How To: Botanical Belly Oil for Expecting Mothers


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Hope, II Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918)

Two very special ladies in my life are expecting their first child this Spring! For their Christmas gift, I concocted a luxurious belly that they can use to prevent those much-dreaded stretch marks (and to help them relax and feel pampered).

After a bit of research and experimentation, I came up with a wonderful blend of botanical oils that have healing, moisturizing, and antioxidant properties. I also added a touch of lavender, which is known to have healing properties and is the safest essential oil for use during pregnancy.* Most of these oils can be found at your local health food store or natural market. I also order many of my carrier oils from Synergy Essentials online.

The recipients seem to love the final product, so I thought I would pass along the recipe. Here is my final blend — enjoy mamas!

Equal parts (this is according to how much you want to make — I used 5 ml of each oil) —

  • Sunflower oil [High in Oleic acids, plus significant quantities of vitamins A, D, and E].
  • Sesame oil [Natural anti-bacterial and antioxidant].
  • Argan oil [Rich in many important antioxidant compounds, including vitamin E and other polyphenols].
  • Jojoba oil [Moisturizes and absorbs easily].
  • Rosehip oil [Positively researched in controlled studies for reduction of appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and general improvement of skin texture].
  • Apricot Kernal oil [Extremely healing for dry skin].
  • Sweet Almond oil [Softens, smooths, and conditions skin. Rich in fatty acids].
  • Liquid Vitamin E [Diminishes the appearance of scars and evens out skin tone].

You could also swap or include the following oils if you have them on hand: Rice Bran oil, Calendula, and Wheat Germ oil.

  • Then add 10 or more drops of Lavender Absolute oil or Lavender essential oil (I prefer the absolute — it has a richer, more balsamic scent than the essential oil). If you would like a lighter fragrance, add 10-15 drops to your oil mixture. If you prefer a stronger fragrance, you can add more to your liking.

Shake well, and you’re done! I put mine in an Amber glass dropper bottle to keep it fresh and to make application easier for the moms-to-be. To apply: Add a generous amount to the palm of the hand and massage into the skin morning and night until moisturized. Mothers can continue using the oil for several months after giving birth to help the skin regain elasticity and stay moisturized — this speeds up the healing process.

If you are expecting, why not blend your own batch of belly oil? You have complete control over the ingredients (no nasty chemicals or hidden additives) — and you can personalize it according to your own preferences. This also makes a spectacular gift for baby showers!

*Please note: Essential oils are not recommended for use in high doses during the first trimester of pregnancy. For a well-researched article on the safety of lavender oil, refer to this article by Robert Tisserand.

P.S. Another awesome thing about this oil — you can use it even if you’re not expecting. I have been using it on my face as a moisturizer at night and adding a few drops to the ends of my hair to help smooth frizz after I shower. It works wonders!

Fragrantly Yours, Tara


Out with the Old, and in with the New!


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For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

~T.S. Eliot

If I could use two words to describe 2011, they would be: challenging and exhilarating. Sometimes the challenging aspects of the past year seemed to outweigh the exciting bits. Like many others out there, I have been faced with work stress, financial concerns, and family worries.

But ringing in a new year always makes me look back with a more balanced perspective on the ups and downs of the previous twelve months. It also helps me to realize how much I’ve learned and grown! In 2011, I challenged myself to take big leaps, to do things that scared me. Of course, starting Plume Perfumes was the biggest (and most wonderful!) challenge of all!

Here are just a few of the events that have made 2011 memorable for me:

  • Giving a lecture on Victorian literature and art adaptations at the Philbrook Museum in January.
  • Traveling to England (all by myself!) for a conference — and spending several days in London visiting museums and seeing the sights.
  • Officially embarking on my first business — Plume Natural Perfumery was born in June (after much work, study, and planning).
  • Participating in my first ever indie arts and crafts fairs — Indie Emporium, BAzaar, and Alliday.
  • Finding out that my brother and sister were both going to be parents!
  • Celebrating four wonderful years together with James — my love and partner in life.
  • Celebrating my best friend Diana’s completion of her PhD in December.

I don’t really like to make New Year’s resolutions (those always get broken anyway), but I do like to envision what I hope to accomplish overall in a new year — to set goals and imagine possibilities. This is a great way to visualize intentions for life and to begin clearing a path for new adventures.

In 2012, I look forward to:

  • Finishing my dissertation!
  • Moving into a new house.
  • Being a wonderful aunt to my niece and nephew.
  • Growing my business.
  • Taking a vacation!

What made 2011 particularly memorable for you??

What possibilities do you imagine for yourself in the new year??

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Next Event: The Alliday Show


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Hi Friends! I am so excited to be part of the upcoming Alliday Show on December 17th. The show takes place at the Ford Truck Exhibit Hall at Tulsa Fairgrounds Expo Square. Come out and enjoy an array of handmade, local vendors — just in time for those wait-till-the-last-minute holiday shoppers (likeĀ  me!).

I will have my new perfume oil roll-on bottles for sale, as well as perfume lockets, and perfume mini gift sets (which make great stocking stuffers).

I’m looking forward to buying a few gifts myself!

Hope to see you there–

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Lust List {Gift Guide Edition}: Botanical Bounty


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This holiday season, visions of nature’s bounty are dancing in me head. Here is a botanical-inspired collection of gifts that would perfect for the nature-lover in your life (all items are hand-made and under $75, to boot!).

1. Rustic Vase for 4 Flowers by The Bent Tree Gallery, $36. 2. Pure soy candle with essential oils. SPA (sweet birch, cedar, black pepper, orange) by Luminology, $44. 3. Christmas decorations balsam pillows. hanging ornaments with pine imprinted in chocolate brown on cream linen by Studio Botanica, $40. 4. Botanical Nature Photograph, Winter Rustic Frosted Rose Hip by Mary Foster Creative, $25.

5. Ceramic Eco-Friendly Travel Mug – Cyclamen, Botanical Collection by Yevgenia, $44. 6. Flossie in a Jar Gift Pack: Lost in the Forest dry shampoo, salt soak, lip balm by Flossie Fern, $30. 7. Organic Vegan Vanilla Bean-Infused Sugar by Twig and Leaf Botanical, $7. 8. Pressed Leaf Necklace Botanical Jewelry by Katee Marie, $28.

9. Myrtle Branch Curvy Bracelet in Gold by Shlomitofir, $63. 10. Autumn Tea Towel by Bookhouathome, $16. 11. Branch Pod Air Plant Terrarium by Sea and Asters, $25. 12. Organic Bath Salts, 4 Test Tube Sampler by Khushi Organics, $10.

13. Luciana bouquet earrings by The Don Juan Legend, $11. 14. Antler No. 7004 original photo print by Kari Herer, $30. 15. Antique Botanical Print of Pink Carnations by We Sell Used Gods, $24. 16. Gold Pinecone lariat necklace with smoky topaz by Otis B. Jewelry, $36.

What is on your wish-list this year??

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Shop Update & a Roll-On Bottle Giveaweay!


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I’m thrilled to introduce these lovely new roll-on perfume bottles with elegant silver caps — each one holds 8 ml of your favorite Plume perfume oil. I have been testing them out to be certain they are spill-proof, and so far they have held up wonderfully in my purse! I love having the choice between applying oil or solid perfume when I’m out-and-about (I’m a little addicted to re-applying!).

As part of Plume’s holiday/Cyber Monday specials, if you purchase one of the new roll-on perfume oils between now and Monday, Nov. 28th, you receive a free mini perfume of your choice!

To celebrate the release of the new bottles, I’ve decided to have my first-ever giveaway here on the Plume blog. I will be giving away one full-size roll-on bottle of perfume oil. The winner gets to choose the scent they would most like! The giveaway ends on Saturday Dec. 3rd. The winner will be chosen at random.

In order to be eligible to win:

Visit the Plume Perfume Etsy shop and then share in a comment (on this post) which item you like the most! Please include your first name (or Etsy username) and email address.

For additional entries you can do any or all of the following:

Please let me know (in the comments) which of the above additional entries you made.

Good luck, my friends!

Holiday Weekend Deals & Specials!


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I don’t know about you, but I’m all about avoiding the Black Friday craziness at the big-box shops this holiday weekend! Whether you’re participating in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday, Plume has some great deals and specials to help you kick off your holiday shopping with style — and without the stress!

Through Monday, Nov. 28th you can enjoy —

  • Free shipping in the Etsy shop using the coupon code FREESHIP at checkout.
  • A $5 Gift Certificate toward a solid perfume refill pan when you purchase one of Plume’s brass refillable perfume lockets.
  • A FLASH SALE on all full-size solid perfume tins — marked down from $28 to $24!


As a special “Small Business Saturday” event, I will be revealing my new 8 ml. perfume oil roll-on bottles in the Etsy shop! Check back here on Saturday for a great giveaway, as well!!

Happy Holidays, my friends — may the rest of the year be filled with peace, happiness, and beautiful smells!

Fragrantly Yours,


Shop Update: Newest Addition to the Plume Perfume Locket Collection…and a Holiday Offer!


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I am so pleased to introduce the newest additions to the Plume perfume locket collection! These lockets are kind of perfect, if you ask me. Come browse around the locket department in the Etsy shop to see more…

These lovely lockets are specially-crafted to hold solid perfume. They have a small removable refill pan inside, so when you run out of solid perfume, you can order a new pan to place inside. Voila! You can always have your favorite scent with you.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the quality of these lockets — they are crafted in the USA from original vintage molds and then plated in antique-finish brass. Each one comes with a matching brass chain, so it is ready to wear when you receive it. I have been wearing mine every day — it seems to add just the right touch to every outfit!

There are two designs to choose from: a feminine rose design or an elegant scroll design. And, as always, your locket is filled-to-order with your choice of solid perfume. I hope you will love these as much as I do…

HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Order one of the brass, refillable lockets before December 25th and receive a $5 gift certificate toward the purchase of a refill pan.

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

The Story of a Scent: Coffee & Cedarwood


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The scent of coffee is often associated with warmth, comfort, or a sense of anticipatory pleasure. For me, the smell of coffee is closely associated with…love.

Let me explain: I often have trouble sleeping, and mornings have long been unpleasant for me (other restless sleepers can relate). During the four years that my boyfriend James and I have been together, he has managed to make my mornings more pleasant than I ever imagined possible. He always wakes before me and tiptoes out of the room with the stealth of a ninja, careful not to wake me. At the agreed-upon time (and never sooner), he quietly returns with a hot cup of coffee — brimming with just-the-right-amount of milk and sugar — and places it on my nightstand. He opens the curtains to let a small amount of light into the room and crawls back under the blankets with me. We then have our morning cup of coffee together in bed, discuss our night’s dreams, our plans for the day, our random thoughts.

That cup of morning coffee has come to symbolize peaceful beginnings and represents the comfort of being with someone who knows that it is the little things that can make all the difference.

I have been working on a coffee-based perfume for some time now and recently realized that my preoccupation with coffee had become a very personal one — related to these strongly positive scent associations I now have with coffee. Coffee equals love!

But working with Coffee Absolute is no easy task — its rich, idiosyncratic scent tends to dominate all other essences. I knew I wanted to create a perfume that was evocative of a cup of lovingly-brewed coffee, but I also wanted something multi-layered — not a literal cup of coffee, but a nod in that direction. I also wanted this to be a scent that could be enjoyed equally by men and women — as coffee truly is.

Coffee and Cedarwood (which I recently released as part of my Fall/Winter line) is the happy result of my experimentation with this delicious but difficult essence.

The initial note is tart and dry — a blend of bright citrus, orange flower, and woods. I wanted the top to have a brightness which could balance the heaviness of the coffee base. The middle notes feature soft florals, such as rose, which lend a roundness to the blend and pair well with the woods in the top and base. I concocted a coffee accord in the base with hints of vanilla and caramel-like balsams. I never drink my coffee black, so I imagined the perfect blend with just a touch of sweetness (but not too much!). The coffee accord is paired with the bright, masculine scent of cedarwood and earthy patchouli in order to tilt the scent just slightly from being a simple gourmand to being a woody-gourmand.

I think Coffee & Cedarwood smells AMAZING on men, but I have had just as many female customers respond positively to it. It blends nicely with Medici Cocoa (adds a fresh-sweetness) and Amber Woods (brings out the woodiness). I also love the rich, brown color that the Coffee Arabica lends to the blend.

I am so thrilled that I can now share a little of my morning coffee-love with everyone!

P.S. Happy Anniversary, James! Thanks for all of the little things you do to make my life sweet…

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

Breath Perfumes & Other Strange, Sugary Confections


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As you probably surmised from my last post, I’m on a bit of a candy kick. I have recently become obsessed with unusual, old-fashioned candies. Last week, I picked up a few strange confections from a local candy shop: Clove gum — delicious and spicy! Chimes Ginger Chews — tongue-tingling and addictive. Sen-Sen — one of the weirdest things I have ever consumed (more on that later in the post). And, Choward’s Violet candies

My obsession with old-school candies started a few months ago when I tried Choward’s purple wafers for the first time. It was a confusing sensory experience that was neither pleasurable nor entirely off-putting. It was — I imagined to myself — very much like eating a violet plucked straight from the garden, albeit crunchy. It reminded me of the first time I tried rose ice cream. I wanted to love that beautifully-scented, pink ice cream — but I didn’t. There was a disconnect between my nose and tongue that I wasn’t expecting, as if some primal switch came on in my brain that said “this is not edible!” But, I am not one to give up so easily — I am determined to appreciate both the Violet candies and the rose ice cream!

While it seems most people readily accept perfumes and fragrances with edible aromas (this is obviously a HUGE trend in the fragrance industry in the West), we are somewhat less open to the idea of eating things that have a direct connection with perfume fragrances — namely flowers or floral-scented edibles. After considering my ice cream experience again, I realized that the reaction was probably far more cultural than primal. Flowers are not part of our regular, everyday fare in the West. Flowers, for the most part, go in gardens and not on our plates.

Of course this distinction is not so clear-cut in other parts of the world (rose ice cream is common in the mid-east, for example) — and there are plenty of flowers that are perfectly edible. Sampling the Violet candies piqued my curiosity about the ways different cultures distinguish between those things which are considered OK to smell, but not OK to eat. I also learned that it has really only been in the past 50 or 60 years that we have become less accustomed to floral-based or “perfumed” edibles.

In fact, floral ice creams and candies were quite popular during the 19th century and early twentieth centuries in the US and Britain (The violet candies are a case-in-point). Folks seem to have been much more flexible in their notions of what their sweets could smell and taste like. Another obvious example of this is the most bizarre candy of them of all: Sen-Sen — a “breath perfume” that was invented in the 1890s. I hunted down a package of Sen-Sen after reading about the ingredients, which include: patchouli, geranium, ionones, orris extracts, nitromusks, anise, and clove, among others. That list read more like perfume notes than candy ingredients, so of course I was fascinated!

The taste of Sen-Sen was…shocking…to say the least. That seemingly primal voice kicked in again: “This tastes like soap-on-a-rope…spit it out!” Oddly, Sen-Sen does smell wonderful, but I just couldn’t get past the perfume-like quality (the texture is bizarre, as well). This really has me wondering whether or not we can train (or re-train) ourselves to enjoy and appreciate these perfume-y tastes again, or whether it is simply a thing of the past.

I, for one, am going to continue on my strange little obsession for a while — mainly because there is at least one more unusually-flavored candy that I really must try (yes, I am a glutton for punishment): Musk Lifesavers! Yep. These are apparently an Australian confection, and they sound too bizarre to be true!

Have you tried any of these unusual candies? What was your impression?

Fragrantly Yours, Tara

How-To’s: Halloween Room Spray and Sugar Scrub Recipes


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All the hubbub around Halloween-time makes me crave candy, candy, candy! I thought it would be fun to experiment with Halloween candy-inspired scents, and I came up with two recipes that feature a classic candy ingredient: Anise oil. To me, there is just something about AniseĀ that screams Halloween — I think it has to do with its sweet, spicy fragrance and strange, sinister appearance.

Anise & Ylang Ylang Room/Linen Spray

The first recipe is for a room/linen spray. Anise is a very effective deodorizer, so this is great for freshening up a stuffy room, as well as sofas, curtains, upholstered chairs, dog beds, etc. The addition of Ylang Ylang lends a flowery sweetness to the Anise. Just be sure not to spray this directly over any wood furniture or electronics as it contains essential oils. There is no alcohol in the base — only water — so it is very mild and safe for sensitive noses. Here goes:


  • Distilled water
  • Anise essential oil
  • Ylang Ylang Extra essential oil

Directions: To 4 oz of distilled water (in a dark-colored spray bottle), add 42 drops of Anise essential oil and 6 drops of ylang Ylang Extra Essential oil. Shake well each time before use.

Anise and Cocoa Sugar Scrub

The next recipe is for a delicious-smelling sugar-scrub. The blend of Anise, cocoa, and cinnamon is irresistible! Be sure to dilute the cinnamon oil before using it, as it can cause irritation when undiluted. Use this to soften and smooth rough skin on your hands, feet, and elbows.


  • Sugar
  • Oil (jojoba oil or coconut oil work best as they are relatively scentless, but olive oil can substituted)
  • Liquid Vitamin E
  • Anise essential oil
  • Cocoa Absolute
  • Cinnamon bark essential oil (diluted in oil to 1-5%)

Directions: In a mixing bowl, stir together 40 ml of sugar, 30 ml of your chosen oil, 9 drops of Vitamin E, 20 drops of Anise, 18 drops of cocoa, and 4 drops of diluted cinnamon oil. Blend well until the mixture becomes an oily paste. Store in an air-tight container.

Enjoy your sweet treats, my friends!

Fragrantly Yours, Tara