Mothers and Kids, and the Scents That Bind Us

Jos Plumeria

When I was pregnant with both of my sons I had the all too common and very dreaded smell aversions. Perfumes unfortunately were one of them. My aversion to perfume was so strong throughout my pregnancies that I literally could not look at a bottle of perfume, much less wear it. Because I am a midwife, I am around pregnant women a lot and I am continually amazed by those pregnant women who can wear strong and plentiful perfume and I have to suppress my desire to ask, “How can you do that?” Now that those days are far behind me, I relish in my fragrances and everyday I appreciate my ability to enjoy the glorious natural essences of the perfumers featured here on Scent Hive, including Roxana Villa and Ayala Sender who are also posting pieces today on their blogs regarding scents and motherhood.


Being a mother, I am of the biased opinion that my little boys possess their own enchanting smells, which create within me a meditative feeling of maternal longing as they sit cozily on my lap. Inhaling the oils from their scalps, the saltiness of their hard earned sweat, and the earthy grime in the creases of their palms; all of these being the most splendid of natural essences I will ever experience. These daily olfactory encounters bind us to our children in ways I’m sure we will never truly comprehend. Taking in their scents while reading to them at night, trying not to hold on too tightly while listening to them read as they learn new words; I attempt to put into practice my recent eastern philosophy reading, live in this moment, breathe this aromatic breath.


I don’t think my sons will ever associate a specific perfume with me. I change fragrances too frequently to ever have a signature scent. Chances are neither one of my sons will write about me wearing In Fiore’s Dayala the way in which Beth wrote so poignantly about her mother wearing Shalimar over at Perfume Smellin’ Things. (My moments of self-importance are few and far between enough that I think I can get over that). Instead, I try to pass on the deep love and affinity I have for the flowers that bloom here in the Northwest, especially in the spring. It’s blissful to have my older son point out lilacs to me on a walk or have my younger one point out his favorite “white flower” and his favorite “pink one” on our meanderings home from preschool.


My hope is that the experiences of flowers and appreciation for their beauty and fragrance will last with them beyond these innocent elementary school years. Maybe the joy that little blossoms bring to them now will continue with them or at least resurface in unexpected ways and foster the growth of our bonds. But at the very least you can be sure they know their mommy’s favorite flower in the world is plumeria. This is not because I am some model of perfect motherhood and my sons envision plumerias whenever they see me. It’s simply because the couple of times we have all been to Hawaii together I am constantly huffing the blossoms exclaiming, “this is my favorite flower in the world!” And also because I reminded them a few minutes ago…just to be sure. I also asked them how they would find me if they couldn’t see me or hear me, and my older son said, “by your perfume.” I just left it at that.


Thanks to Helg of Perfume Shrine for asking me to be a part of the Mothers and Kids, and the Scents That Bind Us project. It was an honor to be asked and a joy to write this piece. Please visit:

Perfume Shrine for Helg’s piece

Smelly Blog for Ayala Sender’s piece

Illuminated Perfume Journal for Roxana Villa’s piece

Posted by ~Trish

Photograph by Trish’s husband 


Pacifica Update.

5937_heroUpdate: Overall, Pacifica is a good company, but they do use synthetics, and is not transparent about that in their ingredient lists. Until they are, I cannot endorse their products. 

After I posted my review of Pacifica’s Spanish Amber perfume, there was some concern in the comments about the use of synthetic ingredients in their formulations. I corresponded directly with owner Brook Harvey-Taylor and she clarified this issue. Pacifica’s products contain 85-95% naturally derived ingredients, with most products falling on the high end of this scale. And to be clear, their products (perfumes, lotions, washes, etc) do not contain petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan (an anti-bacterial derived from benzene). In addition, Pacifica adheres to the following practices:

•No animal testing or ingredients
•Manufactures in the USA
•Works with local suppliers
•Provides full health and dental benefits for all employees
•Provides full 401K and 125 savings for all employees

In the spirit of putting closure on this issue, I will not be opening this post up to comments. If you have any specific questions about my correspondence with Brook or have a question you would like me to ask her, please contact me at scenthive {at} gmail {dot} com.

Posted by ~Trish


Jo Wood Amka

 I have learned that Amka means “to wake” in Swahili. (This information is on every site where the line is sold). And I agree that Jo Wood’s Amka possesses a lively quality, but it is soothing as well. I wear it to bed frequently because frankly, its lack of sillage and faint lasting power are good for the late night hours. I love crawling into bed after a bath, having just hydrated my skin with the Amka Body Oil and spritzed my skin with the Body Dew. I guess ultimately that is how I appease my heartbreak that this fragrance just does not last. Sad, but true. Because I love this scent so much.


Now that I have lamented its ephemeral quality, let me tell you why I still love it. I said it’s lively. This is due to the effervescent neroli Jo Wood has chosen. It’s slightly spicy, bursting with a piquant citrus aroma, yet mellowed by a beautiful warm cedar that envelops the neroli charge ever so perfectly. These opposing qualities have been balanced harmoniously. It is such a special fragrance that I am willing to forgive its transient nature, and enjoy its short-lived comfort and tranquility.


I know not everyone will have this kind of patience given its steep price tag. But take into consideration that Jo Wood has sustainable organic standards, and follows strict ECOCERT guidelines. She never uses petroleum products, phthalates, or parabens in her natural products. (See her website for more detailed information).  Also, I have found the best way to get the scent to last. I spray either the Body Dew or the Eau de Toilette (EdT) in my hair and then very liberally on my skin after applying the Body Oil, to get about an hour of scent time. I know, remember reading above about how much I love this perfume?


The difference between the EdT and the Body Dew is the EdT is softer and more floral, whereas the Body Dew has more cedar. Additionally, I’d say the EdT lasts longer on my skin; I can squeak out maybe two hours. But keep in mind that it wears very close to the skin. The Amka line includes the EdT, Body Dew, Body Oil, Body Lotion and Bath Oil. As an aside, the Body Oil is rich and luscious. It is very hydrating, and soaks into skin after about two minutes. The scent evokes the neroli, but the cedar is deeper and there are more hints of the rose otto than in the EdT or the Body Dew. And take note, I do not recommend the lotion. The texture is very watery and separates easily. Mine was quickly returned.


Jo Wood Amka is available at

Posted by ~Trish