

  2. Thank you for sharing your photos and writing about the Expo. It sounds like a wonderful event.

  3. Lyn, Thank you for the excellent write-up of the LA Salon and the great photos! I'm sorry I didn't really get to talk to you until the end of the day, but am happy I did get to meet you and Norm in person. It sounds like you had a memorable trip!

  4. Hi, Susan, it really was a fantastic event. I'm looking forward to the one in Seattle on May 5th, 2013 and hoping that it is going to happen and be just as fun.
    Warmly, Lyn

  5. That's a fantastic idea, Ambrosia. The time has certainly come for the perfume community to get out there in venues such as these. I, for one, am happy to be a part of it all.

    Love Lyn

  6. Thank you for a fun post...It was great meeting you also. Continue with your great work and creating the perfumes...take care!

  7. Hi, JoAnne,

    It's so funny as I thought I might be intimidated by you because you are so very well-known and successful and are a real driving force in the perfume arena. As it turned out, you are very loving, warm, and knowledgeable. I found you to be very down-to-earth and a kindred spirit whom I could relate to on multiple levels. I was so delighted by our meeting that it made me smile for days every time I thought of you.

    Love Lyn

  8. The detailed account, the reminiscing, the photos and mostly how accessible you made all the natural perfumers involved. Now I have some visual and personal connection to so many of them. I thank you for that Lyn,
    Much love,
    Suzy Larsen

  9. You are very welcome, Suzy. I'm so happy that you enjoyed the article.
    I'm looking forward to doing it all again in Seattle on May 5th, 2013. Hope you, and many other perfumers from Canada, will come to that one.
    Love Lyn