Joy in January - A Natural Perfumers Guild project and Three-day Giveaway - Day 3 of 3

If you're reading this on the third day of the three-day blog event, you can read my initial post about SAD and natural aromatics on day one here and day two here.  There is still time to leave a comment on  day one and day two to increase your chances of getting some joy this January with a naturally-fragranced win ;-)

Here's the second story of a move I made to an overcast, cloudy town, and besides some joy, there's some gratitude mixed in with this, a story of small town manners.

Corvallis Oregon was the northern locale my then-husband was relocating to for a post-doctoral position.  I knew very little about Oregon, less about Corvallis.  In November, 1978, we packed up Roxy the Rastapoodle and Bootsy the cat and drove nonstop to Corvallis.  The professor who had hired my husband had rented a townhouse for us and we moved in the night we arrived.
Corvallis Oregon - courtesy of gardengrumblesandcrossstitchfumbles

The next morning we awoke and I was driving him to his job so I could have the car and shop.  When we walked outside, what looked like snow was falling, but when I went to clean it off the car, it didn't feel like snow, and there was a smell of smoke in the air, lots of smoke.  Rain had fallen, and it was freezing, so we began the drive, and I spun out on some "black" (invisible) ice over a bridge.  Luckily, there were no other cars nearby, and I was able to keep driving.  We didn't have a TV (hippies!) and so I went back to the townhouse wondering what was going on.  Gray, rain, fake snow, smoke.  Not a good welcome to this little town.

We found out later in the day that a tire dump had caught on fire, and the "snow" was ash from it, blanketing the region, accompanied by the strong smoke smell. I spent many days indoors through December, until I got a job in January, but I didn't suffer from SAD, which is good, because in a new town, no friends, the holidays, no job, gray skies and rain, I could have been a really bad case.

In January or February, we had made some new friends, so we invited them over for some of my homecooked Chinese food and a "human scent strip" party.  I had held many of these in various cities in California, and they were always a lot of fun.  I'd dip a toothpick in oils and dab all of the fingers of the friends with 10 different scents, and when the fingers were done, I'd start on the wrists, top side first, then underside, and up the arms I'd go.  Everyone was engaged with the oils and chatting about them, and off they'd go, into the night, back to their homes, smelling like a fragrant garden.

Corvallis is a small town, somewhat isolated, and has a down-to-earth vibe.  Imagine my surprise when, the next day after the party, four of the six guests called to thank me for the party and talk about the aromatics.  Nobody in California had ever called to thank me.  I know they enjoyed themselves, but maybe the bigger city folks were lacking in the small town manners.

That always stayed with me.  Small town folks may be more appreciative and show gratitude easier than those in fast-paced places.

Nichols' homespun images had me fooled, but they were totally forgiven because...see below..
Oh, one other thing stays with me, off-topic for Joy in January, but interesting about images.  For years, I had gotten the Nichols Herb Nursery catalogue.  The cover was usually a pen and ink drawing of a little homey cottage, supposedly their shop, set in a bucolic setting.  Nichols was located in the next town over from Corvallis, so I made a pilgrimage there soon after I settled in.  I remember the day was gray and gloomy, and I *really* remember a stench filing the air as I neared Nichols.  They were smack up against a paper pulp mill!  No bucolic setting, for sure, and I had to hold my hand over my mouth and nose as I went from my car to the nursery building.

My biggest discovery there, totally unexpected (well, besides the unexpected paper pulp mill) - dill weed oil.  I had been collecting essential oils and absolutes for years, but never saw dill weed.  I got it, and started cooking with it, making spanakopita and chicken soup and potato salad.  Love those essential oils, yum, yum!  That's why Nichols' is totally forgiven for the image/reality disconnect - they introduced me to the art of cooking with essential oils! ;-)

Today's giveaway - Samples of all 12 of my perfumes

Showing the Anya's Garden perfume love :-)  Next month the Guild will have a "Love" event, so make sure you subscribe to this blog and check back then!
Leave a comment today to be in the drawing for samples for all 12 of my perfumes, and you can make yourself a "human scent strip"!  I've actually never done this with perfumes, and I'm going to play with them this way, too!  You'll receive a card with instructions on how to sample them, from the lightest to the deepest, much like you would sample wines, light whites to full-bodied reds.  Enjoy! 

Prizes will be mailed to winners in the USA, Canada and the EU only.  You will find bloggers in Australia, Canada, South Africa and Vietnam, so please check their mailing policies.

1.  You, the poster can post as anonymous, but that will make you ineligible for the drawing.

2.  I'd love it if you sign up for my newsletter, or "like" my page on Facebook, but that isn't a requirement of this blog. Please just leave a comment that shares your difficulty with SAD.  We need to get the word out there so others reading this may recognize the disorder has aromatherapy and natural perfumery as an alternative healing modality.

3  I do want you to leave your first name or a nickname, ISP (eg., gmail) and location.  That way, when I announce the win, and you reply, I'll be sure I have the right person. 

Be sure to check out the other Guild participants that are taking part in the Joy in January project and leave a comment on their blogs to be entered in their giveaway, and leave a comment below to be entered in my Light drawing.  Winners of the three-days of drawings will be announced here on Thursday, the 19th. You will have until the 21st to claim your prize, or it will be awarded to the second chosen by 

* DISCLAIMER:  The opinions of Anya McCoy and Anya's Garden Perfumes should not be taken as medical advice.  SAD can be a precursor or trigger for other, more serious mental illnesses, so severely depressed or suicidal individuals should seek the care of a physician.  Never dismiss or self-treat massive depressive disorders yourself or encourage anyone to discontinue medication when being treated by a physician.

Ambrosia Jones
Charna Ethier
Christi Meshell
Clemence Barbier
Elise Pearlstine
Emily Pienaar
JoAnne Bassett
Joyce Noerr
Karen Williams
Liz Cook
Noelle Smith
Stephanie Vinson
Susan Stype


  1. Thanks for sharing, Anya! Imagine finding dill weed oil in a small out of the way town in Oregon. Life changing ;)

  2. How fun to sample all of your scents! As a self-professed 'smell junkie' I would love to win ( :

  3. The human scent strip party sounds like a blast! I think I may have to pull out my last sample set from you and try that out on Saturday when my friend joins me for dinner. I love your scents, and I know she will too.

    Thank you again for the Joy in January project!

    Michael S

  4. Wow, that's quite the spectrum of scents!

  5. OOO, another great giveaway. This has been so much fun, and the perfect way to beat the winter blues. Thanks so much...

    Vicki D. New York

  6. Ooo human scent strip party sounds fun! I've done such things at BPAL gatherings... but that was always just random. Having a method to the madness seems like it would have much better results!

  7. Oregon esp southern oregon is such a magical albeit grey place. thank you for giving light to SAD sufferers and another fun project! looking forward to the the next: LOVE. <3

    such a generous draw! love the heart image of your samples!

    einsof & the 1 degree remaining outside in the black hills.

  8. Your idea of adding directions to your full set of samples on how to do a human scent strip testing a la a wine-tasting is brilliant. Vancouver is such a wine-tasting town (lots of good wineries in the interior of BC) it would be fun to have a "testing" rather than tasting get-together.
    Will have to look for dill-weed essential oil as dill is one of my favourite flavours.

    -- Lindaloo

  9. I'm happy that the small-town folks of Corvallis were so appreciative, but I'm pretty shocked that no one from your big-town California life ever called to say thanks.

    Okay, when I saw what your giveaway for today was, I actually gave a small squeal, I kid you not. (The cat looked up at me, like, "Seriously? Did some food just walk in?") From dusky amber in "Ambress" to the frankincense of "Light" and the chocolate of "Starflower", I've longed to try them all, but couldn't afford such a wild extravagance. With a sampler, I could see just which perfume speaks to my heart the loudest.

    This SAD blog-a-thon in itself has been a lift from winter doldrums - reading all the natural fragrance blogs & comments - with hints, remedies & scent info - has done as much for me as a day in the sun.

  10. Scent strip parties sound so fun. Interesting observation with the participants calling back. That was quite an experience moving to Oregon. It's been fun and have enjoyed reading and blogging.

  11. One the main things that helps with the winter blues, for me, is just knowing that the cause is winter, meaning things will be looking up in the spring. Something that also seems to really help is getting out in public somewhere warm, with minimal clothing, basically a swimming pool or a gym. I have a theory that it's not so much lack of light but having skin covered up so much that causes the problem.

  12. Thanks so much for this JOY in January Project. I appreciate all your help and look forward to more of these.

  13. That human scent strip party is such a fabulous idea! I would love to do that with a few like-minded individuals. Samplers are awesome because, as much as I love reading about fragrance, there's nothing like trying it out for--and on-- oneself. I would love to try your line!

    Thank you, and all the other bloggers, for bringing JOY to so many people!

    Now I want to learn more about cooking with essential oils...

    Getting out for a walk outside and being conscious of the quality of light I use both help me keep on an even keel during the darker months (but I don't officially have SAD).

    signed up for your newsletter, email is in profile

  14. Thank you for the Joy in January project. As someone affected by SAD I appreciate the initiative. It's been very informative and fun, and the giveaways are awesome!

  15. Anya, I like hearing these stories that tell what made an impression over the years. Reflecting back on moments when small things stood out is both fun and important. Dill weed oil - I will have to get some and experiment with that. Dill isn't my favorite fresh herb, but you never know. I'm needing to learn that the essential oil version of something may or may not have the exact same application as the live plant. More to learn, anyway!

    Amy H. in Philadelphia using gmail

  16. Wow! Another very generous draw to lift our winter spirits. I'm so excited to send my sister to your blog because she lives in Corvallis!! Thank you again for this draw.
    SujaanNY (at) gmail
    I'm in New York

  17. thank you anya for another fun project! as i have said elsewhere- even the recognition and open discussion of SAD is good therapy for anyone suffering from it- in addition to the multitude of aroma therapeutic information.

    thank you also for the amazing draw-- the photo of your samples in a heart is adorable!

    einsof on gmail account (personal) and wrapped up tight in the -4 degree weather in the black hills.

  18. Oh my GOd! that is such an exciting giveaway!!! wow.
    I will try a human scent strip with friends.
    I wm rather shy, so don't host much. but I am working on opening up more, because it is time I make more friends.
    I know how the oils put me in such a good mood, it's a great way to open people up, and make an easy, long lasting and upbeat conversation between people.
    Thanks for the idea.
    oh, and I don't live in the US, but I have family there who would just ship it in to me or fly it in with them (if I happen to come out on any of the draws)

  19. oh, and I know where I'm living it's now the 19th, but I think your time it's still the 18, as in- yesterday.

  20. odd... i have tried to post three times to this... none show? einsof sad in the -8 black hills.

  21. Dear Readers:

    Thank you everyone for commenting and sharing. You never know what positive effect your words may have on someone stumbling across this blog post now or in the future. Bringing JOY to everyone in this cold, wintry time of year was the goal, and I know that the Guild bloggers put their heart and soul into this event.

    So much to learn, sho much to share, so little time!

    Stay Fragrant everyone! I'll announce the winners later today.



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