when all hell breaks loose…

What do you wear when the world is ending? Which fragrance do you choose? A few years ago, I thought I knew pretty well which fragrances I’d throw in my backpack if the world ended… but here we are, at what legitimately appears to be the end of the world, and I’m not wearing anything from my previous list.

Mass shootings. A political situation that is quite literally unbelievable. Who cares what perfume I’m wearing? Actually, for maybe the first time ever, how I smell suddenly matters to more than just my mental state…

Here in Austin, Texas, the mosquito situation has become biblical in proportion: the terrible storms & too warm winter created a perfect miasma for the pestilential stripey buggers, and protecting yourself from these nefarious beasts is no longer simply a matter of keeping your pelt pretty–with west nile and zika viruses spreading alarmingly fast, what you smell like will determine whether or not you get bit*.

Like I said, the apocalypse. Deet sucks, in every way, for all of the reasons, and you already know what they are. I still use it, but as sparingly as I can. There aren’t a lot of natural options; thyme essential oil WILL keep them off effectively, but smells like burning hair (even worse diluted in perfumers alcohol), and needs to be re-applied about every hour. I’d like to take a moment to remind you how terrible burning hair smells. Supposedly lemon-eucalyptus oil also does the trick, but I wasn’t interested in bouncing around town & country smelling like a Ricola drop.

Which leaves us with lavender… and what an exquisite lavender it is. This particular amber glass bottle was gifted to me from the growers themselves; enthusiasts for organic and natural perfumes, their rolling hills of lavender outside Medford, Oregon produce some truly beautiful organic lavender oil.

The delightful part, and the reason I sat down to mention it, is that these excellent lavender producers are both better known for their other work: before she was a natural perfumer (she’s studied with Anya McCoy and others), Ida Gearon was a designer and costumer in Hollywood. Horror movies, to be exact. …which is how she met her husband, lavender enthusiast & actor Bruce Campbell, best known for his cult-classic films, Army of Darkness & Evil Dead. While Bruce fights evil on the big-screen, his lavender oil fights a more present evil. The tale of how I happened to be gifted a bottle from these two unusual growers began a few years ago at a little bar, down in Texas…

Lavender essential oil will keep mosquitos off, but does need to be reapplied regularly; if your skin is sensitive, it can be diluted with lotion or a carrier oil.

I read somewhere that you live on a lavender farm?

“There’s lavender on it, but it’s an exaggeration to say that it’s a farm. We just have a couple acres of lavender that makes our house smell lovely and wonderful. It was there when we bought the property. We harvest once a year. We have a place in Eugene where we pitchfork it into a truck, just like Farmer Joe, then they distill it. You get 30 pounds of organic lavender oil that you can put in or around anything. It’s good for cleaning, it smells good, it’s actually a natural disinfectant, and it’s calming and soothing.”

Bruce Campbell interview w/IFC

*Apparently, Victoria’s Secret Bombshell perfume will also keep mosquito’s off.