Category Archives: Feeling

Sense of touch: Fabrics

In my quest to find the very best ways to invite others to experience their senses in the very rich, intense ways I myself do, I give you this: 

Velvet, cotton, angora?
Doesn’t matter.
The point is to touch it.
Feel it. Experience it.
Know the difference
Between each one
As you feel it
Beneath your fingertips.
Try a caress.
A grab.
A fistful of it.
A snuggle against the fabric.
Which one most reminds you
Of who you are?
(Wear that one!)
And revel in your sense of touch.

Deep in the Night (What’s Your Beauty Routine?)

As the moon calls and you’re ready to go to bed, what do you do as part of your nightly ritual? Whether you’re a wash-and-go (to bed) type, or have a more lengthy, luxurious routine, you are invited to an opportunity to participate in Exuviance’s give-away- a full size Super Retinol Concentrate.  Twenty-five lucky winners will win this $78 value!

Simply share your favorite nighttime beauty tips & tricks on Twitter and other social media channels. Be sure to tag @neostrataskin and using #sleeponit.

If you’re interested in trying this unique anti-aging nighttime transformer that delivers a gradual, time-released infusion of pure Retinol in a microencapsulated form to maximize potency and tolerability of this high-strength formulation, this is the giveaway for you!

Widely recognized by dermatologists for its antiaging power, Retinol helps build natural collagen and its surrounding support matrix for plumping and firming benefits, reducing the look of deep-set wrinkles and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles from the inside out. Patented NeoGlucosamine® is clinically proven to work synergistically with Retinol, building skin’s support matrix to increase skin firming and smoothing effects versus Retinol alone. As skin becomes firmer and new cells emerge, skin is transformed, younger looking. For an immediate visual boost, optical brighteners provide visual softening.

Designed for maximum efficacy and stability, the formula contains a retinol-stabilizing complex and utilizes an opaque airless pump-top tube to maintain freshness. This light, serum-like formulation is fragrance free, Paraben free, and oil free.

Studies show after 8 weeks (data on file):
100% reported firmer skin
98% noticed skin is lifted, less droopy
95% observed Wrinkles are less apparent
95% said fine lines are less apparent
98% saw better clarity/radiance
88% noticed brown spots are less noticeable

Ready to play? Enter today with this link, be sure to share on social media with the tags @neostrataskin and #sleeponit. Add Exuviance to your nightly beauty routine ’round midnight!

Water, Minerally Water from the French Alps (and a giveaway!)


You know the satisfaction of a refreshing gulp of water when your throat is parched, the comfort of a cascade of droplets over your head when you dip into the shower, the welcoming relief when a summer rain falls onto your sun-heated skin.

Imagine cool, hydrating relief that you can take along with you. That’s what you get with evian® water’s unique mineral balance and uncompromised purity, suitable for all skin types. Your skin will be the picture of dewy, refreshed health.

Now is your opportunity to win your very own Evian Facial Spray!  evian® is giving away 20 two 5 oz Facial Sprays. Winners will be chosen at random.

evian facial spray, giveaway, free, free giveaway, fashion, beauty

Click to enter!

Did you know that Evian Facial Spray was originally introduced in France in 1962 at the request of doctors for use on burn patients? Introduced as the first facial spray in the United States in 1978, evian® is the only one carried by many prestige retail groups including Nordstrom and Sephora and is dermatologically test. It is also offered in many luxury resorts and hotels such as Four Seasons.

The leak-proof canister is the ideal product to take on-the-go in any purse or travel bag. Unlike other water sprays, Evian Spray is sealed at the source, so it can not be contaminated.

The French Government has extremely stringent standards for approving mineral waters as suitable to drink. Evian Facial Spray is the only mineral water spray in the USA with this distinction.

Don’t forget to complete your giveaway entry today!

Please note: this giveaway is hosted by The Wilkes Group and not evian.

Somewhere in Upper Black Eddy

Fall drive, Sunday afternoon

On the way to visit some friends we passed this area in Upper Black Eddy-Bridgeton. Loved what I saw outside the window so started snapping a few pictures. Here’s the ones that were decent. Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of it and become an expert iPhone photographer 😉

Nostalgia Time, part 2

Did you enjoy coloring as a child? I always loved a new coloring book and a set of crayons (the 64-set with the built-in sharpener was the best). Naturally there is a lot to be said about the familiar scent of a fresh batch of crayons, but I also always loved smelling the paper of the coloring book. There was just something very distinctive about it- merely thinking about it can bring up the scent in my mind.

One of the other ways I relieved stress and found a comfortable spot to sit in trying times was by coloring. When the workpile was a little larger than normal, lunchtime was a great opportunity to bust out a coloring book and crayons. There’s almost something meditative about it, and I gained great comfort out of the swish-a, swish, swish-a swish-a sound of crayon against the nearly-rough textured paper. And the meld of the scents– always a delight.

Today’s post showcases a coloring book and colored page from my lunchtime artwork:


Nostalgic Odors- Play-Doh

There’s just something about a container of Play-Doh that brings me right back to childhood. Sure, the familiar logo and yellow canister plays a role, but the main thing that transports me is definitely the smell of that stuff. Even though it’s not the most pleasant smell, there is something very comforting about it. So much so that a former colleague of mine brought in a couple of mini canisters in to work a few years ago so that we could have the “back to childhood” experience when things got too rough at the office.

It’s been over two years since I’ve been at that job, and today I just so happened to be clearing out some old things. I came upon that mini canister. I smiled to myself as I remembered the comfort it brought me.


I cracked it open:

Play-Doh open cover

I did what anyone else in my position would have done:

play-doh, sniff

Going in for The Sniff!

And even took the Play-Doh out of its container and gave it a squeeze:

Squeeze it!

Squeeze it!



And marveled that it was still soft, after all those years, and enjoyed my little trip down memory lane.

Work of the Hands

I have a family friend who became a nun later in life. I remember going to her first profession and final profession of vows when I was younger, and lo and behold, this year marks her 25th year of religious life…which will be celebrated as a silver jubilee!

As with any celebration, I like to commemorate with an appropriate gift. And what does one get a nun? Surely she must have an ample assortment of religious jewelry, knick-knacks, and stationary. I started my search online with some terms that might help me find an appropriate card. I knew “Congratulations on your 25 years of religious life!” was not going to be common fodder at my local Hallmark, but the vast expanse of internet certainly had a few options from which to choose.

With that part complete, I continued searching on the site to take a look at the gift items. I was intrigued by the Abbey scented soaps, made by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. There were so many different scent varieties- it was truly remarkable! I wish I could smell them all through the screen (though the descriptions helped a bit, as did my imagination). These handcrafted items are not only made with natural ingredients but also a dose of holy water, and each batch is prayed over. Interesting!

As the story goes, what started out as something they made out of necessity became a source of value and joy that the nuns rediscovered in the present day. They use modern techniques to make the soap but with the same careful attention to detail that they use in all their handcrafted items. A motto is included on each product listing: “The work of our hands- made for your hands and body.” 

I delved a little deeper to find other everyday products that are handmade by those in a religious calling. There are several that I became interested in- lip balm, body scrubs, jellies, chocolate truffles, and Mystic Monk coffee! I just think there is something to be said about products made by human hands  with intention, and using that work as a form of prayer or meditation. Whether I am religious or not or believe in the same tenets as the artisan does, does not really matter to me. I find products made in this way to have a unique appeal- almost a mysticism about them- and that they are just as affordable as those that are mass-produced. I can see these hand-forged items becoming affordable luxuries on my shopping list, as I not only engage my senses as I use them, but reflect on the way that conscious intention yields results different than those generated by workers who are mindlessly and dispassionately completing their tasks.

Getting back to my family friend’s gift,  I ended up purchasing some of the fancy, carefully handcrafted essential oil infused soaps, a “Woman of God” pen and bookmark, and a few other items to create a gift basket. I carefully decided upon a mix of mainly “consumable” items so as not to take up too much space, create clutter, or be one more Jesus mug to add to the collection. I am thrilled that I was able to find some items that touch upon a religious motif or history but are still “layperson items”.  I hope she finds them as unique as I have!

Stargazer Lilies

Today’s post focuses on the senses being engaged in both a pleasing and unpleasing way. A prime example is the Stargazer Lily. I find them beautiful to look at, especially the ones that were recently gifted to me. They stayed folded within themselves for a couple of days before slowly starting to bloom out and reveal their big, beautiful white petals and center.


photo 1 (16)


Carefully looking at all its contours, one could quite simply go into a reverie.
Until, of course, the moment when met with its fragrance. How could such a beautiful flower emit such an odor? A heavy, waxy, funereal smell.

This got me to reflect on the idea that not all sensory experiences have to be pleasant. The very instant that I have been moved by a sensory trigger, whether pleasurable or otherwise, is something to be noted. Our senses take us on journeys not only to deliriously sensual escapes but also to nostalgic corners of our past, to faded memories and unfinished business. Our senses allow us to experience all of life, and use those experiences to learn more about ourselves and the world in which we live. It is through our senses that we learn which herbs and berries are poisonous, which animals to stay away from, and how to “feel” a storm that is approaching.

So I decided today to embrace the unappealing odor of the stargazer lily and remember that with every sniff, I can reflect in such a way that it becomes a teachable moment. Perhaps that smell is a cry to look more closely at the petals. To practice patience and stay open-minded about what could be next. stargazer lillies


stargazer lilies2

2 stargazer lilies

Cute little blue cups and saucers

Something that always strikes my fancy and gives a pleasant tug at my heartstrings is the sight of two sets of cups and saucers, filled with the warm, inviting blend of espresso and warm milk that is a cortado. On Monday, we stopped by Bluebird before heading to our first ayurvedic cooking demonstration (more about that in a future post- you don’t write a sensory blog and not devote a full post to something that intrigues the senses quite like a cooking demo does!).

The cortados were okay but the vibe of the cafe was cute and quaint, and I loved the little blue cups and saucers. The color of bluebirds. How apropos!

Bluebird cafe, cortados, coffee

(PS- cortados are served in clear glasses, but other beverages are served in blue cups that match the saucers)

Homegrown Art

Each of my maternal grandparents had fairly creative streaks. The were a time when my grandfather considered going to school to become an opera singer. He was encouraged by the teachers but dissuaded by the family. He truly did have a lovely voice though. My grandmother had a knack for detail and streaks for ingenuity when it came to sewing and creating fashions for the body and home.

I remember the story of the two of them sitting at home one day, each working on an oil painting. I have each of their paintings hanging up in my living room. My grandmother’s was a Cleopatra-like profile and my grandfather’s was based on a newspaper clipping of a photographed relief. It kind of reminds me of Arachne.

Recently, my mother found another one of my grandfather’s paintings. It doesn’t necessarily look like something he would have created, as I find it reminiscent of hex signs and I don’t think he would have even known what those were, but I was intrigued and uplifted to see his work hanging up in the house:

grandpa's painting

And of course he finished it off with his classic signature:

Grandpa's signature

Finding little snippets of family history always appeal to my senses and the emotional pull towards nostalgia. It’s always a fun moment for me to find a family member’s creations!

Painting by Mario V. LaRocca, also known as Morris Rocco, also known as Rocco Morris.